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Home » Monthly Archive » January 2005

January 30, 2005

Red Sox Nation Fortifies Borders

Distressed by the recent overrunning of Red Sox Nation by bandwagon fans and refugees from mediocre franchises, President Larry Lucchino has enacted emergency border controls around the heart of the nation.

“We understand the excitement and goodwill that the Red Sox World Series Championship has generated, but there is only so much of that wealth that we can distribute to the citizens that we already have,” said President Lucchino. “To that end, I am placing an immediate freeze on the issuing of any new citizenships to Red Sox Nation.”

President Lucchino’s decision has met with varying reactions across the world. Some lower tier teams are thankful for his action, hoping that it will help them solidify their citizenry. “It’s difficult rooting for a hardscrabble team with no success,” said Mike Boyko, a Pittsburgh Pirates devotee. “Since this past October, I can’t tell you how many Buc bloggers have converted to Red Sox blogs in an attempt to get into the winning nation. I’ve spoken with the Fenway Ambassadors about the situation, but it’s difficult because my team is considered a loose confederation of pillagers rather than a true nation-state. If the Red Sox turn anyone away, the Pirates will welcome them with open arms.”


Lieutenant Gerda Edwards (pictured above while on patrol), one of the border control officers that are working overtime due to the state of the emergency, says she doesn’t mind the additional work. “We’re trying our best out here on the frontlines to keep out the johnny-come-latelys.” When asked about the tactics she uses to determine true citizenship, Edwards laughed, “Oh, it’s pretty easy. First thing we ask is what was Ted Williams’s batting average in 1941.” She shakes her head, saying “If they can’t get past that, we know we’ve got to turn them away.”

“The surprising thing has been the number of Yankee fans who think they can get into the nation with no resistance,” continued Edwards. “Just the other day Jay Jaffe tried to get in. I told him I saw that Futility Infielder was still up, and the pic of him in pinstripes was still posted. With that against him, I don’t know if he could ever get in.”

Commissioner Bud Selig continues to urge President Lucchino to take a less hardline position against team to team fan tranfers. “I need only to show him the example of the New York Yankees and how strong their franchise was when it welcomed the huge influx of admirers during its championship reign.” In response, President Lucchino said, “That’s hardly the example we as a nation wish to follow. We now see how the Empire has fallen. The nation must take extreme measures to be strong.”

January 29, 2005

Sammy Sosa Joins the AL East

Or was that Sammy Sooser? The Baltimore Orioles continue to ignore starting pitching and concentrate on getting big name hitters by acquiring Sosa this evening. Orioles owner Peter Angelos probably feels pressure to stock up on some superstars to compete for fan attention with the Washington Nationals coming to the area, as well as keep up with the Red Sox and Yankees. Sosa was traded for Jerry Hairston, Jr. and players to be named later. Some batting match-ups between Sosa and a few Red Sox pitchers:

Curt Schilling 52 17 3 0 7 13 2 21 .327 .339 .788 1.128
Wade Miller 24 7 2 0 0 3 2 10 .292 .346 .375 .721
Matt Clement 16 3 1 0 1 2 4 4 .188 .350 .438 .788
David Wells 10 3 0 0 0 1 1 2 .300 .364 .300 .664

The Clement and Wells sample sizes are small and hardly relevant, but I have included them anyway. Sosa gets a lot of extra bases off Curt Schilling, but his strikeout rate is also fairly high at 40%. I imagine he’ll be batting behind Miguel Tejada, providing the shortstop with some protection.

He can’t pitch, though.

January 28, 2005

Why Bow Ties?

First it was Ron Jaworski, then Sean Salisbury. It is a growing epidemic on ESPN: bow ties. Both former quarterbacks provide solid analysis (Jaworski more so than Salisbury, of course). However, I can not take anyone seriously if they are wearing a bow tie without a tuxedo. This is because the primary donners of this attire are as follows:


  1. Playboy Bunnies
  2. Clowns (Krusty can pull it off, however.)
  3. Mr. Winkle

This fashion trend has me fit to be tied, but I’ll bow out of making any further comments.

January 27, 2005

Comings and Goings

MientkiewiczTraded: Doug Mientkiewicz to the New York Mets for minor league first baseman Ian Bladegroen.

Acquired: Denney Tomori from the Yokohama Bay Stars. 95 MPH fastball thrown sidearm; that sounds terrifying.

More to follow on these transactions. “Real life” has impinged upon my blogtime.

January 25, 2005

Find Your Game Face







FIND YOUR GAME FACE. And discover which other opposing players the teams of New England own.

January 24, 2005

Return Engagement

BruschiwinThe New England Patriots return to the Superbowl for the second straight year and the third time in four years. Bill Belichick is now 9-1 in the postseason, the same record as another storied head coach: Vince Lombardi.

There aren’t many more accolades to heap around this team. We can only marvel at the spectacle they are creating for us and relish the unfolding of history before our eyes, again.

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”
Vince Lombardi

January 23, 2005

Angst Climate Pattern Shifts

LaagoniaLa Agonía, or “The Agony,” an enigmatic climate system of sports futility that previously plagued the New England region and Pennsylvania, has seemingly consolidated itself above Pittsburgh.

No one understands the intricacies of La Agonía, not even foremost expert Dr. William Patzert, oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. Dr. Patzert’s research delves mainly into proving that the oceans of the world regulate the workings of this phenomena, as well as examining how the major sports interact under its influence. “The baseball ramifications of Agonía in Boston have been profound and extensive over the course of nearly a century,” says Dr. Patzert. “But, in those intervening years, basketball and hockey were largely unaffected. We have some evidence that football subsystems are able to disperse Agonía, supported by recent events in Massachusetts. Conversely, it seems that baseball fluctuations have a lesser effect, as witnessed by the lack of corollary football success in Arizona, California, and Florida.”

Other researchers have refuted the oceanic origins of La Agonía, positing global electromagnetic fields as the source of tumult. Gary Glatzmaier, professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Santa Cruz, claims that “the fluid dynamics of the earth’s core and the resulting electromagnetic forces impact regional team performance more than bodies of water.” Furthermore, Glatzmaier theorizes that La Agonía might actually be more localized than previously believed, and cites the malaise of the Minnesota Vikings as proof. “Of course, the size of an Agonía-affected area will vary over time. We’re currently seeing the centering of the East Coast Agonía over Pittsburgh, where it used to spread far enough the east to encompass Philadelphia.”

Several owners of major sports teams are anxiously awaiting future data these scientists release. “If there’s anything that can stem the tide of our crushing defeats in the postseason, we need to have it. We need to know how to counteract this thing,” says Red McCombs, owner of the Minnesota Vikings. “We might even consider combining funding for further research with Dan Rooney [Pittsburgh Steelers owner]. Something must be done to stop La Agonía.”

January 21, 2005

Green, Gay-Friendly, and Genuine

Wally “Comes Out” in Support of FriendSpongebob

Wally the Green Monster spoke with EE today about the recent controversy involving his beleaguered friend SpongeBob SquarePants. SquarePants has been cited by the religious right group Focus on the Family as promoting the “homosexual agenda.” The character was in seen in a We Are Family Foundation video supporting diversity and tolerance in general, along with other luminaries Arthur, Winnie the Pooh, and Barney. Adding to the confusion, Focus on the Family mistakenly believes that the We Are Family Foundation is an affiliate of WeAreFamily, a South Carolina-based organization that strives to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth in their struggles.

Wally, currently embroiled in his own media relations uproar, made strong moves to stand by SquarePants, saying “I’m here today to speak out for SpongeBob, and for many others that have been by targeted by conservatives in this country and abroad. I guess the right wingers got tired of trying to vilify Harry Potter’s reputation, especially since he has deep pockets with all those galleons at Gringotts. Now they’ve moved on to their next target.

“Like Tinky Winky before him, SpongeBob will prevail. The issue here isn’t whether or not they are gay, or even if they support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, mascots, or fictional characters. The issue here is to respect the rights of mascots and other fictitious beings to speak out and appear in whatever outlet they want about the issues that concern them. And when they do speak out, to not have their opinions dismissed by real people and their realist agendas. Sure, conservative elements publish their screeds on an issue that involves “made-up” characters, and then their liberal opponents bash them by saying that we’re not even real. Not real, I ask? My pain as the product of a public relations machine is real, as real as any of you,” said Wally.

Wally_1Some see Wally’s latest statements as a ploy to garner media attention and heighten his public profile. “Come on, do I really seem that jaded to you? I’m here to support my pal. You can read more about our relationship in the book I have coming out in April 2005, and you’ll see what a loyal friend I am. That’s April 2005. I’ll be doing a signing at Borders Downtown Crossing in Boston on April 11. I’ll be joined by my friend the San Diego Chicken, who has a yoga video coming out at the same time.”

January 20, 2005

Bullpen Goodbyes

Scott Williamson and Curtis Leskanic are flip sides of the same coin. What could have been, and what became. Both living the tenuous, tumultuous life of a bullpen pitcher, subject to quick hooks and dirty looks.

I had forgotten that Williamson was the NL’s rookie of the year in 1999. He missed the 2001 season due to Tommy John surgery, and from that point was not to be one of the anointed elite but a journeyman, eeking out a niche by needing to prove, time and again, that he wasn’t washed up. In 2003, I witnessed the pinch-hit home run Ruben Sierra lofted into right field in Game 4 of the ALCS. It was the only earned run he gave up through the entirety of that postseason. A postseason that should have included the World Series, with him striking out Ivan Rodriguez to get the final out of the 100th WS. What could have been.

What will he become? Someone like Curtis Leskanic, the very definition of nomad? Someone that is supposedly not to be trusted when the game is on the line? When the call came in Game 4, Leskanic pitched 1 1/3 innings of shutout ball, earning a win, and another chance for his team to play. In that act, he sacrificed his arm, ending his 12-year career and his chance to play again. But he cannot possibly regret that he was one of the 25, and what he became.

Williamson has signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs, once again needing to prove he can play and that the rigors of relief pitching have not diminished him. Since he was denied in 2003, I hope that he hears that call, and that, like Leskanic, he answers and becomes what he was meant to be.


January 19, 2005

Ace to See Flop?

Curt Schilling appears in Celebrity Poker Showdown on Tuesday, January 25th on Bravo. The competition includes Ray Romano (must be a Yankee or Met fan, as he was born in Queens), Brad Garrett, and Heather Graham. Not exactly tantalizing match-ups.

NESN and YES are getting on the poker gravy train with the Partypoker.net Boston vs. NY Poker Challenge. The show will pit teams of six against each other. I imagine the demographic represented will be WEEI types with a sprinkling of casual fan groupies as eye candy. Again, the concept is almost there.

I would propose a Boston sports legends tournament, with the likes of Ray Bourque and Wade Boggs (both freshly inducted hall of famers in their sports); Bobby Orr, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Bill Belichick, and Terry Francona (former and current Hub champions); and finally Mosi Tatupu and Russ Francis (I might be a bit biased towards athletes from Hawai‘i in this case). With Belichick in the mix, I can’t see how anyone else would stand a chance, but it would amusing to see grown men cower under his steely gaze. Please make this happen, NESN.

January 18, 2005

Prices Slashed on Deathwishes and Cowbells

CowbellBronson Arroyo and Mark Bellhorn both signed 1-year deals today, completing the rotation and rounding out the infield.

Saturnine in expression but solid at the plate, Bellhorn achieved .264 BA, .373 OBP, .444 SLG, and 82 RBIs in 138 games last season. He ratcheted up his performance in the postseason to .844 OPS while making key home runs in Game 6 of the ALCS and Game 1 of the WS. His $2.75M contract is a relative bargain considering that, in his position in the AL, he led in OBP and was third in RBI. Hopefully we will hear many more “terrible sounds” (Tim McCarver’s description of the home run ricocheting off of the foul pole in Yankee Stadium) in the coming season.

DeathwishSpeaking of terrible sounds, Arroyo will make $1.85M and will hopefully not ask for time out during the season to promote his song with Entrain. I kid; his voice isn’t that bad. In 2004 he was went 10-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 32 starts. As the arch-nemesis of Alex Rodriguez, Arroyo has another season to further expose “the best player in baseball” for what he is, and isn’t.

Destination: Dynasty


Tedy Bruschi’s robbing of Dominic Rhodes will likely be the signature moment of Patriots’ playoff run this season. It is symbolic of the team’s hunger, its overwhelming desire for another title. Ask a player which ring is the best, they’ll say “the next one.”

January 16, 2005

Spudbrenner Prototype Unearthed

SpudbrennerThe New York Yankees organization has recently hired new personnel to strengthen its marketing department. Part of that effort appears to be making Yankees owner George Steinbrenner more fan- and kid- friendly.

An EE correspondent has intercepted e-mails between the Yankees, Hasbro, and BJ Enterprises revealing a follow-up product to the heavily anticipated “Darth Tater” item. “Spudbrenner” appears to be an attempt to salvage Steinbrenner’s flagging popularity with his fanbase. One of the e-mails appears in edited form below:

To: Xxxx Xxxx
From: Deborah A. Tymon
Subject: Project Spud
Date: January 14, 2005 3:55:09 PM EST

Hi Xxxx,
Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions on this exciting new collaboration. The entire Yankees organization is looking forward to unveiling the spudster at one of the Red Sox series, most likely during the May series (27th to 29th). Thanks also for the protoype drawing.

Some suggestions for accessories (What are the manufacturing logistics for these? Could you check with Xxxx?):

  • NYY cap
  • Diagram/instructions for the Heimlich maneuver
  • Checkbook
  • Michael Kay’s lips (can be affixed to posterior; could be problem with removal, however)
  • Brian Cashman’s scrotum
  • White gloves (similar to Alex Rodriguez’s)
  • Turtlenecks with monogrammed Yankees logo
  • Hypodermic needles (see Gary Sheffield for example)
I’m nixing the pinkslips, however.
Best Regards,

Special thanks to BlackJack for the “Spudbrenner” concept.

Stop. Sith. Stay.

DarthtaterHasbro announces Darth Tater, and the character that cut a terrifying figure in my childhood is now a mere spud.

Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of Sith, the man that slaughtered defenseless Tusken women and children, choked both Captain Needa and Admiral Ozzel to death merely because they were incompetent, and killed his own mentor in cold blood is now a Potatohead. I mean, Lord Potatohead, I guess. Now the only thing scary about him is that, although he is a potato, he is undigestable.

Warning: CHOKING HAZARD -Small Parts. Not for Children Under 3 yrs.

(You know I’ll be the first to buy one, make scale Yankee and Steinbrenner paraphernalia, and deck it up as an effigy of the Evil Empire, right? I just wanted to be clear on that.)

January 15, 2005

Paw-ty Hardy

The Pawtucket Red Sox are having their 28th annual Hot Stove League Party on Saturday, January 29, 2005 from noon to 3:00 P.M. at McCoy Stadium. Expected attendees include:


You’ll be able to get autographs and photographs with the coaches and players, enjoy food and drink, and purchase tickets for the 2005 season. Good chance to get tickets to the Saturday, July 30th game: Tim Wakefield Bobblehead Night.

January 13, 2005

Bulking Up the Steroid Policy

MLB is finally attempting to strengthen its steroid policy. Facing threatened legislation and grand jury testimony leaks, Bud Selig unveiled new measures today at the owners’ meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. ESPN revealed some of the details of the stiffer penalties. The bans below are all without pay, with the previous punishment follows in parentheses:

  • 1st positive test: 10-day ban (“treatment”)
  • 2nd positive test: 30-day ban (15-day suspension or $10,000 fine)
  • 3rd positive test: 60-day ban (25-day suspension or $25,000 fine)
  • 4th positive test: 1-year ban (50-day suspension or $50,000 fine)
  • 5th positive test: Discipline determined by the commissioner (1-year suspension or $100,000)

Notably, stricter penalties for amphetamines are not part of the plan. It is widely believed that stimulants, or “greenies,” are a larger problem than steroids in baseball. The Olympic banned substance policy is stricter with this category of drugs. While I understand that the nature of the 162-game season is grueling, I am disappointed that the league did not take this opportunity to take stronger action against amphetamines. Since only the hot topic, steroids, is addressed, the policy change smacks of a public relations ploy.

Only players’ urine, not blood, will be tested. This limitation means that use of human growth hormone will go undetected, since only blood tests can reveal this substance. Again, this aspect of the policy seems to be hurriedly put together due to public pressure.

The MLBPA still needs to vote to pass this policy. I hope that they will take what the owners have agreed to, but add some foresight to the plan. How about including provisions for testing of any future performance-enhancing substances, so that baseball does not again find itself with “tainted” records? If the parties are truly interested in cleaning up the game, these seemingly stopgap measures are a start, but an in-depth, comprehensive plan addressing amphetamines and yet-to-be-invented compounds should be considered.

January 11, 2005

So Goes Lowe

Dlowe_1Brilliant. Awful. Clutch. Choke. Choose any two diametrically opposed concepts, and I can guarantee you that both have been applied to Derek Lowe at some point in his career with the Boston Red Sox. As erratic and unpredictable as Lowe could be on the mound, when he was on, and threw his seemingly predictable sinker, batters grounded out consistently.

He came to the team from the Seattle Mariners along with Jason Varitek on July 31, 1997 in exchange for Heathcliff Slocumb. From his debut in 1997 and through 1999, he alternated between starting and relieving. And so his capricious tenure began.

In 2000, he was converted to full-time closer and had 42 saves in 47 opportunities, tying for the lead in the American League with Todd Jones, then with the Detroit Tigers. He still holds the second highest single season save total behind Tom Gordon’s 46 in 1998. He was selected to his first All-Star Game, the sixth different Sox reliever since 1980 to achieve this honor. By season’s end he proved to be one of the league’s best relievers, finishing behind only Jones for the Rolaids Relief Award.

The next season saw a tremendous reversal of fortunes. He was tied for first in the league for relief losses with 10. He went 4-10 with a 4.04 ERA. His 24 saves in 64 opportunities shows how dismal his season was. The only bright spot was his 8 game save streak, the best since Gordon.

In 2002, he was reinvented as a starting pitcher with outstanding results. He won 21 games with a 2.58 ERA, second in both categories, while he was third in BAA at 210. He placed third in Cy Young Award voting and was the AL’s starting pitcher in the ASG. Torii Hunter helped him out by robbing Barry Bonds of a home run ball he threw, although most will recall that this game resulted in a tie. During the regular season, he threw a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Fenway Park, the first there in 37 years, after nearly no-hitting the Baltimore Orioles a week before.

He’ll be most remembered for this postseason heroics, in both 2003 and 2004. Despite the ups and downs of his career, he was most dependable when the stakes were highest.

He’s an athlete that’s a sports fan. He won’t be reading Dostoevsky in the bus like Mike Mussina. When you see him excited at a Celtics game, he really means it. (And knows enough to pretend to be a Cs fan when in Boston, despite being a Detroit Pistons devotee.) He plays a kid’s game with a child’s abandon, every scintilla of emotion shining through.

Pitching in Dodger Stadium with a stellar infield behind him and a pitcher in the nine hole will most likely be another boost to his career. Maybe he’ll mature further and gain that consistency that he lacks. I hope that he doesn’t lose the kid in him, though.

January 9, 2005

I Love Waltah!

Mccarty_2Oh, this isn’t about Walter McCarty? It’s about David McCarty? Hmm... well, he’s tall. It is said that he is smart, having graduated from Stanford and all. And he’s tall....

McCarty can play first base, outfield, and even pitch. Signed to a minor league deal, the 35-year-old will get $550,000 if he makes the major league team. He someday hopes to work in an MLB front office, and what better place to learn than Boston. Here he can get exposure to managing the media, working with sabermetricians, and combining this stastical data with scouting reports.

January 7, 2005

The San Diego Chicken Speaks

Offers Hope, Encouragement to Wally

SdchickenAfter hearing of Wally the Green Monster’s recent travails, the San Diego Chicken had a candid conversation with an EE correspondent about the lessons he learned as a high profile MLB mascot.

“I know exactly what Wally is going through. I was the toast of the town once. I was a folk hero, a cultural phenomenon. They called me the Mascot of the Millennium.

“Since then, I’ve intentionally lowered my profile. You can’t be ubiquitous, because people will tire of you real quick. Just ask Jennifer Lopez. Decrease the supply, demand increases.

“What Wally has to do is refocus his image. I feel sorry for him for having to impress a bunch of tight-assed New Englanders while all I had to do was amuse some Californians who are already happy because of whatever new therapy, drug, or diet they are on. Forget about the older folks; they’re too preoccupied with finally winning the World Series. He’s got to concentrate on the echo boomers, and the thing these kids want is to be uber-ironic. Each metal lunchbox, Trapper Keeper, and thrift store t-shirt they buy could be money in Wally’s pocket if he plays his cards right. So what if the Red Sox want another mascot to cater to toddlers? If he can strike a chord with the mavens of the consumer market, the older echo boomers, I see an unstoppable Wally resurgence.

“You’re wondering how I know all this pop culture theory stuff? Well, I was able to use my earnings to send the kids to some fancy pants Ivy League schools. Then they come back and spout Geertz, Althusser, Barthes, Baudrillard, Butler at me. Funny thing is, there’s profit in poststructuralism.”

The Chicken is currently planning a sports scene comeback of his own. “Soon I’ll be strutting back on the diamond at Petco Field, I guarantee it,” he says. “These days, you say “Catholic church” and the public thinks “pedophiles.” Parents aren’t apt to buy some Friar Tuck bobblehead for their child.” The Chicken sits back on his chair and places his feet on the desk, smiling contentedly. “But I think they are ready for a Famous Chicken limited edition iPod case. Pricepoint of $15 is good, I think.”

January 5, 2005

Exits and Entrances

Exit Pokey Reese. He signed a one-year $1.2M with a team option for 2006 with the Seattle Mariners. Mike Cameron was ecstatic for him, telling him “it will be the best thing that ever happened to you.” Did Cameron just not pay attention to baseball during October 2004?

Reese quickly became a fan favorite here despite anemic offensive production because he clearly relished playing in front of an energetic and devoted fan base. Having become inured to the booted balls and wild throws of Nomar Garciaparra, Reese’s fielding was an antidote to ulcer-inducing unearned runs and errors. His highlights with the team include:

  • May 8: Inside the park home run in the fifth and a Monster shot in the sixth in this Saturday game against the Kansas City Royals. The Sox go on to win 9-1.
  • June 14: Astounding catch of Dave Roberts’s line drive with 2 on and 2 out in the seventh inning. The Red Sox beat the Dodgers 4-1, and Pedro Martinez says “they should give the win to Pokey.”
  • October 20: Fields a grounder from Ruben Sierra to throws to Doug Mientkiewicz to get the final out of the historic ALCS against the Yankees.

Boggs_wade Enter Wade Boggs. Boggs is the 17th player who played a large part of their career with the Red Sox to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and was voted in with 91.9% of the vote. He is listed as the number 4 third baseman of all time by Bill James, and was American League batting champion five of his 18 seasons. The induction ceremony will be on July 31st. No word on if Margo Adams will attend.

January 4, 2005

Mascot Controversy Hits Beantown

WallyThere have been scattered stirrings of new mascots on the horizon for the Boston Red Sox. Wally the Green Monster (pictured left, fending off paparazzi) has been falling out of favor due to some questionable after hours activities. Sox officials have noted his recent erratic behavior, including fisticuffs with Mr. Met (apparently related to extra-marital activities with Mrs. Met) and all-night binge drinking with the impressionable young Portland Seadog mascot Slugger.

“Just look at those bags under his eyes, his green complexion, and continually frazzled expression and you know that things just aren’t right,” said an anonymous clubhouse worker. “I’ve tried, we’ve all tried to get him help, but he has to recognize for himself the downward spiral he is in.”

When questioned about the rumors, Wally said, “You would think after all these years of service the Red Sox would respect me. I’ve been a fan since 1912, and moved into Fenway in 1947. The ownership back them let me do as a please, knowing what I brought to the club. When I finally started making the PR rounds in 1997, I had the world on a platter. But as soon as a fellow hits some rough spots, it’s “Bam! Get outta here.” I don’t know what this Larry guy has planned, but he’ll lose a big piece of heart and soul if he gets rid of me.” Wally then blinked back tears and shook his head. “As for my fur coloring, I’m Wally the [expletive omitted] Green Monster. Geez, Kermit was right. He was right all along.”

Larry Lucchino, president and CEO of the Red Sox, could not be reached for comment.

January 2, 2005


Bob Hohler’s January 2nd article in the Boston Globe goes into detail on how Terry Francona had to deal with some of the player incidents during the season. For me, the piece highlighted the similarities and differences between the leaders of the two current world champions of their sport, Terry Francona and Bill Belichick.

FranconabelichikBoth managed to keep a shroud of secrecy around their team basically intact. The reasons for this requirement are vastly different. Francona needs to be an ambassador, nursing egos and relationships over the course of a long and sometimes tedious season. His players are paid regardless of performance or behavior. The clubhouse atmosphere was loose, a necessity in the glare of media attention.

Meanwhile, Belichick can worry less about personalities, as long as his players buy into his system. It is incredible to hear interviews with Patriots players about any “controversies,” such as Charlie Weis’s appointment as Notre Dame’s head coach, and how everyone’s answers are in lockstep. No distraction or deviation from the task at hand is acceptable in the Patriot locker room.

The Red Sox front office has stated that Grady Little was fired because of his lack of preparation for games, and hoped that the next person they hired would use the information the advanced scouts and statisticians compiled for each game. Francona has satisfied this requirement, as well as being able squelch incidents before they arise. The official appointment of Jason Varitek as captain is the next step in the evolution of the 2005 Red Sox. It seems they are looking to have a team that does not cater to its superstars’ whims, where everyone more or less works under the same rules. With the subtraction of certain players who demanded special treatment, it appears that this goal will be attainable. We’ll see how “Patriotic” next season’s team will be.

January 1, 2005

Fading Images

Late last night I was browsing through the Boston Public Library’s online gallery of past sports venues called Sports Temples of Boston. I started getting chills as I combed through the images of Fenway Park through the decades.

Ted Williams appears in several pictures. Long, awkward, gangly. It’s hard to imagine him being the greatest left-handed hitter ever. One of the photos has him in his akimbo batting stance wearing nothing but his briefs. You would imagine in that more restrained era Williams would be hesitant to pose for such a photo, but, as in other things, he wasn’t like those of his time.

There are also some photos of football games being played in Fenway. While I do enjoy that sport, it seemed to border on desecration to me. I am told that Gillette Stadium can accomodate baseball, and I find that similarly unappetizing. The only way football and baseball should be combined on the same field is when members of the World Champion teams make guest appearances.

Many photos are of Fenway teeming full of fans. I thought about the people in the stands, some still with us, most probably not. I wondered if they had children in whom they instilled a love of the game, and the Red Sox. Though separated by time, I felt that kindred sense of being that comes with rooting for the team, our team, reaching across the decades.

Tonight’s Red Sox Stories on UPN 38 is about “Tessie,” the song that propelled the 1903 team through the first World Series. The modern reworking of the melody carried us through 2004. There are, and always will be, threads of faith, a skein of memory connecting us to the past.

Will This Be the Year... Again?

RedsoxcelebrateHere’s hoping for a recreation of this scene in 2005. Happy New Year!

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