By Sterling Pingree
The Boston Red Sox are 2 games away from the official mid-point of the baseball season. We’ve learned a lot about this team since breaking camp in Fort Myers but I’m still not sure we know anything about them. During spring training our biggest concern was having too many lefties in the starting rotation or having so many starters that Drew Pomeranz was going to be a long reliever.
To have some fun with mid-season awards, these honors are all Seinfeld themed because if you’ve learned anything from listening to The Drive it’s that “Everything comes back to Seinfeld.”
The Close Talker award- John Farrell wins this in a run away after his performance on Saturday with third base umpire Bill Miller. Just like Elaine’s creepy boyfriend, played by Judge Reinhold, Farrell gave no thought to personal space.
The Low Talker award- The winner is: David Price! Now on the show, the low talker was Kramer’s girlfriend who convinced Jerry to wear the puffy shirt on the Today Show. David Price wins this award for not the volume of his voice, but the volume of which he is speaking to reporters. After an odd first half of the season, Price’s performance on the field has been erratic but his performance with reporters has been consistent, yet minimal. Price is also the most likely to scream an F-bomb into a hot mic this season. “Now that I heard.”
The Bubble Boy award- Moores. Moops. Moores. Moops! E-Rod. Eddie. E-Rod. Eddie. Whatever you call him, Eduardo Rodriguez is the Red Sox Bubble Boy. Rodriquez seemed to have turned a corner in April and was the pitcher we all imagined that he would be. Chris Sale was giving him tips and pep talks which seemed to really get him rolling. Then Rodriguez fell off the bullpen mound in Baltimore. He went on the 10-day disabled list and hasn’t pitched in the majors in 29 days. This happened last year with a seemingly minor knee injury during spring training that kept him out the better part of the season. My only hope is that we don’t have to put Eddie in a bubble. I almost gave this to Brock Holt, maybe more appropriate but I was worried if I did that senior producer Mark Paulette wouldn’t speak to me again.
The Wife award- Pablo Sandoval takes this home, if only for Sandoval going on the 10-day disabled list with an inner ear infection. I was reminded last week by Jeff Solari that as Jerry convinced Kramer that saying “My wife” was a great way to start a sentence that when Kramer took the phrase for a spin he uttered: “My wife has an inner ear infection. I like it!” (It’s a show about nothing, it doesn’t have to always make sense.)
The Soup Nazi award- This doesn’t sound like a compliment, but I swear it is. The Soup Nazi award goes to Craig Kimbrel. The Soup Nazi was a misunderstood figure, he suffered for his soups and didn’t like couples who kissed in his line and called each other “Shmoopie”. He’s really a hero when you think about it. The Soup Nazi gave no quarter and neither has Kimbrel this season. He’s blown hitters away with his fast ball and curve ball, just like the Soup Nazi overwhelmed Newman and Kramer with Mulligatawny and Jambalaya. Also, Kimbrel only wants to pitch in certain circumstances and we know what happened if people didn’t order their soup correctly: “NO SOUP FOR YOU!”
The Bizarro Jerry award- Elaine starts hanging out with a new gang made up of bizzaro characters: Kevin, Gene and Feldman. They are the opposite of Jerry, George and Kramer in every way which leads Jerry to dub Kevin, the bizarre Jerry. This award is given to Rick Porcello. Last year, this guy won the Cy Young award on the wings of his vicious sinkerball and this year that pitch has flatted out and become his undoing. Sox fans can only hope that Lady Luck, in this case Elaine, returns to Porcello’s side once again.
The Yada Yada Yada award- Goes to the entire Red Sox bullpen because when you talk about what’s out there you can pretty much say: “there’s Kimbrel and Kelly and yada yada yada the game ends.”
The Muffin Tops award- The best part of the muffin is the top because as Elaine said; “that’s where the muffin bursts free of the pan and sort of does its own thing.” That’s what Mitch Moreland has done this year. He’s been the most pleasant surprise on the team this season and it was never more evident than last Saturday and Sunday vs the Angels when the Red Sox only scored one other run than what Moreland provided with home runs.
Hello, Newman award- I have to give this to Heath Hembree. No matter what the situation is, no matter the score, I’m always leery of Hembree when he enters the game, much like Jerry was of the portly letter-carrier, Newman. What are his intentions? Are they good? Is he going to blow the lead? Give up a home run? Strike out the side? Steal Elaine’s bike? Commandeer a mail truck to get the $.10 deposit on soda bottles in Michigan? Hello, Hembree.
The Understudy award- Christian Vazquez. Sandy Leon and he have been splitting time this season but Leon has been catching 3 out of 5 games so it appears that Vazquez is more of the backup. With his recent performances showing off his power, speed and arm, I think we are getting closer to Vazquez wresting the starring role away. And he didn’t have to railroad Bette Midler to take the job.
The President of the Condo Association at Del Boca Vista award- Chris Sale. Since coming over in the deal for Moncada and Kopech, Sale has been the chairman of the board. 10-3 and on pace to set a team strike out record, Sale’s competition for the Cy Young might not even be as stiff as what Morty Seinfeld was going against at his retirement community in Florida. Sale’s top competition for the Cy are Jason Vargas, Ervin Santana and Dallas Keuchel. Morty ran against commons sense and a guy in a wheel chair.
We’ll see now what happens in the stretch towards the playoffs. Maybe the Sox will get the snub. Maybe the Sox will “choose not to run.” Maybe we’ll “Stick a fork in them Jerry, cuz they’re done.” Maybe Aaron Judge will become less Babe Ruth and little more George Costanza. Maybe it’ll be the “Summer of George.” Maybe John Henry will start eating calzones from Pizano’s every day for lunch. What we do know is that the journey of a Major League season is longer than the journey from Milan to Minsk so all we can ask for is serenity now and not for insanity later.
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.