April 2008

Red Sox Nation Loves The Yankees

The
rivalry is back, with the Yanks taking the first of their 18 regular
season meetings this year. 17 more games before October? That’s the
equivalent of an entire New England Patriots season. Almost an
overdose. And with the rivalry stoked by that construction worker who buried a Red Sox t-shirt
in the foundation of the “new” Yankee Stadium, we’re all assured
another century of emotionally charged competition. Would you say that
“the rivalry” is the best aspect of being a Red Sox fan? I would.

Along those lines, I wrote a guest post at the Sox and Pinstripes blog about why most of us who profess to hate the Yankees actually love them. Here is an excerpt:

I like to think that, before I was born in
August of 1968, God let me choose the circumstances of my life: “Well,
being a rabid baseball fan seems like a lot of fun,” I told Him, “So I
think I’d like to live sometime during the 19th, 20th, or 21st Century, on Earth.”

“All right,” said God, “but please be more specific. When and where, exactly, would you like to be born?”

I thought about it and replied, “I hear that
sports rivalries are charged with emotion and excitement, so please put
me in a city whose team has a fierce rivalry with another team – the
fiercest in all of baseball – and let me be born at a time in history
that will allow me to experience that rivalry at its peak, OK?”

“Consider it done,” said God. “But one more
thing – would you like to become a fan of the team that wins more
championships than any other during the 20th Century? Or
would you like to become a fan of the team that wins the first World
Series in 1903, but later on experiences a championship drought
virtually unparalleled in professional sports?”

“Hmmm.” I pondered my options. “Just make me a
fan of the team that gives its fans the lowest lows and the highest
highs. I want to experience the greatest possible range of emotions as
a baseball fan during this lifetime.”

“No problem,” said God as He cracked a knowing smile.

To read the entire guest post at Sox and Pinstripes, click here.

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To download the songs, “I’m A Member of Red Sox Nation” and “Opening Day” for free, please visit my other blog, Crawdaddy Cove.

Opening Day! (the song)

There are hundreds of songs about Christmas, but I can’t think of one song about the best holiday of the year: Opening Day. So this past weekend, with the excitement of the home-opener building, I sat down and wrote a song about Opening Day. On Sunday night, after my kids were all in bed, I recorded it in my basement onto my Mac laptop using GarageBand software. Five tracks: two acoustic guitars and three vocals. Click on the box to listen. Enjoy!

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Opening Day
by Rob Crawford (ASCAP)

Well it’s Opening Day
Winter’s gone, let’s celebrate
Skipping school for the game
Got no choice, it’s in my D.N.A.
Baseball everyday ’til fall
Sing Spangled Stars, then let’s play ball
Yes it’s Opening Day
Life’s good again

Opening Day!
Opening Day!

Well it’s Opening Day
Winter’s gone, spring starts today
Skipping work for the game
Guess I’ll update my resume
From Japan to Canada
U.S.A. to Latin America
Yes it’s Opening Day
Life’s good again

Opening Day!
Opening Day!
This is the year we go all the way
It all starts on Opening Day

Well it’s Opening Day
Winter ended yesterday
Skipping school for the game
It’s a Red Sox Nation holiday
And the rockets’ red glare
The bombs bursting in air
Yes it’s Opening Day
Life’s good again

Baseball everyday ’til fall
No more hot stove, let’s play ball
Yes it’s Opening Day
Life’s good again

Opening Day!

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Fantasy Baseball in Red Sox Kid Nation

fantasy-baseball.jpgI
started playing online fantasy baseball in about 1995 or so, and it’s
now an annual tradition. Draft day has become a holiday on my calendar
and is as eagerly anticipated as any day of the year. This year’s draft
— my son’s first — will go down in history as my favorite of
all-time, for it demonstrated the emotional hold that our beloved Red
Sox players have over us, especially when we’re kids.

A Co-Manager Comes of Age

The last two years, my almost-nine year-old son has “co-managed” my
fantasy baseball team with me (I’m in a 12-team Yahoo! league with my
brothers, sister, father, and several close friends). The main impact
of his co-management has been the reliable presence of Nomar
Garciaparra on the roster and also in the starting lineup whenever he
has been healthy. (“Daddy, put Nomar back in the lineup!”) Although my
son was only five years old when Nomar was traded, #5 remains a god in
our house.

backyard-and-hes-off.jpgThis past fall, my son managed his own fantasy football team against his dad, uncles, aunts, and grandparents and WON the league. He established himself as a draft wizard, grabbing Peyton
Manning, Randy Moss, and Adrian Peterson with his top three picks. So,
riding a wave of pride and optimism, in February he asked to manage his
own fantasy baseball team. Confident that he was ready to compete with
the big boys, we expanded the league to 13 teams.

The Draft: It’s Emotion vs. Analysis

We bought all the fantasy baseball magazines and studied them
closely for a month. The day of the draft (7:30pm start time), I
hurried home from work to be sure he was ready, and when I arrived, I
was treated to a wonderful sight. He had created a information cockpit
for himself at the computer. Surrounding his seat on all sides were
stat sheets, handwritten draft lists for every position, articles about
sleepers and busts, and various pages ripped out of magazines. “Daddy,
I know who I’m going to pick if I get the first pick,” he proclaimed
eagerly. “Jake Peavy!” (Peavy scored the most points in our league last
year — so he was a logical choice.)

A few minutes later, the draft order was revealed on our Yahoo!
draft site. My son had pick #3, and I had pick #4. “I really hope Peavy
will still be there at number three!” he prayed. I set up shop at my
laptop in a room adjacent to his cockpit.

jake-peavy.jpgAt
7:30pm sharp, the draft went live. Suddenly, A-Rod was gone. “Yes! He
took A-Rod!” The second pick was… Hanley Ramirez. And the clock
started ticking on my son’s pick, number three. He had 90 seconds to
click on Jake Peavy. But he froze. Pick Peavy, I urged. “I don’t know,
Daddy,” he said, struggling with a decision. “Maybe I want Josh
Beckett.” Peavy’s a great pick, Beckett’s a great pick, I told him. 20
seconds left. Make your pick! “I want Josh Beckett.” Click.

Emotion trounced Analysis. How great is that??

Fast forward to the second round. My son had spent the rest of the
first round studying his notes to figure out who to take next. “If he’s
still available, I’m going to take Grady Sizemore with my second pick,”
my son announced. Good choice, I assured him. Then came his turn to
draft. And he froze. Pick Sizemore, I urged. “Daddy, do you think I
should take Grady Sizemore or Manny Ramirez?” he asked. You’ll be able
to get Manny in the next round, I assured him. Go for Sizemore this
round. “Don’t tell me what to do!” he said curtly. And suddenly,
Ramirez was Beckett’s fantasy teammate.

Emotion 2, Analysis 0.

Let’s jump to the third round. “I think I’m going to take Jonathan
Papelbon,” he said. “Do you think that’s a good pick, Daddy?” He’s a
great player, I told him, but no one’s going to pick a closer until the
fifth round at the earliest. You can get him in a later papelbon-wins-series.jpground.
“Don’t tell me what to do!” Click. Papelbon joined his Red Sox
teammates on a roster that was looking more and more like a tribute to
the posters on my son’s walls.

Emotion 3, Analysis zilch.

Fourth round — analysis had been totally abandoned and emotion had
taken over. He wanted to pick Dustin Pedroia but I convinced him that
Mike Lowell would be a better pick. And in the fifth round, he picked
his first non-Red Sox player: Torii Hunter. By the end of the draft,
his team included Tim Wakefield, Johnny Damon, and of course, our
favorite player of all time, Nomar Garciaparra (secured with his 24th,
and final pick).

Clearly, my son drafted a good team. With Beckett, Ramirez,
Papelbon, and Lowell anchoring his roster, he’s got as good a shot as
anyone to win the league. But I’ll always remember all the research he
did, all the logical planning and rational reasoning his left brain
performed, and how the loyalty and emotion of his right brain – the
side that loves the Red Sox – swooped in at those moments of truth and
buried his analytical, stat-focused left brain. He’s eight. What a
fantastic age to be a Red Sox fan!

And for the record, my first pick (#4 overall) was Johan Santana,
and the only Red Sox player I secured was Coco Crisp. (My left brain is
counting on him being traded, batting leadoff for a National League
team, and winning the N.L. batting title…..)