Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

In my mind the weather never changes

Rocco Baldelli earlier this month. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/ Used with permission.

I bought a book today. Alyssa Milano’s autobiography, “Safe at Home“. Dig me, I know.

I haven’t started to read it yet but the plan is to have it finished before the season begins. That’s if I can even crack it open. I’m trying. I’m REALLY trying to attack this with an open mind. We’ll see how it goes. Let me just say this for now: Alyssa Milano has had a reputation for years as an athlete… well let’s just say someone overly fond of athletes. She claims this is a label falsely attached to her, yet she’s has capitalized off it, first with her clothing line and now with a book. Interviews like this one won’t help her cause. Here’s Alyssa on why she dated Carl Pavano:

“This was right after he won the World Series. So he was kind of baseball royalty. It was before he came to the Yankees…and became the Carl Pavano you know.”

Can’t imagine why people think she is (or was) a groupie.

Okay, I lied. Here’s one last word on Alyssa until I read the damn book. It has been pointed out to me by people who know her that she’s a lovely, generous and warm-hearted person. This all very well may be true; I have no reason to think it isn’t. But she also happens to be a large part of the reason women sports fans will always need to spout off stats and recite sports history in order to prove their fandom is rooted more deeply than just “I think the players are hot”. If she didn’t try to represent herself as the quintessential female baseball fan, I wouldn’t be mentioning her at all. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

For now.

Oddly enough, I watched Carl Pavano pitch tonight (the Indians were on MLBN) and he didn’t suck. I actually found myself rooting for him. So look at that, Alyssa might have actually helped him gain a fan.

Speaking of pitchers (smooth segue, eh?), precious little info on Kyle Snyder for now. If my addition is correct, he could be pitching either Tuesday or Wednesday (I’m thinking, more likely, Wednesday, if at all before the end of the week). The Bisons’ last game is Thursday and then everyone is coming up North. I haven’t been able to find out what the deal is regarding rosters for the exhibition games in New York, but I still hold out a thread of hope that Kyle might be at Citi Field this weekend. I am, as ever, the optimist. Come the regular season I’ll be like the PBS fundraisers, begging Bisons fans for Kyle info between Red Sox entries.

Red Sox lost today but Rocco Baldelli hit a home run! Take the bad with the good, right? Especially pre-season. Tuesday brings a 1:05pm game versus Tampa Bay. Sox play out the week (Wednesday v the Pirates, Thursday against the Twins) – the game against the Rays is their last “home” game of Spring Training. I know it’s sad for the folks down there who look forward to the ST games, but I am full of excitable energy in anticipation of the games that “count”.

March 31, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

This used to be the place I ran to

Decisions, decisions, Tito. Photo taken in 2008 by Kelly O’Connor/ Used with permission.

I watched some of Sunday’s Sox game on (Sox beat the Phillies 3-1) but I watched not really caring about the outcome. With every pitch all I could think was “A week from Monday these games will matter!”. Then I remembered that I’ll be sitting in Citi Field this coming Friday and Saturday – for games that won’t, really, mean a damn thing. Given this trip is more than likely the only road trip that I’m taking this year, I plan to make the best of it, regardless of whether the games count in the standings.

I’ve been looking around to see what folks are saying about the new park and the best descriptions have come from Caryn over at MetsGrrl. She went for the St. John’s vs. Georgetown game this past weekend but, by her own admission, was really only there to scope the place out. Check out her blog for photos and tips on the best and worst ways to enter the park, commentary on the food and the scoreboards and all the rest of the features of Citi Field. One thing I found really interesting, according to Caryn:

There are no representations of the Mets or Mets history aside from the old Home Run Apple and the skyline once you enter the ballpark. If you enter the ballpark through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda – which, again, is lovely – you are presented with the entrance to the Ebbets Club, and the only other visual is Ebbets Field imagery. There is NOTHING about the Mets anywhere near the main entrance to the ballpark. There is also no sign yet of the retired numbers, the championship banners, the trophies or the Mets Hall of Fame. I continue to hope that this is a temporary situation and that it will be rectified by Opening Day.

This is disappointing. How can the new stadium for the New York Mets remind you more the Brooklyn Dodgers than the Mets? Reflecting on baseball history is great but I’d expect some Mets history at the Mets’ stadium, no? I’m wih Caryn in hoping this is just temporary. I’d really like to get see the retired numbers and banners this weekend.

The other disappointment for me, one that KellyO pointed out to me earlier in the week and that Caryn has a photo of, is that Alyssa Milano’s “Touch” actually has its own store. Instead of selling the clothing in the team store, she has a store all to herself. Anyone who thinks this is a good idea to wear to a baseball game is probably someone I don’t want to be at a game with. While I hate to wish bad things upon most people, I truly hope this store doesn’t last long. Just what we need is MLB sanctioning a store that encourages the stereotype of women baseball fans who only go to the games for show. Thanks a lot, Alyssa.

Back in Fort Myers, we have pitchers vying for the number five spot in the rotation (I’m beyond thrilled that 1) Beckett will be pitching Opening Day and 2) Masterson will be in the bullpen. Both I had taken for granted as absolutes so it was nice to hear it from Tito) and position players competing for the backup 1st baseman/outfielder position. Do I get to pick? I don’t think I’ve kept it a secret that I like Clay Buchholz and would love to see him back in the rotation – as long as he can handle it. And if this spring is any indication, I think he’s ready to get back on that horse. So I’d be happy to see them start the season with Clay pitching every fifth game.

As far as the backup fielder, it’s a tough call for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to see both Chris Carter and Jeff Bailey play quite a few games and both are players I am eager to see make it to the bigs. Both have worked long and hard to make it with only brief visits to Boston (although Bailey was around long enough to get a ring in 2007). If I have to pick one of the two, though…Bailey’s my guy. He isn’t as comfortable in the outfield as he is on first (and Carter is the opposite), but I think between the time he’s put in (2009 is his 12th season in professional baseball) and how successful he’s been recently (he was the International League MVP in 2008) – I really want to see what he can do, given the chance, in Boston.

A week from today I’ll be sitting in Fenway with my sister, probably freezing my butt off, and watching baseball that finally matters. Amen, baby, Amen.

March 30, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , | Leave a comment

It's so different from the world I'm living in

Apparently, I have a reputation for being overly critical of Kevin Youkilis. Well, never let it be said that I won’t call myself out as a hypocrite when it is appropriate.

A little more than a year ago, I wrote a rant about Youk’s association with the energy drink known as “Slump Buster”. If you aren’t inclined to click on the link, I can sum up my rant thusly: I was pissed.

Allow me to quote myself, won’t you?

I’ve been debating this with folks for the latter part of the day. I must say I’m quite surprised at the number of people (men AND women) who don’t think Youk lending his name to a product called “Slumpbuster” is a bad move by our first baseman. I’m not the most radical feminist you’ve ever met. Hell, I have friends who don’t think I’m a feminist at all. But Youk giving his name to this drink and then hiding behind that decision by making the proceeds go to charity is just another in a long line of poor decisions regarding women by a professional athlete.

Now what I don’t mention in that rant, but is explained in the stories I link to there, is that the can for the energy drink looked like this:

Continue reading

March 29, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , | Leave a comment

Chasing rainbows in the mud

CJ Wilson’s MySpace and Twitter Profile Photo


If you “Twitter”, you might want to check out Jerry Remy over there. Currently, Jerry hasn’t done any updates (his man John does them for him) but it looks like it will be a good place to get some RemDawg info (and John seems to be trying to wear Remy down to update himself).

I was hesitant to join Twitter, initially. I think I have the hang of it now and I really enjoy getting updates from sports sites and blogs and, yes, even the occasional famous person. For example, Texas Rangers pitcher CJ Wilson is an active member of the Internet society and, because of that, I agreed to point you all to his MySpace and Twitter pages – he updates on Twitter more regularly. CJ is…well he’s an interesting guy. I’m still trying to decide what I really think about him and his positions on things, but at the very least he’s an entertaining read. Said CJ, at one point:

“Come on man you have to admit the median or average guy in a baseball clubhouse does drive an SUV, drinks beer, golfs, likes college sports, chews or dips tobacco and is relatively a [expletive].”

I don’t believe the average baseball player is a [expletive] (although, I know no players so what do I know about it? Let’s say I choose to believe that the average ballplayer ISN’T a [expletive].) but I do think that it’s refreshing to see a ballplayer not afraid to ruffle feathers when it comes to his brethren. Maybe if more felt like CJ, we would have known about Barry Bonds in 1999 (or, hell, Mark McGwire in 1998) when it was going on instead of having just about everyone connected to MLB turning a blind eye?

Again, in any event, CJ is an entertaining read. (And he isn’t the player I mentioned previously).

It was sad to read that Corey Koskie officially retired this past week. Concussions are a scary thing and something you don’t want to mess around with. I think he made the right decision, but I’m sure knowing that didn’t make it any easier for him. David Lennon over at Newsday has an interesting take on concussions from the POV of Ryan Church (30 year-old outfielder for the Mets). Church spent much time on and off the DL last year because of post-concussion syndrome – something, it seems, many who haven’t experienced it don’t take seriously. Church’s story is scary and reinforces, to me, that Koskie definitely made the right decision.

Today’s fun fact, courtesy of my friend Susan (who just so happens to live in Fort Myers): “The space shuttle will be landing at 1:39 p.m. during the game. It may be possible you’ll hear the sonic boom on TV as it comes down about 5 minutes before it lands.”

You can see today’s game versus the Twins on NESN and at 1:05pm. This is the last Spring Training game NESN will be airing. (Tomorrow’s game will be available on NESN will be showing the first of the two Sox/Mets games next weekend, but those aren’t, technically, Spring Training games are they? (MLBN has the Saturday game. Does that mean it will be blacked out in New England even though NESN isn’t showing it?)

Brad Penny is pitching against Francisco Liriano today, so tune in to see how he’s looking. There’s a good chance I won’t be seeing the game – this is the last Saturday that I won’t be compelled to watch a game – so I might take advantage of that.

March 28, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , | Leave a comment

They shake your hand and they smile and they buy you a drink

If you visit, you’ll find that Derek Jeter wants you to buy season tickets to the new Yankees Stadium:

I couldn’t resist. I had to check it out and see what Captain Intangibles was so hot for me to purchase. For a full season in the “Seats Between the Bases” it will only run you $26,325.00, per seat. (Of course, they are quick to remind you that “Additional Shipping and Packaging and online fees will apply”). Seriously? $26,325.00 a seat isn’t enough, you need to add shipping, packaging and online fees as well?

I love the casual “Hey Yankee fans!” at the beginning of the video. As if Joe Schmoe, Yankees Fan, is sitting at home, surfing the internet and wondering what he and the wife can spend their extra $52,650.oo on this year. As an aside, is it “Yankee” fan as Jeter states or “Yankees” fan as I wrote (and usually refer to them)?

The Yankees aren’t the only team in baseball trying to fleece their fans during this lousy economy, I’m sure. But can they seriously think it’s going to boost sales having a multi-millionaire tell you to buy tickets to a game that will run you the price of an automobile?

To a much lesser degree (and, admittedly, for charity), the Red Sox are once again offering a wonderful opportunity for fans on Opening Day. The now annual “Welcome Home” dinner is being held and you can’t turn on NESN without seeing the pleasant commercial for it.

I actually really like this commercial. Everyone looks so happy to be coming back to Boston. Well, everyone but Crabby (stunning, I know. He’s usually so cheerful.). Honestly, Lester’s appearance in this thing makes me laugh out loud because it is in stark contrast to EVERYONE else in it (not just the ever-smiling Justin Masterson). Clay looks happy, JULIO looks happy. Even JD Drew looks happy. Then Lester comes in and looks like he’s only doing it because they won’t give him his ball back until he does. Oh well. My bigger issue is advertising this as if the average fan will have the opportunity to check out the new House of Blues and see some of his or her favorite ballplayers.

Don’t be so quick to go to the Red Sox Foundation website for your tickets, you. According to their website, if you want to go to this thing, the least expensive way you can do it is by getting 9 of your friends to go with you and splitting the $5000 price tag 10 ways. What’s $500 a piece among friends? This sounded wrong to me, so I did a little more digging. According to, there are individual tickets available for $250 as well. Still, I’m guessing, much too pricey for the average Red Sox fan’s wallet (especially if they’d like to go to a game or two this year) but the real kicker is that you can’t find that information on the Red Sox Foundation’s website. At least not the part about $250 tickets. So either they are out of $250 seats or the RSF just decided not to advertise them. The $250 are a lot more affordable, admittedly (but, seemingly, unavailable). And while I understand that it is a charity that is based on raising a lot of money, it annoys the hell out of me that they advertise these events as if the average fan will be able to afford the donation. Red Sox fans are notoriously generous – I know this first hand. But I think it’s unfair to exclude such a large portion of them in the name of charity. There has to be a better way to have programs like this serve the Red Sox Foundation without making fans feel like they’re missing out on something because they don’t have money to burn.

Thus ends my rant for the day on money. At this time next week I’ll be traveling to New York for the Red Sox/Mets exhibition games at Citi Field. THAT will be an interesting experiment in how a team with a new stadium handles the economic troubles of its fans.

March 27, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , | Leave a comment

…and there's Cadillacs all shiny and new

A photo I took of Trot in Philly in 2005. Not the best shot…but I love it!

I don’t handle news like this well:

Former Red Sox right fielder Trot Nixon was released by the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday.

Nixon, who will turn 35 on April 11, was a non-roster invitee with four hits in 38 spring at-bats.

Brewers manager Ken Macha said the decision was tough because Nixon’s career meant so much to him. Macha managed Nixon for four years in the Red Sox minor leagues.

Putting aside the fact that any Ken Macha mentions inexplicably makes me see red ever since his stints with NESN, I hate to see “one of the 25” out of a job. Hell, I hate to see ANY player I like out of a job. You know what? I hate to see a 35 year-old person suddenly be told he’s expendable and certainly not needed any more.

I have a tendency to personalize a lot of things. It’s difficult for me to look at people and not find some way to identify with them, even if those people are millionaire ball players. Because of how much I enjoy baseball and the people who play it, I usually try to put aside the differences in our paychecks. Just because you make a large amount of money playing a game for a living doesn’t mean you aren’t human and don’t have the same feelings and failings as anyone else. So reading that Trot Nixon got cut from the Brewers really bummed me out.

I wonder two things: How would I feel if I went into work today and were told that they appreciated all I had done, but didn’t need me any more because there were so many others out there who can do my job better than I could? I also wonder if the time came for me to say “I know I’m done and should hang it up now” I’d be able to recognize it.

A friend of mine told me the other day that he heard Mike Timlin being interviewed and Timlin said that he still wants to pitch but there haven’t been any offers. I think anyone who watched Timlin in 2008 has a good idea why there haven’t been any offers. I don’t mean that as an insult to Mike. He is on my short list of absolute favorite players of all-time. But he turned 43 this month and last year we saw a pitcher who really had to struggle just to be “meh”. It made me sad and I assumed it made him sad as well and I fully expected an announcement at some point during the winter that he was retiring. Like Nixon, he’s had a career to be proud of (Timlin has four World Series rings. None, proudly, have come from New York. That’s something else!) and I wonder why it is so hard to acknowledge that the time has come to step back.

Then I remember that these guys are only 35 and 43. I fall somewhere in the middle of that. If I had to “retire” today, what the hell would I do? Granted, they both have the means to “do” a lot more than I would be able to, but money or not, there’s a lot of life left…if someone told you that you couldn’t do the one thing you love any more and then gave you another 50 years to ponder that, how eager would you be to jump in there and give up?

I wouldn’t. You’d have to pry me away from my desk with a crowbar if I wasn’t ready to give it up. So while a small part of me wonders how Trot Nixon isn’t sitting home, looking over the last few years and thinking about how great it was but it’s probably time to hang it up, a larger part of me is hoping that he DOES say “screw them” and battles back to catch on with another team. My fingers are crossed for you, Trot!

Yesterday, Clay Buchholz continued tearing up Spring Training with another impressive outing (this time against the Cincinnati Reds). Here is where I wag my finger at those of you who might have given up just a little early on this kid.

Red Sox get the day off today and the next televised game won’t be until Saturday (1:05pm on NESN & Opening Day is April 6th – we don’t have to hold out much longer!

March 26, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

I hear a rockin' beat and I go

Good luck, Kyle! Photo taken by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Today is supposed to be one of my free days during the week. I don’t go in the office, I spend the better part of the day figuring out what I’m going to write about and then just throw something random up here some time in the afternoon. When my schedule initially changed, I had lofty ideas about writing 2 or 3 posts a day on the days I’m not in the office. Not quite working out the way I expected.

But as it often does, real life gets in the way and I am headed into the office today. Which means you get some random snippets because I didn’t plan my time better for research.

* It’s been tough finding information on Kyle Snyder since he was reassigned. I have a Google search on his name and keep getting articles about high school basketball players and war resisters. (“Kyle Snyder” never struck me as a common name. Boy, was I wrong. Apparently, Kyle Snyder is the new John Smith. But I digress.) This morning the overflowing mailbox with messages about Kyle Snyders I don’t know paid off. Kyle pitched yesterday, throwing three scoreless innings (looks like he was the game’s starting pitcher). Impressive, Kyle. Nice to see! According to Ben Wagner over at The Dish, “Game reports are called in as a courtesy to the Bisons Media/PR department. No official box score and/or game report is available for any minor league spring games.” It’s good to know. And Mr. Wagner is probably going to turn into a good source of information on how Kyle is doing in Buffalo. This is his warning.

* Yankees kicked some butt yesterday, huh? No matter. While Manny Delcarmen getting slapped around concerns me slightly (how close to the beginning of real baseball do we stop saying “It’s only spring training”? Meh, I won’t worry just yet.), I was more focused on Tim Wakefield and George Kottaras – and am happy with those results, so the end score won’t linger for me.

* Keith Olbermann is now blogging over at MLBLogs. His first post is much like one would expect from him. What’s interesting is the comments. Much like here over on Curt Schilling’s blog, many decided to go over and trash the man just for his beliefs instead of for what is written in his blog. Jerks are on both sides. I give people like Curt and Keith credit for not using the delete button more liberally with their commenters. I don’t know how much of that I could put up with on my blog. (And, much like Curt, regardless of what you think of his politics, the guy knows his baseball. It could be an interesting read over there.) On a side note about Curt, in a much appreciated move, he left a very nice comment on this blog on the previous entry and, in the process, he made my mother cry (how many bloggers have a mom who comments on their blog? And who also has her own blog? My mother’s cuteness kills me. {waves}). Very cool, Curt. Thank you.

Red Sox/Reds today at 1:05pm. Another game you won’t be able to find on your tv (or your for that matter). Less than two weeks until Opening Day, folks. We can make it.

March 25, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

And all this could be such a dream, so it seems.

No, Curt, thank you. Photo taken in October 2007 by Kelly O’Connor/ Used with permission

I try not to blog during the day. It’s bad form to work at the part-time job during the full-time job. But, on occasion, I’ve been known to take a break and blog if something big happens and I want to touch on it as the news is breaking. It hasn’t happened in a while, but today was one of those days.

Of course, Curt broke the Internet when he posted his announcement today, so I didn’t really have an opportunity to do it even if I wanted to. 🙂

I suppose it didn’t come as a surprise that Curt was going to retire. Not being able to play last year, being very tight-lipped about what he was going to do this year, most of us could see the writing on the wall. What did surprise me is my reaction. I first found out by an update that came from SoSH, the title reading: “Schilling Retires”. I saw that and my heart sank. It was a reaction I didn’t expect.

For a while I’ve written about how much I appreciate what Curt did in 2004 and 2007 and how, regardless of our differences, I’ll never forget it. I don’t think I ever truly examined my feelings about him and what his part on those teams really means to me. Curt’s announcement made me have to face that today.

It seems that only a handful of fanbases truly understand what happened in Red Sox Nation back on October 27, 2004. And only real sports fans can grasp that the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series was truly a life-changing event. (Before I get comments and emails reminding me that it’s only a game, let me remind you that I care so deeply about baseball that I spend the better part of my free time reading about it, writing about it, and watching it. Even so, I understand the difference between baseball and “real life” and the Red Sox finally winning the World Series after 86 years truly did change my life as a baseball fan.)

I’m from a close-knit family, made up of some of the most die-hard sports fans you’ll ever meet. That night I watched my mother, approaching 60 years old, sob with joy she didn’t know if she’d ever experience from baseball. I watched my father, not quite 70 years old, sit in stunned, happy silence as he watched the team celebrate. He finally broke the silence with “I never thought I’d see this”. I listened to my sister scream and I fielded calls from relatives saying things like “Tomorrow we’re going to the cemetery to put the sports page on Grandpa’s grave”.

My friends, many of whom cried desperate tears of sadness with me just a year before when poor Tim Wakefield gave up that home run to Aaron Boone, cried giant tears of happiness with me…and a few tears of disbelief. How could this team, down 3-0 in the ALCS, be celebrating in St. Louis? There were many reasons, not the least of which was Curt Schilling.

If you want to get under my skin quickly, there are a few of easy ways to do it. Insult someone I love; use the word “Masshole” around me; ridicule Kyle Snyder, or tell me that Curt Schilling’s bloody sock was ketchup, paint, a marker or anything else other than blood. I can’t get over how many people truly believe this is true.

Now, I’m somewhat cynical by nature. I don’t believe Bud Selig has the best interests of baseball and its fans at heart. I don’t believe Manny Ramirez didn’t know exactly how things would pan out prior to being traded. I don’t believe A*Rod has stopped using PEDs and I don’t believe that Derek Jeter had no clue what A*Rod was doing. But I absolutely believe, with all that’s in me, that Curt bled for this team. I also believe, in doing so, that he shortened his career for the sake of that 2004 championship. And I will fist fight with anyone who says differently.

I will also mock you. I mean, seriously, do you also think the Moon Landing was faked? That’s one hell of a conspiracy the Hall of Fame is a party to if you’re right.

So I sit here, truly saddened that someone who made such an impact on my baseball fandom (let us not forget 2001. The first World Series for which I cried happy tears at the ending.) will no longer be playing the game. Our differences of opinion aside, I have a lot of respect for Curt and I wish nothing but good for him. I’m comforted by the thought that he won’t end his career in another uniform while also still melancholy that things finally have come to an end. No one was more surprised than I was when I began crying today while talking about Curt retiring.

It’s taken me roughly 800 words to just say this: Thank you, Curt. Thanks for coming here and helping to do what you set out to do. Some day, I’d like to buy you a beer. I promise not to pick a fight.

March 23, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | | Leave a comment

A whole lot better off than the fools he left here

Daisuke at Spring Training 2008. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/ Used with permission

So am I supposed to be bummed that the USA is out of the WBC or can I just be happy that Daisuke pitched well again? I guess anything that bums out Tommy Lasorda can’t be all bad.

Truthfully, the Daisuke news is a bigger deal for me. Regrettably, I discovered during this tournament that I really wanted Team USA to win. Bud Selig strikes again.

Given, excluding today, there are only eight days left in March, my baseball focus is almost solely on the fact that Spring Training is just about over. As I’ve mentioned, because KellyO dominates the Virtual Waiting Room, I’ll be alongside her at Citi Field on April 3rd and 4th and, even though those games don’t “count”, I’m really looking forward to that. Then, of course, there’s Opening Day at Fenway. I’ll be going, again, this year with my sister so that should make for a fun time as well. I’m not usually one to want time to kick it up a notch, but I’m making an exception for this next week.

With Josh DANIEL (why is it so difficult for me to remember this kid’s name??) Bard and Michael Bowden being sent to the minor league camp, and with Kyle Snyder having already sent to his I’m reminded at how difficult it is to get information on these guys once this happens. During the regular season it’ll be a little easier (I’m looking forward to finding out if Buffalo Bisons coverage is any more comprehensive than any of the coverage for the Sox minor league teams) but right now it will be tough to get much information on them. Yet another reason for me to look forward to the official start of the season.

Japan versus Korea on ESPN at 9:30 tonight. Well, at least they won’t be throwing Daisuke out there to throw 1000 pitches.

March 23, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , | Leave a comment

You say to yourself, "I'm gonna hit him with a brick".

(Edited for a bit of pimping: You can follow TTR on Twitter here and join the TTR group at its new address on Facebook here. Thanks, as ever, for the support.)

Nick Cafardo hearts Shea Hillenbrand: I’m an obvious example of becoming a fan of a player an not letting that go. I make no apologies for that and I understand when other people do it as well. But I’ll never understand latching on to someone like Shea Hillenbrand.

It’s amazing how baseball people just don’t get that a guy can change. Hillenbrand might have been one of the biggest pains in the backside, but here’s a guy who could fall off a horse at his Arizona ranch and hit, yet he can’t even get a tryout. He’s also a guy who spends his days giving sick children tours of his farm and petting zoo. Wouldn’t want a guy like that in the clubhouse.

I looked up Shea’s petting zoo. Sounds like a pretty cool place if you’re into that kind of thing. You can also have birthday parties and other events there as well. But I don’t see how having something like that on the side changes who you were. Hell, Don Imus has a ranch for sick kids, do you want HIM hanging around you all the time?

Shea Hillenbrand very well might have “changed”. But, given that he was out of baseball in 2008, how would people know this? Just because of his petting zoo? Since when is that the sole indicator of why you would want a player on your team? I quote from Wikipedia because it had the information the easiest to access, but I’m guessing most of you remember this:

On July 19, 2006, Hillenbrand criticized the Blue Jays organization for failing to congratulate him on his recent adoption of a baby girl and not playing him upon his return. He was also disgruntled about sharing first base duties with Lyle Overbay and third base duties with Troy Glaus while being made to play as a designated hitter. Hillenbrand refused to sit with his team in the dugout during that night’s game. After the game, an argument in the clubhouse took place between Hillenbrand and manager John Gibbons over Hillenbrand allegedly writing defamatory comments about the team on the clubhouse billboard (“This is a sinking ship”) after batting practice. This led to a confrontation between Hillenbrand and Gibbons.

He was designated for assignment that same evening, with the club citing irreconcilable differences. Two days later, Hillenbrand was traded to the San Francisco Giants with reliever Vinnie Chulk in exchange for Giants reliever Jeremy Accardo. He later admitted to writing the comments on the board.

That was in 2006. He was actually playing well and because of his attitude they still chose to get rid of him – hmmm…that sounds mildly familiar. (Mind you, this doesn’t take away from that fact that I think Gibbons is a horse’s ass and shouldn’t have challenged his player to a fistfight.) He’s declined since then, in the time he’s played. So we have a 33 year-old infielder whose numbers are declining and is notorious for having an attitude problem…LET’S SIGN HIM BECAUSE HE LIKES ANIMALS AND CHILDREN!

Since I’m writing about Shea, I’ll take this moment to remind folks that not only did lob a homophobic insult Theo Epstein’s way while he was still in Boston, but when he was well out of Boston he even took a shot at Josh Beckett:

“He should be embarrassed of himself to represent the Boston Red Sox and the fans in that fashion. That’s not what the team and the league is made of.

“The way he handled the situation, that’s not right. He doesn’t know. People make mistakes. But I would be embarrassed. And if he was my teammate, he would know about it. If any of my teammates acted like he acted on the field right there, I would let him know about it. Not to take away from the intensity and taking care of business, but you just don’t do that.”

I’ll take a Josh Beckett over a Shea Hillenbrand any day of the week. With or without the cute animals.

March 22, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , | Leave a comment