Plucky Red Sox Ready For Final Push

With the Red Sox magic number to clinch the division sitting at 12 with 17 games left to play, the team is set to face Tampa tonight looking to drop that number even further.

Clay Buchholz makes his (long awaited) return to the mound tonight against David Price as the series opens up in Florida.

How good are these Red Sox? So far, sooooooo good – Tim Britton digs into the transformation of this team.

Go ahead, think October – You have John Tomase’s permission to think about the playoff roster.

Clay Buchholz making timely return – Gordon Edes looks at what we can expect from the pitcher after 94 days since his last start.

Middlebrooks providing power Sox have been waiting for – Sean McAdam looks at the renewed effectiveness of the Red Sox third baseman, who has now hit 30 home runs in his first 154 major league games.

Brian Butterfield works with Xander Bogaerts a la Derek Jeter – Scott Lauber’s notebook has the Sox third base coach, who worked with a young Derek Jeter in the Yankees system, saying that he’s confident that Bogaerts can play major league defense at shortstop.

Yesterday afternoon, the Globe’s Gary Dzen, who covers the Celtics and writes the terrific 99 Bottles blog for Boston.com, had the following tweets:

The numbers aren’t really terribly surprising – the Red Sox are going to catch a lot more of the “casuals” who just go to Boston.com or the Globe to get caught up on what’s happening. The Red Sox fan base is still probably wider. But you have to also consider that the Patriots played their first game since January this weekend, and the Sox have been playing since April.

Also, I can’t help but wonder if the Globe would get more Patriots readers if there was less of this:

GlobePatsDid Ron Borges actually say “On a good day, I’m Hemingway.” last night?

I guess I missed these classics:

The Old Man And The Seymour – How Al Davis Rescued Richard Seymour

The Son also Rises: The Mark Davis Story

For Whom The Bill Tolls – The End of the Patriots Dynasty

To Have Brady And Have Not Bledsoe

The Sun Also Rises And I’ll Bash Belichick

A Farewell To Bledsoe’s Arms

The Throws Of  Kill-a-drive Bledsoe

A Farewell To Arms – Because Kraft is Cheap

Death In The 1:oopm  Afternoon Game

Green Hills of Oakland

The Dangerous Summer – When Kraft and Belichick Could’ve Stopped Hernandez.

  • HighWireNickEsasky

    I think Borges meant: “On a good day, I steal from Hemingway.”

  • bsmfan

    “Lots of talk of whether Boston is a Patriots or Red Sox town. @BostonDotCom traffic has historically favored Sox, though margin closing.”

    I get on deciding on the town part, and something for their own internal metrics, but has this person paid 0 attention to local and national ratings between the two sports?

    • latetodinner

      College football will never be big in NE and it can and should be ignored for as long as possible. In NE there is a tradition of private liberal arts schools that actually educate. We leave professional athletics to professional athletes. I don’t see there being any room for college sport in NE because, quite frankly, they are not important to our culture. NE is the last bastion of populace where education is actually important.

      I am sure college football is the number 2 sport nationally (is it really bigger than NSACAR?) but that is because it is easy to bet on and outside NE there is nothing to do…literally nothing to do… other than watch college football on Saturdays. In NE however it is a distant 5th and I am not sure it gets much better ratings/attention than the REVs.

      • agramante

        Interesting take, and it’s hard to disagree.

      • Trip McNeely

        LTD I couldn’t disagree more. You may be right that it will always be 5th around here, but I love college football, as do most of my friends. College Gameday is one of the only shows on ESPN that I actually enjoy. Have you ever sat down and watched an SEC game? They are usually tremendous. I really enjoy watching the kids in college and then seeing them transition into the NFL. The big game this week between Alabama and Texas A&M should be great, whether you’re rooting for Manziel, or you’re rooting for him to get taken down a peg.

        There’s nothing better than sitting at a bar with an outdoor deck on a beautiful fall afternoon, drinking beer and watching a great college football game. I think what appeals to me is I like rooting for so many different teams. In pro sports we have our 4, that’s it. I don’t root for say the 49ers because they’re my NFC team. It’s the Pats and Pats only. But because I have no allegiance to a big time college I get to root for as many teams as I want. Mostly I just like to watch a good game.

        Again I fully understand that it will never be big around here, but there are college football fans in the area. It wouldn’t kill a local talk show, perhaps one that’s hurting in the ratings (M&M looking at you here), to spend 15 minutes on a Friday talking about some of the big games for the upcoming weekend. I know I for one would enjoy it.

        • latetodinner

          Trip…I am not sure what I am wrong about. I did not make a value judgement on the game of college football…although if you ask me I will tell you it is much closer to High School ball than the pros and I find it akin to watching a Cape League baseball game… All that I commented on is that I do not care what its national broadcast ratings are…in NE it will never be anything because we appreciate colleges and universities as institutes of higher learning not athletic factories.

        • Trip McNeely

          My disagreement was more with your take on New Englanders not being college football fans. To which I obviously disagree. There are plenty of college football fans in the New England area. I mean virtually everyone I know loves big time college football. You may be correct that the majority of the area sports fans are not college football fans, but they are out there.

          As for the local schools being more about academics, rather than the NFL minor league, I applaud them for sticking to their scholastic roots. However you can’t tell me that it wouldn’t be cool to have a school like Stanford in the area. One that prides itself on academic merit as well as collegiate athletics. BC is the closest thing we have to a big time athletic program and both the men’s football team and basketball teams (the current most popular college sports) are toiling below mediocrity. So the interest is just not there. But remember back in 2007 (when everyone was winning)and BC football was ranked #2 in the country with Matt Ryan at the helm? That was an exciting time overall for the area, but BC was part of it. It would be pretty cool to have that kind of competitiveness every year, or even most years.

          As for most of the regions colleges, like Harvard, or Brown, or even Tufts and Trinity, yes it’s a better HS football game and is not worth the attention, IMO. But back to the original point, the 5 major conferences provide quality football games virtually every Saturday, and people like myself that have genuine interest in them do exist in this area. Should there be a whole show dedicated to it on WEEI or TSH? Maybe not, but I would still rather listen to that on a Saturday morning than Yankee talk.

        • the_other_side

          On the first Saturday of college football this year I was in Boston for the day. I saw dozens of people in shirts, hats, etc for their favorite team who was playing that afternoon. Ohio State, Florida, Texas, A&M, Bama…they were everywhere. We had lunch near the Common. Every tv was on a college game. Went to the Sox game and the people around me were checking in on the big college football games of the evening. Leaving Kenmore, and all of the bars were showing football, not other MLB, MLS, or whatever else was on. There is an audience for it here. Go into a bar during the first weekend of March Madness and there are people wearing Duke, UNC, IU, UConn, UCLA, Michigan, Michigan State, UCLA, Syracuse (they are EVERYWHERE), etc. What there isn’t, is unity. There is not the one team around here everyone pulls for which makes it harder to determine exactly how popular the sports are vs their professional counterparts.

        • bsmfan

          Seen the same. I was out for lunch one of these Saturdays when the Sox were playing and all but one TV had on ESPN with the marquee game at the time. I was there for 2 hours and never saw anyone request to have the channels changed.

          LTD, above, makes valid points as to the ‘regional barriers’ that I’m not sure can ever be overcome but I think it’s going to come down to generational gaps, as I stated above.

        • agramante

          In that way, college sports in New England are kind of like hockey nationally (not a great comparison, I realize)–kind of a niche market, not likely to overtake the most popular sports.

      • bsmfan

        Agree on this.

        However, look at the people about 25 and under who grew up around ESPN. Since the Mouse runs the sport, they’ve been force fed it and I’ve been surprised to encounter many around here who I never suspected to be fans.

        To your points:
        1.) NASCAR is regional. By far. It’s the reverse mirror of hockey.
        2.) What Trip said below I think is becoming true. ESPN “runs” CFB and is making sure the younger demo that ESPN does still control is force-fed CFB. However, in meeting and talking to people younger than mine, I’ve been surprised to find how many do follow the sport (It takes 2-3 years to get into it because you have to learn about the teams and rivalries.)
        3.) The one “universal” selling aspect of college is that these are the players of tomorrow. With how big NFL is, ESPN is making sure you turn to them to see who is starting for your team the following September. I think it’s a gamble but a good strategy.
        4.) We also suffer from a lack of “big” and “good” programs. BC is not even big-time in the ACC and the ACC is a clear 4th? 5th? in conference popularity compared to the SEC/Pac10/Big12/B1G.

        When
        I’ve encountered people, usually under 25, who grew up around ESPN,
        quite a number of them have started in on college and are now bigger
        fans than ever since ESPN runs the sport.

        Outside of national games via ESPN/FoxSports, NESN does have the rights to a 2nd tier ACC game but sometimes winds up with a live, or at least a replay, of BC football (CSNNE sometimes shows UNH and other FCS schools around here)

        So, I think it has hurdles to come but within a decade, it will be harder to ignore.