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Home » Monthly Archive » March 2005

March 31, 2005

Experiment Over

KimByung-Hyun Kim is headed to the Colorado Rockies, with quite a bit of financial hijinks on the balance sheets. The Rockies only have to pay the major league minimum of $315,000, leaving the Red Sox with the remaining $6M and LHP Chris Narveson, who was then optioned to Pawtucket. The shell game was with Charles Johnson, whose $9M salary was immediately removed from Boston’s books when he was released. In return, the Rockies got the difference between Kim and Johnson’s salaries. For the Sox, this doesn’t apply to the luxury tax, so it’s a bit of a break.

I saw Kim pitch when the Red Sox matched up against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 8, 2002. Curt Schilling was the starter, and Mike Myers made a relief appearance as well, ironically enough. Three Diamondback pitchers with World Series rings that eventually get a matched set with the Red Sox.

In 2002 I had seats right near the visitor’s bullpen. I got to see and harass some of the best that year, from Mariano Rivera to John Smoltz. The interesting thing about Kim pre-Sox days was that he inspired sympathy among fans, almost a kinship. Is there a Red Sox fan who doesn’t know what it is like to see their team face the Yankees in a big moment, and then watch them fail? Despite his disastrous 2001 World Series, he went on to be an All-Start the next year.

Trading Shea Hillenbrand for Kim freed up the glutted infield. Without Kim, there’s no Bill Mueller batting champion season. No Kim, possibly no Ortiz breakout year. Sans Kim and his 0.00 ERA in September of 2003, we’re likely not in the Wild Card that year.

Those facts evaporate in the intense heat of fan scrutiny. He flicked off fans after they booed him. He didn’t have a public relations machine to smooth over friction and didn’t live up to expectations. The rancor was compounded by his race, language skills, and nationality. Sadly for him, Colorado is the worst place to rehabilitate a pitcher, but I hope he’ll find some peace there.

March 29, 2005

Lefty Left, Came Back

Left-handed pitchers like Mike Myers often find themselves on the rebound. “It’s not you, it’s me,” says the Red Sox front office, and Myers goes to the Cardinals. Then things get bleak and Theo Epstein recalls how good it was with Myers, and how he took him for granted. Epstein gazes down at the mound, remembering the graceful grazing of Myers’s sidearm delivery, and how dumbfounded he left Garret Anderson. “I was all wrong about Anastacio. I don’t know what I ever saw him. I sent him packing. Please, come back.” Nostalgia sets in as he peruses the lines:

vs. Right 61 22 21 5 0 3 14 11 0 8 2 1 .344 .432 .574 1.006
vs. Left 103 0 24 5 0 2 13 12 2 24 1 1 .233 .322 .340 .662

“Your strikeout to walk ratio isn’t the greatest, but you don’t give up extra base hits often. You’re all I’ve ever wanted in a LOOGY. I’ll give up minor league outfielder Carlos de la Cruz and pitcher Kevin Ool if you’ll just give us another chance.”

March 28, 2005

Thanks a Mil(l)iard

Everyone knows the British don’t like to use American words where the Queen’s English version would do:

  • flashlight=torch
  • gnarly=grotty
  • first floor=ground floor
  • tired=knackered
  • fries=chips
  • billion=milliard

Mike Miliard of the Boston Phoenix Sox Blog mentioned this site today, as have A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory, Bullshit Memorial Stadium, and The Joy of Sox. Cheers and ta, you’re a group of ace blokes and Bob’s your uncle. These sites are just the bees knees, and I’m not telling porkies. Click on the links and stop faffing around.

A Tale of Two Cities: Divergent Destinations

Tale2citiesFull title: A Tale of Two Cities: The 2004 Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry and the War for the Pennant
Authors: Tony Massarotti and John Harper
Publisher: The Lyons Press
ISBN: 1592287042

Two beat writers for the rival teams, Tony Massarotti for the Boston Herald and John Harper for the New York Daily News, collaborate to chronicle the 2004 season. Despite the reputation of the newspapers they write for, both reporters outstrip their milieu with their achievements. Massarotti was voted the best sportswriter in Massachusetts by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 2000 and was a finalist for the award in 2003. Harper has co-authored several books on both the Yankees and the Mets and has covered sports for over twenty years. Both are exemplars of local kid growing up to cover the teams of their childhood.

Unlike Faithful, the Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan book, A Tale of Two Cities succeeds because Massarotti and Harper have greater access to and insight on the inner workings of the clubhouses as well as an astute eye (not always objective) to observe the foibles of players, managers, and executives. Since I’m a fan like King and O’Nan, their viewpoint (other than the fact they had much better seats and went to more games) isn’t necessarily very different from mine. Being with the team almost continuously enables Massarotti and Harper to witness firsthand incidents that would otherwise go undocumented.

One occurrence that has gotten publicity because it was excerpted in the Herald is the clash between Shonda Schilling and Johnny Damon’s then-fiancée, Michelle Mangan, regarding the good luck scarves the former had distributed amongst the players’ significant others. There are many other peccadilloes recounted that I’ll leave to the audience to uncover for themselves. Even if you were an ardent follower last season, you will still probably discover something new in this book.

Also of note is seeing the series through their lenses lightly tinted with bias. The Red Sox took an early lead in the season series, winning six out of seven games, including a sweep at Yankee Stadium. Massarotti mocks the Yankees’ excuse of jet-lag, pointing out it had been three weeks since since they had returned from Japan. Meanwhile, Harper states unironically that the “jet-lagged ballclub [was] still shaking off the cobwebs from the season-opening trip to Japan.”

The temptation for newspaper writers would be to rehash the work they had already done all season. Fortunately, neither succumbed to this facile path. Instead, the point/counterpoint structure of the book lends itself to lively and well-informed banter between two reporters that, for this occasion, decided to be fans first. Fans fortunate to have an enviable vantage not only at the games, but in the clubhouses and front offices as well. I give this book four press credentials out of five.

March 27, 2005

Multimedia Melange

FeverpitchFever Pitch
Position: Feature-length film
Debut: Fenway premiere is April 6, 2005; wide release is April 8, 2005
Scouting: Creative forces behind this effort are proven commodities, as the Farrelly brothers are the directors of There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber. Their recent releases, however, such as Shallow Hal and Stuck on You, have been spotty and not well-received.

This article in the Boston Globe shows that they have the fan credentials, but some question whether this movie might be diminish the outstanding source material from which it is derived. Adapted from Nick Hornby’s novel of the same title, with the major change of replacing football and Arsenal with baseball and the Red Sox. Also an issue is the rapid re-writing of the ending because of the Red Sox winning the World Series. But how can you miss anything that has the Red Sox winning it all in the end?

Covering the Bases
Position: Cover album
Debut: July 12, 2005
Scouting: Like the Farrelly brothers’ offering, Bronson Arroyo’s cover album will live or die according to how the source material is handled. Arroyo picked twelve of his favorite songs from Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Alice in Chains. A quick study, he’s only been playing guitar since 1999.

Arroyo’s previous experience has been live appearances on “Fox Sports New England Tonight” and the “Hot Stove, Cool Music” fundraisers. His talent as a studio artist is not established, so it seems to be a wise decision to ease him into the recording industry with other groups’ songs. Although capable of writing his own music, he didn’t have time in the offseason to do so.

1918 – The Film
Position: Independent short film
Debut: Date to be determined; projected for late March 2005
Scouting: This short follows two lifelong Red Sox fans who score World Series tickets, but face adversity on the way to the game. Their site is mum on whether or not any revisions occurred given the events of 2004.

In direct contrast with the Farrelly brothers, these filmmakers are an unknown quantity, which makes them intriguing. Relative newcomers to the field bring an unpredictability and freshness to the season, especially since they are working off all original material. Three years in the making, the cast and crew of this venture are mostly diehard fans of the Olde Towne team. Keep checking their site to find dates and locations of showings.

HoodfenwayfudgeHood’s “Fenway Fudge”
Position: Ice cream
Debut: March 27, 2005 (In my kitchen, at any rate. May have been earlier for others.)
Scouting: Hood is obviously conspiring so that Red Sox fans won’t lose any winter weight. This is only one of the four flavors available, all of which I’ll try.

I can almost see how Red Sox completist types would try and devise some way to collect these boxes. They would be proudly displayed next to the Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz Wheaties boxes.

HoodfenwayfudgenutritionThe ice cream itself is solid, a chocolate-based ice cream with a fudge swirl and chocolate and fudge “socks.” Good thing there’s no Curt Schilling-inspired flavor.

The ice cream that really signifies the beginning of baseball season for me is Baskin-Robbins’ Baseball Nut seasonal flavor. Vanilla ice cream, cashews, and a “raspberry” swirl for the umpires. I’m looking your way, Joe West. (It seems West has his own CD called Blue Cowboy. Perhaps he’s jealous of Arroyo’s more hip music, explaining his bias against the Red Sox.)

March 26, 2005

Hand to Mouth

The presentation the students created at the Merriam School in Acton is now available online. After reviewing it, I believe there are some subversive messages embedded within the seemingly peace-inspiring document.


A budding Red Sox semiologist is obviously exploiting the polysemy of the phrase “You Do This!” Rather than explicitly stating that this is an example of incorrect behavior, there is room for multiple interpretations. This could also be an exhortation to the players by this unruly student to assume the simulacrum of a handshake ceremony, but to sucker punch the New York club players once they get close enough.

Kids these days....

March 25, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: Dark Matters

For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Corinthians xiii. 12.

Earlier this year astronomers found evidence of a dark matter galaxy. At first it was thought to be a mass of hydrogen atoms, but on closer observation it was much more massive and fast moving to be merely hydrogen. (Incidentally, hydrogen is the only element whose isotopes have different names. The simplest and most abundant form of hydrogen is known as protium. Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, has a nucleus of a proton and an neutron. Finally, tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen with a nucleus of a proton and two neutrons and a half-life of 12 1/4 years.)

Although originally detected in 2000, it has taken five years to rule out other possible explanations for this unseen matter. The dark matter galaxy was named VIRGOHI21. Dark matter makes up approximately 85% of the mass in the universe, and the existing mass matters because it will ultimately determine the fate of the cosmos.

I often discuss astronomy with my teammates. They’re always telling me that I’m really into space and that they like that I’m out there. I give them constant updates about such pressing issues as the cosmological constant. I mean, everyone wants to know if the end of the cosmos will be the Big Crunch, the Big Rip, or the Big Chill, right? Just yesterday I was explaining to Millar the Friedman equation:


If we knew the value of Omega (Ω), we’d know how it all ends. If the average density of matter is greater than the critical density, then the gravity attracting all extant matter would reverse the expansion of the universe and cause the Big Crunch. If this density is below the critical density, and recent evidence of the increasing speed of the universe expanding bears out over the course of the next 2x1010 years, then the Big Rip comes into play. Finally, if the average density is equal to the critical density, then the universe expands forever at a constant rate until everything is the same undifferentiated temperature.

Kevin was blown away, and then mentioned how he’d prefer the Big Chill because of the swinging. I went back to the whiteboard and tried to show him the laws of thermodynamics, but he got pulled away on urgent grooming issues with the Fab Five. We set up an appointment to talk more next week.

Every Friday, Dave McCarty will join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site.

March 24, 2005

Patching Things Up

OpeningdaypatchYou’ve probably bought the jerseys with the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series patches. What’s one more? When I got the e-mail showing Red Sox Opening Day Commemorative Collection, I just had to stare and marvel. It required the shaking of the head, the blinking of the eyes, and the pinching of the back of the hand to confirm, again, for the millionth time, that this is indeed sweet reality.

OpeningdaypatchyankeesAfter luxuriating in being the defending World Champions, I then felt badly that the Yankees didn’t have their own patch memorializing their valiant efforts. I’ve made one for them. They’ll be able to look back at their spectacular finish in the ALCS and remember how close they were to getting into the World Series. All those times they were on the threshold in games 4, 5, 6, and 7. Oh, that’s right, they were never close in the 7th game.

March 23, 2005

Various and Sundry

Hand Jive
Only Nixon could go to China, and only Merriam School 5th and 6th grade students in Acton, Massachusetts can heal the rift between the Red Sox and the Yankees. Teacher Ed Kaufman says, “Kids were intimidated; they were afraid to wear their Yankees hats.” Good. They should be scared. I would like to know at what point these kids will have their spines reinserted. Hopefully, it will be before they enter the real world.

The other funny thing is that these kids made a propaganda-ridden PowerPoint presentation and sent it to both clubs. Soon these tykes will be braiding daisy chains and singing about how they’d like to buy the world a Coke. Or writing insidious pop-up ads urging people to love their neighbors and letting bygones be bygones.

Check out Rule 3.09. The players would be a breaking a rule by shaking hands. What kind of example would that set? “We look up to you. We follow your example,” say the children in their presentation. How about some better roles models, like Daw Aung San Suu Kyi or Rigoberta Menchú Tum?

Homely Girl
Fenway used to be so lonely. You’re a beautiful ballpark, homely girl. The Red Sox are now committed to staying with Fenway. And why not? Sure, there were a few rough years there with that temperamental gal. But, treat her nice, fix her up some, and she’ll come around.


I’m ruined for other parks. Fenway was my first baseball park. I took this picture at an interleague game against Atlanta on June 28, 2002. John Burkett started and lasted seven innings, leaving with the score 2-2. The Red Sox lost that game 4-2, but I’ll remember Tom Glavine throwing in the visitor’s bullpen, soaking in the ambiance. Since he’s from Billerica, many people drifted by to see him. You can come home again. In fact, you don’t ever have to leave, especially if that place is called “Fenway.”

March 22, 2005

San Diego Shuffle

BlainenealI’m telling you, the San Diego Padres are our second triple-A team. Today, Theo Epstein and Kevin Towers swapped outfielder Adam “Needs a Vowel” Hyzdu for RHP Blaine “That’s a major appliance, that’s not a name” Neal. Rotoworld theorizes that Neal would be Byung-Hyun Kim’s eventual replacement, as it is appearing less and less likely that Kim will succeed with the Red Sox. Scouting reports say that Neal is a fastballer reaching 95-96 MPH, but without movement, and his slider is considered average.

And yes, there is a minor league team whose mascot and nickname is the beaver. Nothing much going on in Portland but blazing trails and making dams.

March 18, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: Saints’ Days and Dehydrogenase

MccartycrestForgive me if I’m not entirely coherent. I’m a bit hungover from my St. Patrick’s Day festivities. I broke out the old McCarty family crest (argent with a red stag) and imbibed a few frosty ones to honor St. Patrick. The man that became the patron saint of Ireland was actually born in Wales with the name Maewyn Succat around 385 CE. Suffering Succat-ash! Heh, heh. Although born into a pagan culture, a vision sent him to France, where he became a priest.

(I have a massive headache. Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) is the enzyme people have to break down alcohol. If this enzyme didn’t exist in our livers and stomachs, alcohol would act as a poison causing flushing, syncope, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, headache, tachycardia, anxiety, and confusion. Or perhaps that was me watching too much Riverdance. ADH first converts ethanol to acetaldehyde, which is further broken down into harmless acetic acid by aldehyde dehydrogenase. Acetaldehyde, or ethanal, is more toxic than alcohol and is the cause of many hangover symptoms. Stupid ethanal.)

St. Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the populace to Christianity. He used the three-leafed shamrock to symbolize the trinity, founding a long tradition of Irish people trotting the globe being holier-than-thou. Did I say that? I didn’t mean it, it’s the ethanal talking. I love U2. How is it that U2 is getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame already, anyway?

Every March 17th, people celebrate St. Patrick’s day by wearing green, drinking beer, having parades that exclude gays and lesbians (even though he is the saint of excluded people), and pondering the fact that there are chefs that specialize in Irish cuisine. And then being even more befuddled by the existence of a sentence that unironically uses the words “Irish” and “cuisine” together.

Every Friday, Dave McCarty will join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site, who carries the Asian phenotype of low-activity aldehyde dehydrogenase.

March 17, 2005

Richard Raymond Radatz

RadatzName: Richard Raymond Radatz
Called: “Dick Radatz,” “The Monster,” “Moose”
Born: April 2, 1937
Hometown: Detroit, MI
College: Michigan State
Major League Debut: April 10, 1962
Final Game: August 15, 1969
Died: March 16, 2005
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 235 lbs
Position: Relief Pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He got “The Monster” nickname from Mickey Mantle. Look up the box scores against the Yankees to see how he did against Mantle, and you’ll see why.

Requiescat in pace.

March 16, 2005

Great Chain of Beings

Chris Snow from the Boston Globe announces the batting order for the 2005 season:

  1. Johnny Damon
  2. Edgar Renteria
  3. Manny Ramirez
  4. David Ortiz
  5. Kevin Millar
  6. Jason Varitek
  7. Trot Nixon
  8. Bill Mueller
  9. Mark Bellhorn

I had expected Bellhorn to keep his spot in the 2-hole, so I’m a bit surprised. His high strikeout rate has been discussed ad nauseum, but Bellhorn’s OPS of .817 is superior to Renteria’s .728. Renteria also grounded into more double plays (14) than Bellhorn (8, something that lessens the impact of his strikeouts). Renteria saw slightly more pitches than Bellhorn, but he also had more at bats, so this doesn’t seem to be a determining factor. Renteria does well batting second, going 276/311/417 in 228 at bats. I think one reason for shifting Bellhorn down is that Renteria has more speed. For example, if Damon doesn’t get on base, at least Renteria could be someone that could get from first to third on a single.

Not that we want Ortiz and Ramirez to hit singles. There was some consideration to switch the Dynamic Duo, and Snow alludes to some tension regarding their spots in the order.

Batting #3 187 40 54 13 0 15 46 24 .289 .373 .599 .972
Batting #4 380 68 121 31 0 28 84 58 .318 .409 .621 1.030

Batting #3 374 53 115 33 3 26 89 41 .307 .373 .620 .993
Batting #4 186 37 52 12 0 14 46 32 .280 .388 .570 .958

It’s a luxury to have such a lethal combination. Although feelings might be bruised, keeping the status quo in this situation is borne out by the team’s winning ways when Ramirez bats third and Ortiz bats fourth. David Borges notes that Terry Francona’s decision was based primarily on the team’s record of 45-15 at the end of the season. However, there were many other factors that drove the team’s success in the stretch run. When given two superlative hitters like Ortiz and Ramirez, perhaps the order doesn’t matter, as long as one protects the other.

March 14, 2005

Take Five

We’ll have to wait until June 7th to see the Red Sox players on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and now it’s five players (Damon, Millar, Mirabelli, Varitek, and Wakefield; no Mueller, sadly). Not only are there sartorial benefits, but $100,000 was raised to restore a Charlotte County Little League field that was destroyed by Hurricane Charley.


If there’s anyone on the Boston sports scene that needs the Fab Five it would be Bill Belichick, hands down. As others have noted, he wears his frumpy sweats like a Jedi Master. Eric Mangini should start dressing like his Padawan, with a little braid down the side of his neck. Nelson de la Rosa could be Yoda; since he’s no longer Pedro Martinez’s crony, I’m sure he can find a gig as Deion Branch’s sidekick. (Don’t forget to watch the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith trailer, if you haven’t already.)

March 13, 2005

Lunar View

Jere from A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory has made a sublime movie commemorating our World Champion Red Sox. It’s must-see SV (streaming video).


Photo of the World Series eclipse courtesy of Russell Croman. You can find more eclipse photos from October 27th at space.com.

New Feature: Quotables

Thanks to sites like Baseball Almanac, thinkexist.com, and some of my favorite baseball blogs, every time you refresh this page you’ll see a new quote. If you think of one that I missed, feel free to send it to me. In particular, I don’t have many contributions from John W. Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Theo Epstein. As I read Red Sox Nation: An Unexpurgated History of the Red Sox, I expect to add more from the ballclub’s past.

The range of people who enjoy baseball is vast: George F. Will, Stephen Jay Gould, Walt Whitman, George Carlin, Doris Kearns Goodwin, William Goldman, Simon Schama. I hope to amass a similarly diverse passel of thoughts for Quotables.

March 12, 2005

Mean Acres

Mean Acres is the place for me
Bronx livin’ is the life for me
Shots spreadin’ out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me some place to hide

New York is where I’m going to stay
I get annoyed without high pay
I just adore a penthouse view
Schilling, I love you, but give me River Avenue

MeanacresjohnsonThe whores!
The scores!
Cut hair!
Times Square!

Hello to strife
Good bye, desert life
Mean Acres, I are there

With apologies to Vic Mizzy.

This is sort of Dirt Doggish, isn’t it? Sorry about that. Hey, I also heard that Randy Johnson is getting into the culture that New York has to offer. He likes Christo and Jean-Claude’s The Gates because the orange color reminds him of high visibility hunting gear.

March 11, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: Knee Deep In It

MeniscaltearsYou may have heard that my teammate Roberto Petagine will be undergoing surgery for a partially torn meniscus. The menisci are the shock absorbers of the knee. They assist in centering the knee joint during activity and minimizing the amount of stress on the articular cartilage. Both menisci and the surface cartilage in your knee produces a nigh frictionless gliding surface, making the knee the most mobile joint in the body. Such mobility introduces the higher probability of damage, however.

Typically, a meniscus will tear due to a twisting injury. Roberto can expect to feel pain at the side or in the center of the knee, depending on where the tear is. He should able to walk, although swelling will increase over 2 to 3 days. If he overuses the knee, he may further injure the knee, so it is likely he won’t be making the 25-man roster.

It has been said that the knee is the most vulnerable part of the body. An equivalent would be two steel bars being held together by a couple of rubberbands. For average people, the knee is used over a million times a year; as you can imagine, a Major League baseball player uses his knees considerably more. Roberto’s unfortunate happenstance might give me a spot back on the roster. The wise Bill Watterson said, through Calvin, “If your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life.”

Every Friday, Dave McCarty will join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site. He thanks Pine Tar Helmet for her idea to induce injury to Petagine...err, explore the marvel that is the human knee, that is.

March 9, 2005

Menage à Six

First, the inclusion of not only the previously announced Kevin Millar but also Bill Mueller, Tim Wakefield, Doug Mirabelli, Jason Varitek, and Johnny Damon in the upcoming “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” World Champion Red Sox edition, is the second sign of a higher power that my agnostic self has been searching for over the past few decades. (We all know what the first is.) Second, Carson Kressley is a casual fan bitch.

March 8, 2005

Dirt Dog Shocked

During a routine morning walk, famed Boston sportswriter Dirt Dog was electrocuted when he traversed a portion of pavement charged by an exposed NStar Electric lamppost. Unlike the recent incident that caused the death of a year-old boxer named Cassius, the Internet personality survived the incident and is recovering in an area hospital. His condition is listed as stable.

Doctors attending Dirt Dog do not anticipate long term damage at this time, but indicate that he may experience the following symptoms until recovering:

  • Pains, headaches, tremors, weakness, sweating, fainting
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Deafness, visual disturbances
  • Insomnia, nightmares, panic attacks
  • Intrusive memories, nervousness
  • Feelings of powerlessness, worthlessness, irritability
  • Feelings of aggressiveness
  • Sexual disturbances
  • Feelings of alienation, depression, and guilt

“He’s slowly coming around to his usual self,” said an unnamed, unverified source possibly named Jennifer or Jessica. “I heard him mumbling about Nomar Garciaparra being the best Red Sox shortstop of all time and lauding Pedro Martinez for his charitable work in the Dominican Republic. He’s obviously experiencing extreme dementia at the moment. I fully expect him to rebound and continue to be the voice of all the diehard fans out there.”

Attorneys for Dirt Dog are expected to demand a $17.5M settlement from NStar. “It’s a symbolic amount, being the salary of Pedro Martinez in 2004. Dirt Dog was instrumental in exposing Martinez as the selfish, preening prima donna he is, and NStar is possibly depriving his audience of future breaking and substantive news. We believe this amount is representative of Dirt Dog’s vast, historic, and lasting contribution to the Boston baseball club and its fandom.”

NStar would not comment on any aspect of the settlement negotiations.

March 7, 2005

Utter Desolation

It was the biggest game of the season, and the Red Sox couldn’t meet the challenge. Defeated 9-2, embarrassed on their own home practice field, unworthy of the title of World Champions. The Yankees had yet to win a game until they faced the Red Sox, a team that folded like origami paper. How can they make the 1,500 mile trip back to Fenway Park with any shred of dignity intact after that performance?

(Sorry, folks. Just thought I’d practice my Dan Shaughnessy for a bit.)

What’s not to like about Abe Alvarez? He had 2 earned runs over 2 innings, but exhibited tremendous poise and aplomb. Being a left-handed pitcher with excellent control should serve him well in the future. He has already been compared to Tom Glavine and Jamie Moyer. My only reservation is that the doesn’t have a huge drop to his curveball. The blindness in one eye is incidental and doesn’t seem to impact his approach. He’s already accruing accolades; just last year he was an Eastern League All Star, voted Most Valuable Pitcher by the fans, and was the Sea Dogs’ Pitcher of the Year. With any luck I’ll get to see him in Pawtucket this season.

The battle of Game 8 is over. The war for the season has just begun.

Game 8

This is it. This is the one for all the marbles. The Spring Showdown. The Cavort at the Fort. The Pyres at Ft. Myers. The Florida Fracas. In the one-hundred thirty-six days since Game 7, the New York Yankees have been famished for victory, gnawing on the bitter bones of last season’s failure.

Only a few select members of Gotham’s ballclub will be on hand to redeem themselves of their ignominious defeat. It seems that Joe Torre wishes to mete out sweet vengeance in small portions, so that he does not too quickly satiate their appetite. Jason Giambi, Bernie Williams, and Hideki Matsui are in the privileged minority to be on hand for this monumental struggle.

Just ask Deborah Kellogg-Van Orden and her sister Rebecca, who camped out two nights to acquire tickets to this crucial match-up. How silly do I look for lining up outside of Fenway in December at 2:30 AM for tickets to actual games when I could have been in Florida to witness this far more critical game in person? I can only tune into NESN this evening and experience it secondhand. At least I’ll be able to say I saw Game 8.

March 6, 2005

Making Amendments

robinsonThis past Thursday, Jack Roosevelt Robinson was posthumously bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian award. Jackie Robinson is only the fourth athlete and the second baseball player to be so honored; the others were Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, and Roberto Clemente.

The Red Sox have a shameful historic connection to Robinson. On April 16, 1945, the team held a tryout session with Robinson and two other Negro League players, Sam Jethroe and Marvin Williams. It is alleged, but not confirmed, that it was Tom Yawkey himself that yelled, “Get those niggers off the field” during the sham event. At any rate, only Red Sox management was in the stands. It was clear to Robinson that he and his fellow Negro Leaguers were there just to placate a Boston City Council decree and the Red Sox had no intention of integrating the team. Just eighteen months later, Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Robinson would likely be rendered ineligible for the award by recent House-approved legislation that restricts posthumous medals to a 20-year period beginning five years after a person’s death and also limits the award to two medals a year. With these possible restrictions impending, two Massachusetts legislators, Senator John Kerry and Reprepsentative Richard Neal, co-sponsored the bill to award Robinson the medal. The John W. Henry ownership group actively worked with Kerry and Neal to pass the Robinson bill. Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe reports that George Mitrovich, a former press aide to Robert Kennedy and a close friend of Larry Lucchino, also contributed to this effort.

Rrobinson Under the Henry ownership group, a much coveted and long awaited championship came to New England. But more importantly, while bringing baseball and commercial success, the group has acknowledged their organization’s previous shortcomings and have actively made amends for the racist and intolerant regimes of the past. The group has a multi-layered approach to promoting diversity, including: “trying to find a black or Hispanic multi-millionaire to join their new ownership group; starting a scholarship program for city kids; doing business with black radio stations; and organizing visits by Red Sox officials to black and Hispanic civic and religious groups.”

In 2002, Henry stated, “I think we have to make a statement not just in baseball but in our community that diversity is an issue that hasn’t been fully addressed in the past and certainly has to be fully addressed. I think it’s important what your actions are. That will really define the franchise going forward.” Henry has largely abided by his statements.

For my part, I think Henry and the Red Sox could exert more pressure on their radio broadcast partner, Sports Radio WEEI, to diversify their programming. Tiny steps forward are made, with Michael Holley named as co-host for the 10 AM to 2 PM show with Dale Arnold. I understand that programming is reflective of audience demographics, but WEEI assumes that only white males listen to its broadcasts. Wouldn’t more African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and women listen to WEEI if they felt the were being represented? Isn’t it in the station’s best interests to broaden their audience base rather than merely cater to a vociferous subset of the population?

I’m not saying that WEEI should be NPR, as the topic is “only” sports. But we see the impact that Robinson had and continues to have on American civil rights history and he was “only” an athlete. Participation in the discourse on sports and society, much of which takes place on talk radio, should not be limited to those of a particular race or gender.

March 5, 2005

Back in the Saddle

My comments on the first spring training game are two days late. I’ll never hack it as a beat blogger. Others bloggers can churn out game analyses as easily as breathing, while after two days I come up with:

  • During the in-game interview, Theo Epstein was abusing Don Orsillo relentlessly. Orsillo states that he’s excited about David Wells joining the club, and Epstein fires back, “Because he reminds you of yourself?” The conversation takes some strange tangents and Epstein calls Orsillo “an odd man.” Which he is. I recall him saying that, as a child, he would make scoreboards while following games. Jerry Remy was merciless that evening. There’s also that lunar eclipse discussion, where Orsillo thought the sun came between the moon and earth. Remy broke out the telestrator for that one.
  • There were no radar gun results during the NESN telecast, but earlier in the week Terry Francona claimed that Byung-Hyun Kim was now back up to 88-90 MPH. Kim pitched a 1-2-3 inning. I’m still pulling for him. His reclamation would be the ultimate redemption story. Ideally, it will come in a Yankees game.
  • Millarst A caption for this photo from that game: “Kevin Millar points to left field foul territory, noting where the majority of his balls go.” Millar will have his typical extremely hot two months or so where he hits .400 with .602 slugging, and the rest of the season he will be hovering around the Mendoza line. As annoying as I sometimes find him, I have to admit I enjoy the buffoonery.
  • “Woooooo-ten!” Now we know why Bill Mueller doesn’t get his name chanted. It’s because it doesn’t rhyme with “boo.” Change the pronunciation, and you have an eminently chantable name.
  • There will always be some ne’er-do-well waving to the camera behind home plate. Even during a spring training game. I guess everyone needs to practice.

Welcome back, baseball. Good to see you, champs.

They know, who keep a broken tryst,
Till something from the Spring be missed
We have not truly known the Spring.
~Robert Underwood Johnson, “The Wistful Days”

March 3, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: White House Visit

Dave McCarty and Mark Bellhorn were miked up for the visit to the White House on March 2, 2004. The tape was confiscated by the Secret Service immediately after the visit.

DM: Err, testing? Testing, one, two, three....

MB: Testes...?

DM: What’s that, Mark? The crew was saying something at the same time.

MB: ...

DM: Okay, well, greetings, folks! We’re here live at the White House on a gorgeous March afternoon. It’s a significant day, not only because the Boston Red Sox, your 2004 World Champions, are visiting the White House, but because this is the 169th anniversary of Texas independence.

MB: Sixty-nine. Heh.

DM: One hundred sixty-nine, actually, Mark.


MB: Sure.

DM: Anyway, you’ll recall that this proclamation set the wheels in motion for the standoff at the Alamo. Since it was such a bloody conflict, there’s a lot of discussion and revisiting of the issues surrounding the event. It was the nexus of American expansion and expression of identity versus the established Mexican government. I can’t wait to talk to President Bush about this historic occasion. I’m sure he doesn’t have penetrating analysis of the topic, but I’d like to see how his handlers prepped him.

MB: I was talking to him earlier. Out in that garden.

DM: Really? In the Rose Garden? Frankly, I’m a little jealous. So, uh, what did you talk about?

MB: Not much really. Plants.

DM: There are quite a few intriguing botanical specimens in the Rose Garden. Did you see the magnolias, or the crab apple trees? How about the hyacinths...what’s that smell? It’s a little smoky around here.

MB: Not sure.

DM: It’s coming from you, I think.

MB: Nah. You’re imagining things.

DM: I do have an active imagination, this much is true.

MB: I’m hungry. When’s lunch?

Special thanks to Pine Tar Helmet for the Dave/Manny dialogue idea, although Mark Bellhorn had to pinch hit for Manny. (Something that would never happen in real life. Isn’t the blogosphere cool?)

March 1, 2005

Lego My Minifig

Thanks to Hoo’s On First, I’ve had a productive Photoshop evening.


Hoo reminds me of a woman. (What woman?) Oh, the woman with the power. (What power?) Oh, the power of voodoo. (Hoo do?) Oh, you do, you do. (Do what?)

He’s So Brave and Strong

Billmuellerst2005bRemember those old Looney Tunes cartoons with Chester and Spike? Chester was the hyper little terrier who followed around his hero, a bulldog named Spike. They made exactly two appearances, one being a parody of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In this feature they had British accents and Spike was called Alfie instead.

Kevin Youkilis is more bulldoggish in appearance, but it’s only his second year. I sense a Chester/Spike vibe between him and Bill Mueller, with the Professional being Spike/Alfie. However, Mueller wouldn’t slap Youkilis and say, “Ehh, shaddup!” See, Youkilis is even wearing the same sunglasses as Mueller. Can’t you just imagine him going to the sunglass shop and trying on pair after pair, and then seeing a set like Mueller’s, and thinking, “Well, Bill’s always saying how much he likes his, so....”

SpikechesterYou’ll remember that Spike/Alfie got beaten to a pulp by a puma and Mr. Hyde version of Sylvester, but all Chester saw was Sylvester without the clear and the cream. Eventually, Chester wore the bowler and became top dog. This will happen someday, but until then, Mueller is the starter. (This reminiscence is an attempt to not be too fangirly when posting another Mueller picture.)

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