Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Finally, new stuff

Thank God the offseason is almost over. There's actually some real Red Sox news. Some recent stories on current, former, and soon-to-be-former Red Sox:
  1. Keith Foulke has been getting "injections", of something other than cortisone, in his knees. Yikes.
  2. Tony Graffanino will probably be traded, but hopefully in a way agreeable to both him and the Sox.
  3. Josh Beckett's stuff is begrimed.
  4. Cla Meredith is trying not to let his amazingly awful 2005 outings bother him.
  5. Mike Myers is surprised not to have gotten an offer from the Sox. (We were too.)
  6. Johnny Damon gives way too many interviews.
  7. Mike Timlin is a freak.

Manny Watch 1

Ok... So this is obvious, but therefore naturally in my wheel-house. Speaking of wheel-houses, this is the first in a series regarding Manny and whether he's on the "outs" or he's "got his head in the game".

I propose that everytime Manny will likely fall off the tracks I will post a Manny Watch with a number corresponding to the total number of watches season-to-date. If he falls off the track and returns to normal I will post "Manny being Manny" with a corresponding number of times he has "been" Manny season-to-date. At the end of the season, we'll keep track of the Manny Watches versus the Manny being Manny posts.

There are a couple of possible outcomes. Each Manny Watch will correspond to a Manny being Manny. Which will point to the fact that he's simply ridiculous. It could also be, that there are many more watches than Manny being Manny, which will point to the fact that it's more of a media thing (as I will base my Manny wathch on popular opinion).

A beer to the guy that picks the correct number for each!


This is amazing.

New names

One thing that had escaped my attention this offseason is that, because of company mergers, two existing stadiums are being renamed. The Giants will now play at AT&T Park, and the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Here are all the new stadiums/names the last few years:

2006: Busch Stadium opens (replacing "Old Busch" Stadium); SBC Park renamed AT&T Park; Bank One Ballpark renamed Chase Field.
2005: RFK Stadium reopens for baseball (replacing Olympic Stadium); SkyDome renamed Rogers Centre; ProPlayer Stadium renamed Dolphins Stadium; Network Associates Coliseum renamed McAfee Stadium
2004: Petco Park opens (replacing Jack Murphy Stadium); Citizen's Bank Park opens (replacing Veteran's Stadium); PacBell Park renamed SBC Park; The Ballpark at Arlington renamed Ameriquest Field; Edison Field renamed Angel Stadium of Anaheim
2003: Great American Ballpark opens (replacing Riverfront Stadium); Comiskey Park renamed US Cellular Field
2002: Enron Field renamed Astros Field, then Minute Maid Park
2001: Miller Park opens (replacing County Stadium); PNC Park opens (replacing Three Rivers Stadium)
2000: Comerica Park opens (replacing Tiger Stadium); PacBell Park opens (replacing Candlestick Park), Enron Field opens (replacing the AstroDome)
1999: SafeCo Field opens (replacing the KingDome)
1998: Tropicana Field opens, Bank One Ballpark opens (for expansion teams); UMAX Coliseum renamed Network Associates Coliseum
1997: Turner Field opens (replacing Fulton County Stadium), Oakland Coliseum renamed UMAX Coliseum; Anaheim Stadium renamed Edison International Field
1996: Joe Robbie Stadium reamed Pro Player Stadium
1995: Coors Field opens (replacing Mile High Stadium)
1994: Ballpark at Arlington opens (replacing Arlington Stadium), Jacobs Field opens (replacing Cleveland Municipal Stadium)
1993: Mile High Stadium and Joe Robbie Stadium open for baseball (for expansion teams)
1992: Oriole Park at Camden Yards opens (replacing Memorial Stadium)
1991: Comiskey Park opens (replacing Old Comiskey Park)

These changes involve all but six teams (Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Royals, Dodgers, and Mets), with 11 name changes in the last 5 seasons. You have to go back to 1989-1990 to find back-to-back seasons with the same list of parks. I suppose with naming rights being such a big deal, that'll be the norm from here on out.

Monday, February 27, 2006

(More) HOF Ridiculousness

So as reported yesterday by Murray Chass (and commented about my interest in the Negro Leagues), the ballot results are announced today. And MLB will surely go to great lengths to highlight that the first woman ever was elected to the Hall.

But to me, this is a freaking travesty. The ballot included, but did not elect, either Minnie Minoso or Buck O'Neill. This is unbelievable. I just don't get it. The reasoning for not including these guys is because their careers did not justify the recognition. But in the case of both guys, their playing career is only a fraction of what each has meant to the game. And for the guys who *earned* it, it was all based on some pretty sketchy stats (mostly because they did not keep stats). Its a damn shame that the only two living members on the 94 man ballot did not get elected. For Christ's sake, give them some bonus points just for being alive.

Orestes "Minnie" Minoso was a true pioneer - coming from Cuba, barnstormed a bit and then debuted with white sox as their first black player. A bit of trivia - in Minoso's first game, he hit a HR (I believe in his first AB). what other player hit their first HR in that game? Frankly I'm too pissed off to play trivia, the answer is Mickey Mantle. He had a pretty decent career almost 2,000 hits and a .300 hitter - even though debuted when he was about 30. Not to mention he is the only person on the list that the average baseball fan HAS EVER HEARD OF.

Buck O'Neill. As I wrote earlier, he is a real ambassador for the game. Anyone who has ever heard him spin his tales of playing in the old days, will just as surely as I did, have a great appreciation for this wonderful man. If I were him, I would tell them to take their placques and shove them, because the things Buck does have a far more valuable than any bronze plauque in upstate NY - memories of playing with some of the greats, being the first black coash (for I beleieve the Cubs), the love of his family, universal respect in the baseball world and, probably most importantly, absolutely no bitterness or resentment for the difficult road that he was forced to travel solely because of the color of his skin.

So the HOF will get what it deserves. Which is nothing. I guess we can not accuse them of kowtowing to the media and PR, because they are about to get it - and in an extremely negative way. It could have been a feel good story for them. O'Neil and Minoso on the podium this summer, spinning tales playing with Satchel Paige and Cool Papa Bell and accepting on the behalf of the 17 (deceased) candidates. Hell MLB and the Hall could have thrown some chump change (for them) the way of the widows and/or surving players. It would have been quite a group hug/love fest. And they blew it. So now, let the barrage of stories begin.

And frankly I wouldn't be surprised if they do yet another special election next year to "reverse this wrong" but also to draw some attention away from the impending McGwire ballot. I am one pissed off dude today. And on top of it, it rains about 8 days a year here and today it is pouring.

Ouch... a rough way to go.

This is something you don't like to see. Not sure why he would "walk out", but maybe he has been in denial about his career coming to a close. I am sure he'll right himself and have a proper retirement press conference.

Wow I really had no idea!

I'll be the first to admit, I am a relatively naive fan of baseball but this story seems pretty interesting. With all the buzz about Bonds going around, I'd much prefer coverage on a streak that no one thought could be matched! Check out this graphic.

Ben Grieve Spring Training Watch, Part II

Since games don't start until later this week, there's not a whole lot of news to report on Ben Grieve's quest to spend 2006 in the major leagues. The only real news is that he was among the last to show up to camp, on the day of first full workout, which can't look good.

I hate to say it, but his chances are a bit bleaker than I originally thought. I had mentioned he was competing with Russ Gload and Joe Borchard for a roster spot; turns out prospect Jerry Owens is in the mix as well. Owens spent most of 2005 in AA Birmingham, where he batted .331, with a .393 OBP and .406 SLG. Not bad. He's also known for his speed, having stolen 42 bases last season (4 on the major league level), though in typical White Sox fashion, was also caught stealing 20 times, for a 68% success rate. Owens recently pissed of the Sox brass by bailing on Venezuelan winter ball early, but Ozzie Guillen claims he won't hold it against him.

But really it seems to be basically a two-man race, between Gload and Borchard; check out this article, and especially the link to a video of Ozzie's comments. Gload is probably the better choice; but if Borchard isn't picked, he goes on waivers (and the White Sox get nothing of their $5.3M signing bonus, and Borchard may attempt the switch back to football). Now, there is the chance that the Ozzie will go with just 11 pitchers, given that a number of his starters are such workhorses (Mark Buehrle actually prefers the 11 man rotation), meaning Borchard, Gload, Owens, and Grieve would be fighting for two roster spots. But given Chicago's love of smallball, you have to assume a speedy guy like Owens would be at a huge advantage.

It's going to be an uphill battle for Grieve.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Another useless article about team chemistry (or perceived lack thereof), this time courtesy of Tony Massarotti. But what caught my eye is not anything in the article itself; it's the accompanying photo...

An Olive Branch (at least for a day)

So GYS whipping boy Murray Chass has picked up on the special election for the HOF for a large group of Negro League players. For once (and potentially only this one time), I say, "Nice work Murray." He even went so far as to reference probably my second all time favorite baseball book - "Only the Ball Was White" (right after "The Pitch that Killed"). I may have to dig that one out and do a book review of that since I have already reviewed my All Time Favorite.

For a number of years, I have had a fascination with the Negro Leagues. I hope Buck O'Neill gets the nod for the HOF - he was inspiration for my curiosity when he appeared in Ken Burns' Baseball DVD and has been the ambassador for their History. Buck's book was entertaining, but certainly not ground breaking.

I envy friend of GYS (K-Dawg or the now contracted team owner Choppin Wood) for having gotten to KC (courtesy of Athena) and visiting the Negro League Baseball Museum and hope to someday make the voyage myself.

So for this one day, the olive branch is out. Of course, it is very hard for me to not laugh at his continued (in the same column even) ridiculing of the Anaheim, California Angels of Orange County Los Angeles when there is precedent right in his own backyard with NY Jets and Giants. I know, I just could not resist....

Friday, February 24, 2006

Team Italia

A while back I commented on the weirdness that was Italy's WBC team; since a player could be on the team if his parents were born in or were citizens of the country, there would be a mix of major leaguers who were Born in the USA and don't speak Italian, and actual, real-life native Italians. Since then, it's actually gotten weirder. The WBCI has expanded - or possibly just clarified - the eligibility requirements, adding this clause to the eligibility FAQ:
Additionally, if a player is qualified for citizenship or to hold a passport under the laws of a nation represented by a team, but has not been granted citizenship or been issued a passport, then the player may be made eligible by WBCI upon petition by the player or team.
So actually all you need is eligibility to hold a passport in the given country. For an Italian passport, that's apparently not difficult: according to this article, "Tony Giarratano - a shortstop in Tigers camp who was not part of the first practice, but is on the roster - had great-grandparents who came over from Italy, but he said that he had to prove that one of them had a child before becoming a U.S. citizen." (By those rules, I think I'm actually eligible to play for Italy. Awesome.) Apparently it was a real mess trying to prove who was eligible; I can only imagine someone spent a lot of time trying to figure out Barry Zito's and Mike Mussina's genealogies.

Meanwhile, a few players we had mentioned who had Italian-sounding names but weren't on the initial roster, including Ron Villone, Jason Simontacchi, Marco Scutaro, and Boston's own Lenny DiNardo, are now on the current roster for Italy.

Speaking of DiNardo, there is now a blog devoted only to him. And I thought our Ben Grieve obsession was weird...

Two days of happiness

Wednesday: "All Sunny With Yankees and Sheffield"
Today: "Yankees' Sheff is boiling"

Who says only the Sox deal with drama in Spring Training?

Best teams per position

Nice analysis over at the Hardball Times of which teams have been historically best (and worst) at each position. For example, Cards have dominated 1st base (Mize, Musial, McGwire, Clark, Pujols), and Yanks of course in Center (Combs, DiMaggio, Mantle, Henderson, Williams). Red Sox get two positions: Left (Ruth, Williams, Yaz, Rice, and Manny), as well as Pitcher (Young, Grove, Clemens, Pedro). The Left Field honors are pretty obvious - and damn that's a collection of hitters - but I never would have guessed Sox also dominated pitching. But it makes sense.

(That analysis was inspired by this article, comparing the Yankees CF's to Red Sox LF's)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What A Dumbass...

George Steinbrenner is predicting the New York Yankees' five-year World Series drought will end this October. If I had that pitching staff, I would not be predicting anything of the sort.

But, now that we are on the topic, let me make some predictions...

Mike Mussina will win 11 games this year...He'll also lose at least 9. He'll spend time on the DL.

Jared Wright will continue his suckiness...

Wang will also spend time on the DL.

Randy Johnson is going to win 17...he will not be any more dominant than last year.

The Yankees will score a bunch of runs...They will also be scored upon...alot...

Their lack of pitching will leave Georgie very sad in the end...

Assimilation complete

Johhny Damon, yesterday:
"There is no reason to celebrate getting to the postseason."

photo taken October 2, 2005, after Boston clinches playoff spot

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Crappy Boston Sports Media Being Crappy Boston Sports Media

Manny requests to show up one day after he's contractually obligated, and gets permission. We get treated to this:

Manny Stars in Late Show - Sox's LF will Report March 1, Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald
No Lie, Club Covers for Excuse-Laden Ramirez, Steve Buckley, Boston Herald
Delayed Reaction - Sox give Ramirez another week to report to camp, Chris Snow, Boston Globe
Out of This World? He's in danger of crossing World leaders, Gordon Edes, Boston Globe
It Translates to Business as Usual, CHB, Boston Globe

Two newspapers, five articles. For a non-issue. Awesome. (And X, no, I didn't read any of them.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Need Help with my next book review

Two quick questions:
1. Name the team of the 90s
2. T or F - Tommy Herr was a star mlb player.

Soap Opera Continues

I have lamented a number of times that I just wish the Sox could be a normal team. 2004 had some effect - in that we no longer have to listen to a bunch of crap about some fictional curse (and we even got some sweetness added to it as the greatest comeback/choke in the history of sports).

And now I'm hearing that Manny will not report until March 1. And that the Sox are okay with this. Of course, contractually March 1 is the reporting date, so there really is nothing "special" being agreed to here. This also means that Manny will be in camp for about 36 hours before he heads off to the WBC. And my bet here is that Manny will likely take about 2-3 days on the back end before reporting back to camp. Maybe this is not such a bad thing - he'll get his reps in the WBC. He is a slugger savant and will end up putting up his usual monster numbers, so anything he does to give him a bit of happiness, then fine.

But the bigger question - why the hell does this stuff always happen with the Sox. First it was Clemens showing up late and then dissing his coach by wearing headphones. Then we had the annual "where is Pedro. Oh, he's coming late to go to his Dad's birthday party." which of course was not an issue last year or apparently this year. And now the Manny nonsense continues. Ugh. I am glad I can not tune WEEI in my car here in CA (and I refuse to stream it at work).

Random Spring Training Quotes

Each one sort of sad and funny, at the same time. I was tempted to make a snarky comment for each one, but they're just too. Damn. Obvious.
  • "Chased down David Wells yesterday. Shameless, I know." - CHB
  • "Fortunately we have names on the jerseys." - new Marlins manager Joe Girardi
  • "I'm trying to see things from your point of view but I can't stick my head that far up my ass." - Curt Schilling (by way of t-shirt)
  • "I was feeling sad I wasn't there...I didn't know they were going to win the World Series." - Magglio Ordonez

Monday, February 20, 2006

A bit of fact checking

As we all know, I tend to be a bit skpetical and this leads me to do some fact checking. In reading about US skelton team memeber Uhlaender, there were a number of quotes from her dad who played for the twins in the 60s. I can't find the exact quote in the AZ newspaper, but I recall him telling her not to be nervous - that he played in Yankee Stadium in his ML debut in front of 60,000 fans and his idol (Mantle) in CF.

Well, not quite. His debut was against the White Sox. Ken Berry was in CF. but to his credit, there were 27,000 fans there. and they were battling for first place (ended up winning) so I'm sure it was exciting.

As for Mantle and 60,000 fans at the toilet, well in 66 when he finally played in NY in July, Mantle was in CF (and only 17,000 fans showed up). so the nervousness in his "debut" was almost a full year after his first major league game. And the 60,000 fans, well that must have been in his imagination (or more likely in MIN when they were good). In fact he once played in the toilet in front of a mere 9,000 fans at the end of the 66 season.

And those were the only two seasons that his scenario could have happened because after 66 the Mick played first base for his last two seasons. Its funny how time makes certain memories a lot different than they actually were.

This has nothing to do with baseball but it's funny as hell

very funny

Millar as club house glue

I searched through our archives, but apparently we only keep about a rolling-year's worth :-( Anyway, before last season I wrote a little post on how Millar is the club house glue and that regardless of his performance he was important for keeping the team balanced. Naturally, last year was difficult because he sucked at the plate. Given Ortiz's recent comments about Manny and Millar, I am concerned. I don't really see any one else that Manny respect enough to diffuse him when he's getting wound up - and we know that he will get wound up. My fear is that unlike previous years (enter chorus stage left "Manny being Manny"), this year will actually lead to some implosion.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Say it Ain't So, Joe!

It's been a long time since we did an update on the Yankees. Hell, it's been a long time since we've discussed even the Red Sox, but that's because so little is happening that Truck Day feels like a national holiday. Anyway, in no particular order:
  • Somehow I missed that Joe Kerrigan is the Yankees' new bullpen coach. He's really expected to be more of a backup pitching coach - he'll the mechanics guy (something pitching coach Ron Guidry probably isn't) and Guidry will be the "psychological guidance" guy (something we know Kerrigan isn't). Kerrigan was Randy Johnson's pitching coach in Montreal's farm system back in 1988.
  • Unsurprisingly, Steinbrenner is pissed at Selig about the World Baseball Classic. I guess I don't blame him. Of course, if any big-name player goes down with an injury next month, the WBC is toast.
  • The Yanks signed 38-year old Scott Erickson, one of 2000's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World", to a minor-league contract. I like to think that appearing in People Magazine cursed him, but actually he had already begun falling apart a couple years before that. Apparently Jason Giambi convinced the Yanks to scout him.
  • Mike Mussina wants a 2007 extension, but is more focused on recovering from his elbow problems: "I feel fine, I feel good, I feel like I should...Look, I made that rhyme, like Dr. Seuss."
  • Kyle Farnsworth attributes his success last year to spending time each day reading a "mental book". I can't wait to get more info on that.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ben Grieve Watch, 2006 edition

The GYS Network's all-time favorite Rookie of the Year, Benjamin Grieve, is hoping to embark on his 10th year as a major leaguer. Last month he signed a minor league contract with the World Champion Chicago White Sox (man, it's so sad having to say that). He'll be playing this spring as a non-roster invitee, but has a legitimate shot at being the Sox's 25th man. He'll be fighting for that final bench spot against Joe Borchard (another didn't-quite-pan-out-the-way-everyone-had-hoped-super-prospect), and Russ Gload (who can't be happy about the Thome signing). Looks to be a tough competition. Comparing their last ~300 AB (in Borchard's case, all his MLB at-bats):


Grieve's recent numbers actually aren't terrible; they're just not good enough for DH'ing, and he's apparently atrocious in the field. Borchard shouldn't be much competition -- I don't think I ever quite appreciated just how much of a bust he's been (though part could be lack of playing time). Like Drew Henson, he's now reconsidering his choice of sports, and is considering a return to football (he was QB at Stanford). Gload, on the other hand, could be a real threat to the 1998 ROY. He was injured basically all last year, but in 2004 (234 AB) he batted .321/.375/.479.

C'mon Grieve. You can do it. Throughout Spring Training I'll be giving updates on this Fierce Rivalry For The 25th Spot On A Team That's Not The Red Sox But Is Still Important Because It Involves Ben Grieve.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

This is more like it.

As much as I enjoy laughing at A-Rod, and reading criticism of him, I didn't really care for all the comments made about him by certain loudmouth Red Sox players about a year ago. It just seemed really petty and childish, a way to score cheap points with the fans. The whole thing just seemed unseemly, and I wished our guys could just stay above it. In an ideal world, all the high-profile sniping at A-Rod would be done by someone not on the Red Sox, someone as loathesome as possible. That way, we all win.

So this was good news. Here's hoping it continues for a while.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Standards are falling!!!

The Red sox announced their 2006 Hall of Fame Inductees. I remember when it was created - the criteria (if my memory serves me) were member of the real HOF and have finished their career with the Sox. While those were a little stict (okay, very strict), I must say the current class is a bit of a stretch. sure Joe Morgan led them on the magical run, but he was the manager of the Sox for 3-1/2 years. And I know he worked for them in the minors for a long time. but still, it seems a bit of a stretch.

Basballs last chance

Apparently, baseball and softball have one more chance to get reinstated as Olympic sports. Not sure I really care all that much. Simply, because after watching womens hockey this weekend, it became obvious to me that it's not that interesting to watch one team (read: Canada) destroy everyone. Although, baseball has become increasingly more competitive over the years softball is pretty much a joke.

While I am at it, I have a couple other thoughts on the winter Olympics. In particular I find watching the halfpipe snowboard competition obtuse. Here are the official rules. Not that they help explain anything. Basicially, it's simple. Get as much air as you can, turn a lot in the air, grab your board, and don't fall. I am not trying to take anything away from these athletes. Last weekend I went skiing and tried one of these jumps and could barely get off the ground. It is impressive that they can get so much height. The problem I have is that it's too difficult for the average person to understand what makes a good performance. Same could be said for luge. Other than the insanity of flying down an ice tunnel at 80 miles an hour, I don't have a good understanding of how difficult it is.

(Finally, I made a post like Earl with tons of links)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Its that time again.

Book review. I’m trying to get caught up on my readings for the last few months, but still am a bit behind.

This entry – the Hardball Times Baseball Annual. As linked from GYS, they have a decent website www.hardballtimes.com.

-continued in comments

Friday, February 10, 2006

It's all over! First Pete Rose now this!

I kept trying to think of funny titles, like "The Great Blemish", or "In the Great One's Shadow", or "Holy Crap That's it for Hockey!", but nothing really stood out. Anyway, this is probably a "nonstory" in the end, but I felt it was worth noting despite it's only very slight tie to baseball (see title).

Regardless, the last thing hockey needs right now is a controversy that is close to the biggest name in the sport. In my opinion, I am not so disgusted by the fact that "sports people" are betting on sports, but more the fact that these insanely wealthy people are wagering insane amounts of money on something so frivolous as the Super Bowl.


We've discussed a number of times the ridiculousness of MLB getting put on the spot for steroids (even appearing before Congress) whereas NFL, in which using is almost certainly rampant, basically gets a free pass. But we haven't talked about other sports in which athletes might use steroids. Sports like sledding. Zach Lund, the world's no. 1 ranked skeleton athlete, just got banned from the Winter Olympics because he failed a drug test. It wasn't for performance-enhancing drugs, it was for a masking agent, Finasteride. Unfortuantely, Finasteride is also the active ingredient in the "baldness pill" (Propecia), which he's been open about taking.

I think this gives us a nice glimpse of the mess ahead with dealing with performance enhancers in baseball (and sports in general). Plenty of easily available medicines have side-effects which might be useful for athletes. Not to mention some, like Ritalin, in which the benefit isn't the side-effect, but the stated purpose of the drug. Some athletes will need/want to take the medicine for normal reasons (it's hard to imagine an Olympic sledder really was on 'roids); others will take advantage of the situation. I honestly don't see how organized sports is going to be able to deal with this.

(On a side note, am I the only one who loves that the event is called "skeleton"? We get to hear about "skeleton athletes" failing drug tests and "skeleton coaches" being fired for sexual harassment. I keep imagining they all look like this guy.)

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Check out this chick's website.

Warning do not do at work. Images are graphic. No Hazel Mae Naked photos.


Nice little puff piece in the NYT on Brian Cashman being a guest of honor in a Washington Heights restaurant. There's a bit on the chance that Clemens may re-join the Yankees, leading to the stomach-turning title "Clemens in on the Menu". But that's not the worst of it; apparently that restaurant likes to name dishes after notable (mostly Dominican) players, with one of their main entrees being named the Pujols. (Note to self: put awesomely hilarious Pujols joke here.)

Also, this Globe article, that a new buliding may shift the winds enough to reduce HR totals, is pretty amusing (make sure to check out the cool graphic). But, if the effect on winds is real, I think the article misses the point, by a lot. If the increase is really in turbulence rather than wind speed, the biggest effect may be more movement on fly balls. Meaning Manny, Coco, and Trot may have their work cut out for them (oh boy). More importantly, if HR totals are down, isn't this a good thing for the Sox? Yeah, offense will be down a bit. But Manny and Ortiz will still hit HR, and given the starting rotation has some flyball pitchers, I would think keeping the ball in the park will only help.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A first and perhaps a last

X posts on basketball. Well, not basketball per se, but the outlandish comments of one Mark Cuban. This is fascinating. What would the baseball equivalent of this be? Oh wait, that would be Pedro saying - "just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy." Or perhaps the Evil Empire/Don Rickles feud between Larry and George and John Henry.


The Blue Jays just became a little bit scarier. Yesterday's news, I know. But for all the talk about the AL East suddenly being a three-team division, this will be JP's fifth season as Toronto GM. Not to be too Murray-Chass-like, but what exactly had he done, before this offseason? I mean, besides wait for Delgado's insane contract to run out? (Four years, $68M! Not bad for a guy who made the All Star Team a whopping two times.) Is their farm system in better shape? Or is he just spending a lot of new-found money?

Also, do you think they might be willing to trade Greg Zaun? I'm a bit worried about the Red Sox backup catcher situation.

Baseball, Baseball, Baseball

Well - its almost time for the van to be loaded at Yawkey Way - I will miss seeing that picture in the Globe.

On a brighter note - did anyone catch the finish to the Caribe WS. Amazing. Former Sox farm hand Henry Blanco hit a towering IF pop fly that dominican SS Aybar lost in the lights and it HIT HIM ON THE HEAD and new Red Sox SS Alex Gonazalez scored the winning run.

This is a good sign for the Sox - the last five (American) WS winners all featured very prominent performances by players that were stars of that years earlier Caribbean WS. And Gonzales was one of the most dominant performers.

On the downside - defending champ Mexico did not win a game (0-6).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Clemens returns to Boston?

I'm already on record as saying I might have a hard time rooting for the US team in the WBC. But today's herald talks about another tought to swallow prospect - the Rocket returning to Boston. If this video is real, then the Sox front office must be pretty serious. and if we are learning about it, the Kremlin, err Theo and the tris, must want us to know. And when this group puts its mind to something, more times than not, they are successful.

So here is the scoop - the Sox preparing a DVD video to present to Roger Clemens in hopes of convincing the Rocket, who will be 44 in August, to come back to Boston for one final, glorious season.

I imagine they will have to do quite an editing job. Here are the responses to the same question as posed to a few of my posse members:

Sully from Charlestown: "Are fucking kidding me? That fat slob, Clemens coming back to Boston would be greast thing ever. Now I could boo him about 16 times next year. "

Smitty: "That would be amazing. I will never forget when Roger was pitching for the Yankees in the 99 LCS and joey and I heckled the shit out Clemens so badly that his wife was sitting right in front of us started crying her ass off. It was so funny. That bastard can rot in hell. All he ever did in Boston was care about his own stats and performance, like when he struck out 20 guys. Twice. "

Murph: "Do the people of Boston want Clemens back? What are you on crack? Story book ending? What did that guy ever do for Boston? If we get Clemens back he may need a restraining order to keep me away from Fenway. Sure it took almost ten years, but after he left did people believe that the RedSox could win the World Series. No thanks to him. If he comes to Boston, He'll probably blow out his hammy in his first start. Clemens basically mailed in his last four years - what did he do, win 39 games and lost 40. Yeah, sure pal. Let's get Clemens back."

Amir: "I own doughnut shop in Fenway. Roger Clemens very good for doughnut business."

These would be edited as follows:

Sully from Charlestown: ".....Clemens coming back to Boston would be greast thing ever....."

Smitty: "That would be amazing. I will never forget ....when he struck out 20 guys..... "

Murph: "Do the people of Boston want Clemens back? ...... If we get Clemens back RedSox could win the World Series. ..... If he comes to Boston, he'll probably ...win 39 games ...... Yeah, sure pal. Let's get Clemens back."

Amir: " Roger Clemens very good for..... business."

So there you have it. My own personal video tribute to Roger. Please come back to Boston. We'll cheer for you. If you win.


What I learned from the New York Times today

Chasshole Watch, Part XV

(1) Barring players from taking amphetamines will make baseball boring.
(2) Since the A's haven't made the playoffs in a couple years, Moneyball doesn't work.

Monday, February 06, 2006


Pet-a-genie has been designated for assignment, to make room on the 40-man roster for new Venezuelan national hero Alex Gonzalez. Seems like a weird choice, given all the backup catchers on the roster. And we never really got to see what the guy could do. Well, uh, good luck, Roberto.

(Since we're on the subject, am I the only one who hates the term "designated for assignment"? I always thought it was one of the dumber euphemisms out there. I assume we say it rather than "fired" because of the salary obligations involved - is that right? The Wikipedia entry for "designated for assignment", while amusing, doesn't help much.)


As happy I am that the Steelers won it all, that has to be one of the lamest Superbowls I have ever seen. The refs sucked, the Seahawks sucked even more, the commercials weren't even any good, and Jerome Bettis is an attention whore. I think either of the "alternative" bowls, found here and here, would've been a much better watch. Seriously, the Puppy Bowl halftime show totally kicked the Rolling Stones' geriatric asses.

Now we are truly in the dark weeks, with no baseball and no football.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Its that time again

With fatherhood a lot of things change. I seem to have as much time to read. I just don’t have time to jot down any coherent thoughts. With that in mind, my book review for this month (which I actually read leading up to X-mas) is a re-read of one of my all time favorite baseball books “The Pitch that Killed” by Mike Sowell.

-continued in comments

Friday, February 03, 2006

$252,000,000 Alarm Clock

Know any Yankees fans (hell, or Red Sox fans) you'd like to piss off immensely, while you remain totally anonymous? Then send them a free A-Rod Wakeup Call at, oh, 4 am. Every day of the week. Act soon, because this ridiculous program is not going to last long; it really has no use except for prank calls. Someone at Nike's going to be fired real soon.

First Game of Year

I watched my first game of 2006 last night - the Carribean WS on (unfortunately the YES network - I thought about changing the channel, but my Direct TV viewership does not count in the ratings that add to the ad revenue for Georgy porgy).

Venezueala crushed Mexico. It was 11-1 after 7 when I stopped watching. Old friend Jeremei Gonzalez did something he couldn't do last year - pitch awesome. Through 7 innings (not sure what he did after he left - 1 run, 3 hits and a bucn of K's. the competition was not great - I recognized about half the names and none were stars. I think I will watch some of the DR game tonight.

Regardless, it was great to see some baseball....
And this weekend I'm hoping to get over to Stanford to see them take on Cal State Fullerton to open the college season.

Now starting at shortstop...

Boston Herald is reporting that Alex Gonzalez is basically a Red Sox. Nothing formal has been posted, but he apparently passed his physicial last night in Boston.

Dennis and Callahan flunky Meiter (or however you spell it) suggested this AM an immediate three team deal that included Red Sox giving up:

Youk, Gonzalez, Lester, Graf, Wells, and a minor leaguer

to get in return:

Tejeda and Hee-Seop Choi

The rumored trade involved LA, which would give up Lowe and Choi and get Graf and Wells and maybe the minor leagure of Lester.

The Orioles would get Youk, Gonzalez, and Lester or/minor leaguer.

About 1 minute after explaining all the details, some one actually bothered to look up the rules on signing and trading a free agent. Apparently the earliest we could move Gonzalez is June.

So no block buster deal! Gonzalez is here to stay! Go defense!!!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


When the biggest Sox news of the day is that Gabe Kapler and Enrique Wilson were invited to Spring Training, you know there's nothing to talk about. So here's a motivational poster. Spring Training begins soon, sort of.

Trivia Update

In an earlier post (actually in the comments section). I threw out a random trivia question - how many players have played on ONE and ONLY ONE major league game.

I'm pleased to announce that EARL is the winner. No one else was even close. Of course no one else ventured a guess, but still Earl was closest with a guess of "I'm going to say: a lot. Six, seven million, at least."

Congratulations Earl.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"I can be an idiot, but not stupid."

Johnny Damon's been making the New York radio talk-show rounds the last couple of days. On the YES Network (our sister station), he told Michael Kay "Manny really wants out of Boston, just so he can relax and chill. If he played for the Mets, he probably wouldn't be able to chill much. But I think the Yankees would be a perfect fit for him, as well as for David Ortiz." I'm sure some Sox fans will be incensed. But really - what does he know about the Yankees clubhouse? Yawn.

If you want to truly waste 20 minutes of your life, check out his interview on the David Lee Roth show (available online in two segments: part 1 and part 2; via Surviving Grady). It's a truly remarkable interview, not for anything Damon says -- though it's sort of sad just how much he's trying to convince Boston fans (or himself) that he left because Boston didn't want him, and that money had nothing to do with it -- but for how absolutely, craptacularly, awful Diamond Dave is as an interviewer. I mean, his questions were sooo stupid. So incredibly, unbelievably stupid. (How stupid were they?) They were so stupid that even Johnny Damon thought they were stupid.

Speaking of stupid, today Damon and his wife are receiving a $245,000 Ferrari from his shoe company, Puma. And they're planning to live in the city.