Yesterday was World Autism Awareness Day. As you may know if you have read this blog before, I was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Doctors said I may never speak. But almost 14 years later, not only am I talking, I am a budding sports journalist who has written this blog for 5 years.
In honor of Autism Awareness Day, the Boston Herald asked me to tell my story for today’s paper! I met Joe Sciacca, the editor-in-chief of the Boston Herald at a Red Sox game in 2015. Since that day, I have gained multiple exciting sportscasting experiences from the Herald, including guest co-hosting a Boston Herald Radio show.
Now, I also serve as a Flutie Fellow for the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism so I’d like to share a story about a Dougie’s Team Boston Marathon runner named Michael Palmer. Leading up to the marathon, he started something inspirational within the autism community. Below is my video about Michael alongside what I said in the video:
For Michael Palmer, running the Boston Marathon to raise funds for the Doug Flutie, Jr Foundation for Autism has personal meaning. Michael has Aspergers. He wants to spread the message that people on the autism spectrum are not alone in their daily struggles to connect with others.
Michael literally spread his wings in creating a “snow angel challenge” as part of his marathon efforts. Michael put out the challenge for people to overcome their fears and barriers and support people like him who overcome challenges daily. I can relate to Michael’s challenges and I am grateful for his efforts, as they benefit me as well. I’m Flutie Fellow Andrew Roberts, and thanks in part to Michael’s efforts, the Flutie Foundation is helping me pursue my goal of being a sports broadcaster.
Michael’s “snow angel challenge” spread through other team members and friends of the Flutie Foundation. Then, recently-retired All-Pro New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski got word of the challenge. While he didn’t jump in the snow, Gronkowski did participate in his own way. Thanks Gronk!
If you’d like to support Michael Palmer’s efforts to raise funds and awareness for autism, please check out the Flutie Foundation website at FlutieFoundation.org.
This is not the last of my Boston Marathon coverage. I will be writing more runner spotlights this year, including one about a runner for Get Air Sports, a partner of the Flutie Foundation. On a side note the Pats need a replacement for Rob Gronkowski who had fun in contributing the video for Michael. Will they address the TE position in the draft? Find out what I think in my upcoming 2019 NFL Mock Draft.
Stay tuned for more sports coverage soon. But as the Herald headline noted, my sportswriting journey is only just getting started.
Today, I had the opportunity to spend a day at Patriots training camp as a member of the press, shadowing Patriots radio play-by-play announcer and Patriots.com Beat Reporter Bob Socci. I first met Bob at the NFL Kickoff event with the Patriots broadcast team, held at Mr. Sid last year. (Note: I will be going back to a similar event on September 6th).
Bob learned about the work I had done as a sports blogger and offered to help me by inviting me to Patriots training Camp with him.
Before Practice Began: “Pre-Game” Videos and Fan Experience
I arrived a little bit early so I could do a live stand-up in front of Gillette Stadium and also conduct some interviews with fans.
First, I interviewed a long-time Pats fan named Jan. She meets a friend at Gillette every year who gives her the insight on the players at Patriots training camp.
After that, I interviewed Arjun, a 6th grader from Philadelphia who likes the Patriots so much that his parents decided to make the trip north this year. He was very excited to see the team live for the first time.
Many young fans like Arjun also had the opportunity to take advantage of Fan Experience activities held around the practice fields. My Dad further explored some of the activities while I was with Bob and the rest of the media.
They had football activities where they tracked your performance and created a Player Profile. Jimmy from the Patriots staff was really nice and created my card with Pat Patriot’s stats.
There were also a number of booths with give-aways for participating in small games like mini-golf skee ball and photo opportunities like the one with my dad.
Becoming Official Pats Media Member for the Day
Bob Socci met me soon after my interviews in front of the stadium. I said goodbye to my dad and Bob took me to go get my press pass.
We walked to the other side of the stadium and went through media security there. After I gave them my name and affiliation, they handed me my press pass.
All media members received a detailed Patriots preseason roster and media guidelines from the media security table to help us learn about who we were covering and what coverage was permitted and when.
On my way to the media tent, Bob explained a few things to me about the training camp roster:
Since there are many players on the roster and the roster is not finalized, there may be pairs of players who share a number
Rookies wear numbers based on when they were drafted during training camp and their camp numbers do not usually correspond with their position. The team’s first draft pick, T Isaiah Wynn wears #50, their second pick, RB Sony Michel wears #51, their third pick, CB Duke Dawson wears #52, and so on. For the regular season they receive new numbers.
During training camp, quarterbacks wear red while the rest of the offense wears white and the defense wears blue. On the roster, offensive players who share a number with defensive players (and vice versa) have (o) for offense or (d) for defense next to their name.
Bob also mentioned that during camp, there would only be a 10-20 minute session for media to take photos and videos, and that no tweeting was allowed during camp for media members. We were allowed to take notes during the no photo/video portions of practice.
Bob told me that after practice the media guidelines would be more flexible. The only major rules were to stay within certain interviewing boundaries and not take any photos or video of players with their families without permission.
Before practice began, Bob introduced me to the vice president of media relations at training camp, Stacey James, as well as fellow media member Jim McBride. I also had time to catch up with ESPN Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss, who I had met earlier in the week at Sports Broadcasting Camp. I also met a friend of Bob’s, Steve Yood, along with his sons Alex and Josh.
Watching Practice from the Media Tent
Practice started about 5 minutes after we arrived at the media tent. During practice, I also met Marc Cappello of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Josh Brogadir of WCVB, and Steve Atkinson of Boston Sports Extra. They were surprised to see someone my age in the media tent. Some of them told me what they did at my age and how they wished they had started earlier.
The Patriots practice began with some warm-ups. The team stretched, jogged a little bit, and threw the ball around. Afterwards they began a walk-through of some plays they would use later in 11 on 11 drills.
Positional drills began after the walk-through portion practice. This was the portion of practice when the media photo and video session took place. Offensive lineman competed 1 on 1 against defensive lineman, wide receivers caught balls from a receiving coach, and quarterbacks stayed together as well to take practice throws. During this time, PK Stephen Gostkowski practiced field goals. Here is some of my video coverage.
After the photo and video session ended, positional drills continued. The QBs began throwing to the receivers directly. Soon after that, they had the Pats secondary go 1 on 1 against receivers catching passes from QBs Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, and Danny Etling. The Pats ran a few more offense vs. defense practice plays before starting the 11 on 11 drills.
The Patriots alternated personnel during the 11 on 11 drills with quarterbacks Brady and Hoyer getting most of the reps at QB . Before practice ended, the Pats held a few more running drills on the hills around the field. Then, for most of the team, practice ended. A few guys, including Danny Etling, put in a little extra work after the full team practice.
Some of my Observations from Day 4 of Patriots Training Camp
Keep an eye out for Phillip Dorsett and Jacob Hollister
I kept a tally of Brady’s ball distribution during a couple of his drills, and his most frequent target during those drills was Dorsett. Dorsett had an especially strong catch on a deep pass from Brady during the offensive walk-through. Hollister had a nice jumping catch in the end zone that Brian Hoyer threw to him during 11 on 11 drills.
Patriots RBs could be a big part of the offense again this season
Brady wasn’t just throwing to receivers and tight ends today. Brady, Hoyer, and Etling all participated in a drill where they threw short passes to RBs including James White and Pats 2018 2nd draft pick from the first round, Sony Michel. Michel caught a short pass at the 30 yard line and took it to the house during 11 on 11 drills.
After practice, I was happy to see Meredith Gorman who I worked with last summer at the Boston Herald. Meredith, now with Patriots.com, conducted a 1 on 1 interview with Michel.
Great to see Julian Edelman back on the field
I enjoyed seeing Tom Brady connecting with WR Julian Edelman for the first time since Super Bowl LI. Even though he is suspended for the first four games, Edelman missed the entire season last year and now he is back and seems ready to play and make more amazing catches like the one that most remember as “the catch” from the Pats 5th Super Bowl win. Edelman looked like his old self out there making some good plays along with Pats newcomer WR Jordan Matthews. Other pass catchers I liked seeing were TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Chris Hogan. Gronk had a catch deep up the seam even though he was tightly covered, which is one reason Pats fans love watching him.
Brian Hoyer had some good end zone connections
I watched all 3 of the Pats quarterbacks perform today but the QB I was most impressed with was Brian Hoyer. Hoyer made successful end zone connections on his first two passes, including a great throw to Jacob Hollister in the corner of the end zone.
Don’t Discount New England secondary
Even though one of last year’s starting CB and Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler signed with the Titans in the offseason, I still believe that Pats will have a good secondary. For example, today I saw CB Stephon Gilmore break up several pass plays in 1 on 1 coverage against Julian Edelman, nearly intercepting one pass thrown by Tom Brady. Rookie and Pats 2018 #3 draft pick CB Duke Dawson also came close to picking off Brady while covering Phillip Dorsett.
Trey Flowers was back at practice with bandage on forehead
Flowers returned to practice after leaving yesterday with an ice pack on his head. In other injury news, Jordan Matthews left today’s practice with an unknown injury, and CB Keion Crossen (back) and RB Mike Gillislee (unknown) did not practice. Bob Socci told me that WR Kenny Britt, CB Cyrus Jones, CB Jonathan Jones, and WR Matthew Slater were on the PUP list. However, I did notice Britt participating in warm-ups. According to the official training camp roster, WRs Darren Andrews and Cody Hollister are on the Reserve/NFI list.
After Practice: Media Session and Tour
After practice ended, Bob and I headed to the designated player interview zone. I watched some of the interviews. Bob Socci conducted a stand-up recap with Megan O’Brien as they discussed their own observations from the day. Some of the topics he mentioned in the interview were things we talked about in the media tent together during the practice:
James White, Sony Michel, RB Rex Burkhead, T Trent Brown, DE Derek Rivers, and QB Brian Hoyer were among those interviewed. Although he didn’t stop for interviews, I did see Gronk walk by, as well as a few other players like Phillip Dorsett and Dont’a Hightower. I also saw the McCourty twins with all their family on the field. I think it is really cool that after many years on different teams they will now play on the same team and they seem to be enjoying camp together.
Nobody was interviewed at the podium today like Tom Brady was yesterday. This area is primarily used for interviews with star players like Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
In between and after the media interviews, I met some media members including Levan Reid of WBZ, Joe Gallant of WNRI (a radio station in Providence), and Megan O’Brien of Patriots.com. I also said hello to patriots.com’s Meredith Gorman and the Boston Herald’s Meghan Ottolini.
After the post practice interviews were over, Bob took me inside Gillette Stadium so I could see the media area. He showed me the TV studio where Patriots All Access is aired. The studio was filled with football helmets on the shelves and Patriots logos all around. Bob mentioned he hosts a show with Scott Zolak in the studio next door. We also walked by the game day media workroom, the writing rooms for various newspapers and blogs, and the weekday press conference room which was the biggest room of them all.
In total, I spent about 4 hours with Bob today and feel like I learned so much about covering the Patriots. In addition, I saw so much from the media’s point of view. It was truly incredible and surreal at times.
I’d like to thank Bob Socci and Stacey James for making this experience possible for me. I’d also like to thank all the media members who spent the time to talk to me and give me tips on sports reporting.
On July 10th had the opportunity to co-host a Boston Herald radio show called “The Rundown” with John Sapochetti and Jet Striar. I was invited by the Herald editor-in-chief, Joe Sciacca, who has been so generous to me these last few years, giving me an incredible tour back in 2015 and also inviting me back twice to do mini internships for the last two summers.
I had first met John Sapochetti in 2015 when I did my first mini internship at the Herald. He is one of their most well-known sports talk radio personalities so I was really excited to learn that I would be his guest co-host.
We arrived at the Herald about 45 minutes before the show to discuss the on-air topics we would cover. John greeted us in the Herald lobby and we sat in a break room near the newsroom and the radio studio. I told him about my recent experiences covering the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle and my experience at the Red Sox game I attended the night before. I had taken some notes at the game that I used on the air later on. I also met his intern, Will Finley, who is also a huge Boston sports fan and specializes in sports research. He had an impressive amount of stats that I found inspiring. Shortly before we went on the air, I met John’s co-host, Jet Striar, an NBA guru and also a Boston sports fan.
As I walked into the studio, I also met the show’s producer, Christian Burgoyne. You may hear him make comments in the highlights from the show that I put in this blog post. Moments later we put our headsets on and the show began.
In the first segment, John introduced me to his audience and we talked about some things I noticed at the Red Sox game the night before. After that, I took a quick break while John and Jet hosted a political guest, Luke Vargas. It gave me a breather and a chance to reflect on how I did early on in the show.
When I returned, we talked about the All-Star Final Vote and how David Price has not met the expectations of the Red Sox fan base after receiving a 7 year, $217 million dollar contract. Towards the end of the first hour, we discussed J.D. Martinez. He did not have a lot of suitors and he was underrated during the off-season. I think that made it easier for Boston to sign him and so far the signing looks like the best Sox signing/acquisition since Chris Sale.
Below are some of the highlights from the first hour of the show:
In the second hour, we started with a continuation of our earlier baseball discussions. We talked about what the Red Sox and Yankees might do at the trade deadline and how despite the fact that the Sox may catch a break with their easy schedule ahead, their next big test comes August 2nd against the Yanks. The Yankees could upgrade their roster by then but the same could occur with the rest of the AL’s top teams, making the American League even more of a league of extremes as I mentioned later in the segment.
During our final segment we discussed some trending NBA off-season news like the Marcus Smart to Sacramento rumor. We also talked about LeBron James’ signing with the Lakers, Portland’s need for another guy up front, Carmelo Anthony, and Kawhi Leonard. At the end of the show, John thanked me for being on then I told him it was an honor.
Being on a live sports talk radio show was so surreal, which is why I’m so glad Christian gave me a copy of the whole show to listen to again and create highlights from the unbelievable experience. I was on air for so much of the show that I had to break up the highlights into two 15-minute segments.
Check out the second segment below.
I’d like to thank Joe Sciacca, John Sapochetti, Jet Striar, Christian Burgoyne, and Will Finley for making this experience possible. Stay tuned for a more baseball posts coming soon including Bravehearts-Rox game experience from the press box. For now, I’ll be taking a week off as I have more broadcasting training at Play-By-Play Sports Broadcasting Camp.
Ever since the Futures League added a Worcester team, I have wanted to go see a game. When I learned my next door neighbor for many years, Jake Rosen, was playing for the Brockton Rox against Worcester at Hanover Insurance Park, I made plans to go. Jake was the starting shortstop and batted 9th this past Thursday, July 19th.
I got in touch with Jake a few days before the game, and he told me that I could interview him if I got there about an hour before the start of the game. We walked to the Holy Cross football field away from the pre-game music.
Check out the full interview below:
After the interview we watched Jake warm-up we had great seats right next to his team’s dugout.
Before the game started, my dad bought me some chicken tenders with fries which was delicious. On our way back to our seats, we stopped at the Bravehearts press box. We knocked on the door, and announcers J.R. Suyemoto and Donny Porcaro invited us in and gave us a place to sit after I handed them my business card. The game was broadcast live on Facebook as it always is and saved on the Bravehearts Facebook page.
The game was starting soon, and we were getting settled in the press box. Paul Lambert shared the line-up cards with us so we could follow along.
In the meantime, Jake and the rest of the team were just about ready for the game.
Rox LF Charlie Maxwell led off the game with a single, but the Rox lineup was relatively quiet in the first few innings. The Bravehearts were also kind of quiet at the plate in the first couple innings, but C Brett Coffel hit a big double in the 2nd inning, and the Bravehearts had 1st and 2nd in the 1st inning despite failing to score a run. Worcester didn’t really get going until the 3rd inning. Their leadoff hitter, 2B Mariano Ricciardi, walked to begin the inning, and DH Chris Rinaldi drove him in with an RBI double. 3B Dustin Harris drove Rinaldi in with a long single, and after Mack Cheli, their star hitter, singled, SS Eddie Haus hit another single to load the bases. Coffel struck out, but Kirk Sidwell drove in a third run with his single and the bases remained loaded. However, Joseph Pesce grounded it to the pitcher, who threw it to the catcher (Jack Kelly) to start a 1-2-3 double play and prevent the Bravehearts from scoring more runs.
Brendan Connelly, a Brockton Rox reporter from WATD (a South Shore radio station), walked in and sat next tome in the press box. He told us that he also works at the Boston Herald as a high school sports reporter. I told him about my Herald radio experience and how I am going to help cover my high school’s sports teams this year.
He helped us by giving us insight on some of the best Rox players and the team overall. Brendan also told us that the Futures League was a Summer League that featured elite college baseball players, and that some of the league’s top players get drafted into the MLB. It would be really cool if Jake was drafted by an MLB team and I really enjoyed watching him from the press box.
The Bravehearts made it 4-0 in the 5th inning, when Brett Coffel singled for his 2nd hit of the day and Joseph Pesce knocked Coffel in with a single of his own. They scored a 5th run on a Mack Cheli sac fly with men on 1st and 3rd. Eddie Haus tried to get another rally going when he hit an infield single on the next at bat, but the Rox ended the inning before the Bravehearts could get another man on base. The Rox scored their first run in the 7th after Jack Kelly tripled and scored on a sac fly.
But after a crazy 3-run 7th, a home run by Joseph Pesce in the 8th, and a dominant performance throughout the game by the pitching staff (including 7 strong innings thrown by starter Joseph Mancini), the Bravehearts won, 9-1.
Even though the Rox lost 9-1, seeing my neighbor Jake Rosen hit and play in such a big stadium was incredible, especially from the press box. Jake hit a hard grounder up the middle in his second plate appearance but was robbed of a single on a close play. Although this was not a great night at the plate for Jake, his defense was strong throughout the game. Late in the game when I went back to my seats on the first base line, I saw Jake prevent an infield single by a speedy Braveheart:
Being focused on one player, I learned of another golden baseball player tradition, never step on foul line when walking on or off the field.
I noticed Jake avoiding the line every time he walked on and off the field. I asked him after the game if he did it on purpose and he said, “Of course, rule of baseball…”
I did a little digging on this superstition and found this story from MLB Pitcher Mel Stottlemyre who last stepped on a foul line in 1987. Here’s what happened per The Baseball Almanac:
“The first batter I faced was Ted Uhlaender, and he hit a line drive off my left shin. It went for a hit. Carew, Oliva and Killebrew followed with extra-base hits. The fifth man hit a single and scored and I was charged with five runs. I haven’t stepped on a foul line since.”
I really enjoyed my first Futures League game and I owe special thanks to Jake Rosen, J.R. Suyemoto, Donny Porcaro, Brendan Connelly, and Paul Lambert, all who made the experience that much better.
I definitely plan on going again because the Bravehearts do a great job at making the game fun even between innings like letting kids run on the field and pie eating contests. My younger brother Ryan who is a gamer, loved the video game music after each play.
Yesterday Sarge gave me and my family an all-access tour of WBZ Studios, home of WBZ-TV, WSBK-TV, and WBZ 1030 AM Radio. When I first walked in, I noticed images of some of my favorite WBZ Newscasters like Steve Burton, Dan Roche, Barry Burbank and David Wade. I even saw digital posters of two of my favorite CBS shows, Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory.
Sarge greeted us in the lobby and we began our tour. He told us about the history of the station. It started as a radio station in 1921. It was one of the first radio stations in the country and the first in New England. In 1948, WBZ-TV began airing.
First, we went to the Sports News anchors’ offices that included offices for Steve Burton and Dan Roche. They had sports pictures all over the walls and it felt like being inside a miniature Boston sports hall of fame!
After that, we entered the huge newsroom. TV reporters were on one side and radio reporters on the other. The TV side was quiet but the radio side is always busy. I got to meet Charlie Bergeron, another WBZ Radio sports reporter who I had just heard on the radio on the way to the studio. He took the time to tell me about the specifics of his job and show me the sports update script he was currently working on. I even got to go into the studio to watch his next live broadcast!
Next, I met the radio traffic reporters and saw a live image of the current traffic, which was noticeably quieter during the weekend. I also saw part of their script for their next report. After the newsroom, we visited a huge control room. Sarge said that even he’s overwhelmed by it.
Then came the best part of my tour. We got to visit both TV studios. The first one we visited was mainly used as a backup studio but they did traffic reports there when the other studio was being renovated.
Me on the stage of the old studio.
My brother Ryan in the studio audience cheering me on.
Me on the left on the stage of the old studio and my brother Ryan on the right cheering me on in the studio audience.
But when I saw their main studio, I felt like I had just walked into my TV when WBZ News was on.
When I first walked in, I saw Barry Burbank, a meteorologist who I had grown up watching. I had previously met him when he came to my elementary school, Peaslee in 2015, but I didn’t get the chance to talk to him until this day.
Then we saw the news anchors’ desk, the couch that was often used during Patriots 5th Quarter, and the area where they filmed the weather forecast. We even saw snow in Michigan on the current radar, and according to Barry, it could be coming our way, but he didn’t want to forecast it yet.
On our way out, we got a glance at the WBZ Hall of Fame. We continued to listen to Sarge on the radio on our way home.
That wraps it up for my 500th article on Boston Sports Mania. This tour was an unforgettable experience and I’m grateful that I got to learn so much as I continue my pursuit to become a sports journalist. I’d like to thank Mike ‘Sarge’ Riley and give him a huge #sargesalute for this amazing experience.
This past week, I had an amazing chance to see what’s it’s like to work as a journalist at the Herald. Not only did I see how the newspaper works, but I had a full multimedia experience by observing both a radio show and video for the website.
I started on Wednesday morning, and I got up early and caught the 7:30 train for my first commute. I arrived at the Herald a little bit before 9:00 and Editor-in-Chief Joe Sciacca’s assistant Barbara Long met me in the lobby. She gave me an extended tour, and we read the paper.
Barbara told me, “When people come in, the first thing they do is read the paper.”
Once we were done, I met an editor and radio host, Zuri Berry. I spent the morning observing Zuri and then eating lunch with him. He was working on editing the other interns’ articles and looking for news that had been sent to the special Boston Herald inbox. One of the interns, Peter, was an 18 year old sports fan going to Auburn in the fall. Zuri told me that someone always has to keep an eye on the Herald email account to see if any news was sent to them. Although my passion is sports, Zuri told me that journalists need to keep on top of all news.
In the afternoon after Zuri prepared for his radio show, I sat with managing editor Joe Dwinell and he showed me all the drafted articles on the website waiting to be edited. Then the sports editor Sean Leahy showed me the sports budget that would be presented at the news meeting. The sports budget shows what articles will fit into the space allocated for the sports section. During the meeting, I presented the entire sports budget! One of the articles I presented even made the front cover. It was about Tom Brady’s 40th birthday and what it meant for his career. After the news meeting, it was time for me to go. It was a great first day.
When I came in the next day, I saw the article I presented on the cover as I read the paper. As a gift, they gave me a poster of the Herald’s front cover from the day after Super Bowl 51. The headline was “Roger That” with a picture of Tom Brady holding the Lombardi trophy.
By the time I was done reading the paper, sports editor Rachel Fox was there and I spent the morning with her. She had a TV by her desk and I put on SportsCenter while she looked at what sports articles were going up on the website. At noon, I went with sports reporter Meredith Gorman to a birthday party for Tom Brady at Faneuil Hall. TB12 wasn’t there, but there was a goat with a Tom Brady jersey!
Meredith picked up lunch for us at Quincy Market and we took an Uber back to the Herald. After lunch, I sat in on Zuri Berry’s radio show and observed in the radio control room for a bit. It was a great experience to see the radio show in action. I stayed with Zuri until the 3:30 news meeting, where I listened and took notes.
For my third and final day, I came in right at 9:00 and read the paper. The Red Sox recap and Pats camp notes were the most interesting to me, especially since the Red Sox won in a high scoring game, 9-5. After finishing the paper, Barbara let me use her computer to write an article for my blog. Once Zuri Berry had arrived and read the paper, I spent the rest of the morning with him. I stayed with Zuri to watch the first hour of his radio show. Later, I went to see the sports budget that Sean had made and attented the 3:30 news meeting for the third straight day. At the meeting, I presented the Patriots articles planned for the sports section. Before I left, I talked to Joe Sciacca about the great week for a bit and said my goodbyes to Sean, Zuri, Barbara and everyone else.
I’d like to thank Joe Sciacca, Barbara Long, Zuri Berry, Jenny Miller, Mark Murphy, Sean Leahy, Rachel Fox, Meredith Gorman, Joe Dwinell, Peter Santo and everyone at the Herald that made my first internship experience great.
I learned so much in only three days. My favorite part was learning how the Paper came together each day. I can’t wait to come back and learn more.
I left today’s game with my first loss attending Fenway, making my record 7-1, but it wasn’t a total loss. Blake Swihart hit his first career home run. At the end of the 5th inning, I met Boston Herald editor and chief Joe Sciacca. I also met Managing Editor Gustavo Leon and News Anchor Matt Fitzgerald, both from the Boston Herald.
The Sox loaded the bases in the 1st inning right off the bat, but had RISP troubles again. Steven Wright also pitched well into the 5th inning. The Sox scored with bases loaded in the second. It started with a double by Mookie Betts, followed by Pedroia walking. 1st and 2nd 2 outs. Ramirez singles to load the bases. Then Big Papi reaches on an error by the shortstop and Napoli singled. 2-0 Sox just like that. Swihart homered to break up a 1-2-3 3rd. Swihart picked up the first major league home run of his career. 3-0 Red Sox.
Wright blew his 1-hitter in the 4th, and gave up a 3 run home run to Torii Hunter in the fifth. After 6 okay innings and giving up a fourth run by an error sending Eduardo Escobar to second and scoring him on Kurt Suzuki’s 3rd straight hit, Wright was pulled and Junichi Tazawa came in.
A couple guys were caught stealing or intentionally walked, but otherwise the game had no significant action until the top of the 9th after the Twins tied it in the 6th. Brian Dozier led off the 9th with a base hit off Koji. Torii Hunter then walked. 1st and 2nd. Then Joe Mauer suprisingly attempted to bunt. The bunt rolled only a few inches in front of home plate and Swihart threw to Pablo Sandoval on what should have been a force out, or maybe even a double play. But no. Sandoval fails to catch it, and Ramirez is left to grab it in the outfield. They signed Sandoval and Ramirez big contracts, and they’ve struggled utterly along with Big Papi. Nobody they’re paying a lot is doing much. Could it be possible that the cheap guys are better than the multi-million makers? Maybe. The utter failure continued in the 9th as Trevor Plouffe scored Hunter on a base hit, and it was 6-4 Twins. Dozier had scored on the error. Then Eduardo Escobar singled to make it first and third, then they walked the bases loaded intentionally with Suzuki. Then Shane Robinson hit a sacrifice fly, and it was 8-4 Twins. After a 1-2-3 inning for the Sox, the Twins had finished the comeback win.
The Twins tied the series with the underperforming Red Sox. With all these supposed big players, the Sox should perform like they have a monster lineup and rotation. By July, I predict that Joe Kelly will be a reliever. I think rotation will be: Miley, Porcello, Rodriguez, Wright, Buchholz. Eddie Rodriguez will continue to perform, maybe even earn the No. 1 spot in the Sox rotation eventually. It’s time for another new chapter for the Red Sox.