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Home » Monthly Archive » December 2005

December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Happynewyear

Wishing everyone a happy new year and many more walk-off wins. If Eric Frede runs out of questions for David Ortiz, I wanted to give him some suggestions to spur on the conversation:

  1. Come here often?
  2. Is your car standard? It must be, because you’re so clutch.
  3. I have a jeweler’s loop in my pocket here. Let’s get a look at those earrings?
  4. What’s the deal with players feeding each other applesauce?
  5. The mango salsa recipe--give it up already. Everyone wants to know the ingredients.
  6. While we’re at it, how about the beans and rice recipe, too?
  7. What kind of cookie did you get with your D’Angelo Big Papi sub?
  8. Who does the naked pull-ups now that Kevin Millar is gone?

December 27, 2005

Alphabet Coup

WwoslogoThe American Broadcasting Corporation will no longer be broadcasting “Monday Night Football.” Tonight’s 31-21 Patriots win was the 555th and final broadcast of this sports institution as we know it. In 1970, Pete Rozelle, then commissioner of the league, strong-armed ABC to commit to showing football during primetime. Rozelle threatened to go with the Hughes Sports Network (as in Howard Hughes) and ABC feared its affiliates would pre-empt its shows for the games.

Although MNF seems as natural as breathing to us, at the time it was an innovative and risky venture. It is yet another example showing the NFL’s strategy to corner market share and make its product appointment television. The league had the plan, but it was ABC producer Roone Arledge had the flash. Another man before his time, Arledge founded the sports coverage vernacular of multiple cameras and instant replay that we still speak today.

I have countless memories of MNF, and many of them are colored by growing up many time zones away. Every NFL fan in Hawai‘i knows about “close your eyes time” on the 6:00 evening news. Rather than showing MNF at its actual time, the game would be shown on tape delay. The final score would be shown on the screen as the sportscaster would solemnly intone those magic words. I was permitted to stay up late, even into overtime, as long as I did not peek at the final score and spoil it for my dad.

How we loved MNF through all its incarnations, even when Fran Tarkenton, the bland former Vikings quarterback whose hair oddness rivaled that of Ted Koppel, was part of the team. I remember when Howard Cosell called Washington Redskins wide receiver Alvin Garrett a “little monkey” although at the time I didn’t understand racist undertones to that comment. Had Cosell’s sympathies lay closer to indigenous peoples or had he been more canny, he could have turned the tables on his criticizers by pointing out the name of Garrett’s team is as racist his comment.

By the time Dennis Miller took over as color man I was in college. For this I am thankful, since I rather enjoyed Miller’s shtick and my dad most decidedly did not.

Al Michaels has always been one of my favorite play-by-play men--congenial without being fawning, concise but never overwhelming his audience with detail, and ever the consummate professional. Since he began his career on O‘ahu by broadcasting Hawaii Islander games, he always pronounced Hawaiian words correctly, which I appreciated.

To be sure, ABC’s productions were becoming encumbered with the gewgaws that adorn rather than enrich. Rather than keeping with the tried and true, ABC tried to keep up with FOX and ESPN’s sports spectacles and surrendered some of its dignity in the process.

I shudder to think what the effects meisters at ESPN will do with the game. Thankfully, the season is much shorter than baseball’s. I may survive the season without being driven insane by Chris Berman’s inane nicknames since there are only sixteen weeks in the season.

December 24, 2005

Making a List

Franconaclaus

Hey, folks! Hope you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Joyful Kwanzaa, and what have you. I’m not usually one to make a wish list of my own since I’m Francona Claus, but this offseason season being what it has been so far, I find a have a few requests:

  1. A backup catcher (Ha! Pulling your leg there. I sure as heck got enough of those.)
  2. A center fielder (Doesn’t necessarily need to hit leadoff, as number 3 below could do the same.)
  3. A shortstop
  4. Case of Dubble Bubble (Much better than that Bazooka stuff, I tell you.)
  5. Healthy knees
  6. A first baseman (There’s some guy whose name I forgot the entire 2005 season I suppose I could use. Perugina or something?)
  7. Cheatsheet to understand the areas of responsibility for Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer (Maybe some sort of flowchart?)

As Francona Claus, it’s my duty to distribute lumps of coal to those who have been naughty. Unfortunately, the list is longer than the nice list, that’s for sure:

  1. Johnny Damon (Last I checked, lying gets you put on this list.)
  2. Larry Lucchino (Loose lips sink ships.)
  3. Steve Silva (For the usual muckraking.)
  4. Dan Shaughnessy (Although I figured he uses the coal to fuel the media conflagrations he enjoys starting.)
  5. Kevin Millar (His slogans just didn’t have that same catchiness this season. Also, .355 OBP and .399 slugging.)
  6. John Dennis and Gerry Callahan (WEEI’s resident propagators of close-mindedness and hate.)
  7. Theo Epstein (You gotta grow a little thicker skin. Wait, you’re coming back when Lucchino bolts to the Nationals? Well, next time give us a little warning, will ya?)

I wish the nice list could be longer, but at least there is one:

  1. David Ortiz (Papi has come very close to eclipsing the popularity of Francona Claus. Ah, jeez, who am I kidding? He’s way more popular.)
  2. Janet Marie Smith, Vice President of Planning and Development (Lucchino gets all the face time, but Ms. Smith has spearheaded the Fenway Park renovations, including this offseason’s restoration of the seats behind home plate.)
  3. Red Sox bloggers (There’s no funnier, smarter, and devoted group to be found. I really learn a lot about how to second guess myself from them.)
  4. David Mellor, Director of Grounds (Sure, Edgar Renteria complained about the infield. But Dave oversaw the replacement of the field and installation of the new grounds sprinkler and drainage systems during last year’s offseason. He also led the incredible effort to replace the outfield after the Rolling Stones concert. It was enough to forgive any part you may have played in selling championship sod.)
  5. Matt Clement (Gutty comeback after that frightening accident in Tampa Bay.)

Merry offseason to all, and to all a good night!

December 23, 2005

Jesus Wept

Depressingly, traffic on EE has spiked since Johnny Damon’s signing with the New York Yankees. From Orange County, California to Orange County, New York, readers are hitting this April post about the Fever Pitch gala featuring none other than Michelle Damon née Mangan.

I’ll actually miss Michelle’s “In Style” segments. As twitch124 pointed out, she wasn’t the typical baseball wife and sustained much criticism for not conforming to the norm. She was unapologetic about being different and pursuing media attention. In some ways, I prefer that celebrities acknowledge their publicity-seeking impulses rather than disguise their desires behind the pretense of charitable acts.

At least there are two hits for Curtis Leskanic, whose 2004 story should be better publicized. He pitched 1 and 1/3 shutout innings in Game 4 of the ALCS, throwing so hard he ended his career. Perhaps he should hire Michelle’s agent.

Searchengine

Welcome Back, Catcher

A little more than a week after the Red Sox secured shortstop shoulder-jarring Ken Huckaby to a minor league deal, the club also announced the signing of veteran catcher John Flaherty to a 1-year contract. Flaherty, Huckaby (who was invited to spring training), and Kelly Shoppach will challenge each other to be backup backstop. Or perhaps the co-GMs are considering packaging Shoppach in a deal to fill the vacancies at short or center.

Flaherty was originally drafted by the Red Sox in 1988 in the 25th round. For some reason he is possessed of the nickname “Flash” according to the Baseball Reference website. The fascinating thing about the word “nickname” is that the Middle English phrase used to be “an eke name.” There are many words in the English language that were formed by the process of junctural metanalysis, including “umpire,” from the Old French “nonper” (without peer) which evolved into the Middle English “noumpere.” Had the original phrase maintained its integrity, we’d be calling for the numpire’s head should he make a bad call.

December 21, 2005

Throws Like Bernie Williams

JohnnyjesusJohnny Damon reportedly signed a 4-year, $52M contract with the New York Yankees. Did he miss Mark Bellhorn, Alan Embree, and Mike Myers that much?

Pivotal as Damon was to the 2004 championship run, I can’t say I’m entirely surprised at the move. The center fielder took to the spotlight, as did his wife Michelle. I don’t know the YES Network’s policy on spousal participation in their productions, but she’ll at least find a bigger stage to parlay her talent in New York City. Imagine her disappointment when she finds herself squeezed out of the headlines each time Derek Jeter gets another girlfriend.

Larry Lucchino was the point person for the Damon deal. Scott Boras’s client left a 4-year, $40M deal with the Red Sox to die, and given the Red Sox’s frugality with time and Damon’s likely decline as he enters his mid-30s, I’m surprised Lucchino didn’t try and offer less years for a higher annual average value.

Looking over the 5-year projections for Damon on Baseball Prospectus, I was surprised to note that his DWARP wasn’t negative. I suppose his fielding skill compensates somewhat for his atrocious throwing arm, although I must say he had at times been looking somewhat lost in the field and I wonder if his collision history hasn’t impacted him more than he’d like the public to know. In 2009, presuming the Yankees stay with him for the entire length of his contract, the New York club will be paying $13M for 3 wins above a replacement player. Note that BP missed the 2005 WARP prediction for Damon by a 1.3 game underestimation.

I wonder how Yankee fans will take to Damon? Will they remember the grand slam and 2-run homer of Game 7 with some bitterness? Will it be a benefit or a detriment to have Jeter batting second (if you believe in that batting order mumbo jumbo)?

As much as I appreciate Damon’s contributions to the Red Sox, I hope that when his hair is shorn his destiny follows a different biblical character’s path: that of Samson.

December 19, 2005

West Sox

The Los Angeles Dodgers are five people in to their master plan of recreating the Red Sox on the West Coast. Nomar Garciaparra signed a 1-year, $6M deal that will likely having him batting clean-up and playing first base. Surprisingly, the contract is not incentive-based, which is something I certainly would consider given the former shortstop’s injury history. Late last week, the inimitable Bill Mueller agreed to a 2-year, $9.75M contract, and Dan Shaughnessy temporarily retracted his claws for an excellent piece on the third baseman. It turns out that Mueller was the player that gave Grady Little a good reference, leading to Little’s hiring by the Dodgers to be their field manager. Derek Lowe is now in the second year of his 4-year, $36M term.

That gives us four people. Who is the player that completes this quintet? Why, Jose Cruz, Jr., of course. Cruz spent about a dozen days in a Red Sox uniform this past season in those tumultuous post-Jay Payton doldrums.

Ned Colletti’s coup of the offseason is the unloading of Milton Bradley to the Oakland A’s. I guess the undervalued trait this upcoming season is the tendency to have psychotic episodes. Bradley was packaged with Antonio Perez for Andre Ethier, an outfielder who garnered the Texas League Player of the Year award.

December 16, 2005

Bad TypePad

Typebad TypePad, SixApart’s hosted weblogging service and the platform on which this site is published, experienced another major outage today. This would be the second outage in the span of two months. Ironically enough, it occurred during the deployment of a redundant data system.

I’m in the process of evaluating different hosting and publishing solutions because I no longer wish to pay for TypePad’s substandard performance, although I give them credit for not losing any of my data. I’ve grown accustomed to the TypePad interface and features, so I’ll probably resort to a hosting company that supports Movable Type. I’d much prefer my money going to a responsive, reliable company. Any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks to my readers for their patience. I hope the incompetence of SixApart doesn’t reflect badly on this site; I can do that on my own and don’t need further assistance.

December 15, 2005

What Next, 5¢ Cokes?

Called Up
August 26, 2006 will be an exciting day at Fenway Park, but not because of Bruce Springsteen or some other mega-act. Instead, the field will play host to the Lowell Spinners and Pawtucket Red Sox in an actual doubleheader. Rather than forcing the crowds out after the Spinners play the Oneonta Tigers, fans will stay to watch the Pawsox take on the Rochester Red Wings. Knowing the history of the Pawsox and Red Wings, participants in the longest game in baseball history, we might get even more than our money’s worth.

With the restoration of Fenway to its traditional open façade, the revival of baseball traditions continue. I have spoken with a few Class A players for interviews that have appeared on the Royal Rooters message boards and they have stated what a thrill and honor it would be to pitch in baseball’s most storied venue. Now, if only there could be some retro pricing for the concessions menu.

It’s That Rhyme of the Season
Well, gosh, have a Merry Christmas, will ya? The Boston Pops know how to put on a company holiday party. On December 14th, Terry Francona made an appearance to read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” The event raised over $1M and conjured a few timeless Francona qutoes, like “I enjoyed the heck out of it, and it was a great night.” When complimented for getting through the poem without errors, he quipped, “I can read. I mean, I was a baseball player, but I went to school, so, yeah, I thought I would make it.”

It wasn’t the first time a Boston musical institution and the Red Sox crossed paths. In the fervor of the 1912 World Championship, Isabella Stewart Gardner made an audacious statement at Symphony Hall by wearing a Red Sox banner around her head. The patroness, accompanied by her friend, the humorist Robert Benchley, “loudly encouraged all the Boston players by name.” Let’s go Speaker! Clap, clap! Clap, clap, clap!

December 13, 2005

Double Time

BenjedminThe nexus of popular culture and the Red Sox, so ably started by players starring in “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and Curt Schilling’s appearance on “Celebrity Poker,” has now culminated in the unveiling of co-GMs Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer. The offices at 4 Yawkey Way should be called the “baseball soap opera-tions department.” In a media event rivaling A.J. Pierzynski’s TNA (Total Nonstop Action, or so I’m told) Wrestling appearance, the New Hampshire pair was announced as the new joint leaders of the Boston club yesterday.

These days, each and every media couple must have a fused moniker, alà “Brangelina” and “Bennifer II.” Obviously, the new Red Sox baseball operations duo should be referred to as “Benjedmin” henceforth. The Patriot Ledger is putting forth the “Ben and Jeddy” option, but we’re talking show business here, not the snow cone business.

Here’s hoping for a long and productive pairing, unlike like most celebrity dyads.

December 12, 2005

Good Grief!

Lucchinowaits

DEAR GREAT THEO,

I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR RETURN. WHEN YOU LEFT ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT, YOU LEFT A HOLE IN THE HEARTS OF RED SOX NATION, SORT OF LIKE THE HOLES LEFT IN PUMPKINS WHEN THEY ARE TURNED INTO JACK O’ LANTERNS.

NO ONE ELSE BELIEVES THAT YOU WILL COME BACK. IN FACT, SOME DON’T EVEN BELIEVE YOU WERE A GREAT GM. BUT I KNOW YOU WERE GREAT BECAUSE I HELPED MAKE YOU. I WILL PATIENTLY AWAIT YOU IN THIS MOST SINCERE OF BASEBALL TEAMS.

YOURS FAITHFULLY,
LINUS LUCCHINO

December 11, 2005

Front Office Politics

I had started writing a post about the co-GM structure the Red Sox are exploring. The reorganization features Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer splitting baseball operations leadership. But as soon as I put fingers to keyboard, Gordon Edes and Chris Snow revealed that the club is trying to bring back Theo Epstein in an advisory capacity. Dan Shaughnessy followed the next day with his take on the “scoop,” or should we say “leak”? Another piece to the befuddling puzzle is the briefest of mentions in Edes’s December 11th article of Larry Lucchino going to the Washington Nationals’ front office as not being an entirely outlandish notion. The organization chart below may or may not represent the final composition of the front office, which should be announced “within the next several days.” Note: Jeremy Kapstein is missing because he does not appear in the Baseball Operations team proper.

Redsoxorg

Ben Cherington was interviewed twice by David Laurila for the Royal Rooters; first in November 2004 and then in September 2005. In these interviews Cherington showed that he had already learned the valuable lesson of playing his cards close. I didn’t find any similar interviews featuring Hoyer.

Given the stellar performance of the front office before and during the winter meetings, who holds the titles and whether Epstein returns is less of an issue than it was in the immediate aftermath of his departure. The baseball operations staff proved that it is perfectly capable of managing the evaluation and signing of talent. The Manny Ramirez trade issue looms, but I’d prefer the ownership group permit Lucchino to bring to the negotiations his particular expertise for fouling up megadeals. As for the overtures to Roger Clemens, the chances are so slim and the necessary expertise to land the pitcher already exists on staff. Acquiring Clemens even at this age would probably bring the payroll over the luxury tax limit, so this is another deal that I don’t think needs to get done.

What I’m most looking forward to is Seth Mnookin’s book on the Red Sox ownership group, which was mentioned in Rob Bradford’s December 11th Eagle-Tribune column. Mnookin is the author of the well-received exposé of the New York Times, Hard News. If he was able to uncover the Gray Lady’s dirty laundry, one can only marvel what he found in the Red Sox’s hampers.

December 10, 2005

Red Christmas

Xmasbaseball As in, I’m in the red from buying tickets at this year’s Christmas at Fenway event. From what I saw, this year’s event was run much better than last year’s. Attendance was limited due to the renovation of the .406 Club, so there wasn’t the free-for-all rush for the entrance that marred the 2004 event.

I didn’t get an invite myself but my friend did. I bought her some Sox Pax last year and she returned the favor. I’m eternally grateful she did because I would likely not get as good a set as I did. The Virtual Waiting Room ticks away in another browser window and I have yet to sniff the purchase tickets page. I have infield grandstand seats for the Big Apple Pack. I’ll try for the Beltway Pack online so I can secure Yankee tickets for my birthday.

Since we were in the first group, the Red Sox ticketing staff had not completely worked out the kinks of how to process the fans. The new concessions area at Gate E was festooned with decorations and both Game On! and the Crown Royal Club were open to fans. The Fenway Ambassadors were strict but friendly enforcers, checking picture identification and invitation against a list. Each regular attendee got an orange bracelet with a number while Red Sox Nation members got a green bracelet. There was a sign for these numbers above the door to the ticketing area down the concourse towards Gate A, but it wasn’t being used during the time I was there.

Aside from getting tickets, the next biggest thrill was seeing the Fenway Park Lego model in person. There’s a little red piece for Seat 21, Row 37, Section 42. There was also a foamcore model of the Fenway-to-be with the .406 Club opened up. I talked to the two men minding that model about the various additional cameras the ESPN brings in when they do Sunday Night games. They told me the story of how the line for a special camera rigged to run from Pesky Pole to home plate broke and that they had to bring in a minicrane to fix it. I believe I was at that game, which happened to be a Yankees game, and I wondered about that piece of equipment. I’ll have to go back and look in the backgrounds of my pictures.

For those who obsess over her, Kelly Barons was there in a green elf costume. Carl Beane, the voice of Fenway Park, was in the Crown Royal Room announcing the bracelet numbers. “Orange bracelets, numbers up to 040100.” In my head I completed his phrase with his patented “Derek. [Pause] Jeter.”

There were even freebies. There was a green t-shirt pimping “redsox.com” and a Game On! logo hat (available in navy or tan). The logo on my hat looks as if the silhouetted man has one finger flippping the bird and the other showing the “number one” sign.

Another highlight is seeing the Red Sox montage featuring Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know,” a video played throughout last season before games. For the longest time I didn’t know who did this song, but discovered their identity serendipitously just recently. NU50 had their songs and shared them with me, and I now have a new favorite band.

Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place that I’ve been dreaming of?

And if you have a minute why don’t we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know
This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go somewhere only we know?
Somewhere only we know

December 9, 2005

The Dodger Dunces

Come and listen to a story about a man named Ned
Assistant GM, barely a thought in his head
Then one day by the Dodgers he was wooed
And soon he moved south, plumb full of gratitude

GM of the Dodgers, he is. Head honcho. The Big Cheese.

Well, first thing you know ole Ned’s full o’ hot air
Grady called and said, “Ned, we’d make quite a pair!”
Said “Californy is the place I oughta be.”
So he finally pulled Pedro and headed toward the sea.

Chavez Ravine, that is. Traffic jams, pitcher’s park.

Well, now it’s time to say goodbye to Ned and all his kin
And they would like to thank you folks for kindly droppin’ in
You’re all invited back again to this locality
Just don’t leave the park when the score’s tied at three

In the bottom of the 7th, no less. Sit a spell. Try and stay for a full nine innings.

Special thanks to Piney for inspiring this parody with her comment.

December 8, 2005

Plus Ça Change

Catcher in Reply
Another one of “The 25” is no longer with the Red Sox. Doug Mirabelli was traded straight up for veteran second baseman Mark Loretta of the Padres. A savvy move since Dustin Pedroia is not yet ready for primetime although he hopefully will be by 2007. Having Pedroia in the middle for years to come would be a welcome change from the Spinal Tap drummer syndrome that has plagued that position.

In this town it’s easy to get sentimental about these players, even a backup catcher. Much of his allure is drawn from his workmanlike approach to catching the most whimsical of pitchers, Tim Wakefield, a Red Sox icon. As much as losing Mirabelli will be a blow to the casual fan’s psyche, this trade offers Boston a chance to capitalize on an older player’s comeback year. Loretta will be coming from a park that depressed his offensive production to one that will likely complement his strengths. I like how his 450 career strikeout total compares with his 413 walks, and his career OBP is a respectable .360. Pedroia would do well to follow his patient example.

Counting Arbs
The Red Sox offered arbitration to Johnny Damon, Tony Graffanino, and Bill Mueller. Matt Mantei, Kevin Millar, Mike Myers, and John Olerud were not extended the same.

Olerud announced his retirement prior to being declined arbitration. Barring those who had to hang up the spikes due to injury, I wonder if he was the first player to do so following his first experience in the minor leagues? Mike Myers was signed almost immediately by the Yankees, who lately have taken to collect our left-handed castoffs, for a two-year, $2.4M deal.

I don’t believe Boston will get compensation picks if Damon signs with a Secret Team, but I’ll double check the CBA to make certain I’m correct on this. Mueller may reunite with Grady Little at Dodger Stadium or play with the Pittsburgh Pirates in their delightful park. If he chooses the later, I would love to see what painting he would make for the PNC jumbotron; the Pirates have their players participate in video vignettes to show as they take the plate. He could paint his name to the rhythm of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer.”

Marte Hearty
What Bobby Cox wants, John Schuerholz goes and gets. On the wishlist was a veteran shortstop to mind the hole that Rafael Furcal left. At first blush the Red Sox didn’t seem the ideal fit since they had Edgar Renteria for just the first season of a four-year contract. A disappointing season it was, but most likely an anomaly. Boston had also traded away its top shortstop prospect recently, so there was no heir apparent to the Snoopy spot.

And yet, for Renteria and $11M, Andy Marte arrived on the Boston sports scene. In a twist on par with any deus ex machina found in Greek tragedies, an offseason that began as a comedy of errors was transformed into winter epic featuring not one but two pickups of staggering talent that were worth the ticket price.

Marte is a major league-ready third baseman, so Kevin Youkilis will either have to learn first base quickly or ready his bags for a change in scenary. Unfortunate, because he’s near the nadir of his trade value. Moneyball has been out in paperback for over a year and the market inefficiencies and hype that added lustre to his reputation have all but faded.

From what I’ve read so far, Andy is dandy:

As for the lack of a shortstop, Miguel Tejada wants to be traded. There are four years and around $48M left on his contract, which is quite a bit short of Manny Ramirez’s $57M over three years. Tejada’s OPS of .815 falls short of Ramirez’s 1.008 as well.

The Epstein hangover has been superseded by holiday season binging. If this is what the Red Sox have to serve up, I’ll take seconds.

December 6, 2005

Little Did We Know

The recently anointed Dodgers GM Ned Colletti just made a move that would probably raise the hackles of even the normally diplomatic and always enthusiastic Dodger blue fan Sarah Morris. One of Colletti’s first acts as GM was to show up at Chavez Ravine wearing a San Francisco Giants NL championship ring from 2002. He topped that tonight by naming Grady Little, former Red Sox field manager, as the skipper of the Dodgers.

It might have something to do with Frank McCourt, who lived in Boston during Little’s two consecutive winning seasons of 93 and 95 in 2002 and 2003. It might have to do with Colletti’s hiring philosophy, which is divergent with most business executives’. Rather than surround himself with smart people, it seems Colletti thinks hiring dumb folks will make him appear smarter.

Keep on enjoying that ring, Ned. If you have somehow forgotten the events of Game 6 of the 2002 World Series, you’ve certainly set yourself up to relive some of that lost magic.

December 2, 2005

Here, There, Everywhere

Beattie-fication
For the third time Jim Beattie has met with Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, this time for dinner. I hope this is a situation where Lucchino is breaking up with Beattie and followed the proper protocol by doing so over dinner in a public place. The longer these auditions continue, the more it appears to me that the Red Sox will go with Jeremy Kapstein until one of the current front office protegés is ready for the job. I would much prefer this scenario, as a similar chain of succession back in 2002 involving acting GM Mike Port enabled Theo Epstein to eventually lead the baseball operations staff.

Although Peter Woodfork is gone, three remain from this January 2005 article profiling the up and comers: Jed Hoyer, Galen Carr, and Brian O’Halloran. Perhaps they will compete, along with others like director of player development Ben Cherington or special assistant to the GM Craig Shipley, for the vacancy. With any luck, that would lead to the strongest contender attaining the position while not rending the group into internecine dysfunction.

Hail to the Chief
right-handed pitching prospect Jermaine Van Buren was traded to the Red Sox from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later. How ruinous this is for my freetime, as I can now commence working on the All-Time, All-Presidents Team. The 25-year old pitcher shares a last name with the eighth president, but that’s where the similarities end. President Van Buren was 5'6", the pitcher is 6'1". Prez, white and born in Columbia, New York; fireballer, African American and hails from Laurel, Mississippi. The first lady had the unfortunate name of “Hannah Hoes Van Buren”; the marital status of the prospect is unknown to me at this time. I doubt the former president could hurl a low 90s fastball or a slider.

Some links on the younger and alive Van Buren:

Since the player the Red Sox are giving up for Van Buren hasn’t been announced, a thorough examination of this trade can’t be done. The Red Sox continue to make investments in older pitchers who have something to prove as well as some maturation in both body and mind. I prefer this method to taking chances on raw high school pitchers who so rarely realize their potential. It’s just a bonus that his last name is the same as a former chief executive.

December 1, 2005

AT-AT, Episode 3

By way of the miracle known as Frappr, you can see the towns that comprise the AT-AT Team via satellite. If the small size of the map below annoys you, just click on the Frappr link for the full map.

It’s a nifty web application, but note that it defaults to the town with a post office nearest to a given zip code. Not all of the towns below have post offices, so you would need to zoom in on the player’s tag to see his correlating town.

Special thanks to NU50 for helping me compile the zip codes. He makes a strong case for being tapped as the next Red Sox GM, by the way.

Update: Apparently the Frappr script doesn’t work on Microsoft Internet Explorer since Frappr is inherently good and MSIE irrevocably evil, so never the twain shall meet. Just click here to see the map, and download Mozilla’s Firefox while you’re at it.

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