Saturday, December 29, 2007

Vote Rice for '08

Would you vote for Barry Bonds/Roger Clemens/any of the players named in the Mitchell Report if you had a Hall of Fame vote? That’s a pretty tough question and one that will definitely be a hot topic when they both become eligible. I’ve got a question with an easier answer though. Should Jim Rice finally get into the Hall this year?

The answer, in short is hell yes. This year might even be a better year than any other. I’m not just griping because he isn’t in and he’s only got one more chance after this year – or because I am greedy for more Boston sport success. I truly believe that he should have been named to the Hall long ago but this year should be the year.

Consider the fact that baseball is on the verge of troubled times with the steroid skeletons being let out of the closet so why not vote in Rice. He was a dominant power hitter before the steroid era, the more drug cheats that are named make his stats look even better and his they are certainly worthy as it is.

Look at it this way Rice finished in the top five in MVP voting six times in his 16 year career, including his rookie season when he finished third in MVP voting and second in Rookie of the Year voting to his teammate Fred Lynn.

He also won an MVP, in 1978 of all years, and was an eight time all star. In ’78, one of the most important Red Sox seasons ever, he played in 163 games had 213 hits, 25 doubles, 15 triples, 46 home runs, 139 RBI and hit .315 with a .370 on base percentage. Thus the MVP award but over the course of his career Rice put up Hall worthy numbers.

Take into consideration the fact that from 1975 to 1986 he was in the top ten in virtually every category in the American League. He led the league in slugging twice, OPS once games once, at bats twice, hits once, total bases four times, triples once, home runs three times, RBI twice and extra base hits once.

All of those numbers are courtesy of baseball-reference by the way. Since stats have become so incredibly complex nowadays and are so prevalent in Hall of Fame talk consider this…Six times Rice was in the top six in runs created and ‘batting wins’ he led the league in both in ’78.

Anytime Rice and the Hall of Fame come up you hear about his relationship with the media and how he wasn’t the most cordial guy. I can understand a writer not liking a player or vice versa

I know we sometimes expect athletes to always cater to the every need of the media and fans but imagine if a crowd of reporters (by no fault of their own) jamming their tape recorders, cameras and microphones in your face every morning after you got out of the shower.

It’s definitely all part of the game but there are some people that relish that and other guys that just want to be left alone. You would certainly rather have guys be good to the media so that you as a fan can know what is going on but you just aren’t going to get that from everyone.

I only can speak from what I have read about his playing days but I have met Jim Rice on a couple of occasions and he’s a really nice guy. Not to mention the fact that he can drive a golf ball wicked fah kid.

My point is that as far as the Hall of Fame goes it really doesn’t matter if you were a super nice guy that granted every interview request and signed an autograph for every one that asked or if you were a total jerk that scowled at the mere sight of a newspaper or autograph seeker.

That stuff doesn’t matter when it comes to the Hall of Fame. There are obviously certain red flags – like gambling (see Pete Rose and the 1919 Black Sox) or steroids – time will tell on that one – just like which movie will be bigger E.T. or Krush Groove – With those exceptions aside the only thing that should really matter in Hall voting for a player is what they did between the lines. It’s not a popularity contest like All-Star Games have become.

Keeping a guy out of the Hall of Fame because he wasn’t nice to you is like being a bouncer at any bar sitting in your tower holding dominion over all the poor suckers waiting outside in the cold so they can get in on nine dollar beer night. That is getting a little too drunk with power, if he doesn’t deserve to get in then he shouldn’t get in but if he deserves it then he should be enshrined.

The bottom line when it comes to the Hall of Fame is numbers and Rice’s numbers are up to snuff. He has very similar stats as Orlando Cepeda, Duke Snider, Billy Williams (not to be confused with Billy D. Williams) and Willie Stargell – all Hall of Famers. In short the guy was a dominant player during his time and should be in the Hall of Fame.

Let’s hope that the Baseball Writers of America agree and finally give him his due before he gets left up to the veterans committee.

A couple of random thoughts…

Why is everyone hating on Tony Romo for Jessica Simpson? Seriously I’ve seen stories about why he needs to chill out with the ladies. Ah…no Holden McNeil…clearly these guys have never heard of rule number one.

Good for Tony Romo, his performance against the Eagles was miz but do you really think it has anything to do with Jessica Simpson or Carrie Underwood. Maybe the Cowboys should bring Carrie Underwood in to sing the national anthem then Romo can try and pull a Beckett.

I was a little harsh on the dolphins the other day. That was meant to be tongue and cheek and I thought it would be funny to find some similarities between the movie and the team. You could do the same with any athlete or team and any movie. You have to admit it kind of makes sense with the fins thought doesn’t it?

Fred Taylor should have made the Pro Bowl, trust me. I made the mistake of under valuing him on my fantasy team and instead of playing in the championship I was relegated to the consolation bracket…what an idiot…I will never underestimate a guy that grew up chasing rabbits in burning sugar cane fields.

I miss a lot of things from college, as I’m sure everyone does, but I have to thank xbox live because I think it is going to allow one of the greatest Keene State Cross Country traditions to carry on. The Ivy Bowl – where we used to all take an Ivy League (because they were ranked so low D’s mostly) team and play a tournament on NCAA Football. Got us through some seriously rough winter training camp days.

What is the deal with the Winter X Games Rumor Alerts on ESPN? I was so confused until I went to the website and saw that it is some kind of weird ass marketing plan – And frankly, I’m still pretty confused. Regardless of whether or not Buttermilk Mountain is a geothermal zone and potential volcano (like Yellowstone in that Discovery Channel movie) I’m still going to watch the X Games.

I went over this last year when I first started the site but I love the X Games – a pair of guys to watch out for – Mason Aguirre (Snowboard Superpipe & slopestyle) and Simon Dumont (Skiing Superpipe). I have no idea if they are competing but if they are you should tune in. Dumont got robbed of the goal last year and absolutely hucks himself out of pipe, expect the 1260 – Aguirre could be the guy that unseats Shaun White in the pipe.

After talking to Riggity Reynolds the other day about modern music played on the radio and how bands like The Receiving End of Sirens don’t get radio play I’ve been rehashing their first CD (Between the Heart and the Synapse) and I can’t get enough of it. If you’re looking for a pump up song try “the War of All Against All”.

Monday, December 17, 2007

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears

Reynolds has inspired me the last couple of days so I thought I’d throw this up under the old “you know what really grinds my gears” tag. It’s an email that I sent to Joe about a story he had to write for the mag he writes for. If you know Joe then I’d just like to say that he had free reign to bogart any ideas mentioned below. He beat me 93-19 in a game of piddle once so I owe him.

Here is the premise - Pop music today is complete garbage –

Pop music has become driven by the tabloids like US Weekly. I’m not saying everyone has to be an indie music junkie you know how I feel about people who say shit like “oh I used to like so-so before they became popular”. There is something to be said for the entertainment value of popular music today.

No one can look me in the eye and tell me Soulja Boy’s ‘Crank Dat’ is a good song. It’s entertaining to see Vince Wilfork do the dance after he sacks Ben Roethlisberger and Travis Barkers drum remix on YouTube is pretty gnarly, but it’s absolutely not a good song. Unfortunately people like Soulja Boy are getting attention instead of bands like TREOS or Wolfmother or As Tall as Lions. Hopefully at some point the climate will shift and we’ll return to some sort of middle ground that is agreeable like in the mid-to-late 90’s.

The music business should run similar to the NFL where the average career is something like 3-4 years, for musicians, especially pop musicians it should be 3-4 albums then you’re whisked away to reality TV. I’m cereal, Britney Spears was totally a top draft choice when she first came out, she was a freaking dime and she had those typical pop songs, now she needs to go away. The only reason she’s selling any albums right now is because our culture is obsessed with celebrities and we feed on US Weekly and People like the homeless on change.

Britney’s new song is awful, at least her old songs were her singing, now its so over-produced that with the right equipment I could pull any girl or even high voiced guy off the street and make the same song. And yes I will offend the shit out of that stupid leave Britney alone kid from YouTube what an idiot I hope you miss everything cool and die angry.

Speaking of over-produced when did making music stop requiring the ability to sing? Ok we’ll make an exception for Tom Delonge (Tonoite!) – but really Heidi Montag…she’s the queen of the no talent ass clowns…just because you were friends with my future wife Lauren Conrad doesn’t mean you can sing. At some point producers have to realize that they are destroying the world by allowing music like that to be created.

At some point don’t you say ‘I can’t believe I’m putting my name on this piece of shit”. Enjoy the ride of the Hills but you’re not a triple threat ok…calm down this isn’t Vaudeville it’s MTV. I swear to God if anyone would actually buy her upcoming CD I will challenge you to a duel…10 paces turn and fire.

There are a few musicians, like athletes who are able to re-invent themselves but they are usually good musicians or singers…i.e. Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland, Slash…and some that just have Brett Favre like longevity – The Red Hot Chili Peppers - the same can’t be said for many “popular musicians” like Britney Spears or even Fall Out Boy…that some of these people think they are going to be making viable music in 5-10 years is dumb - most likely they’ll be Vanilla Ice on the Surreal Life…I get the feeling we will soon see Pete Wentz, Lil John or Chamillonarie (really? next to the playstation controlla – that’s not a real rhyme!!!) on behind the music sounding like uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite.

Yeah we get it Lil John you used to get krunk (which is a word now ps) but pop rap is probably the most fickle music genre and compared to Talib, Common or Mos Def you were always bush league…so maybe the iced out krunk juice cup was a poor use of your short lived millions but that ’93 Huffy White Heat is almost as nice as the Ferrari you flanted on Cribs. I swear since MTV stopped playing videos they have begun destroying society, it’s the fall of the Roman Empire Sucka Free style.

If you think I’m wrong watch one episode of Cribs then Google search what some rappers said about Hurricane Katrina – act like it doesn’t make you cringe to see the shit they spend money on. Not to say I wouldn’t have the clue house with the piano from Batman Begins that opened a secret passage but still.

The short-term doesn’t look good either – there are very few outlets for good bands to be showcased, everything on MTV is either tabloid or reality TV driven and even networks like fuse are too high school centric – there are some radio stations out there but it’s like Patton Oswald says you have to get out on your own and find out what’s cool for yourself.

The worst part of the whole situation is that people are way too close-minded when it comes to music. You don’t have to like every kind of music but you have to at least understand why someone might. If you don’t like pop music you can’t be an indie douche and say anything on hit list radio crap even if you used to listen to it. That’s only going to lead to less people having any interest in the music you clam is good. Basically people should listen to “Admit it!” by Say Anything.

Luckily music is, like I said, a fickle thing. It is always changing; especially pop music and we could just as soon see metal as the new fad as we could with boy bands. Take a look at things right now, emo is hugely popular among high school kids, 5-8 years ago it was boy bands or rappers like Ja Rule.

Popular Music today is awful, but things are only made worse by smug indie douches, liking music that isn’t on hit list radio is great I fully support that and think it’s better than being a slave to what Ryan Seacreast says every week but don’t be a douche about it…didn’t you see the ‘Smug Alert’ South Park episode? I don’t want to have to go into San Francisco in a hazmat suit tethered to Butters to save you.

Tomorrow - more Reynolds inspired writing - Why the Dolphins are the 40-year-old virgins of the NFL.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What Would Judge Mountain Landis Do with the Mitchell Report

Can someone call REM and have them add - Roger Clemens, Andy Petitte, Mitchell Report Drug Cheats - too the lyrics of "it's the end of the world"

I had a couple of pretty interesting conversations with Reynolds and Hegarty the other day while I was batting the six plus hours of traffic caused by that snow storm. The conversations obviously were regarding the Mitchell Report and what our feelings on it were.

First off I am really, really, really glad that the official list didn’t have Jason Varitek and/or El Guapo on in. I don’t know if I could have handled Rich Garces being a drug cheat, there is only so much I can take as a fan.

Speaking of the list, incase you haven’t seen it here it is courtesy of

"All the players listed in the section VIII. B.: "Information Regarding Purchases or Use of Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball" (section 3 is "Radomski¹s Distribution of Performance Enhancing Substances to Major League Baseball Players")

Lenny Dykstra
David Segui
Larry Bigbie
Brian Roberts
Jack Cust
Tim Laker
Josias Manzanillo
Todd Hundley
Mark Carreon
Hal Morris
Matt Franco
Rondell White
Roger Clemens
Andy Pettitte
Chuck Knoblauch
Jason Grimsley
Gregg Zaun
David Justice
F.P. Santangelo
Glenallen Hill
Mo Vaughn
Denny Neagle
Ron Villone
Ryan Franklin
Chris Donnels
Todd Williams
Phil Hiatt
Todd Pratt
Kevin Young
Mike Lansing
Cody McKay
Kent Mercker
Adam Piatt
Miguel Tejada
Jason Christiansen
Mike Stanton
Stephen Randolph
Jerry Hairston
Paul Lo Duca
Adam Riggs
Bart Miadich
Fernando Vina
Kevin Brown
Eric Gagne
Mike Bell
Matt Herges
Gary Bennett, Jr.
Jim Parque
Brendan Donnelly
Chad Allen
Jeff Williams
Howie Clark
Nook Logan

Section IX. B."Alleged Internet Purchases of Performance Enhancing Substances By Players in Major League Baseball"

Rick Ankiel, Paul Byrd, Jay Gibbons, Troy Glaus, Jose Guillen, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Gary Matthews, Jr., and Scott Schoeneweis, and former players David Bell, Jose Canseco, Jason Grimsley, Darren Holmes, John Rocker, Ismael Valdez, Matt Williams, and Steve Woodard."


Marvin Benard
Barry Bonds
Bobby Estalella
Jason Giambi
Jeremy Giambi
Benito Santiago
Gary Sheffield
Randy Velarde"

I can’t say I’m surprised about Clemens but I am pretty stoked that 95% of the country is going to hate him now whether he actually did it or not. It’s been a great year in sports so far here in Boston and it just got better now that Clemens reputation has been pretty much destroyed.

The thing that Reynolds said that really got me thinking was, is this going to ruin baseball? At first glance, no I don’t think it will. Even in the long run I don’t think the game will end up like hockey because of it but it’s going to take a major hit. It’s probably going to be similar to the strike in 1994, I was took young to really be effected by that but I think there are a lot of people that are going to say ‘I’ve had enough with these prima Dona athletes and their bloated contracts and their cheating’.

Unfortunately for baseball, depending on how the report is handled there is a chance it could cause an issue between the players union and the league which could lead to a strike and that would probably be the beginning of the end for America’s Past-time.

Personally I don’t think the Mitchell Report was a good idea. It doesn’t make sense, all it really is, is officially licensed speculation. Why air out the leagues dirty laundry? I think it would have made more sense to say ‘we made mistakes, there was this era of rampant use but hindsight won’t change that so this is what we will do moving forward’. If you really want to stop use then you have to implement Olympic style testing where positive tests come with serious consequences, not slaps on the wrist.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the media, the MLB and the fans handle this thing. Personally I’m sick of hearing about speculation that I’d rather have it go away. The guys that were named in the report probably shouldn’t receive retroactive punishment but that doesn’t mean that people should ignore it. Mention in the Mitchell report should carry a bit of a scarlet letter, especially when it comes to Hall of Fame votes.

I’m not saying that these guys should be banned but voters should make some kind of stand like boycotting the first ballot for guys like Clemens, Pettite and even Bonds. When you think about it you can’t really ban them for using. They were dominant players in the steroid era and while it’s not the best way to look at it they did the same thing a lot of other players did.

Hopefully MLB will find a way to make sure that the steroid era is over, HGH is going to be a larger problem but we can still hope. The sad thing is that this will probably take a Judge Landis type figure to put and end to it. Like Landis did after 1919 to rid baseball of gambling I think we could use a figure like him to end the steroid issue in baseball almost 90-years later.

The positive thing is that baseball has persevered in the face of other issues the problem is that today there is a lot more litigation and it’s not as easy to squash issues today. Would Judge Landis have been able to get away with what he did to solve the gambling problems if it happened today? We are about to find out; only this time it’s steroids not gambling.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jacoby or Johan?

gnarlyThe winter meetings might be over now but it’s still fantasy baseball for real people time in baseball. With that mind I am imploring the Red Sox not to trade for Johan Santana. A year ago I’d be calling myself an idiot but not so much right now. It’s taken me sometime to come to this decision but I feel it’s the right one.

Santana is probably the best lefty starter in the game right now and has been for the last few years. If the trade was the Lester and Coco package I’d be all for it but I’m ok with dealing Jacoby Ellsbury. If Manny didn’t get hurt and we didn’t see much of Ellsbury I’d be saying the same thing I said when the Sox dealt one of my favorite up-and-comer Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins for Beckett (oh and Mike Lowell). My argument at the time was why wouldn’t you trade an unknown up-and-comer for a proven frontline ace that had already won a World Series MVP.
This time I don’t feel the same way. Granted in Santana you’d be getting a top-tier starter, no doubt, but instead of giving up an unknown you’d be giving up a guy who has shown that he can be a franchise centerfielder for the next decade not to mention he helped spark your offense to a World Series Championship.

You can never have enough pitching, I whole-heartedly agree with that statement but with Lester able to pitch an entire season in 2008 you’ll have an opening day rotation looking something like – Beckett, Schilling, Dice-K, Lester, Wake/Tavarez/FA/Buchholz – The fifth starter looks a little iffy right now and Santana would definitely make the Sox rotation unbelievable but there is still the possibility of a trade involving Crisp for another starter.

Coco would not be a bad addition to a lot of teams, he plays great defense and has good speed unfortunately he’s bat never really recovered after his injury in 2006, I do think that a change of scenery could help him and I’d certainly like to see him succeed. Again unfortunately for him he couldn’t quite come around and Jacoby took advantage of his opportunity.

I’d love to have Santana, I think the Sox would have the best rotation in baseball and it easily gives the team another year to work with Buchholz, he can be a second half call up and have another year getting his innings up slowly before he is made a full time starter. However Ellsbury is such a dynamic player and having him and Pedrioa at the top of the order is only going to give Big Papi and Manny more RBI chances. Maybe one of them will finally pull down an MVP Award, which they more than deserve in my mind.

The best-case scenario would have been the Twins agreeing to the Coco-Lester package but now I think it’s Santana going to an NL team so we don’t have to worry about facing him. I don’t want to see Jacoby go and become a perennial All-Star in Minnesota but I have a great deal of faith in Boston general managers recently.

Pioli and Belichick don’t even need a mention but they get it done, Theo has delivered two World Series titles and even though I said Danny Ainge was probably on his last legs with the Celtics a couple months ago he made the monster move the team needed and now it’s looking good for the C’s. Whatever Theo decides to do will most likely be for the best. He’s had a couple of gaffes but for the most part has been spot on.

Finally, I don’t see them making a deal for Santana that involves Jacoby Ellsbury, he isn’t untouchable but I would be surprised if they dealt him.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Have you seen this? Have you heard about this?

Tired of hearing about A-Rod and Barry Bonds yet? It’s been one day since A-Rod started working on another deal with the Yankees and Bonds was indicted and I already feel like I’d be ok if I never heard about either story again, ever.

Lets start with old BALCO Barry…

I know it’s a big story but what is the point of wall-to-wall coverage if you are not presenting any new information. It’s one thing to have a portion of SportCenter about the Bonds story and if you see that same story six times its your own fault for not changing the channel but to focus solely on that one story if there is no new information, like ESPN did yesterday, is pointless.

The other thing that is odd is that whatever the story is the station will get every person they can think of to call in and talk about it. News networks do this all the time and I don’t get it. Now when ESPN had legal analysts and the ‘Game of Shadows’ author on that’s fine because those guys are telling me more than just he got indicted over and over again. The same goes for Buster Onley and Steve Phillips because they talked about the potential baseball ramifications of the situation – but what in the hell does Steven A. Smith have to add to this story?

I get it he yells to make his point, okay, but what does he know about baseball, perjury, or indictments? I thought he was a basketball analyst? If he wants to go on and talk about the Celtics that’s fine but what does he have to do with the Bonds case? Is he operating under the Dave Chappelle “every black man is a qualified paralegal” idea?

This actually reminds me of a lot of another Chappelle-ism. In his special in San Francisco he talks about how on 9/11 MTV had Ja Rule call in to talk about the events. His reply is “I want some answers that Ja Rule might not have.” I think that’s actually a good way to approach this situation. I want some answers that Steven A. might not have.

I feel like I’m picking on Steven A. it’s not really his fault and he brought up some interesting points about other athletes that have broken laws and not faced what Bonds has faced. To some extent he makes good points it does feel like everyone piles on Barry Bonds. I would have been fine with him setting the record then going quietly to live his post baseball life however he chooses.

However if he broke the law he should be adequately punished, I’m just saying I’m not going to lose any sleep over Barry breaking the home run record and there are plenty of that have done steroids and lied about it.

While we are on the subject of Barry…I don’t think its fair to send the 756 ball to the Hall of Fame with an asterisk on it. That is not up to the fans to decide. It is a piece of the history of the game and that decision is up to the Hall. Just like players can’t choose what cap to wear into the hall.

You as a fan can choose not to accept Barry Bond as the home run record holder and I think a lot of people will do that. The fact of the matter is that he hit more home runs in his career than anyone else. If he did cheat then it would be up to the Hall of Fame to decide not to recognize him as the home run king.

No matter what his personality of how he is perceived he shouldn’t have to threaten to boycott his Hall of Fame induction. And if he sticks to that line of thinking then it would be the job of the baseball writers to not bestow the honor on him.

I don’t know what to think of Bonds, his work with BALCO screams guilt because of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative has been involved in so many other doping and ‘roid scandals. If the public is going to be outraged at anyone they should be outraged at people like Victor Conte…if anyone provided fuel to the steroid era fire it was Conte.

A-Rods Super Sweet 16

I’m not sure who was the bigger douche in the announcement of A-Rod opting out during the World Series…was it A-Rod’s doing or Scott Boras or if Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are to be blamed for devoting so much attention to it…what I do know is it turned into a complete and total cluster-fuck.

One part of me says good for A-Rod he finally grew a spine and said “shit I wish I didn’t do that I’m going to fix it because I want to play in New York”…but another part of me thinks he panicked and thought “oh shit no one is going to sign me for 300+ million dollars and I’m going to be the laughing stock of the league and have to play in Japan for a year…Christ who am I Kevin Millar? I better see if I can patch things up with the Yanks”

If the first one is true then Scott Boras has lost his negotiating ridiculous contracts touch. Think about it the Sox got Dice K for way less than was originally asked (don’t count the posting fee) and now the Yankees are going to get A-Rod for 25-75 million less than what he was reportedly asking for. That’s a big blow to Boras if that’s the case.

It’s possible that the owners weren’t interested in doling out that kind of cash and if so good for them but I can also imagine scenario where the next contract Boras gets for someone like Andruw Jones is unreal because he’s – one – pissed at the owners for squashing the market on A-Rod or two – pissed at A-Rod for getting scared and not staying the course.

Part of me feels like Boras knew that someone would pay a ridiculous sum for A-Rod. Not 350 million but by rumoring 350 million you make 300 million sound like a deal. I think A-Rod got nervous and that’s why he’s gone crawling back to New York. Think about it…Boras and A-Rod where definitely locked into selling high. He’s going to be the MVP, so that’s two in his tenure with NY, and he had a monster statistical year.

What then is the point of opting out of a 252 million dollar deal and announcing it during the World Series if you are going to go back to New York when they are offering you way less then what you ‘reportedly’ wanted just to sit down? It makes no sense. Boras had to know that there was a market for what he was asking for other wise why would they opt out?

Why not stay in New York for the last two years of the deal, open up the new stadium and become the irreplaceable player on the roster, that’s the only other way he could command 350 million.

I think A-Rod got nervous and backed out on the plan. His legacy is going to be that of a mercenary, a solider of fortune. He might one day get the “he finally won a championship treatment” but most people are going to remember him as a guy that was all about the paycheck.

One thing I do know…

Is that I’m glad the Sox stayed away from signing him for a king’s ransom. No doubt he’d be impressive in Fenway and a line up of Papi, Manny, A-Rod would make pitchers shit themselves but I’d rather see the Red Sox spent that money on locking up their young studs.

A-Rod is an unbelievable player but in my mind locking up guys like Pedroia, Ellsbury, Buchholz, Lester, Beckett and picking up the option on Manny is a much better value. Especially when Pedroia and Ellsbury have shown they can get it done on the biggest stage, something A-Rod cannot claim. Also Pedroia played the entire playoffs and probably all of September with a broken hand. People aren’t going to miss Trot’s grittiness anymore.

Lock up the Young Guns, pick up Manny’s option and please at least give Lowell a team option for a fourth year. The option doesn’t cost the team anything, it gives you good flexibility and it shows that you are at least trying to keep him around.

However, if the Sox do stick to their no four year deals for players in their mid-30’s it will be hard to fault them. After all it has worked out pretty well so far. I’d be sad to see him go and uber-bummed if he ends up in pinstripes but I have faith in Theo.

I am a little worried at what will happen if he does leave and it doesn’t look great. He’s got two rings and he just had a career year…does he go the Ty Law route and get paid or stay and be a hometown discount hero…

If he goes…

Do the Sox really even entertain the thought of moving Yook, who just won a Gold Glove? And no offense but Joe Crede doesn’t exactly fit the OBP model of the Sox…a .305 career OBP and in ’07 he had an OBP of 258…oosh…Miguel Cabrera could be an answer if they can put in a weight clause like they did with Schilling.

Cabrera would be a solid addition to the lineup and would most likely fill the void left by Lowell but he’s going from the NL to the AL and he kind of looks like lard ass from ‘Stand By Me’…Come on Mikey, come back to the Sox…you know you love that 37 foot wall in left field.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Why Tito Should Have Won

Eric Wedge, AL Manager of the Year…I can live with that. He’s done a good job in Cleveland especially when you look at what the Indians have done the last two years a little closer. They nearly snagged a playoff spot last year and this year they fell one sub-par Josh Beckett performance from going to the World Series.

In addition to that they also boasted one of the most potent lineups in the league, even if Hafner struggled they still had something like 5 or 6 guys with 20+ homers. Not to mention the Cy Young winner and the decision to move Fausto Carmona to the rotation worked out pretty well. He finished fourth in the Cy Young voting after a less than stellar 2006 season in the bullpen. Plus he’s a Massachusetts guy so I can’t really fault him for that.

Now with that said here is why I think Terry Francona should have won. This is similar to what I wrote about Mike Lowell being the MVP. I understand that people will disagree but this is why I think Tito is just as deserving of the honor.

The voting takes place before the playoffs so obviously seeing him out manage Wedge in the playoffs would have chanced some peoples votes but such is life. Since the playoffs don’t count you have to remember his decision save Paps & Okie for the playoffs, which worked perfectly, can’t be counted but you have to like or at least respect his long-term focus. Things would be different if the Sox didn’t win but he’s very good at seeing the big picture and that’s why I think he’s the best manager in the game.

His team won an AL East crown and that’s something that hadn’t happened in the hub for the previous 13 summers. That is a major feather in Tito’s cap, especially when you consider he is managing in the AL East where the Yankees are always a virtual playoff lock even when they start out miserably they still find away to play almost .700 ball down the stretch. While the playoffs might not count, winning in the AL East is big points.

Tito’s ability to see the big picture is what makes him the best manager in my mind. I always say this when people ask me what I think of him or when people get on him. His short-term decisions might cost the Sox a run or even a game here or there but in the long run he’s been just about perfect.

He stuck with Pedroia, which might have been the best decision he’s made in his tenure in Boston. Even before the season there was a lot of talk about how we shouldn’t have let Mark Loretta go, he lead the team in hits in ’06 and was a great veteran presence. I even wrote here that I wanted them to keep Loretta with a one or two-year deal and bring Pedroia along slowly like they did with Yook. Turns out Pedroia didn’t need to be brought along slowly.

Despite initial struggles Mighty Mouse broke out and hit .317 with a .380 OBP, eight homers, 50 RBI and a team low 42 strikeouts. And he played solid defense at second. He might not be a gold glover but I think his fielding is underrated - all en route to winning the Rookie of the Year award. One could certainly make the argument he could have been World Series MVP. He also saved Clay Buchholz’s no-hitter. I don’t think the level of excitement surrounding him would be what it is without that no-hitter and without Pedroia’s diving stop and great throw the no-hitter wouldn’t have happened. I’m not saying Pedroia is directly responsible for the hype about Clay but he certainly didn’t hurt Buchholz’s cause.

Early in the year people here were killing Pedroia. I was at a game and people were actually chanting “DON’T SUCK PEDROIA’ – ouch! WEEI was full of people calling in and calling Tito a moron for not putting in Alex Cora. Really, looking back, what the hell were we thinking? Cora seems like a great guy, he’s been a solid utility guy and he’ll be a good manager some day but if in everyday lineup would he really have made a big difference?

Tito also stuck with Lugo and Drew in the face of constant criticism, much like what he faced with Pedroia. I’ll be the first to admit that those two were disappointments in their first seasons in Boston but what were the alternatives, Cora and Eric Hinske? Yikes. Before you jump on me and say Ellsbury should have been in over Drew, that wasn’t an option in the early going. To be honest it wasn’t an option until the called him up to play for an injured Manny.

Here is to hoping Pedroia doesn’t go the route of Hinske after winning the rookie of the year…geez even in all this joy I’m still so cynical

No matter how much you hate JD Drew I find myself wanting to like him. When he makes contact he looks like one of best hitters in the game and he hit the 14 million dollar grand slam so all is forgiven…unless he plays miz again next year…people will be giving him the Coco treatment and trying to run him out of town.

Speaking of Coco he really just got unlucky. He plays great defense but his bat slumped at the wrong time opening the door for Jacoby. This is the one spot were I do fault Tito, for not making the switch in Cleveland in game four.

He gave Coco one more shot at turning it around in the Beckett game when he knew that the team wouldn’t need a lot of offense but I do like the fact that he made the change. And again that’s playoffs so even if the voters didn’t like it, it has no bearing on the award.

So lets recap – at the time of voting – AL Champs, Rookie of the Year Candidate, Cy Young Candidate – Best Record – Home field advantage (which was huge) – all despite making decisions that Boston fans ripped him for – i.e. shutting down Paps and Okie – going with Gagne and keeping Jacoby in a backup role.

No matter what you think of Tito he puts his team in a position to win. He’s willing to sacrifice certain battles in order to win the larger war, so to speak. I’ve always been a fan of players getting individual award but I’m also a Patriots fan so to me the team winning trumps all and I’m sure Tito would rather have an other World Series ring than a Manager of the Year trophy – and I’m willing to bet Eric Wedge feels the same way.

Side note: I’m not taking anything away from Wedge I think he’s done a great job in Cleveland and if I was an Indians fan I’d be pretty happy with what he’s done and where the team could go…

Now, for some reason Tito still gets no credit from Boston fans. I don’t understand why people don’t come around and at least respect the fact that he knows what he’s doing I think he’s proved that much hasn’t he? How when he’s won two World Series are people still calling him a fool? It makes no sense.

The Red Sox don’t win in spite of him either, I’m sorry but that’s dumb. I’ll certainly willing to admit the occasionally makes a call that costs them a game here or there but those gambles have paid off haven’t they? What more do you want from the guy?

The reason why I wrote this is because for some reason a manger that easily could have won the Manager of the Year award in the AL gets no credit from the fans. It’s fine if you don’t think he’s the best manager I am no problems with that but I think what he’s done for this team certainly require some form of respect of the fact that he knows what he’s doing.

The things people say about Tito could be said about Theo as well but in the long term their plans, moves and decisions have worked out pretty well. If we are willing to let some of the bad moves Theo has made slide because of the results of the big picture then why aren’t we willing to afford Tito the same?

This isn’t to say no everyone dogs Francona thought. I was at the Celtics game and he got a well-deserved standing ovation. The standing O has been a little overdone in the past but it was a genuinely deserved standing ovation and made me proud to be a Boston sports fan.

Two days, two posts we are getting back on track here at The Red Seat.


Talk about running up the score
The Celtics are truly something to behold right now. KG, Jesus and Pierce are so much fun to watch and they are destroying teams…they beat the Nets by 30 last night…they never beat the Nets by 30! I really think they are going to show everyone they are for real beyond the first seven games of the year. I think we see them in the Eastern Conference Finals…at least.

The Patriots haven’t lost to the Bills since the Lawyer Milloy Bowl…the team is 8-0 against Buffalo in their last eight meetings…Tom Brady is 31-2 on artificial surfaces and something like half the league plays on FieldTurf now (Dallas plays on SportTurf and Denver plays on a hybrid called DD Grassmaster – insert obligatory stoner joke here)…Brady’s two turf losses were in the Milloy game in Buffalo and last year’s AFC Championship game…a.k.a. he went more than four years without losing a game on turf.

What Now Peyton?
Not to be a glutton and not to say Peyton Manning isn’t one of the best quarterbacks ever but it will be interesting to see if Manning continues to struggle without Marvin Harrison and Dallas Clark…in true my-dad-could-beat-up-your-dad fashion I’ll say this - Tom Brady won three Super Bowls with just ok receivers to throw to (with the exception of Troy Brown in 2001 and Dieon Brach in ’03 and ‘04) – It’s fun to spark debate isn’t it?

Really with the ticket prices
Come on Sox, I understand there are reasons you have to jack up the price of tickets but you have to meet us half way…if we have to pay more you have to keep fielding a World Series caliber team…ok? All right then deal Howie.

The F You Non-New England Sports Fan Moment is…Could be the MLS Cup this Sunday…think about it if the Revs win wouldn’t that just be the ultimate “we’ve had enough of these New Englanders and their damn winning teams” moment…. we could be looking at a legit revolt…everyone hates us as it is if the revs win we are officially the Galactic Empire…if the Pats run the table we’ll have blown up Alderan and if the Celtics win…we are you’re father

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm Back

How bizarre I’m starting a post of with the words ‘it’s been forever since I posted’ but I’m sorry new jobs will do that to you. Unfortunately other than this summer’s layoff due to my NECBL broadcasting duties this has been my longest absence, which needless to say is lame because a ton has gone on in New England sports since my last appearance.

Not that you need it but let’s recap. The Red Sox did end up coming back from down 3-1 in the ALCS and then swept the upstart Rockies out of the World Series so fast Fox could hardly even play up the ‘Sox and Rocks on Fox’ thing. I literally almost missed game four after being at the Pats-Redskins game (if you can call it a game).

This is going to sound pathetic but since I was at the Pats game and I had to work early the next morning I ended up watching the Sox clinch their second World Series Championship in four years all by my lonesome. It’s not that it was depressing or anything I shared plenty of phone calls and text messages of joy but it was a far cry from 2004’s raucous celebration and near ruin of the old Pine St. apartment in Keene.

Obviously it was a different win in 2004 the Red Sox and their fans were a growing swarm not quite the ‘nation’ they are now, we were coming off Aaron ‘effing’ Boone in ’03 and the team had executed the greatest comeback in baseball history against the archest of arch nemesis (I don’t think that made sense but you get the point). On top of that it was the first World Series win since 1918. I can’t tell you how tiresome it was getting hearing Yankee fans chirp about 1918. All that rolled into the fact that you had a team of guys that fed off the position they were in.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining at all, in fact at some point I need to devote a lot of time to talking about how much we need to cherish what is going on right now. I am just saying 2004 had a different energy than 2007. 2007 was just a little different. In some respects it was more fun to watch because I feel like I’ve matured as a sports fan and I’m not as ‘live an die with every pitch’ as I was in 2004. Of course I’d be singing a different tune if they had lost to Cleveland or Colorado.

That’s why it’s so important to appreciate what is going on right now. I don’t get nauseous anticipating a let down or a loss with these teams anymore. I almost forgot what big losses felt like and might not remember if it wasn’t for last years AFC Championship. We’re spoiled and I love every minute of it.

I was working on doing more posts and just cutting down the length of some of them so in an attempt to prevent a Pete King style 14 page post here’s a bullet point run down of stuff I want to touch on now and in the future

· Can anyone but Tito Francona win AL Manager of the Year? The guy has two more World Series rings then any Sox manager from 1918-2003 and his decisions to go with Pedroia and save Paps & Okie for the playoffs worked out pretty well…oh yeah and he won an AL East crown…something that hadn’t happened in the hub for the previous 13 years.

· This deserves it’s own separate post and probably will get one (along with an ArmChairGM feature) but Tito is the best manager in the AL right now. I always say thing when people ask me what I think of him or when people get on him…his short term decisions might cost the Sox a run or even a game here or their but in the long run he’s been just about perfect. He stuck with Pedroia, Lugo and Drew in the face of constant criticism. He shutdown Okie and managed Paps much smarter this season despite people (including me) calling for Gagne’s head. He gets the most out of a lineup you expect to succeed and there is no way the Red Sox win if you or I are at the helm…we’re not dropping any knowledge on Tito.

· Hey Eric, I’m sure you cost yourself plenty of money over the final two months of the season but I still think you owe Red Sox fans something…maybe you could auction off your World Series ring and give the proceeds to the Jimmy Fund or something. I’ll tell you what keep the ring - just donate your playoff share to the annual telethon or something.

· Oh and we can officially call it the Hub now…I used to be skeptical about the whole Hub of the universe thing (don’t people think we are arrogant enough?) but now I am all for it…in sports terms you can’t dispute it World Series Champs, 9-0 and 6-0 (easy I know they’re not going 82-0)…so yeah we’re officially the Hub…how do you like them apples guy!

· If Yook wasn’t my favorite player it’d be Dustin Pedroia, run away winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award…I’m not sure how Delmon Young got any votes over Mighty Mouse since Young is the one that helped Big Papi get his groove back after he totally botched a catch-able ball that barely landed in the first row of the right field corner for a walk off Red Sox win…sparked their stagnant offense

· Celtic Pride Baby! 6-0…this would be unbelievable but oh yeah we traded a bunch of lovable losers for KG…and then got Ray Allen and we still have Paul Pierce (who is outrageously underrated by fans outside Boston – yeah you Ferenc). Don’t even get me started on GLEN “BIG BABY” DAVIS…I really wish he would just yell all the time like Samuel L. Jackson that could be so effective for him.

· My favorite things about attending Celtics games in 2007 are the following...the disco dancing clip they play on the jumbotron featuring the one and only Gino...if you've been to a game you know what I mean if you haven't get yourself to one...second the clip of Glen Davis at the beginning of the fourth quarter when he says in a cajun bayou accent "IT'S ME BIG BABY DAVIS IT'S THE FOURTH QUARTER" - priceless - I hope we're not too far away from David Stern allowing him to wear Baby or Big Baby on his jersey like Rod "He Hate Me" Smart did in the XFL...where is Vince McMahon when you need him.

· The Celtics are even more impressive to me because I’ve been to the Garden twice and not only are they killer to watch but there is new life in place. Opening night when the C’s took the floor and KG came out the place was so loud, I’m talking RCA Dome pumping sound in loud…and it was almost the same a week later against the Hawks…who are going to be scary…and Al Horford is going to be a baller.

· One piece of advice to C’s fans…we get it you were here when they sucked…so was I, in fact I probably won’t go to as many games this year because it’s going to be harder to get tickets but you just have to roll with the fact that there are a ton of people at the games now.

· No one cares if you were there last year and didn’t have to wait in line to get a beer because the rest of us are in line waiting for beers too…calm down, you should be excited that people are excited about the Celtics. Getting pissed at bandwagon fans is fine but don’t act like the holier-than-thou pricks that say bands have sold out as soon as they get played on the radio. I’d rather see cute chicks in pink Celtics gear on the Jumbotron than you with your face paint and silver dollar nipples dancing to Soulja Boy…YOU!!!

· The Pats are codes…see Codes Theory…it needs some refining but seriously this is as close to a video game season as you get in real life…it might even be better than a video game season because the Colts game could have been the “there’s no effing way you’re winning this game” game and the Patriots still won.

· Think about it - most of the calls went the other way…Brady tied his season total for interceptions…Joseph Addai went 76 yards to the house on a check down…and the Patriots still won…I hope that was the ‘no effing way game’ because I’ve never seen anyone win a no effing way game without shutting the game off then replaying it. Maybe that’s what happened…coach got pissed and hit reset at half-time…or his genetic code is U, U, D, D, L, R, L, R, B, A Select, Start.

I’m not sure how many people care but the Revolution are in the MLS Cup again too…would that be the Chris Farley in Tommy Boy when the bench collapses “could have done with out that” moment for the rest of the sports world?

Until next time...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It Ain't Over...Yet

I don't understand what has happened to the Sox...what happened to the nine batters in the top 42 in pitches per at bat? How do you go from that to being completely inept at the plate in one extra inning game? I don't get it...You pretty much got what was to be expected from Wake but what is going on with the offense.
Like I said I am a fan of the way that Tito sticks with his guys but we could use a lineup shake least move around some guys like Pedroia and Yook maybe hit Ellsbury lead-off instead of Coco? At this point could it really hurt that much to take out Coco for a game? I like Coco, I really do but something has to be said for the spark Ellsbury gave the Sox down the stretch. The most encouraging stat of the last two days…the 2004 Red Sox were the last team to come back from down 3-1…oh and while we are on the subject the last team before the Sox…the 2003 Marlins against the Cubs…guess who pitched the game that sparked that turn around, yup you got it Josh Beckett.

See all is not lost we are one dominating Beckett performance and a Cleveland equivalent of Bartmann away from coming back and making a Rockies-eque run to the World Series. I talked about Ellsbury subbing in for JD Drew after watching the Red Sox look inept at that plate for two days I think Tito should have gone with Jacoby for Coco Crisp...granted JD was brought in to be a five hitter and that's not what the Sox are expecting from Coco but I think the Sox could have used Jacoby in the lineup against Byrd.

Going into a backs-against-the-wall game five the thing that makes me most nervous is the fact that this team isn’t at loose as the 2004 team. Granted you don’t need Johnny Damon doing naked pull-ups or anything but they seem tense. Of course there is always Manny to save us…there was a lot of outrage over his comments about losing not being the end of the world. And you know what, he’s right it’s not. If they go into these games thinking we have to win or else the chances of trying to do too much and failing are much greater.

I heard people say Manny looked stupid after he hit that home run last night and he was pimpin it at the plate becasue the Sox are down but didn't he do the same thing in 2003 in Oakland? If memory serves me correctly the Sox were down and Manny wasn't hitting well he hit a homer, pimped it and the Sox came back to win the series on two of the most codes pitches i've ever seen al la Derek Lowe

Hopefully the fact that the guys were playing Tecmo Bowl in the clubhouse yesterday means they are loose and if they are loose and play like they have nothing to lose then I think the Sox have a great chance to come back. I know it’s a little much to think the Sox could have two improbable comebacks in 2004 and 2007 but with a little luck it could definitely happen.

If you think about it the Sox were down 3-0 to the Yankees in ’04 and Mark Bellhorn and Johnny Damon were something like 2-for-23 (I think that’s right) then all of a sudden they come around and the Sox win eight in a row. Like I said we are only a few bounces going our way from coming back. Namely a Drew and Crisp or Pedroia turnaround, those guys can help Otriz, Manny and Lowell carry the load we could see another World Series in Boston.

Manny turned it around in the ’03 ALDS, Damon and Bellhorn in the ’04 ALCS, all we need is someone to do it in 2007. I just hope it’s not too late, and I really hope tonight isn’t one of those games where everyone says ‘there’s no way they lose this game’ then they get smoked. Can Tom Brady lend Drew, Crisp or Pedroia some of his ‘I am winning this f’n game’ swag for a night or two? Please.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Let's Go Wakefield

I guess I was wrong in thinking that Ken Rosenthal was getting tired of being asked about whether the Red Sox would start Beckett in tonight's game. This is what he wrote today on Fox Sports...he makes a good argument for why the Red Sox should start Beckett on short rest but I have to disagree.

A lot of the debate is centered around Beckett's shutout of the Yankees to clinch the '03 World Series. Think about this when Beckett pitched on three days rest in 2004 it was the last day of the season. There wasn't going to be another game and that could still be the case if the Sox don't win tonight but Tito managing to win a World Series.

That means he has to think about the fact that he's going to want Beckett to pitch twice in the World Series...of course they have to make it there...but in 2003 the very old school Jack McKeon wasn't concerned with Beckett coming back to pitch again until the day pitchers and catchers reported in 2004.

I'm not even going to go into the fact that the numbers are pretty clearly against starting guys on three days rest and that's because Beckett is not someone like Chen-Ming Wang and I'm sure he'd be fine on short rest. The biggest thing here is that Tito has already said he's going with Wakefield but Fox and ESPN insist that there is a story here. There might be a debate about whether that is the right choice but it's not a story, the Sox are going with Wake...and they should.

If the Red Sox are going to win the ALCS, never mind the World Series, then someone besides Josh Beckett is going to have to win a game.

If you throw Beckett tonight and tie the series at 2-2 then what? the Combo of Wake, Schilling and Dice-K still has to win at least one game. I love Beckett and he is pitching great but someone else has to step up or it won't matter if he wins game one, four and seven. I agree with Tito and think that going with Wakefield tonight and Beckett on normal rest you have a better chance of winning the series than trying to rely solely on the right arm of Josh Beckett.

I think that's more of a reason not to start Beckett tonight than worrying about him getting hurt. I don't think the Red Sox are worried that he'll get hurt or even get lit up. I think they are conscious of the fact that someone else needs to win a game...or at least pitch more than 4+ innings. Also if the Sox beat the Indians last night would C.C. Sabathia be pitching tonight on 3 days rest? Would that be the big story today...the Indians are crazy to not start Sabathia or the Indians are coddling Sabathia by not starting him on three days rest.

People probably wouldn't be saying that about Sabathia because he has not pitched all that well but what about things over in the NL? Brandon Webb didn't pitch on three days rest for the D-Backs and they were down 3-0 in the NLCS. Why aren't people talking about Arizona being crazy for not starting its ace on three days rest in an elimination game? The Red Sox offense needs to start clicking and stop stranding runners. It's the same as the pitching someone other than Beckett needs to win a game and someone other than Manny, Papi and Lowell needs to get some clutch hits.

The real questions surrounding who the Red Sox should send out isn't about who should pitch but whether the Sox should stick with JD Drew or switch to Jacoby Ellsbury in right. I am sure there is a large contingent of people that are feeling like JD's had his chance and its time to bring in Jacoby but I have to disagree.

Something has to be said for Drew's experience and the fact that Ellsbury only has 160-some-odd at-bats. I know you're thinking I'm only saying that because I said I thought he'd have good postseason, clearly i was wrong but I think you have to go the Tito route and stick with you guy in this case.

My reasoning for this is simple. Everyone hates the fact that Drew seems to play with no emotion he just goes out and plays, sometimes well sometimes not so well. Either way he carries himself like his veins are full of embalming fluid...and maybe some Worcestershire sauce...people here love guys like Trot and Youkilis who wear their emotion on their sleeves but that's not JD Drew and that is exactly why he is perfect for this series. Look at what Pedroia has done in the post season. He was .317/.380/.422 with 50 RBI, a team low 42 strikeouts in 520 at-bats in the regular season. In the postseason he's .160/.222/.240 with seven strikeouts and one RBI in 25 at-bats.

I think that is a result of him trying to do to much, changing his approach to the plate and trying to force it. Drew isn't going to do that he's going to stick to his gameplan and emotion is not going to make him try to force it.

Granted his gameplan hasn't worked all that well he's not going to succum to the pressures of the biggest stage. I have faith in Jacoby and I wouldn't be upset if the Sox sent him out there I just don't know if it's the right move. As for tonight I think it might be best to start Bobby Kielty as his numbers against Paul Byrd are pretty good.

Monday, October 15, 2007

And so Began the Curse of Kason Gabbard

I hate Eric Gagne. It is really that simple...he eats. I know I said that I thought the Red Sox would win the ALCS in 6 games but oh it BURNS to watch the Sox lose a winnable game like the Saturday night debacle.

I am not criticizing Tito for going with Gagne in the 11th like he did, he really didn't have much of a choice at that point and even if he loaded the bases in game one he still got out of the jam. Here is my issue thought. You cannot trust Gagne in any situation even if it's 10-3 he still almost made it interesting. Gagne was the best choice we had at that point, but that is the problem. You can't feel good about the Red Sox bullpen after Papelbon. MDC, Okie and Timlin have been getting it done but Gagne and Lopez, yikes.

Also Lester has two career relief appearances so he's not a great option. It comes down to this the offense has to stop stranding runners and guys like Tek, Coco and Lugo have to start coming up with hits. Manny, Papi and Lowell can only do so much. I hate the fact that Gagne is even on the playoff roster. Tito is all about sticking with his guys and I think he does a great job in the long term but sometimes his short-term moves are questionable.

In this case I think the decision to stick with Gagne was a poor one, maybe he'll prove me wrong but does anyone have any faith in this guy at this point? When he runs out of the bullpen shouldn't Johnny Cash's version of 'Hurt' (I will let you down. I will make you hurt) be booming on the PA system? He's that depressing, it makes me want to re-enact that scene from Royal Tennenbaums when Richie shaves his beard then goes train tracks on his arms.

Like I said I'm not second-guessing Tito for going to Gagne but I am second-guessing having him on the playoff roster. I really think it would have been more effective to have Brian Corey, Tavarez (he's solid the first time through the lineup) or Clay Buchholz. I would be infinitely more confident in anyone of those guys. Of course you probably wouldn't be going to Buchholz in the 11th but I could see Corey or Tavarez coming in and in my opinion we should be. What to do with Gagne? Most people I've talked to wouldn't mind repeatedly kicking him in the nuts but in my opinion should he be tarred and feathered outside the Cask n Flagon.

Hey Joe and Tim the Sox aren't starting Beckett on three days rest, so please, for my sanity, shut the fuck up...Why do they keep talking about this. At some point Ken Rosenthal is going to pick up a bat and march into the broadcast booth. Really, Tito vehemently said that Tim Wakefield was starting game four. They are not going to bring Beckett back on three days rest, even if it might seem like a more desirable situation.

All I know is the bats need to come through in game three or it is going to be a Rockies-Indians World Series. I love Mike Lowell but I could really go for a Bill Mueller at-bat right now...lets see if my faith in JD gets rewarded...nope...a game two loss looms ever larger now that we couldn't beat Jake Westbrook. If Tim Wakefield were ever going to pitch a career game, tomorrow would be a good time.

To tell you the truth I actually have faith in Wake. He's been hurt and that’s not good but if he is on he can be really, really tough on hitters. If he can avoid that one inning where he just loses it we'll be in good shape. Game four is pretty much a win-at-all-costs game you don't want to go down three games to one to the Indians with Sabathia being the guy you have to face in an elimination game. Even if the Sox and Yankees did knock him around he's still tough and I feel like there is a better chance he'll pitch well then not well. Then again the Sox could be throwing Beckett, but I'd still feel a lot better going into game five tied at 2-2 then down 3-1. Yeah thanks captain obvious.

My superstitions are starting to get the best of me they aren’t what they were in 2004 or 2001 for that matter. Back then I was knocking on wood so frequently that I couldn’t hold a pencil in school the day after the Super Bowl but we are getting there. I have worn the same jeans t-shirt, hat and jersey to watch all three games and tonight for good measure I broke out the ‘04 shirt for a little extra mojo. Unfortunately it’s not working.

Don’t be alarmed though I still have a few aces up my sleeves for the remaining games. I’m pulling out all the stops tomorrow and bringing in the big guns…a.k.a. Petunia (yeah she’s a dashboard hula girl but she’s lucky)…God, the girlfriend is going to hate me by the time the playoffs are over.

Friday, October 12, 2007

ALCS Preview

I don’t know if you know this, and if you’ve been watching ESPN recently you might not, but the Red Sox and Indians are playing in the ALCS. I know the Yankees stories are interesting but I think most of it can hold off until something actually happens or the season ends.

There are too solid series coming up. Even if I really don’t care about the Rockies or the Diamondbacks I’m still going to watch it because who the hell would have thought the Rockies would be on the roll that they are on right now. Obviously I’ll be watching the Sox-Indians, that is a no-brainier. Here is my version of a preview/things I’m looking forward to.

First, game one, the two front runners for the Cy Young award going head to head at Fenway. I’ve always been partial to pitchers duels, I’m not sure why but they are more exciting to me than a high scoring game. I think it’s because every hit or runner in scoring position could turnout to be the game. By the time you get to the sixth or seventh inning there is so much emotion and excitement attached to each strike call or each base runner and in my opinion that makes for a more thrilling finish.

Second, this is a really, really good match up. Cleveland has great starting pitching and they’ll be able to start Sabathia and Carmona twice in the seven game series. The Red Sox will also get to start their one-two pitchers twice. At the start of the playoffs the Sabathia-Carmona duo loomed a lot larger than Beckett-Schilling or Beckett-Dice-K but now I’d say Cleveland has a slight edge in starting pitching but the Sox have the more solid bullpen and I’ll take Dice-K/Wake/Lester over Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd.

Also no more shots of Aaron Boone or Bucky Dent by hopefully plenty of shots of Pedro coming out of the bullpen in 1999.

Schilling might be the most important piece in the ACLS for the Sox. He has been pitching great over the last month or so and looked tremendous in the DS. If the Sox can get a start like his performance in game three then Schilling-Carmona could come down to one or two key hits. If that is the case I like the Red Sox chances. Not to discredit the Indians with guys like Sizemore, Hafner, Garko and Blake but I really think the advantage is to the Red Sox with Manny, Papi, Lowell, Yook, Tek, Coco and even JD Drew.

Yes JD Drew, I will continue to say that he’s going to come through even if I continue to take flak for it. Here are his numbers from the ALDS.

Two hits in 11 at bats, one run scored, three RBI, .182 batting average/OBP/SLG. That is not good but here is a positive stat. In the two LCS he’s played in he is 9-for-25 with three runs, two RBI, a .360 batting average, .385 OBP and .520 Slugging. Not great but not Nancy Drew either. Although in eight postseason series his teams have gone 3-5 including 0-2 in LCS. I guess it’s a good thing we are banking on Manny, Papi, Beckett, Schill and Paps.

I know that you can’t deny how good C.C. Sabathia is, but I read this on Sons of Sam Horn the other day…

Manny versus Sabathia:.571/.609/1.286 = 1.895 (23 PA)

Also, I know I just talked about JD Drew coming through but I read this on the same SOSH post…Kielty versus Sabathia: .310/.375/.655 = 1.030 (32 PA)…JD enjoy the extra day off.

The big guns will do there thing in this series which means its probably going to come down to one or more of the following key players - Rafel Bettencourt (who is also codes), Joe Borowski, Victor Martinez, MDC, Okie, Drew or Dice-K. Both bullpens are going to be huge in this series and if the Sox can get to the Cleveland pen it will be interesting to see how Borowski does against Manny, Papi and the rest of the Sox lineup.

Of course if the two teams split games one and two like they did in the Sabathia and Carmona match ups during the year (Dice-K beat C.C. 1-0 then Carmona beat Beckett 1-0 the next night) then the starter in game three is going to be critical. Dice-K has shown he has got great stuff but can he come up big on the biggest stage for the Sox? I can’t wait to find out. I know said Schilling might be the most important piece for the Sox but now I think it’s probably Dice-K, especially when Cleveland can start Carmona and Sabathia twice in a seven game series. Here’s to taking a pair of 1-0 wins in games one and two.

In other related news I have a bone to pick with ESPN Page 2. How is the steal not the number one LCS moment? Seriously if Aaron Boone’s home run is number two how the hell is the steal not number one? I mean come on! The Steal sparked the greatest comeback ever and erased the pain from Boone’s home run. I don’t get how a play can be higher on the list than the play that totally one upped it the next year. Long live Dave Roberts.

It’s another big weekend in New England and I’m glad for the rest of the country’s sake that the Yankees got bounced. 90% of the country hates the Red Sox and Patriots and its been wall to wall 5-0 vs. 5-0 on ESPN this week so can you imagine the utter disgust people would feel towards New England fans if the Yankees and Sox were playing. It would have been Sox-Yanks, Pats-Cowboys all week and everyone would hate us that much more. At least now people can root for the Indians, which is nice.

Since I am such a prediction guru…ok I suck at my NFL picks...cut me some slack though I did call the Cavs-Spurs NBA Finals last November…anyway here is how I think it breaks down.
Sox in 6 (so they clinch at home)

What the hell…D-Backs in 7…the Rockies can’t keep this up right? Right?

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to make some pre-game phone calls, find a comfy spot from which I will watch every game and figure out my food choices for the duration…I don’t think I can stomach bacon pizza from dominos every time Schilling pitches I’m not as hummingbird like as I was in 2004...I’m starting to get more Grizzly-Bear-that-got-shot-in-the-ass-with-a-sedative-dartish

Thursday, October 4, 2007


You know a pitcher is having a good night when you can sense his dominance through ESPN’s gamecast. A complete game shutout with just four hit and from the highlights I saw, total dominance of the Angles, not bad Josh not bad at all. I doubt anyone is going to be missing Hanley Ramirez anymore. Oh and David Ortiz said when he was watching the game in the clubhouse batting cage it was like watching a video game...aka Beckett is codes, like I said codes theory.

Yes it’s true I had to watch the game on gamecast but I am feeling pretty confident with the Red Sox right now. A lot of people have been talking about how you can’t just flip a switch and turn it on for the playoffs. I think Josh Beckett might be an exception to that rule. Here are his playoff numbers in four series (including game one of the ’07 ALDS).

3-2 record (team won all three of the previous series), seven games, six starts, a 1.74 ERA, three complete games, 51.2 innings, 25 hits, 10 earned runs, 12 walks and 55 strikeouts.

Beckett had a great regular season in 2007 and he should be the Cy Young winner he was better than Sabathia and Fausto Carmona, I’m sorry but he was. The Red Sox should have the Rookie of the Year (Pedrioa), Gold Glove centerfielder (Coco), Gold Glove first basemen (Yook) and a couple of silver sluggers. After Beckett gave up all those home runs last year people were asking were is the Josh Beckett from 2003? Well he’s here and that is a very, very good sign for the Boston Red Sox playoff hopes in 2007.

After talking with some of my buddies and reading some stuff for the Boston Sports Guy Bill Simmons (He’ll always be digital city BSG for me) I am feeling a lot better about the Sox.
They have nine of the top 42 hitters in pitches per at bat and that ability to work the count and make pitchers throw strikes is going to be huge in the playoffs. I still truly believe that J.D. Drew is going to turn things around in the post-season too. I know that might be a little too optimistic to some but there is no reason why he shouldn’t he’s a good player and he’s got a solid line-up surrounding him.

I think the Sox lineup and pitching will be too much for the Angels. I don’t think they’ll sweep but it’s not out of the realm of possibility, especially if Dice-K has a good outing tomorrow and the Sox bats keep him out in front. Dice-K is the uncertainty.

He could be fantastic or he could implode, from what I have seen so far this year I think needs to throw all his pitches instead of relying on his fastball and he has to avoid those innings were he melts down. That’s were the bats come in, if the Sox can get on the board early and give Dice-K a lead it’s going to be a 2-0 lead heading west for the Sox.

One more note about the Red Sox series – the extra long series could turn out to be huge especially after Beckett’s complete game. That gives the bullpen an extra day of rest and it makes the Angels spend an awful long time sitting on last nights game, that has to linger a little bit.

The Playoffs overall are going to be very exciting this year in my humble opinion. Obviously I’m excited for the Sox and I think the Indians are going to give the Yankees a run for their money but the most exciting series might be any game involving the Colorado Rockies (Oh, so that’s were Kaz Matsui went. I guess ESPN the Magazine missed the mark when they put him on the cover of their NEXT issue a couple years ago). Monday’s game was awesome and now they are up 2-0 on the Phillies.

I feel for Philly fans, I really do but how can you not root for the Rockies right now. Plus the guy from The Starting Line said he was from Philly and was going to break Tom Brady’s legs. Sorry broseph but Brady will win more Super Bowls. Anyway Go Rockies. How cool would a Rockies-Cubs NLCS be, it would definitely be one I’d watch.

The Yankees are so frustrating to watch as a non Yankee fan, they almost never swing and I hate them so it’s clearly completely different than the Red Sox (homer alert). F’n Wade Boggs.
One of the most love/hate things about the playoffs for me is all the promos for the fall shows that networks are trying to push. You know what I’m talking about…”HIS FATHER IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY!”…At least Fox has a couple of shows worth watching, namely Prison-break, but TBS, yikes.

Calm down with the Frank TV just keep showing promos for all the syndicated shows you run like old episodes of Family Guy and the Office. It is a nice break from FOX, plus we get an extra week of Don Orsillo, even if he is doing the Rockies games.

One more thing - MLB move the outfield umpires back, every announcer has made a comment about it at least once and it’s an issue that already come up three or four times with questionable home run calls.Enjoy the Playoffs.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen the 2007 AL East Champions

Wow. For the first time since 1995 the Red Sox are the American League East Champions, bridesmaids no more. Boy it feels good to say that, even if the Yankees made the playoffs the fact that they are the Wild Card and the Sox are the AL East Champs makes it that much sweeter.

Just to put this into perspective lets take a look at exactly how long ago 1995 was. One I was 11 years old and going into the second month of sixth grade alternating between my Drew Bledsoe Patriots jersey and my Natron Means Chargers jersey. Yeah Natron Means.

Here are a couple of other September/October 1995 factoids. DVD, the optical disc computer storage format was developed. Cal Ripken broke the all time consecutive games played record (September 6). O.J. Simpson was in the news. The first Million Man March was held. GoldenEye came out and Toy Story, the first feature length animated film was released. Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ and Shaggy’s ‘Boombastic’ were the top music singles. Oh and the Drew Carey show and JAG both premiered, which was clearly big news. Ok this is getting brutal we have come along way.

The 2007 Sox look a little different then the 1995 Sox did too. Can you name another player on the team besides Wake and Mo Vaughn? How about this starting nine –

C – Mike Macfarlane
1B – Mo
2B – Luis Alicea
3B – Tim Naehring
SS – John Valentin
OF – Mike Greenwell
OF – Troy O’Leary
OF – Lee Tinsley
DH – Jose Canseco

Also see – Willie McGee, Bill Haselmen and Reggie Jefferson.

The Pitchers are even more fun I can’t name one besides Clemens, Wake and Aaron Sele so I looked these guys up and let’s just say I feel a whole lot better about the 2007 Red Sox now.

p.s. – Aaron Sele was 25.

Zane Smith, Vaughn Eshelmen and Erik Hanson (to be far he went 15-5). The Bullpen – Stan Belinda, Rheal Cormier, Mike Maddox and the closer…Rick Aguilera and Jeff Suppan made eight appearances as a 20 year old.

Really if the pitchers have you a little bit nervous going into the post season this year just look at these guys. Wake had the lowest ERA on the team and went 16-8. In short Wake was the ace; I think we are in better shape. At least I hope so since they got swept out of the playoffs in ’95.

I’m watching today’s game since it’s like garbage game day in the NFL, it’s a weird Sox game. I was at the last game last year and that was weird because the Sox were out of it, it was only exciting because it was Trot’s final game. Watching this year’s game is just as weird because it’s almost meaningless.

Obviously it’s important because the Red Sox are still finding out if certain things will work for the postseason but its funny because of things like Don Orsilo handing over the reigns to Jerry Remy for the ‘homer inning’. I must say it’s pretty funny, he sounds like a Jake. He just started chanting MVP for Mike Lowell too…I guess I am a homer.

I just have a couple of final thoughts on the regular season. One Pedroia is probably going to be the Rookie of the Year. The first game I went to this year people were chanting “don’t’ suck Pedroia” pretty good turn around huh?

Youkilis just came out of the game and finished the regular season with no errors. Not a one. He has to get serious consideration for a Gold Glove. I know there are always incumbents but no errors for an entire year after switching positions that’s gotta be a Gold Glove year.

It’s sad to know that this is the last NESN game of the season. I really wish there was some way that NESN could do the post season games but it will be good to hear Don doing the DS games on TBS. I just hope that they put him on the Red Sox games but then again that might make too much sense. I need to stop thinking about this; all I can hear is Tim McCarver and Joe Buck…ahhhhhh.

One of the things about this game that’s neat is that the Sox are throwing virtually their entire bullpen to get guys work and see how guys like Lester are out of the Bullpen. I talked to Reynolds the other day about the 10/11 pitchers for the first round and this is what I’ve come up with, since they shut down Buchholz.

The Starters
Dice K
The Tweener
The Closer
The Bullpen
Mike ‘Live Free or Die’ Timlin
On the Bubble
Javy Lopez
Brian Corey
Sox Appeal
Papelbon’s alter ego Bud-Light-24-pack-head-underwear man

As for the NFL this weekend

Here are my picks:

NY Jets
Green Bay
San Fran
San Diego Super Chargers

Monday Night Football – Pats 34 – Bungles 13

Oh crap I almost forgot. Thank you Melvin Mora, enjoy you’re standing ovation at Fenway next year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vote Mike Lowell for MVP

I know A-Rod has had an unbelievable year, he’s the runaway favorite and I’m going to get laughed at for saying this but what fun is a one man race.

Mike Lowell should be the American League MVP. Seriously before you close out the window because you think I’m an idiot just hear me out for a minute. Lowell has, like A-Rod, has had an unreal year. The nine year veteran is having a career year he’s hitting .326 before tonight he had a career high 111 RBI but he drove in five in tonight’s win over the A’s giving him not only a new career high of 116 RBI but he now has the Red Sox record for runs batted in by a third basemen. Pretty good when you look at some of the Red Sox past guards of the hot corner. Notably Mr. High horse Wade Boggs.

Lowell has now set career highs in hits, RBI, batting average, OBP and total bases. His batting average is currently 33 points higher than his previous career high and 47 points higher than his career average. His OPS+ is at 128 which is the second highest of his career. He was at 132 in 2003 a year in which not only the Marlins won the World Series but he was 11th in MVP voting, a Silver Slugger and an All Star.

The MVP is not just a numbers game thought, if it was A-Rod is the clear favorite. Despite a career year A-Rod has put up better numbers. The MVP shouldn’t go to the guy that has just put up the best numbers it should go to the player that has the most impact on a team, and that team should be a playoff team.

The way Lowell has played this year has saved the Red Sox season. Manny Ramirez returned to the lineup Tuesday and that is excellent news for the Sox and Sox fans but let us not forget who helped carry the Red Sox to this point. How bad would things have gotten with out Mike Lowell stepping up into the fourth spot?

I say they’d have been pretty bad since after Manny’s injury they played around .500 ball but after tonight they are 30 games above .500. I argue that without Lowell we would have seen worse then the 9-8 record in September. That would leave the Red Sox in an interesting position. They probably still would have made the playoffs but it would have been a lot more nerve racking.

Here is a stat breakdown from baseball-reference and Sons of Sam Horn for sOPS or situational OPS (Above 100 is better than league average OPS for this situation.) between Lowell and Mr. Clutch Big Papi.

2 Outs, RISP - Late & Close - Tied - Within 1 R - 2 R - 3 R - 4 R

David Ortiz
162 - 112 - 192 - 168 - 169 - 170 - 170
Mike Lowell
150 - 94 - 92 - 104 - 107 - 124 - 127

late & close are plate appearances in the 7th inning or later with the batting team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run at least on deck.

Not surprisingly Ortiz has better clutch numbers but since it is the Most Valuable Player Award, value has to come in to play somewhere right? You expect players like Ortiz and A-Rod and put up big numbers in clutch situations and throughout the season. Not that Lowell is making the league minimum or something but he was a throw-in in the Josh Beckett deal, I’d say that he’s been a pretty good value.

Lowell has not only played a vital offensive role in the Red Sox run to being any combination of two Red Sox wins or Yankee losses away from their first AL East crown since 1995 but he also plays gold glove defense at third. Just to give you a touch of perspective Mo Vaughn had the highest OPS on the 1995 team (148) and was the AL MVP.

I know that Mike Lowell doesn’t have much of a chance when stacked up against A-Rod. Here is a stat break down of Lowell and Rodriquez this season from Compared to most other players Lowell is definitely worthy of serious consideration, if not the award. Unfortunately he’s up against maybe the best player ever having his best year.

Mike Lowell in 2007

149 74 184 36 20 111 3 53 69 .324 .380 .500 128 284

Alex Rodriguez in 2007

155 139 178 30 53 151 24 91 116 .311 .417 .640 180 367

The thing that hurts Mikey the most is the fact that the last Yankee to put up numbers like A-Rod has this year was a guy named Mickey Mantle. That pretty much clears up any doubt that he is one of the best players ever and he’s having one of the best years ever.

I’d love to see Mike Lowell win the MVP and in my mind he’s the MVP of the Red Sox and should absolutely be in the top five in the voting. He won’t win, it’s all but sewn up for A-Rod and I know people will look and this a instantly name five guys that they think are more deserving then Lowell but in following the Red Sox all year he’s the MVP for me.

Who knows maybe they will pull together and Mike Lowell will turn out to be the World Series MVP, although I think JD Drew is going to be the breakout guy in the playoffs.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Rad Sox...sort of...maybe...I hope

Yes I needed a quick time out…and maybe a little bit of a mound conference with myself. I’ve settled down thought and I’d like to apologize for my rash reaction to the current state of the Red Sox. I was upset…can you blame me?

The Red Sox are going to make the playoffs and if they don’t win the division it’s a disappointment but not the biggest choke job ever. That is still reserved for the 2004 ALCS. It’s still not a great situation, 14.5 games down to 1.5 is weak. However making the playoffs is the first step to the ultimate goal of winning a world series. I’m not sure that this team is one that will be able to win a World Series, namely because the offense has been limping along for a while and the bullpen right now is in shambles.

A few weeks ago the Red Sox pitching staff was one that could carry a team through the playoffs, especially if the bats could come around. Now with the pitching staff struggling the problems with the offense are louder then ever.

Like Bob Ryan said in his Globe column, “is this a team that inspires confidence?” Not right now that is for sure. I think they have a chance to be that team again but something needs to happen to give them that finishing kick. They don’t have to win the division to win the World Series we have seen wild cards win (see 2002 and 2004) but there is something to be said for momentum. Of course 2004 is a pretty good example of momentum not being an issue and shows that momentum can swing at any given time.

I thought the Bucholz no hitter would be a catalyst for the rest of the season, then after Papi’s walk off I was certain they’d take the division by 5-7 games. I am all for the excitement of a close race but not when it looks like my team is going to fall apart at any second.

One thing is for sure the pitching and offense has got to get better if the Red Sox have any hope of making a run in the playoffs. If they continue to play this way it’s going to be a very, very short Sox-tober.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yeah the Red Sox are awesome…Compared to Bullshit

Are you kidding me? This cannot seriously be happening. Never mind a shrinking lead that’s down to a game and a half THE RED SOX ARE IN DANGER OF MISSING THE PLAYOFFS!

You can forget all about the 2004 ALCS being the biggest choke job off all time if this goes down. If the Red Sox fail to make the playoffs it will unequivocally be the worst choke in the history of sports. Not just because the Red Sox have been in first for five months but because they’ll be choking away the AL East to the Yankees. Screw the playoffs if the Red Sox are the wildcard it would still be one of the biggest choke jobs in the history of sports.

What is going on with this team, I can’t remember ever seeing play this uninspiring or having less faith in a group of athletes. I’m not talking about the woe-is-me ‘the worst is going to happen’ attitude that’s not what I am talking about. When the team cannot score runs to help out its pitching and when the teams pitching blows games night in and night out its hard to be confident about said team.

Remember earlier in the season a.k.a. ‘the Mother’s Day Miracle’ when I said that this team has a different feel and gone were the ‘worst is going to happen feelings’ well funk that I was wrong. Earlier in the year no-matter what you felt like the team was still in it, up until the last out was recorded, good till the last drop. Not anymore baby. This truly has been an unimaginable collapse.

Late August – “They just can’t get swept by the Yankees”, “As long as we win one of three, we’re money” – Red Sox get swept and Manny goes down.

Then last week it was “They just can’t get swept”, “I’d like to know they can beat the Yankees but as long as they don’t get swept its still 7.5 games”. Now the Red Sox just got swept by the Blue Jays after Eric Gagne proved he eats last night and Papelbon gave up a grand slam tonight it’s a game and a half. The lead of the Yankees is 1.5 games. The Red Sox need to win four games just to make the playoffs and right now they might not be able to do it. How is this possible!

I got a text message from Reynolds the other day that read “new article idea. Why Manny needs to go.” I love you Reynolds but how have things gone for the Sox since Manny got hurt. Not so fucking well – I know Jacoby has been awesome but I’m in a shitty mood so lets not forget that a players first 40 games rarely foreshadow what their career is like (see Dustin Pedroia). The Red Sox need Manny Ramirez, he might not be the answer to all their problems right now but he’d no doubt help the current situation.

As a fan I am furious. I don’t know how many more bad at-bats and strikeouts in clutch situations I can stand to watch before I have a meltdown. The Yankees series was not good it left you with the feeling that the Red Sox just can’t beat them this year but now, after this Blue Jays sweep I am not sure if they’ll make the playoffs.

There are always a few games that I see as a tell tale game. During the 2004 season it was a walk off win. The only time I ever saw Pedro pitch in person, the OC hit a walk of double and Johnny Damon score from first to win the game. That showed me something. This year I think it might be the last Devil Rays series. We were fooled into a false sense of security by Papi’s walk off homer but the real tell tale might have been the Schilling-Kazmir game. A 1-0 loss – Schilling pitched great but the Sox offense couldn’t get it done – offense has been their made issue lately…offense and the bullpen, which had just blown a game for Schilling against the Jays the week before. The bullpen and offensive meltdown may turn out to be the story of the 2007 Red Sox…even if they make the playoffs will the offense sputter out and/or will the bullpen implode. These things do not have me excited for the final two weeks of the season.

I am in utter disbelief. Maybe this is 1978, maybe it’s worse. One thing is for certain anyone who says Red Sox fans love to be miserable and love complaining about the heart breaking losses is an idiot…this sucks.

After Sunday I was bummed about the Sox but I was still in a good mood after the Patriots that was until last nights Gagne collapse and tonight’s loss. Maybe we are being punished. Maybe because we didn’t call out Belicheck and the Pats like everyone else or maybe because the Patriots are codes and now the Celtics are legit (although no team with three players that averaged over 20 ppg has ever won a title), I guess two teams is the karmic limit now. Or could it be that we Red Sox Nation deserve an epic collapse because we let 2004 go to our heads, because we have in essence become the new Yankees.

Baseball Gods, can you blame us for the way we acted? The Florida Marlins have won two World Series in less then 10 years and it took us 86 years to realize a dream. The Marlins had 400 fans at a game and you are going to take an AL East crown and potential World Series title away from us. All we have done is faithfully follow our team, yeah some of us have gone over board but it’s a result of elation.

Maybe nothing is ever enough but I couldn’t imagine that this scenario would have even been possible. They have to figure this out and right the ship, they will figure it out…won’t they?

I don’t know what’s going to happen to the Sox but I’m worried about the Yankees, they could win the division or oust the Sox in the Playoffs, either way they make me nervous.

To think my original plan today was to right about the Codes Theory: When real players and teams take on video game like qualities – but instead of talking about the Patriots being codes and the Sox on the verge of clinching the AL East I’m thinking that they won’t make the playoffs…what bizarro world have I fallen into.

Friday, June 29, 2007

He Got Game

I Need another 20
Its funny how quickly a fan’s tune can change, mine changed a matter of hours. Yesterday I was talking about how anti-climatic the NBA draft was going to be for the Celtics, no matter what there wasn’t anything the C’s could do that would instantly make fans feel better – like getting Durant or Oden would have.

I guess deep down I was hoping the Celtics would pick Corey Brewer, assuming he was available (which he was) but I would have been alright with a player like Jeff Green too. Either guy would have helped the team but nothing was going to make them an instant contender.
Well after all the trade talks one finally went down that sent Delonte West, Wally and the fifth pick (Jeff Green) to Seattle for Jesus Shuttlesworth (a.k.a. Ray Allen). I might be the only Celtics fan who is ok with moving on from D-West and as much as I like Wally he sucked in Boston and it’s good to see his contract numbers go. With that said my reaction to the trade was simply confusion.

I don’t see how adding Ray Allen immediately helps the Celtics. Now I’ve heard that the Celtics brought him in as a way to try and entice Kevin Garnett to come to Boston (my sources are Joey Hegarty, The Herald and WEEI on that one). If you have Pierce, Shuttlesworth and Garnett then the Celtics are an instant contender. Plus the rumored deal would send out Al Jefferson (remember I said rumored), Theo Ratliff’s contract and Bassy Telfair to Minnesota. I’d be pretty happy with that since getting Ratliff and Wally off the books frees up some money to go after another point guard, which the Celtics need. Of course if that deal does turn out to be rumor then I am still very confused about the Celtics draft day.

It’s one thing to make a move for a proven scorer and veteran player like Ray Allen. Even if it seems like Danny Ainge was trying to appease Paul Pierce. It’s quite another to proceed the rest of the way like Boston did. Now I’m not Steven A. Smith or Danny Ainge or any other “expert” or GM but Corey Brewer was available, he can play D and has the ability to score at times, to me he would have been a safe pick at five, but I digress.

The trade gave Boston a second, second round pick. At 32 and 35 the Celtics surely had some solid players available and I’m willing to give Gabe Pruitt and Glen “Big Baby” Davis their shot, what do we have to lose at this point? I can’t help but feel like Pruitt wasn’t the right pick to make. Personally I was hoping for Tauren Green, he’s a point guard with a decent shot that can run the floor, he was the point on two national championship teams, and he looked like a good fit to play behind Rajon Rondo. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been saying Rondo was a great pick from day one but he’s not going to play 48 minutes every night. The Celtics need a back up point guard not another three point shooting two-guard - And no Bassy isn’t going to cut it, I don’t like to just rip on people but he was awful last year.

In my opinion Danny Ainge is rapidly running out of chances to fix this mess that the C’s have become. They definitely over achieved when they went to the Eastern Conference Finals but they were better then 24 wins that’s for sure. Of course all of this could change if the Garnett rumors were to come true that would buy Danny some extra lives. Especially since they’d instantly be a contender, even with a poor coach. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens, I’m pulling for Gabe Pruitt, Big Baby and Jesus to prove me wrong…after all he got game.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Twenty Second Time Out - T-Minus Draft Day

Why do no NBA players want to come to Boston? I know it’s a lot to ask that all four of your cities major sports teams be at the top of their respective leagues. I’m not going to lie I’m pretty content with the Sox lineup right now and the Patriots are going to be codes, but I don’t think it’s asking too much to have your NBA franchise be relevant and competitive. I wrote about how unacceptable the Celtics season was after the lottery but as we sit here and hour away from the draft and the way the rumor mill has been swirling I simply can’t help myself.

I realize that everything that’s been on SportsCenter has been rumor but over and over again I’ve heard (Fill in NBA player name here) doesn’t want to go to Boston. It can’t just be because the Celtics suck, I know they do but so do a lot of other teams. I’ve also heard it’s a racial issue. Boston is not a place young black athletes jump at the chance to go to. If you look over the history, there is a precedent for that attitude. When Randy Moss first signed with the Pats I remember hearing a lot of talk about how it could be rough on him because Boston isn’t the greatest on polarizing black athletes. Which is true, Boston doesn’t have the best history. The Red Sox were the last team to integrate and the Boston media, newspapers and sports radio especially have been pretty tough on black players in this town.

Black players are often painted as selfish, lazy and or money hungry, like Deion Branch and Asante Samuel. Personally I have nothing against those guys, I do wish they’d play with out holding out but they also play a sport with the shortest average career length. If you look at it that way I can see where Asante is coming from with his “’Get Paid” tattoo.

This nobody wants to play in Boston sentiment is just another example of how far the Celtics have fallen and how Danny Ainge has failed (too this point – I still have a hint of optimism – surprisingly). At this point the draft is going to be anti-climatic for me. Without getting the one or two pick it almost doesn’t matter who they get. Obviously it will have implications for the future, like if they draft the Chinese guy we’re in trouble, unless the other NBA teams start signing chairs to play defense then we’ll be ok.

If asked me a month ago I’d say please God don’t take Joakim Noah, now I don’t see the Celtics winning more than 40-45 games so why not take Joakim at least he’s a winner. Ok I’m still not really sold on Joakim but that’s my point a month or two ago I was ready to swing over the NBA draft. Now I’m not sure how much I really care. Am I going to be pissed if we get Joakim, probably not, but I’m not going to be too stoked if we get Jeff Green, Al Horford and Corey Brewer or trade the pick. Since everyone apparently hates the idea of coming to Boston (easy Shawn Marion – not sure who you think you are) I guess they will just have to pick. I’d like to see Horford, but he probably won’t be available I think I’d honestly be the happiest with Corey Brewer; he really impressed me in the final four. Either way the draft is in 40 minutes, unfortunately it’s not going to be the block party we all hoped it would be a few months ago. Here’s to another couple of months of talking to the three Joe’s and trying to convince ourselves that if everyone stays healthy and the kids come together this team could surprise people… J