Tag Archive: World Series


I have a new home and I’m finally coming to terms with that. I live in Boston where the Red Sox are king. My Jeter jerseys and my Yankee caps are not welcome here. As each day goes by I am getting a bit more attached to the Red Sox however. Something about watching a team flounder in the city that you live in and watching its fans suffer makes you root for them a little. Don’t get me wrong the Yankees are still my second favorite team but the Sox are moving up a bit(it’s a long road up though). But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the post traumatic stress syndrome caused  by watching the team you love collapse and how gun-shy it can make you.

I arrived in Boston last year at 11:48 PM on September 11. I almost didn’t get to take my train because I couldn’t find my ID. I probably would have given up on the city had I not been treated to the kindness of a stranger who vouched for me. I take things like that as a sign. I exited South Station in the dead of night waved goodbye to the state policemen that treated me to dinner and gazed upon Dewey Square not realizing that in one month exactly I’d go there and find the journey of a life time awaiting me. That is another story all together. That first month was different from the rest of my time in Boston. I wondered around the city each and everyday searching out new adventures. I sat in parks, went to bars, and hung out with the only friend who lived in the city. One day I was walking by Fenway and was given a free ticket to watch a game by a random fan who had an extra. We glided into park to what John Lackey pitch and of course he flubbed away a game that he had well in hand and Red Sox fans went home grumbling about their multi-million dollar paper-weight pitcher. It meant nothing to me however. Because I was a Braves fan and my team had their division well in hand and would never have this happen…. or so I thought.

I hadn’t bothered to try to watch the Braves since I got in town. I figured they’d hold on and I’d catch there play-off games in bars. My September had been hectic as I set up my transition to Boston and when I finally arrived I just didn’t feel like going out of my way to watch mostly meaningless regular season games. Then one day on a whim I checked the standings and the Braves lead had wasted away. I read article after article and check box score after box score trying to determine how this all happened. I couldn’t believe what I saw.

On the final day of the season I was floating around town aimlessly as usual. I couldn’t be bothered to watched the games because I had a bad feeling about my Braves. I wondered onto Newbury Street and a guy with a super nice car and nothing to do was parked and was listening to the Red Sox game. I listened with them and talked all the while jesting with the group about how the Red Sox would lose and miss the play-offs. Of course we all know they did and it happened in the most spectacular of ways. I was there I listened. It was incredible the emotions in that circle of people. In that circle you could find joy, anger, resignation, sadness, surprise, shock, awe, and everything in between. Then I heard it my braves had lost that day too. It was over. That was probably the moment I first started to identify with Red Sox fans.

The off-season was strange for me. I was at the media center of a political protest but I found myself everyday seeing what the Braves would do about their collapse. The answer to that query was essentially nothing. I found this strangely relieving. I felt age had a lot to do with the Braves troubles and I hoped Fredi Gonzalez had learning from his mistakes. So in my days I’d do news interviews, plan marches, and fret eviction and at night I’d think of who we could trade Jurrjens for and pray the Braves got rid of Derek Lowe(which totally happened. In the spring I joined a radio group and started a sports show. I bought the MLB TV package and watched my Braves play pretty well. I cheered the emergence Beachy and mourned his injury. I watched Uggla struggled and wondered if we could get rid of his contract. Ben Sheets was one of my favorite players and his return has made me smile. All the while in the background I saw the city of Boston come to terms with the fact that somewhere along the way they went wrong and changes were needed. September for them was just the beginning of what could be a long journey to a new type of Red Sox.

Its September again and life is way different. I  no longer wonder around the city. I walk with purpose and determination. I have responsibilities now. I do a sports radio show on an internet radio station so sometimes it seems like all I do is watch baseball. The Red Sox never looked like winning their division and the hated Phillies who led my Braves the past year are a sham of a team. The Nationals fill the hole of division rival out of reach and the second wild card gives the Braves an added cushion. Currently they hold the first wild card position with a 3 game led over the same Cardinals that took their position the year before and for the first time in my life I’m afraid for the Braves.

I’ve seen the Braves blow leads before late in the season before but something about last year was different. We had a good team that looked ready to compete and they blew it in a historic sort of way. It put the fear of god in me. Every Braves lose now makes me wonder if it will happen again. This year we have a smaller lead. Uggla is a disaster and McCann who I felt was once the best offensive catcher in baseball is struggling mightily with seemingly little rhyme and reason. It doesn’t help that this year I get to watch it all happen live thanks to my MLB TV package. The wins and loses this year mean so much more to me. As sad as I was when Beachy went down earlier in the year I’m more sad now when I see that Tommy Hanson can’t get it together. Kris Medlen has been lights out this year going 6-0 in seven starts and yet even with the relief that a start like his nine inning, twelve strike out performance where he gave up only an unearned run gives me I still in the back of my mind sit and wait for the wheels to fall off. Its maddening. I am haunted by a collapse I didn’t even get to watch.

But that’s the Journey of a life long fan isn’t. Its loving your team to an unreasonable degree. I often criticize Red Sox fan for taking it for granted that success would come and yet I did the same thing in my youth because of the Braves fifteen straight division titles. I learned my lesson after a few years of near misses and yet the second we look truly competent last year I allowed myself to fall again into complacency. Now I am on the edge of my seat begging for another taste of the post-season fearing that it will be snatched from me again. I suppose that’s why the Red Sox are growing on me. They know what it is to be bad and they know what it is to have it all and falter. I couldn’t tell you whose situation is worst this year to be honest. Part of me envies Red Sox nation and the fact they don’t have to agonize over another collapse. Yet as I listen to fans and broadcasters a like break down the teams failures I know I’m lucky.

Only time will tell if the Braves make the play-offs. Until then I’ll just enjoy Chipper Jones heroics and every win we get along the way. If this team can get hot all at the same time I think we could win the World Series. Especially with Strasburg done for the season. There will be moments I will fear the unknown and there will be moments I loathe the results but all the while I’ll keep sight of the fact its only a game. Besides it could be worse…. I could be a Mets fan.

Alex Ingram is the host of Occupy The Game a sports radio show featured on obr.fm on Monday nights from 7PM EST to 8. He is a former United States Airman,baseball player, an avid OOTP baseball player and blogger.

For more of his candid thoughts and responses to his fans on sports follow his show twitter @occupy_thegame for a more personal varied th0ught stream  check his personal twitter @ingrammi6.

Record: 46-44

Standings: 9.5 games back. Tied for 3rd in the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Conversations That Happen Every Time I Talk About the Sox:
Me: Ehh the Sox are doing pretty bad this year.
Sox Fan: Yeah but they’re getting better that’s got to count for something.
ME: Ehh.. I guess. (Pause) Hey remember when you thought John Lackey was going to be good.
Sox Fan: (sigh and nod)

Top Pitcher So Far: Felix Doubront( Much like Zobirst I’m not going to dignify his performance with stats)

Top Batter So Far: David Ortiz .316 batting average, 23 Home Runs, 58 RBI’s, .414 On-base Percentage, and 101 hits(he leads the team in all these categories)

The Red Sox are the second most confusing tale of the first half…. except we’ve seen it all before. The Red Sox started off last  this season much like I started off high school, floundering and blaming all the wrong things for their problems. But they sort of picked things up. They’re tied for 3rd in the AL East and that counts for something. They are only a game back in the wild card too. at this rate by September they should lead the wild card by about ten games and there’s no way they can screw that up right. If you are feeling like you’ve heard this story before well you have. The Red Sox are thus far following an eerily similar scrip to last season, but fear not I for see a different end. The Red Sox can flat out hit the ball. They are struggling on the pitching side of things but are 2nd in Runs, 5th in Batting Average, 6th in On-base Percentage, and 4th in Slugging Percentage. I honestly don’t expect their pitching to get much better but what it can do is be more consistent. It helps that there’s no John Lackey. While I still think pitching is the key to true sucess you just can’t ignore this line-up. Carl Crawford is coming off the disabled list with should give them an improved defense and an infusion of speed. This will be good going forward.  With a bit more consistency in the pitching department this line-up could carry them a long way.

Thoughts about the Team: If this team makes the Play-offs Big Papi Should win the MVP. No player has been more valuable to his club this year than him. I know we have a tendency to give this award to the player with the flashiest number but how good has this guy been. He deserves the award and I’m a Yankee fan. If we are really talking about who is indispensably valuable to a team Papi has to be the guy. He provides numbers and leadership to a team that many thought was missing that last year.

Best Case Scenario: They can make the Play-offs as a wild card and their offense could send them to the AL Championship Series but I think there they get out pitched. If David Ortiz wins an MVP along the way more power to them.

Worst Case Scenario: They get a big lead in the wild card and fall apart like last season. If this were the Atlanta Braves who suffered a similar finish last season. I’d rather we just not even be in the race than that happen again.

Yesterday it was announced that Chipper Jones(3B, Atlanta Braves) will be replacing Matt Kemp(OF, L.A. Dodgers) on the National League All Star roster for Major League Baseball. Now it would be easy for me to write a post all about how this is the big bit of politicking and how it’s just a creative way to ensure Bryce Harper(OF, Washington Nationals) makes it into the All Star game. Lord knows that Major League Baseball wants him involved anyway possible and I’m fairly sure he’ll win MLB’s final vote with Jones gone but that’s not the story I want to tell here. The story I want to tell has a bit more heart.

A lot has changed since Chipper Jones broke into the league back in 1993. The Braves no longer are unfathomably a western division team, Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz are all retired, Bobby Cox has bid farewell to baseball, there is no longer a team in Montreal and once again a team in the nation’s capitol, social media has made the game much more accessible and, Fulton County Stadium no longer exists. Even Chipper himself has gone through a myriad of changes. He no longer plays shortstop, he’s not nearly as nimble as he used to be, and he takes more days off than he ever has before and yet… he’s still here.

He is now in his 20th season as a major league ball player and before spring training he announced it would be his last. In an old school way that befits him, it has allowed him to have a farewell tour of sorts and given the whole league(fans, players, and managers alike) a chance to celebrate the career of an amazing individual. In my mind he’s a sure-fire hall of famer and I’ll get into that argument and his numbers in another post but all that aside he’s been a joy to watch.

One of the things I’ve always liked about Chipper is how much fun he has. Whether you’re watching him in the batting cage or you’re watching make plays on the field he looks like he’s having so much fun. So many times over the years. I’ve seen the camera cut to him smiling and laughing with teams, cheering them on, and ribbing opponents after a hit. This man tormented Mets’ fans so much that they taunted him by his birth name(Larry) at the plate. In response he decimated their team every chance he got, and then named his kid Shea(I was so sad to see that stadium torn down) after their stadium which is sure to serve as a life long reminder that it was always him who got the last laugh. It was hard to watch him later in his career as injuries started to over take him and he sat out many games as he watched his team lose dominance. Probably wondering all the while if they might be doing better had he been healthy. But this year all that seems to not matter when you look at him.

He’s by all indications enjoying his last year. He’s resting a couple of times a week now to prevent injury and even though he has had some injuries he’s doing well when he plays. He has a .313 batting average and is coming up with clutch plays, some timely rbi’s. and is providing a ton of leadership to a young Braves team that needs it if the team is to reach their potential. Just last night he had 5 hits and 4 rbi’s proving he’s still got it in him. The Braves aren’t quite where he’d like them to be I’m sure but coming into the break they are right in the thick of things. With a few adjustments they could very well take a wild card spot and maybe even win the division for the first time in years.

As he’s gone from stadium to stadium fans and teams have done a lot to show them how much they appreciate his career and to Chipper’s credit he’s accepted their praise and occasional gifts humbly. He’s seemed very content and happy with his role this year and his pending retirement. He’s smiling and joking all the way through the season. He’s playing the role of elder statesmen perfectly. Telling stories about former Braves pitcher Greg Maddux cussing him out, helping the hitting coaches adjust the hitters swings as necessary, giving scouting reports to hitters coming to the plate, and proving he’s got enough left in the tank to justify this last year of play.

Two things about Chipper hasn’t changed in his twenty years. First he still plays for the Braves. As a fan it is so nice to see this. In an age where personalities, circumstance, and promises of riches in free agency rarely see a player in any sport finish his career playing for only one team it is refreshing to see a player like Chipper make a home in Atlanta and stay. Chipper has had to watch many things conspire to see lots of players who started with the Braves go many places. This year and last he’s played without the only manager he had ever known in the majors with retirement of Bobby Cox. Yet he’s still here and anyone should be able to appreciate that. The second thing is something a bit simpler. I’m just glad he’s still smiling and loving the game. He’s still in so many ways the kid drafted first overall in 1990, the shortstop that got hurt after his call-up, the World Series winner from the 95 team, the MVP from the 1999 season, and the batting champ from the 2008 season. In other words, he’s still Chipper after all these years.