Not quite dead yet

The Red Sox wake up this morning only 4 and a half games out of first place.  4 1/2.  Which when one looks at the players out for the season is pretty amazing.  The injury list reads like the Sox line-up during a normal season:  Pedroia, Ellsbury, Youklis, Veritek, Cameron. 

This is the time for the Sox to make their move.  The games with the Yankees and Tampa Bay are must win games.  If they don’t, the season will be over.   Last night things went their way.  They were able to beat Tampa while the White Sox beat up on the Yankees and their pitcher, A. J. Burnette.   Last night belonged to Jon Lester and Victor Martinez.

Amalie Benjamin writes in the Boston Globe this morning

Because while last night’s 3-1 win over the Rays was a monster game for Martinez, it was a strange one for Lester, who was wild (five walks, three wild pitches, one hit batter) and dominant (10 strikeouts, two hits allowed) by turn. But he was saved, sometimes from himself, by Martinez.

“I thought Victor caught the game of his life,’’ manager Terry Francona said after the Sox moved to within 4 1/2 games of the American League East and wild-card races. “He was all over the place tonight. He did a great job. There was a lot of good things that happened tonight.’’

Martinez, the only member of the Sox to have hit a home run off David Price entering last night’s game, hit two more — solo homers in the first and seventh — to provide the difference. Martinez went 3 for 4 against Price to raise his career mark against the Cy Young contender to .417 (5 for 12). Before last night, Martinez had hit just one home run in 118 at-bats since coming off the disabled list July 26.

Perhaps his performance shouldn’t have been surprising, as Martinez has a .371 average against the Rays and .407 average at Tropicana Field, the best among players with at least 100 at-bats.

But it wasn’t only that. Martinez called the right pitches at the right times, as Lester dominated with men on base. The Rays went 1 for 10 with men in scoring position against Lester (14-8), Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon (save No. 33), and stranded seven runners.

Victor Martinez celebrated a solo home run during the seventh inning.

Tonight could be different with Sabathia pitching for the Yankees and a two great pitchers, Bucholtz and Garza, in the Red Sox-Rays game.  This means that the odds favor a Yankee win which the Sox-Rays is a toss-up.  But if the Sox are going to win 2 out of 3 , I think it rests on Bucholtz because Josh Beckett has not been very reliable and he pitches the 3rd game of the series on Sunday.

Tony Mazzarotti tells us what this all means

Rays sweep. No need to get too detailed here. Unless the Yankees similarly get swept by the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, the Red Sox will be all but dead come Monday. Even then, Boston will trail the Yankees by six in the loss column with 31 to play. Tampa will have a nine-game advantage over Boston in the loss column.  [And we know this won’t happen.]

The obvious best-case scenario. If the Sox can win all three – as unlikely as that is, the Red Sox swept a three-game series at Tampa early this year – they will trail the Rays by three in the loss column. That would do a great deal to inspire interest in a Red Sox club that has been treading water for months. Game on, Garth.

Rays win 2 of 3. Again, unless the Yankees get swept, the Red Sox will be in dire straits. Boston would trail Tampa by seven in the loss column and New York by at least six with five weeks of baseball to go. Remember that rosters expand to 40 players next week and teams like the Yankees and Rays will have minor leaguers to take the bullet – thereby resting their starters – in any blowouts over the final month.

Red Sox win 2 of 3. While this sounds like a big series win, the gain for the Sox is relatively minimal. Again, there is always the chance the series could mean more depending on what happens with the Yankees. Still, winning 2 of 3 means the Sox would leave Tampa trailing by five games in the loss column, only magnifying the point that it can be hard to make up ground in head-to-head meetings unless you sweep. Simply put, too much time comes off the clock. The Rays really need to win just one game this weekend to ensure a five-game lead in the loss column with five weeks to play.

Just think of the great story that could be written of the 2010 season if the Sox manage to make the play-offs with a line up that should be playing in Pawtucket or maybe even Portland.  But let me not get ahead of myself.  Let’s sweep the Rays first.

The new mortgage rules

In case you missed this story in today’s New York Times, it was reported that Wells Fargo has started requiring a an essay for mortgage applicants. 

[OK this is an old logo but I like it]

When Linda Falcão applied for a mortgage from Wells Fargo, she didn’t realize she would be required to write the type of essay that’s more commonly included with a college application.

So she and her husband, Kemuel Ronis, were taken by surprise when Wells Fargo asked the couple, both 50, to pen a “motivational letter” explaining why they were moving. What they found even more shocking, however, were some of the themes that Wells required them to include in their statement, specifically, their plans regarding an “increase/decrease in family” or property size.

Ok.  I used to work in Fair Housing and I think that questions about family or pregnacy, how ever cleverly asked (Did you catch the “increase/decrease”?] are illegal.  I understand that Ms. Falcao and Mr. Ronis have filed a complaint.  In addition to questions about family plans and size, Wells Fargo asked them other questions that are just strange.

Besides asking for information about their family plans, which was paired with questions about plans to change the “property size,” Wells Fargo also requested that the letter include information that supported the fact that the property, in Glen Mills, Pa., would be their primary residence. The bank also asked them to include their commuting distances to work, as well as other properties that they may own in the area. The request for the so-called motivational letter was included in the bank’s mortgage commitment letter, which offered to approve their loan if they answered the bank’s questions and provided other documentation.

A Wells Fargo spokesman said that motivation letters were generally requested when the loan underwriter had more questions about a borrower’s “occupancy intentions.” For instance, he said the company might request such a letter when a family’s existing home is not yet sold and it wants the buyer to show that the new home will indeed serve as the primary residence.

The spokesman did not say why the bank would request information about a prospective borrower’s family plans, but said that “under no circumstances would any information about family status be used by Wells Fargo as the basis for a decision on a loan application.”

So why ask?  And what do you do with the information?

I find this all disappointing as I have had good experiences with the local office of Wells Fargo when helping some homeowners avoid foreclosure.  But the bottom line:  Think twice before trying to get a loan from Wells Fargo.  I think it is past time for that new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection that the financial reform bill set up.  Where is Elizabeth Warren when we need her?

Misinformation and the disappearance of moderate Republican

Long title without an obvious connection.  I was reading John Nichols in the Nation about Australian politics and their equivalent of the old moderate Republican which he calls an endangered species followed by an opinion piece in Politico about the disinformation age by Neal Gabler.  Thinking about it I realized that the two were related.  The demise of the moderate Republican has destroyed the ability of Democrats and Republicans to have a conversation in a civil facts and it now threatens the ability of either party to govern.

Nichols writes

Growing up in Middle West in the latter half of the 20th century, I was surrounded by moderate Republicans of the old “Main Street” school—former Ilowa Congressman Jim Leach, former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson, former Illinois Senator Chuck Percy and former Illinois Congressman John Anderson, former Wisconsin Governor Warren Knowles and former Wisconsin Congressman Bill Steiger—all of whom embraced environmental, civil rights and clean government principles that made them worthy competitors with the Democrats at election time and worthy governing partners when the voting was done.

The suggestion that Leach, Steiger, Percy or Anderson might find a place in today’s Republican Party would provoke laughter in anyone familiar with the contemporary definition of the term “tea party.” Like the great modern Republicans of the recent past: former President Dwight Eisenhower, former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, former New York City Mayor John Lindsay, former Massachusetts Senator Ed Brooke, former Connecticut Senator Lowell Weicker and dozens of other national leaders, the Midwest’s moderate Republicans would be about as likely to secure a Republican nomination these days as Barack Obama. (In point of fact, Obama’s governing style, with its emphasis on compromise and seeking private-sector solutions rather than classic governmental fixes, owes more to the moderate Republican tradition than to the liberal Democratic model of a Franklin Roosevelt.) 

He contrasts the situation with Australia.

In Australia, I’ve appeared with Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, the former leader of the conservative opposition party that’s roughly equivalent to the American Republicans. (They’re called “Liberals.” But that’s a reference to the traditional European term for fans of free markets and limited regulation.)

Turnbull, a former journalist who made millions in business, is enthusiastic about the private sector and more than willing to score government bureaucracy. But he is not a cookie-cutter conservative. A genuine “republican,” he wants to cut Australia’s last ties to the British Commonwealth and make the country a republic. A convert to Catholicism, he breaks with the church to support reproductive rights and stem cell research. He backs gay and lesbian rights. He’s concerned about climate change. A tech-savvy blogger who reads the ancient Greeks on his Kindle, he’s in the thick of Australia’s debate about how to build a state-of-the-art national broadband system.

Nichols points out that Turnbull is in the same mold as David Cameron, the new prime minister of England who is partnering with the Liberal Party.  I thought it a strange coalition, but is it different from Everett Dirksen working with Lyndon Johnson to pass legislation?  Probably not.

[I think Dirksen is the man in glasses to the right of Johnson in the picture]

 So how have we lost the ability to have a civil dialogue?  The internet and blogs like this one.  Fox News and MSNBC.  The fall of the non-partisan television news program.  The decline in newspaper readership.  Or all of the above.

Gabler writes

The recent Pew Research Center poll revealed that 18 percent of respondents believe President Barack Obama is a Muslim, and a whopping 43 percent are unsure exactly what religion he practices. This is disheartening on many levels — not least that it illustrates an astonishing degree of ignorance.

It is unlikely, however, that Americans are dumber now than they were, say, 25 years ago. With more of us attending college, we might even be smarter. But higher education rates and easier access to information have been undermined by what amounts to a vast and insidious revolutionary force — a kind of anti-Enlightenment in which facts yield to rumor, reason to uninformed opinion and objectivity to proudly declared subjectivity.

We swim in a limitless sea of misinformation, even disinformation, without much inclination to separate truth from fiction.

Is this a flaw in the American character, this inability to recognize the truth?  Gabler reaches back to de Tocqueville and his observation that Americans believe that they are all equal.  Some how truth has become a tool of the elite.

Daniel Moynihan famously said that everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. Well, Moynihan spoke too soon. From the political shoutfests on TV and radio to the endless drone of sports radio callers to the millions of vanity blogs, opinion has rapidly become fact.

The idea that there is such a thing as verifiable truth — such as Obama being a Christian — is increasingly seen as elitist. It’s as if truth were yet another scheme by the powerful to impose their will on everyone else.

This overzealous sense of democracy has been encouraged by the right-wing, which has a stake in taking on science and evidence because these things are often likely to betray the tenets of their beliefs. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered one example of informational demagoguery on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, saying “I take the president at his word” that he is a Christian.

So why is the Republican leadership so anxious to appear unintelligent and unable to stand up to the facts?  Is that why the moderate Republican is an endangered species?  Gabler believes that we are entering a post-Enlightenment era.

Steven Colbert has jokingly snarled that facts are liberal. The problem for the right is that facts are stubborn, so when you disagree with them — whether it is global warming or evolution or the effect of tax cuts on economic growth — you want to substitute your own “facts” for the allegedly objective ones.

Indeed, of the multitude of ways that President George W. Bush changed America, this may have been the most important. He helped legitimize the idea of individual truth. In doing so, he became the first president to challenge the old Enlightenment foundation on which this country was established.

Nichols points out

What makes Turnbull most like the American moderate Republicans of old is his style. When we shared the platform at the Walkley Foundation’s forum on election coverage, he was confident, not arrogant. His wit was quick and cutting. He refused to dumb things down and he knew how to charm an audience that might not have liked his party but did like him.

“He refused to dumb things down….”  And that is still another issue.  When you have your own facts, you don’t have to think too hard or work to uncover the truth.  You don’t have to plow though any real investigative reporting or read anything that isn’t on your favorite internet site (one that agrees with you, of course).  You can reduce complex issues to slogans.

It is a rainy night here in Boston and I’m feeling pessimistic, but sometimes it is very hard to think we aren’t entering a dark age when along comes this breaking news:   Former moderate Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has endorsed the liberal Democratic Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, Joe Sestak.  Do you suppose that the moderate Republicans might just save the Democratic party since they don’t seem to have a place in the Republican Party?


Religious Freedom in America

George W. Bush was right.  [Never thought I would ever write that sentence.] The war on terror is not a war on Islam.  So why are our political leaders like President Obama and the Anti-Defamation League so skittish about saying that it is perfectly OK for a religious institution to build whatever they want on private property?  Would there be this kind of fuss if the Methodist Church decided to build a community center two blocks from Ground Zero?  I think not.

I’ve been searching through a number of websites to see if there were an accurate number for the Muslims who were killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11 without success.  The numbers I’ve found range from 40 to as many as 200.  It really doesn’t matter except that the survivors who think building an Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero seem to have forgotten the diversity of people who died.

According to Maureen Dowd in her  column in today’s New York Times, there   “…already are two mosques in the same neighborhood — one four blocks away and one 12 blocks away.”

[A worshiper enters Masjid Manhattan, which is sandwiched between two bars on Warren Street, about four blocks from the World Trade Center site. It was founded in 1970]

So what exactly is up with the President who made a strong, clear statement and then took at least a step back?  Is it the political staff who worried that because of his name and the fact that some people still insist that he is Muslim it is bad for him to say there is a fundamental right to build an Islamic Community Center even if it is 2 blocks from Ground Zero?

Dowd points out

Let me be perfectly clear, Mr. Perfectly Unclear President: You cannot take such a stand on a matter of first principle and then take it back the next morning when, lo and behold, Harry Reid goes craven and the Republicans attack. What is so frightening about Fox News?

Some critics have said the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers would be to allow a mosque to be built near ground zero.

Actually, the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers is the moral timidity that would ban a mosque from that neighborhood.

A bit of advice from one of your supporters Mr. President:  Do and say what you think is the right thing.  Then don’t try to take it back.  I believe that one of the reasons your popularity is falling is because you are seen as too calculating. 

One bit of refreshing news is the open letter from six Muslim/Arab Republicans.

While some in our party have recently conceded the constitutional argument, they are now arguing that it is insensitive, intolerant and unacceptable to locate the center at the present location: “Just because they have the right to do so – does not make it the right thing to do” they say. Many of these individuals are objecting to the location as being too close to the Ground Zero site and voicing the understandable pain and anguish of the 9-11 families who lost loved ones in this horrible tragedy. In expressing compassion and understanding for these families, we are asking ourselves the following: if two blocks is too close, is four blocks acceptable? or six blocks? or eight blocks? Does our party believe that one can only practice his/her religion in certain places within defined boundaries and away from the disapproving glances of some citizens? Should our party not be standing up and taking a leadership role– just like President Bush did after 9-11 – by making a clear distinction between Islam, one of the great three monotheistic faiths along with Judaism and Christianity, versus the terrorists who committed the atrocities on 9-11 and who are not only the true enemies of America but of Islam as well? President Bush struck the right balance in expressing sympathy for the families of the 9-11 victims while making it absolutely clear that the acts committed on 9-11 were not in the name of Islam. We are hoping that our party leaders can do the same now – especially at a time when it is greatly needed.

Dowd cites two other Republicans

So look where we are. The progressive Democrat in the White House, the first president of the United States with Muslim roots, has been morally trumped by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, two moderate Republicans who have spoken bravely and lucidly about not demonizing and defaming an entire religion in the name of fighting its radicals.

I have just heard that New York Governor David Patterson, a Democrat, was trying to set up some negotiations which would result in the Community Center being built on an alternative site.  The President can start to redeem himself by calling Patterson and urging him to stop any such effort.

I say boo to the cowardly Democrats and good for the reasonable Republicans striking a blow for religious freedom.  Let’s not let our fear of terrorist attacks let the extremists win.

Prop 8 is ruled illegal

In a ruling my husband said he could have made, Judge Vaughn Walker held this afternoon that the Califorina voter approved proposition is unconstitutional.  The Prop 8 Suporters are expected to appeal and to argue that Judge Walker is gay and therefore biased..  I call this grasping at straws.

The Washington Post quoted Governor Schwarzenegger who as Govenor was the noninal defendant.

In a statement, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said, “For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves.”

You may recall that the case was aruged by what has been described as the legal “odd couple”.  The New York Times put it this way

…the plaintiffs’ case was argued by David Boies and Theodore Olson, ideological opposites who once famously sparred in the 2000 Supreme Court battle beween George W. Bush and Al Gore over the Florida recount and the presidency. The lawyers brought the case — Perry v. Schwarzenegger — in May 2009 on behalf of two gay couples who said that Proposition 8 impinged on their Constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.

The San Franciso Chronicle reported

Within minutes of the ruling, Maria Ydil, 31, and Vanessa Judicta, 32, headed to City Hall to apply for a marriage license. It was not immediately clear if they would get a license or be allowed immediately to marry.

A crowd trailed behind singing, “The Chapel of Love.”

While they were allowed to fill out paperwork, they were denied a license because the judge issued a stay on enforcement of the ruling pending further hearings on the issue, a city official said.

From the Times

“Being gay is about forming an adult family relationship with a person of a same sex, so denying us equality within the family system is to deny respect for the essence of who we are as gay people,” said Jennifer Pizer, the marriage project director for Lambda Legal in Los Angeles, who filed two briefs in favor of the plaintiffs. “And we believe that equality in marriage would help reduce discrimination in other settings because the government invites disrespect of us when it denies us equality.”

Between this decision making its way though the appeals process and the Massachusetts decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court is going to have a pivitol role in the next step toward equal rights.   I will be posting more on this in coming days, as I digest the ruling, but I think that the Loving v. Virginia decision is finally going to be extended to same sex marriage as well. 




Gaming doesn’t come to Massachusetts

I have never liked the idea of casinos in Massachusetts.  I remember when they were going to save Atlantic City.  So now there is a nice strip along the boardwalk and the rest of the City and residents are in poor shape.  And resort casinos will have to go through a process including environmental reviews, design reviews, negotiations with the localities where they want to go.  At best, we are a couple of years away from even construction jobs. And with casinos in Rhode Island and Connecticut, are there enough people who want to gamble to create sufficient revenue?

This from the Boston Globe this morning on House Speaker Robert DeLeo

DeLeo initially wanted to authorize two resort-style casinos and license the state’s four racetracks to operate slot machines. He eventually agreed on a bill to allow three casinos and two slot licenses. Patrick said he would sign a bill with only one slot license. After the Legislative session ended Saturday, he withdrew his compromise and sent a bill back that had no slot licenses. The Legislature would have to muster a two-thirds vote to override Patrick. DeLeo said he does not expect a return to session, meaning the bill is likely dead.

The editorial explains it well.

HOUSE SPEAKER Robert DeLeo’s decision to put the needs of the state’s racetracks ahead of all other interests is a staggering example of why voters worry about legislative excesses. His stubbornness has hurt his party and put a governor of his own party in a terrible bind. Thus, it’s a relief that Governor Patrick is standing up forcefully to the speaker, and he must continue to do so.

DeLeo has tried to corner Patrick into approving a gambling bill that allows slot-machine parlors at racetracks, insisting in a statement that a veto would “ “kill the prospects of 15,000 new jobs’’ and money for local aid. But it’s the speaker’s own intransigence that has put at risk the benefits that a more targeted bill could create. Patrick supports the licensing of three resort casinos, which would represent an enormous expansion of gambling in Massachusetts. But DeLeo has deep personal and political connections to the racing industry; his father worked in it, and it’s a major presence in his district. And the speaker was unyielding in demanding that racetrack owners be given special consideration in the gambling bill.

We have had the last couple of House Speakers leave under a cloud.  I can’t believe that Speaker DeLeo would risk even the appearance of a conflict of interest to get the race tracks in his districts slot machines.

I do play the lottery on occasion and I complete  the March Madness bracket every year, but casinos and slot machines have consequences beyond the creation of jobs and revenue for the state.  Thank you to my State Reps, Gloria Fox and Jeff Sanchez and my state Senator, Sonia Chang-Diaz for voting no.  Thank you also to Governor Patrick for standing on principle.

Rebuilding the Longfellow Bridge

During the years I lived in Boston and worked in Somerville, I often took the red line train home in the late afternoon.  You would emerge from underground at the Kendall Square station onto the Longfellow Bridge and a spectacular panoramic view of the Charles River and the Boston skyline.  Often there were boats sailing.  You might see rowers, a Duck Boat Tour, and in the winter, ice forming on the edges of the shore.  The view rarely failed to make me feel better about the day.

Longfellow Bridge

But the bridge is now falling apart and a discussion has begun about how to redesign it.  The bridge will not be widened and there will still be room for inbound and outbound red line trains. 

Eric Moskowitz wrote in the Boston Globe on July 25

But the rebuilding of the Longfellow is about more than saving it from collapse. It comes at a time when key policy makers, from Boston’s mayor to the Obama administration, have pledged to rethink transportation and pull back from decades of favoring drivers and cars over bicycles and walkers.

As a result, the Longfellow has emerged as a touchstone and test case in the debate over urban transportation, with officials, highway engineers, civic leaders, and community advocates grappling over whether to reclaim some of the pavement used by automobiles to make more room for everybody else. It is a thorny issue that remains unresolved even as construction begins on a bridge that is both a treasure to preservationists and a lifeline for thousands who traverse it each day by subway, car, bicycle, and foot.

This is the proposal from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation

 Then the Liveable Streets proposal

You can also see the existing configuration.

Advocates [for the liveable streets alternative] say such a plan would honor a raft of recent policy changes and public pronouncements from leading officials. On his blog in March, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declared “the end of favoring motorized transportation.’’ Mayor Thomas M. Menino, at a bicycle summit, announced to cheers that “the car is no longer king.’’

The advocates note that car traffic on the Longfellow has been steadily declining for a decade, coinciding largely with the opening of the nearby Zakim Bridge. And they point out that traffic adjusted when the Longfellow Bridge’s travel lanes were temporarily closed for safety reasons. Now they see an ideal, highly visible opportunity for permanently taking some of that pavement to encourage more bikers and walkers.

I love the idea of cutting down on car traffic and benches on the walks.  This is a chance to really change the urban environment.

A shot of the Longfellow Bridge on a foggy night in January, 1919.

The Longfellow is named for a pedestrian: poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who regularly walked the earlier West Boston Bridge over the Charles during his long and turbulent courtship of the daughter of a Beacon Hill industrialist. In 1845 he published a poem inspired by those crossings, “The Bridge.’’

Talkin’ Baseball: Rox and Sox

We went down to Brockton last night to see the independent Can-Am League Brockton Rox play a team from Northern New Jersey.  We’ve been taking in a couple of Rox games a summer for the last 4 or 5 years.  Great seats for not a lot a money, a nice little ballpark, no hassles getting in and out the park, and entertainment between innings.  (little kids running the bases and trying to beat mascot K-O the Kangaroo and stuff like that. ) What more could you ask for?  By my reckoning, the Rox have a winning record when we go.  To prove what fans we are, we have bobbleheads of Bill Murray (yes, that Bill Murray) and Saul Bustos.  I’m hoping that when slugger Melvin Falu retires, we can get his bobblehead to add to the collection.  Bill Murray is the Director of Fun for the team and, although no ones says, I assume a financial investor.  The Rox blew out Sussex Skyhawks last night winning 13-2.

Part of the fun is watching the little scoreboard where they post the Sox scores.  I looked at it at one point and it is  the 9th and the Sox are still down 4-2.  Then suddenly, the score is final and the Sox win 5-4.  People around me pulled out their phones to see how the Red Sox pulled it out.  (David Ortiz hit a walk off double with the bases loaded.)

And yesterday was the trade deadline.  While we were driving to Brockton, the new broke that we had picked up another catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  I remembered him from having the longest name on a major league jersey.  Saltalamacchia is going to Pawtucket to play some Triple A.  I believe he is the guy who developed some weird thing where he was unable to throw the ball back to the pitcher.  This is not a good thing for a catcher.  I assume Theo Epstein has some assurance that he is over that now.  Saltalamacchia is young and Veritek is about to retire so it may turn out to be a good move.

Bob Ryan writes in the Boston Globe today

There is no doubt massive disappointment among the Red Sox faithful. There were no blockbuster deals, only the acquisition of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, plus the addition-by-subtraction expunging of Jeremy Hermida and Ramon Ramirez, the former being designated for assignment, the latter sent to San Francisco. Instead of producing a familiar name belonging to a veteran, Sox management has settled for picking up a catcher who has failed to fulfill his promise and by promoting prized prospect Ryan Kalish from Pawtucket.

The Sox needed a veteran reliever, and they still need one. Theo Epstein was quite obviously unwilling to sacrifice a valued prospect, and you know what? Good for him. Sometimes you just have to accept that it’s just not shaping up as your year, and you simply focus more on the future.

So now we are waiting for Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Veritek, and Dustin Pedroia to get better and rejoin the Sox.  This has been a rough year and we have lots of games with Tampa Bay and the Yankees to win if the Sox are to make the play-offs this year.

Finally we have this nice story.

Perhaps Pawtucket Red Sox management was psychic.

In the nine years the team has held a bobblehead doll night promotion, never before had a former PawSox player appeared in a game that his bobblehead was given to fans at McCoy Stadium.

Jacoby Ellsbury put his name in Pawtucket’s “record book’’ last night when he played six innings in the first of two games against the Durham Bulls and went 2 for 4 with a run scored.

I think he is on his way back.  Maybe the Red Sox have a chance.