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December 23, 2005

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 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 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.


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 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 2, 2005

Here, There, Everywhere

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.

November 30, 2005

AT-AT, Part II

I am abashed. I missed three players for the Massachusetts town name team: Garry Hancock, Fred Hatfield, and Al Worthington. I have amended the list and made amends by taking on a task no reasonable person would consider undertaking.

How did I discover the missing three players, you may ask? Okay, you’re not actually asking yourself that, but I’ll pretend that you did anyway. Love for the Red Sox is not limited to Massachusetts, I realized, and decided to expand the team into the entire New England region (even those poor Yankee-deluded fools in the nether regions of Connecticut).

I didn’t realize how utterly insane this project would be until I found out that tiny New Hampshire has over 250 towns and an additional 20 or so “unincorporated places.” In comparison, Massachusetts, with six times the population, has 351. Maine’s municipality count weighs in at just over 500, is 35,384 square miles, dwarfing Rhode island’s 40 towns and 1,545 square miles.

Who needs to follow the hot stove shenanigans and GM-hiring hijinks? Relive Red Sox history and explore the quaint boroughs and hamlets of our region all in one table.

Player Position(s) Years with Red Sox Corresponding Town
Adams, Bob
Adams, Terry
Adams, MA
Alexander, Dale
Alexander, Manny
Alexander, ME
Beckett, Josh RHP 2006-? Becket, MA
Benton, Al* RHP 1952 Benton, ME and NH
Bolton, Tom LHP 1987-92 Bolton, CT and MA
Bradford, Chad RHP 2005 Bradford, NH
Bradley, Herb
Bradley, Hugh
Bradley, ME
Brandon, Darrell RHP 1966-68 Brandon, VT
Brewer, Tom RHP 1954-61 Bradley, ME
Carroll, Ed RHP 1929 Carroll, ME and NH
Chaplin, Ed C 1920-22 Chaplin, CT
Chapman, Ben* IF/OF/RHP 1937-38 Bradley, ME
Clinton, Lou OF 1960-64 Clinton,
CT, ME, and MA
Cooper, Cecil*
Cooper, Guy
Cooper, Scott*
Cooper, ME
Crawford, Steve RHP 1980-82, 84-87 Crawford, ME
Durham, Ed RHP 1929-32 Durham, CT and NH
Ellsworth, Dick*
Ellsworth, Steve
ME and NH
Everett, Carl* OF/DH 2000-01 Everett, MA
Foster, Eddie
Foster, Rube
Foster, RI
Gardiner, Mike RHP 1991-92 Gardiner, ME
Gardner, Billy
Gardner, Larry
Gardner, Wes
Gardner, MA
Gray, Dave
Gray, Jeff
Gray, ME
Hammond, Chris LHP 1997 Hammond, ME
Hancock, Garry
Hancock, Josh
1978, 80-82
ME, MA, and NH
Hansen, Craig
Hanson, Erik*
Hanson, MA
Hatfield, Fred 3B 1950-52 Hatfield, MA
Hudson, Joe
Hudson, Sid*
ME, MA, and NH
Jackson, Damian
Jackson, Ron
ME and NH
Jefferson, Reggie DH 1995-99 Jefferson,
ME and NH
Johnson, Adam
Johnson, Bob*
Johnson, Deron
Johnson, Earl
Johnson, Hank
Johnson, John Henry
Johnson, Roy
Johnson, Vic
40-41, 46-50
Johnson, VT
Johnston, Joel RHP 1995 Johnston, RI
Lee, Bill*
Lee, Dud
ME, MA, and NH
Lowell, Mike* 3B 2006-? Lowell,
ME, MA, and VT
Lynn, Fred* OF 1974-80 Lynn, MA
Maynard, Chick SS 1922 Maynard, MA
Meredith, Cla RHP 2005-? Meredith, NH
Montgomery, Bob C/DH 1970-79 Montgomery,
MA and VT
Morris, Ed RHP 1928-31 Morris, CT
Nelson, Bryant
Nelson, Joe
Nelson, NH
Patten, Casey LHP 1908 Patten, ME
Paxton, Mike RHP 1977 Paxton, MA
Phillips, Ed RHP 1970 Phillips, ME
Plympton, Jeff RHP 1991 Plympton, MA
Porter, Dick OF 1934 Porter, ME
Reed, Jerry
Reed, Jody
Reed, ME
Ripley, Allen
Ripley, Walt
Ripley, ME
Russell, Allan
Russell, Jack*
Russell, Jeff*
Russell, Rip
1926-32, 36
Russell, MA
Rye, Gene OF 1931 Rye, NH
Scarborough, Ray* RHP 1951 Scarborough, ME
Spencer, Tubby C 1909 Spencer, MA
Sprague, Ed* 3B 2000 Sprague, CT
Sullivan, Denny
Sullivan, Frank*
Sullivan, Haywood
Sullivan, Marc
1955, 57, 59-60
1982, 84-87
ME and NH
Vernon, Mickey* 1B 1956-57 Vernon, CT
Wade, Jake LHP 1939 Wade, ME
Wakefield, Tim RHP 1995-? Wakefield,
MA, NH, and RI
Warner, John C 1902 Warner, ME
Webster, Lenny
Webster, Ray
ME, MA, and NH
Winn, George LHP 1919 Winn, ME
Wolcott, Bob RHP 1999 Wolcott, CT
Worthington, Al RHP 1960 Worthington, MA
York, Rudy* 1B 1946-47 York, ME
*All Star

For something funny, see what the sponsor of Dick Porter says.

November 28, 2005

Our Towns

Inspired by Andrew’s recent quiz on 12eight, I compiled a list of Red Sox players whose names corresponded with Massachusetts town names. Throughout history there have been 31 players whose names were more or less the same as 20 townships, with four “Gardners” and “Russells” tied for the highest number of players. I bent the rules a bit by allowing the town “Becket” to be matched with the new right-handed pitcher Josh Beckett, Mike Gardiner with “Gardner,” as well as “Hanson” to count for Craig Hansen.

I was surprised to find that there were no Carvers, Chesters, Conways, Daltons, Dennises, Douglases, Dudleys (although there was a “Dud Lee”), Eastons, Ervings, Franklins, Gills, Hamiltons, Heaths, Holdens, Lincolns, Miltons, Monroes, Montagues, Montereys, Newtons, Nortons, Norwoods (although there was a Norwood Gibson), Palmers, Randolphs, Somersets (which was a past owner’s name), Sterlings, Townsends, Warrens, or Westons on the team, ever.

And who knew there were no towns in Massachusetts called Adkins, Agbayani, Agnew, Bailey, Bowsfield, Brickner, Byerly, Campbell, Dropo, Ferrell, Fullerton, Gosger, Heflin, Irvine, Kell, Littlefield, Litton, Newsom, Owens, Patterson, Runnels, Sheldon, Schofield, Stuart, Truesdale, Vernon, Willoughby, or Worthington. According to the list I got from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website, there are no towns that start with the letter “J,” either. There is a town called “Sheffield,” but thankfully the Red Sox don’t have a player with such a name.

The table below is compiled from a spreadsheet I made with the all-time roster (courtesy of Red Sox Diehard) and all the town names; if you’re interested in seeing it, I can e-mail it to you.

The Red Sox All-Time, All-Town team is heavy with right-handed pitchers and is a bit shallow in the outfield with only three ballhawks. The AT-AT team, as I like to call it, has 8 All Stars. Let’s hope George Lucas isn’t particularly litigious this holiday season.

Player Position(s) Years with Red Sox Corresponding Town
Adams, Bob
Adams, Terry
Beckett, Josh RHP 2006-? Becket
Bolton, Tom LHP 1987-92 Bolton
Clinton, Lou OF 1960-64 Clinton
Everett, Carl* OF/DH 2000-01 Everett
Gardiner, Mike
Gardner, Billy
Gardner, Larry
Gardner, Wes
Hancock, Josh RHP 2002 Hancock
Hansen, Craig
Hanson, Erik*
Hudson, Joe
Hudson, Sid*
Lee, Bill*
Lee, Dud
Lowell, Mike* 3B 2006-? Lowell
Lynn, Fred* OF 1974-80 Lynn
Maynard, Chick SS 1922 Maynard
Montgomery, Bob C/DH 1970-79 Montgomery
Paxton, Mike RHP 1977 Paxton
Plympton, Jeff RHP 1991 Plympton
Russell, Allan
Russell, Jack*
Russell, Jeff*
Russell, Rip
1926-32, 36
Spencer, Tubby C 1909 Spencer
Wakefield, Tim RHP 1995-? Wakefield
Webster, Lenny
Webster, Ray

November 26, 2005

Extremely Mota-vated

How irked are Florida Marlins fans at the ongoing fire sale? Probably not very, because in the two seasons since their World Series win, the Marlins hardly captured the imagination of the region. In 2004, their seasonal attendence was 1.7M with an average attendance of 21,539 a game to rank only 14th in the NL, ahead of only the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Montreal Expos. (By the way, terrible job, Pittsburgh. You can’t support your team with the delightful park they get to play in? Are the Penguins and Steelers really so much more compelling?) With the move of the Expos to Washington DC, another club catapulted over the the Florida franchise in 2005. This rendered the fish 15th in the league with 1.8M total attendance with an average of 22,872 a game despite not making the playoffs. Since the fans voted with their wallets, baseball in the Sunshine State is witnessing another exodus of talent from their tax-free climes.

At least Jeffrey Loria had Larry Beinfest wait a couple of seasons before selling off the team’s assets. A beneficiary of the payroll slashing are the Red Sox, who officially acquired Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota on November 25th. In return, Boston bids adieu to Hanley Ramirez and three right-handed pitchers, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado (who turned out the be the player to be named later), and Harvey Garcia (who was thrown in to balance out the addition of Mota). Consensus amongst Florida Marlin blogs such as FishStripes and Maverick Ball is that they are happy to see Mota go. That’s how it goes with middle relievers, though. Red Sox fans were happy to see Todd Jones walk at the conclusion of 2003, and now see how he was rebounded for the Marlins this past season. The Red Sox threatened to walk from the deal if Mota was not included, and by happenstance or not, the Yankees had been inquiring about the pitcher. Like Mark Bellhorn and Alan Embree, they can have him when we’re done with him.

The trade was a group effort. Like so many things in Boston, a hodgepodge of personalities joined ot pursue a common goal. As the Big Dig is a major public works projects by committee and for a time the 2003 Red Sox had a bullpen by committee, this trade was executed by GM by committee. So what if too many chefs spoil the soup? Maybe it takes a lot of chefs like Bill Lajoie, Craig Shipley, Jed Hoyer, Ben Cherington, Peter Woodfork, and Jeremy Kapstein to make a great trade, which I think this is.

November 21, 2005

Waiting for Beckett

Peter Gammons reported on SportsCenter that all that is left to seal a Marlins/Red Sox blockbuster deal are the physicals. The deal calls for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell of the Marlins to come to Boston while Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, and a player to be named later go to Florida. For your viewing pleasure: the box scores from the 2003 Marlins/Yankees World Series. Here you will see that he started two games for a 1-1 record, pitching 16 and 1/3 innings with 8 hits, 2 earned runs, 5 walks, and 19 strikeouts.

I’m too giddy to even post coherently about this at the moment. See what can get done when there aren’t leaks? Did someone have Dr. Charles Steinberg forcibly bound and gagged in a 4 Yawkey Way closet? Has Larry Lucchino learned his lesson after bungling the Alex Rodriguez and Theo Epstein negotiations?

Will wonders never cease?

November 19, 2005

Something Wilder

Dave Wilder, director of player development for the Chicago White Sox, interviewed today with the Red Sox for their still-vacant general manager position. Wilder’s background consists more of talent evaluation and scouting than Kim Ng’s, but he lacks her strengths in arbitration and contract negotiation. He worked with Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz for 5 and half years, so hopefully Wilder learned how to build a productive farm system from his former boss. He did pull the trigger on claiming Bobby Jenks off waivers, so he contributed a jewel to the White Sox World Series ring.

Wilder has been in his current position for two years. Minor League News gave the White Sox farm system a 7.5 out of 10 rating and the team is ranked 12th on Baseball America’s 2005 Organizational Talent Rankings. I still favor Ng for the job, but the ownership group doesn’t seem interested in her at all. Since that is the case, I would prefer to see if Wilder has what it takes rather than opting for the conventional tactics of Jim Beattie or Jim Bowden.

Best of all, Tom Yawkey is probably turning in his grave.

November 18, 2005

Burrowing in the B-List

Jims Beattie and Bowden have impressed the Red Sox executives enough to warrant second interviews. These major league executive veterans (read: retreads) seem to have been given the nod over my preferred candidate Kim Ng. So, the Red Sox get Richard Carlson and Peter Cushing instead of Cate Blanchett or Harrison Ford their 2006 release of Still, Feverish, We Believe.

Forgive me while I try and hide how blasé I am by these choices. It seems that Red Sox management believes that hiring other teams’ tried and tired leftovers will avoid further public relations mishaps. It’s difficult to get worked up over such banal options. The Bs, Bowden and Beattie, provide the bromide needed for the management team’s image. Fans might need the same should either oldtimer be tapped for the position.

November 15, 2005

No Moore, No Less

Dayton Moore withdrew his name from consideration for the Red Sox general manager position this afternoon and declined to meet with the team for a second interview. It seems that Braves GM John Schuerholz convinced Moore to stay, most likely putting Moore in a favorable place in the plan of succession upon the former’s retirement. Moore also brought up his three young children whom he would like to see grow up, preferably away from the prying Boston media.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers hired Ned Colletti, former assistant GM with the San Francisco Giants, as their GM. Once again Kim Ng was shunted aside within her own organization. But such an oversight may work in favor of Boston as their candidate pool dwindles. Recently, both Indians assistant GM Chris Antonetti and Blue Jays director of player personnel Tony LaCava stated they weren’t even interested in interviewing for the club. I shudder to think that the preponderance of Jim Beattie fluff pieces were just floated out to the public so that fans could begin to accept the idea of the former Montreal and Baltimore GM as part of Red Sox baseball operations.

Let’s end the charade once and for all. The Red Sox should run the team via internet polls. Genuine Red Sox Nation cardholders would have special access to more pivotal decisions, of course. The marketing team could also make each game like “American Idol” and have voting devices to determine Terry Francona’s in-game moves. I’m a citizen of the Nation and I demand my right to vote. That’s what this country was founded on: no frustration without representation.

November 11, 2005

The Moore the Merrier

Of the three candidates recently interviewed by Red Sox officials, only Dayton Moore, the Atlanta assistant general manager, has been called back for a second interview. Jim Beattie is another aspirant to meet with the club’s brass; his interview with Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner occurred today. The other former candidates, Jim Bowden (Nationals GM) and Wayne Krivsky (Twins assistant GM), probably got the form letter that spoke of there being other more qualified candidates and wishing them bright futures. How convenient that they can read of their hiring status in newspapers rather than having to go through the blockade of human resources personnel and their vague statements.

Moore will likely be a good fit. Baseball America ranked the Braves farm system fifth in March of this year, and Moore played a large part in building this aspect of the team. Jeff Francoeur, a product of that system, came in third for NL Rookie of the Year voting despite not starting this season. Minor League News also ranks Atlanta’s prospect pool high with a 9.6 out of 10.

I’m a bit disappointed that the Red Sox didn’t give Kim Ng a try, but she’ll probably be promoted to GM of the Dodgers. Hopefully Frank McCourt will have learned some patience so this new experiment is not doomed to fail.

November 4, 2005

Back to the Past

So, disparaging domain names about the Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino are already popping up like mushrooms after the rain: this one calls for a boycott of the Boston Globe (been there, done that, doesn’t get you anywhere) and you can buy a t-shirt while you’re there. I’d say it’s rather disingenuous to criticize a man that has over-commercialized the Red Sox with a merchandising venture of your own.

The World Series championship days seem so long ago now that many, too many, of the key men that brought the title to Boston are gone. And yet there are certain things that I remember clear as day despite the delirious joy victory inspired. So famished was I for any type of talk about the World Champion Boston Red Sox (do I send a nickel to Lucchino’s coffers each time I use that phrase?), I brought myself to tune into WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan show to hear their weekly interview with Lucchino. He said that it was unfortunate that the World Series did not last more games because the team would have gotten a bigger share of the gate as the series progressed. He did say it with tongue somewhat planted in cheek, but he proceeded to explain in detail and length how the percentages of profit change after four games. I don’t recall the exact split because I was taken aback by his comments were more about maximizing postseason earnings rather than enjoying success in the game.

In contrast, Theo Epstein spoke of certain Red Sox executives who had pen and paper at the ready during Game 4, poised to craft a fitting statement of defeat. Whether it was Dr. Charles Steinberg or Lucchino was left open to interpretation.

Epstein’s press conference on November 2nd also left much to the imagination. After mulling over his departure and having a few more days to read the transcript of his cryptic responses, it would be lunacy for me or anyone else to claim to know the true story of why he left, but I’m left with a few impressions of this regrettable process.

Epstein felt he had earned the right to be treated as part of management. I revise my previous statement that I thought Lucchino was the source of the leaks, but the fact remains that someone with access to sensitive details spoonfed these particulars to Dan Shaughnessy. Such an act seems to be predicated by an apparent lack of respect for Epstein that may permeate the organization. Everyone thought of him as the young protegé and hometown kid willing to take his lumps indefinitely.

But kids grow up. He was not willing to play the ingenue any longer. He helped bring a championship to a town that was fallow for decades. Perhaps his front office peers, for he saw them as peers, never thought of him as being more than a novelty act. Epstein imagined that he had established himself as a full-fledged member of the management team and a league elite, not part of the rank and file. But when it came down to it, Epstein wasn’t accepted as part of the old boys’ club.

Maybe it’s because he didn’t put on airs. So many of the players spoke out on Epstein’s departure: Curt Schilling (not entirely surprising), Jason Varitek, David Ortiz. Rookie phenom Jonathan Papelbon spoke out on how Epstein gave him confidence when he was told by the man who recruited him “to act like you’re meant to be here this whole time.” Much like how the now former Red Sox general manager took to his own responsibilities at the age of 28 with an aplomb and deftness alien to recent Red Sox admininistrators.

For one so young, he understood how the Red Sox were not cursed by figments of former players but by a lack of innovation. The team Theo loved growing up was plagued by uninspired owners and managers who couldn’t see beyond their provincial cant and received so-called wisdom. The legacy of racism and moribund imagination that hobbled the team is so often whitewashed by the song and dance of Shaughnessy’s devising.

How deliciously vile that this specific Boston Globe columnist play a part in this drama. In a struggle between counterfeit understandings of Red Sox history represented by Shaughnessy against a vibrant baseball dynasty-in-the-making exemplified by Epstein, the former triumphed and a part of a promising future that was lost. Why write a new story when you can just keep on reissuing the old?

November 1, 2005

Silver and Gold

Lost in the shuffle yesterday was the awarding of Silver Slugger trophies to David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and Jason Varitek. Recipients of the award are selected by major league managers coaches; each position has one winner. Ortiz and Ramirez have both carried the vote multiple times, garnering their second and eighth awards respectively. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron award recently for being the best all-around hitter in the league, and the accumulated accolades are beginning to feel a bit like consolation prizes for not winning the MVP vote, which will likely be the case for the Red Sox designated hitter. The AL MVP will be announced November 14th. This was the first year Varitek was so recognized. Boston had the most players on the Silver Slugger team; New York and Texas followed closely with two teammates each.

Today Varitek was recognized for his defensive prowess with his first Gold Glove honor. The first thing that sprang to my mind was the captain blocking home plate to keep Jack Wilson from scoring on June 17th in an interleague game against the Pirates. The Red Sox catcher is regarded as the best game caller and is also reknown for his conscientious preparation for each outing. Just nine more and he’ll tie Johnny Bench and ten more until Ivan Rodriguez, who had won the award 11 out of the past 13 years. It was the first Gold Glove for Boston since 1991, when Tony Peña, another Red Sox catcher, was so recognized.

Of course, we’d prefer other hardware, or a general manager. Heck, how about a functional baseball operations office? Until then, have some new baubles that can be trotted out by the Red Sox public relations office to occupy and amuse the masses, albeit briefly.

October 31, 2005

General Mismanagement

Could we get a Sane Person to Red Sox Fan translator? Because I’m hearing this talk about Theo Epstein “resigning,” as in leaving, and I’m pretty sure they actually mean “re-signing,” as in extending Epstein’s contract. Because that’s what Dan Shaughnessy said on October 30th in the esteemed, impartial Boston Globe; it was all but a done deal yesterday. Shaughnessy and the Globe are not shills for the Red Sox front office as Tony Massarotti claims. Right? Right?

Late this afternoon, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald broke the story that Epstein was walking away from the Red Sox’s 3-year, $4.5M offer in large part because he was disturbed by Shaughnessy’s Sunday column. Epstein felt it revealed too many of the intimate details of the negotiations and that it reeked of a leak by Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino. In Silverman’s article, sources close to the 31-year old former GM said that he was satisfied the money, term, and organizational details of the contract. However, the article signaled to Epstein that the deal was negotiated in bad faith by Lucchino.

Lennie Briscoe, portrayed by the now-departed Jerry Orbach, was my favorite character from “Law & Order” and he also uttered a classic line from the series: “I want to go to law school so I can learn how to turn gold into lead.” Lucchino, the antithesis of King Midas, continues to try and turn our memories of the championship into figments of the past rather than a foundation for the future. He is aided by Shaughnessy, who plays the role of Silenus, the chief satyr whom Midas granted hospitality in exchange for the satyr’s wondrous tales.

I’m probably not alone in thinking that I’d much prefer Epstein’s services for the next few years rather than reams of Shaughnessy columns or reels of Lucchino press conferences. The former are coldly calculated inklings of a man determined to live off the misery of others while the latter are the delusory diatribes designed to circumvent responsibility.

My impression of the situation is that the ownership group was trying to avert a situation where Epstein would have too great an influence in the organization. Much as Joe Torre’s championship run has imbued him with an air of invulnerability, Epstein’s accomplishments, both real and attributed, have vaulted him into the stratosphere of Boston sports lore. Why feed yet another ego, one that carries with it World Series cachet, when you can hire, say, a just-dismissed Paul DePodesta, who will likely be malleable and willing to toe the company line? Just as the statistical-based approach of running a team removes the chimera of chemistry from the mix, getting another GM as versed in number crunching as Epstein will prove just as successful.

At least, that is what we’re all hoping.

October 28, 2005

Rethinking Agency

Step Up to the Mike
The title of this post may give literature, philosophy, or social science majors some bad flashbacks to the postmodernist authors articles they had to wade through. It did me.

Sean McAdam of the Providence Journal reported that Mike Timlin and the Red Sox came to a tentative agreement for him to return for the 2006 season in a deal worth approximately $3.5M. He’ll likely end his career with Boston, especially given Terry Francona’s tendency to overuse him. The Red Sox are most likely going to return the veteran righty to the role of set-up pitcher for Keith Foulke.

Catacorner Conundrum
Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller, the pair whose names confused us when they were signed prior to the 2003 season, both filed for free agency yesterday. My wish would be that Mueller retired with the Red Sox, but such a thing seems unlikely. My other wish is for Millar to retire, but if he does not, I hope that whichever organization picks him up will have the foresight and good judgment to have his access to the media curtailed.

Cars Not Bombs
GreenvillelogoThe Class A affliate of the Red Sox in Greenville, South Carolina has changed its name from the “Bombers ” to the “Greenville Drive. ” I’m not a fan of the abstract nicknames that have been the vogue lately, but I suppose there are only so many savage carnivores and ethnic slurs to go around.

Theodolite: Its Uses and Abuses
No, it’s not the name of a new cult that has sprung up around the Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, fourth edition, a theodolite is “an optical instrument consisting of a small mounted telescope rotatable in horizontal and vertical planes, used to measure angles in surveying, meteorology, and navigation. ” In other words, nothing that will help gauge the progress of the talks between Epstein and the Red Sox, which according to Gordon Edes and Chris Snow, appear to be close to a deal acceptable to all parties. Assistant general manager Josh Byrnes will probably take a job in the arid Arizona Diamondbacks organization and will likely be replaced by current assistant to the general manager Jed Hoyer.

Our Goliath
Prior to Game 4, David Ortiz of the AL and Andruw Jones of the NL accepted their Hank Aaron awards in recognition of their outstanding offensive production this past season. An amazing 89,809 fans voted for the Red Sox designated hitter, which was 42% of the total AL votes. Many baseball writers consider the DH to be less important than position players, the implication being that being a good hitter doesn’t require the same commitment. Ortiz said, “It takes a lot of concentration and a lot of hard work to get to that level. I guess it’s been working the right way for me, and I’m going to want to keep it that way.”

October 22, 2005

All Hale DeMarlo

Start working on your signs for the 2006 season now, fans. DeMarlo Hale, former first base coach of the Texas Rangers, is now the third base coach for the Red Sox. Theo Epstein, whose own contract is up at the end of this month, made the announcement today. The goal of a third base coach is for one’s name to go unrecognized, but this is unlikely in a city of such intense scrutiny. “Hale” is an easier name to both pronounce and lampoon. To wit: “Halefire and Brimstone,” “Time for DeMarlo to Hale a Cab,” and, if he does well, “All Hale the Chief.” The first name is more difficult; my best effort is “DeMarlo-ition Derby.”

Like Grady Little, Hale never broke out of the minor leagues as a player. In five seasons as a first baseman and outfielder in the Boston and Oakland organizations he attempted 87 steals and succeeded 67 times. Hale was recognized by Baseball America, The Sporting News, and USA Today as Minor League Manager of the Year in 1999. That year he led the Trenton Thunder, then part of the Red Sox organization, to a 92-50 season. Welcome to the panopticon.

October 19, 2005

Fveum and Fortune

Dale Sveum signed with the Milwaukee Brewers to be their third base coach today. Sveum will probably appreciate a place that cares more about which sausage will win a race than his name or performance. The Red Sox will now consult with Don Quixote about which windmill to hire next. The thing that most fascinated me about Sveum after his incredibly bad judgment, lack of depth perception, and inability to gauge the speed of moving objects was his nearly unpronounceable surname.

I looked up “Sveum” at ancestry.com and found that it is Norwegian in origin, which explains his height of 6'3", which might be shorter than the average Norwegian. The name is dervied from “Sveen,” which in turn has its origins from the Old Norse word “svið” (land cleared by burning) and “sviða” (to burn). That is fairly descriptive of his tenure here. He took the fans’ criticism with a good sense of humor, however. I will always remember him in the rolling rally pretending to wave in runners in response to fans who recognized him and honored him with that trademark motion.

September 11, 2005

Sea Dogs in Eastern League Championship Series

SeadogslogoCongratulations to the Portland Sea Dogs! The Red Sox double-A affiliates beat the Trenton Thunder tonight for the right to play in the Eastern League Championship Series. The Thunder is the double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, coincidentally enough. The Sea Dogs clinched their third Northern Division title, and like their previous titles it required a win in the fifth game at Hadlock Field. The Southern Division Akron Aeros will be the Sea Dogs’ opponents in the series, which will begin on September 13th.

August 30, 2005


Shave and a Haircut
Mark Bellhorn has signed with the New York Yankees. Strangely enough, he’ll take over the roster spot vacated by transferring Carl Pavano, for whose services the Red Sox were in the running before the season started, from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day. It will be sad to see him stripped of all personality and and nattily pinstriped. I was surprised he selected New York over Oakland. Perhaps he truly did get a taste of East Coast baseball fervor and relished it. The money probably didn’t hurt, either. Some choice quotes from a Yankee fan board:

  • He does hit a home run every 463 at bats, which is twice Womack’s pace.
  • You can bank on him getting a key walk, and his defense is underrated.
  • Don’t you mean "key strikeout"?
    Bellhorn is not worth anything off the bench- he doesn’t have a single elite skill that can be COUNTED on in a pinch (i.e. Womack’s speed).
  • I swear, this swapping of players between the Sox and the Yanks is becoming almost incestuous. (and NOBODY likes kissing their sister.... except of course a few folks in Kentucky.)
  • I like to move for purely psychological reasons. The Red Sox probably don’t want Bellhorn in pinstripes with a chance to hurt them in either the regular or post-season. Can’t wait for the groans over at SOSH.

Well Spoken
David Wells, never one to be parsimonious with words, collided head-on with MLB, whose disciplinary office, headed by Bob Watson, is similarly generous with suspension days for Red Sox players. In response to the upholding of his six-game suspension for his “collision” with Chris Guccione on July 2nd, Wells gave a press conference where he gave his somewhat less than favorable impressions of the league and its commissioner, Bud Selig. He accused Selig of covering up Rafael Palmeiro’s suspension until the after the Hall of Fame Induction weekend. He also characterized Watson as a former player who is now “out to get the guys.” MLB’s response was swift and strident: “David Wells has once again created a distraction with a series of ill-informed and ill-conceived comments.” Wells’s suspension will last until September 4th.

Pitch Countdown
Abe Alvarez optioned to Pawtucket and Manny Delcarmen recalled to Boston today. Craig Hansen has been shut down indefinitely due to fatigue. With September call-ups right around the corner, the constantly fluctuating bullpen picture will come into focus. The real question is, who will carry the blue floral bag and fanny pack?

August 28, 2005

Youth Moving

Abe Alvarez, come on up! You’re our next contestant on “The Brim is Left,” where we all wear our baseball caps jauntily to the left in your honor. The object of this game is to give the weary bullpen arms a rest until September call-ups, when Craig Hansen will hopefully join you.

A fond farewell to veteran lefty Mike Remlinger. Some things just aren’t meant to be, and we just had too many effective Mikes to warrant holding on to you any longer. I was looking forward to the time when your name would be the answer to an obscure Red Sox player trivia question, and that time has come.

August 25, 2005

Memento Morbid

I’m unsure how to feel about Daniel Edwards’s exhibit at First Street Gallery in Chelsea entitled The Ted Williams Memorial Display with Death Mask from The Ben Affleck 2004 World Series Collection. I don’t condone censorship, so I’m not calling for the exhibit to fold. Perhaps it is an opportunity to explore the way we build myths around our cherished heroes such as Williams.

Most unsettling is that the authenticity of the mask is not made evident; the press release is unclear as to whether the death mask was actually cast from Williams’s head. The mask will be displayed alongside actual memorabilia, so it is swathed with an air of genuineness. The announcement plays on its intended audience’s uneasy feeling of tension between the macabre need to know if the mask is real and the desire to maintain a modicum reverence for someone no longer with us. More than anything, however, I think it merely prolongs the circus surrounding the circumstances of his final resting place, which has been anything but.

The man had his faults, there is no doubt about that. The almost hagiographic treatments of his exploits after his death are at completely at odds to the sideshow happenings since his passing. I only hope that the years following Williams’s death will erode the dross of hyperbole and desecration and bring us to a more intimate understanding of the man in all his intricacy.

August 15, 2005

iSod: Grass Materialism


A turf farm in Rhode Island? Grass being sold? Mark Bellhorn rehabbing in Pawtucket? Too many coincidences there. Reminds me of a favorite song of mine.

Lyric by: Colin Moulding

Laying on the grass my heart it flares like fire
The way you slap my face just fills me with desire
You play hard to get
’Cause you’re teacher’s pet
But when the boats have gone
We’ll take a tumble excuse for a fumble
Shocked me too the things we used to do on grass
If you fancy we can buy an ice-cream cone
Your mate has gone
She didn’t want to be alone
I will pounce on you
Just us and the Cuckoos
You are helpless now
Over and over we flatten the clover
Shocked me too the things we used to do on grass
It would shock you too the things we used to do on grass
Grass, grass.
Things we did on grass

© 1986 Reproduced by permission of EMI Virgin Music Ltd, London WC2H 0QY

August 9, 2005

Crafty Lefty Acquired and Other Clichés

File under the oldie but (hopefully) goodie category: According to WEEI, Mike Remlinger, a 39-year old southpaw who was designated for assignment by the Cubs on August 6, has been picked up by the Red Sox. He attended Dartmouth, but apparently that didn’t bother Theo Epstein, and neither did his 4.91 ERA. His 1.30 WHIP is near his career low, but he has only pitched 33 innings this season. No announcement as to whom Boston is giving up yet, just a player to be named later. I would have preferred someone that could help shoulder the load that Mike Timlin has been carrying, but beggars can’t be choosers.

August 8, 2005

Yo-yo Youkilis

Kevin Youkilis is back up in the bigs and Bill Mueller is on the bench because of back spasms. To make room for the young infielder, Jose Cruz, Jr. was designated for assignment, just 6 days after he was activated.

And yet, Alex Cora started at third base for tonight. Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy mentioned a long, closed door meeting between Terry Francona, Theo Epstein, and other front office personnel before the game.

August 2, 2005

Our Port of Call

Mike Port has accepted a position with Major League Baseball as Vice President of Umpiring. Best of luck to the 12-year veteran of the Red Sox organization, who has recovered splendidly from the heart attack he had last year. I suppose there’s only so much of Larry Lucchino anyone, including the former recipient of the Boston Baseball Writers Association’s “Good Guy” Award, can take. Maybe Port can exert some pressure and influence on Bob Watson, whose title has been exalted to “Vice President, Rules & On-Field Operations.” I guess “Red Sox Gadfly” is Watson’s unofficial title.

July 31, 2005

Hot Clubhouse Flowers

Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reported that there was indeed a run-in between Manny Ramirez and Curt Schilling. Silverman’s source stated that Ramirez is not the type of player Terry Francona likes, saying, “Francona has one way of thinking and there’s one type of player he wants on his team and that’s not Manny.” What exactly about Ramirez’s .370 OBP, .571 slugging, 92 RBIs, 12 assists, and his protection of David Ortiz in the lineup is unlikable?

This incident makes it clear that there are “Francona Guys” and “Not Francona Guys” and that Boston has a more divisive clubhouse than previously depicted. Cliques are inevitable, but if they form the basis for inane decision-making, such as every nearly every permutation of the Manny deal presented, the front office needs to revise their methodology for dealing with dissent.

Pitchers should rein in their criticism of position players. I have thought that pitchers and hitters should have different leadership structures, and that pitchers in particular have no right to call out position players on how much efffort should be exerted. In the end, a position player is on the field practically every day, and how can a pitcher dictate the rigors of such a grinding schedule? When Schilling and David Wells take the field daily I’ll give their comments more credence.

I think Jason Varitek’s leadership by example was woefully unfit to deal with “Mannygate.” That type of guidance works when you have a clubhouse of Bill Muellers, but you with the Red Sox, you don’t. If Varitek wants to be a well-rounded leader and perhaps future field manager, he’ll have to become more outspoken and learn to bridge the gap between players of different backgrounds and attitudes. A good example to follow would be Ozzie Guillen.

My opinions are based only on what has been released so far. I’m certain we’ll get a return volley from the pro-Francona camp in due time. The over-riding concern I have is that at 4:00 PM today the major league’s Dynamic Duo will remain intact.

Cruising Along

Jose Cruz, Jr. was acquired by Red Sox from the Diamodbacks in exchange for Kyle Bono and Kenny Perez. This trade was announced on NESN’s “SportsDesk.” I distinctly remember Cruz’s errors in the 2003 NLDS when he was with the San Francisco Giants. Hopefully he won’t be Mr. Butterfingers here. He’s currently .213 BA, .347 OBP, .436 slugging with 12 home runs. The switch-hitting outfielder will bring some flexibility to the lineup.

In other news, Eric Frede of NESN finagled from Terry Francona that Jon Papelbon would be starting on Sunday. Lenny DiNardo will be sent back to Pawtucket to clear space on the roster.

July 28, 2005

The Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series Collector’s Edition DVD Set

DvdsetWhat a spectacular set. Despite its technical shortcomings, its contents are its redeeming quality. It’s difficult to quibble about artefacts if you are enamored of the subject matter and a Red Sox completist.

I wasn’t sold on it at first. There is no alternate audio track with Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano. Videophiles like Dave McCarty warned that the video quality was not the best and that it is not 16x9 anamorphic widescreen, although it is Dolby Digital 5.1.

Each individual DVD case is carefully designed. The interior of each case has a game log and the back has the box score. The covers have game length, number of pitches, attendance, temperature, as well as relevant quotes and facts about the game contained therein. My favorites are listed below.

  • Game 1 tells me that Varitek’s 7th inning home rome was his 8th career postseason homer, the most in Red Sox history and that Mussina retired the first 19 batters, the first pitcher to do so since Jim Lonborg in Game 2 of the 1967 World Series. (Why didn’t McCarver ever mention that? Odd.) There is a thumbnail of the ALCS program.
  • Entering Game 2, the Red Sox and Yankees had met 46 times in the regular season and postseason over the last two years with each team winning 23 times. Mariano Rivera had his 32nd postseason save. Pedro Martinez’s cap is shown in the bottom right hand corner.
  • In Game 3, the Yankees matched the record for LCS hits with 22 and set the record for runs (19) and doubles (8). The Red Sox had their first lead of the series in this game, and it lasted just 7 minutes. A picture of an actual ticket adorns the cover.
  • Now we get to the good stuff. David Ortiz’s jersey floats eerily in the corner like a eidolon to ward away supposed ghosts. The Yankees didn’t score in the 1st inning for the first time this series. Ortiz became the first player in MLB history to hit 2 walk-off home runs in a single postseason. This game was the longest extra-inning game in ALCS history at 5 hours and 2 minutes.
  • I’m watching Game 5 as I write this. The cover contradicts the previous game’s by telling me this is the longest game in duration (5 hours and 49 minutes) and innings (14) in ALCS history. Miguel Cairo became the most hit by pitch player in LCS history with a third plunking this game and another for good measure in Game 7. Of the five postseason wins through Game 5, Ortiz delivered 3 game-winning walk-off hits. An official media credential taunts me from the bottom right. Perhaps some day. We’ve all learned to believe in the impossible.
  • “We’re a 25-man roster that will do whatever it takes to win,” said Terry Francona. I just noted that Yankee Stadium is a trademarked entity on this cover. The Red Sox were the first team to force a seventh game after being down 3-0. Keith Foulke’s spikes sit tattered and grubby on the front, a symbol of his 2 saves over the course of 48 hours.
  • “How many times can you honestly say you have a chance to shock the world?” asked Kevin Millar. The Red Sox had 8 four-game winnings streaks during the regular season. Johnny Damon’s grand slam and 2-run home run set a new ALCS record of 6 RBIs in a game, and his black BWP-243 Pro Maple Lite graces the cover. Victory, with more to come.

The bonus disc has many tantalizing extras, including ALCS and World Series celebrations from angles you’ve likely not seen yet. The best sequence is the rambunctious Red Sox celebration in Yankee Stadium’s visitor’s clubhouse interspliced with Yankee players leaving in their street clothes. Someone managed to spirit a camera in the exit hallway from the Yankee clubhouse. The camera trained on Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams, Gary Sheffield, and Jorge Posada as they strode alone. Each of these walks stood in sharp contrast to the Red Sox partying, where there were so many champagne showers the cameraman had to wipe off his lens continually. Only Williams acknowledged the security guard that kept watch. Sheffield whistled tunelessly, eyes focused above everyone’s head.

I was excited to see that the Curt Schilling segment was filmed at a talk that I actually attended. I was one of the brave, frozen souls that stood in winter temperatures for the Christmas at Fenway event. My question about steroids was not captured for posterity, however. I leave you to discover the other bonus footage gems on your own.

The White House and ring ceremony segments were hugely disappointing. The White House footage would have the field of view inexplicably train up to the blue sky then slowly move back down to capture the President with the world champions. The ring ceremony had no audio commentary voiceover and the sound from the field was muffled. The camera covering the ceremony was so far away you could not see the emotions play across the recipients’ faces, and not all of the presentations were shown.

There are lapses in quality, but if you’re like me and can’t get enough of every camera angle of grown men shampooing with alcoholic beverages, you will enjoy this set. Sweep, beat, sweep, and weep.

July 26, 2005

Get Well, Matt Clement

In the bottom of the 3rd inning of tonight’s game, Matt Clement got hit on the right side of the head with a line drive off of Carl Crawford’s bat. I didn’t see much movement from him for a long while, but close-ups did show his legs move and as well as breathing. This was reminiscent of Bryce Florie’s accident on September 8, 2000.

The thoughts and prayers of Red Sox fans around the world are with the Clement family tonight.

9:54 PM update via NESN
Computerized tomography (CT) scan was negative and Clement never lost consciousness, which was surprising considering how long he was prone. The situation is looking much better than it did an hour and a half ago.

Mr. Delcarmen, Red Sox, Line 1

Note to self: Start writing book proposal for From Hyde Park to Fenway Park. Manny Delcarmen will be taking a flight from Pawtucket to St. Petersburg in time for tonight’s game. He started in Portland at the beginning of this season and was promoted to Pawtucket earlier this month. Will there be scouts in the crowd to see what he’s got? Who’s going to be going down to make space for him: John Halama, Jeremi Gonzalez, Adam Hyzdu? Wish it could be that other Adam, after last night’s baserunning blunder. Madam, in Eden, I’m Adam.

There are also rumblings of Rich Garces being signed by the Red Sox, but I have no link for that. He has a big tank; is there anything left in it?

July 20, 2005

Revolving Door

Goodbye to Alan Embree, who was designated for assignment. He leaves with 145 innings pitched for Boston, a regular season ERA of 5.09, 112 strikeouts, a World Series ring, and our thanks. He played a significant role in the postseason with the Red Sox: his ERA was 1.29, he pitched 14 innings, and induced the final ground out of the 2004 ALCS. In the extra clips on the World Series DVD, you can see Embree hug Mike Timlin, enjoying the glow of victory after the final out of the ALCS. How different that moment was compared to the image that was previously etched in my mind, of he and Timlin standing in the bullpen in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, waiting for the call that never came.

Goodbye also to Scott Cassidy, a right-handed pitcher I saw in Pawtucket earlier this season. He was called up for a few days this season and pitched two-thirds of an inning and left with an ERA of 40.50 for 2005. He goes to San Diego, which he’ll probably appreciate when November rolls around.

In return for Cassidy, the Red Sox got back Adam Hyzdu from the Padres, who was originally traded for Blaine Neal back in March of this year. Welcome back. Madam, I’m Adam.

Hello to Tony Graffanino, who will bolster the infield since Mark Bellhorn was put on the 15-day disabled list with an overdose of vitamin K and a sprained left thumb. Boston acquired Graffanino for Chip Ambres and Juan Cedeno.

I neglected to mention this earlier, but Gabe Kapler will be back shortly as well, inspiring feelings of inadequacy in men everywhere.

July 19, 2005

Bye Bye Billy?

I’d be quite sad if the deal involving Bill Mueller and J.C. Romero with Minnesota goes through. This article mentions the possibility that Kevin Millar might be an option, which I strongly endorse. The Red Sox do need more bullpen arms, and Romero is a viable addition.

July 17, 2005

Concerted Effort

HscmMike O’Malley, who you might remember as “The Rick,” was the main host for Hot Stove, Cool Music: The Fenway Sessions, killing time in between sets. He did an impersonation of Joe Torre going to the mound which wasn’t entirely accurate because by the time he got to the spot where the “mound” was the entire group of infielders wasn’t huddled around it. He also facilitated the auctions of several items: Mike Timlin’s jersey, Tim Wakefield’s spikes, Peter Gammons’s pink striped shirt, Theo Epstein’s guitar picks with his autograph, dugout seat tickets for four with Gammons, and box seat tickets for four with Epstein. When the bidding flagged, O’Malley would exhort the crowd, saying, “It’s for the children! Do you have something against children?” I could afford none of these items. O’Malley’s impersonation of Dave Wallace was much funnier and more accurate. He had the gestures down well, and did a lot of what I will henceforth call “accupatting,” which Wallace does to comfort his pitchers during his visits.

It was great to see Reb, Kim, and Jere again, as well as finally meet Pat and Jen. As Jere mentioned, the bloggers had to sit separately, in case of terrorist action, like how the Vice President and President are never in the same place. It’s for the safety of the Nation.

I wonder if Bronson Arroyo is restricted from playing with certain musicians or if they don’t want to play with him, because he played solo except for “Black,” when a saxophonist joined him. I wouldn’t label this the finest moment in musical collaboration.

The other groups did fine, although mixing the sound for so many combinations of musicians meant that it wasn’t optimum for all. Juliana Hatfield’s voice came across as weak and there were feedback problems in the beginning of Fountains of Wayne’s set. Fountains of Wayne were the final and in my opinion best group. Consummate musicians all and it’s neat to note that Chris Collingwood helped engineer the Shakespeare By Another Name podcasts supporting Mark Anderson’s eponymous book. After seeing Anderson’s picture, I believe I saw him at the concert.

“It’s for the children!”

Setting the stage.

They wouldn’t let me push the buttons. I wanna push the buttons!

Gammons and Wakefield in their informal collaboration, the Hot Stove All-Stars.

Kay Hanley, for Andrew. She was flirting very heavily with Peter Gammons.
All you other guys have no chance.

July 14, 2005

Boys Are Back in Town

The Chad Bradford for Jay Payton deal was finalized yesterday and Curt Schilling was activated. When the Red Sox take the field tonight, the bullpen will feature 100% more wacky submarine pitcher action and a decibel increase of 50 dB. Kevin Youkilis took the Lou Merloni Memorial Drive back down to Pawtucket along with right-handed pitcher Scott Cassidy. Just call it the Great Moneyball Swap of 2005.

Bronson Arroyo will start tonight against Mike Mussina, kicking off this pivotal series. I’ve managed to get tickets to two of the four games, so the next few days are particularly exciting for me.

July 9, 2005

Ruth Pesky


Ruthie Pesky, wife of Red Sox infielder Johnny Pesky, died yesterday at the age of 82. They were married on January 10, 1945. This archived article speaks of their lifelong love and devotion.

Requiescat in pace.

July 8, 2005

Sidearm Pitchers Я Us

The Providence Journal’s Sean McAdam reports that Jay Payton will be traded to Oakland for right-handed pitcher Chad Bradford. Details in this link describe Payton’s questionable behavior when he was placed sixth in the lineup to replace Millar. He believed this signified lack of confidence in him as a hitter. In reality, it was because Francona didn’t want a two lefties in a row, which would have been the case if Olerud hit after Nixon, who was batting 5th. (Thanks to PTH for the link.)

Chad Bradford was a protagonist in Michael Lewis’s Moneyball, so you can ask Joe Morgan all about it as Morgan is a huge fan of all this new-fangled statistical stuff. The submariner is currently on the disabled list due to back surgery, and the trade cannot be announced until the All-Star break. The Red Sox have nearly cornered the market on underhanded pitchers. The Fenway grounds crew is upset because they will have to rebuild both sides of the mound with these two knucklescrapers.

July 7, 2005

Shuffle Up and Deal

A cavalcade of transactions:

  • Traded Ramon Vazquez for Alex Cora with Cleveland, who is slightly more expensive and productive ($700,000 and .234 OBP versus $1.3M and .250 OBP).
  • Designated Jay Payton for assignment.
  • Activated Adam Stern from the 60-day disabled list, who would have to go back to Atlanta if he wasn’t promoted by July 12.
  • Sent Lenny DiNardo back down to Pawtucket; now he might miss Bronson Arroyo’s CD release party!

And to top it off, Keith Foulke had his knee surgery. It’s safe to say that Theo Epstein did more before 9 AM today than I did all week.

With Damon banged up, tonight’s lineup is more than a little makeshift. We all wait with heavy anticipation for the word on what the Red Sox will get for Jay Payton.

July 6, 2005

Things to Do With the Bullpen When You’re Bored

  • Put your 38-year old ace who is recovering from ankle surgery in the bullpen. Curt Schilling offered his services and the front office and Terry Francona have accepted. With Keith Foulke going on the disabled list, Schilling as a closer seems to be one of the options.
  • Start with your relievers and close with your starters. Lou Piniella, tired of meltdowns by his subpar relief staff, proposed this solution to try to staunch the bleeding in the late innings.

Such moves aren’t entirely unprecedented. John Smoltz’s transition from starter to closer and back again a well-documented and successful example, as is Dennis Eckersley. As for Piniella’s experiment, there are statistical and economic bases for revamping bullpen usage. Much of the brouhaha about these recent moves is a direct result of the baseball establishment not accepting unorthodox moves that are theoretically sound. To be sure, Piniella has recently been criticized for leaving Travis Harper in during a blowout against the Yankees, and this strategy reeks of desperation, so he isn’t the case study to enact a potentially revolutionary use of the bullpen. But, it’s a start.

July 4, 2005

Advancing in the Ranks

With the recent moves making space on the Pawtucket roster, the Red Sox organization has seen fit to promote two pitching prospects. Twenty-four year old right-handed pitcher Jon Papelbon was promoted to Triple A Pawtucket. Extensive coverage of the highest rated Red Sox pitching prospect, according to Baseball America, can be found at BSM. Taking Papelbon’s place in Portland is 21-year old righty Anibal Sanchez, who the second highest ranked pitching prospect after Papelbon on BA’s list.

I’ve only seen Sanchez pitch in person, and that was at an exhibition game. However, judging from what I have been reading from other people’s accounts of Papelbon and Sanchez, there’s some hope for homegrown pitching. Of course it’s too early to say this might be like Oakland catching lightning in a bottle with Hudson, Mulder, and Zito, but a rejuvenated and productive farm system is still exciting. Maybe having viable prospects is one of George Steinbrenner’s birthday wishes.

July 3, 2005

Allemande Left, Chassé

Vazquez and Alvarez Sent Down; Gonzalez and DiNardo Called Up
NESN reported that Ramon Vazquez has been designated for assignment and Abe Alvarez has been sent back to Pawtucket. To fill their vacancies, Jeremi Gonzalez and Lenny DiNardo have been called up from the Triple A club. More arms in the bullpen are needed, especially with tours of Texas and Baltimore coming up. These opposing clubs are first and second respectively in home runs and slugging percentage.

Bullpen Maneuvers

Mantei to DL; Alvarez Called Up
Yesterday Matt Mantei was placed in the 15-day disabled list for a sprain to his left ankle. To shore up the bullpen, left-handed Triple A pitcher Abe Alvarez was called up from Pawtucket.

Mantei’s year might be over should he require surgery. Should he not play another game, he ends the year with 34 appearances, 26.1 innings pitched, 23 hits, 1 home run (this surprised me), 24 walks, 22 strikeouts, .240 BAA, and a 6.49 ERA. The organization had hoped for better, but knew the risks and only paid $750,000 for the year.

With Alvarez back up we could be seeing a glimpse of the future rotation. Theo Epstein has spoken repeatedly about the young pitcher’s poise, and hopefully his second trip to the majors won’t be anything like Cla Meredith’s debut earlier this year.

June 23, 2005

Vantastic Voyage

His name is whispered in reverent tones across Red Sox fandom. The Boston Globe’s feature on Eric Van shows that he’s even more interesting outside of his baseball obsession. In reading the five other facts on Van, I find that he and I aren’t entirely dissimilar:

  1. He hosts a weekly “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” viewing party.
    I slay vampires on weekends. (Not every weekend, admittedly. Actually, I just maim them. In truth, vampires don’t exist. It was hard to eliminate all of them, however. Whew.)
  2. Van not only watches every Red Sox game but he also scores the games in extraordinary detail.
    I watch every Red Sox game and post my musings here in extraordinary detail.
  3. In 1986, Van and his ex-wife Anita Roy Dobbs produced the first video by Throwing Muses for a song called “Fish.”
    I listen to the Throwing Muses, and on numerous occasions in 1986 I ate fish.
  4. In science-fiction [sic] circles, Van is recognized as an expert on Philip K. Dick.
    I have read and enjoyed Dick’s work, and in science fiction circles I am recognized as one of 23,720 female fans.
  5. Van is a prolific reviewer on Amazon.com.
    I have ordered prolifically from Amazon.com.

It’s amazing how Red Sox fans extensively generate original and novel approaches to baseball statistics. Get in on the ground floor with the budding of a new Van, and see Reb’s work on Bases per Batter (BpB).

May 30, 2005

Juan Pedro Villaman

VillamanJuan Pedro “J.P.” Villaman died in a car accident this morning on his return drive from Logan Airport after flying from New York City. His nickname with the Red Sox players was “Papa Oso,” which means “Papa Bear.” When an opposing hitter struck out, his signature call was “Sientate!” He is survived by his wife and three children.

This April article from The Eagle Tribune tells of his joy in receiving a World Series ring as well his influence in broadening the fanbase of the Red Sox to other continents. In 2001, when Bill Kulik founded the Spanish Beisbol Network and acquired the rights to broadcast every Red Sox game in Spanish, he immediately called upon Villaman to be part of the broadcast. Kulik plans to honor Villaman’s memory tonight by using his signature strikeout call.

Requiescat in pace.

May 1, 2005

All Helmet, All the Time

The Red Sox signed John Olerud to a minor league deal today. It would be his first stint in the minors since he went directly into the Toronto Blue Jays, platooning with Cito Gaston. As you can imagine, Dave McCarty is less than thrilled, but understands the need for a left-handed bat. Whenever I think of Olerud, I think of this story, which is funny, but unfortunately apocryphal:

Rickey Henderson, who played with John Olerud with the Blue Jays and Mets, knew the first baseman wore a batting helmet in the field. When the two played together again later in Seattle, Henderson said it was funny, he knew another guy in who did the same thing. Olerud replied, “That was me. We were teammates.”

One of my friends is a Seattle Mariners fan, and Olerud was one of her favorites. He’s fairly solid, but his offensive production precipitously dropped between 2002 and 2003, and the Mariners released him in July 2004. I recall that Joe Morgan would go into paroxysms of pleasure over Olerud’s swing and playing. Let’s see if he does the same when he plays for Boston.

(Spell checker wants me to replace Olerud with “Older.” One of his nicknames on baseball message boards is “Olderdude.”)

April 29, 2005

The Suspense is Killing Me

Major League Baseball announced the punishments for the Red Sox/Devil Ray fisticuffs of April 24, 2005. Below is list of the disciplined, the length of suspension, and my opinion of what the punishment should be.

  • Bronson Arroyo, 6 games. He should be forced to wear a Charles Bronson-inspired moustache for 3 outings, if he can grow one. If not, one of Manny Ramirez’s dreadlocks will be used.
  • Dewon Brazelton, 5 games. Three weeks of community service served by working for a manicurist. That will teach him not to scratch Trot Nixon.
  • Lance Carter, 5 games. In order to teach him how to play better with others, he will join a boy band with Aaron and Nick Carter. He will have to perform a complete set for an Ortiz family gathering, and they must be entertaining. If his group does not please, David Ortiz will have an array of foodstuffs to hurl at his head.
  • Terry Francona, 3 games. One week of community service at a local area shop class.
  • Trot Nixon, 2 games. Attend 3 two-hour training sessions for the proper care and cleaning of a baseball cap and write an essay on what he has learned.
  • Lou Piniella, 3 games. Participate in a series of three debates against Curt Schilling, with topics to include real baseball, ethics, and leadership.

On a serious note, the three-game suspensions of the managers are overkill. MLB is claiming it is because of the clubs’ fractious history, in which Francona played no role. The players will appeal, but the field managers have no recourse.

April 20, 2005

Flutterbys Forever

Tim Wakefield was the third person to receive his World Series ring on April 11, 2005, after only Terry Francona and Ellis Burks. He should have been the ALCS MVP in 2003. He has been with the team over 10 years. He has been the Red Sox nominee for the Roberto Clemente award 6 times, in 1998 and for the last 5 years in a row. Then there are the intangibles (one word too often profaned): the innings he eats, the dedication, the loyalty, not complaining if he’s in the starting rotation, long relief, or spot starting.

Wakefield signed a 1-year $4M contract extension for next season, with a club option for 2007 and each following season. With the rarity of knuckleball pitchers in the majors, it makes sense to continue investing in Wakefield. The less a hitter sees of a certain kind of pitch, the less able he is able to make adjustments to it. Learn all about knuckleball pitcher history, physics, and feats at The Knuckleball Headquarters and see this New Yorker article on Charlie Zink.

April 11, 2005

No Words Required

April 6, 2005

Terry Francona Hospitalized

Developing News
Terry Francona was taken to the Cornell Medical Center for “stiffness” in his chest. He is being tested. Theo Epstein just had a press conference, but no specifics were given. This has been reported on both WEEI and the Boston Globe. Bench coach Brad Mills will be covering for Francona this afternoon. Best wishes to the Francona and Red Sox families for a positive outcome to this.

1:30 PM
In the game radiocast, Joe Castiglione states that Francona is resting comfortably and awaiting test results. He is, however, peeved that he can’t get the game in his room.... It certainly seems like he’ll be fine.

7:30 PM
I’m not sure when this was posted, but here are more details from the Boston Globe about Francona’s condition.

April 3, 2005

Sensory Overload

All good things arrive unto them that wait — and don’t die in the meantime.
Mark Twain

I tried not to wait in vain for tonight’s game, and found some news to comment on.

Red Sox, Inc.
According to this article by Chris Snow in today’s Boston Globe, the World Champion Red Sox have generated an unprecedented volume of requests for the team’s players, executives, and owners to appear in various media outlets. Not only has the baseball management both on the field and in the front office vastly improved, but the business end of the club has been updated. Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College and author of Baseball and Billions, states that the Red Sox radically changed the culture of the team’s operations. “Basically, they’ve done everything exactly right,” said Zimbalist. “It’s an absolutely remarkable story. They’ve changed the corporate culture of the Sox. They’ve extended themselves into the community. They’ve opened up Fenway to the community.”

I was interested to see how the growth in value of the Red Sox and Yankees franchises compared over the last few years. Using valuations published in Forbes, I generated the following table. The past two years have seen the slowing in valuation growth for both, but more so for the Yankees, an organization that lost $17M in value from 2003 to 2004. In contrast, the growth in value for the Red Sox has slowed since 2002, but the Boston team’s value has never been significantly less than any previous year in the time range I was able to find data. Although it is unlikely that the John Henry ownership group will see valuations as high as George Steinbrenner’s club, the gap between the clubs has lessened in the last seven years.

  1. Red line: Red Sox change in valuation from previous year in terms of percentage, with actual dollar values in millions at each point.
  2. Blue line: Yankees change in valuation from previous year in terms of percentage, with actual dollar values in millions at each point.
  3. Green line: Gap in valuation between the Red Sox and Yankees expressed in terms of percentage.

It is safe to say that the impact of the championship has not been taken into account yet, but when it does, I wonder how much closer the gap will be? Continued success on the field, promotion of Fenway Park and the surrounding areas as an alternate venue, and the further expansion of NESN’s programming are all factors that will keep the pressure on the New York American League club to remain competitive in all aspects of the rivalry.

Show Goes On
Thank you, Red Sox. This means more to Dave and I than you can imagine.

April 2, 2005

The Gospel According to William

In the beginning was the name, and the name was “Mueller,” and the name was pronounced “Miller.” There was a man sent from San Francisco, whose name was William. The same came for a base hit, to bear witness of the Light, that all Red Sox fans through him might believe.

On March 31, Chris Snow had another excellent article on Mueller. I’ve written before about those prodigious moments that have been etched in our memories. Even without his dramatic hits, Mueller’s production has been stellar. Since 1996, the year of his debut, if you want a group of third basemen with a minimum of 3,000 plate appearances, .275 BA, .350 OBP, 50 HR, and 400 RBI, you’ll have a list of six:

“Mueller, Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen, Eric Chavez, Corey Koskie, and Jeff Cirillo. Among that class, Mueller ranks third in average (.292) and on-base percentage (.374) and sixth in home runs (72) and RBIs (416). Add “500 or fewer strikeouts” to that search and only Mueller (488) is left standing.

“Jones, next to Mueller, is the only switch hitter on the list. Mueller, in fact, is 16th all-time in on-base percentage among switch hitters with at least 3,000 plate appearances, two spots behind Pete Rose (.375).”

As a sports commentator whose identity escapes me said, “He may not be at the head of the class, but it doesn’t take long to call the roll.”

Let’s compare the 2004 earnings of these players:

  • Eric Chavez: $5.325M
  • Jeff Cirillo: $7.1M
  • Chipper Jones: $15.33M
  • Corey Koskie: $4.5M
  • Bill Mueller: $2.1M
  • Scott Rolen: $7.78M

Admittedly, his injury history has impacted his value. On May 13, 2001, Mueller suffered an open fracture of his left patella after sliding into metal beneath the padding along the Busch Stadium left field wall. He was, as always, playing hard and trying to catch a foul ball.

His lingering knee problems have affected his range and defensive capabilities. As shown below, the argument could be made that he is not is the fielding equivalent of the peers listed, but he is by no definition a liability. The table below is sorted by Defensive Efficiency Rating, explained in David Pinto’s Baseball Musing’s Probabilistic Model of Range.

2004 G GS Inn TC PO A E DP RF Fld % DER
Rolen 141 139 1228 428 93 325 10 23 3.06 97.70 0.107
Chavez 125 125 1129 402 113 276 13 31 3.1 96.80 0.104
Jones 96 93 802 241 58 177 6 13 2.64 97.50 0.092
Mueller 96 94 827.2 247 71 162 14 15 2.53 94.30 0.088
Koskie 115 112 1004 297 79 207 11 14 2.56 96.30 0.086
Cirillo 11 8 78.1 18 8 10 0 1 2.07 100.00 0.083

This is a small sample size, but a head-to-head comparison of Mueller and Rolen in the World Series is eye-opening:

Mueller 14 3 6 2 0 0 2 4 .429 .556 .571 1.127
Rolen 15 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .059 .000 .059

All this from a player that says, “It’s not something I enjoy, talking about myself. I enjoy talking about the game of baseball. It seems like your questions lead outside the lines a lot of times. I try and stay private and really, that’s my business. That’s how I see it.”

Worth every penny. (And if anyone recalls who said that “head of the class” quote, please let me know.)

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 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 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 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 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 1, 2005

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.)

February 27, 2005

Billy Ballgame

Billmuellerst2005Name: William Richard Mueller
Called: “Billy Ballgame” by his teammates, “The Professional” by Red Sox fan board members, “Yankee Kueller” by me
Born: March 17, 1971
Hometown: Maryland Heights, MO
High School: DeSmet High School
College: Southwest Missouri State
Major League Debut: April 18, 1996
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 180 lbs
Position: 3B
Bats: Switch
Throws: Right
Salary: $2.1M
Memorable Moments: Where to begin? We know them all by rote, but I’d be remiss not to relive some of them again.
July 29, 2003: 9 RBI game. He hit three home runs, including two grand slams, the first player to ever hit a GS from both sides of the plate in a single game.
July 24, 2004: Game-winning home run against Mariano Rivera in the 9th inning.
October 17, 2004: Single up the middle. Tie game. Against Rivera. Wow.

Why this guy doesn’t get more attention is beyond me. Some people just fly under the radar, I suppose. I’ve heard people chanting Pokey Reese, Gabe Kapler, even Freddie Sanchez’s name, but never Mueller’s. He probably prefers it that way, too.

There’s a nice article on him in the Boston Globe today. His goal is to start more games this season than he has in any other. He is the anti-Alex Rodriguez. He is humble. He does not act as if you should be honored to watch him, he is honored that you come to see him play. He is what fans hope players are like in real life. Sometimes, they do make them like they used to.

February 26, 2005

Games Within Games

RobertsstealChris Snow of the Boston Globe continues to impress with this article today on the strategy to squelch stolen bases in the upcoming season. Looking back at 2004, the Red Sox allowed the most steals (123 bases) at the highest success rate (79.9%) in the major leagues, and Jason Varitek ranked last in throwing out runners attempting to steal. These alarming statistics, along with their 16-18 record in one-run games, combine to make a compelling argument to improve their methods of keeping runners stationary.

Terry Francona and Dave Wallace have three criteria to track progress: time to plate, varying checks on the runner and pitch timing patterns, and not altering pitches with men on base. All are more easily said than done, particularly the last point. Certain pitchers get spooked and distracted with men on base, and the quality of their pitches decreases drastically with the slide step. Frank Castillo and Derek Lowe immediately spring to mind, and fortunately neither are with the team now.

In a league and era where most of the emphasis is on power hitting and pitching, I enjoy seeing attention paid to nuances. The interplay between runners and pitchers is one of my favorite aspects of the sport. Often, it’s extremely tiresome on television. In live games, though, where you can look at whichever part of the field you want, the throws to first on a base-stealing threat can be riveting. In person, you can observe the defensive shading as well, another under-appreciated facet of the game.

Something that Jerry Remy always postulates is that teams that don’t steal are more likely to get stolen on. Since we’re not hearing about a plan to improve the team’s stealing success, I’ll be watching to see how Francona and Wallace’s tactics play out this season.

February 24, 2005

Home Movies

How much would you give to see Mike Timlin’s movie? An arm, a leg? A deer gave its life, apparently, at the end of the film, which was Trot Nixon’s favorite part. (I’m neither a PETA fanatic nor a “Charlie Moore Outdoors” viewer, just someone who is nonchalant about hunting, so I won’t be soapboxing today.)

Another part that they say brings goosebumps (or “chicken skin,” in Hawaiian Creole English) is the October 28th bus ride from Logan Airport to Fenway Park. “It’s the best,” said Kevin Millar. “You see all the people bowing down and getting out of their cars and trucks.”

Returning to those recent days of splendor, I have an embarrassing story to tell. I forgot my dad’s birthday, October 27th. I called Hawai‘i that weekend, apologetic. He said, “Well, I guess I raised my daughter right.” My parents had visited me earlier that year in July, right during the Yankees series at Fenway. He almost bought scalped tickets for us one day, and was later sorry that he didn’t. On July 24th we visited a different battleground, Minuteman National Park, and listened to some of the game on the radio on the way home. We got home in time to see the extra innings and the Mueller home run.

Before he visited Boston, my dad hadn’t watched baseball since his teens. Football was the sport we bonded over. But while he was here, he started to appreciate the game again. I’d come home from work, and he’d have a Red Sox gift for me. One day, a “Red Sox Fan Parking Only!” sign for my parking space. Another day, pictures of Ted Williams’s first and last at-bats. My landlord (who didn’t mind the sign being put up, thankfully) and Yankee fan said, after the World Series, “Your dad broke the curse!”

Needless to say, I won’t ever forget my dad’s birthday again.

Another strange coincidence: when I went to pick up my parents from the airport, they had a champion on board their plane. Bill Russell came to Boston the same time they did. We saw him waiting for his baggage. He wore one of his eleven rings. I wonder which year it was for? I didn’t get close enough to check.

Eleven. That’s Bill Mueller’s number. Cue “Synchronicity” by the Police.

February 23, 2005

Straighten Up and Fly Right

MillarFrom the Boston Globe, we get this tantalizing snippet: “Kevin Millar may appear on an episode of Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Millar said he’s working on a date for the taping, which would be done during spring training, and hopes to persuade a few teammates to participate.” With Curt Schilling’s recent appearance on “Celebrity Poker,” Bravo is looking more like NESN2.

The picture to the left is from this spring training. Carson would tell him to get rid of the “Cowboy Up” thing, since that’s so 2003, losing-Game 7, already. I don’t think he chews tobacco, but if he does, I’m sure the Fab Five would try and break him of that habit, especially Ted and Jai. Kyan would recommend some strategic tzujing, and prohibit him from ever growing the Amish beard again.

I’m not a devotee of the program, but on nearly every episode I’ve seen, I’m amused when the rest of the gang takes the star of the show shopping, wine tasting, and spa-ing, leaving Thom back at the ranch (and this could be a literal ranch, knowing Millar) to work his tuchis off. I’ve watched him landscape, paint, remove wallpaper, and clean the scum off bathtubs. This man is not adverse to manual labor, at least in front of the cameras.

The online recruiting form states “NYC or LA area.” So, why aren’t the New York City or Los Angeles clubs getting on board with this? Does it fly in the face of the Yankee credo? Or is there just not much work to be done with Jeter or Rodriguez? The Fab Five probably call them for tips.

February 16, 2005

Francona Goes On a Bender

These things write themselves, truly. Terry Francona is rear-ended while on the Dale Arnold Show on WEEI.

FranconaFRANCONA: We have Jay Payton as our fourth outfielder, kinda be the Gabe Kapler.... Aww, geez! Guys, I gotta go. Somebody just rear-ended me.

ARNOLD: See you, Ter.

FRANCONA: You know what, it had the Yankee logo, too.

ARNOLD: See you, Terry.


ARNOLD: That’s unbelievable.

MASSAROTTI: No, it happens, you know. Probably did it on.... It’s probably Steinbrenner who’s driving. That’s probably who it is. Who knows?

“Geez”? Gosh darn it, I love this guy.

Continue reading “Francona Goes On a Bender” »

February 8, 2005

Who’s On First?

PetagineHey, it’s a baseball blog. I had to use this as a title at some point in time, right? So, I’ve gotten that cliché out of the way.

The Red Sox signed Roberto Petagine to a minor league deal today. For the last two years he has played in the NPB. He comes to the team from the Yomiuri Giants, the organization known as the Yankees of Japanese baseball. I’ve never seen any published studies of how performance in Japan translates to the MLB, but there must be some sort of initiative in Red Sox baseball operations to vet these signings. It’s probably a matter of comparing league averages to individual players. Since this data are not readily available to us in manipulable formats, it’s not easy for the layperson to do this.

Let’s see if Petagine will be this year’s edition of Crespo.

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 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.

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 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 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.

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