"This is home," said Mills, who took time out of his busy schedule to talk to the players at the Tulare Western baseball camp on Wednesday. "My children and their families are here. I have a lot of special relationships with people around here."
Mills, who will turn 52 on Jan. 19, was born in Exeter. He graduated from Exeter High School and proceeded to play baseball at College of the Sequoias. He then moved on to the University of Arizona before being drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 17th round of the 1979 amateur draft.
Mills played four seasons in the major leagues with the Expos from 1980-1983, but a knee injury ended his career prematurely.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
The Red Sox continue to add depth to their team; today it was the bullpen that got a boost with the signing of Takashi Saito. Saito is a solid option to bridge the gap from the starter to Papelbon, he has experience as a closer and could give Okijima some time off during the season.
The Biz of Baseball sums up the joint report from MLB and the MLBPA about the results of drug testing last season:
The report shows that 3,486 tests were conducted over the course of last season, and of them, 19 tests reported by the lab overseeing the testing program showed adverse analytical findings that resulted in discipline, or less than 1 percent (0.55%) of the total samples tested.
The Daily News points out that players may be getting around the test by reporting that they are taking stimulants for Attention Deficit Disorder:
Anti-doping expert Dr. Gary Wadler said he thinks baseball needs to re-examine its TUE protocol in light of the high number of TUEs.
"It seems to me as an internist, that's a disproportionate number of adults with ADD requiring stimulants — roughly 10% of the league. I've seen a lot of adults (as patients) and I can count on one hand the number of people I've seen with ADD," said Wadler, who is chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency's Prohibited List and Methods Committee. "Since so many (players) received TUEs, it's crying out for close examination of the TUE process for baseball and how it stacks up against the international standard. I don't know that there's an epidemic of ADD in baseball."
While testing has lessened the use of PED's in MLB it is still a flawed system that needs to be constantly updated. The game of cat and mouse continues.
Friday, January 9, 2009
The Red Sox no longer have to be overly concerned with Baldelli's health because they have re-signed Mark Kotsay. Now they have a good bat coming off of the bench that can fill for injuries in the outfield and first base. Since Lowrie can play third and the Sox still have Lugo they do not need anyone else as a reserve courner infielder. Fill in the hole behind the dish and the Sox are done shopping for the offseason. Overall, a solid week for Theo.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Watch Dustin Pedroia talk about the newest members of the Red Sox: John Smoltz and Rocco Baldelli.
After an extremely SLOW hot stove for the Red Sox we finally have some movement and it has some fairly big repercussions for the team. With each of the new signings for we have a little bit of controversy or at least some unanswered questions. Let's take a look at the impact of each.
John Smoltz- A great picture in the twilight of his career. Smoltz has said he does not want to be in the pen so that creates a little bit of competition for the 5th starter spot. Going into Spring Training the Red Sox will have Smoltz Buchholz, Penny, Bowden, and Masterson (if he doe not go back to the pen) competing for the spot. Smoltz will not be ready to pitch until May at the earliest so he will not be in the spot at the start of the season but could be by the All-Star break. Where does that leave Penny and Buchholz? Does the acquisition of Smoltz point to Buchholz being traded elsewhere? There will be injuries and you can never have too much pitching so the Red Sox are in a great situation here.
Rocco Baldelli- It is always nice to have a hometown player on the team. Baldelli has a good bat and speed on the bases but his health is always going to be a question mark. Aside from the misdiagnosis of his current condition, Baldelli has also frequently suffered from typical injures like torn hamstrings. J.D. Drew is always one game away from an injury and Ellsbury showed some fatigue last season so the Red Sox need someone who can fill the void. If healthy, Baldelli can be that person but will he be there when needed?
Josh Bard- After leaving the Red Sox, Bard had 2 great years with the Padres making Theo look foolish for the Mirabelli deal. In his last year in San Diego Bard struggled and was not seen as one of the premier free agent catchers this off-season. You can blame most of last year's struggles on a series of injuries so Theo may have righted a wrong with bringing Bard back. Josh Bard could be the starting catcher for the Red Sox in '09; he has the talent to win the position but that leaves us wondering about the captain. Did the Red Sox sign Bard to put pressure on Tek and Boras and show them that they do not need to bring back the captain or are they planning on keeping Bard as a backup? Sox and Dawgs has an interesting tidbit on Heidi Watney moving on from Tek, have the Sox?
Looks like Theo, Tito, and the rest of Red Sox management have some big decisions to make in the upcoming weeks.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The Red Sox are filling some of the remaining things on the to-do list with the signing of Rocco Baldelli and now the likely signing of John Smoltz. Boston needs a spot/5th starter for the rotation and John Smoltz fits the bill. He will be a great addition to the staff and should help the young pitchers get to the next level. More from Extra Bases:
Smoltz was leaning toward Boston's offer which was said to be somewhere in the vicinity of $5.5 million guaranteed with the opportunity to earn a few million in incentives which could hike the salary up to $10 million. The Sox and Smoltz have been talking since before the Winter Meetings. The Sox do not anticipate that Smoltz will be ready until later in May, but one of the incentives being discussed would be a roster bonus if he's with the team by June 1.
The Red Sox are getting set to announce that they have reached an agreement with Rhode Island native Rocco Baldelli. Peter Gammons says the Red Sox are confident in his health for the upcoming season:
Baldelli recently underwent a series of tests as Massahusetts General Hospital and the results were positive. The Red Sox were struck by Baldelli's persona and are optimistic he can be a significant contributor in 2009.
Over at Home Run Derby they have calculated the votes for all baseball writers that have published their picks for the Hall of Fame. While the list does not include everyone it does show how some of the voting is going. Among the reporters that published their votes Jim Rice was on 64.5% of them, he needs to be on 75% to get into the Hall. It will be tough for Rice to make up the difference in the remaining votes but he still has a chance.
UPDATE: Baseball Think Factory has Rice receiving a higher percentage of published votes (82%) when they count partial ballots.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
You know when Scott Boras answers a question you are going to end up more confused than where you started. With that caveat here is what he and Teixeira had to say about the negotiations with the Red Sox:
Were the Red Sox and others strung along?
Scott Boras, agent: "I think whenever you represent a free agent player and he signs somewhere, part of the process is one where everyone is going to say they were strung along. Obviously, in my business, you're either called a shopper or a puffer; one of the two, you're going to be labeled with. You do the things you need to do, in good faith, when dealing with teams.
"As far as Boston goes, I think Boston knows they got good faith proposals and they were given proposals, which means, if accepted, the player would have signed the proposal. If teams reject them, they cannot in any way suggest they were strung along."
Was Teixeira always going to New York or did the Red Sox and others truly have a chance?
Teixeira: "Every team did [have a chance]. I told my agent, 'This is the pecking order,' and I gave him my idea of who was going to be near the top. At the same time, I'm not going to lie to you guys. Contract was important. I wasn't going to take half as much money to play in New York. But when a team like New York steps up and is very competitive with their contract, it was an easy decision for me.
"I wasn't stringing the other teams along. At the same time, nobody had really stepped up to make it, 'Hey, now Mark, let's make a decision.' For a long time there, most of the contracts were basically the same."
The holidays are over and the Red Sox got back to business by signing.....Nick Green? What, you are not thrilled by the prospect of a utility infielder who last played in the bigs in 2007 where he had 7 AB's with no hits? The frustration continues for Sox fans as the Cold Stove continues and the team is still without a starting catcher (unless Bard becomes the full time guy), a 4th outfielder, a backup corner infielder, and a lack of power in the middle of the order. In a little over a month pitchers and catchers will report to Ft Myers and we still have no word on the captain. If the Red Sox are going to go with last year's lineup they need to at least bring Tek back. The team has the players to compete for the division as long as they can stay relatively healthy but it would be nice to add a big bat.
Monday, January 5, 2009
IS JACK A RED SOX FAN?
The ABC hit TV show “LOST” tells the story of the 48 survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 that crashed on a remote South Pacific island. I first discovered the show shortly after it began in 2004. Red Sox fans can be excused from not watching it from episode #1, as the Sox were on a rampage. After a shocking trade of Nomar Garciaparra, playing .500 ball for too long and falling more than 10 games behind those despised Yankees, the Sox had come to life and were bearing down on 1st place. They didn’t win their division, but still made the playoffs. They then proceeded to shock the pro baseball world by winning the pennant after being down three games to none in the playoffs, and about to lose the 4th and final game in the bottom of the 9th inning, when their epic odds defying rally began, a feat no other baseball team had ever done, and against the Yankees no less! There were still 4 games left to be played against St. Louis, but looking back, they were almost a moot point after that spectacular comeback over the Yanks. October 27th, 2004 marked the 1st time in 86 years that the Red Sox had won a World Series, so Sox fans were basically incommunicado until after that date.
After watching too many years of police and law dramas (Hill St. Blues, LA Law, NYPD Blue, and the bazillion incarnations of CSI and Law & Order), I was ready for something different. I had been expecting LOST to be a real life drama about survival (think Tom Hanks in “Castaway”), but by the time I realized it was as much science fiction as it was real life drama, I was hooked. Besides dealing with a horrifically traumatic experience (surviving a plane crash), the survivors must deal with immediate needs such as medical treatment, water, food, and shelter. As the show progresses, they slowly come to realize that help is NOT on the way. Temporary needs turning into permanent needs present dilemmas. These dilemmas are harshened by the fact that there are violent, predatory others already living there, and that there are many inexplicable discoveries such as a centuries old pirate ship and a small plane wreck in the middle of the island, a highly involved and detailed science project, supernatural beings, and a polar bear; all on a tropical island.
Besides being lost in a geographical sense, the characters discover that many of themselves are also lost inside. Backstories are interwoven throughout the tale, illuminating aspects of each character that the audience would not otherwise be aware of. At least one of the survivors seems to have ‘found’ himself on the island from the very onset of their ordeal. These backstories also show how interwoven the lives of the survivors had been, unbeknownst to them.
One of the main characters is Jack Shephard who is a brilliant surgeon with a strong need to fix as many patients as possible. He has flown to Australia to pick up his dead father’s body. Sawyer, another survivor, is a loner con-man who was seeking revenge in Australia, and had the opportunity to share a few moments in a bar with Jack’s father before he died. The following exchange happened in Australia sometime before September 22, 2004, the date of the doomed flight.
Shephard the elder comments that Australia is as close to hell as you can get.
"We're in hell, huh?"
"Don't let the air conditioning fool you, son. You're here too. You are suffering. But don't beat yourself up about it. It's fate. Some people are just supposed to suffer. That's why the Red Sox will never win the damn Series.”
On or about October 22, 2004, less than a week before the Sox actually did win the Series, the following dialogue occurred between Jack and Sawyer:
Jack: That’s why the Sox will never win the Series.
Sawyer: What’s that?
Jack: I said, ‘That’s why the Red Sox will never win the Series.’
Sawyer: What the hell’s that supposed to mean?
Jack: “[It’s] just something my father used to say—[he] went through life knowing that people hated him. Instead of taking responsibility for it, he just put it on fate. Said he was made that way."
Con-man Sawyer does not reveal to Jack that he spoke with his father at the bar back in Australia. He keeps this to himself, waiting for the right time to barter the information for his ever present ulterior motives.
The Red Sox won the World Series as season #1, episode #8 was wrapping up. The writers then worked this into episode #9, which originally aired on February 16, 2005.
[S]o the writers [knew] at the time they wrote that episode that the Red Sox had won the World Series, providing some irony to the comments by Christian and by Jack. The Red Sox win in 2004 proved that they were not "destined" to lose, and the team's ability to win over enormous odds resonates with the difficulties facing the castaways on the Island.
The show is not an easy one to follow, especially if you have not been watching it from the beginning. Although the show started airing over 4 years ago, only a couple of months have passed on the island since the crash. Themes of fate and destiny, and faith versus science are a constant. It has a cult-like following with Internet fan sites and discussion groups too numerous to mention. Many of these fans discuss and analyze just about every detail that occurs during the show, seeking any possible relevance in determining the importance of events that occur or which direction the story will take.
One of the most dissected details is the recurring appearance of the following numbers: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. These were the winning lottery numbers chosen by one of the characters, they were important numbers as part of the science project that was discovered on the island, as well other appearances. Interestingly, the Yankees retired numbers include all of the numbers: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42. The Boston Red Sox retired numbers are 1, 4, 8, 9, 27, and 42. Furthur investigation reveals that executive producer Carlton Cuse is a Red Sox fan, and executive producer Damon Lindelof is a Yankees fan. Lindelof has described the use of the Red Sox win in LOST as therapeutic. (Therapeutic? He uses his favorite team’s biggest choke ever in his show and he calls that therapeutic? He must be one glutton for punishment!)
So, is Jack a Red Sox fan? I have not been able to find proof positive that he is. He lives in Los Angeles, but I suppose it is possible he went to med school in Boston. Viewers have not learned that much detail of Jack’s past, but judging from his reaction to Linus telling him about the amazing Sox comeback (Sox fans, think about this for a minute…. how would you react if you were in Jack’s shoes?) and his reaction to seeing the Foulke to Mientkewicz final out (Damn! I can’t believe I’m on this island when the Sox finally won it all!), I would think that he is indeed, a Sox fan. He even sought reaffirmation from the helicopter pilot.
Will Jack’s apparent citizenship in Red Sox Nation have any significance in upcoming episodes? Hard to say. As a Sox fan, I would hope so, but I wouldn’t need it to enjoy the show. Season #5 begins airing on January 21st.
Teams may need to dump some high paid players as the economy continues to go south and guess who might be able to scoop up some of that talent...Watch below:
Sunday, January 4, 2009
I always did like Dougie. Here's an item in the Traverse City Record-Eagle about him holding a recent clinic.
Mirabelli -- a two-time World Series champion catcher with the Boston Red Sox -- hosted two clinics for boys and girls ages 8-12, focusing on pitching and catching."I felt like this would be a good chance where I could bring out some of my specialties to the community, and they responded really nicely,"..."I'm done," Mirabelli said. "I'm retired and having fun here with the kids. (I have) a chance to coach and do that kind of thing, that's great. That's all I want to do."
As the baseball writers vote for their Hall of Fame picks, Jim Rice waits to see if he will finally get in. This week there has been no shortage of stories for and against Jim Rice gaining admittance into the Hall. Here are a few of the highlights:
Jerry Crasnick from ESPN: History is clearly in his favor. Last year Rice was named on 72.2 percent of the ballots, to fall 16 votes short of induction. Of the 20 players who previously received between 70 and 75 percent of the vote, all 20 eventually made it into the Hall through the writers vote or the Veterans Committee.
Dan McGrath of the Chicago Tribune: ...makes him a first-ballot Hall of Famer on this ballot. Of course, I felt that way about Jim Rice 15 years ago, and he's still trying to get in. It might happen for him in his final year on the writers' ballot; Rice got 72.2 percent last year, with 75 percent required. Now 55, Rice hasn't done anything recently to enhance his stature as the best right-handed hitter of his era, but that was enough for me in 1994, and it still is.
Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News: Rice was a very good player, but very good isn’t Hall of Fame worthy. The Hall of Fame is for the elite of the elite of the elite....but the idea he was among the most intimidating hitters of his era is misguided. He was issued only 77 intentional walks in his career, never more than 10 in a season. He struck out more than twice as many times as he walked (1,423to 670) and is sixth all time with 315 grounded into double plays.
If you are a Red Sox fan you most likely believe that Rice should be in the Hall and you may get your wish in the near future. To see the results of the voting you can tune in to live coverage of the Hall of Fame's announcement on Jan. 12 on baseballhall.org.