Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

I’m just going to ramble for a few minutes

Work is absolutely insane and I’m just worn out.  But the news about Jim Rice, the John Smoltz and Rocco Baldelli signings, and an opportunity to meet Bronson again have kept me happy throughout the insanity.

Sadly, it all hasn’t helped my brain much so I’m still struggling to be coherent.  🙂  Given that my EEI gig probably begins some time late Wednesday or Thursday this week, the timing couldn’t be worse – BUT I’m out of work from Thursday through Monday, so that should give me plenty of time to get focused and start pumping out the entries again.

In the meantime, I’m taking the easy way out.

*  It was pointed out to me in comments on the previous post that I didn’t make any mention of Rickey Henderson making the  Hall of Fame.  I like Rickey and I’m happy he was elected into the Hall.  But the story there would have been if he WASNT picked to make the Hall this year.  My focus was on the man who deserved to be elected in many years ago but had to wait until his last year of eligibility before he got bumped over to the Veterans Committee.  I make no apologies for that.

*  Raise your hand if back in 2001 you thought in 2009 Derek Lowe would get a four year, $60 million contract.  If your hand is up, you’re a liar.

Rob Bradford is reporting that Alex Cora has agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal with the New York Mets.  Cora is one of those “average” players that I have a strong affection for.  It saddens me that he won’t be with the Red Sox, but I’m happy that the New York team he landed with doesn’t play in the Bronx.

*  Seriously.  How is it January and I haven’t heard ANYTHING about Kyle Snyder’s status?  There’s no one out there who can hook me up with some information?  Goal for 2009:  Score an interview with Kyle.  Hey, it could happen!

Greg Montalbano was at the Lowell Spinners Alumni dinner last night.  It was inspiring to see him there, looking so well and speaking so fondly of his time playing baseball.  We need more Greg Montalbano stories.  We need to hear more about the unsung heroes in baseball and not just the superstars.

*  Unrelated to baseball:  Watching Bill Hicks tonight and then catching about 5 minutes of Dane Cook made me miss Bill Hicks (and good comedy in general) immensely.  Really, people, stop lining Cook’s pockets.

*  Kelly O’Connor took some fabulous photos at the Boston Baseball Writer’s dinner AND the New Stars for Young Stars event.  Go see her amazing photos here.

Finally, by popular demand:  (This is from last year, not this year’s show, but it serves its purpose!)

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January 14, 2009 Posted by | Boston Sports Media, Housekeeping, Players, Randomness | , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A brief “Woooooooo!”

Jim Rice Yesterday - Photo by Steven Senne/AP

Jim Rice Yesterday - Photo by Steven Senne/AP

Work was crazy busy so I was off-line for the better part of the day yesterday (and will be today as well) and around 1pm it hit me what the day was – and knowing I wouldn’t be online to get the news. I anticipated a text message or two letting me know the outcome of the Hall of Fame voting.

KellyO was the first to hit my cell with the news: “He’s in! Woooooo!!!!”

And, a bit to my surprise, I started to cry. I’ve spent a little piece of this blog talking up Jim Rice. I make it no secret that I think he belongs in the hall of fame. There was a huge feeling of vindication for the man and his career upon reading Kelly’s words.

I normally write something just before the HoF announcements come out.  Every year I wrote about Jim Ed he didn’t get in.  I purposely wrote nothing this year.  So he has me to thank.  😆

I don’t think I could be happier for him if I knew him personally.

With any amount of luck, tomorrow begins my gig at WEEI. I’ll let you know as it gets more certain!

January 13, 2009 Posted by | Awards, Good News, Hall of Fame, Players | | 7 Comments

Happy Days

Rocco Baldelli last night - Photo by Kelly O'Connor

Rocco Baldelli last night - Photo by Kelly O'Connor

Last night’s baseball writer’s dinner was a lot of fun. A bit more low-key than last year (hell, they had Lester, Pedroia and Lowell all sitting at the head table last year) but fun nonetheless. Rocco Baldelli was truly well-received by the fans and everyone else there. He seemed genuinely touched to be awarded the Tony Conigliaro award and a bit stunned at the two standing ovations he received.

The more I hear him speak, the more I read about him, the happier I am that Theo made this deal. The contract is a good one (better, admittedly, for the Sox) and if Rocco’s body can handle it, I think he and the team will really enjoy each other in 2009.

I was pleased to get home last night to find that the Sox had given Rocco the number 5. I’ll always have a soft spot for Nomar Garciaparra, but I think it comes to a point where you have to suck it up and give up the number. Baldelli is as good a guy as anyone to wear it. Nice move.

Tonight is my annual “Become a total fangirl for a night” trek to see Bronson Arroyo in concert. It’s funny how during the season I DO watch as many games as I can in which Bronson starts, but there’s much less of a “squee” feel than there is when I get to see him in concert.  I’m probably a little old to be squeeing over anyone.  But, as I always say, I have to just embrace the fact that I still get girly over Bronson and it, obviously, isn’t going to go away. I watched the video below this morning and it all came back. I can’t wait for the show!

January 9, 2009 Posted by | Bronson Arroyo, Fun, Hot Stove, Players | , | 11 Comments

The Internet is for Spoilers

Rocco Baldelli Photo by Al Behrman/AP

Rocco Baldelli Photo by Al Behrman/AP

You know what I really want?  A surprise.    I don’t mean a “Here’s a picture of your new President having sex with his dog” surprise, I mean a HAPPY surprise.  Something to make me feel good.  We all deserve a surprise like that some time.

Announcing that the Red Sox are signing Rocco Baldelli at tonight’s Boston Baseball Writers Association dinner would have been one such surprise and, seemingly, that was the plan.  But Peter Gammons et al decided we needed to know NOW so now there’s no surprise.  I  mean, hell, it’ll still be  nice when they announce it (which, I imagine, will come when he receives the Tony Conigliaro award) but it would have been a bit more exciting had we no idea the announcement was coming.

How do you not like this story?  Kid from New England…Red Sox fan…doesn’t suck…coming back from major health issues and now he’s going to be the fourth outfielder on his hometown team. It’s the feel-good story of the off-season!

I’m a wee bit stoked about the possible addition of Mr Smoltz to the roster as well.  But that’s for another entry.

I’ll be at the Writer’s dinner tonight and really look forward to seeing Rocco and hearing the announcement live.  Even if I already know what’s coming.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | Hot Stove, Players | , | 6 Comments

Leigh Teixeira has no idea what awaits her

Johnny Knoxville photo from EOnline.com

Johnny Knoxville photo from EOnline.com

Let’s see.  Mark Teixeira gets an enormous contract from the New York Yankees.  Mark Teixeira is also, historically, a very slow starter.

Yankees fans are somewhat notorious for booing their high-paid players who don’t perform well on demand.

Yeah, April and May should be a blast for the Teixeiras.  I think the missus should stay away from the park until maybe June.

But, honestly, what did you expect him to say?  “We really wanted to play in Baltimore but what idiots would turn down what the Yankees offered?”?  No player would ever be that honest.

I watched a little of his interview with Hazel Mae on the MLB Network last night.  I lost count of how many times he mentioned that his sister lives in New Jersey.  It was his passive way of saying “See, it wasn’t about the money!  Jersey is close to New York!”.

So the Red Sox were never in it.  Will this shut up everyone bitching about how Theo couldn’t get it done?  Teixeira is where he wants to be.  At the very least, he’s where his wife wants him to be.  And even if he isn’t, it’s the store we’ll be beaten to death with in 2009.

Follow up to the last post.  In this article about Teixeira,  I found a line that made me laugh out loud:

They talked about family, routines, influential coaches and Teixeira’s assessment of the Yankees. The hours seemed to fly by, said Cashman, who marveled at the lessons Teixeira had absorbed from former teammates like Chipper Jones.

Mrs Teixeira should have told her husband to sign with a city that doesn’t have a Hooters in it.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Assholiness, Hot Stove, Players | , | 8 Comments

It must not mean what he thinks it means

So Chipper Jones has just had enough of the Mets and the Phillies – especially Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Beltran.

These two teams are constantly going at each other verbally. You know, win with class, lose with class. Just keep your mouth shut and go play your game.

Dwight Evans Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Dwight Evans Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

I’m not a big fan of folks using the word “class” whenever they discuss sports, but since Chipper brought it up – let’s talk about class.

Is class schtupping a Hooters waitress and having a child with her while you’re married to someone else?  Destroying a marriage that spanned almost seven years and produced a son just to get your rocks off with another woman?  Is that how class is defined these days?

I get it.  That happened off the field.  Doesn’t matter what happens off the field as long as you stay classy on the field, I guess.  Every ball player cheats, so cheating on your wife and child isn’t indicative, really, of what type of person you are, is it?   Cole Hamels is without class because he called the Mets “choke artists” during a radio interview?  Let’s get THAT quote, shall we?

…he was asked outright, “Do you think the Mets are choke artists?”

“Last year and this year I think we did believe that [they were choke artists],” he said. “Three years ago we didn’t because they smoked everybody, and I think we all thought they were going to win it all. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. But, yeah, that’s kind of what we believed and I think we’re always going to believe that until they prove us wrong.

“For the past two years they’ve been choke artists.”

Not exactly evil sounding, is it?  Doesn’t even sound all that “classless” to me.  Maybe Chipper’s too busy banging waitresses to look up the meaning of the word?  I believe if Chipper is so eager to become relevant again that he’s going to throw himself into this fray, well, maybe he should choose his words more carefully.  I look at Chipper Jones and, in all honesty, the first thing that comes to mind is “he cheated on his wife with a Hooters waitress”.  I don’t think about his stats.   Not about how good he was or all his success with the Braves.

I think about what a scumbucket he is.

So when I read that he’s calling others out for being classless it really got a chuckle out of me.

In any other field, your morals and your standards define what kind of person you are.  No one says “He’s a great accountant.  Sure he cheats on his wife and shoots up, but he’s a tax wiz!”  People call that guy an ass behind his back, because that’s what he is.  In baseball, the type of person you are off the field only seems to matter when you’re a good guy.  Everyone wants you to know that this player devotes a lot of time and money to charities or that player spends all his free time with his elderly grandparents.  We get beaten to death with those stories.  But you’ll never hear about a pitcher touted as a fabulous guy who was screwing a groupie while his longtime girlfriend was planning for their future or about the married catcher with a different girl in every city his team visits.  The press knows these stories, the players know these stories, and they all ignore them.  You’ll read everywhere about what wonderful people these players are.  Great guys, a tribute to their teammates…but you’ll never hear about their personal lives.  Because it doesn’t matter, right?  They’re fabulous players and all their teammates love them so who cares if, when they walk off the field, they have no problem cheating and lying?

I have a problem rooting for these men.  I do it for some on my team, so I’m a bit of a hypocrite here.  But I’m not whining about the lack of class in an area where I’d be throwing stones in a glass house.  Chipper is surrounded by glass and he needs to mind his own business.

Chipper also needs to get the hell off his high horse and leave the likes of Cole Hamels alone.  The Braves finished in 4th place in 2008 and third place in 2007.  Maybe he should focus on helping to improve his team instead of whining about the way other players are handling their successes?

January 5, 2009 Posted by | Assholiness, Players | , | 12 Comments

…everybody has one!

wallpaper_nomar_smiles_800I’d like to know why so many Boston sports writers (and Boston sports fans) are using the “If you say that the front office didn’t screw up you’re in denial” or “If you say you didn’t want Teixeira on your team you’re lying” arguments against any Red Sox fans who aren’t devastated that Mark Teixeira is in New York.

To me, this is akin to saying “If you don’t agree with my opinion, you’re stupid”. Way to connect with people. folks.

I could have taken or left Mark Teixeira. I know he’s a good player (although, I’d like to know when he became the best player in MLB? He’s not, folks. He really isn’t. So to the people who keep telling me I’m in denial or lying, I tell you to stop over-hyping this guy in the name of Sox bashing.) but I wasn’t champing at the bit to get him. Let’s see, we’ll move Youk back to third, find a team where we can ditch Lowell, carry the one…it just didn’t mean that much to me to get him. We were a healthy Josh Beckett away from the World Series this year – I don’t look at the Red Sox and think “Holy hell!!!! Theo hasn’t done ANYTHING this off-season, we’re DOOMED!!!!”. Good for you if you do but stop trying to drown me with your negativity.

Remember the off-season of 2003?  Sure you do.  Everyone and their brother had us signing Alex Rodriguez including, for a time, Alex Rodriguez, right?  Back then, I was a regularly posting member of the Red Sox Fan Forum over at redsox.com.  The place was abuzz for weeks with talk of getting ARod.  I forget the specifics, but wasn’t the plan back then to trade ARod for Manny Ramirez and then trade Nomar Garciaparra for Magglio Ordonez?   I HATED this idea, long before it all went south.  And there were many, MANY people willing to voice the same opinion over at redsox.com.  Then once everything fell through and Slappy ended up with the Yankees, from out of the woodwork came the people taunting those of us who didn’t care.  “Oh you have to say that to make  yourself feel better about your team screwing this up!” was a common refrain.  No, I said it because I didn’t want to lose Manny and Nomar for ARod and Magglio.  Don’t care now and didn’t care then if people thought I was choosing loyalty to players over improving the team (which, in a sense, I guess I was.  I just never liked ARod – never – and there are some players I never want to have to root for – he’s one of them).

Mark Teixeira isn’t one of them, though.  Never really had anything against him, but I like the way this team looks (for the most part.  Have I mentioned that we need a catcher?  I’d much prefer Theo sign a starting catcher right now.  Seems kind of an important piece of the team that is currently, well, MISSING right now.) and I didn’t see the need of signing a Teixeira just for the sake of doing so.  Wouldn’t have been too upset if they did (although the ultimate loss of Mike Lowell would have been greatly upsetting) but, again, really not devastated that they didn’t.

So the Sox didn’t get Teixeira and the Yankees did.  I’m not giving up tickets to the Red Sox games in protest, that’s for sure.  If anything, it’s nice to (once again) have a bit of a “bring it on” attitude in regard to the Yankees.  Rivalries are fun and the Steinbrenners just kicked it up a notch again.

But, seriously Theo, a catcher.  A catcher would be good.

December 26, 2008 Posted by | Assholiness, Hot Stove, Players | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Molasses to Rum

Photo from WBZ.com

Photo from WBZ.com

I don’t know that I’ve ever read Brian MacPherson from the Union Leader before, but if this article is any indication, I’m not missing much.

Okay, that’s a bit harsh.  MacPherson isn’t a terrible writer, just a stereotypical member of the New England sports media looking for trouble where there most likely isn’t any.  His article today is nothing but a whinefest about how horrible the Red Sox (specifically Theo and Tito) are to their players.   Listen, I can give  you a laundry list of players who I felt got the shaft by the team.  But it’s a personal feeling and in no way takes away from the fact that I understand the team does what it does, ultimately, for the betterment of the organization as a whole and it’s not anything personal.  MacPherson seems to be taking fanboyishness to a new level today:

WHETHER OR NOT the Red Sox sign Mark Teixeira this week — or next week or the week after — Theo Epstein and Terry Francona are going to have some serious work to do.

They’ll have some work to do with Mike Lowell, first of all. He signed a team-friendly contract just a year ago, turning down more years and bigger money elsewhere, but he became trade bait as soon as the Red Sox began courting Teixeira.

It’s not just Lowell, though. They’ll have work to do with Kevin Youkilis — and Josh Beckett, and even Dustin Pedroia.

The Teixeira negotiations have sent a message to everyone who wears a Red Sox uniform: We don’t care who you are. You are expendable.

Is he for real? He thinks these players don’t know that baseball is a business and the teams they play for will do whatever they can to sign players who will help the team win?

He thinks that, after the season he had physically, Mike Lowell didn’t know this would possibly be happening?

And Kevin Youkilis is on record as having said:

If we add a guy like Mark Teixeira to the team, that would be great,” said Youkilis. “You never know – I might be the guy traded (to make room). But I don’t mind it; I get to play baseball for a living.”

MacPherson is right. Youk sounds pissed to me. (Shout out to SG for the heads up on that story.)

MacPherson gives no reason Beckett will need to be “worked” with and he goes on to admit that Pedroia doesn’t have to “worry”.   Hell, though, he even throws Jason Bay into the mix.   He needs to be concerned that the Red Sox have no loyalty to their players.  He brings up Bronson Arroyo.  You remember Bronson.  He was traded in 2006.  Red Sox stuck a knife in his heart when they traded him (and got suck in return).  It was shitty and  many people thought so.  Funny, though, how it hasn’t stopped players from signing with the Sox.  Funny how it hasn’t affected the success of the team.

Here’s how MacPherson ends his piece:

Baseball is a business, sure. But when your product is your people, you have to treat them a certain way.

I, actually, don’t entirely disagree with this.  But here’s the thing for me, loyalty goes both ways.  The Red Sox treated Manny like a God and he gave them the finger.  They made really good offers to Pedro Martinez and Johnny Damon and were told “we’re going where the money is”.  There is practically NO loyalty in baseball (Bronson Arroyo aside) but to blame it solely on the owners (and, in this case, the entire Red Sox front office) makes no sense to me.

I often say that if I were GM, John Valentin would have been the shortstop until he shattered into a million pieces.  This is one of the many reasons I’m not a general manager of a baseball team.  I’ll tell you what, I don’t want to see Mike Lowell go anywhere.  He’s been great for this team, he seems like a genuinely good guy, and in a time when he could have taken advantage of the free agent market, he, essentially, took a discount to stay in Boston.  I think it would stink on ice if he got booted just because someone younger and shinier came to town.  But as much as I would hate it, I understand it.  And so do the players – I’m guessing more than I.

Baseball is a business.  It’s lousy, but true.  And it’s probably the first thing these guys learn about baseball once they hit the bigs.  This isn’t news to anyone.

December 22, 2008 Posted by | Boston Sports Media, Hot Stove, Players, Rants | , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Do the right thing

This photo has now been emailed to me by 3 different people.  I have no idea the origins (so if it's yours, let me know!).  All I know is it was taken this Halloween.  Lenny as Indiana Jones and Bronson as Kid Rock.  You're welcome.

This photo has now been emailed to me by 3 different people. I have no idea the origins (so if it's yours, let me know!). All I know is it was taken this Halloween. Lenny as Indiana Jones and Bronson as Kid Rock. You're welcome.

I grudgingly admit that I enjoyed the WBC first time around.  I went in kicking and screaming.  Didn’t see the point of it, didn’t want to have it, blamed Bud Selig for another money-making venture that didn’t take the fans or players truly into consideration…I hated the entire idea of it all.

Then it started and I got quite into it.  No surprise really, I love baseball…this is baseball and you get to see players you don’t normally watch.  Fun for all.

Until my favorite player spent the better parts of the regular season either on the disabled list or just fighting through his dead arm  – and my opinion of the tournament began to sour again.  (Granted, he busted his ass in 2005, pitching more than he ever had in his career,  and I’m sure that also had a lot to do with it.)

This year we’re already being told Daisuke Matsuzaka and Dustin Pedroia are both going to play in the WBC.  – Matsuzaka for Japan and Pedroia for the USA – and I choose to agree with our manager when he says, in regard to players in WBC, he’s all right with position players playing but not pitchers:

“But just you look at it, regardless of whose team, these guys are not ready to compete. That’s why when they get to that third inning or whatever, the first count of the day, we take them out of the game. If they want to throw more we take them down to the bullpen where it’s a controlled environment. Now all of a sudden they have two on base and two out and it makes you nervous.”

Tito is nervous at the idea of his pitchers participating in the WBC.   And now we all get to be “nervous” about Daisuke (as if we aren’t usually nervous about him already).

But fear not fans!  There is one pitcher we don’t have to worry about:  Joshua Patrick Beckett.  According to MLB.com:

The Boston Globe has confirmed that Beckett will pass on the international tournament in order to fully heal from an oblique injury suffered toward the end of the 2008 season and ensure that he’s ready for Opening Day.

The Red Sox would have advised Beckett to skip the tournament, since compared to pitchers, they feel that position players can better deal with the rigors of playing in a tournament before the season begins, as evidenced by Mike Timlin’s difficulties in 2006.

Poor Mike Timlin. He will always be held up as the reason why no pitcher should play in the WBC.   Such a legacy.

Anyway, both Beckett and Mike Lowell have decided that it’s better to rest up than it is to play in the WBC.  I’d love for Matsuzaka and Pedroia to make the same decision, but who am I to judge?

In NON WBC-related news, Old friend Lenny Dinardo has signed a minor-league deal with the Kansas City Royals.  Well, KC is closer to Cincinnati than Oakland is.  Still no word on where Kyle Snyder will be landing in 2009.  I still have hopes for a Lenny/Kyle/Bronson bullpen at some point in my lifetime!

A storm is coming, it’s 36 degrees out (feels like 29 according to weather.com) and I have baseball on the brain.  February, truly, can’t get here soon enough.

December 18, 2008 Posted by | Players, World Baseball Classic | , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

News?

lowellib

Mmmmmike Lowell

Ian Browne is reporting that the  Boston Herald is reporting that the Red Sox extended Mark Teixeira an 8-year offer.

That sound you hear is the collective scream of the Mike Lowell Estrogen Brigade…and my dad.  My dad has a huge man-crush on Mike Lowell.  (My mother is a member of the brigade and I don’t know what the hell she’ll do when Lowell is no longer a Red Sox player.  Let’s not mess up Christmas, okay Theo?)

But before folks get their undies in a bunch (whether excited about the prospect of Teixeira on the Sox or upset at the prospect of losing Mike Lowell because Teixeira is on the Sox), let’s see where the Herald got their information from:

Er.  Um.  There doesn’t seem to be any indication of where Michael Silverman got his information.  Not even a “sources who prefer to remain anonymous” line.  Not any mention of “sources” at all.

Just this:

.

The Sox have made an offer, the biggest and longest yet for this current ownership group. The offer is believed to be for at least eight years, with ownership and baseball operations cognizant that Teixeira, 29, represents the safest bet they can make for at least this year and next to shore up the heart of an aging lineup.

So it’s done. We’re writing about it like the offer has been made and been made PUBLIC that the offer is out there.  If so, why is the Herald being credited as the source for this story?

We all know that the Sox are interested in Teixeira and we all know that they will, at some point, be making an offer.  But here I go nitpicking again.  How can Silverman get away with writing the above without crediting any source – and expect people to just believe him?  And why would MLB.com pick up the story and run with it?

How do you get SO specific as to say “The Sox have made an offer, the biggest and longest yet for this current ownership group.” and then not tell people where this information came from?

This whole thing just makes me tired.  Let’s talk about something else.  Like how I’m going to have  nightmares about Daisuke Matsuzaka messing up his pitching arm in the WBC.

Weeee.  There’s something to look forward to.

December 16, 2008 Posted by | 2008 ALCS, Boston Sports Media, Hot Stove, Housekeeping, Live Blog, Pawtucket Red Sox, Players, Playoffs, Rants, That was sweet! | , , , , | 13 Comments