Red Sox ready to strike at halfway mark

After a slower than expected start the Boston Red Sox head to the All-Star break 6.5 games out of the lead in the A.L East. How does the season look when broken down into segments?

Hitting – The production isn’t what it was projected to be, but the lineup has potential from top to bottom. Bogaerts, Holt and Betts have given Red Sox fans a glimpse of the future , while Sandoval and Napoli have struggled to find the groove they’ve shown during their title-winning runs.

Hitting with RISP has improved in the last three weeks and has undoubtedly been a key factor in the recent surge in offence. One of the biggest talking points in the second half of the season will be if David Ortiz can reach 500 career STON3148.JPGHome Runs before the end of 2015. He needs 19 in the second half of the season to reach the mark after hitting 15 through the first half.

Second half key: Hitting with two outs has been a constant problem in 2015 and will need to be rectified fast if the club are going to reach their potential.

Grade: 7/10

Pitching – It was obvious on Opening Day and it’s obvious now – the Red Sox are a starter short. Clay Buchholz has found his rhythm and leads the side with an ERA of 3.26, but has landed on the 15 day DL with an elbow problem. Wade Miley’s eight wins equals his 2014 total and is half of his career high sixteen wins with the Diamondbacks in 2012. Rick Porcello’s early contract signing raises questions, yet the most common trend appears to be the inability to score runs in his starts. The acquisition of Eduardo Rodriguez has breathed life into Boston with his 5-2 record from nine starts demonstrating the importance of moneyball rather than buying a contract for the sake of buying a name.

The inconsistencies of the bullpen have inevitably cost the Red Sox win however the potential addition of Joe Kelly in the second half of the season could be the move the side need to find the consistency they’ve craved.

Second Half key: Quality starts. Given the fragility of the bullpen the Red Sox can not afford for starters not to get into the sixth inning. If the load on the bullpen can be reduced their effectiveness will increase. This will lead to more wins.

Grade: 5.5/10

Fielding – What is it about Rameriz’s and left field? Hanley’s efforts or lack their of to learn how to play the wall is probably the only thing more frustrating than Mike Napoli’s .193 average. Sandoval is making more plays than he is missing at third, which is a relief. Pedroia is in his usual Gold Glove form and Mookie Betts is showing that a lot will have to go wrong for him not to have a few of his own Gold Glove’s by the end of his career.

Second half key: Working around the horn. Infield issues have been a concern for the Sox with Sandoval, Napoli, Bogaerts and Pedroia combining for 26 errors in 89 games. At a rate of 0.292 errors per game it doesn’t seem like a lot but it’s enough that it’s hurting the side.

Grade : 7.5/10

Baserunning – The Red Sox have stolen 39 bases in the first half of the 2015 season. Mookie Betts leads the side with 13, however he has drawn criticism for being thrown out at inopportune times. What that shows is that Betts isn’t scared to use the talents he has on the basepaths. Is he going to get thrown out at times? Yes, but more often than not (he’s 13-17 SB) he’s going to advance safely.

Second half key – With the remainder of the side contributing for 16 steals, Betts need some help. Holt and Victorino have 5, Bogaerts has four, De Aza (who is still new to the club) has 3. If one or more of those four can step up and swipe 15-20 bags in the second half and Betts can stay the course , the Red Sox are going to be a threat to all they face.

Grade – 7/10

Coaching – John Farrell has had pressure on him all season (more from fans than owners). Juan Nieves losing his job was inevitable and Carl Willis seems to be settling into the role of pitching coach nicely. A Chilli Davis meeting with the hitting to emphasise patience at the plate wouldn’t go astray. The coaches are working as hard as they can with what they have as we progress throughout the season

Second half key – Knowing when to pull the starters. Farrell has a bad habit of leaving starters in the game for an out or two too long, with the hits scoring game deciding runs. If he can get this right there is no reason the Red Sox won’t be in the playoff race.

Grade – 6.75/10

Playoff potential – Will the Red Sox see playoff baseball in 2015? I’m leaning towards no, but I’m still confident they will. If I had to put a number on it I’d say we’d make the playoffs on two out of three occasions playing the season out. There is no reason for the form of the last month not to continue. A few minor changes on the field and a trade or two before the deadline offer hope in what is a very weak A.L. East. 6.5 games out in a division without a standout side isn’t as big a mountain as 6.5 games out in any other division. Only time will tell but there is no reason to sleep on the Red Sox in 2015.

Demons demonstrate destructive disposition

Melbourne went in favourites to beat Essendon yesterday afternoon and demonstrated in the best way possible that they can not be trusted with such a tag.

The line has been drawn in the sand. Yesterday was the loss that demonstrates that Paul Roos’ tenure at Melbourne wouldn’t be successful if it ended today. How you can have 25 scoring shots, only manage sixty points and get beaten

Sadly this photo is still relevant.

Sadly this photo is still relevant.

by the least stable (off the field at least) team in the league is beyond comprehension. Kicking has long been an issue for the Demons but Roos doesn’t want to see it. Instead we get the line about a young squad. It’s not 2008, I’m not interested in that or the honourable loss talk anymore.

Not to suggest that I’m the world’s greatest predictor of sporting results – but I saw this coming. From the second Essendon got walloped by St. Kilda last Sunday afternoon the writing was on the wall . I wanted to believe that after a lifetime of frustrations I’d be proven wrong (so I tipped us).

Supporting Melbourne is, at the best of times a bi-polar experience. Promising wins and devastating losses are nothing new, and certainly nothing new in 2015 (Geelong in Geelong / GWS in Canberra). So why does this bother me?

These are the games that we need to win if we are going to be taken seriously heading in to 2016.

Last weekend there was talk of Essendon not winning another game in 2015. If they were playing anyone else this weekend they would have lost and probably been comprehensively thumped. Of course Melbourne lost, it was the most Melbourne thing they could possibly do. Why bother having the great hope that things are going to change with the flick of a switch?

False dawns. Two words that perfectly sum up every Melbourne supporter experience I’ve ever come across. What is Roos doing if he can’t see that our kicking needs work? I know the weather was bad, but Essendon were able to negotiate it and we should have been too. Where was the fluidity we showed against the Gold Coast and Richmond when everything was fantastic?

There’s no denying we’ve got a great crop of young talent, but that’s little to smile about when we drop points like we did yesterday. Our time has been coming since the start of the 1970s and the reward we’ve got is a couple of thumping Grand Final losses for our troubles. Wonderful.

What is the club trying to achieve this season? I usually try to steer clear of the doom and gloom talk but yesterday really puts things in perspective. We aren’t good. Worse than that, we aren’t reliable and we aren’t going to be for a long time.

A few blokes have 30 touches for a few games and they think they’ve got the world figured out? We have some strong multiple goalkickers and we think they’re going to kick five every week? We have a strong run so we don’t need to worry about giving the ball to a man who is under pressure and only going to turn it over? The ineptitude that has been bred in the Melbourne Football Club truly knows no bounds.

You could put Nat Fyfe in our team next week and he’d forget how to put his shoes in. The culture in the club is unacceptable and worst than that it’s offering success in nothing more than mediocrity.

The culture at the club is all wrong. We’re being asked to expect miracles when for any other club it would take nothing more than a consistent effort. We’re too busy ripping blokes on the field rather than ripping the structure we have off it. That’s how we’ve come to this. A belief that we’re in a better position than we are.

It’s not difficult for Roos to fix but I fear he has no interest in delivering the home truths that are associated with the task. Our communication is awful. On and off the field there is little positive talk unless things are going perfectly. Everything needs an excuse, everything is going to be better soon. Forgive me, but I’ve heard this roughly 743 times in my life.

For the first time in the Paul Roos era I’m concerned that we’re letting the world continue to pass us by. He’s said it himself “Our best footy is streets ahead of last year, our worst is just as bad”.

Yesterday was worse than bad. Thanks Melbourne.

 

 

 

The curious case of Majak Daw

Majak Daw is one of the biggest enigmas in the Australian Football League. On one hand he is everything the North Melbourne Football Club want to be, on the other he is everything they are trying to avoid.

Daw is best known for being the first Sudanese player drafted by an AFL club. Throughout his career he has polarised not only North Melbourne fans, but fans of all clubs. The lingering question is where does Daw fit in the

Photo : AFL Media

Photo : AFL Media

scheme of what the Kangaroos are trying to achieve ? This also begs the question of what are the Kangaroos trying to achieve?

At first glance it looks simple. After a Preliminary Final in 2014, anything less in 2015 should be deemed a failure. Ask a North Melbourne fan and they’ll probably tell you it’s not remotely simple.

North are trying to become the club who set the example off the field. They run some fantastic cultural initiatives at Arden Street, and many other clubs should follow by example. It’s thanks to the likes of Daw that these opportunities have arisen.

They want NEED Majak to be a success at the elite level. It justifies drafting him, it solidifies their stance as the multicultural club of the AFL and it opens up a supporter base that no other club will see the likes of in the near future . On paper, it’s perfect. On-field it’s a jigsaw piece they’re jamming where it just doesn’t fit.

At Werribee he looks strong. He rucks well, kicks goals and doesn’t struggle mightily to pick the ball up off the turf. At North he lacks speed, gets the yips in front of goal and can’t play the ball off the ground, yet Brad Scott persists with his selection .

He has a role to play at North, but the problem is that the role he is best suited to hasn’t been found. The omission of Ben Brown to select Daw baffles even the strongest football mind, with Brown surely the best thing to happen to the club in the last decade?

North fans have referred to Daw as everything from Brad Scott’s pet project to the player who you’ll always wonder what might have been. At 24 years of age and with less than 20 games in three seasons it’s not an unfair assessment to use either of those two terms. Very few footballers get the opportunities that Daw has received, especially when you factor in that he hasn’t taken those opportunities. I’m not saying it’s all over for Daw, but he must have one eye on the calendar as 2015 winds down.

Sadly for the Kangaroos, the plight of Majak Daw reflects the current state of the football club.

A friend of mine who has been a North Melbourne member for five years took to Facebook on Saturday night after the defeat by the Gold Coast Suns to express their… well, I’ll let you decide the term for yourself.

“For Sale: North Melbourne Membership (2015). Partially used, severely underwhelming and generally disappointing. Will provide you joy once every few rounds before an embarrassing weekend where you hide any evidence of support. Bidding starts at $0.”

Every sports fan can relate to that at some point, because it’s just so true. For the Kangaroos, it’s a case of flashes of life leading to the belief that they’re going to show the football world incredible things. Winning a few finals in 2014 offered a great opportunity for a logical step forward, yet the thumping they copped from the Swans in the Preliminary Final showed that they had overshot the mark.

Much like Daw, the Kangaroos have an identity crisis. They want to be seen as a team with speed and who move the ball strongly along the floor but they play three tall forwards? They have finals aspirations but lose to a team that have won once all year? Brad Scott returns from injury and tells the media they’re going to be proven wrong (again) and that even though they sit at 6-7 anything is possible? If that was the case Scott would take the approach of “there’s work to be done” and get on with it, rather than grandstanding with the media.

If Scott has as much time left as he thinks he does (his contract runs until the end of 2016) then he needs to swallow his pride. No longer should his excuses and aggression be tolerated. He’s in the hottest seat in the league, yet he doesn’t seem to realise it. He is responsible for a fanbase 16 years removed from their last premiership who aren’t willing to accept the inconsistencies they have been served for the majority of the last decade. Much like his brother Chris, Brad came into coaching full of expectations and promises. Unlike his brother the delivery hasn’t occurred as fans expected.

For Majak and for the Kangaroos the answer is simple, back to basics. Majak (and Werribee) will be rewarded by him playing the remainder of the year in the VFL. His presence could be enough to lift the Tigers to their first flag in 22 years.

The Kangaroos need more aggression – harder tackles and stronger pressure when their opponents are clearing the ball from their own end. This will lead to turnovers. Turnovers up possessions. Possession is the name of the game for Brad Scott (the Kangaroos sit 12th averaging 357 possessions a game), and when the possession count is upped it is inevitable that scoreboard pressure will follow. North Melbourne’s average of 12.8 goals a game puts them seventh in the league on average goals scored. If they were just two goals a game better off they’d be sitting third, in a prime position to repeat their 2014 performance.

Whatever North Melbourne and Daw try next, it needs to be something new.

Four points – Essendon Bombers

The Williamstown Seagulls got their first television appearance of the season on Saturday afternoon and didn’t disappoint with a 44-point statement victory over the Essendon Bombers at Burbank Oval.

1. Collins half-time spray – I’d love to know what Andy said to the side at half time. There appeared no way back at half time with the side lacking confidence going forward, confidence that had been a trademark of their IMG_1688performances all year. The third quarter was a quarter for the ages. It not only showed why every other team in the league should be scared of what the Seagulls can do, but it demonstrated the philosophy that Collins is working towards.

2. Wet weather footy – With Burbank heavy underfoot, possessions were more vital than ever on Saturday. For Andy Collins the message at the first break was to handball rather than use the short kick. The Seagulls had 85 more disposals on Saturday, out-handballing the Bombers 149-78.  Moving the ball by hand caught the Bombers off guard and allowed the home side to stretch their dominance.

3. Accuracy in front of goal – 28 scoring shots for the Seagulls has been fairly standard this year (The only times they’ve had less were the Northern Blues in round one (25) Werribee in round five (24) and Box Hill in round ten (20)), but what they did with the scoring shots was vital. 20 goals and eight behinds is enough to ensure you’re going to pick up the points every week. With a potential percentage booster looming against the winless Frankston this Saturday, the Seagulls will be hoping for a repeat performance to climb back to the top of the ladder.

4. Family fun – I’m not talking the family fun activities that are on for the kids every week. With school holidays being on my parents were down for a visit and it was great to take my dad to his first Williamstown game after sharing many a spirited discussion about the club on the phone since I started attending games. The result helped but he came away from the day impressed with how everything unfolded. I’d say that’s a big win.

I DEMAND EQUALITY

The Women’s World Cup Final was both an entertaining game and a bust. The Women’s World Cup as a whole shows the great leaps being made by women’s sport both in Australia and abroad. Fans are demanding equality…. Where it suits them.

IMG_1686

The Pararoos in action and the recent Cerebral Palsy World Championships.

The Matildas had a wonderful campaign in Canada. They progressed further than any Australian team has at a World Cup and gave a new generation of heroes to young football fans across Australia, and more importantly gave female footballers a look at what they can achieve.

After the final yesterday Social Media became flooded with posts talking about the need for more women’s sport on television and I couldn’t agree more. What I don’t agree with is the push for equality when the equality is convenient for you. If you want equality you want it across the board or you don’t want it at all.

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S SPORT MUST HAVE EQUAL TELEVISION RIGHTS AND VIEWERSHIP. That’s nice, even though it isn’t true. The demand isn’t the same, so the money won’t be the same and the exposure won’t be the same. Which brings me to my main point.

You love equality? How much of the Cerebral Palsy World Championships did you watch from England? They were on at the same time. After all you want all sport to be recognised, yes?

The last twelve months have seen some fantastic coverage for the Pararoos, however it was for all the wrong reasons after funding was cut. At times it looked like there would be no more Paralympic Football in Australia, a huge loss not only for those who aspire to be Pararoos but for those who use football as a form of physical therapy (yes, that’s a real thing).

The Pararoos headed to England with their sights set on qualifying for the Rio 2016 Paralympics, which would have been their first games since Sydney 200o should they have qualified. They returned home the eleventh best team in the world, unfortunately missing on on Paralympic qualification in the process.

On numbers alone from their last World Cup performance the Pararoos finished slightly lower than the Matildas and well above the Socceroos, yet most people wouldn’t be able to name one player in the team.

Eleventh for a team who a year ago had their funding cut. I’m not asking for FTA coverage as I know it’s unrealistic. You could watch every game of the CP World Championships live on YouTube. Why weren’t the FFA promoting the life out of this? I’ll never know. Across the board Women’s sport gets centre stage 1-2 twice a year. Do I think that enough? Of course it isn’t. Paralympians get once every four years, and the winter athletes get treated like more of a novelty than the summer athletes. Tell me again how female athletes are the most marginalised in this country?

Sadly there is only so much space in the media (although the space is expanding). That space goes to the sports and athletes that are going to generate the most revenue and interest (in that order). Women’s and Disability sport will do neither of those things as well as Men’s sport will. The solution? Make noise. Go to games, get on Social Media, annoy all of your friends to watch, write about what you’re seeing. If there isn’t a market and you think it exists, make it happen. Just don’t talk about equality for what suits you. Make it happen for everyone.

There isn’t an athlete at any level who doesn’t deserve to have the spotlight of the world shining on them. The fact of the matter remains that the world isn’t big enough yet, so the light can’t be as bright as we’d all like.

 

 

 

#StandByHerd

Essendon fans who continue to support James Hird (seen on Social Media through the #StandbyHird) are doing their club a disservice. Worse than that they’re so far in that they can’t get out.

We know Essendon have done some immoral things. We’re fairly sure they’ve done some illegal things. Once WADA have finished with them the club will be a shadow of the powerhouse it was at the start of the last decade.JamesHird

So why do fans continue to #StandbyHird ? I don’t know. I don’t know an Essendon fan who still wants him involved with the club. I don’t know why the board think he is the right man for the job and most importantly I don’t know why it’s so obvious that he is not a talented coach.

Hird was a wonderful player and that is probably why he still has a job . As far as the eye can see it appears to be the reason he has the support of a select group of Essendon fans. He was god on the field, he’s god off it (apparently) and they’re following him like sheep – killing their club in the process.

The refusal of fans to move on from the Hird era gives the club validation over the way the treat him. When fans tell clubs they are doing something right there is no reason for them to change. An executive at a big four franchise recently told me “if four out of five people like something, it stays”. The odds of four out of five fans wanting Hird in a job are astronomically low, but those with the weirdest thoughts often make the loudest noise.

Brisbane fans got sick of Michael Voss (a man who without argument had as big an impact at his club as Hird did at Essendon), so why are some fans clinging to Hird like he is the last sign of life on a deserted island? They want to be proven right.

The opportunity to stand up when this ends and say “I never lost faith in James, he’s guided us through the storm and everything is perfect” is too good to pass up. Newsflash – Even if he does survive to the end of the tunnel Essendon are not okay. They’re not going to be okay for a long time. Why support someone who decided long ago that his personal interests were more important than the history of a once proud club? Are those fans scared they’re going to be judged for changing their tune at a time when their club needs them more than ever? The longer you #StandbyHird , the worse you are making things for the club. You can’t move forward when you’re stuck in the past.

Still not convinced? Hird said the players stopped playing against St. Kilda (something which was obvious to everyone), on a day when they should have been celebrating a milestone achievement for a bloke who has put up with more than his share of rubbish this decade. If the players aren’t playing for him then what are you telling yourself as you go to sleep at night that makes you think he’s still the messiah?

 

 

Kicking is key for clipped Seagulls

The Williamstown Seagulls sit third on the VFL ladder after ten weeks, with six wins, three losses and a bye. The side is set up well for a sixth straight preliminary finals appearance and a first flag since 2003. Despite this their work in front of goal could be of concern at the business end of the season.

The Seagulls were thoroughly outplayed by the Box Hill Hawks on Sunday afternoon and will be looking to bounce back when they travel to Punt Road at lunchtime on Saturday.IMG_1591

When examining the statistics from the 62-point loss on Sunday afternoon there are three things that stand out.

  • Box Hill had 79 more marks than Williamstown.
  • Williamstown had six more inside 50’s than Box Hill [57-51] however 49 of the 51 entries for Box Hill came on the rebound.
  • Despite only having seven more scoring shots Box Hill kicked 19.8 to their opponents 8.12.

It is the accuracy in front of goals which could cost the Seagulls as the season goes on. Sunday afternoon was the sixth time in their nine games this season when they Seagulls have kicked more behinds than goals. Through their first nine games of the season the Seagulls have a cumulative score of 120.139 (859). That’s the fourth highest scoring total in the VFL this year behind Box Hill, Port Melbourne and Essendon. So how can the Seagulls improve their accuracy to kick a competitive score every week?

It comes down to confidence. The volume of behinds scored it clearly more than Andy Collins would want, and as with the twelve behinds on Sunday, a lot of them have been rushed.

Through the first six weeks of the season the biggest joy in watching the Seagulls was the fluidity they showed when using the corridor and moving the ball into their forward 50. In the last month it appears the level of confidence has dropped, with entries into the forward 50 often resulting in trying to find an easier target rather than having a shot for goal.

Is shooting for goal on every forward entry the answer? No, it isn’t. For me it is about weighing up the options. While the shot from closer to goal likely to be a higher percentage shot than a shot from distance, the chances of a mark may not be as high, which can lead to turnovers.

The Seagulls have scored 14 or more goals on five occasions this season, with the last occasion being the home clash against Coburg in late May. Since then the Seagulls have scored 11 (against Geelong), 9 (against Footscray) and 8 (against Box Hill). In a further show of their dominance, the Seagulls had 7 more scoring shots against Geelong and 19 more in their game against Footscray.

What does this tell us? Williamstown are one of the most potent attacking teams in the VFL and they have generated more scoring opportunities than their opponent every week this year with the exception of last Sunday, the opening round against the Northern Blues (a one point victory) and their local derby against Werribee (a two point loss).

The Seagulls have the results on the board. Those results show that they are statistically and performance wise one of the best teams in the league across the last few years. Facing the struggling Richmond Tigers on Saturday could be perfect timing for a group who are looking to get their confidence back, with the Tigers reeling after their last quarter collapse against Footscray last weekend.

Four Points – Footscray Bulldogs

A frequently windy and for a brief moment wet Sunday afternoon spent at Whitten Oval saw Williamstown Seagulls fans rewarded as their team ran out 39 point winners over the reigning premiers, the Footscray Bulldogs.

1. Cam Lockwood – For the second time in three games a Seagull has used their milestone to help their side to a crucial victory. Vice-Captain Cam Lockwood was appearing in his 100th VFL game and did not disappoint. Two goals, sixteen disposals and two tackles saw him among the best on ground. His run from the backline was key as the Seagulls negated Footscray’s opportunity to kick a strong score with the wind.IMG_1500

2. Lock it in, Eddie – The game was won and lost in the forward 50 at the Geelong Road end. With winds reaching 40km/ph at points, the team who made use of it was always going to come out on top. Williamstown locked the ball in the forward 50 when they had the wind, while Footscray allowed the Seagulls to break into the midfield, depleting the Bulldogs scoring options in the process. The Seagulls kicked 8.19 (67) to the Bulldogs 2.7 (19) at the Geelong Road end, a statistic which defined the most anticipated game of the round.

3. Opportunities are what you make them – 9.22 doesn’t look great, but any time you have 31 scoring shots you’re going to be tough to beat. More than that the Seagulls were beaten in all of the main stat categories besides Inside 50’s and scoring shots. So how did they more than double the score of their opponents? Effective possessions. The amount of junk kicks or handballs on Sunday were so small I could count them on both hands. When the Seagulls had the ball they knew where they needed to put it, put it in position and the results spoke for themselves.

4. Rest up – The Seagulls have the bye next weekend and head in at the top of the ladder, a position which they will hold if Collingwood can beat Werribee at Victoria Park. Coming out of the bye the Seagulls face Box Hill at home, Richmond away, Essendon at home and Frankston at home. While it may not be the toughest draw the Seagulls could have, they will face challenges in each of the games and will need to win at least three of the four fixtures to keep their top two hopes alive.

Failure at Fenway?

The Red Sox can win the World Series in 2015. Even though they are less than half a dozen games out of place with over one hundred games remaining the fact of the matter is that probably isn’t going to happen.

But it’s not going to happen for 28 other franchises either. What makes Red Sox fans so special they think the whole team should be blown up and everything is worse than it has ever been? Nothing. It’s all about perspective.

If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. My favourite saying and something that should be being blasted through the Red Sox clubhouse.

Five years away from Fenway is too long

Five years away from Fenway is too long

Obviously 24-31 isn’t where you want to be after 55 games but that’s not the end of the world. Baseball is a sport which is built around streaks. The bats will be hot, the arms will be hot and if we’re lucky we’ll see them both at the same time.

Fans refusing to spend money on the team or watch until they get better doesn’t solve anything. In fact all it does is create an image for the fan base (newsflash: we’re already unpopular). Do people think the players enjoy losing, or that they aren’t trying on purpose? No. That’s sport, there’s always going to be a loser. If fans don’t like that then there are plenty of other hobbies to take up.

Sure, I’m frustrated. I’m not frustrated because we’re 24-31 though. I’m frustrated because the expectation is there that we are going to go 162-0, everything is perfect and Ortiz will be the next President of the United States. In what universe is that possible? (Ortiz for President shouldn’t be ruled out at this point).

Do we need to pull out the failure stamp for 2015, fire Farrell and release Sandoval because he’s defensively weak (something our owners knew when they signed him)? No, we don’t. If you want Farrell fired feel free to tell me who he should be replaced with, because there aren’t many people better than Farrell who currently don’t have a job .

My perspective is warped. It’s five years next Friday since I’ve been to a game at Fenway. That’s frustrating too. Fans who all of a sudden don’t want to go and take living near the Sox for granted? They frustrate me. Embrace what you have, there are thousands of international fans who would take your place in a heartbeat.

I love it when my teams are good. Part of the reason I love it is because it doesn’t happen very often, and if it wasn’t for the Sox then my success rate would be worse than it already is. Even when the Red Sox are bad I love them.  There’s something magical about watching them whether they win or lose. Eight championships in 114 years (all of which have come in bunches) suggest that we’re a run of the mill franchise. When you’re hit or miss over 100+ years, you’ll have hit or miss seasons. 2015 at this point will probably turn into a miss, but don’t ink it in yet. Keep the faith.

Why? Because the rest of the A.L East are average too. If this roster can perform to their capabilities for the second half of the season we are going to be in the mix when it matters, and as the Kansas City Royals showed us last year, anything is possible.

Four Points – Geelong Cats

The Williamstown Seagulls won their second straight game on Saturday, deafeating the Geelong Cats. The win sees the Towners return to the top of the VFL standings in the process.

1. Momentum – It’s not long ago that the Seagulls couldn’t find themselves on the right end of a two-point game to save themselves. After getting back on the winners list against Coburg, the momentum from that victory played a large part of the success on Saturday afternoon. The Seagulls were in front at every change after the first quarter, and the lessons learned in the close losses against Port Melbourne and Werribee shone through as the side hung on for their most memorable win of the season to date.IMG_1430

2. Tackling pressure – The Seagulls won the tackle count 82-78 but made their biggest contribution in the third quarter where they laid 15 more tackles than the Cats (24-9). This pressure resulted in eight scoring opportunities for the Seagulls, opposed to the five scoring shots had by the Cats. If it wasn’t for the impact of a swirling breeze the visitors would have made greater use of their dominance than the 4.4.(28) they kicked.

3. Loose ball gets – Geelong outmarked Williamstown 76-53 on the day, a stat which in a lot of games would be enough to swing the result. The Seagulls dominated when it came to putting their head over the loose ball and their toughness was rewarded. Jolley, Gallucci, Meese and first gamer Ash Di Ciero all demonstrated a nose for the loose ball, a certain key to victory.

4. Calm in the clutch – After the loss to Port Melbourne I was sitting on the train home, sharing my frustration with a Port Melbourne supporter. Our moods were obviously polar opposites, but in the process of both presenting our cases he said something which will forever stick with me about the loss. At the final change the message from Gary Ayres was to keep the ball as close to the boundary line as they could. On Saturday afternoon what I witnessed in the last quarter from the Seagulls was the same as what I saw from Port Melbourne three weeks prior. With the margin under a goal with minutes remaining (as it had been for the majority of the day) the Seagulls made sure they kept numbers behind the ball and kept the ball near the boundary line. By no means was it the first option, but it was an option if the side thought they were in danger. On reflection, Geelong weren’t given a chance to win it in the last five minutes despite the ball being in their attacking half. Calmness persevered, with four points the ultimate reward.