Bard's diary: No fan of New York

August, 10, 2010
Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard continues with his diary in a New York state of mind as he talks about the storied rivalry and on having even more teammates get injured. What Yankee does he try to emulate? How come he doesn't like to go out in the Big Apple? Why was it especially tough to see one of his friends get traded?
(as told to Louise K. Cornetta)

I gave up a run today, but there's no secret why I haven't been giving up a lot runs lately. I've been feeling good and trying to take things day by day. I try not to get caught up in numbers or streaks. When I gave up a run a week or two ago, it was kind of out of my hands. I gave up a lead base runner and then handed the ball over to Okie [Hideki Okajima]. It's really about trying to stay the same day to day. Fortunately, I've been healthy and the arm and body have felt good. There's still almost two months left in the season, so I'll try and keep it up.

That was a tough homestand losing Youk [Kevin Youkilis]. That was a pretty big loss for us. I just saw pictures of him from his thumb surgery. That was interesting and pretty gross, but that's just because it was looking at surgery. It will be tough, but we're fortunate to have Mikey Lowell, who's not really much of a drop-off at all, in my opinion. He's going to work the count and put good at-bats together. He's going to play good defense. No one can replace Youkilis. He's one of the top five hitters in the game. We've bounced back from injuries all year. Hopefully we can stick through this one.

[Josh] Beckett said something nice about that it's a good feeling knowing I'm in the bullpen. It's a huge honor to hear that. To have one of the best and someone who's been one of the best pitchers in the game for a while now say he has confidence in me means a lot. The starters set the tone for the game. We just try to come in and preserve the wins for them.

The game Beckett pitched against the Indians last time we were home was exciting. While we're talking about exciting, I have a comment about the Red Sox being boring. I don't know who thought we were boring, but we've had quite a few walk-off wins and gotten contributions from a lot of unlikely heroes. If that's not exciting, I don't know what is. Maybe we don't have the outspoken personalities that stir up controversy. But from my perspective, maybe that’s a good thing. I think fans might find that more entertaining when players speak out. But at the same time, if you have some people saying things they shouldn't you will probably have issues in the clubhouse that we'd rather not deal with. Boring in that sense might be a good thing.

I lost one of our bullpen guys at the trade deadline. Ramon [Ramirez] got traded to the Giants. It was tough to see him go. I think maybe it was good thing for him career-wise. I think maybe he was a little frustrated with his role here. He didn’t voice it or anything, but you could kind of tell. He was throwing well when they decided to trade him. He had been on a good run for the three or four weeks before the trade deadline throwing well for us. Hopefully Ramon does well for San Francisco and finds a role in that bullpen. It was especially tough for me to see him go because he was my throwing partner. Don't worry, I don't have to throw against a wall or anything now. I throw to Dustin Richardson.

I like having Richardson and Felix [Doubront] called up. Obviously, I don’t like having Okie go on the DL. You get some guys with strong arms that are eager to pitch. They want to be out there pretty much in any role. I think if you asked guys like Felix and Richardson and [Michael] Bowden, who I am sure will be back sooner rather than later, they don't care what role they're pitching here whether starter or reliever. They're just happy to be pitching in the big leagues.

Sometimes when you're throwing those innings down by five or up by eight, if you're a veteran used to pitching in a certain role, it may be tough to pitch in that type of inning. But if that's your first taste of the big leagues and you're still trying to prove yourself and earn that permanent spot, then you're going to be getting their best stuff in those innings. That's what we need, especially when we've had to bring guys in when we're down two or three runs and end up giving up a couple more, it just makes it that much tougher to come back and win it in the end. If you can come in and throw up zeros and keep the score where it is, that will be big for us.

We've been in New York for a four-game series with the Yankees. My memories here are I pitched a couple of times last season before I had that one really bad outing last year that pretty much stands out in my mind. I gave up the back-to-back home runs. That's all I remember here about last year because I don't think we won a game here last year from the time I was called up. We've won here this year so times they are a-changing. So far my best New York memory is probably Friday night, a good night and win. It was a meaningful game, this whole series is. I'll try to create some new memories while we're here.

The Yankee lineup is really tough, especially for a right-hander to face because they're so left-handed. And if they're not left-handed, they're switch hitters. There's maybe two righties in their whole lineup and they're both future Hall of Famers. It's tough.

You've got to execute pitches and stay away from that short porch in right. You need to try to keep the ball toward the middle of the field. If you keep the ball toward center field it plays pretty fair. Look, facing a lineup with players like ARod in it is a challenge, but you've got to approach it like you do any other team. You need to look at the scouting report, look at the holes and try to exploit them. Every guy in that lineup has some kind of hole. Some are easier to find than others. You've just got to take it like any other game and throw out the heat.

Mariano Rivera is someone that I definitely love watching pitch. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather watch him close out games against other teams instead of us. He's special, the best closer that has ever played probably. Definitely someone I try to watch and emulate, not so much his style but his demeanor and confidence he carries when he comes into a game.

I really like the new Yankee Stadium. It's great. They did a good job with it. The clubhouse is as nice as you'll find anywhere on the road. The food is unbelievable. The bullpen is nice too. They have an indoor area for us, which is nice. I kind of get back there and hide. When you do look out in the stands, I thought it was cool on Friday to see Larry David here. I'm a big "Curb Your Enthusiasm" fan.

All right, this may come out bad, but I don’t like walking around New York. There are too many bad smells. Seriously, I am pretty much here at the ballpark and inside the hotel. I left a couple of times to go eat because there are some good restaurants. I get claustrophobic around thousands of people like Times Square. I don't really like that.

Yankee fans are interesting. How they treat you depends on if you're winning or losing. If it's a close game they stay pretty quiet. If they're up by a lot or down by a lot, then they just start ragging on us. I think they do that because they're not really into the game then.

As for the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, it probably means less to us, the players, than anyone else. I mean, these games are big right now because it's the difference between us making the playoffs or not. In the sense of how we and how I prepare for the games, it's exactly the same as any other game. If you make it more than that, you're going to get yourself in trouble.

I think fans and media blow up the rivalry more than anything. It's not that these games are not important to us. It's just the whole rivalry that we're suppose to hate every member of their team, I don't think it's quite what people think it is. But don’t get me wrong, we definitely want to win in New York as much as any other game.



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