Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wheels Come off in the 7th for Beckett

Josh Beckett was cruising today in Anaheim, giving up only 4 hits and shutting out the Angels through 6. The 7th inning was a different story. He gave up a lead off tater to Vlad and then loaded the bases before giving up a bases clearing double to Aybar. Once again the offense could not put together a late rally and the Sox were held scoreless for the last 7 innings. There were some positives on the day; Youk did homer for the second straight game and Coco made an amazing catch in center. David Ortiz homered for the third time in three days for the PawSox showing he has recovered from the wrist injury.

Sox Lose 4-2 BOX SCORE


Old Man Rant

It's official, I'm old and here's why: I hate that young players don't bend the bill of their hats, I don't know why I am upset by this but I am. It could be that they are breaking the unwritten rule that you don't showboat or do anything that says "look at me" in baseball. (Unless you are Manny, for some reason it's OK when he does it.) I think it all started with the slightly sideways hats by guys like C.C. Sabathia or Mark Bellhorn and has now evolved into the flat hats. Sox youngsters are guilty of it; look at Masterson or Lowrie. In reality there is nothing wrong if a player doesn't want a perfectly rounded bill of his cap, I need to get over my dislike of the flat bill before I become the "back in my day" guy that everyone hates.


More Manny (to be continued, I'm sure)

Did Manny intentionally sit on those three pitches?

Dan Shaughnessy, Globe Columnist, on July 19, 2008 wrote:

When told of Lobel's accusation regarding Manny's passive pinch-hitting appearance, Francona asked, "Where'd he come up with that?"
"It's ridiculous and incendiary for anyone to suggest that Manny would purposefully make an out in any game," Henry wrote in an e-mail. "Ridiculous."
Lucchino wasn't buying, either.
"I'm not going to dignify that with a response," he said. "This is Boston and this is the big leagues. A lot of things get created out of whole cloth, and we've got to appreciate that things like this happen from time to time."
Manny's strikeout against Rivera certainly looked bad, but it's impossible to get into the head of any ballplayer. Nobody said Bob "Beetle" Bailey was tanking when he took three down the middle against Rich Gossage in the 1978 playoff game.
In fairness to Manny, all three strikes he watched were nasty cutters on the black. No one looks good when they go down looking at three strikes, but it's risky to accuse an athlete of tanking.


Manny's Disaster in Left

This play from last night's game may make Manny's quest for a Gold Glove a little more difficult.

Clubhouse Insider has this on Manny's effort:

a.) Ramirez thought the ball was a grenade and was trying to do the noble thing;
b.) Manny was trying to hide the ball in his pillows;
c.) he was recovering a fumble;
d.) he was trying to sit on the puck.

Or, perhaps, none of the above.

“I felt like I was swimming in swamp,” Ramirez said.

Looked like it, too.

Added the slugger: “I think I made the bloopers for life.”

Actually, that happened a long time ago.


Buchholz Struggles Again

Is Clay Buchholz a bust for this season? He struggled early in the season and was sent down to the PawSox to work on his arm angle. The Red Sox were very patient with him and waited until they believed he had worked out his problems before bringing him back up. He has now made two starts since returning and there has been little if anything positive about either one. Last night Clay's performance was dismal. Jerry Remy noted that he was not effective with any of his pitches and made too many mistakes leaving pitches up and over the plate. Angels hitters feasted on him, Garret Anderson owned him. Batters are now hitting .294 against him.

The Sox Offense showed some power early with home runs by Youk and Manny but then was shut down by the Angels and only managed 5 hits for the game. Cora made a costly 2 out error in the game...will the Cora bashing begin? Lopez was a disaster in relief giving up 4 hits and 3 earned runs in 2/3 of an inning. Overall a bad start to the second half but Ortiz did hit another homer last night for the PawSox, maybe he can bring Masterson with him when he returns to Boston.

Sox Lose 11-3 BOX SCORE


Friday, July 18, 2008

A Flying Duckboat in Tampa Named After Papelbon

This weekend is the Red Bull Flugtag competition in Tampa. In the event, invited participants create human powered flying vehicles and a team from Massachusetts, the Boston Paps, will try to win with their entry based on a duckboat. Papelbon heard about the event and discussed it with the Malden Observer:

“I expect them to win,” said Papelbon, prior to the Red Sox game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Friday night. “They should win. I think that’s pretty cool for them to do that and for them to win it like we won the World Series. That’s the great thing about playing for the Red Sox, the fan support behind you and the genuine people that support you,” Papelbon said. “For me, it’s an honor. They’re the best in the league.”

When asked if he had any advice for the team before liftoff this weekend, the closer just had one message.

“Kick some ass.”

I would think the team may not be too well recieved in Tampa with an entry named after Papelbon. There may be some boo birds but J.D. has shown that Red Sox Nation can survive in hostile territories.


Ken Rosenthal is an ass. Manny's OK by me (so far.)

Ken Rosenthal is an ass. That he opines for Fox is more proof of his mediocrity as a journalist or sportscaster. I'm sure the NY Daily Fish Wrap will snap him up once his tenure at Fox is over. This is not the first time I've read some of his garbage and said, 'wtf?'

That article of his serves absolutely no purpose at all other than to stir up shit in Boston. (Is he from NY?) There is no new information in that article, there are no new revelations about what Manny said or what could happen to him. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. Zilch. Zito.

Rosenthal writes, "It's mostly pointless to analyze the comments of a player who demonstrates the maturity and attention span of a 12-year-old." So why is he even writing this?

As for having "the maturity and attention span of a 12-year-old", we already know that Manny marches to the beat of a different drummer. Manny is one of those guys, to quote Jimmy Buffett, who is "growing older, but not up." I know. I'm also one of those guys. As for growing older, Manny is doing it, but at a much, much slower pace than the rest of us, that's for sure. Thirty-six is not that old anymore for a well-conditioned ball player. (At 36, I was still going on 30 mile, 2500' elevation gain mountain bike rides, and skiing down double black diamonds at Tahoe. At 46, I was still playing drums in 6 hour jam sessions.) His work ethic and conditioning have been well documented. His production at the plate has been well documented. His performance on the field is much better than most realize. He is virtually guaranteed a spot in Cooperstown. Yes, he is a clown and a buffoon at times, but ask me if there is a stronger 3-4 combination in MLB. He's had his transgressions, but he has also apologized and paid for them.

Baseball fans all over the country love to dump on Manny, as they did to Barry, but I know their feelings would be much different if either had been clubbing all those taters at their team's park.

As for his most recent comments that po'd John Henry, how about letting the dust settle so you can see exactly what is happening before starting to spew?

I read what Manny said, but I have not heard a recording of it. (Much can be lost or changed from spoken word to printed word.)

I think this could be another photo of Rosenthal when he was taking a break from writing that hit-piece.


Is Manny Expendable?

Yes, says FoxSports baseball writer Ken Rosenthal. In a column today he writes that Manny could be following in the footsteps of Pedro, Damon and Lowe. Rosethanl believes that Manny being Manny isn't good enough to excuse Manny's latest troubles, and that John Henry is miffed.

Rosenthal says, "The Sox could decline his option and trade for a right-handed hitting outfielder such as Holliday or the Pirates' Jason Bay. They even could sign first baseman Mark Teixeira as a free agent and move Kevin Youkilis to left field."

My take: The Sox won 2 World Series with Manny. He's an RBI machine. Let's get through this season and win a title before everyone starts talking about off-season player moves. As far as a potential trade for Teixeira goes, I just don't see it.


Tonight's Lineup 7/18 at Anaheim or LA or California or Disneyland

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
J.D. Drew, RF
Manny Ramirez, LF
Mike Lowell, 3B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Sean Casey, DH
Jason Varitek, C

Alex Cora, SS

Clay Buchholz, SP


More Manny News

A wild rumor that Manny had to pay a 6 figure fine for his altercation with the traveling secretary circled parts of the blogosphere today but it has been dismissed. Extra Bases tries to clear up some of the reporting with the following:

According to industry sources, Ramirez, in addition to apologizing to McCormick, paid a fine of between $10,000 to $15,000, with the money going to an agreed-upon charity. Reports that Ramirez had been assessed a six-figure fine are not true, and Red Sox officials have not raised the issue that Ramirez's strikeout against Mariano Rivera in a pinch-hit appearance July 6 was in any way related to the discipline administered.

No can we please get back to baseball? It figures that the Sox would have to start the second half on the West Coast so we have to wait even longer for them to get back into the action.


Feel The Excitement of Angel Nation

Wow, this is sad. I think the funniest part of the video is they were trying to showcase Angel fans and half of the people they interviewed were Dodger fans. Watch below:


John Farrell Discusses the Staff

Red Sox Pitching coach analyzes each of the pitchers to the Globe's Nick Cafardo. Here are some highlights:

Lester- He's gone from being very deliberate - and I'm not saying he was unsure of himself - to one who attacks hitters, and his pace of game is at a much brisker pace now.

Wake- He's done a tremendous job on his slide step and holding runners on. He's considerably faster to the plate than a year ago, which allows us to throw out some runners.

Buchholz - If he trusts his stuff and doesn't feel that he has to overthrow to generate extra velocity, he'll be successful.

Okajima-I think as he came into this season, there was a tendency to pace himself a little bit to get through the full year, but while that was happening, the sharpness to his stuff wasn't quite what it was a year ago.

Farrell goes through the entire staff with some insight on his approach to each pitcher, well worth the read.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

How Many Out There in RSN Said "YES!" When They Heard Lugo's Going on the DL?

Lenny Megliola of The MetroWest Daily News in Milford, MA just posted a great piece about Lugo and, Cora, and Lowrie, and the recent history of Sox shortstop's short stays in Beantown.


Big Papi Goes Yard for the PawSox

In his first rehab start, David Ortiz went 1-3 with a solo home run. Not bad for someone that has not been in a game in over a month.


Top baseball salaries

From today:

Top 50 salaries in Major League Baseball for 2008.

1) Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees, $28,000,000
2) Jason Giambi, New York Yankees, $23,428,571
3) Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, $21,600,000
4) Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox, $18,929,923
5) Carlos Beltran, New York Mets, $18,622,810
6) Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners, $17,102,149
7) Johan Santana, New York Mets, $16,984,216
8) Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies, $16,600,000
9) Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels, $16,500,000
10) Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs, $16,000,000
11) dl-Andy Pettitte, New York Yankees, $16,000,000
12) Bobby Abreu, New York Yankees, $16,000,000
13) Carlos Delgado, New York Mets, $16,000,000
14) Mike Hampton, Atlanta Braves, $15,975,185
15) Magglio Ordonez, Detroit Tigers, $15,768,175
16) Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles Dodgers, $15,730,196
17) Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox, $15,666,667
18) Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves, $15,500,000
19) Richie Sexson, Seattle Mariners, $15,500,000
20) Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels, $15,500,000
21) Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs, $15,250,000
22) dl-Jason Schmidt, Los Angeles Dodgers, $15,217,401
23) Sdl-Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks, $15,100,546
24) Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees, $15,000,000
25) Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros, $14,811,415
26) Andruw Jones, Los Angeles Dodgers, $14,726,911
27) Lance Berkman, Houston Astros, $14,500,000
28) Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants, $14,500,000
29) Pat Burrell, Philadelphia Phillies, $14,250,000
30) dl-John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves, $14,000,000
31) J.D. Drew, Boston Red Sox, $14,000,000
32) Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs, $14,000,000
33) Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox, $14,000,000
34) Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals, $13,870,950
35) Troy Glaus, St. Louis Cardinals, $13,500,000
36) Adrian Beltre, Seattle Mariners, $13,400,000
37) Gary Sheffield, Detroit Tigers, $13,326,306
38) Derrek Lee, Chicago Cubs, $13,250,000
39) A.J. Burnett, Toronto Blue Jays, $13,200,000
40) Jorge Posada, New York Yankees, $13,100,000
41) David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox, $13,000,000
42) Hideki Matsui, New York Yankees, $13,000,000
43) Johnny Damon, New York Yankees, $13,000,000
44) Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros, $13,000,000
45) Adam Dunn, Cincinnati Reds, $13,000,000
46) Garret Anderson, Los Angeles Angels, $12,600,000
47) Frank Thomas, Toronto Blue Jays, $12,560,000
48) Carlos Lee, Houston Astros, $12,500,000
49) Mark Teixeira, Atlanta Braves, $12,500,000
50) Mike Lowell, Boston Red Sox, $12,500,000

That's over $700 million bucks, folks. I'll be voicing my thoughts on player's salaries in the future, but for now~ read 'em and weep.


Early Evening News Roundup

David Ortiz is making his first rehab start for the PawSox, in his first AB he popped up to short.

Hideo Nomo has retired. Nomo threw a no-hitter for the Sox against Baltimore in 2001.

The Sox have signed their first round draft pick Casey Kelly.

and in perhap the best Sox news of the day... The New York Yankees have signed Richie Sexson. Seattle dropped Sexson after he only hit .218 this season. That should help their offense.


10 Keys to the Back Half

1 Tek’s bat~ We’re not expecting him to hit .295 as he was on May 25th, but ‘Tek needs to get his swing back.

2 Bullpen’s arms~ Oki, not so doki this year. Part of it is that batters are now seeing him for the 2nd season. While his ERA is a respectable 2.82, it is not a complete picture. He needs to get his splitter fixed. Aardsma has been great. Timlin, Delcarmen and Hansen however need to be more consistent. They’ve had great performances, followed by disasters.

3 Papi’s bat~ Let’s hope that his wrist has healed, and that the time off also helped his knees. BP looked good, but Papi needs to come back hitting like he did post slump.

4 Beckett and Dice-K~ Beckett’s pitching mostly well, but he’s not consistently overpowering this year as last. Dice-K has great numbers and an uncanny ability to wiggle out of jams, but those free passes and high pitch counts are giving fans, coaches, and managers grey hair, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

5 Pap’s mouth~ Yes, he is one of the elite closers, but off field remarks and antics cannot overshadow on field performances. Have fun on and off the field, but make sure you’re not stirring up anything unsavory that spills onto the field. Save the theatrics for post-season and post-career.

6 Shortstop~ Hopefully Lowrie will shine in Lugo’s absence. Let’s also hope that upon his eventual return to the line-up, Lugo will have also worked on whatever is causing his on field brain farts, and get hit BA back up to .290 or better.

7 Centerfield~ Tito has done a fantastic job of getting decent playing time to both Crisp and Ellsbury. Ellsbury is the rookie and should be satisfied with his playing time. If Crisp can accept his given role this year, (as it is looking like he may not get traded during this season), keep a clear head, and play to the best of his abilities (i.e. get his BA back up to .290 or better), the outfield will still be good.

8 Manny Being Manny~ Manny’s numbers are up this year. That’s a good thing. He’s a better fielder than most give him credit for. That’s a good thing. But I’m just a bit concerned over a couple of recent incidents. One day he’s looking all happy-go-lucky high-fiving fans, and having fun in the green monster, etc., and the next he’s having scuffles with teammates and office personnel. Those are the actions people will recall before the antics and hijinx. I don’t really care what players do in their personal lives, but if he’s got something is going on that we don’t know about (nor do we need to know about) that affects his public behavior and playing field performance, he needs to deal with it. (Same goes for all players.)

9 No more injuries! DL so far this year: Lowell, Dice-K, Papi, Schilling, Colon, Timlin…

10 Business as usual for Pedroia, Youk, Drew, Wake, Lester, & Lowell.


Manny Stirs the Pot

As the season hit the second half Sox fans will have to come to the realization that next year's team could be very different. Varitek will be a free agent and Boras will try to get as many years possible in a deal which the Sox may balk at. Manny has a $20 million option for next year but if he is to stay on the team he will most likely be given a long term deal. The uncertanties about Manny's future found their way into the media yesterday when Manny made this comment to the Herald:

“I want no more (expletive) where they tell you one thing and behind your back they do another thing,” Ramirez told The Herald. “I think I’ve earned that respect, for a team to sit down with me and tell me this is what we want, this is what we want to do.”
John Henry was none to happy with Manny airing some dirty laundry out in the press and responded with an email to the Herald:
“I find remarks that we have been anything other than completely straightforward to be personally offensive,” Henry wrote. “Manny has been a crucial part of two world championships. I do not believe we would have won either without him. He has never played a more important role than he has thus far this year.”
We will see more of this as the season comes to an end, right now we need to get back to playing some baseball and hope the salary discussions are done in private and don't become a distraction.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sox Head Back Out West

The Red Sox will start the second half in California just as they began the first half (after the Japan trip) only this time they will be in Anaheim. I remember hating West Coast road trips when I lived back East because of the late start but after the All-Star Game, all of you East Coasters should be used to staying up late. I will not be making the trip South because I will be playing in a softball tourney this weekend and with gas prices what they are it would cost me about $1000 to drive there and back. Having been to Anaheim before I can tell you that it will be well represented with Sox fans only it will be harder to tell with both team's fans wearing red. The Angels have a good team this year (I got to see them play Oakland in June) and they are not decimated with injuries like they have been in recent playoff match-ups with the Sox. The Angel fans are harmless for the most part and even though the Sox have gone through Anaheim en route to their last two World Championships there is not much animosity between the teams/players/fans. It is strange when you think of the "Beat LA" chants just last month but for some reason it does not carry over to the Angels, I guess because nobody really associated them with LA. There are however a few things to dread about a trip to Anaheim:

1. Thundersticks. What is wrong with clapping? Why do you need to use some silly inflatable gimmick to try to make it seem like there are more Angel fans than Sox fans in the stadium?

2. The rockpile in center. WTF? The bad attempt at product placement by Disney when they owned the franchise is still out there waiting for somebody to figure out what to replace it with.

3. The Rally Monkey. Really, are they still using it? Monkeys are just plain annoying, like the one on Friends that they had to write out of the show because it wasn't funny. Below however is one monkey video I find funny.


Did Navarro Purposely Blow the 8th Inning?

Maybe it’s the innocent little kid in me, but that thought *never* occurred to me last night watching the game. This is a comment made in response to Chad Finn’s “Touching All the Bases” on yesterday:

"I'm kind of shocked that I haven't seen any coverage on Navarro's role in the 8th inning last night. (Feel free to point me in the right direction if you've seen any articles on this) I can't be the only one thinks he tanked that throw to second on Tejada's steal on purpose. That guy is too good a player to blow the throw that bad. Worse yet, he throws a perfect strike to second in the ninth with Rivera on the mound. And just to make matters worse, the guy made no effort to slap a tag on Tejada on the sac fly. I doubt he could have gotten Tejada, but he could have made it close by at least trying to make a play. Even my Yankee fan buddy called me right away to say he thought Navarro tanked that eighth on purpose!Any Sox fan who doesn't think that Navarro didn't catch that eighth inning last night with a chip on his shoulder after the Sox/Rays scuffle and Papelbon's comments are lying to themselves. To me, that was the story of the night that I'm not seeing anyone talk about."

At the time last night, I thought, ‘high pressure situation, young catcher, 1st ASG, yadda…’, but after reading this today, I began to wonder. Maybe the yankee fans booing Pap *while he was pitching* put the idea in Navarro’s head. I don’t know. Yankee fans (the only reason I capitalized it this time is because it’s the first word of the sentence) continue to lower themselves while being led into the fandom hall of shame, or maybe they’re leading the local mullet wrapper down that road.

Whatever it is, Navarro stepped in it and now the whole world is wondering did he purposely put up a brick to get back at the Sox for the events of last month? If he did, whatever he stepped in will need to be wiped off his cleats by the whole team of the (yankee wannabe) Tampa Bay Rays.

Poetic justice~ Drew wins the MVP in the last ASG to be played at the venerable Yankee Stadium. If goddess forbid, the yanks or the rays make it to the World Series, and win it, then it would be proven that ‘karma’ does not exist. But if either of those two teams realistically think that they have any chance of making it to the Series, then they had better take a hard look at Navarro’s selfish little ego trip last night, and the potential loss of home advantage that might have ensued. Fortunately for the AL, Pap was on the mound and negated the shoddy playing of the rays catcher.


Book Review: "The Greatest Game" by Richard Bradley

Last night we witnessed another chapter in the history of the greatest rivalry in sports as the Red Sox stole the show in what was supposed to be a day for the Yankees. In The Greatest Game Richard Bradley takes us back to perhaps the biggest moment of the Sox/Yanks rivalry; the playoff of 1978.

Bradley's book does not just follow how the game unfolded but he tells about the entire 1978 season in New York and Boston. He brings old names like Fisk, Munson, Billy Martin, and Don Zimmer back to their prime, making it seem like they just stepped off the field and are getting ready for the second half of the season. He also does an excellent job at showing what a transitional time the late 70's were for Major League Baseball with the onset of free agency and the rise of big-market teams.

As a Sox fan I don't agree with the title of the book because no game can be the greatest if the Yankees come out on top. However, Bradley reminds us that the 1978 playoff game was not just Bucky F'n Dent's home run nor Yaz's pop up for the third out in the ninth anymore than the '86 World Series was just about Buckner. There were so many other storylines to the season and the game like Matin and Jackson's relationship or Mike Torrez on the mound for the Sox to face his former team that he believed never appreciated him.

The Greatest Game is a good read and something Red Sox and Yankee fans could enjoy as we get closer to the 30th anniversary of the game.


"Francona Rule" On Display at the All-Star Game

Joe Lemrie of SI noted the following about last night's game:

• Oddest sight of the night wasn't so much that Red Sox and Yankees were sharing the infield but that Francona was wearing a uniform top. There was no word whether he even knew his own jersey number before last night.
It was kind of odd to see Tito without the fleece warm-up over the uniform last night but he might have gone without it to avoid Bob Watson and the uniform police that seem to lurk at Yankee Stadium. Francona usually wears the warmup to help with circulation from various ailments. He will be getting a shot today to deal with some numbness he has been experiencing from an old back injury.


Roger* Getting Closer to that Pejury Charge

More bad news for Roger Clemens* appeared in the NY Daily News today:

Confessed drug supplier Kirk Radomski has provided documentary evidence to the government showing that he shipped drugs to the Texas home of Roger Clemens, who is under investigation for perjury after telling Congress he never used steroids or human growth hormone.

According to sources with close knowledge of the investigation, Radomski has discovered shipping receipts for a package of two kits of human growth hormone that he sent in late 2002 or 2003 to Clemens at the pitcher's palatial mansion in Houston.

How's that lawsuit going BTW? Maybe your ex-friend Andy Pettitte made the right decision on admitting use, nobody mentions steroids with him anymore. Don't bend over for the soap when you're in the big house or you might get to meet another rocket.


JD Drew On the Mound??

Terry Francona was running out of pitchers fast. He was down to his last pitcher, Scott Kazmir of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay manager would have preferred that he not pitch at all, since he hurled over 100 pitches on Sunday and is scheduled to pitch again soon, but when you’re into the 15th inning of the All Star Game, a manager doesn’t have many choices left. Fortunately, Kazmir got through his inning and the Red Sox All Star Team, er, make that the AL All Star Team scored a run in the bottom of that inning to win the game. Here’s what Francona had to say if he needed another pitcher after Kazmir:

"You know, you wait a lot of your life to do something like this," Francona said. "And in the last two hours, it wasn't a whole lot of fun. I was very nervous. I actually was more nervous before the game than I ever thought I would be. You know, but an excitable, you know, nervousness. It was fun to be part of something so special. And then later on, [I] started to have panic set in."
That's because he had run out of pitching. Rays lefty Scott Kazmir came on for the top of the 15th, and Francona had nobody left. And Kazmir was not in a position to throw all night, having thrown 104 pitches on Sunday.
In fact, Francona hadn't even planned on using Kazmir until the desperation set in. One thing nobody wanted was a tie.
So Kazmir blanked the NL in that top of the 15th, and Michael Young's walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning prevented he ace from having to throw another inning.
"I mean, we got to the point where [Tigers manager] Jimmy Leyland saw him, came down to the dugout just to check, and I asked him if he could pitch," Francona said. "It wasn't a real fun situation. I mean, that's just it was you try so hard to win and get everybody in. I thought we excelled at that, because we used everybody. We did a great job of using everybody."
And if the game had dragged on a few innings more, Francona confessed that he might have been forced to put his right fielder, J.D. Drew, on the pitcher's mound and send Evan Longoria -- the designated hitter -- into the outfield. Drew wound up winning the Most Valuable Player by belting a two-run homer, adding a single and stealing a base.
"He might have been a little more of an MVP if we went a couple more innings," said Francona. "He might have pitched. He's been begging me a long time to pitch, and we almost got close. But we were still a ways away from that."
Drew would have welcomed the opportunity.
"I've given him a hard time for the couple years that I played for him, if he ever runs out [of pitching], just give me a holler out here," said Drew. "We would have seen what happened. But after it started to [become a possibility], I was a little bit nervous to be honest with you."


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fenway West, the All Star Game, Red Sox v. Yankees, etc...

More on how I came to write for Fenway West furthur on down the line, but tonight I had the good fortune to eat, drink, and watch the Red Sox All Star Game with Fenway West founder and future governor of Red Sox Nation from California, Matt O’Donnell.

We met in person briefly at an A’s-Sox game back in May, but he had the family in tow, so we didn’t get to speak much that day. We decided to meet at McNear’s in Petaluma, CA to watch the game. Now McNear’s has good food, good ale, and TV’s all over the place with the game on many of them, but the BIG screen was on the DL, and they weren’t putting the volume up on any of them either. So we went up the road a bit to Behind the Glory Sports Bar and Grill (yes we know the jokes.) TV’s were all over the place with the game on all of ‘em, but it was a noisy crowd, so we weren’t able to hear Fox’s Ken Rosenthal very well (awwwww…) Our suspicions were aroused when we saw the bartender wearing a pinstriped shirt with #13 on it, and an Evil Empire hat with those mysterious N and Y letters on it. But the food was good, the beer was good, the game was, well….. the AL won the game (we could feel Tito exhaling 3k miles away!), and much to the chagrin of the 100 or so fans left after the game, we got to see JD DREW of the RED SOX WIN the MVP award! And in venerable Yankee Stadium, taboot! Hey, NY! You got what you wanted! Mo pitched the 9th inning! In 1.2 innings, Mo allowed 2 hits, 0 runs, and struck out two. We were (not so secretly) hoping Tito would send him out for the rest of the game, as NY wanted desperately for him to get the win. Like Barry in search of a ring, it would not be (Tito sending Mo out for 6 innings, or getting the win.) Oh well. Nonetheless, it was a great night of baseball. A-Rod and Jeter combined line: 1 for 5 (cheap single) 0 runs, 0 RBI’s, 4 LOB. Drew’s line: 2 for 4 (game tying HR, single), 1 walk, 1 run, 1 SB. Not being able to hear the game well didn’t hurt our enjoyment of it as we told baseball stories back and forth all night.

Now about that bartender. Despite his unsightly NY garb, he said nothing ill of the Sox, no trash talking, nothing. After Matt and I had both eaten, he even came by with a kind offer of some free food, but we were both stuffed and had to pass. Not all Yankee fans are scum. (I dare Yankee fans to say the same of Sox fans, hah!) Didn’t get his name (we just called him A-Rod), but props anyhow. (Just get a better wardrobe :-)


Don't Hang Run NL Run #3 on Papelbon!

That run was the responsibility of catcher Dinosaur Navarro of Tampa Bay. Tejada would've still been on 2nd base when the inning ended had Navarro's throw been anywhere near the bag. As it was, the ball thrown by Navarro wouldn't have hit the broad side of a barn.


MVP J.D. Drew Helps Lead the A.L. To Victory

Even though Fox wanted you to believe this night was all about the Yankees, the Sox players and some of the New York media realized that Boston was the real story. After the predictable Bronx cheer for Sox players, the game got under way and was a relative pitchers duel for the first 5 innings. Manny, Youk, and Pedroia were all hitless, Tek did not get an AB. When Papelbon came in for the 8th he gave up a lead-off hit for which he was soundly booed. The runner eventually scored on a sac fly after going from first to third on a throwing error. Paps did get 2 K's and a fly out in the inning. J.D. Drew had the most plate appearances of any Sox player due to the length of the game. He went 2-4 including a 2 run homer and had a stolen base. He came up in the bottom of the 15th with runners on first and second and 1 out and earned a walk from Lidge putting the winning run on third. Young hit a sac-fly in the next at bat giving the A.L. another victory. J.D. Drew won the MVP and was booed by about 100 fans that were still in the stadium when the trophy and new car were given to him.

American League Wins 4-3 BOX SCORE


Papelbon Responds To Daily News Cover

Jonathan Papelbon was none to pleased with the New York media today and had the following to say about this morning's Daily News:

"It just (makes you mad) when your wife gets involved in that," Papelbon said, and yes, he chose saltier language. "You've got a wife who's pregnant and she doesn't feel safe riding with you in a red-carpet event like that? How would you feel? It just soured me on the whole thing."

Papelbon, wearing a T-shirt that had a hand making a naughty gesture in the Yankees clubhouse, had a new opinion as to who should close the game.

"I don't really give a (hoot) any more," he said. "If I don't even (actually) pitch, I don't care."

Papelbon always finds ways to add fuel to the fire. Should make for an interesting night if he gets the call to pitch....I for one will be wearing my Papelbon jersey as I watch.


Red Sox Second Half Contest

Enter to win the Fenway West Second Half Contest

Add the number of stolen bases Ellsbury will have + the number of RBI's Manny will hit + the number of home runs Ortiz will hit. This is in the second half of the season after the All-Star break only (not including the post-season)

As a tiebreaker guess the number of wins Lester will have after the All-Star Break (not including the post season)

Email your guess to matt(at) I will not send you any emails (except to get an address from the winner) or spam you in any way. Entries must be received by August 4, 2008. Copy and paste the following into your email

screen name:

your answer:

tiebreaker answer:

The winner will receive 2 etched pint glasses (1 Fenway West glass and 1 collector's item glass with Yankees Suck on the front and "Hank is a Dumbass" on the back. I will post a list of guesses after the deadline.

While you're at it, please take the time to vote for me for California Governor of Red Sox Nation by following the link at the top of the page.

Good Luck


It Was Bound To Happen

It was a stretch to think the Yankee fans could make the All-Star Game a tasteful celebration of Yankee Stadium history and a memorable moment for all baseball fans. Over the last few days we have seen them boo the Futures Game MVP, boo Chase Utley (watch his great response below), and take Papelbon to task because he said he wanted to close the game. This is the All-Star weekend not Yankee weekend. The Yankees will get to honor some of their past greats but the game is about today's All-Stars. Francona has shown class in the way he has set the lineup and said he will let Rivera close. (I just hope he doesn't blow home field advantage for the Sox in the World Series) I understand the rivalry requires some booing of oposite team players but it should not be the only thing you care about. The Yankee fans will show how classless they are tonight and care more about booing Sox players than rooting for the American League to win because they know deep down they have no shot at getting to the World Series, so the game does not matter to them.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Why Ortiz Is The Face Of MLB

What is not to like about Big Papi? He has the great comeback story; from being released by the Twins to being the hero of the '04 playoff run. David Ortiz is always smiling and always has fun while still being a good competitor. He has some of the things that make people love Manny but without the baggage. Tonight he displayed all of this in New York during the Home Run Derby; he cheered on players even though he was not participating an joked with fans and competitors from around the league. Compare this to Manny who did not show up for the press conference. Don't get me wrong, I love the fun Manny can bring to the game but he could learn a great deal from Ortiz. The Sox are not a complete team without Big Papi and luckily he will be back for the second half. He even took BP at the Stadium today and hit a few homers.


West Coast Red Sox

Since this is the Western Home of Red Sox Nation, I thought I would take a moment to salute some of the Red Sox who are from the West Coast:

Jon Lester~ Tacoma, WA
Jed Lowrie~ Salem, OR
Jacoby Ellsbury~ Madras, OR
Dustin Pedroia~ Woodland, CA
Coco Crisp~ Los Angeles, CA
Curt Schilling~ born in Anchorage, AK, college at YJC, AZ
Justin Masterson~ born in Kingston, Jamaica, college at San Diego State U.
Chris Carter~ Fremont, CA, college at Stanford U.
Chris Smith~ Apple Valley, CA
Jeff Bailey~ Longview, WA


The Sox Are Not Going To Trade Youk For Teixeria

Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe said that Theo was throwing around the idea of a deal with the Braves sending Youk and Hansen for Teixeria. Here's why it won't happen:

Teixeria is a free agent next year and the Sox would have to spend big money to keep him while Youk is a relative bargain.

Youk's numbers are just as good as Teixeria's, so why would the Sox even have to throw in Hansen?

Career 49617122904901208522622473501210.286.383.457.840

Youk is a much better fielder and can play 1st and 3rd. This is just one of those silly rumors that comes up when beat writers need to fill some space during the All-Star Break


Starting Lineups for the All-Star Game

American League

Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners)
Derek Jeter (Yankees)
Josh Hamilton (Rangers)
Alex Rodriguez (Yankees)
Manny Ramirez (Red Sox)
Milton Bradley (Rangers)
Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox)
Joe Mauer (Twins)
Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox)

National League

Hanley Ramirez (Marlins)
Chase Utley (Phillies)
Lance Berkman (Astros)
Albert Pujols (Cardinals)
Chipper Jones (Braves)
Matt Holliday (Rockies)
Ryan Braun (Brewers)
Kosuke Fukudome (Cubs)
Geovany Soto (Cubs)


Jerry Remy on Coco

I asked Jerry Remy what he thought about the Sox longterm plans for Coco, here is his response:

"I have no inside knowledge, but my guess is that eventually Coco will be traded. Whether or not it happens this season is the question.

I wish I could give you a more solid answer, but I honestly don't know how they will play this."

It seems that whenever the Sox seem like they have an expendable outfielder someone gets hurt and Coco and Jacoby are both needed to start. My take is that the Sox are going to keep Coco for the season since it seems to be working out, and then trade him for a starter or catcher in the off-season. How nice would it be to have a guy like Coco on the bench to come in as a pinch hitter or defensive replacement in the playoffs?


Dumbass Hank Hides From The Yankees

When asked why he hasn't been to Yankee Stadium since opening day, Hank Steinbrenner told USA Today the following:

"I keep that top secret," he says, "I sneak in and sneak out. I'd like to be there more often, but I just have so much going on here. To go up there, and stay at a hotel, you can't get much done."

Why would the owner of a team have to sneak in and out of his own stadium?


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Manny Sets Up An Office In the Green Monster

The Green Monster is now Manny's personal bathroom, office, and locker. For the second time in a week Manny entered the Monster during a pitching change. Earlier in the week he chatted on a cellphone, today he drank a Gatorade before returning to the field.

Manny later told Sports Xtra what he had been doing in the wall:

"I wasn't a big deal. I go there all the time to say hi to the guys, they always got some Gatorade for me, and I was talking to Gomez in the other dugout and I saw the phone and I was messing around with him... It was all good, I'm glad that everybody thought it was funny."


Sox Regain Division Lead Heading Into the All-Star Break

With the 7th straight loss by the Rays and another home victory for the Sox today, Boston sits atop the A.L. East. Dice-K earned the win going 6 scoreless innings and allowing just 4 hits. He did walk 6 batters and pitched himself out of a few jams in the game. The pen kept it a shutout until Papelbon came in for the 9th where he gave up 3 hits, a run, and allowed the go ahead run to come to the plate before recording his 100th career save. The Sox offense was fairly quiet scoring just 2 runs on 7 hits but once again J.D. had an extra-base hit.

Sox Win 2-1 BOX SCORE


Yankee Fans Boo Sox Prospect After He Wins Futures Game MVP

Another example of classless Yankee fans was evident today after Red Sox prospect Che-Hsuan Lin helped the World Minor League All-Star team defeat the U.S. Minor League All-Star team. Lin hit a 2 run homer and was declared the game's MVP after the World team won 3-0. Yankee fans booed Lin as he was being interviewed after the game.


Today's Lineup 7/13 vs. the Birds

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
J.D Drew, RF
Manny Ramirez, LF
Mike Lowell, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Sean Casey, 1B
Jason Varitek, C
Alex Cora, SS

Dice-K SP


Wake and Youk Help Sox Crush the O's

Tim Wakefield is emerging as the ace of the staff after another great start. Last night he went 7 innings allowing just 2 hits. The offense helped him early with back to back jacks by Drew and Manny in the first. The Sox than plated 7 more runs in a the third which included Kevin Youkilis' first career grand slam. Youk had 6 RBI's on the night and his parents were at the Fens to witness it. The Sox play their last game of the series today before the All-Star break.

Sox Win 12-1 BOX SCORE



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