Friday, February 29, 2008

Red Sox Double Drubbing And A MAGIC Night In Hartford

24-0 and 15-0. That says it all. The Boston Red Sox whitewashed the college competition in convincing fashion, with Josh Beckett and Justin Masterson, the two starters, looking good. Josh said that his best curveballs were thrown in the bullpen after his two inning stint, but he was satisfied. Much the same for Masterson, who has an outside chance, albeit a long one, to make the club at some point this year. Tonight's game will be TELECAST on NESN at 7PM!

But now I must turn to last night, a truly MAGIC night in my city of Hartford. Downtown restaurants were packed (I made my reservations three months ago!), the streets echoed and amplified the sweet sounds of Bruce Springsteen music blaring from every bar in town and 17,000 joyous people of all ages were treated to an unbelievable night of American rock and roll, Bruce Springsteen rock and roll. And it doesn't get any better. No way, no how. Here is the Hartford Courant's Eric Denton's full review. Have a great Friday as I look for my voice, which I somehow left somewhere amongst and between the backstreets of the city, which was, at least for a night, a city of hope, a city of light, a place where dreams come true. And I am all the richer for having been there.
"Before the lights came up, before the storm let loose, Bruce Springsteen stood alone at center stage, a shadow in the dark.
With his back to the audience filling the XL Center to capacity Thursday night, Springsteen seemed to savor that one last moment of anticipation, adulation rippling through the crowd to wash over him, arms raised as if he were conducting the warbling, off-key version of “The Man on the Flying Trapeze” pouring from the calliope spotlighted at the back of the stage.
Then the music started, the lights came up on “So Young and in Love” and he was the Boss once more, swinging around his microphone stand like it was a lamp post on a warm summer’s night.
It was the first show on the second leg of Springsteen’s “Magic” tour, and there was a different kind of intensity to his performance than the barn-burner of a concert he gave in Hartford last October to kick off the first leg of the tour.
Many of the songs he chose this time had a more somber edge, though there were certainly moments of pure rock ’n’ roll abandon. “The Promised Land” was one of them, and Springsteen sang about wanting just one chance to transcend grim reality in pursuit of a dream. Or “She’s the One,” the crowd joining in on the joyful refrain as Clarence Clemons’ saxophone rang off the back wall of the arena.
Much of his 23-song set, though, was about what happens when reality overtakes dreams. Springsteen sounded a note of walled-off desperation on “The River,” and tried to make sense of crumbling love on “Loose Ends.” He reprised the chilling, bone-weary political allegory “Magic,” with Soozie Tyrell adding mournful violin and harmony vocals, and murmured about a power both seductive and dark on “Devil’s Arcade.”
Through it all, though, he poured all of himself into his songs, and he gave the E Street Band plenty of room to shine, too. Clemons played huge sax licks on “Radio Nowhere,” guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt played a lean, dirty blues riff on “Reason to Believe” and shared Springsteen's microphone throughout, and guitarist Nils Lofgren traded verses with Springsteen on “Janey Don’t Lose Heart.”
Springsteen’s wife, Patti Scialfa, was absent while she attended to a different sort of gig. “We have three teenagers at home, so we live in constant fear of the house burning down,” he said by way of explanation. “It must be watched.”
After the anguished anti-war song “Last to Die” and an audience sing-along on “Long Walk Home,” Springsteen ratcheted up the energy level once more, ending the main set with a version of “Badlands” that seethed through the verses and exploded into the chorus.
No Springsteen encore would be complete without “Born to Run” — complete with house lights on and crowd singing at top volume — but he dug deeper into his catalog, too, for “Kitty’s Back.” He also played “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” and “Backstreets” before ending with “American Land.”

Set list
1. So Young and in Love
2. Radio Nowhere
3. Lonesome Day
4. Gypsy Biker
5. Magic
6. Reason to Believe
7. Loose Ends
8. She's the One
9. Livin' in the Future
10. The Promised Land
11. Waiting on a Sunny Day
12. Janey Don't Lose Heart
13. The River
14. Devil's Arcade
15. The Rising
16. Last to Die
17. Long Walk Home
18. Badlands

19. Girls in Their Summer Clothes
20. Backstreets
21. Kitty's Back
22. Born to Run
23. American Land
Peter here on this bitter cold two degree Friday morning, but my heart is still warm with the memory of a fleeting three hour escape to the magic world of rock and roll. My thanks to Bruce Springsteen & his E Street Band for a night that I will never forget. As always, my Constant Readers, BE WELL, and you know what? I wish I could do it all over again. Tonight.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

TONIGHT, It's Bruce Springsteen Time In Hartford, Connecticut. MY Hometown!

And all I can say is one word...YES! I'll post the full Hartford Courant review first thing in the morning, with my ears still ringing from the sweet life-changing sounds of rock 'n roll, Bruce style. And there IS no better. There never will be!!!!


And that's exactly what Bruce Springsteen said on the opening night of his 2007-2008 MAGIC tour last October 2nd, right here in Hartford. The second leg of that tour begins tonight, again right here in Hartford. How lucky am I? And that's what the the members of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International are saying right now. The spring training schedule of REAL baseball starts today with a doubleheader for the world champions. There will be no TV...the Sox are playing college teams. But it IS major league baseball. FOR REAL!

I came across an article in today's Boston Herald that was all about our captain, Jason Varitek. My goodness, what would we ever do without him? His off-season work had him busy trying to even out his right handed and left handed approaches to hitting the baseball. Here's a little bit of it...

"For his (Tek's) career he is 24 points better from the right side. ’Tek has worked really hard on mirroring his right side because he feels so much more comfortable on that side,” said Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan. “He’s done a really good job. He has looked as good as I’ve ever seen.
“It’s something we talked about last season, and he’s got the set-up at his house where he can work on it. He must have done it all winter because when he showed up at spring training it was very noticeable right away. His swing from both sides is almost identical. He has always been very different before.”
“(Carl Yastrzemski) said to me last spring, ‘What’s wrong with your swing, you look like a robot?’ ” Varitek said. “There’s not much more of a keener eye than Yaz, so there must have been something.
“Once I came to the realization that they weren’t going to be the same (from both sides) I stopped trying to make the perfect swing. There are all different parts and every year there’s something else to work on.”

Peter here, and we might very well see a different Jason Varitek this year, not behind the plate, with his constant superb command of his pitcher, but at the plate, from the right side OR the left. And that bodes well for the Red Sox.

I'm sorry for the late start this morning...I had an important doctor's appointment. And I hereby declare (well, at least my doctor did) that I am well and that you'll be seeing me often, every day in fact, right here at my favorite place doing my favorite thing...writing about my team. And I couldn't be happier! Click on the title of this post for the entire Herald article about our Jason. And as always, BE WELL.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Spring Training Opening Day Red Sox Lineups

Yes, it's THAT time of the year. Tomorrow (Thursday), the spring training games begin in earnest for the world champion Boston Red Sox. And here are the two lineups for that Boston team we love. This is from the Hartford Courant...

Against Boston College: Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Dustin Pedroia, 2B; David Ortiz, DH; Mike Lowell, 3B; Jason Varitek, C; Kevin Youkilis, 1B; Julio Lugo, SS; Bobby Kielty, RF; Brandon Moss, LF. Pitchers: Josh Beckett, Kyle Snyder, Javier Lopez, Manny Delcarmen, Bryan Corey.
Against Northeastern: Coco Crisp, CF; Alex Cora, 2B; J.D. Drew, RF; Manny Ramirez, DH; Sean Casey, 1B; Chris Carter, LF; Doug Mirabelli, C; Jed Lowrie, SS; Keith Ginter, 3B. Pitchers: Justin Masterson, Craig Hansen, Michael Bowden, Craig Breslow, Hunter Jones, Kyle Jackson.
Peter here. Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his first start on Friday, and he seems to be much more comfortable in this, his second MLB season. This is also from the Courant....

"The first pitch was a fastball, pounded down deep into the strike zone. J.D. Drew could not catch up, a swinging strike.
The next pitch was a changeup, arching down and away from Drew's bat as he swung again. Another strike.
Finally, Daisuke Matsuzaka, his hips wiggling as he paused at the apex of his familiar windup, went to the slider. Swing and a miss.
"I think my overall condition is very good right now, and in comparing it to where I was last year at this time, definitely better," Matsuzaka said through interpreter Masa Hoshino. "I feel like I'm moving forward one step at a time."

Peter back again. Don't you feel more confident in this new, second year version of Daisuke? I know I do. And I know one thing...Daisuke is determined to erase our memories of his near .500 season last year. It bothers him, and I know he'll do his best to better that mark. He's seen most if not all of the opposing AL hitters, but they've seen him, too. I think he can avoid the mistakes he made last year. His biggest mistake was relying on the fastball too much instead of his astounding off-speed breaking stuff. This year other teams will see ALL of Daisuke's pitches, and if he finds the strike zone, which was a major problem last year that lead to 5 or 6 inning stints instead of at least 7, he'll match last year's win total and cut his loss total immensely.

And so tomorrow, it begins again! When I saw those lineups while reading the Courant sports pages this morning, spring seemed so close. I guess it is, but as long as there's a thick blanket of cold white fluff on the ground, it's hard to get in a baseball state of mind. But I hope I helped. Click on the title of this post for more on Daisuke Matsuzaka, in a Michael Silverman Boston Herald article. Click away, and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are so welcome, you wouldn't believe it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Coco And Jacoby...The Present And The Future

Good morning on this cloudy and cold pre-dawn Tuesday. Imagine, there are only four days, counting today, left in this leap year month. And then comes March, a month that can float like a butterfly or sting like a bee, to use a favorite phrase of the one and only Mohammed Ali. But first things first. I spied an article penned by the Boston Herald's Michael Silverman. It's all about Coco and Jacoby, Crisp and Ellsbury. The young and the VERY young, the defensive phenom and the soon to be All Star. Please read a little of this, and then I'll be back with a comment...

"It does not require much detective work to figure out that there is virtually no trade market for Coco Crisp right now.
In other words, for Crisp’s sake, Jacoby Ellsbury sure picked a bad time to become a breakout phenom, the one slated to be the Red Sox’ center fielder for years to come.
The Red Sox would like everyone to be accommodated but the clues point toward Crisp staying put.
“It’s a terrible market to trade Coco,” said one general manager yesterday. “There were like eight to 10 free agents on the market and some are still out there, so it’s never been easy. At this stage, teams probably would prefer to pay only instead of having to give up talent for someone like Crisp.”

Peter here. I hope you weren't expecting someone else! Silverman's piece made a lot of sense to me. I'll link the entire article...just click on the title of this post. And yes, a trade will be tough, and it's obviously not because of Coco's ability. He can catch the ball as well as any centerfielder, heck, as well as any OUTFIELDER in the game. And every club knows that. His offensive ability is a little more suspect, but given a season's worth of good health, that could change. By now we ALL know of Jacoby Ellsbury's unlimited potential. The stars are the limit for him. His future is destined to be played out while he wears the Boston uniform, and nothing could be finer. It is Coco's insistance that he NOT be the fourth outfielder, used in case of an injury (no-not this year!!) or in certain game circumstances which are to be determined, that has the Red Sox looking. Looking for what, they're not certain. But an outfielder who can play centerfield and NOT be bothered by his number four status would be ideal. Kenny Lofton comes to mind. But I think Coco would be the best fourth outfielder in all of baseball. I bet we ALL do. I guess I could say that this is a good problem for Boston, and it's just about the only thing that's a roster problem for the 2008 world champions. The Boston Red Sox are almost totally intact from their World Series 2008 season, and all things point to another successful campaign. They will always be number one in my heart. And in my soul, too!

Click on the title of this post for the entire Silverman article, and have a great Tuesday while we watch February melt into March. And don't forget to click on the title of this post for the entire Boston Herald article.

Oh, I forgot to write something yesterday... the day that SHOULD have been George Harrison's 65th birthday. Scroll's there now. And as always, be safe, BE WELL. FOREVER. I'd love to read your comments, and I will respond to each and every one of them. That's a promise. I KEEP MY PROMISES, and yet another one is this-I will try my best, God willing, to have at least one post for every baseball game day in this so far so sweet 2008. Off days? I'll be here too. And it's all for you, my Constant Readers. You are quite simply the best. Period.

While I Gently Weep

Yesterday, Monday Feb. 25th, would have been George Harrison's 65th birthday. Sadly, the youngest member of the Beatles, who went on to have a great solo career, died of cancer in 2001. Incredibly, he's been gone seven years now. I miss you, George, and your music will live forever. You left us too soon. Rest in peace, my friend.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Terry Francona Signs With The Sox For Three Plus Years...Colon Signs...

Finally, our oh so valuable manager who goes by the name of Terry Francona but is known to his players as Tito has signed a three year contract with his (and our) Boston Red Sox. This is from the Boston Globe...

"With two World Series titles behind him and a clubhouse full of players always ready to sing his praises, manager Terry Francona has reached an agreement on a three-year, $12 million contract extension with the Red Sox that takes him through the 2011 season.
The Sox have the option to add two more years, bringing the potential total value of the package to $20 million, or an average of $4 million a year. The two option years must be exercised together after the 2011 season. If the options are not exercised, Francona receives a $750,000 buyout, guaranteeing him an average payout of $4 million over the three years.
The $4 million mark is a significant one, placing Francona just behind Joe Torre of the Dodgers (a reported 3 years, $13 million) at the highest level of the managerial salary scale."

Peter here, and this is a contract that makes sense! Tito has led the Red Sox to two national championships in the last four years, a feat accomplished by only one other man. I couldn't be happier for him, and now he can set his mind, without any distractions, on the quest for yet another World Series trophy. Good job, Sox FO! GREAT job, Tito!!

In other news, the Sox have signed the up and down Bartolo Colon to a minor league contract. This is also from the Globe, and then I'll be back with something to say about Mr. Colon, who is NOT one of my favorite baseball players on the planet, not by a long shot...

"There were indications late last night that the Sox had offered Colon, who turns 35 May 24, a $1 million make-good contract pending a physical, a spectacular comedown from the $16 million he was paid last season by the Los Angeles Angels, where chronic arm problems long since had forced him to yield his status as staff ace. Colon won the American League Cy Young Award in 2005, then won a total of seven games in the next two seasons.
Like Curt Schilling, whose own shoulder problems are the reason the Sox were drawn to Colon as a possible add-on, Colon's mid-90s fastball is now mere memory. He has had a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder and an impingement in his elbow, opting to try rehabilitation over surgery."

Peter here. He's less than three years removed from a Cy Young award season, and he's a MESS! But I want to emphasise that this is a "no stress" signing for the Boston club. One million bucks will not break anyone's bank, and with Colon's shoulder and elbow problems, who knows what to expect from him. But there are only positives surrounding this signing...the Red Sox don't expect much, and they probably won't get much. But that's OK...there's only petty cash involved, and maybe he'll surprise Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International. Don't hold your breath, though. Please don't.

If you have time, click on the title of this post for the entire Terry Francona article. I wish you the very best of Mondays, and I hope your weekend was a wonderful one. It's nice to be back for yet another week, and we're all seven days closer to the umpire's loud cry of "Play Ball!" And I'm ready to play. Bigtime. As always, BE WELL. And thanks for stopping by...I'd love to read and respond to any and all of your comments.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's Doki Doki Time

No, I haven't been drinking. Doki Doki is the name of Hideki Okajima's new pitch. This blurb is from the Sunday Boston Herald, and then I'll be back with a word from our sponser (not!)...

"The Red Sox relief pitcher revealed that his new pitch, which has been described as everything from a two-seam fastball to a “Shooto” (a pitch commonly thrown in Japan that breaks down and in to right-handed hitters), will be called the “Doki Doki.”
“(It) means ‘makes me nervous,’ ” Okajima said through his translator, Jeff Yamaguchi. For example, when describing how he will feel upon joining the rest of the Red Sox at the White House on Wednesday, he explained it will be “Doki Doki time."

Peter here on this pre-dawn Sunday morning, and after reading about the new pitch, I can't wait to see it. Oki threw it, and all his other pitches, during yesterday's batting practice. Afterwords, he had this to say...

"I threw everything I had, fastball, curveball, changeup and Doki-Doki," Okajima said. "I don't know which way it breaks, and it works against both left- and right-handed hitters. It's something to make hitters hit."

Peter here, and the Doki Doki sounds great to me. It will just add to Okajima's arsenal of breaking stuff, and will further bring fame to our "Darkman," the self-proclaimed hero of the dark, standing in the shadow of teammate Daisuke Matsuzaka. Last year he stood in the shadow of NO ONE, and established himself as one of the best and brightest lefty bullpen hurlers in all of baseball. Hey, he wasn't voted into the All Star game for nothing!

My Constant Readers, I hope you have an unforgettable Sunday, a Sunday where we find ourselves in between the bitter end of the football season and the hope-filled start of spring training. I'm ready, you're ready, we're ALL ready. So bring it on! Oh, and click on the title of this post to be directed to the entire Boston Herald "Doki Doki" article, penned by the one and only Rob Bradford. As always, BE WELL.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Manny & Boras?? It Looks That Way!

This is from Friday evening's SI dot com site. I hope it doesn't portend any future fact, I'm not worried about that one little bit. The Red Sox hold ALL the cards when it comes to the future of "Boston Mannyball." I'll be back with a comment or two after you read this...

"Ramirez is switching agents and has hired Scott Boras, a friend of Ramirez's told
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein acknowledged by email that he's been informed of the change by Ramirez within the past few days.
Ramirez spoke aloud Thursday in Fort Myers about whether the Red Sox might exercise his $20-million option for 2009 or instead allow him to become a free agent, and he suggested in that interview that he'd prefer to stay in Boston but that he wouldn't be heartbroken to become a free agent, either.
It isn't known how the insertion of Boras in the equation might affect Ramirez's chances to stay in Boston. While Boras is famous for procuring many of the biggest free-agent contracts ever, he has a solid working relationship with the world champion Red Sox..."

Peter here, and do not fret. The Boston Red Sox hold the keys to Manny's future for the next three years. They have 2009 and 2010 as option years for Mr. Ramirez to remain being Boston Manny, so it shouldn't matter one whit (whit?) who is Manny's agent. The money terms are set, and all the team has to do is decide. Of course, Manny just might decide to retire after baseball season 2008, but after hearing him speak from Florida, it seems like he's ready to go. Are you ready? I sure am!

Have a great Saturday and a wonderful weekend. This upcoming week will be a momentous one for me. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (the best band in the world) are coming to Hartford yet again, on Thursday the 28th. They opened the MAGIC tour right here in Hartford on October 1st, and they're opening the second leg of the MAGIC tour, which will encompass the entire country over the remainder of the winter, spring and summer, right here in Hartford yet again. And that's a dream come true for little old me. My city opens it up yet again. And I CAN'T WAIT! It will be Bruce show #60 (yes, that's right) for me, but that's over an extended period of time. To say that I like his words and music would be a severe understatement. Thursday here I come! And Hartford is ready for yet another Bruuuuce night. The city changed on that October 1st night of 2007, with people together from all parts of wherever, from street corners to parking lots to bars with peanut shells on the floor and THUNDER ROAD blaring from the speakers, all acting as brothers and sisters in the pursuit of life. Life itself. And for one night, WE WERE ALL ONE. When you think about it, and right now I WANT you to, we ARE all one. We breathe the same air, eat the same food and live together on this beautiful warm blue sphere. And that was before I arrived at the Civic Center. Every city block had it's own happy story, and I soaked it in like a sponge devoid of water. And then the Civic Center, and the show itself. 2 1/2 hours of pure Bruce rock 'n roll...heaven, in Hartford! And me, right in the middle of it. To tell you the truth, I'm smiling as I type these very words. And I thank you for reading them. Oh, if you want to read the Hartford Courant review of that first Bruce show in Hartford, with my comments added, just CLICK ON THE TITLE OF THIS POST. You'll smile...that's a guarantee. And that's part of my make sure you have a smile on your faces. That makes me happy. Now click on the title and share the oh so great memories of that October night. I'd love to read your comments, too. As always, BE SAFE. I'll be here tomorrow, and I hope you will, too.

Friday, February 22, 2008

More Manny!

OK, I admit it. I'm aware that my last post concerned Manny Ramirez and his desire to stay with the Boston Red Sox until his grey hairs multiply and his baseball skills erode (not soon...I KNOW THAT!), and I couldn't be any happier. He spoke at length with reporters from everywhere yesterday, and I wanted to share some of his words with you, my Constant Readers. My readership has been growing as the approach of real baseball circa 2008 draws nearer and nearer. That makes me overjoyed...the pressure cooker that is modern day baseball will overtake us all, one by one, slowly but surely, step by step, inch by inch (the Three Stooges) as our Sox try to repeat their world championship run of 2007. They are the favorites in all of baseball to do just that, and you can be sure that if you stay right here, every game will be condensed and analyzed in my own unique and somewhat quirky way. Admit it! It's just the way you like it. Ok, OK...back to Manny. He had this to say yesterday, borrowed from the Hartford Courant, my hometown non web-based source of news and sports. Here you go, and these words will make you smile, no matter how early in the morning it is right now. And for me, IT'S WAY EARLY, with super slippery roads and troubled travel conditions. And it's all because of this upcoming double-barrelled Nor'Easter storm. More on that later, because you know I double as a gifted meteorologist, at least a very talkative one. Such is my gift to you (haha). Here's Manny!!...

"I want to finish my career here (in Boston), but it's up to them," he said. "If that doesn't happen, I'm going to play somewhere else. I know I can still play. What else can I say? It's up to them. I'm not the one who writes the checks."
Speaking briefly to reporters outside the batting cages at the spring training complex, Ramirez said he didn't plan to engage the Red Sox about a contract extension
"I want to wait and talk to them on what they want to do after the season," he said. "I don't want to play the game and say, 'Oh, this and that.' I want to play the game, finish the year and whatever happens, happens.
"They're the ones who've got my options. It's up to them to say, 'Ok, we're going to take it.' It's not up to me to go into the office and demand a four-year, eight-year deal, whatever. No. I'm going to come here to play the game, finish my year and if they want me to come back, I come back. I feel great, man. I'm looking forward for '08 and '09. I did my work like I always do every year and I'm excited to be here."

It's Peter back again, and after reading Manny's words for the third time, my smile could not be any wider, with goose bumps and chills all over my body. With a physically and mentally healthy Manny, preceded in our power packed batting lineup by Big Papi, with HIS newly repaired knee, rookie of the year Dustin Pedroia and our new centerfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, who this year will become a fixture for us while patrolling Fenway Park's spaciously green centerfield AND a national hero for EVERY baseball fan on the face of our beautiful blue earth, the Boston Red Sox and their fans, members of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International, are in for quite a treat. A 2008 treat. THE BEST KIND OF TREAT!

Theo Epstein also had something to say about Manny. If he didn't, I would have been surprised, for the "new" Manny attitude has taken us all by storm, in a warm and loving, almost contagious way. Here is his quote, again from the Hartford Courant...

"Obviously, Manny's contract provides for the first of his options to be decided upon at the end of the year," Epstein said. "There's a time for that, but it's certainly after the season. When something like that is built into a contract, it makes sense to be patient and wait for the appropriate time to deal with it. That's well in the future. Right now, we're just focused on him having a great year."

Peter, one more time. Theo, keep that pen filled to the brim with ink, black ink, indelible and delicious ink. Delicious? Well, maybe not, but you know what I meant. And Theo, I know you'll wait until the very end of the 2008 season to "talk turkey" with Sir Manny. I am filled with optimism for the upcoming baseball season, and I hope every one of you is, too. It's snowing here on this Friday early morning, and it's snowing hard. The temperature is parked at 19.1 degrees F. The roads are super slick, and travel is not advised on this pre-dawn Friday morning. I MUST thank you, yet again, for stopping by my little piece of Sox heaven. That's what I call it because that's what it is! And please, if you can, simply click on the title of this post for the talented AND beautiful Boston Globe sportswriter Amalie Benjamin's Friday morning article about the man(ny) himself. Have a wonderful Friday, and if you're driving in north central Connecticut, or ANYWHERE in southern New England, be careful out there. I really mean that. As the saying goes, "watch out for the other guy." Why? Because he or she might not be accustomed to driving on slick streets, frozen by all the bitterly cold temperatures and white-coated by the relentless snowfall. That white stuff is just like icing on the cake, but in this case, the icing is NOT sweet. Unless you're sitting in your living room with a roaring fire (as I am!!), your toes warmed by those wonderfully warm flickering flames and your ears vibrating with the sound of crackling and slowly burning wood, sweet smells abounding.

BE WELL, and have a great Friday. I'm already missing you (and that's a little quote from the first Indiana Jones film). A new IJ movie will shortly be released to theaters everywhere. I hope your weekend will be a great one, and I'll be back bright and early tomorrow morning, if not before. Happy weekend!

***P.S. to Wayne*** Thank you for mentioning me on Kaylee's blog...I've been shut out, I guess. I looked for your blog's link on my link list and could not find it. If you read this, please leave me that link in the comment section or via email (my profile). And thank you so very much. She is a special person. As are you.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

MANNY RAMIREZ Signs NEW Red Sox Contract...He'll Be IN THE BOSTON RED SOX UNIFORM Until The Age Of 49!!

Wait, wait! In my dreams...what he said was that he would love to retire as a Boston Red Sox player, and one of the best of all times. Hearing that made me happy, with a smile! Isn't that the BEST way to be happy? With a smile? Try it!

Manny wants to REMAIN being Manny for as long as the Red Sox want him. And if you ask me, I hope that will be for a long, long time. Everybody, be well and be happy. I need you all, everyone of you, back here. And I THANK YOU.

Coco Crisp Has Arrived In Camp, But He Is Not A Happy Camper...Yet

The remaining three players-Manny, Julio and Coco have arrived in camp, on time and in good shape, Sir Manny especially. But Coco Crisp has again reiterated his demand, yes, DEMAND, that he be the Boston Red Sox starting centerfielder. He put it in no uncertain terms. This is from the Hartford Courant, and then I'll be back with a few choice comments of my own. Here you go...

"I want to play every day," Crisp said before the morning workout. "I think everybody wants to play every day. If you don't, I think there's something wrong with you. I don't want to sit on the bench. I would honestly rather be somewhere else and play than be on the bench. "I'll take whatever comes and deal with it. It's no knock against Boston. The fans have treated me well. It's ultimately for myself. I think I can speak for anybody, you want to play. So whatever the best situation is for yourself to play is where you want to be."

Peter here, and yes, Coco has spoken, and what he said was not at all a surprise. Deep down, I really can't blame him. He has been a major league ballplayer for many years, and is known by most fans to be a WAY above average outfielder, maybe one of the best in either league. My mind just flashed to a few of his Superman-like snares last year, catches when he was literally flying through the air with the greatest of ease, seemingly able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. And most of the time, yes, the ball ended up in his glove. OUT, and the baserunner looks up, unbelievingly aghast! Terry Francona, our skipper, had this to say, also from the Courant...

"We have two pretty good players," Francona said. "It'll play itself out. They're going to play. They're too good not to play. They're too valuable. We talked about Wily Mo Pena last year and how you're going to get him at-bats, and I couldn't figure out how to do that. This will be different."

Peter here with something to say about the aforementioned Wily Mo Pena. Tito, Wily Mo couldn't catch the ball with an 8 foot wide glove made of super glue and epoxy, with a Spiderman type of web-emitting device deeply embedded in the glove's palm. Anotherwords, there was no way in the world he would stay a member of the World Champions, not while striking out repeatedly and looking like a fool in the outfield, ANY outfield, ANYWHERE.. No way, no how, not in my life. PERIOD. Jacoby, the rookie, diplomatic as always, also had something to say. This blurb is from the Boston Globe, one of our Red Sox "bibles." Here you go, and I'll be back one last time to sum up...

"When I was in high school, as a freshman, I was fighting for that center field spot and didn't let it get to me," he said. "When I was in college, I was a freshman trying to fight for that center field spot. In pro ball, and now, same thing.
"I went into the offseason and worked hard to be the center fielder. But it's their decision and I respect it either way."

Peter here, and he DID work hard, adding 20 pounds of muscle to his slim frame. He's always been a line drive hitter, with many of those line drives scooting through the gap to the wall. Hit hard, but without any lift, but always a base hit, usually a double with his blinding speed. Now if his bat gets under the ball, just a scinch, it will travel to some lucky fan in some fortunate seat. Remember, he batted .438 in our victorious 2007 World Series. We expect more of the same for 2008, so Mr. Crisp has his work cut out for him. He knows he was a complete bust at the plate last year, and he knows he'll have to do something about it. It's as simple as that, or he'll be wearing a different uniform when the '08 campaign begins. Or soon thereafter. This club cannot afford any clubhouse "negative waves," one of the many classic lines uttered by Donald Southerland in the WWII movie "Kelly's Heroes." I, for one, would consider him to be the best number four outfielder in the major leagues, whether he plays center, left or right. So I hope he stays with the club. But right now he has stood by these words... "START ME OR TRADE ME." We'll see, won't we? Hey Coco, start with a winner (the Boston Red Sox), and then outhustle, outdefense and outhit your lone competition. Then we'll talk! OK?

My thanks go out to those of you who left Kaylee words of love, words of hope, words of LIFE itself. That means so much to me. And click on this post's title for yet another Boston newpaper's take on Coco. This time, it's the Boston Herald. I thank you yet again for being here. Be safe, be healthy and be well. You're so important to me. Now click on that title for more Coco-ness! You're the best!!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Crisp Or Ellsbury? Only The Future Will Tell.

Good morning on this frigid Wednesday pre-dawn day. Everyone has arrived for spring training in Fort Myers, everyone except Sir Manny, Julio Lugo and one of the candidates to start in centerfield, Coco Crisp. Tito Francona, said to be near a contract extention (finally!), had a few words to say about the upcoming competition for the starting centerfielder's job. And Jacoby Ellsbury, the young gun who has bulked up by twenty pounds or so to add power to his already great overall skills, both offensively and defensively AND on the basepaths, also chimed in with his thoughts. This is from the Boston Globe, and the first words are from our winning skipper, Tito...

"I think it's somewhat important for our staff and the ball club to not lose sight of what Coco did for us last year," Francona said. "He played center field as good as you can. He played banged up when he probably shouldn't have at times.
"It got to a point where I think we felt like we needed to make a change in the playoffs. And that happens. And Coco handled it with grace, which we appreciated.
"I just think coming into camp, we're not going to forget as an organization that he's the incumbent."
That means the Red Sox will have to be down to one center fielder as the season opens. That might mean one of them on the bench. That might mean one of them with another organization. Either way, there seems to be some competition in camp for the first time in a long while.
"With whatever level you're at, you're always fighting for your job," Ellsbury said. "When I was in high school, as a freshman, I was fighting for that center-field spot. Didn't let it get to me. When I was in college, as a freshman, trying to fight for that center-field spot. In pro ball. And now, same thing.
"It's the best players in the world, and you just have to be ready for it. I keep on saying I'm willing to get better, but I know both of us want it. We're going into this spring training getting ready for the season. I'm sure both are getting ready for the starting spot." That's their decision to make," Ellsbury said. "I went into the offseason, worked hard to be the center fielder. But it's their decision and I'll respect it either way."

Peter here, and well said, Jacoby. Coco had nothing to say on the subject because Coco isn't there yet. The last day for reporting is today, so he, as well as Lugo and Manny, are NOT late. I wanted to stress that. STRONGLY.

So here's what I think of the centerfield competition. One, there are NO losers. I want to stress that. Having four outfielders is a must for a major league baseball team. The season is long and filled with injuries, some brief and some debilitating. We hope for the former, NOT the latter, but all of us would rather not have to have ANY injuries in the first place. Coco proved what he could do defensively for us last year. He flew like Superman to snare line drives to left and right center that were destined to have "gap" as their middle name. And we stood. And we cheered our voices ragged. But then there was Jacoby Ellsbury. In the World Series. He had a wonderful postseason at the plate, in the field and on the basepaths. His speed is blindingly fast, he is so young, and we will be seeing him in our spacious and green Fenway Park centerfield for a decade or more. He worked out with weights during the off season, gaining muscle as well as 20 or so pounds. He's always been a gap line drive hitter, but now he feels that if his bat gets "under" the ball, just a little, that lift will carry the stitched roundball into the seats instead of to the warning track. And I can't wait to see him.

I'm sure when Coco arrives in camp, hopefully today, he will have something to say. Here are my thoughts of his first few days in camp. He will be sullen and grumpy, just a little, because he's the incumbent, the one who SHOULD be out there in center. But he knows he'll have competition, young competition, and that foe for the starting job has a name. Ellsbury. MAY THE COMPETITION BEGIN. I do hope this...I hope both Coco and Jacoby can get along in 2008 while sharing the centerfield job. I know only one of them will be "THE" GUY, and I hope the other will accept it. Or, well....hummm, let me think. OK, mission accomplished, and it didn't take too long, either. Coco might want to be traded if things do not go his way. That's his decision. There are plenty of teams who covet him. I, for one, hope it does not come down to that.

Wow, I thought this Wednesday post would be short, brief and to the point. But once my fingers, totally separate from my brain, got going, I couldn't stop this cascade of words. As always, thank you for being here, and please say a prayer for fellow blogger Kaylee. Michael Leggett, a fellow blogger, told me in a comment from my Tuesday post (just below), that it is bone cancer, and it has spread. That makes me sad beyond the scope of the English language. If you can, just go to my Tuesday post, just below this one, and click on the title and leave her a message of hope. In fact, I will link her "cancer" blog to the title of THIS post. So just look up and click on "CRISP OR ELLSBURY." Any helpful words will give her hope. I tried to leave her two comments, but I guess they were not approved. Everybody else, but not me. So what. She knows how I feel, and I promise you that if you leave her a comment, she'll see it. The important thing is this...KAYLEE, GET BETTER. I know it won't be easy, but if anyone can do it, YOU CAN. I have faith. I believe. IN YOU. So don't cry...fight! We're all behind you.

Thanks, my Constant Readers. Stay healthy, be safe and, most importantly, be well. FOREVER. Impossible? No way, no how. Enjoy your Hump Day. And click on the title of this post to instantly be directed to Kaylee's blog. I thank you for that. More than you'll ever know.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sorrowful News For A Fellow Red Sox Blogger, And For ALL Of Us

A fellow friend and blogger has just learned that she has cancer. She has already been through open heart surgery, and all of us thought the worst was over. But on Valentine's Day, as you will read, she learned of the devastating news. Her name is Kaylee. She is 16 years old.

I know Kaylee will lick this. I remember the days before she started her own Sox blox, which is on my link list under "Kaylee Blog," and she came across my blog, new at the time, and her good friend Julie had also just started her own Sox blog (Scarlett Fever). So, in typical Kaylee gung-ho fashion, she started her own, with a little help from Julie and a little help from me.

Kaylee, I learned the news this Tuesday morning, and I cried. I know, I just KNOW deep in my heart, that YOU WILL BEAT THIS. There is so much more life left for you.

My Constant Readers, PLEASE click on the title of this post and leave a message to Kaylee. You'll have to sign in, but that's easy. And to you, Kaylee, God bless, and my prayers are with you always and forever. Remember that! PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE OF THIS POST AND LEAVE A FEW WORDS FOR A VERY BRAVE RED SOX FAN. Her name is Kaylee, and I've been so lucky to meet her. Thanks.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Trot Nixon Is Showing His Stuff

Old friend Trot Nixon is looking for a 2008 job after his one year in Cleveland. And a few teams were interested enough to send a representative to check him out. This is from espn dot com...

"Veteran outfielder Trot Nixon, still hoping to latch on with a big-league club as a free agent, auditioned for the Arizona Diamondbacks at the team's spring training complex in Tucson on Sunday.
Nixon, 33, is a .275 hitter with 136 home runs in 11 seasons with Boston and Cleveland. After struggling to stay healthy during the end of his tenure with the Red Sox, he hit .251 with three homers in 307 at-bats for the Indians last season.
Arizona opened up Nixon's workout so other interested teams could take a look. Toronto, Seattle and the Los Angeles Dodgers all had scouts on hand to watch him."

Peter here, and I know that we all wish him well. I was hoping he would go to an American league team, so that his '08 tour of duty would include stops at Fenway Park. I just hope he finds a rightfield to call his own. We all do.

In other news on this President's Day, the press caught up with Josh Beckett down in Florida, and it came to light that Tito Francona had a talk with him after Schill went down, a talk about NOT trying to be better than last year, not trying to make every pitch even MORE perfect, with added zip and movement. As Doris Day (who?) sang in the Alfred Hitchcock (who?) movie THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (never heard of it!), Que Sera Sera (what will be will be). That means the future is determined and we don't dare try to change it. Just be the best person possible, and "what will be, will be!" I hope Josh stays within his capabilities. This is from the good old Boston Herald...

"It’s important to keep in mind that Beckett is still three months away from his 28th birthday, which is around the time that some of the truly great pitchers kicked it from high gear to highest gear. Like Sandy Koufax, Beckett had his first 20-win season when he was 27. Bob Gibson didn’t win 20 games in a season until he was 29.
Josh Beckett? Better? Again, it’s not all about the arm or the legs or even the heart. It’s the process."

Peter here. Have a great Monday. It's pouring here. Two straight heavy rainstorms in the middle of February? Odd and different. I WANT MY SNOW!! Hey, every one of you have a wonderfully great Monday, a national holiday. Click on the title of this post for the entire Josh Beckett Boston Herald article. As always, BE WELL. Be safe. Forever. I'd love to read your comments, too!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Top 10 Defensive Players Of Baseball

Randolph E. Schmid of the AP has compiled a very interesting list of the Top 10 best and worst players when it comes to defensive ability. In one glaring example, AROD was one of the top shortstops while his teammate, Derek Jeter, was named THE worst! Here is the entire list, with my comments to follow. One comment from me appears in the shortstop category. I just couldn't resist! Here you go. I think you'll like it...

The top three, and the worst, fielders (some of whom are no longer playing), based on the SAFE rankings, were:

_First base: Best, Ken Harvey, formerly with Kansas City; Doug Mientkiewicz, now with Pittsburgh; Eric Karros, formerly with the A's and Dodgers; worst, Fred McGriff, formerly with Tampa Bay.

_Second base: Best, Craig Counsell of the Brewers; Brandon Phillips of the Reds; Chase Utley of the Phillies; worst, Enrique Wilson, who last played with the Cubs.

_Third base: Best, Damian Rolls, formerly with Tampa; Counsell; Placido Polanco of the Tigers; Worst, Travis Fryman, formerly with the Indians and Tigers.

_Shortstop: Best, Clint Barmes of the Rockies; Alex Rodriguez, of the Yankees; Jason Bartlett, traded from Minnesota to Tampa Bay in the offseason; worst, Derek Jeter, of the Yankees. (PETER HERE...ISN'T THIS HILARIOUS??)

_Left field: Best, Crisp; Reed Johnson of the Blue Jays; Carl Crawford of Tampa Bay; worst, Higginson.

_Center field: Best, Michaels; Andruw Jones, now with the Dodgers; Darin Erstad, now with the Astros; Worst, Williams.

_Right field: Best, Matthews; Trot Nixon, who played with the Indians last year; Dustan Mohr, who last played for Tampa Bay; Worst, Pena.


Peter back again, and did you notice what I noticed? First of all, catchers were not on the list. Wha?? And Coco Crisp was listed on the leftfielder list? Huh?? And also notable was the fact that Kevin Youkilis was NOT listed as one of the best defensive first basemen! To me that almost invalidates the entire collection of names! Holy s**t! I would have thought that Youk would be front and center, light steps (less than a light mile) in front of anyone else who pretends to play first base. But you can see for yourself. I'll link the entire article, for Coco's name IS included in the text. You'll have to read it...just click on the title. And I'd love to read your comments, with additions, subtractions, ridicule or support. Do you have any players to add or subtract from Schmid's list? You see, these are the things I HAVE to know. So, por favor, leave your comments, and I will answer them promptly. Hey, it Sunday...I don't have much else to do!

I'll be back with another post if something catches my eye. I saw this list first and I wanted to get it out here. Hey, have a great Sunday, and as the immortal words go..."I'll be back!" Umm, who said that? Gen. MacArthur? Oh, that's right. It was the Terminator. Ah-nold. Well, "I'll be bahk."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Florida Friction...POST NUMBER 1500!!

Yes, that's friction, not fiction. The Red Sox and Curt Schilling are in the midst of what might be called a "Cold War," a war without a sound, even a whisper, a war based on two entirely different courses of action to help his ailing right shoulder, which we all hope will be dependable again, dependable enough to fling a round baseball towards an odd shaped plate at nearly 90 MPH. Right now, that shoulder cannot carry the load. Did Schill sleep on it wrong, and voila, one morning he woke up with a little soreness, a discomfort that stayed way beyond its welcome? Right now we don't know, but there was a great article in this Saturday morning's Boston Globe, penned by the always reliable Gordon Edes. Here's a bit of it, a little food for thought, and I'll be back with a couple comments afterwards...

"Here’s why the Red Sox gave Schilling the dough: Good pitching is, and always will be, at a premium.
It’s why teams give untold millions to Japanese sensations and Cuban defectors. It’s why college phenoms land big bonuses. It’s why Roger Clemens “misremembered” his retirement last year and returned to the Yankees for half a season. And it’s why the Red Sox rolled the dice on Schilling for $8 million and one year.
You can say the Red Sox misread Schilling’s X-rays, MRIs and birth certificate. But Schilling still won three postseason games last season, burnishing his credentials as one of the greatest October pitchers in history - if not the greatest.
It’s always fun to make sport of Schilling until you visit the history books and gaze at his 11-2 postseason record.
So, yeah, the Sox invested in Schilling for 2008, and now everyone’s angry. Maybe Schilling rolled over on his shoulder one night and something went “horribly wrong,” to use a favorite Schill term when he throws a meatball."

Peter here, and that was just too well written to make it any shorter. The entire piece, penned by the Globe's ace sportswriter, Gordon Edes, is linked when you click on the title of this post. I'd like to know what YOU think. Theo should be talking to a press contingent this very weekend, and the "Cold War" of silence will be audible once again. Do you think Shill SHOULD have surgery? The three doctors who were consulted are divided about this issue. Or should our righthander go through the rest and rehabilitation cycle recommended by the club? Any comments, AND THERE WILL BE SOME (please!!), will be responded to by yours truly. From today (Saturday) until first pitch time in Japan, things will begin to happen and news will be made. And I'm ready. I hope you are, too. Another MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR in the making? I have to hope so.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention...this is my post number 1500, dating back to November 2005. Has been been that long? The calender doesn't lie, I guess. If you want to relive EVERY game of our 2007 World Championship season, just go to the archives (previous posts, on the bottom right side), and start in April of that magic year. I had something to say not only about each game, but every single day, be it an off day, a victory or a rare loss. I hope my words will help you experience yet again the sheer and utter joy of that very special seven plus months of 2007.

Constant Readers, have a wonderful, safe and happy weekend. I'll be back tomorrow, if not before, and don't forget to click on that title for the entire Globe article. As always, thank you SO much for being here. You make my heart sing. Luckily, no one can hear it! The only place where I hit ALL the right notes is in the shower. But that's enough about that! BE WELL, as always.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Papelbon Speaks Of Spring Training And That World Series Ball

Boston Red Sox pitchers and catchers have all reported to Fort Myers, Florida. Jonathon Papelbon had time to speak of his approach to spring training, and he also mentioned, rather casually, that his dog DID NOT eat that World Series baseball. Now that's great to hear. Here he is from EXTRA BASES...

"We're going to sit down and talk about my approach to spring training," Papelbon said, while at the player development complex this morning. "Last spring training I kind of took a starter's approach, building up arm strength and things like that. I think for the first few weeks I'll kind of be more on a starter's throwing program, so to speak. Then go back into pitching every day toward the end of spring training, things like that. It worked last year, so why not try it again this year?"

Peter here again, and with Pap's role clearly defined, his approach to the season of 2008 will be a different one. Gone will be the building up process for his arm that he went through last year in preparation for becoming a starter. He has become just about the best baseball closer in all of baseball, and we wouldn't have it any other way! And neither would he.

Theo Epstein also had time to speak out, but HIS subject was none other than Curt Schilling. In part, he had this to say, from the Hartford Courant...

"Curt's here in camp to work hard and rehab and do everything in his power to get back into position and help this team on the field," Epstein said. "The diagnosis process is really behind us. There were some bumps along the road because both parties care so much about the team and his career and doing what's right, but now that we're here in spring training, it's pretty simple: He's here to rehab and get back into position to help the club."
"It's way too early to put any kind of timetable on it," Epstein said. "It's just step by step. He's at the very beginning of the process. He'll be rehabbing and strengthening for at least six to eight weeks and then we'll see where we go from there."

Peter here, and that makes sense to me. It would be nice to get Schill back, even on a limited basis, by the All Star break. Will it happen? None of us know. But in the meantime, Curt's rotation spot will be deftly taken by Clay Buchholz, who will, in my opinion, become a national star in 2008. Waiting in the wings, just in case of an emergency (PLEASE NO!!) is Julian Tavarez. I hope the club lets Clay take over the vacant rotation spot instead of starting him down in Triple A. In fact, I'd say they'd be NUTS if they did that!

Hey, have a great Friday and a wonderful and safe weekend. And click on the title for the entire Hartford Courant article concerning our very own Curt Schilling. BE WELL.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I'm talking about Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee. We saw it yesterday in all its glory on ESPN. Four and a half hours of riveting and sometimes damning testimony and we're left with one basic fact. Only one of them is telling the truth. This is from Thursday morning's Jeff Jacobs' Hartford Courant column. I'll link his entire piece, but first read this excerpt. He's the best...

"Sorry, I don't believe him.
Every one of us got to decide whether Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs. Every one of us got to decide if Clemens was setting the record straight or crooked. And at some level, Clemens, one of the biggest hams in American sport, must have loved it.
A quick check with a SportsNation poll at showed only 22.5 percent of 50,730 respondents believed Clemens more than trainer Brian McNamee."

Peter here. There's so much more in his column...just click on the title of this post. 22.5%, huh? That doesn't surprise me, not at all, but maybe I'm "disremembering" something, to use the word that Roger continually used about his "former" buddy Andy Pettitte and his earlier testimony about Roger and PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) as far back as the late 90s. The moment when Roger testifed that Andy was "disremembering" is the moment when I just stopped believing him, not that Brian McNamee's public personna elicits faith and trust in ANY of us. We'll never know exactly who is telling the truth, and I don't think that will change. Not without a trial, and that's something that won't happen.

In Boston Red Sox news, our self proclaimed "hero in the dark," Hideki Okajima, spoke out yesterday about his preparation for his second season with the club. He will be a hero in the dark no more, for every AL club has seen him. In fact, at one time or another, they were baffled by him. EVERY CLUB! This is also from the Hartford Courant...

"The biggest surprise on the Red Sox and perhaps in the entire American League last season, Okajima parlayed his wicked changeup into an All-Star appearance and a sixth-place finish in rookie of the year balloting.
The lefthander made 66 appearances as the primary setup man for Jonathan Papelbon, posting a 2.14 ERA and recording five saves, baffling hitters with the split change and the funky head-down delivery.
Now, the element of surprise will not be an ally in 2008, and no one is more aware of it than Okajima. A year ago he called himself the "hero in the dark" in spring training while receiving far less attention than countryman Daisuke Matsuzaka.
"In my mind, the same pattern as last year is not going to work," Okajima said Wednesday at the Red Sox minor league complex. "Still, my best pitch is the changeup. It didn't work, trying to throw new pitches against hitters."

Peter here, and "the Darkman," which was my nickname for him last year, but it didn't catch on here in America (but it did in Japan! That's another story), even with a nice write-up by the Globe's Gordon Edes, will no longer be a hero in the dark. But I believe he has the guile to do it all over again. Yes, the rest he had before the post season allowed him to again perform well, and without him, the Red Sox would have been also-rans for another post-season. But the magic was there, and it will be again. Soon. And when I say soon, I mean in 2008.

Click on the title of this very post for that link to Jeff Jacobs' illuminating and entertaining sports column about yesterday's Congressional Hearings. I hope some of you had a chance to see a portion of it. And that's a wrap for another morning as we march slowly but surely towards first pitch baseball time. RED SOX baseball time. Step by step, inch by inch, as the Three Stooges said long ago.

As always, BE WELL. FOREVER. And Happy Valentine's Day to every one of you. You make me so happy, just by stopping in! And I'll never forget you. Ever!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Harsh Words, And NOT Just For Roger...

I'm still watching the live Congressional Hearings on ESPN at 11:50 am EST, and, as I said in my last post (just below), the harsh words have also been directed to Mr. McNamee. He has repeatedly been called a liar in his previous UNDER OATH comments. Just minutes ago. This is drama, with no need for the still striking TV writers. NOT AT ALL. One word...WOW!

RIGHT NOW, at 10:20 EST, ESPN Has It All! Clemens And The Hearing...

Put on ESPN, if you can. The Clemens' Congressional hearings are just starting. Roger looks scared, and the words are HARSH. Just a heads up from me to you. I always try! And I always will.

As The Rocket Burns...

Due to fluttering on and off power, what with the rain falling and the temperature slowly climbing towards the freezing mark (finally!), I have to make this post a short one. But this morning, Roger Clemens and Bill McNamee appear before the Congressional hearings, and this is in the wake of Andy Pettitte's possibly damning comments about the sputtering Rocket come to light. This is from the AP...

"Roger Clemens told Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte nearly 10 years ago that he used human growth hormone, Pettitte said in a sworn affidavit to Congress, the Associated Press learned Tuesday.
Pettitte disclosed the conversation to the congressional committee holding today's hearings, a person familiar with the affidavit said on condition of anonymity. According to that source, Pettitte also said Clemens backtracked when the subject of HGH came up again in conversation in 2005.
Pettitte said in the affidavit that he asked Clemens in 2005 what he would do if asked by the media about HGH, given his admission years earlier. Clemens responded by saying Pettitte misunderstood the previous exchange in 1999 or 2000 and that, in fact, Clemens had been talking about HGH use by his wife."

Peter here, just for this quick comment. Roger seems to me to be starting to speak "doubletalk." The hearings will be televised on ESPN beginning at 9:30 AM EST. And I can't wait! I hope I won't have to listen to it on the battery powered radio instead of on cable TV. But those "power gods" rule, I guess. Thanks for stopping in, and have a great Hump Day. I'm so brief because I want to get this up on my blog before the power flutters yet again. Be well. And no fluttering, Mr. Electricity!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Red Sox Spring Training Questions Ala Gordon Edes - Part Two

Here we go again on this frigid, still dark Tuesday morning. I'm going back to Gordon Edes' Top Ten Red Sox Spring Training list. The opening of the Florida joy inches closer and closer. The fireworks, good AND bad, will start soon. It's almost mid-February. Where does the time go? As before (see three posts down), my comments will be bracketed...

6) "DAISUKE AND MATSUZAKA: STILL STRANGERS IN A STRANGE LAND OR BROKEN-IN HOMIES? Matsuzaka already has made some noise this winter about doing things more his way, especially in his practice regimen, throwing more on the side than he did last spring. Okajima, meanwhile, showed serious signs of wearing down last season, and the surprise element is gone. But both of them should feel more at ease with their surroundings this season.." (Peter here...I expect BOTH pitchers to be more at ease during the 2008 season, their second in the big leagues. When Daisuke was on, HE WAS ON! But when he wasn't, his control problems led to a surplus of pitches, causing Tito to pull him after six innings or so. As for Hideki Okajima, well, words are hard to come by. He was instrumental in the chase for a world championship, and he is a valued member of the bullpen. Sure, the AL's hitters have already seen his stuff, but that won't phase him.)

7) "WILL STANDING PAT SUIT THE RED SOX? Epstein's principal moves involved maintaining the status quo, re-signing World Series MVP Mike Lowell and the now-injured Curt Schilling for a last hurrah. The changes now are coming from within, the Sox integrating kids like Pedroia, Ellsbury, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz rather than making the splashy free-agent signing or big-name trade." (Yes, it's me again. Peds, Ellsbury, Buchholz and Lester will help the Red Sox, who are the oldest team in the major leagues. I was surprised when I read that, but leave it to Mr. Edes, one of my favorite sportswriters, to bring it to our attention. The Boston Red Sox are young in crucial spots. Number one is the rotation. And you know what they say...good pitching beats good hitting. I find that a combination of the two can produce REAL MAGIC!)

8) "WHERE DOES CLAY BUCHHOLZ FIT IN? Buchholz comes into camp as no better than No. 6 on the depth chart, behind Beckett, Matsuzaka, Schilling, Lester and Tim Wakefield, and would the the logical choice to step into the rotation if Schilling isn't ready by April." (I like this question, because I think Clay Buchholz will surprise us all. Just a couple of the major league teams have seen his stuff. They will be surprised by the movement on virtually every pitch he hurls towards the plate. Keep an eye on him...he will be an important and vital member of the rotation, and we'll all be watching! And I can't wait!)

9. "WHAT DOES A MANNY RAMIREZ SALARY DRIVE LOOK LIKE? That's something unknown in Boston, where Ramirez is now in the last year of the eight-year, $160 million deal he signed with the Sox as a free agent after the 2000 season. There is ample incentive for him to have a monster season in 2008. He spent his offseason working out in Arizona at the Athletic Performance Institute, pledged publicly to show up to camp on time, and showed last October that he is still very capable of being, in his words, "a bad man.'' This could be fun to watch. And don't forget, he needs just 10 home runs for 500 in his career." (I'm looking forward to watching our cleanup guy WASTE the other teams on the way towards another World Series trophy. Waste on, Sir Manny!)

10) "WHAT KIDS WILL BE WORTH WATCHING IN CAMP? Buchholz and Ellsbury are still rookies, but it's almost as if they're known commodities already. Your time will be well spent this spring charting the progress of a couple more promising young pitchers, Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden." (So much talent to watch! And we ALL know, what with the Schill MESS, a team can never have enough pitching.)

11) "WILL THE REAL J.D. DREW PLEASE STAND UP?" (This is the last of the questions, and this will also be the shortest of my answers...YES!!!)

Hey, thank you for reading took me almost an hour with the copying and pasting of the questions, and writing my comments was the easiest part. If you wish, just click on this post's title for the entire top ten list. Gordon Edes of the Globe is the one who deserves our thanks. Boy, can he write! Great job, Gordon. And to every one of you, my Constant Readers, enjoy your Tuesday, and as always, BE SAFE!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Kevin Youkilis Signs Another One Year Deal

The Red Sox and first baseman Kevin Youkilis came to terms on a one-year, $3 million deal, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing. With the agreement, the Sox have still not gone to arbitration with a player since Epstein took over as general manager following the 2002 season. And that's a testament to Theo's back door leadership and his rapport with the members of the team. So now? We have much the same team as the one that won it all in 2007. One subtraction (Schill) and one addition (Buchholz) to the starting pitching rotation are the most obvious differences. Welcome to contract-land, Kevin. You surely do deserve more than three million bucks. After all, you played the entire year at first base, except for a handful of games, with nary an error. And you'll have rest when you need it this year, with the addition of Sean Casey, a good role playing lefthanded hitter and first baseman ready to enter ANY game at ANY time from the bench.

My Constant Readers, I'll have to postpone the second half of Gordon Edes' "Top 10 Spring Training Questions" for the Red Sox until tomorrow, because of the death of beloved Roy Scheider (see the post directly below). Have a wonderful Monday, and click on the title to link to the entire Amailie Benjamin Boston Globe article about our very own Kevin Youkilis. Soon, yes soon, he'll get the multi-year deal that he deserves. BE WELL. FOREVER. Love ya all!!

Roy Scheider 1932-2008

Roy Scheider has passed away at the age of 75. The cause was multiple melanoma. He was nominated for an Oscar for best-supporting actor in 1971's The French Connection in which he played the police partner of Oscar winner Gene Hackman and for best-actor for 1979's All That Jazz, the autobiographical Bob Fosse film.
However, he was best known for his role in Steven Spielberg's 1975 film, Jaws, the enduring classic about a killer shark terrorizing beachgoers as well as millions of moviegoers. It was the first real summer blockbuster and the first film to earn $100 million at the box office. In 2005, one of Scheider's most famous lines in the movie — "You're gonna need a bigger boat" — was voted No. 35 on the American Film Institute's list of best quotes from the U.S. He molded the characters of police Chief Brody and his family into people we cared about deeply. Rest in peace, Roy. And we're still "gonna need a bigger boat." You will be missed.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Red Sox Spring Training Questions Ala Gordon Edes

Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe has assembled and published his "Top 10 Spring Training questions" that hover around the team we love. I'll tackle them all, five today and five tomorrow. Here we go. My comments will be bracketed...

1. Schilling's shoulder...
"Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling will not be ready for the start of spring training because of shoulder issues." (Peter here, and we know the rest, or we THINK we do. Schill received a cortisone shot yesterday, but Dr. Morgan has not changed his opinion that without a doctor and a scalpel, Curt's career is ovah. I hope not.)

2. "The center-field conundrum: Whither Coco?" (This one is a toughie, but it IS a problem that other teams wish they had. Ellsbury or Coco. Coco or Ellsbury. For me, the choice is simple. Jacoby Ellsbury has the better bat and he doesn't give up much at all when it comes to catching the ball in centerfield, With his speed, faster than even Mr. Crisp, he can run down line drives hit into the gap and turn them into outs. My vote...go with Jacoby.)

3. What will the prime of Josh Beckett look like?
"It's not humanly possible to be better than he was last postseason -- 4-0, 19 H and 4 ER in 30 IP, with 35 K's, only 2 BB's and an ERA of 1.20." (It should be a treat to watch our 28 year old star and ace of the Sox rotation, a rotation of five with the loss of Schill. No one pitched as well as he did in the post fact, ALL SEASON LONG. And to be able to send him to the mound every five days is a blessing indeed.)

4. What's the early line for Year Two on the Rookie of the Year, Dustin Pedroia?
"Unlike last year, Pedroia won't come to camp bent on having to prove he can play, the skeptics growing in number when he hit .182 in April. The kid hit .333 after May 1, including 36 doubles in his last 119 games, had more walks (37) than whiffs (36) after that date, and had a dream moment in the World Series with a Game 1 leadoff home run. Overlooked was his defense -- he made just 6 errors, made terrific turns on DPs, and exhibited better range than advertised. He had offseason surgery on his left wrist and has worked out religiously, so what's to worry?" (Offensively and defensively, Dustin had a Rookie of the Year type of season. He has the award to PROVE it! Expect more of the same as the years go by. He's pure gold. 24 carat and brilliantly blindingly bright.)

5. How will opening the season in Japan affect the team?
"The Sox will be the first team ever to open the season with a three-country road trip, heading to Japan, Oakland, and Toronto before heading home." (Much Ado About Nothing, as good old William once said. Yes, the jet lag will be severe. But the powers that be have built off days into the schedule...plenty of time for the players to get accustomed to the 12 hour time difference. It won't be easy, but it should not cripple a championship team like the Boston Red Sox.)

OK, it's me without the brackets. I'll post questions six through ten tomorrow, bright and early, with my comments again in brackets. It's foggy here in the pre-dawn light, and all of us have been warned to stay off the roads. I'm watching the early AM news right now, and the traffic/accident report sounds more like a Monday morning one...hectic and busy instead of the placid and calm normal Sunday conditions. But there's a strong cold front on our doorstep, due to plow through north central Connecticut in about three hours. 40 MPH plus winds and a couple inches of snow will accompany that arctic air blast, and temperatures will plummet through the twenties into the teens as the afternoon progresses. Right now it's a relatively balmy 30.4 degrees F.

To everyone, have a great Sunday, and remember to click on the title of this post for the entire Gordon Edes list, including questions six through ten, which I will write about tomorrow. BE SAFE! I'd love your comments to magically appear in the comment section. C'mon, you can do it! These questions are perfect fodder for your comments!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Dr. Morgan's Harsh Words...Schilling's Career Is OVER!

Yes, you read that title correctly. Dr. Craig Morgan has spoken to the press about the possible career-ending injury to Curt Schilling's right shoulder. And he didn't mince his words. NOT ONE BIT. Read this, and I'll be back with some of my thoughts. This morning, I have plenty of 'em...

"I think his chance of coming back to pitching with rehab or a conservative approach is zero," Dr. Craig Morgan told The Associated Press Friday. "He might not come back after surgery, either. However, if the surgery is successful, he should be fully rehabbed by about the All-Star break."
The Red Sox disagree with Morgan's diagnosis, and the team has recommended rest, rehabilitation and cortisone shots.
The team indicated it would not approve surgery, suggesting it would void Schilling's $8 million contract if he followed Morgan's advice.
"On our conference call on Wednesday it was their strong recommendation that he go with the conservative approach," Morgan told the AP. "And, furthermore, it was their strong — how do I say this? — they would not approve him having surgery. Basically, according to the collective bargaining agreement, if they don't approve it, they don't have to pay him. His contract's null and void."
Schilling was limited to 24 starts last season, when he spent time on the disabled list with tendinitis in his shoulder. He then went 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in four postseason starts. He signed a one-year contract in November and passed a physical, but the shoulder was not improving as the winter wore on.
Ask by the AP if Schilling's career will be over without surgery, Morgan was emphatic.
"Correct," he said. "I want to be very clear on that. Correct."

Peter here. You see? Dr. Morgan was frank and unsettlingly truthful. Schill is not a youngster. He hasn't been for a decade or so. The healing process will take longer, with rest OR with surgery. The two different paths lead to the same exact destination...the possible end of a wonderful career, filled with masterpieces each time he strode to the mound and took command of a game. ANY GAME. Curt Schilling will be missed. Bigtime. He is one of those guys who is irreplaceable. Clay Buchholz will step into his number four (?) slot in the Red Sox pitching rotation, but it won't be easy. Curt Schilling was and is a winner, and just his presence on the bench will be a huge boost to a Red Sox team that, in 2008, will be practically the same as it was last year. And THEY DID IT ALL in 2007...they went for the gold and came up with it all. Dreams became reality just a few short months ago. And now, it's less than a week until we hear those magic two words..."PLAY BALL!" The trucks are moving out today, and the Boston Red Sox will be prohibitive favorites to do it again. But the baseball season is a long one, and anything could and WILL happen. We already know was a devastating blow to our souls. But Clay Buchholz will be willing to step into the shoes of a former ace, bloody sock and all. We must have in a youngster who has amazing movement with every magic pitch he flings towards 'Tek. He baffled the Orioles, and he can do it again.

So, my Constant Readers, keep the faith. That's how we survive...blind faith and sheer love for that team from Boston. They play in a small park that I call a slice of the fabled Emerald City, better known as Fenway Park. It's the place where dreams are born, and every once in a while, they come true! Yes, dreams DO come true. Share the joy throughout this baseball season of 2008. We all will.

If you have time, click on the title of this post for a Boston Herald article, penned by Michael Silverman, that details Schill's plight. It seems like CATCH-22 all over again. Have a great weekend, but remember... I'll be back before you know it. Is that a good thing? I HOPE SO.

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Little Manny? Why Not?

The following is from baseball prospectus dot com....I'll be back after you read this...

"The idea of Manny Ramirez working out shouldn't be funny. All the guy has ever done is hit, but the "Manny Being Manny" stories have gone from funny anecdotes to the kind of thing that obscures his talent. Ramirez has played for two seasons with the same kind of knee problem that held David Ortiz back; he just hasn't talked about it. That's no slight against Ortiz, who's just a bit more gregarious than Ramirez is. The thing is, with Ramirez spending the winter in Arizona with workout guru Mark Verstegen, I can't even guess what the effect on Ramirez will be. My guess is that Ramirez is finally noticing that he's losing a bit to age and has decided that physical conditioning will slow that. As with all things Manny, this should be interesting to watch."

Peter here, and the news is NOT all Schill all the time. Manny will be back in 2008 bigtime..mark my words. And yes, we need him! I'll be back in the morning with more Soxy stuff. Have a great night!

Curt Hurt...Part Two

It's Friday morning, and yes, the news has sunk in. It's quite possible that Curt Schilling's career is over. Finis. Finito. Caput. We have to hope not, however. The diagnosis from three (yes, three!) different doctors did not come without controversy and disagreement between the club and the pitcher. And the Red Sox knew that Schill was hurting before the Johan Santana trade discussions were concluded. Read this, and I'll be back with a few words of my own...

"But even the knowledge of Schilling's balky shoulder did not change the team's approach in the offseason, particularly on free agent prize Johan Santana.
The Sox really didn't want Santana, not for the outlay of young talent he would have cost. So they stayed in trade talks long enough with the Twins to know the Yankees weren't in it, then got out. They did so knowing they had depth - six starters - and were confident that Clay Buchholz, who would have been ticketed for Pawtucket, could slip into the No. 4 or 5 spot.
The way the Sox figured it, Tim Wakefield and Schilling basically would take up one spot in the rotation - between them, the Sox hoped to get a full season. They also have a rising young starter in Justin Masterson, or Kyle Snyder, or Julian Tavarez, who was their No. 5 starter most of last season.
Are the Sox a lesser team because Schilling won't be with them for at least half the season? Unlikely. Schilling isn't the workhorse he has been most of his career, and the Sox knew that."

Peter here. I expected Curt to provide good pitching while gobbling up innings in 2008. Clay Buchholz will prove to be a valuable asset to the team, even though he only pitched 148 innings in the majors and minors last season before the club was forced into a September shutdown. That 148 innings was an increase of 29 innings from 2006. The Sox might be wary of Clay getting a start every fifth day, and it is said Julian Tavarez is standing by and ready to slip into any spot starts that will be needed. I HOPE THAT WILL NOT BE NECESSARY! I can't stress that point strongly enough. Julian Tavarez is a long reliever, even though he has filled in to bolster the rotation in the past. But just like Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, Buchholz is part of the Red Sox future greatness. It just so happens that the future will be moved up a little. By a little, I mean less than two months from now. Opening Day 2008. In the Far East. And that's just fine with me. I've watched and rewatched Clay's no-hitter against the Orioles and was amazingly impressed with the movement on ALL of his pitches. And he has embraced his off-season strengthening agenda, just as Jonathon Papelbon did a little more than a year ago. So we'll wait. We'll watch. And we'll see. Such is the life of a proud member of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International. As Bruce Springsteen said in his 1987 song TUNNEL OF LOVE..."You've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above." Wise words, Bruce. And we will rise. I just know it. And you know it too.

Click on the title of this post if you wish. You'll be instantly directed to a Gordon Edes Boston Globe article with all the information you'll ever need about the Schilling "event." And to you, my Constant Readers, have a safe and wonderful Friday.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Schill Chilled

"Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is not expected to be ready for the
start of spring training because of shoulder issues, much like the ones
that caused the club to shut him down for seven weeks last season,
according to sources."

Peter here...does this bad news open the door for Clay Buchholz? (YES!!) Maybe it's a blessing in disguise? (NO!) I have no idea. But I think...I think..I think I shouldn't think! But I'm good at it. That sad news was from Boston dot com...and I wish I could share happier news. Is this a blessing?? NO, NO...I thought Schill was going to have a great 2008. Call me speechless, because I am. For once. Our rotation, sans Johan Santana and Curt Schilling, will be Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz. Good enough? We'll see.

An "Old Friend" Signs A New Contract...McNamee Has Some "Saved Evidence."

It's Thursday, still dark although the sun makes its appearance soon. The yellow orb rises BEFORE 7AM. FINALLY! The days are indeed getting longer, and will continue to do so until June 21st. I came across a couple bits of news, one concerning an old friend. This is from ESPN dot com, and then I'll be back...

"The Cleveland Indians signed reliever Brendan Donnelly to a minor league contract, with an invitation to spring training, on Wednesday. Donnelly had Tommy John surgery last August, so the Indians are taking a flyer on him in the hope he can provide some late-season bullpen help. Donnelly spent last season with the Boston Red Sox, going 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA in 27 appearances for the World Series champions."

Peter here, and good for Brendan! I think every one of us wishes him the best of luck. The Tommy John procedure is NOT an easy one to come back from. It takes hard work and dedication, and I know he'll be up to the challenge. I hope he can do it!

And now, an article from the New York Daily News (a fun rag), brought to my attention by a faithful reader who goes by the screen name Sox/Devils, which highlights her love for baseball AND hockey. She's from New Jersey, and when it comes to sports, she knows her stuff. Thanks Britt! Here is an excerpt from that NYDN article...

"Brian McNamee turned over physical evidence last month to federal investigators that he believes will show Roger Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs, according to McNamee's lawyers.
"This is evidence the government has that we believe will corroborate Brian in every significant way," said McNamee lawyer Earl Ward.
McNamee's attorneys would not discuss the details of the evidence, but according to a source close to the former Yankee strength and conditioning coach, McNamee gave the Justice Department's BALCO investigators vials with traces of steroids and growth hormone, as well as blood-stained syringes and gauze pads that may contain the Rocket's DNA."

Peter here. Check out the Sox/Devils's located in the comment section of my Wednesday post. I have a couple questions, however. Why would Brian McNamee save such bloody guaze pads and syringes in the first place? Did he do it to save his hide just in case a future inquiry comes to pass. Because it has! I have no clue what his reasons are, but click on the title of this very post to read the entire article. Come to your own conclusions and PLEASE leave me a comment telling me EXACTLY how you feel about this whole matter, with your opinions front and center. I will respond to each and every one...that's a promise. And again, thank you Brittany...I think you should start your own blog, just in time for Spring training and the baseball season of 2008. As Bruce would say, "We're living in the future, none of this has happened yet." But when it DOES happen, it would be great to "read"it through your eyes. If you need help getting started, you could always ask me.

Everyone, have a wonderful Thursday, and please don't forget to click on the title for more on McNamee and Clemens. Again, my thanks go to everyone who left me such great comments after I wrote my Wednesday post. As always, BE WELL. FOREVER. I mean that....every one of you is precious to me. Now go click on that title, and have a tremendous Thursday!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

This And That On Wednesday Morning...

Good morning blogland. Yes, it's Wednesday, February 6th. February is a month, exactly four weeks long (plus one day, for leap years such as this), that seems to rocket by. And speaking of Rockets, I'll have a few words about Roger Clemens' Congressional appearance yesterday a little later, but first this, from the (NY) Daily News. The whole story revolves around a report we heard weeks ago about Mr. Jeter allegedly shirking his tax responsibilities. We all know he makes a good deal of money...that's a given. Read this, and I'll be back with a couple comments about the Yankee shortstop and a little something about Roger's FIRST day before Congress. Here you go...

"The 6-foot-3 Yankee captain cut a secret deal with the Department of Taxation to end a probe into whether he paid enough income taxes, the Daily News has learned.
Government bean-counters last year mulled a civil case against the shortstop because he claimed his legal home was in Florida - even as he basked in splendor in a $13 million bachelor's pad on the 88th floor of Trump World Tower.
Tax investigators, without charging criminal intent, questioned in November if Jeter had dodged city and state taxes and interest from 2001 to 2003 by improperly declaring Tampa his primary residence.
The multimillionaire-friendly Sunshine State has no income tax - and it's long lured overtaxed Empire Staters who have often branded their winter homes legal residences for tax purposes.
The hush-hush out-of-court settlement sheds no light on whether Jeter admitted to improperly filing returns."

Peter here. Secret or not, the fact that he did come to an agreement with the team of prosecuters puts him in the clear. Maybe we'll learn more later about what he allegedly did or did not do. In the world scheme of things, it's really not that important.

Moving on, this is great news from the Boston Herald...

"Bobby Kielty agreed to a one-year contract, suggesting that the Red Sox continue to explore a trade of center fielder Coco Crisp. Kielty’s back with the team he helped secure a World Series title on a minor league, nonguaranteed deal.
Meanwhile, the one-year guaranteed deal for backup first baseman Sean Casey was completed after he passed a physical exam."

Peter again. Does the signing of Bobby K. mean that Coco is expendable, maybe for another bullpen arm? We'll find out...Coco would be great chip as part of a possible trade. But he ALSO would be the greatest fourth outfielder in all of baseball!

Lastly, Roger Clemens DID go before a Congressional hearing Tuesday February 5th, and in his one plus hour of testimony, and that's exactly what it was, he repeated ad nauseum his stand. And that stand is this...he has never or will never put any performance altering/enhancing drugs of any kind into his system. What else was he going to say? I just hope, as a fellow human being, that he told the truth. And that is my entire thought process about Roger Clemens and his self-induced troubles.

I hope your Wednesday, yet another Hump Day, will be a good one. And I'd love to hear your minds at work...leave me a comment. About anything!! And click on the title of this post for the Boston Herald's Michael Silverman's article about the Bobby Kielty signing. And more! Thanks for stopping by, and as always, BE SAFE. BE WELL! And please leave me a comment if you can. Enjoy your Wednesday...the sun hasn't even peeked up above the horizon...yet. But it will. At least I HOPE it will, or we're all doomed. See you tomorrow, unless there is breaking Boston Red Sox news. I've rambled long enough. Love ya all!!!! And I always will. Forever.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Fox Super Bowl Ratings...THROUGH THE ROOF! To The Delight Of The Fox Network

Hello again on this Tuesday very wet morning. Nope, no snow...but I'm sure those two expected snowstorms (expected by me!) before the strength of the sun overpowers everything WILL happen. Mark my words! I just saw this WPRI dot com article about the "through the roof' ratings for the Super Bowl. Take a peek...

"The New York Giants win over the New England Patriots was the most-watched Super Bowl ever, with 97.5 million viewers.
Nielsen Media Research says the game eclipsed the previous record of 94.08 million, set when Dallas faced Pittsburgh in 1996.
More people watched Sunday night's game than all but one American television broadcast ever-the "M-A-S-H" finale in 1983, which was seen by 106 million viewers.
The game had almost all the ingredients Fox could have hoped for: a tight contest with an exciting finish involving a team that tried and failed to make history as the NFL's first unbeaten team since 1972."

Peter here. I just wanted to let you know about those super magically delicious numbers. Wow! I wish the ending of the game could have been different, but the Giants deserved that win.

I hope everyone out there will vote today if a primary is scheduled in your state. I already did, but I had to vote between the 2 Republican candidates, one of whom was a "no-show" in the Northeast. This coming November, I know ONE thing...I'll be voting Democratic, and NOT for Hillary. But that's still nine months away. EXACTLY! Much can change by then, and it probably will. Have a great Tuesday.

Click on the title of this post for the entire WPRI news flash. Thanks for stopping by yet again.

Bedard Deal Between Mariners And Orioles Is Close

Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard finally might be moving west. The Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles are in the final stages of a possible trade that would invole multiple players. The is from yesterday's ESPN dot com. I'll be back with a comment after you read this...

"The long-awaited Erik Bedard trade to the Mariners reportedly may be nearing completion. Erik Bedard was good in his first 14 starts of 2007 but he was absolutely great in his second 14 starts.
The Baltimore Sun and Seattle Post-Intelligencer are reporting that Mariners outfielder Adam Jones -- the key prospect the Orioles are expected to receive for Bedard -- is in Baltimore to take a physical.
The Sun, citing an unnamed source, reported Monday that the trade of Bedard from Baltimore to Seattle is pending only completion of physicals. The newspaper reported that if Jones passes his physical, a trade could be announced as soon as Monday.
Baltimore is expected to receive a package of players from Seattle that includes Jones, reliever George Sherrill and pitching prospect Chris Tillman."

Peter here, and in the second half of 2007, Bedard went 9-1 with an ERA of 3.72. Those are quality numbers for ANY pitcher on the planet, and the Mariners will be a much better team because of him. And the Red Sox, MY team, will be seeing far less of Erik if he is traded to a west coast team, and that translates to more wins for the good guys.

In other news, Andy Pettitte spoke before a Congressional committee yesterday in preparation for his hearing later in the month. This is from the Boston Herald...

"Roger Clemens, seven-time Cy Young Award, winner is scheduled to give a deposition to lawyers from a congressional committee behind closed doors Tuesday, one day after his former New York Yankees teammate and workout partner Andy Pettitte delivered sworn testimony for about 2�½ hours.
Both pitchers’ private interviews with staff members from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are part of the preparation for a Feb. 13 hearing. That public session is expected to focus on allegations made in the Mitchell Report by trainer Brian McNamee that he injected Clemens more than a dozen times with performance enhancers.
The 45-year-old Clemens ranks eighth in major league history with 354 career wins. He put off retirement yet again in 2007, returning to the Yankees in June and going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA.
"Roger is not going to take the Fifth Amendment," one of Clemens’ lawyers, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement e-mailed by spokesman Joe Householder. "He is going to answer the committee’s questions truthfully under oath."

Peter here, and I must echo that last statement. Roger, DO NOT PLEAD the 5th, for that would make you seem guilty as sin, and TELL THE TRUTH! That's all. Words of wisdom? Maybe. It all up to you now, Rocket Man.

Hey, the Red Sox news is slim and none. And there's nothing wrong with that. It WOULD be nice to see 'Tek get a contract year he is eligible for free agency! And signing Tito to a multi-year deal would be nice, too. We're approaching the one week mark before pitchers and catchers are due to report for Spring Training, and time is running out. I'm sure Varitek would not want to negotiate once the regular season begins, but the Red Sox front office has time. Hey, I hope you all enjoy the NY Giants' victory parade at 11AM this morning (yeah, right), but again, they DO deserve to be congratulated...THEY OUTCOACHED BILL BELICHICK AT HIS FORTE...DEFENSE. 'Nuff said.

Have a great Tuesday as another week begins to fly by. Please click on the title for the entire Boston Herald article concerning Roger and his FIRST day before Congress. As always, BE SAFE AND BE WELL. And I'd love it if you left me some comments...I'll reply to each and every one. RED SOX FOREVER. And ever!!!!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Giants SHOCK Patriots And Win Super Bowl

The New York Giants are the World Champions after they beat the previously undefeated New England Patriots by a score of 17-14. The Giant's defensive coordinator outcoached defensive specialist Bill Belichick, using a vast array of blitzes to keep the pressure on Tom Brady and his offensive line as they held the record-setting Patriots' offense to a mere two touchdowns. The fourth quarter started with a 7-3 score, but MVP Eli Manning twice marched his team down the field for touchdowns, and the Patriots could not retaliate. In one remarkable play, Manning thrice avoided being tackled, which would have spelled doom for the Giants and an undefeated season for New England. Somehow, someway he emerged from the pack of would-be tacklers and connected to Plaxico Burress. That was a miracle play, and I must congratulate the New York Giants, their coaches and their fans. Wow, what a great game! And the fourth quarter was one for the ages. Finally, a Super Bowl that was better than the commercials!

Now I know why I dislike making predictions. I guessed in yesterday's post that the final score would be 34-21. Not even close, Peter! There will be a victory parade in the Big Apple tomorrow as the New York sports fans celebrate their team's victory. Those same fans will be quick to point out the revenge factor after their hearts were soiled by a Red Sox World Championship. But the Super Bowl and the NFL have absolutely NOTHING to do with the World Series and Major League Baseball.

Again, my heartfelt congratulations to the New York Giants. The Patriots were quite simply outcoached. Period. If you have a chance, click on the title of this post for Jeff Jacob's column about last night's stunner. He writes so well for the Hartford Courant, and I know you'll enjoy his words. The column is entitled "HISTORY? NOT SO FAST." My Constant Readers, enjoy your Monday, and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl Sunday February 3, 2008...And A Super Pick

Good morning on this Super Bowl Sunday. The kickoff of the game is scheduled for 6:18PM EST, and I can't wait. This yearly extravaganza marks the end of the football mindset of American sports fans and the beginning of baseball hopes and dreams for all. Being a Red Sox fan, 2008 promises to be a year filled with surprises and realistic hope, for the Boston Red Sox are indeed the favorites to take it all home yet again. Wouldn't that be nice! But today, if only for a post or two, my thoughts are centered on the big game between the surprising New York Giants and the unblemished and undefeated New England Patriots. If the Pats win, they would finish the season undefeated, with a 19-0 record. Nobody will surpass that mark. EVER. The Brady injury, if it WAS an injury, will not affect the outcome of the game. Not one whit. But if the Giant's Plaxico Burress, said to have ankle and knee woes, is in any way hampered by his injuries, New York would be in trouble. BIG TROUBLE. I think the Giants, who listed him as questionable for the game, have been downplaying the true extent of his injuries. And that does not bode well for the Big Apple team.

MY PREDICTED FINAL SCORE IS THIS...34-21 Patriots. THAT'S RIGHT...34-21. The Pats can win even if Randy Moss has zero receptions. The Giants CANNOT win without a 100% healthy Plaxico Burress. It just might come down to offensive depth, and if you study the two teams, you'll realize that New England has a leg up on the Yankees in helmets. So I'm sticking with a prediction that came to me in a mind flash last weekend...sometimes my mind flashes are eerily prophetic. I don't question them, I just remember them. Well, today I shared that "mind flash" with every one of you. If the point spread still stands at 12, the Patriots will cover. Yes, the Patriots will COVER.

In Boston Red Sox news, well, there ain't any. Not today. Pigskin is in the air and in the eyes of many Americans, those who love the game of football or those who love those expensive Super Bowl commercials. And this year will be the first time that 99% of the commercials will be in Hi-Definition. It costs a sponser the same exact price for a 30 second spot, whether it be in standard definition or the superior High Definition. So it makes sense to me that the sponser would want the best presentation possible for the viewer/consumer to see. Tens and tens of millions will be watching. High definition assures the money paying advertiser that their product will look as "appetizing as possible." More than 1.5 million Hi-Def sets have been sold nationwide in the second half of January alone! TV/electronics did not suffer from the diminished Christmas selling season, and I'm sure those who made the Hi-Def transformation will be happy all year long. I know I've been, and I switched to Hi-Def in July of 2005. Or was it '04? HMMM. It doesn't matter...I'll NEVER go back!

So again, if I may...the final score will be 34-21 Patriots, and they will cover the spread by one half to one point. Don't quote me on that and rush out to call your "betting helper," by the way. I do not bet on the teams that I love, if at all. My heart gets in the way, and those of you who know me know that I have a huge heart.

Enjoy this special Sunday, and if you're going to be out on the roads driving to friends and family, be careful out there. On Super Bowl Sunday, there are people on the roads who have consumed an "adult beverage" or six and insist they are OK to drive. WATCH THE OTHER GUY, for he or she might do something that defies logic. And I need every one of you back tomorrow. My readers, and that means YOU, are so special to me, and I will always sing your praises.

So, in closing, be safe, be well, and enjoy yourselves. You deserve it! I'd love to read your comments or predictions, and I will respond to each and every one. HAVE A SUPER SUNDAY!! And click on the title for Dan Shaughnessy's Super Bowl preview. HAVE FUN TODAY! That's what Super Sunday is there for! And as always, BE SAFE.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The New York Mets Welcome Johan Santana With Open Arms And An Open Bank Vault

Yesterday, the New York Mets succesfully signed lefty pitcher Johan Santana to a six year deal worth a total of $137.5 million bucks. To say he is locked up would be an utter understatement. I say good for the Mets! They are my favorite National League team, by far. The deal makes Santana the highest paid pitcher in all of baseball and the fourth highest paid PLAYER in the entire big leagues. Ahead of him are Yankees Alex Rodriguez at $275 million and Derek Jeter at $189 million. Rounding out that elite quartet is our very own Manny Ramirez at $160 million. So I must say congratulations to Johan Santana, and to his suddenly richer agent, AND to the Metsies. Santana will be pitching in the National League, so I wish him the very best of everything. With him, the Mets will go a long way, and his aquisition will ease the sudden September departure that every Met fan and team member went through at the end of the '07 season.

In Boston Red Sox news, Manny Ramirez spoke to the media in Tempe, Arizona, and uttered words that will make every one of you happy. Happy, that is, if you're a Red Sox fan. Here's a part of Boston Globe sportswriter Rob Bradford's article, which is linked fully when you click on this post's title. I'll be back with a couple of comments after you read this. it and smile!
"Manny Ramirez confirmed yesterday that he will be in Fort Myers for the Red Sox [team stats]’ official reporting date for position players.
“I’ll be there on the 21st (of February),” he said, soaked with sweat following a two-hour workout with teammate Kevin Youkilis and Minnesota infielder Nick Punto.
“Every year is the same,” Ramirez added when asked if he was excited about heading to spring training. “I look forward to ’08, ’09 and maybe move on.”
Ramirez, who has been working out here at Athletes’ Performance since early December, is clearly focused on making the Red Sox’ decision whether to pick up his $20 million team option for 2009 a difficult one. He also has no intention of drifting off into the sunset after the completion of his current contract, which also includes a $20 million team option for 2010.
“I want to be like Julio Franco and play until I’m 48,” said Ramirez, who is planning on leaving Arizona early next week. “And if you want to do it, this is the right place to come."
Peter here, and Manny, you're saying all the right words! And you're in the right place, too. I believe you mean every one of those words. I really do. We look forward to the 2008 season, a season when your production numbers will increase and those '07 debilitating and nagging injuries will vanish completely. In short, WE LOVE YOU! And Papi is coming back healthy after knee surgery, so the 3-4 spots in the batting order will be as fearsome as they've EVER been. And that's good for us...bad for our opponents.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention this...the New York Giants have scheduled their "victory" parade for Tuesday, February 5th. I have a question. What if they held a parade, and no one came?

Don't forget to click on the title of this post for the Rob Bradford article. And enjoy your Saturday, Super Bowl Eve Day, I guess we can call it. If you have any comments, any at all, please leave them in the comment section. And if you have a Super Bowl prediction, I'd love to hear it, too. I have the final score right here (in my brain), and I will unveil it (the prediction, not my brain!) when I write and publish my Sunday morning Super Bowl Post. So stay tuned, right here. And never forget this...BE SAFE out there! Always and forever.