Tuesday, February 28, 2006

AHHH!!!! AHHH!!!!

They say it was for charity. I don't care. Bonds as Paula Abdul? This is "blind yourself with a fork" horrible. All computers should be equipped with emergency eye wash stations for just this reason. UHG!

The Gospel of Judas

We knew this was going to happen. When Damon left the Boston for New York it was about money. The Red Sox half heartedly pursued him, knowing that he was asking for a huge contract over a ridiculous time. The Yankees (having no concept of financial limitations or age factors) gave him what he wanted and a new hair cut to boot. Meanwhile, the Red Sox pick up Coco Crisp and are content with the fact that they got younger and cheaper. And that’s that, right? It’s over. Said and done. Let’s just play ball?


He couldn’t stop talking in Boston, why would he stop in the biggest media market in the world? With the off-season DRAGGING like it is, I am surprised it took this long for good ‘ol JD to come out with a solid block quote:

"The Idiots ... that's gone, that carefree attitude -- it's gone. And it's a
–Johnny Damon, from Yankee Spring Training/Cast down with the

Good stuff! Well I can reassure you Johnny, this Red Sox team is NOTHING like the one we had in 2004. It doesn’t have the class clowns or the “Idiots” or the seventh inning open bar. Yes we miss it. Yes that’s sad. However, the team you are on now (Steinbrenner’s Straight Men) is going to take awhile to get used to your antics. Try the “Icy Hot in the cup” trick on Sheffield and see what happens.

I can tell you this, the comparisons and quotable quotes will continue. Damn it Johnny. How can we miss you if you won’t go away?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Wario Strikes Back

So, from what I’ve been told, not only the AL East, but the season as a whole is already locked up. It’s all done and it’s only February. Meanwhile, King George is down in Florida, cackling gleefully like Wario: “That’sa right! I’ma gonna win!” See, I was under the impression the Yankees had tried the “let’s spend lots of money and bring in a bunch of superstars to win a championship” strategy 5 times in the last 5 years and had oh, nothing to show for it, but that’s why I run a blog and he’s a millionare who owns a baseball team.

Meanwhile, Manny Ramirez will not be playing the World Baseball Classic. Pedro Martinez will not be playing in the first round of the WBC…and possibly not in the tournament at all. The major league umpires are demanding too much money to officiate, so they’re going to be using minor league umpires instead. I mean, the whole tournament was a bit of a joke before, but it’s getting to the point of ridiculousness; is there going to be anyone to watch when the WBC starts? If Major League Baseball does this event again, they might want to run in a different part of the year. Winter, perhaps, when there’s no baseball. I think that would work well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

[We're] Going Through Changes

Him and us both

Spring Training: a time for getting back on track, sulking defiantly, wondering about your coworkers, going on vacation…and freaking out your readers by completely redesigning your blog. Maybe this will be a yearly thing – last year we moved locations, this year we change the look…who knows what wild and wacky things the future will hold!

The culmination of 6 months of Robin and I saying, “we really should change the look of the blog to be more in line with, you know, a Red Sox site,” a hard Friday’s night of heavy drinking, planning, stealing design ideas and photos from Google and a weekend of fighting with first CSS and then Blogger’s poorly documented tags, the new design is meant to simultaneously give Keep Your Sox On a more consistent look and remind one and all that we’re doing this stuff from Brooklyn. Like, New York City. From the heart of enemy territory, mere miles from the temple of darkness and other ridiculous comparisons between the New York Yankees and things associated with Satan. We’re rebels, yo.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Spring Has Sprung

Sure it’s 30 degrees here in Brooklyn, but the Red Sox Spring Training 2006 is gearing up at the City of Palms Park. The pitchers and catchers are pitching and catching, the new guys are getting their pictures taken, Wells showed on time, and Schilling is holding his daily private press conferences.

So now that everyone is hanging around western Florida (except Manny who might be in Italy) who do you want to look out for? Well I’ll tell ya:

#1. Keith Foulk
After winning a bet with Bill Mueller on who had the worst knees, Foulk is looking to regain his 2004 status as a thoroughbred champion. If not, then he needs to be put out to stud. Hey. He closed the ALCS and World Series… he’s earned it.

#2. Curt Schilling
Looks like he’s lost 40 lbs but not one ounce of lip is missing. Good Ol’ Curt? Or just Old Curt?

#3. Mike Lowell
Is he going to be a solid 5th batter that gives Manny some protection? Will he show that last year was a fluke? Otherwise he is going to be that AWFUL side salad we had to take to get the Beckett steak.

#4. Gonzalez, Cora, Graffanino or Pedroia at SS
I know I know… some are saying “I’ll take the bullet”, but this is what we are stuck with. SOMEBODY has to be the cream of this crop. Even though he doesn’t have a guaranteed contract, I think Gonzo is going to keep his spot. At least until he is batting .190 in June (then we might see Cora).

#5. Wells and Manny
Both wanted out… both still here. It’s not IF they will bring drama to the start of the season, it's HOW MUCH drama will they bring? This one might work itself out though. Wells is going to retire after this year, and Manny will forget he ever asked to be traded by May.

#6. Coco Crisp
Will he stay crunchy in milk?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

You Meddling Kids!

One of these guys every 5th day

Ok… spring training is about to start and everything seems to be falling into place. We have a guy with a glove at every position, a lively bunch in the bullpen, and whole ton of starting pitchers. Actually, too many starting pitchers. Schilling, Wells, Wakefield, Clement, Beckett, Arroyo and Papelbon. Barring any trade that’s 7 potential starters to fill 5 spots! Wells has asked to be moved to the west coast. That’s all well and good, but nobody wants him (nobody unless we take Woody Williams… lets just not go there) and Clement has been offered as trade bait to every team including some in Japan, but I don’t think we could get a bag of balls for this notorious head case. Looks like we are holding steady at 7. So what’s gonna happen with this mess?

Arroyo and Papelbon go to the pen? They are the most likely choices to be bumped, but that is a HUGE waste of two young talented arms that are only getting better.

Wakefield and Paplebon in the pen? Both have them have been effective in that roll, but we are still wasting the young fireballer and now we have to take Tek out in the later innings because watching him catch a knuckle ball is like watching dental work in slow motion.

I think one of those (if not both) scenarios will happen throughout the year. It stinks but I think that’s what Francona is going to fall back on. The only positive aspect about this whole thing is that NOBODY thinks this staff is going to remain healthy all year. If at least two of these 7 pitchers don’t spend an extended time on the DL then I think we should worry more about impending Armageddon than the pitching glut.

What SHOULD happen? Well… I think Beckett, Arroyo and Papelbon to travel around Boston playing covers of Pearl Jam songs and fighting street crime. Schilling and Wake will be the “kids” bosses and send them out on missions and gigs... it will be like "Scooby Doo" only with pitchers. I guess Wells can be Scooby and that makes Clement Scrappy Doo…

Wow… is that a worse insult to Scrappy or Clement?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Before I forget...

…apparently a big truck left Boston today for points south, where there’s much less snow and more Tim Wakefield.  Happy Truck Day, Sox fans.  The new season with its glories, disasters, triumphs and failures is drawing nigh…and it’s about damn time.

Manny Ramirez is From Another Planet

A very telling comment in today’s Herald in an article about the huge number of ifs that surround this year’s team:
Coming off a winter filled with trade rumors, what can the Red Sox expect from Manny Ramirez?

Roughly 40 home runs and 140 RBI along with the usual doses of humor, frustration and befuddlement.

Were this any other player, there might be concerned about the effect this offseason might have on his performance. Not with Manny. Over the last three winters, the Red Sox have placed Ramirez on waivers and expressed a willingness to trade him to anyone who made a respectable offer. Ramirez has responded with his best years as a member of the organization, which makes you wonder if the Red Sox have tapped into some fascinatingly complex mechanism to motivate him.”

There you have it, folks. Manny’s not an idiot savant, a child’s mind with a giant’s bat, an inscrutable superstar who aggravates (or amuses) us with his outlandish antics as much as he amazes us with his ability to hit the ball long and far…he’s an alien. That’s right, a being from another planet, who, like Dan Aykroyd, is struggling to understand our strange human ways. I mean, why else would he demand to be traded, get publicly offered up for auction and just as publicly get denied and still be one of the most valuable members of the team for three years running? Those requests to be traded, coming like clockwork twice a year, must be his way of saying he loves us all.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

WMF© (Weird Mitigating Factors)

Ok maybe it's NOT this ground breaking...
Here at Keep Your Sox On we try to do two things: provide a little fan-fare for the Red Sox (and Baseball in general) and crack some jokes. Granted the latter may be more noticeable than the former in the off-season but when it comes down to it, we are baseball fans. Now as far as I can tell there are three types of baseball fans. The Traditionalist (“stats have their place, but it’s all about chemistry and intangibles”), the Modernist (“chemistry and intangibles have their place, but it’s all about statistics”) and the Casual Fan (“who’s playing?”). With the obvious differences, these groups are known to argue and choosing a side in this conflict can end friendships, divide families or at least split bar tabs. However, even with all the bad blood, all parties involved would rather just watch baseball (except the Casual fan who wants to watch Grey’s Anatomy and flip back and forth to baseball).

Besides Peter Gammons (who is the Henry Kissinger in the Modernist/Traditionalist war) there has been very little progress in bridging the ideological gap. So for the sake of peace, chemistry and VORP… I present to you a form of detente. What I have come up with is a new statistic that will calculate the incalculable, measure the immeasurable and cause more debate than inter-league play (sucks) and the DH (rocks) combined. I give you: Weird Mitigating Factors (WMF).

Here’s how it works: once you get past the ballpark, the players are human beings and are impacted by the world around them both negatively and positively. They take their experiences with them and often, these outside issues can impact their play or the play of their teammates. What WMF tries to do is take these “Weird” “Mitigating” “Factors” and by using a tried and true (made up) scientific method, calculate what the oddities in their life will do to their baseball playing ability. Sounds confusing? Well it isn’t! It’s as easy as reading the public interest pieces in the sports page or on ESPN.

There are 6 categories to consider when tabulating WMF. Each category has negative and positive points.

#1. Family Life
Is your family great? Do they often appear at charitable events? Did you just get married or have a baby? Did the loss of a kid/spouse/parent inspire you to champion a cause? Well that’s going to get you a POSITIVE point or two depending on how great they are.

Is your family crazy? Do they often appear in police lineups? Did your wife just leave you because you got caught cheating? Did you lose a kid/spouse/parent to a drunken auto accident or deportation? Well that’s going to be a NEGATIVE point or two depending on the awful circumstance.

#2. Public Service
Are you a public servant? Do you hold charitable events and fundraisers? Do you donate funds or time to worthy causes? Is it common knowledge that you are a good guy outside the ballpark? If so, then you are going to earn some POSITIVE points. Boy Scout.

Are you a public menace? Do you hold up banks and rob fans for extra funds? Do you donate time to skanky whores who are often undercover cops? Is it common knowledge you would be criminal if it wasn’t for baseball? If so, I think you could get a couple of NEGATIVE points.

#3. Personal Chemistry
Are you clubhouse guy? Do you like everybody and does everybody like you? A fan favorite who gets cheered at every plate appearance? Do you have any clutch moments that will live on forever? All POSITIVE points for you and maybe some for your teammates.

Are you a clubhouse cancer? Do you dislike a certain ethnicity or ideology and let that bias show? Do you spit/punch/yell at fans? Are you the LAST guy anyone wants to see up when the game is on the line? Lots of NEGATIVE points for you and maybe a few for your teammates. Jerk.

#4. Media Coverage
Do you shine in the spotlight? Are you a friend of the press that hounds you night and day? Do you have a one-liner to deflect their constant badgering? Do you let your outstanding play take center stage? Have some good defense or timely offense netted you national attention? Then the POSITIVE points are well earned.

Do you squint in the spotlight? Is the local media outlet making you feel like a criminal (especially if you really are one)? Do you hit/push/yell at cameramen? Have you made a boneheaded play or said something really stupid/racist/arrogant that has gotten national coverage? Are you a total prima donna? Lights! Camera! NEGATIVE points!

#5. Trades or Free Agency
Are you in a new place you have always wanted to play in? Hometown perhaps? Are you leaving a bad situation for one that will better show off you skills? Is it your contract year and you have to play well to earn that big paycheck? Well you are moving in with some POSITIVE points.

Not where you want to play anymore? Did a team cut/trade/not trade/non-tender you against your wishes? Are you a soulless mercenary that only cares about money? Is it the first year of a fat, over valued contract and you are thinking about taking it easy? Then that check comes with NEGATIVE points.

#6. Wild Cards
This could be anything. You might have unusual high or low expectations. Maybe you are coming off a season full of injuries/surgery or coming off a season where surgery was required and not done. You could have the Cream and the Clear next to your jock itch powder. You could have done something totally amazing or amazingly stupid and you defy categorization. Maybe I forgot something. Whatever it is, it could be either POSITIVE or NEGATIVE when it comes to your WMF rating.

Now that you have the ground rules, let’s take a look at some examples:

Curt Schilling

  1. Wife and kid. She’s a little bonkers but nothing to file restraining orders about. (+1)
  2. Started “Curt’s Pitch for ALS”. Can’t knock a guy for fighting Lou Gehrig’s disease. (+2)
  3. Kind of a jerk. Outspoken and can rub people the wrong way. This happens a lot. (-2)
  4. A friend of the camera. Always has a line. Problem is it’s not always the PC line. But then again he never laid a finger on Dan Shaughnessy. (-1)
  5. Not going anywhere. (even)
  6. Coming off a major injury. Looks better than he did all last year. Has been talking tough and is totally happy with the way the front office aligned itself. (+2)
    That gives him a +2 WMF to start the 2006 season.

Barry Bonds

  1. Parades his son in front of cameras saying his family is being torn apart. Nice. (-1)
  2. Does some work with the United Way. (+1)
  3. A total ass. Has some race relation problems and a “me first” attitude. Went a little nuts when the Giants talked about moving his batting order. (-3)
  4. Likes the camera, but says he hates the media. Can’t have both. (-2)
  5. Not going anywhere. (even)
  6. Coming off a major injury. Looks better than he did all last year. Is coming off a major steroid scandal but is still chasing history and the all-time homerun title. (+4, would have been even more if not for the ‘roids)
    That gives him a -1 WMF to start the 2006 season.

See? It’s simple! The numbers in the calculation are really up to the person reviewing the player. There will naturally be some bias here (it IS a Red Sox site) but I will try to be realistic. Also, remember these stats aren’t fixed throughout the year. If Bonds suddenly donates all of his money to charity or Schilling goes on a 3-state killing spree, there will be some fluctuation. Now what do these stats mean when taken into game terms? Not a damn thing. But it does give you a bit of a foundation to look at when trying to quantify a player’s character or mindset. Let’s put it this way. I would much rather have a team with all +WMF than all –WMF.

I hope this is well received in the manner it was intended and can spark some debate. Eventually this whole mess is going to end up as a side bar on the site. We will have a few weekly WMF rankings when the season starts. Have a ranking you want to see? Think I missed some big factor when ranking your favorite player? Want to give a player a WMF ranking of your own? Then drop it down in our comment box. Just be prepared to back it up.

For the record… the LOWEST current –WMF is not held by a Yankee. Former Red Sox closer Ugeth Urbina is presently in a Venezuelan prison awaiting trial for the attempted murder of workers on his plantation. He and friends attacked them with machetes and doused them with gasoline. He has a -20 WMF. He is much worse than the worst Yankee, Gary Sheffield who has -19 WMF.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Winter Doldrums

Not much going on this week for the Sox, besides signing the future to one year deals, designating Pet-a-Guy for assignment (remember the big uproar in the blog world when the Sox didn’t give him much playing time? Where’s that uproar now?) to make room on the 40 man roster for the new Gonzo and making another half-hearted attempt to deal Manny to the Angels. Speaking of Gonzo, former manager Jack McKeon calls Gonzalez “the best I ever had.” By which he means, “the best I've ever had, defensively.” Nice try Jack – you almost had me believing that the Sox managed to snag a Miggy replacement on the down low.

Does anyone believe that the slick promotional video designed by the Red Sox front office to lure Roger Clemens back to Boston actually exists? I mean are there really Sox fans out there that would get down on their knees on video and beg the Rocket to come back? And if it works, does that mean Roger really is a sentimental fool and not the smug, self-promoting bastard we’ve all hated for the past 10 years? I can imagine the reconciliation scene now and it involves the Rocket pleading forgiveness (“I’m sorry I left you like that, baby, all those other women and the championships I won in New York, they meant nothing to me I swear, I only love you”), Sox fans taking him back (after all, can you really say no to the Devil when he’s got a 1.87 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP at age 43?) and Roger laughing all the way to the bank. On the plus side, if the deal does go through and Roger comes back to Boston, Bill Simmons' reaction should be beyond hilarious.