Wednesday, December 20, 2006

He's the Rocker, We're the Bloggers

Bronson Arroyo update: remember Covering the Bases (remember Bronson Arroyo?), the album that young Brandon released in 2005, covering a variety of 90’s alt-rock classics like “Plush” and “Everlong?” Apparently it sold pretty well or something, because Arroyo’s embarked on a tour of sorts, playing the Roxy in Boston and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut this January. I’m not sure whether to be happy for him or highly amused, so I think I’ll be a bit of both. Good job, Bronson; you rock on with your bad self. Also, it’s good to hear you’re not still bitter about the Sox trading you away from the hot co-eds of Boston or anything.

Monday, December 18, 2006

There's a drive! Deep to left! WAY BACK! WAAAY BACK! HOME RUN!

Another familiar face departs: Jerry Trupiano will not be back in the radio broadcast booth next year, as the Red Sox have opted not to renew his contract and continue his 14-year broadcast booth partnership with Joe Castiglione.

I’m more than a little sad to hear that Trup and his exciting but not always accurate homerun call won’t be back next year; growing up I didn’t have cable TV (and thus no NESN) so the majority of my Red Sox memories are tied in with radio. While I remember a bit of the far off days of Ken Coleman, Trupiano and Castiglione were the team calling the games for most of the games I grew up listening to and Trupiano’s call of “Way back! Way back!” figured prominently in both the oh-so-important 2003 and 2004 seasons. It won’t quite be the same when it’s no longer Joe and Jerry.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Came Early… was I naughty?

I asked for so very little from Santa this year: A mighty Sox bullpen, Scarlet Johansen in nothing but a pink bow and a million dollars.

So far, I got Brendan Donnelly and JC Romero. Whoops!

Donnelly is pretty good and can even be great if he can rekindle some of that 2003-2004 fire. But he’s 36, his numbers are in a steady decline and he certainly can’t be a closer. Another solid righty for the staff. Whatever.

JC is another “maybe” guy (great, more questions). Everyone needs another lefty in the pen, but this guy has been less than stellar lately. At least he’s cheap.

So we are looking at Delcarman, Hansen, Tavarez, that Japanese guy (not even trying), Donnelly, JC and Lester?

Even if the two guys we just picked up are mooks, that’s not bad. It’s very hard to get a quality bullpen without a little luck. The Tigers got some amazing stuff from their young guys last year and the Angels (who we just berry picked from) have always had a decent crew, but most of them were farm guys. If you look around the league… this isn’t half bad.

One problem: No closer… yet.

Bah Humbug.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Moment Historical

Alan just called me with something he heard on EEI that fills me with silly glee, as does everything about the newest member of the Red Sox and the sick, sick rotation he’s going to be a part of: the first series of the 2007 season is at home, against Seattle. Assuming Dice Clay (official nickname now; the dude’s a Red Sox) pitches in one of the first three games of the season, the first batter he’ll face will be none other than Japan’s first star export, Ichiro Suzuki, who’s one of those happy few who’s so famous that he’s known by one name. I think it’ll be a great way to open an era. Meanwhile, I’m going to go back to dreaming about a rotation of Schilling, Dice Clay, Beckett, Wake and Paps and giggling.

PS. What is this award, a sop to those who realize the travesty of not giving a single member of the 2006 Red Sox infield a gold glove? That’s right, sports writers: the fans know who the best of the best is. Mike Lowell is The Man.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Scott Boras wants to be INSIDE you

By all accounts, the deal with D-Mat (yeah, he needs a better nickname) is going to be done very, very soon. The latest figures are between $50 and $60 million dollars over 6 years. Keep in mind that the Red Sox REALLY want him, the Seibu Lions were happy to give him up (the $51 million dollar palm greaser helped) and it seems that Matsuzaka is excited to play in the USA this year.

So why the hell did this go down to the wire? Why did Theo and Co. have to jaunt to LA (uninvited) and demand an impromptu meeting to get this deal done? Why did they need to stage a crazy plane ride across America and a rush into Mass General the day before the deadline? Why all the madness and craziness when it looked like all parties wanted to do this as clean and a quick as possible?

You want to know why?

Because Scott Boras eats babies.

Scott Boras beats up hobos for loose change.

Scott Boras only uses condoms made from rolled up $100 dollar bills.

If it wasn’t for baseball, Scott Boras would be breaking into your house right now.

Scott Boras told President Bush to “Stay the course” in Iraq.

Scott Boras doesn’t flush OR wash his hands when he uses public restrooms.

When Scott Boras has sex, he makes the 14 year old Filipino boy pay HIM afterwards.

“King Midas” is embroidered on all of the speedos Scott Boras owns.

Scott Boras made Brian Cashman shave his pubes before he could sign Johnny Damon.

Hell is too cold for Scott Boras.

This man… this evil, evil man is all that is BAD and wrong with baseball. He wipes his ass with the pages from Moneyball and could care less about things he finds petty like “fan bases” and “team loyalty.” Boras bows only to money…six figures or more. Lord help the poor GM writing the blank check for Zito this year. Boras will laugh and spit fire in his face as he takes it.

And yet we submit. He holds all the cards, he has all the control and all the best players are in his pocket. You must deal with Boras if you want to win and the bottom line is… teams, fans, and GM’s ALL want to win.

Now can we look at ourselves in a mirror after? Can we sleep with this snake and arise unbitten? Does winning absolve sins both morally and monetarily? Ask me in October. If the millionaires in blue hats with red “B’s” are playing late in October, you can ask me then.

As for now, I know Scott Boras is a kind and reasonable man who takes no notice of these petty jokes posted on some silly fan blog.

(Please Mr. Boras, don’t sue/kill/rape me. I was only kidding! I’m begging you!)

Brokeback 'Belli

Guess what? We don’t need to worry about a backup catcher for another year! Tony Massarotti is reporting on the Herald’s Clubhouse Insider blog that the Stud Who Hits Bombs, Doug Mirabelli, will be coming back to Boston on a one year deal, killing rumors that his spot as backup backstop would be taken by George Kottaras and his strikeout to walk ratio of doom in 2007. Details on the deal weren’t available, but those in the know say Dougie was happy to sign for $75 and an especially large ham sandwich, saying afterwards, “You guys know and I know it. I just can’t quit you.” Welcome back, Mirabelli! Here’s hoping you won’t have to take over the starting catcher bat any time next year.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

And I-I-I-I-I-I-I Will Always Love Jew!!!

Spring, 2006. It was the golden times for Jewish athletes on the Boston Red Sox; Adam Stern was schooling Team USA by hitting bombs for the Canadians, Kevin Youkilis was about to launch into a, “holy crap, where did he come from?” start to the season and Gabe Kapler…well, the Hebrew Hammer was back on the Red Sox, healthy and ready to smack bombs. For Jewish Red Sox fans like me and Robin, it was like Sandy Koufax was back and playing in Boston. And playing the field instead of pitching.

Who knew then that these happy times wouldn’t last? Stern will be an Oriole next year, used as post-season trade bait to fulfill the obligations to Baltimore for the entirely useless Javy Lopez signing. Youkilis will be back at first, of course, but Kapler…well, 31 years old or not, the Hebrew Hammer will no longer be playing baseball; he’s retiring to take over as manager of the Red Sox Class A Greenville team. Even though I’m sure he’ll do really well as manager (he certainly sounds excited about the new job), it makes me sad – he’s a member of 2004 team; he’s a personality, another Kevin Millar or Lou Merloni or Doug Mirabelli that won’t be back next year. We’ll miss you, Gabe.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Just Because They're D1-AA Doesn't Mean They're Not Special

A little off topic, but still within the realms of Massachusetts sports: congratulations to the University of Massachusetts football team, who won the right to go to the NCAA Division National Championship next Friday in an upset, beating Montana 19 to 17 on a field goal last Friday. The championship takes place in Chattanooga, Tennessee against Appalachian State, broadcast on ESPN 2.

For those of who you don’t pay too much attention to college football and are wondering how UMass could be going for a championship when you were pretty sure Ohio State was involved in some sort of BCS game, this article on Wikipedia about the difference between D1-A (Ohio State) and D1-AA (UMass) schools might help. I honestly had no idea there was an NCAA college football championship at one level and none on the next one up until five minutes ago. Go Mass!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Play Nice with the Stats

A slew of reactions about the Drew and Lugo signings around the Interwebs, as to be expected and as Robin commented yesterday, the tone is fairly positive, because everyone seems stuck on the idea of a 3-4-5 of Papi, Manny and Drew and the offensive capabilities of Lugo over Gonzo. All meritorious points, even if the Sox do seem like they’re jumping from ship to shore and back again every winter on the general winning strategy for the team. There have also been the requisite and all too appropriate Johnny Damon comparisons – I think if the sports media was George Bush, they’d accuse the Sox of being wishy-washy (and possibly engaging in some cutting and runningNSFW) – but what got me going today was an article from that DC sent me.

Now, of the two main writers on this site, I’m generally more of the straight-laced stat head: I believe that baseball is a game of statistics as much as anything else and that statistics help you prove empirically what your subjective memory can’t tell you about a player’s performance. Also I can’t write the funny like Robin can. But using PECOTA scores to tell me that Renteria would have been a better choice at shortstop over Lugo is ridiculous. Yes, Renteria, when he’s playing well is the better player. But if we’re going to play that game, then I give you some right back: in 94 at-bats in Fenway Park since 2004, Julio Lugo has a .914 OPS, 9 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs and 6 RBI – all while playing for the wildly inconsistent Devil Rays. Edgar Renteria, over the same period at the same park, has a .707 OPS, 22 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs and 32 RBI over 304 at-bats. Renteria may be the better player according to his overall projections, but Lugo is a much better offensive fit at Fenway.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Crazy! But NOT for these guys

I don’t even know what to say about signing J.D. Drew for $70 Million over 5 years. Everyone I’ve talked to has had a different reaction. Well not exactly DIFFERENT, just verbalized in several diverse ways:

“Is he even going to play 2 years over that time?”

“He better hit a homerun every at bat.”

“I can’t talk about this now!”


Yeah, that about sums it up. This blows that little “Money for Sluggers” piece I wrote right out of the water. Drew is a guy who quits on his teams. He has quit on every team he’s ever played on and he will do it here too. And he gets hurt. He gets all these little mysterious injuries that prevent him from playing full seasons. But my bad feelings and random homicidal fantasies about his health and work ethic are neither here nor there… so let’s use STATS!!!

His highest RBI total? Last year he hit 100. Gosh!

Home runs? He hit 31 in 2004. Woo!

Oh, and he has NEVER played 150 games a season in 8 years in the league. Cut him a huge freaking check!

Ok, he has an upside too. He’s only 31, he’s a hard hitting lefty that could pepper the wall… and ummm… he can’t complain about his pay? Yeah, that’s all I got.

Drew needs to go the extra mile to be welcome in Boston. He needs to say all the right things, do all the crap commercials and YES hit a homerun as often as he can. Bang into walls and play every game unless he is missing body parts. Otherwise, Wily Mo is right there to take his place (yikes), and the name of Trot Nixon will forever ring in his ears.

Now I KNOW what to say about signing Julio Lugo for $36 Million for 4 years: entirely unimpressive.

Everyone knew this was going to happen. The Red Sox go through shortstops like I go through underpants. They change them every year whether they need it or not (wait…ewww). Cabrera, Renteria, Gonzo and now Lugo. These are ALL lateral moves. Each guy has his strengths and weaknesses. Rent was the best offensively, but couldn’t field or handle Boston. Gonzo had the glove, but not much in the way of a bat. Cabrera could field, hit pretty well and was a clubhouse and fan favorite, but wait… why didn’t we keep him?

Mostly they all balance out when weighed against each other. So why pay the guy who doesn’t stand out in ANY category and is just a little bit worse than the average of the last few guys? Is it because he’s slightly cheaper? I really can’t get behind that too much… especially when they just broke the bank for a hump like Drew.

I don’t know what these guys in the front office are doing anymore. Are they even saving money for the Japanese guy? Why were they shopping Manny? Do they know they still don’t have a closer? Did they strike oil when doing the renovations on Fenway?

Luckily, I am completely confident all these questions will be answered when the team takes the field in April. Now if you want me, I’ll be pulling my hair out and petting my many cats… so many cats.

When it comes down to it... this lineup doesn't make me SO mad/crazy/upset. It looks good on paper.










Is it it worth it?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Holding on to the Man-Ram

There’s been a bit of ill will circulating the quarters I will hereby refer to as “Keep Your Sox On Central” (even though those quarters are not, in fact, a physical space) about the intentions of one Theo Epstein. Some of that ill will has made it onto the blog recently, because as much as we hate to admit it, we’re crazy fans who think we know what’s going on in the offices on Lansdowne Street – and that we know how to avoid those obviously stupid mistakes.

Well, mistake or not, it now not only sounds like this year’s offering of Manny Ramirez’s contract up on the altar of commerce wasn’t really an offering at all, but that Theo wasn’t going to trade Manny for anything less than top dollar the whole time – and that the time limit for any serious shopping expires tomorrow. According to this article, Theo gives until the end of the business portion of the Winter Meetings – ostensibly tomorrow – for any of the parties of rumored interest to make a good deal. After the meetings, the Sox will listen to offers, but they won’t be actively looking for a trading partner. Even better, those teams who had expressed interest – the Padres, the Dodgers, the Giants, the Mariners (yeah, that one was news to me, too) don’t seem interested in buying at the Sox selling price…so Manny in Boston should be safe.

My favorite part about all of this Manny-related news is Theo saying to the media, “did you guys really think we were going to trade Manny for crap? He’s one of the biggest run producers ever; we’d be nuts to trade him for anything less than equal value. I can’t believe you guys thought we were stupid enough not to see that. Screw you guys. I mean that.” Is it still possible Boston will sign JD Drew to a large contract, or that Julio Lugo is our last, best hope for a stable infield next year? Yes, yes it is. But somehow I can face all of that potential for bad things knowing that Manny will still be batting fourth in 2007.

P.S.: Best wishes to Jon Lester!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Red Sox Sign a Japanese Pitcher! Just Not the One You'd Expect

Japan: where even the LOOGY relievers have four pitches. The Sox yesterday added another potentially blockbuster arm to their pen by signing 30-year-old Hideki Okajima, a lefty reliever with an eleven-year, 494-game career in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan to a two year contract with a 2009 club option. There are three things of interest about Boston’s newest acquisition:
  1. Like Matsuzaka (whose nickname on this site, I have determined, will be Dice Clay, just as soon as his agent stops being an ass and lets him sign. Think of it like a signing bonus), Okajima has never pitched in the US. However, this signing doesn’t seem to be a case of, as DC put it, the Sox inviting Enrique Wilson to Spring Training to keep Manny happy, as Okajima seems to have something to offer on his own, Daisuke-bait or not; something like…

  2. Four pitches. Yes, four. A wicked curve, a fastball to set things up and two splitters – a strike pitch and kill pitch. Forget LOOGY, Okajima could be one of the most versatile lefty relievers we’ve seen in a while. I’m just waiting for Timlin to invite him to go bear hunting.

  3. After a ten-year career with the Yomiuri Giants, Okajima spent 2006 with the team with the best name ever invented: the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. True fact: the Ham Fighters are also the name of a group of vigilantes patrolling Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn for a band of insurgents known only as the Un-Kosher Kommandos (this may not actually be true).
Meanwhile, rumor has the Sox offering more money and time to JD Drew than they were willing to pay Johnny Damon, while simultaneously offering Manny Ramirez up for either a.) Jake Peavy and Scott Linebrink or b.) a plugged nickel and a chewed piece of gum.