Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Hall of Fame Time Again

Mcgwiresosa_2

I’m nursing a bit of a broken heart right now (and that’s as  much as I’ll ever say on this subject again), so if I’m all over the place, well that’s the way it goes.  🙂

About Mark McGwire and the Hall of Fame…setting aside the home runs and the steroids for a moment, in 16 seasons the guy was a lifetime .263 hitter.

My man Jim Rice?  16 seasons, .298 lifetime average.

Hell, Tony Gwynn played 20 seasons and averaged . 324.

Now, before all the stat-heads (Who I love.  I’m a stat-head at heart.) Start telling me how a player’s batting average is no longer the best way to judge a hitter’s talent, keep in mind that the majority of writers voting for the HoF don’t even know what stats like VORP or Win Shares are, let alone apply them to their thinking when they’re voting.  So for this argument, I’m going with the old standbys.

Heck, even Yankee favorite and ultimate crybaby Paul O’Neill pulled a lifetime average of .288 in 17 seasons.

Paul O’Neill – Winner of the 1994 AL batting title and 5-time all-star – along with 5 World Series rings. 

Tony Gwynn –  Winner of 8 batting titles and 15-time all-star – along with 5 Gold Gloves and 7 Silver Sluggers.  (And two trips to the World Series)

Jim Rice – 1978 AL MVP and 8-time all-star along with 2 Silver Sluggers and a trip to the World Series.

Mark McGwire – 12-time all-star, Rookie of the Year, 3 Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove along with 3 trips to the World Series, including one Series win.

He also had two season where his slugging percentage was highest in the league.  One season where he led the league in RBI, 4 seasons of being the home run leader and four where he led the league in slugging.

I’m looking over all these stats tonight and thinking that the batting average doesn’t tell the entire story.  🙂

I’m also wondering where the writers all get off supposedly taking the high road by saying they won’t vote McGwire into the Hall of Fame.

Listen, I’m one of those people who absolutely believes McGwire juiced.  His refusal to speak at the Senate hearings stung like a sharp slap across the face.  I wanted him to use that opportunity to come clean (so to speak) and possibly help others…but that didn’t happen.  So, do I have any respect for Mark McGwire the man?  None at all.  Do I still consider Roger Maris the home run king?  You bet I do.  (Hey, Lou Gehrig is still the Iron Man to me!)  But, unfortunately, McGwire has never been proven to have used steroids.  (Andro doesn’t count.  When he used it, it wasn’t banned and he even kept it out in the open…never hiding it.)  Show me the proof.  Write me a book like "Game of Shadows" detailing his use.  Then I’ll say the writers are doing the right thing by not voting him in.

But let me ask you this.  How many writers knew about the steroids being used throughout MLB?  If you believe them…none of them.  But we know what kind of access a lot of beat writers have.  How many of them saw what was going on and sat on it?  Let it alone for whatever reasons?  Today, these same guys would sell a body part for proof that David Ortiz keeps a syringe in his locker.  A lot of the writers are just as guilty as the players and the rest of MLB for keeping this a secret and to see them now all claiming high ground by vowing to not vote for McGwire…well it’s laughable to me.

Jose Canseco likes to take credit for ‘saving’ baseball.  Hooey.  Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa brought the fans back in 1998.  Sadly, most of us believe that season is now completely tainted, but in the moment it was pure fun.  Watching two men having FUN with their competition.  I remember where I was the night McGwire hit number 62.  One of my cousins had a baby girl that night and I remember joking to someone that if it were my baby I’d name her "McGuire".  It was that big a deal.  ’98 was a crappy year and Sammy and Big Mac made it fun again.  I still remember that feeling, but the importance of it has been lost since it seems so fake now.

So it’s with a heavy heart that I admit if I had a HoF vote, McGwire would get one.

And you all expected my Hall of Fame post to be a rant about how Jim Ed should get in this year, huh?  🙂

(That one is coming soon!)

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November 29, 2006 Posted by | Hall of Fame | 10 Comments

Girly Mode On – 2007

Bronsonjan82006hand_jpg_sizedTo take the edge off my last post, I give you this.  As the young ones say online:  "Squee!".

Ugh, I just ‘squeed’.  Let me tell you why.

In January, I’ll be visiting Mohegan Sun with Kelly to see Bronson Arroyo perform.

Mind you, I’ve seen Bronson play live three times.  This isn’t anything ‘special’ in that way.  But, as anyone who has read this blog in 2006 knows, I miss him being in Boston something awful.  So when my friend Janice alerted me to tickets going on sale, I jumped at the chance.  Kelly then jumped in and offered to accompany me.  Two of the sistahs hitting the casino just to watch Bronson perform.  Hey, I’m getting old, it takes a lot to entertain me these days.  Besides, if I actually ‘squeed’ in real life, she smack me until I stopped.  🙂

The idea of Bronson being back in New England makes me happy.  It’s silly and goofy and totally ridiculous, but it does. 

Of course I’ll have a review (Ha!  Sure I will…well, I’ll write about it anyway.)and some pictures to share after the show for those of you interested.

It’s something  moderately baseball-related to look forward to during the off-season and I AM looking forward to it!  Hey folks, it’s the little things in life.

November 27, 2006 Posted by | Bronson | 1 Comment

CHB – Revisiting Manny Yet Again

Mannydancingonhisbirthday_1There’s been so much written about Manny lately, I’m not sure what is left to say.  Both major newspapers in Boston had stories over the last week about how the Red Sox should trade him.  CHB over at the Globe is absolutely orgasmic that he has something nasty to write about in regard to the Red Sox during the off-season.  Honestly, where would Dan Shaughnessy be without writing nasty stuff about the Red Sox?  The Curse of the Bambino made him a mint and when "the curse" was killed, Dan panicked.  What could he write about now?  But Manny gave him all he needed so once again we’re subjected to the ranting tirade of another bitter and jealous sports writer.

Well, Dan, on behalf of most of Red Sox Nation…**** you.

I wonder if he’s even looked at the free agent market.  CHB, that is, not Manny.  Does he think there is someone out there comparable to Manny who can hit behind Ortiz and make a difference?  Does he think there is another intimidating hitter who can protect Papi from becoming the Barry Bonds of the American League?  King of the intentional walks?  We saw what happens to Papi when Manny isn’t in the lineup in 2006…and it was ugly.

Unlike Shaughnessy and the others, I think a .321 average, 35 homeruns, 102 RBI…those stats alone make me think Shaughnessy is an **** for even suggesting trading Manny.  But that should come as no surprise.  CHB is an ****.  "Manny being Manny" just gives him more chances to show it.

The idea of trading Manny is ridiculous.  Doesn’t mean the Red Sox won’t do it, I know that.  But, in my opinion, promoting trading the best player on the team just because he won’t talk to you is irresponsible journalism.  Then again, calling anything Shaughnessy writes ‘journalism’ is an insult to the word.

The team has enough holes to worry about filling without jerks like Shaughnessy creating more.

(Okay, looking over that I guess I’m kind of angry.  So I’m editing to add that I totally understand when people get frustrated with Manny, but what CHB and others write about him goes way beyond that.  The recent stories coming out of Boston about Manny are nothing but whining, foot-stomping rants because the writers haven’t been able to run Manny out of town.  I promise, next post will be of a much cheerier nature!)

November 27, 2006 Posted by | Hot Stove, Players, Rants | 3 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tg

November 23, 2006 Posted by | Holidays! | 3 Comments

Congratulations, Justin Morneau!

MorneauYour American League MVP.  Definitely a choice I can support!

I still think Papi should have won, let alone NOT come in third, but Justin had a great year, no denying it.

My top three would have been Ortiz, Morneau, Jeter…if I had to pick those three…but that’s why I’m not allowed to vote, I suppose.

Good job, Justin.  Congratulations.

November 21, 2006 Posted by | Awards | 24 Comments

AL MVP announced today

PapialNow I don’t believe for a minute that the voters will be unbiased enough to pick Papi…but he’s the one I think should get it.

Of course, Jeter has the calm eyes and the leadership qualities* that make an MVP so he’ll probably walk away with the hardware this year.

No matter…Papi will always be MVP to me.

(*And, yes Yankees fans, I know Jeter has the numbers this year for MVP…so does Ortiz – moreso.)

.Have a great day, folks!

Edited already:  I no sooner hit ‘save’ and I get an email with a link to George King’s article in The New York Post today. (Be warned, that link takes you to a page covered in pictures of Derek Jeter selling perfume!)

So rumor has it Jeter and Morneau in a tie for MVP, eh?  That’s pretty interesting.  Actually, the most interesting part of the article is that in defending Jeter, King convinces me Morneau deserves it over Jeter.

King says the things penalizing Ortiz are his team not going to the playoffs this year and the fact that he’s a DH.  Given that ARod won it in a year that the Rangers were cellar-dwellers, I think his second point is more valid.  Sports writers have a major bias against the dh.  It’s a stupid bias, but obviously, if King’s article is right, not one that is going away any time soon.

November 21, 2006 Posted by | Awards | 1 Comment

Bill Mueller Retires

Mueller_with_goatee
When the Red Sox signed Mueller many fans wondered why.  He quietly came on to the team and made a mark.  In 2003 he won the batting title (and became the first player in MLB history to hit two grandslams in the same game – one from each side of the plate).  In 2004, he became ‘one of the 25’, but not before having two of the most memorable hits in Red Sox history.  It was his walk-off homerun against Mariano Rivera that July 24th that ended the "Arod/Varitek Fight" game…and, more importantly and often overlooked, it was his hit that drove in Dave Roberts after ‘the steal’ in the 2004 ALCS, to tie Game 4.

On the day of the parade in Boston to celebrate the World Series win, Bill Mueller wasn’t in Boston.  He was at home celebrating the birth of his child.  The entire day, all over the television and online, folks were wondering where he was, they wanted to say ‘thank you’…but instead of taking in all that, he was where he needed to be…and the fans missed him but understood.

The Dodgers, never one of my favorite teams admittedly, have given Mueller a job in the front office.  For a guy nicknamed "Billy Ballgame" in the Red Sox clubhouse…nothing could be better suited for him.  He’ll be a special assistant to Ned Colletti who says of Bill:

"He’s a very smart guy.  He’ll be
involved with us in scouting, evaluating players, player development
areas, amateur draft areas. He’ll be a great sounding board for me."

Good luck in the new endeavor, Billy.  Thank you for three years that will ensure your place in the hearts of Red Sox fans forever.

Billy is one of the good guys.  Baseball will certainly miss having him on the field.  I know I will.

November 18, 2006 Posted by | Good Guys, One of "The 25" | 6 Comments

B-I-N-G-O!

Lenyy2The Triumphant Red Sox Fan is one of my dearest friends.  She’s also one of the most savvy people I know when it comes to baseball (actually, most other topics as well!).  She should be working for ESPN. 

She has written a wonderful breakdown of the Matsuzaka bidding and possible signing over at her blog.  Honestly, I haven’t read anything anywhere else that spells it out as well as Kelly does over at her blog.  I encourage you to go read it in full.  I’ll post an excerpt here to whet your appetite.

None of this economic logic will sway those who insist on lumping John Henry and George Steinbrenner into the same category. Such people don’t understand that Henry and Steinbrenner may both be rich, but Henry has shown more fiscal restraint and business sense than Steinbrenner, who has apparently been spending baseball’s historically most successful team in America’s biggest media market to a loss. While Steinbrenner is willing to pay not only stratospheric payroll but also luxury tax dollars for which he gets nothing in return, the Red Sox ownership has made a decidedly calculated expenditure that, they know from the Yankees’ and Mariners’ experiences, will pay off in real dollars. How many dollars depends on Matsuzaka’s success with Boston.

Kelly makes some excellent points…and has me even more excited about the possibilities that come along with this deal.

November 17, 2006 Posted by | Hot Stove | 17 Comments

Very Interesting

1163525095_2378 In November of 2003, Curt Schilling posted on the Red Sox fan forum at redsox.com on Thanksgiving night.  The next day they announced his signing.  I was a regular poster on the Red Sox fan forum in 2003 and I missed it.  I all but ignored all of the hype surrounding the ‘possible’ signing of Curt Schilling.  But I certainly embraced it when the Red Sox actually did sign him.  And I started truly believing the new owners wanted to win.

A couple of weeks later, I was riding with a friend to a Christmas party when WEEI announced the Red Sox signed Keith Foulke.  I turned to my friend and said, "we just won the World Series".  And for probably the first time in my life, I REALLY believed it was going to happen.  The hope that I had was fueled with good thoughts and hardcore talent.  I haven’t felt that hope in a couple of years.  And now Theo and company dangle "Dice-K" in front of my face…

I’ve already been told by Yankees fans that I can no longer complain about the money the Yankees spend because the Red Sox bid $51million + for bargaining rights.  First off, I don’t complain that the Yankees spend a lot of money.  But I know that’s a big complaint of a lot of baseball fans.

I actually get a kick out of the money Steinbrenner throws around to win championships when he hasn’t won one since 2000.  More so because it causes him such anguish.  All the better to watch the felon get worked up.  That’s my main problem with Steinbrenner.  He’s a criminal allowed to basically run MLB.  But since his downfall keeps coming, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the show.

But I digress.  The Red Sox made a huge bid.  I was out last night ("12 Angry Men" for those who asked.  If it comes to your city, go see it.  Amazing ensemble cast.) and found out the news via text message.  Looking at the number written out $51.1 million…I couldn’t believe it.  I mean, I’m fairly certain there aren’t many people in the ‘real’ world who can truly fathom that kind of money.

Thinking about it more, I realized that the bid was pretty bold.  But also smart.  Regardless of what all the sour graped fans will tell you, just about every team in MLB wanted Matsuzaka.  The Red Sox knew there would be at least a team or two willing to bid high.  They had the insight to place the bid just where it needed to be.  Had they bid $12 million lower, no one would be complaining.  Had they lost the bid by $1 million or $2 million to the Mets, no one would be saying "how dare the Mets bid $40 million!"  But they WOULD be saying, "the cheap Red Sox couldn’t even bid $5 million more?".  The Red Sox wouldn’t be winning with the press or the naysayers either way. 

Either they’re equally ‘evil’ to the Yankees for spending a lot of money, or they’re the "cheap" ownership they’ve always been accused of.  There are plenty of comments throughout this blog from the past year and a half from Yankees fans trying to rub it in my face that the Red Sox wouldn’t spend money on the team.  Accusing Theo of being stupid and not having a plan.  Well, Theo obviously has a plan and is executing it accordingly. 

I believe the Sox will sign Matsuzaka and I hope (and believe!) that he’ll be as good as advertised.  But I also understand that with bold moves comes great risks.  But so many have complained that the Red Sox are afraid to make those bold moves and now that they do they’re being criticized for it.  At least by some.

As regular readers know, I don’t usually frequent blogs or websites for other teams all that much.  Especially not the Yankees.  But I spent some time tonight perusing some Yankees blogs.  It’s interesting how many Yankees fans are so critical of this move.  One wonders how critical they would be if the Yankees were the team to have won the bid.  I’m guessing the reaction would have been the same had the Mets come up the winners, but I doubt they’d be complaining if the Yankees had the opportunity to sign the premier free agent pitcher of the season.

I’m impressed that my team has shown such initiative.  They’re establishing a presence in Japan, they’re putting the team in a great position to win (Schilling, Beckett and Matsuzaka in the starting rotation?  Yeah, I can live with that!), and they are showing that they aren’t giving up by settling.

I remember that hope I felt late in 2003…that feeling is creeping in again.

Edited on Thursday morning based on comments here and a discussion I had on the way into work:

I find 2 things very interesting about the naysayers.  1) People seem to forget that if it wasn’t for the Yankees spending like Steinbrenner had a money tree in his back yard, no other teams would have to start spending the same way to compete.  You can only sit back so long and say, "I’m not stooping to that level" until you actually have to realize that if you want to compete, you need to compete on EVERY level.  Including spending.  Sadly, many teams aren’t able to do that, luckily, the Yankees main rival is.  and 2) Of COURSE this is a risk, as I already wrote.  But what should the Sox do?  Just sit back and do NOTHING because it might fail?  The Red Sox weren’t the only ones willing to take this risk, they just were able to put a bigger price tag on it.  If people didn’t take risks, they’d  never achieve greatness.  I’m all for a few big moves now and then even if they don’t end up panning out.  I suspect, though, this one will.

November 16, 2006 Posted by | Hot Stove | 21 Comments

Tonight

I won’t be around tonight for the excitement of ‘the announcement’ (going to the theater, another of my passions) so it’ll be interesting to see when I get home if, in fact, all the rumors are true.

Here’s hoping.  🙂

Have a great night, folks!

November 14, 2006 Posted by | Miscellaneous | 26 Comments