But above all this, I wish you love.

Nomar gives us the love back. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Live blogs* always mess me up. I feel like I’ve written a new post because I was typing for 3+ hours and then remember that I have to come up with something else original for the next day. My brain is not fully engaged just yet, though, so I’m going to cheat and leave you with links to stories I’ve been reading.

First up: Dustin Pedroia!

Apparently, Tracy Ringolsby’s knickers are in a twist because Dustin got chosen over Ian Kinsler for the All Star Game. Boo hoo. No, seriously. Boo, freaking, hoo. I’ve had enough of people whining about this. I could have whined about Youk not getting chosen over Teixeira, but I didn’t. (Okay, maybe I did a little. But my reason for wanting Youk over Teixeira was, admittedly, totally selfish and petty. It had nothing to do with feeling like he was slighted.) The All Star Game voting is a popularity contest. Always has been, always will be. No amount of kvetching is going to change that. The ONLY way the ASG will stop being a popularity contest is when you take the voting away from the fans. Since that won’t happen (because MLB isn’t stupid. Take the voting away from the fans and you pretty much will take away your viewers) can we put a moratorium on complaining that the “right” players don’t get picked?

The right ones DO get picked. The players the fans want in the game are the ones who go. If your favorite player didn’t get picked then, guess what, you didn’t vote enough for him as a fan base. There is no conspiracy to put Pedroia in over Kinsler because of where he plays. And if Red Sox fans truly fixed the voting, Mr. Youkilis would have won over Mr. Teixeria, no? Not so incidentally, it’s rumored that Pedroia won’t be going to St. Louis, choosing instead to stay home with his wife. Have no idea how true this is (though it wouldn’t surprise me) but if it that’s what ends up happening the world can’t stop rending their garments since Kinsler is sure to be chosen to take his spot.

B.J. Ryan still has $15-million owed to him on his contract. There are one and a half years left on the 5-year contract the Jays gave him back in 2005 when Toronto signed the free agent for $47 million. This year he’s pitched 20 innings for the Jays and given up 15 earned runs on 22 hits. Oh, and did I mention they signed him to be their closer? Maybe Mr. Papelbon should start paying attention? That long-term, big money contract he wants so dearly? He can check the Blue Jays off his list of potential suitors. Fool JP Ricciardi once, shame on you. Fool him twice…

Do I have to talk about Jonathan Papelbon? Okay, why not? We all are seeing him pitch this year. Big money, long-term, HoF closers don’t make every other ninth inning hell for their team and fanbase. According to the article I just linked:

“This season, he’s averaged 18 pitches per inning. When pitching one inning, he’s retired the side in order just eight times. Last year, he recorded 20 perfect one-inning saves.”

Being fair, he has plenty of time to catch up to or surpass the “20 perfect one-inning saves” mark. But I’d like to know how many Sox fans fell 100% comfortable with Paps coming into the game? Do you KNOW he’s going to get the save or do you just HOPE? I hope. I’ve always hoped. Much as I love the pomp that comes with a Papelbon appearance, I’ve NEVER been fully sold on his being the next Rivera. I want him on this team and I like him on this team but I never feel absolutely certain he’s going to get the job done – until he does.

And, finally, there’s Nomar Garciaparra. I’m not providing any links because, well, screw them that’s why. What I will do is say this:

To a good lot of the Boston Sports Media, here’s a newsflash: The majority of Red Sox fans don’t give a damn how terribly you say Nomar treated you. Many of us don’t care if he was rude, or mean or just dismissive of you and your questions. This is because there is a large group of US who believe you helped created the “attitude” he had in 2004. You helped make him completely miserable and you added to his general feelings of discomfort while here. Is that fair? No, no it isn’t. I suppose it isn’t your fault Nomar was born more sensitive than your average ball player. It also isn’t your fault that Nomar never seems truly comfortable being a superstar or having to be in the spotlight. What IS your fault is that you tried your best to convince the fans that he was no good. You all made issues out of everything he did or didn’t do, did or didn’t say.

And it almost worked.

But too many fans remember the pre-2004 Nomar. The Nomar who saluted the fans every year at the end of the final game of the season at Fenway. The Nomar who signed autographs before every home game. The Nomar who worked with the community and devoted a lot of his time to charities. Sure, things in 2004 were a bit bleak in regard to him and his injuries and what was perceived as a bad attitude…but the fans were blessed with the World Series win in 2004 to give them a better perspective on Nomar’s time in Boston as a WHOLE not just for those few months. So suck it, those of you pissy about the welcome Nomar got. It was more than well-deserved, it was an honor for us to get to thank him for all he contributed to this team and this city.

I see the sun shining today. Let’s hope it turns into a good evening for Brad Penny and the Sox!

(*Special shout out and thanks to everyone, lurkers and contributors, who stopped by the live blog last night. I’m debating whether I should live blog the ASG next week since there isn’t a Red Sox game until Thursday. We’ll see!)

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