I recall being very upset at the All Star break as a kid. The idea that there would be summer days without baseball was, as things can be for little kids, hard to deal with. What does a seven year old do on a July evening when the Red Sox are dormant? Pour Slurpees on the cat? Launch his dad's beer cans into a nearby tree? Steal a car and drive around the neighborhood collecting old bathroom fixtures so as to reconstruct a 'new' bathroom on someones front lawn at 3am? Baseball is, as we all know, the thin wall that keeps the nation's youth at bay.
Daily Links has been on hiatus while flying across the country with two two year olds and then recovering from said trip with possibly too much of grandpa's old cough medicine. Oops. During that extended recovery period the Red Sox treated the Orioles like the Toronto Rough Riders treated the Calgary Rough Riders. And now it occurs to me that that Canadian football reference could be slightly too esoteric for some. Have no fear though, as this one is guaranteed to hit home: the Red Sox treated the Orioles like the Hamilton Rough Riders treated the Vancouver Rough Riders. That one did it, I'm sure. Not unlike Kevin Gregg's comments after the burly pitcher went way out of his way to ensure a fight with Sox slugger David Ortiz. Gregg, who threw a number of pitches at Ortz and missed with each and every one of them (there's a reason he pitches for Baltimore) was clearly unhappy that Ortiz hadn't yet kicked his butt. So after Ortiz completed his tenure as Gregg's dart board by popping up, Gregg decided to scream at him, figuring that the sound waves from his mouth might, unlike his pitches, hit Ortiz. Allan at Joy of Sox has a compendium of notes and photos from the event which fired up the O's something fierce. So much so that they went out and lost the next two games by only six runs instead of the previous two game total of thirteen. That there, my friends, is called progress and it's the stuff of which contract extensions are made.
The Sons of Sam Horn collectively wonder whether or not this Red Sox offense is the best in team history. The Sox lead all of baseball in runs scored with 482, about a hundred more than the Phillies who have the best record in baseball. The Sox are one of three teams to average over five runs a game this season, the other two being the Yankees and Rangers. There is a fair case to be made, at least when taking the context of the league into account that this could be the best Sox offense ever. But beyond that, the amazing thing is how much better the Sox could be. Several Sox have not had what you might call stand out years, including Pedroia, Drew and Crawford. If they can stay healthy, the second half could be a bright one for the Sox, though as the New York Times reminds us, six of the last seven seasons have seen the Sox with the AL East lead at the All Star break.
Kevin Baker at Baseball Prospectus has a realignment proposal for us. It's of the blow-the-thing-up-the-heck-up-and-rebuild-from-the-ground-up school. As I type this, my cat is snoring. Loudly. If I listen closely, I can hear the secrets of the universe being foretold! Meow meow even schedule meow meow interleague is total crap meow meow meow keep the DH meow meow squirrels are delicious meow.
Finally, Don Buddin died last week. If you've ever heard of him you might be a Red Sox historian. His story is the story of a franchise unrecognizable to most of us. It is worth reading.