Wednesday, August 29, 2012

James Loney is the Forgotten Man

In the blockbuster trade that sent Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers - of yeah Nick Punto too - and three very good prospect to Boston, the forgotten man in all of this is the Dodgers' First Baseman (and now Red Sox First Baseman) James Loney.  When I announced this trade to the boys when it first broke, the common answer I received was "Who's James Loney?"

That's a good question.  He's been in Matt Kemp's shadow for the last 3 years in Los Angeles, so his profile has been low ever since coming into the league in 2006.  The trade now gives him a chance to hit in the middle of the batting order of a high profile team.  Even though said team is putrid and out of the Playoff hunt.  This begs the question though.  What is James Loney going to do when the season ends?

It was not that long ago that Loney had back-to-back 90 RBI seasons despite hitting behind RBI machines in Los Angeles, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.  Hell, even his 162 career averages are pretty good (.284/.341/.763), so this guy is not just a throw away in this deal.  And while he is arbitration eligible after the season, the question again is whether Loney should be kept around after the 2012 season concludes. 

The Free Agent Pool for the 2013 season is iffy at best.  There are no First Basemen free agents for the 2013 season, so the Red Sox might be better off keeping Loney around for another couple of seasons.  I wonder if the Red Sox are regretting moving both Josh Reddick and Lars Anderson in 2012.  I guess we are all set next year when the Red Sox play in the National League next year at First Base without any controversy as Papi will be able to play all of the games.  Oh wait, David Ortiz is moving on after this season too, I forgot.

It's a good question.  Loney is hitting modestly so far in Boston.  Maybe the Green Monster is suited to his swing.  Maybe the change of scenery works both ways and Loney will flourish in Boston.  I do know that Mauro Gomez is not the answer and neither are any of the "prospects" in Portland.  Loney might be it.  Has John Henry finally succeeded in turning the Red Sox into the Florida Marlins he used to own?

Welcome to the Boston Red Sox 2.0.  So how's Liverpool doing?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mt Sunapee's Not Just for Skiing Anymore

So we were invited to our friend's Condo up at Mt. Sunapee earlier this week.  "Oh no!" I thought to myself.  Not more skiing!  Although it was about 90 degrees outside as I was thinking about skiing again, I was afraid that the mountain somehow figured out how to make snow even in this heat.
But not this time.  We were invited to eat some barbecue, go do some swimming and generally enjoy some beautiful scenery with the kids and their friends.  So what would our three day weekend look like up at Mt. Sunapee?  I did read that the Mount Sunapee Adventure Park opened up recently and it looked like something that all of the kids would enjoy.  A good start already. 

No Skiing today!
Treetop Obstacle Course.  At the Mount Sunapee Adventure Park, this looked really cool.  The obstacles included ziplines, rickety bridges, rope walks and (amongst some of the children) horror.  Sounds like a good time for the kids.  Even G, who generally has to be talked into things like this, ran down the intermediate zipline.  He would have done the advanced zipline down the mountain, but Mom was not having any of that.  At 65 bucks a pop, no way were we going to allow 5 minutes of yelling and screaming (and that was from Mom).  Overall though, I think everyone had a great time.  Even now the kids keep talking about it.  Three and one/half stars out of four.

Boating Down Lake Sunapee.  On a lark, our friends decided to see if a boat was available to rent so we can go cruising down the lake from Sargent's Marina at the north end of Lake Sunapee to Sunapee Harbor.  It fit the 10 of us and on a beautiful day this was a perfect activity to take on.  we checked off all of the boaters dreams.  We did a cruise to Sunapee Harbor, some tubing and some football on the sand bars down the East side of the Lake.  I think the kids started getting tired though since we had to start break up some fights toward the end.  Still it was a beautiful day and a perfect activity.  Three stars our of four.

The Falls at Pollards Mills. This was the best thing for the kids.  It was our last day and we wanted to try something a little different.  One of our friends who spent a lot of time at Sunapee growing up suggested we got to the Falls.  When we got there it was a very peaceful surrounding.  Although "falls" is a misnomer since the highest falls that we saw was maybe 10 feet.  It was a beautiful setting though.  Even campers were sleepily waking up to morning coffee.  The kids ended up going to a rock formation slide, and jumped into the pool from a 6 foot cliff.  After two hours and a lot of fun, they were all disappointed that we had to leave.  Another sign of a good time four stars out of four.

Overall, we will never look at Sunapee (or any mountain for that matter) the same way again.  I think there is more to do here in the Summer than there is in the Winter.  We'll be back and that's not soon enough for the kids.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Usain Bolt, Oscar Pistorius and the Summer Olympic Superstars

OK.  The Summer Olympic in London is in full swing and we are trying to set a record for most nights of odd sports in a row we can watch.  Tonight it was track and field.  Even though we are on tape delay here in the States, the evening Olympics coverage has been pretty entertaining.  Not only that, because its tape delayed, the fact that we are watching it on our DVR makes it seem almost fitting.  Anyway, two of the most intriguing athletes in this, the second, week of competition have to be South African Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius and Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt.  While Bolt is certainly recognizable to the kids at this point, I have to admit that Oscar Pistorius is only recognizable because he scares the bejesus out of DLG.  She DOES NOT like the biotic robot man.  Anyway, we sit down to watch the coverage.

8am.  Oscar Pistorius will race first in the 400 meters.  Here let me hid DLG somewhere away from the TV before she starts to really freak out.  As I suggest that we go upstairs to watch a quick show, she can tell what I'm up to and tears start to well up in her eyes. 

"I don't want to see the robotic man." She starts to scream.  I shuffle her upstairs.  Oh by the way, Pistorius is up against stiff competition in this 400M semifinal, including favorite Kirani James from Grenada.

Uh oh, he got a bad start, got lapped immediately by some shmoe.  Not looking good.  The announcer chimes in that Pistorius usually has a faster back half of the race.  But unless that includes some sort of bionic Steve Austin-type move, he's not going to win tonight - or even advance for that matter.   In fact, he ends up in last place.  I'm really bummed out.  That was a great, uplifting story that the kids really got into.  Good for him anyway.  In the aftermath interview, he came across as a humble, kindly gentleman.  I'm rooting for him in Rio De Janiero in 2016.

And on to Bolt. 

The boys didn't want to watch the heats and DLG was not budging from her perch several yards away from the robotic man.  So I fast forward to the Finals.

There is electricity in the air at the Stadium as the buzzing grows louder for Bolt against the rest of the World.

"Go Bolt Go"  C starts to chant as he awakens from his baseball-induced coma just in time to watch the race.

"He's so fast!" G says as we watch the 2008 Olympic race he won back in Beijing.

DLG looks out from around the corner of the couch to see if the robot man was running.  He's not.  But she quickly disappears again.  I guess history is not too important to her.  But it will be.  Someday.

I asked the boys who they were rooting for.  The boys both answered Gatlin, Gay, Bailey and Bolt.  That's a lot of guys.  I think they want one of the American to win and then they want Bolt to strike them down with some sort of super human, magical lightning bolt and take the Gold Medal away from the winner.  I'm secretly rooting for Usain Bolt, myself.  Call me a bad American, but at least I don't want anyone to get hurt.

Asafa Powell with his fu manchu and mean glare at the camera scared DLG, just as she was feeling more comfortable with the race.  Back upstairs she goes.  Honestly, he's sprinting in the Olympics, why all the growls?  In DLG's defense, I just don't think track and field is her thing between the bionic man and the scary guy.  Nevermind, the race is about to start.

"Still the King of the 100!"  The announcer shrieks as Bolt wins the race handily, edging out Gatlin to take home the Gold Medal.

"I would love to be Usain bolt right now.  I want to do that lightning bolt pose too Dad"  You aren't really that fast I told him.  Blessed with his Dad's speed and all.  He goes on as he grabs the clicker to rewatch the race.  "What happened to Asafa Powell?  He pulled  up short at the end of the race?  And Dad, look, it looks like someone threw something from the stands!"

We then rewatched the short dude chuck some sort of Evian bottle (isn't that the way?) toward the starting line.  Maybe he thought they were thirsty?  Maybe he was a Powell Henchman?

In the end, Pistorius and Bolt both proved their mettle.  We're all proud of them.