Jacoby Ellsbury was the toast of the town today in Madras, Oregon. At the beginning of the season he was on the Portland Seadogs; the AA affiliate of the Red Sox. At the end of the season he was batting leadoff in the World Series. In a week where we learned that the home run king was indicted for perjury in the BALCO scandal and the captain of the Yankees is in a multi-million dollar tax dispute it is nice to know a hard working kid from a small town can represent everything that is great about baseball. Jacoby Ellsbury seems fearless at the plate and on the base paths. When I watched Theo pour a can of beer over his head at Coors Field after game four it looked as if it was someone having fun with his kid brother. But this could not have been as easy as he made it seem. When he started playing everyday for the Red Sox the team needed him. The lead in the AL East was slipping. Coco and J.D. were getting booed. He carried this team with his speed into the playoffs like he carried every Native American baseball fan, all the residents of Madras, and Red Sox Nation everywhere. He is an instant fan favorite and not since Nomar have fans been so excited about a rookie. Jacoby's 18th birthday was on Sept. 11, 2001 he didn't get to have a good party. Today he got the party he deserved.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
As Papelbon was about to throw the pitch that would win the World Series an annoying Rockies fan next to me at Coors Field said, "that's what $150 million buys you." I ignored the comment and quickly began heading towards the Sox dugout to join the rest of the Nation in celebration. I do however understand the frustration of being a fan of a team that is always getting out spent. The A's fans out here have had to deal with the loses of McGwire, Giambi, Zito, and Tejada over the past few years. They know that if a player becomes a superstar he is gone as soon as he is eligible for free agency. I love that the Red Sox occasionally go for big players and try to put the best team on the field. I also know that money does not guarantee you sucess but in the AL East you have to have a high payroll. Boston has spent a lot of money the past few years on players like Dice-K and J.D. Drew. These transactions make fans from low budget teams hate the Sox and put them on the same level of the Yankees. Maybe if those teams would sell out games and have fans willing to pay the highest ticket price in MLB (going up 9% next year) they could have a payroll like the Sox. But they should also realize that Pedroia and Ellsbury were just as responsible for the World Series victory as Drew and Matsuzaka. If money bought you championships A-Rod would have hands filled with rings. Its about having the right team and spending wisely when you have to.
In all of the Mike Lowell news this week some other Sox free agents have not had much attention. The first free agent catcher signing occurred this week when the Mets got Yorvit Torrealba. There are a few decent catchers available like Jason Kendall and Paul lo Duca but they come at a pretty high price for their mediocre talent. That leaves low budget teams like the Marlins and Brewers looking for a deal for someone to play behind the dish. Mirabelli has been on the radar of these teams to catch full or part time. Boston does not have many good choices to go after for their backup catcher and we don't know if any of them can catch the knuckleball. It is in Boston's best interest to sign Mirabelli for next year and then start looking for a young catcher after Wake retires.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Mike Lowell has spent the last 2 days in Florida with friends and family. After visiting his elementary school yesterday he headed north to Disney World for a parade today. He is not stressed about next year and Red Sox Nation should not be either. His agents got a 4 year deal for Posada and they think the same could happen with Lowell. The Yankees now have A-Rod for 10 years at third and have Jason Giambi and Andy Phillips at first base. If Giambi is the DH that would make Matsui and Damon have to split time in left meaning one of their best bats would have to ride pine. Cashman has also said they may play Shelley Duncan at first. The deal just does not make sense for them. The Yankees are not going to sign Lowell but they are not going to deny reports if it cost the Red Sox more money or causes them to sign someone for longer than they want. Even New York Papers don't believe Mike is still on the radar. Lowell is sitting back and enjoying the off season so I guess we should follow his lead and not worry. He will be at the hot corner when the Sox play the A's in Tokyo. Have another beer and enjoy the weekend. We are world champs and the core of the team will be intact.
My brother attended the NASCAR race in Phoenix last weekend and ran into former closer Keith Foulke. Foulke told him he was rooting for the Red Sox in the playoffs and hoped they would win it again next year. He will always be loved by Sox fans for his help in the 2004 playoffs. Foulke retired in February after he felt elbow pain from a throwing session. NASCAR is getting more of a following from Red Sox Nation, especially with the new Roush-Fenway team and the #99 Red Sox car. Last year I ran into Johnny Pesky at the fall New Hampshire race.
Red Sox rookie outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is returning to his home town of Madras, Oregon this weekend. The festivities include a parade and ceremony honoring his achievements this season. The parade will begin at 10 am on Saturday. Ellsbury attended Oregon State University before being drafted by Boston. Jacoby was an instant hit with the Nation this year while he filed in for injured Manny Ramirez. Once he was given the chance in the post-season he put a spark in Boston's offense helping them come back against the Indians and sweep the Rockies. Oregon is a popular place for the Red Sox with Hall of Famer Bobby Doer living there and Mr. Red Sox Johnny Pesky being from there. Madras is 120 miles from Portland so some urban members of Red Sox Nation out here on the west coast might make the road trip.
Last week Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo traveled to the Dominican Republic to aid victims of flooding caused by tropical storm Noel. According the redsox.com Big Papi is going to celebrate his birthday on Sunday collecting donations and posing for pictures at the Stop & Shop in Plainville, Ma. Former ace Pedro Martinez has also joined the recovery effort in his homeland. The Red Sox and Lugo have said they will match donations given to the American Red Cross.
Yesterday the Minnesota Twins traded for Craig Monroe to play CF. The Twins needed to fill the gap left by Torii Hunter. This was not the best news for Boston because Minnesota was one of the teams they were negotiating with about Coco Crisp. Now the Santana deal seems less likely. There are still teams that need a center fielder for next year; especially the White Sox and Rangers. Coco is a cheap option for both teams. Each team has a player at third they might be willing to give up. Joe Crede has been getting more attention lately and Hank Blalock is also a possibility. The Red Sox will wait on Mike Lowell before making a move so Coco is not going anywhere until we know what Mike is doing.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The player Red Sox Nation loves to hate has failed to pay income tax in New York just like he didn't pay for his date's parking. Jeter has claimed he lives in Florida where there is no state income tax even though he spends a majority of his time in New York. The tax bill could get into the millions. Ha ha.
WBZTV in Boston has confirmed that the Yankees have offered Mike Lowell a 4 year deal worth about $20 million more than the 3 year deal the Red Sox have offered. It also looks like the Phillies have pulled out of the race. The decision is now up to Mike; do you want to stay in Boston and play third or chase the cash like Damon and move across the diamond. As much as I like Lowell and what he has done for the Sox I don't think he should be signed for more than 3 years. But he would be a great fit for 3. Lowell spent the day in Pinecrest, Florida visiting his elementary school, did he make a stop in Tampa to visit the Death Star? He was wearing a Red Sox shirt when he visited the school so he has not gone over to the dark side yet.
Looks like the home run king* is in trouble. Read the indictment here.
Baseball GM's recently voted to 25-5 to allow instant replay for home run boundary issues. Bud Selig would have to approve the idea if it is going to go forward. Baseball is a game based on tradition; one of the best things about going to a game is knowing that you are having a very similar experience as your grandfather had 75 years ago when he watched. Baseball is different from other sports; no clock, limited grandstanding by players, coaches who wear uniforms. Umpires get calls wrong occasionally but that is part of the game. Replay would make umps hesitate to make calls, fans would have to wait for the replay to know whether to cheer or boo, the game would take longer. Baseball is slow enough already. Could you imagine if it was like the NFL and managers had to trough a towel to get the replay? Just think of Joe Torre doing his slow walk onto the field (you know the one where he doesn't move his arms and stares at the ground) just to throw out a replay challenge. Umpires do a great job 99% of the time. I like that umpires are now meeting together on a disputed call to get it right. If all of them on the field screw up its just part of the game. I look at this as the same as the wooden vs. metal bat issue. Keep baseball traditional.
I know nobody wants to lose Buchhotz or Lester because they are young and promising. We all witnessed what Buchhotz is capable of with his no-hitter this year and we watched Lester pitch a great game 4 of the World Series but they are not guaranteed to be dominant Major League pitchers. Santana is. He did not win the Cy Young this year and he was 15-13 but he did lead the league in K's. Santana has a career 3.22 ERA, he is only 28 and he will continue to be an All-Star. This opportunity will not arrive again so Boston needs to take advantage of the situation they are in. The price may be steep but it is worth it to have a rotation of Beckett, Santana, Dice-K, Shilling, and Wake. Some other things to consider: Hideo Nomo pitched a no-hitter for the Sox and not all good young pitching works out (Jeff Weaver, Aaron Sele) If Theo doesn't get Santana the Yankees will. As Schilling's shirt says..."why not us?"
The Yankees have let the media know that A-Rod will most likely be coming back and that they want to sign Mike Lowell to play first base. Here's why that won't happen: To get Lowell they would have to sign him to a 4 year deal. They already signed Posada for 4 years with the idea that he would catch for 2 and then move to first. The Yankees do not want to be overloaded with aging veterans at first. This is a ploy by the new leaders of the Dark Side to try to get Boston to sign Lowell for 4 years. Yankee Stadium is not a good fit for Lowell, even Yankee fans know that. I would not be surprised if Mike is re-signed by the Sox shortly after A-Rod goes to the Yanks. But now we have to deal with rumors that the Cardinals and Braves have offered him a 4 year deal.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The Sox will make a stop in LA after returning from Japan for 3 exhibition games. Two of the games will be at Dodger Stadium and one will be at the Coliseum. The games will be on March 28-30. Boston will then head up to the Bay Area to play 2 more real games against the A's. West Coast Red Sox Nation will have the first look at the '08 Sox.
Fox Sports is reporting that A-Rod met with Yankee brass today without Scott Boras to talk about a possible return. The Yankees will not meet with Boras and A-Rod together. In addition to this the Yankees are toying with the idea of having Lowell sign with them to be their first baseman. This would take 2 possibilities away from the Red Sox at third base for the upcoming season. However the Sox still have Youk to move back to third and Miguel Cabrera is still an option.
Terry Francona got it done when many doubted him. Unlike much of Red Sox Nation, Francona did not panic when the things were not going well in the '07 season. We got a the view the Sox in the middle of their slump out here in Oakland until Schilling turned it around with his near no-no. He stuck with Pedroia when he was hitting .182 in April. He changed the lineup several times when Coco and Lugo were not doing well. He gave players the rest they needed down the stretch; look at how that benefited Manny and Okajima in the post-season. He gets the most out of his players without being a drill sergeant. He kept J.D. batting 5th even when he wasn't hitting well in October, then came the grand slam. He started Wakefield in game 4 of the ALCS when everyone was calling for Beckett, we all know how that series turned out. He made all of the right choices in the World Series including pinch hitting Bobby Kielty who's home run put the nail in the coffin of the Rockies. Tito deserved the American League Manager of the Year Award, he deserves a long term contract, and he deserves the respect of Red Sox Nation.
The Red Sox players agreed to the trip to Japan to start the '08 season. Boston will play 2 games against Japanese teams on March 23 and 24 and then start the regular season on March 25 and 26 with 2 games against the Oakland A's. The games will be played at the Tokyo Dome and are considered home games for the Red Sox. With Dice-K and Okajima on the team most of the crowed should be cheering for the Sox. We'll see how many members of the Nation make this road trip.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
For those of you keeping score at home; Manny's car fetched a winning bid of $42,600. In other auction news, someone had been selling Terry Francona's chewed gum from game one of the World Series but Ebay removed the sale because there was some tobacco on it (tobacco sales are restricted on Ebay). Sorry if you didn't get a shot at the gum or got outbid for Manny's ride. If you really need some memorabilia there is a 1983 photo of Marty Barrett available with no bids.
The World Series Trophy was in Washington D.C. today and on display in the House of Representatives. Resolutions to honor the Red Sox were introduced in both the House and Senate after the Sox won the series. You can read the House Resolution here. This is just further proof that the Red Sox are now America's team and that the Nation is everywhere. We'll see if the trophy makes it out west like it did in 2004.
It seems the Boston Red Sox and the Red Sox Nation's World Series victory party ended at 2pm today when Beckett came in second for the Cy Young. Things had been going so well for us...7 game winning streak to win the 2nd World Series in 4 years...Schilling stays on for another year...Gold Glove for Youuuuk.....Rookie of the Year for Pedroia. Things started to wind down when the clock struck midnight and Lowell was not signed up for another go round. The 2007 season is now officially over and the Red Sox need to get to work to get someone to play the hot corner. A-Rod will win the MVP soon....will he already be on the Red Sox when he does?
Red Sox ace Josh Beckett lost out to Indians starter C.C. Sabathia for the 2007 Cy Young Award. Beckett and Sabathia had similar numbers during the regular season but the Tribe's pitcher received more votes from baseball writers. Josh Beckett did prove he was the better pitcher in the post-season.
Josh Beckett could win the Cy Young today. He was by far the best pitcher for the Red Sox this year but his numbers are a little behind C.C. Sabathia. Beckett went 20-7 with a .327 ERA. and 194 K's. CC. had 209 K's with just 37 BB's, he went 19-7 with a .321 ERA. Beckett also led the AL in run support where C.C. won more close games. Beckett proved he was a better pitcher in the post-season but the votes were in before those games. Let's hope Boston's magical year continues today with more good news.
Monday, November 12, 2007
It is midnight on the East Coast and the Red Sox have not re-signed Mike Lowell. Now every team is able to contact Lowell's agent with offers....maybe even the 4 year deal he is looking for. Let's hope that Mike is committed to remaining in Boston and does not want to steal the spotlight(unlike A-Rod) from Pedroia and possibly Beckett tomorrow. Hopefully we will hear from him after the Sox stop getting hardware. This post season has been going so well for the Sox but things could change quickly.
Time is running out for Boston's exclusive rights to negotiating with Mike Lowell. Even though the season does not begin for 4 1/2 months this is not good news for the Sox. Here's why: Boston most likely offered Lowell a three year deal last week. If Mike does not accept it by midnight tonight is is likely that he wants to see if a team is going to offer him a 4 year deal. Teams like the Yankees and Angels will likely make that offer. (Remember Johnny Damon?) So what happens next? Boston's options are A-Rod (great player but hated by fans) Miguel Cabrera (too high a price, see earlier post) or move Youk back to 3rd and go for a solid 1st base free agent or make a deal; Hank Blalock's name has been mentioned but it will take more than Coco to get him. Here are some of the free agents @ 1B this year: Sean Casey, Darin Erstad, Tony Clark, Ryan Klesko, Mike Lamb, and Doug Mientkiewicz. From this list the only real choices are Mike Lamb who hit .289 with 11 taters this season and can also play third base or Sean Casey. Casey hit .296 but only hit 4 HR's. Although time may be running out for the Sox to sign Lowell there is still time for you to bid on Manny's car.
Red Sox 2nd baseman Dustin Pedroia started the 2007 season slowly but got hot as the season went along. His biggest moment of the season was the lead-off home run in game 7 of the ALCS. He hit .317 for Boston this year with a .990 fielding percentage. The Boston media was down on Pedroia and in April and again in the ALCS. Here is a quote from the Globe after game 4 "It is also time to move Dustin Pedroia (3 for 16), a front-runner for Rookie of the Year, down in the order. Pedroia has been in a hitting funk since the postseason began. He could benefit from being removed from the lead-off spot, where the pressure to kick the team into gear is huge." Pedroia went 2-4 the next night in the lead-off spot. With Jacoby being a "rookie" next year the award may stay in Boston. Pedroia joins other Red Sox Rookie of the Year Award Winners Walt Dropo, Don Schwall, Carlton Fisk, Fred Lynn, and Nomar Garciaparra in receiving the honor.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The Florida Marlins talked to the Red Sox about a trade for third baseman Miguel Cabrera this week. According to SI.com the asking price for obtaining the fish's pudgy infielder was Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz! Anyone who watched the Sox in the second half knows that Jacoby is going to be a star and Buchholz already has a no-hitter under his belt. I don't think there is any member of Red Sox Nation who would trade either one of those rookies for Cabrera. To think that the Sox might give up both is as crazy as putting an asterisk next to the the Pats when they go undefeated this season. Doesn't this trade deal sound like one of the offers you get from the new guy in your fantasy league at the beginning of the season?
The NRDC is advising the Red Sox on ways to make Fenway more green. In response the Boston Red Sox will add solar, reuse bricks, recycle waste, add florescent lighting, and install low flow plumbing. I am sure Yankee fan Bill O'Rielly will be against all of this but us tree hugging hippies out here on the West Coast are all for it.
If Torii Hunter leaves the Twin Cities look for negotiations to heat up with the Sox. The Twins don't have much money so Coco is an affordable option for them at CF. Boston is still looking for some bullpen arms or maybe a future starter. Some names being thrown around are Matt Garza, Scott Baker, and Kevin Slowey.(do you really want a pitcher named "Slowey?") The Sox will have to wait and see what happens to Hunter before a deal can be worked out....don't forget, Johan is also a member of the Twins....anything is possible.