Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lowell OK After Surgery

It seems that Boston Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell's surgery on his right thumb went well. This is from The Boston Globe's EXTRA BASES, with my thanks. Here you go...

"According to a source, Mike Lowell was found to have a 95-percent tear in the radial collateral ligament in his thumb when Dr. Donald Sheridan operated on him today (Wednesday). The surgery went well, Lowell will return to his home in Florida tomorrow and will need 6-8 weeks of recovery. That will have him ready to resume baseball activities during spring training. What that means in terms of being ready for Opening Day is uncertain."

Knowing Mikey, he'll be ready...if he's not traded. I don't think any MLB team will include him in their plans until he proves in spring training that he's sound, healthy and ready to have a good season. But if that's the case, Theo, WHY TRADE HIM?? If he's right and feeling good, I WANT HIM TO BE OUR GUY AT THIRD. No ifs, ands or buts.

That's my quickie post for this 31st day of December, 2009, the last day of the decade. Wow, did that fly by! I hope you have a wonderful New Years Day weekend, all three days of it. Be careful on the roads and as always, BE WELL.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to one and all! See you next year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dave Marsh On Bruce Springsteen

This one needs no introduction. Here it is in full. Enjoy it like I did. Thanks..

"After Born in the U.S.A., I used to tell people who asked what it was like to know Bruce Springsteen that when he left on that tour, he was my friend who used to come over and sit on the couch and afterward, he and Clarence Clemons had become Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.
This was a lie. After the tour, he was still my friend, and still sat on the couch. Other people may have thought he and the Big Man were characters out of an American fable but Bruce knew better. That is not to say that he didn't live out, write out, act out and play out the American dream about as well as anyone ever has, even down to writing his own second act with The Rising and the records that followed it.
I've been writing about popular culture, as boy and journalist, for 40 years. In that time I've known or at least interviewed or met most of the classic rock stars. None of them has kept his persona so close to his person and, for certain, no artist I know in any medium has worked so diligently as Bruce Springsteen to keep his work personal without sacrificing what makes it universal, to at least a large swathe of his fellow world-citizens.
Bruce pulls this off because he's blessed with a singular fearlessness about being ordinary, an unsurpassed ability to turn the everyday (I was going to say "the quotidian," but he wouldn't) into drama and romance. He also possesses a native sense of stagecraft and narrative; an abiding belief in the verities of rock 'n' roll, particularly devotion to repetition and the backbeat; a subtle understanding of the minute distance between Saturday night and Sunday morning; a concrete determination to reach the lowest and the most distant people in his universe; a genius for creating musical anthems and lyrical summations; a stock of characters so deep it seems impossible that all of them aren't as real as Madame Marie; a faith in the genius of simplicity and a refusal to apologize for his own complexity.

OK, that's the art stuff. You probably want to know about the person.

A friend of mine claims that Bruce once served him the best turkey sandwich ever made. (I was there. It was really, really, really good.) Bruce also has excellent taste in, among other things, tequila, bourbon, soul and gospel music, painting and photography, dogs and musical instruments. I know him just well enough to be unsure I know him (as opposed to his work) deeply, but when the darkest deal went down for my family, he was there with all he had. Which is to say, I am quite sure he knows me.
Now that Bruce has boogalooed down Broadway and come back home with the loot, he's probably got enough money to run for Senator from New Jersey, if not for mayor of New York. But when someone asked if I thought he'd stand for office, the answer came easily: "Why would he want a job with less power and prestige than the one he's already got?" In the history of the United States, no Senator has ever had hundreds of fans crowd into a side street, and stand all night long beneath a hotel balcony to serenade him with his own songs, which is what happens when Bruce plays Barcelona.
I don't think of Bruce as very political, despite his involvement in the last couple of Presidential campaigns. He's really a moral actor, a person of strong convictions whose basic life experiences, starting with an economically insecure childhood and then a struggle through the ranks of professional musicianship along the Jersey store (OK, it was more a rocket ride than a struggle, but he still didn't get paid much). His root allegiances, as derived from his songs because they are the most trustworthy source, are to people endangered, erased or forgotten-Vietnam vets, the homeless, the unemployed, single mothers, unwanted immigrants, the broke, the hungry, the uprooted, and those who travel the turnpike with broken radios.
Bruce Springsteen may someday be known as a first-rate photographer, a slapdash but hilarious cartoonist, one of the consummate rock 'n' roll guitar players and, for that matter, as one of the greatest blue-eyed soul singers ever. He already is all those things, it's just a matter of the world figuring it out. He is as private as any public figure of our time. I don't mean private as in secluded or hidden. He doesn't just still own a house in central New Jersey, where he grew up. He actually lives there: Walks down the sidewalk with his kids, shops in the stores with his wife, parks on the street, hits the beach and the gym as often as time will allow, these days even does some important recording (his version of work) there. Not that nothing's changed: I bet he doesn't get as many speeding tickets as in the old days.

Let's see, what have I left out. Ah yes: Love.

Love is Bruce Springsteen's center, the one tour sponsor he's ever acknowledged, the thing he wanted to know at the beginning (and yes, he tells us, it is real). I'm not talking about Bruce as co-crafter of a long-term marriage with a fellow artist or as the very active father of three terrific kids. Once he got going he made doing that stuff look a lot easier than it is. More to tonight's point, Bruce is the wizard of nurturing an audience toward community.
It's impossible to overestimate how much he has given the people who share his musical life, the tramps like us, the ones who had a notion, the people working on their dreams and counting on a miracle. On stage, he lets those folks get close, basks in their adoration and then he pours it right back out to them. More important, he trusts them to share it, with each other and with strangers. That's really what his nightly talk about this city's food bank or that town's shelter for battered women is about. His train that's bound for glory carries saints and sinners, losers and winners, whores and gamblers, fools and kings, the brokenhearted, thieves and souls departed. His train is not destined for a metal-flake city on a hill; it comes from down in the valley and while it doesn't intend to stay there, it doesn't mean to forget it, either.
He set out to change himself and he wound up, in a hundred little ways and a couple of big ones, changing the world or our perceptions of it, which is pretty much the same thing. In the process, he has not remained the same person-because that would be a colossal failure-but he has become something like the guy he wanted to be. He has walked tall, finding poetry in guys wearing tube socks and women at checkout stands, has truly rocked all over the world and found the rock 'n' roll heart of Ellis Island. He's made us proud of our nation when we should have been and left us ashamed of its behavior when that needed to be said.

Let me end with the way I feel about him, as a friend and as an artist, and let me say it directly: Bruce is the brother I would like to have, and more than that, he is the sort of person whose brother I would like to be worthy of being."
-Dave Marsh

Well written, Dave. I had tears in my eyes. You floored me with your wonderful words. I know that was a long piece but for those of you who read it...I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Pete

BAY GOES TO THE METS..Gonzales Rumors Are Just That..Rumors

Ex-Boston Red Sox left fielder Jason Bay has agreed to a four year, $66 million deal with the New York Mets. The contract also has a vesting option for a fifth year that could boost the value of the contract to $80 million. That was probably the difference maker between the Mets' negotiations and those of the Red Sox. Speaking of Boston, here's Youk...

“It’s definitely going to be tough for all of us,’’ Kevin Youkilis said. “Jason was a close friend. A joy to play with him. Great ballplayer. But it’s a business, things happen. It’s one of those business moves on each side. It just didn’t work out right. I wish him the best in New York. Hopefully we get to see him in the World Series.’’

A major-league scout described the Jason Bay we Red Sox fans know so well...

"He's strictly a fastball hitter, a guess hitter," said a major-league scout who spoke on condition of anonymity. "When he's guessing right, he's OK. He can hit home runs, but he's not a guy who's going to turn your club around. He's OK in the outfield. He doesn't throw that well. But he's got that one thing - power."

The Red Sox would not even discuss the possibility of a fifth was out of the question, not even on the board. So Jason Bay will go to Flushing and try to help a team that finished 70-92 in 2009. I thought he wanted to go to a ball club that had a chance to win it all. I guess not but I do wish him the best of luck. I really do...that team will need every ounce of his power and maybe, just maybe, as Youk said, we'll see him in the World Series. Wouldn't that be nice?

The rumors that swirled and whirled around the baseball universe that Adrian Gonzales MIGHT be coming to Boston in a multi-player deal of some sorts has been shot down..for now. ESPN Chicago dot com's Bruce Levine reported this...

"Although the Red Sox and Cubs have talked recently about other matchups, a deal that would send pitcher Andrew Cashner and Josh Vitters as well as a third minor-leaguer to San Diego, which would send first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to Boston, has not been broached."

MLB's Peter Gammons, a guy we all know and respect, says it would be impossible for the Padres to even think about trading Gonzalez before July. So don't expect something from almost nothing. I think Casey Kotchman will be our 2010 first baseman. Defensively, he is OUTSTANDING (see the post below). The Boston Red Sox will have one of the best defensive teams in all of baseball. Pitching too, top to bottom. Will they score enough runs? Ay, that's the rub. We'll see, won't we?

Click on the title of this post to be linked to a foxsports dot com article on the AGonz mystery and as always, BE WELL. Hey, what do you think? IF IT WAS POSSIBLE, would you part with Ells and Buchholz for a power hitting defensively great first baseman? The price would be high! Let me know with your comments. I'll see you..soon.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

UCONN Women Huskies Win 50th In A Row...The Boston Red Sox New First Baseman-Casey Kotchman

The National Champion University Of Connecticut women's basketball team traveled to Tallahasse, Florida to play 12th ranked Florida State. FSU gave UCONN a tough time last year and last night was no different. The Huskies prevailed by pulling away in the second half, winning by a score of 78-59. They were led by their center, Tina Charles, who is sure to be the top pick in the WNBA draft. UCONN led 41-35 at halftime but took over from there, wearing their opponent down as only THEY can do. They have now won 50 (!!) games in a row, all by double digits. Not bad, Huskies, not bad at all. Simply the best.

In Boston Red Sox news, it looks more and more like our new first baseman will be none other than Casey Kotchman. If the name doesn't sound familiar, it will soon. He is a superb defensive first baseman. In fact, his .998 fielding percentage is the best for any player with more than 3,500 at bats. .998? That's unbelievable, unfathomable, unreal! Youk will move to third and be very happy there. Want to know more about Kotchman? Here's is Todd Claus, director of Latin American scouting for the Boston Red Sox...

“It’s going to be exciting to see what he does,” Claus said yesterday. “He probably hasn’t seen his prime yet. I think any manager would love to have a guy like that on his team. He can hit off the bench. He can certainly play a substantial amount of time. He can handle pressure. This guy has a flat, compact swing,” Claus said. “It’s not really a lofted swing. He’s a doubles guy. I think he’s going to develop more power. I’d venture to say there are other people in the organization that share those thoughts. He’s probably in the top two of best defensive first basemen I’ve ever been around, and it’s hard for me to decide who’s No. 1,” Claus said. “Kevin Youkilis fits into that category for winning a Gold Glove, but Casey is without question a Gold Glove-type defender.”

I was not aware of any of this. Casey was having a great season last year until he was hit in the head with a fastball. He wasn't the same after that but he's fine right now. Having him at first will negate the need to trade the farm for a power bat. The infield, with Youk and Pedroia PLUS Scutaro and Kotchman, should be one of the best in all of major league baseball. Add that fact to the outfield's addition of "I can catch anything" Mike Cameron and you have a very sound defensive ballclub, one of the best. Boston's starting rotation and bullpen complete the picture. Nice job, Theo.

Three more days left in this year 2009. Make the most of them. You can click on this post's title to be zapped to the Boston Globe's Red Sox home page for a great article on Mikey Lowell. As always, BE WELL. I'll see you soon...count on it. As long as I'm breathing, I ain't leaving. Bye.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dwindling Decade Part Two

Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated wrote an interesting article that I stumbled upon over at SI dot com. It categorically lists the best players and teams of the decade. I thought, in this very slow baseball news time of the year (can you say none at all ?), I'd run down a smattering of them with my comments following each one. Here we go...

PLAYER OF THE DECADE:Albert Pujols, Cardinals

"Look at these numbers: .314 batting average, 40 doubles, 34 homers, 127 RBIs, 118 runs. Those numbers make up Pujols' worst season this decade. In 2009 Pujols stole 16 bases, walked 115 times and hit 47 homers -- all career highs. It seems impossible, but he's getting better."

The numbers are hard, no, impossible to argue with. He is a most valuable player in the truest sense and St. Louis is very lucky to have him. Now maybe they could surround him with some better players?

BEST MANAGER: Joe Torre, Yankees and Dodgers

"He is the only manager to take his team to the playoffs every year this decade, and he did it with two different teams. After all his success in New York, he led the Dodgers to consecutive division titles."

Posnanski's first sentence says it all. How can a manager do any better? Sure, Terry Francona won two World Series, but making the playoffs every year for a decade is certainly a remarkable feat. I've always liked Torre, even when he managed the pinstripers. I'll never forget this moment. It was Fenway Park as the Bombers were playing the Red Sox. It was also Joe's first game back after heart surgery and as he brought the lineup card to home plate, the Fenway Faithful rose as one and gave him a two minute standing ovation. Torre was emotionally hit hard as tears of gratitude filled his eyes. Unbelievably unforgettable.

BEST GM: Theo Epstein, Red Sox

"The decade's big moment was the Red Sox -- after 80-plus years of angst and drama -- finally winning the World Series and then, just three years later, winning it again. Epstein was at the heart of things, blending various talents, making bold moves when they felt right and hiring Terry Francona as manager."

I have just one word on this choice...AMEN.


"They reached the playoffs nine out of 10 years, won four pennants and two World Series and got a $1.5 billion stadium built. It's one of the best decades in Yankees history, and that's saying something."

As Posnanski mentioned in his piece, the Yankees spent far more money than any other team to get where they wanted to go, so to me, that taints the whole choice. But they did what they did and it worked. I still hate 'em.


"The Pirates had a losing record every year, which made them a strong candidate, but no team in baseball lost as much as the Royals. "

They were the doormat team of the decade, with the Pirates a close second. You'd think with all the upper-tier draft picks awarded to the less successful teams, a club like the Royals should have done something. But noooo. Where's George Brett when you need him?

The original article from SI dot com has much more and if you click on this post's title, you can see it all. So click away! I hope your Christmas holiday weekend was wonderful and your trip home a safe one. I'll see you tomorrow when there may or may not be a little more baseball news. Between Christmas and New Years, the news is slim. As always, BE WELL. See ya.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Best Pitchers of This Dwindling Decade

The Boston Herald's John Tomase wrote a very interesting piece in the Sunday Herald. He details his picks of the best baseball players of this decade, the first ten years of the twenty first century. His picks for best righty, lefty and reliever follow, with my comments, too.

RIGHT-HANDED PITCHER....Pedro "Petey" Martinez

I could never argue with John's choice of Pedro. At his prime, he was on his own level, bar none, unreachable. He was simply a mound wizard. Just looking at his stats from 2000-2003, when he went 59-17 with a 2.11 (!!!!!) ERA says it all.

LEFT-HANDED PITCHER: Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks/Yankees/Giants

In his prime, Randy was also untouchable. With his lanky frame and off-angle deliveries to the plate, he was the toughest lefty in the land. 12 shutouts, 2,182 K's and a 3.34 ERA ...WOW.

CLOSER: Mariano Rivera

THERE AIN'T ANY OTHER. Sorry Paps, he's the best, year after year after year after....

Have a great Sunday, everyone, and thank you for stopping by. As always, BE WELL.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's Been Almost 90 Years, Bambino

Michael K. Bohn, author and writer of this Boston Herald piece that appeared today, the day after Christmas, wrote about a sports happening of momentous proportions. My thanks go out to him.

So what happened on January 5, 1920? I'll tell you...the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the NY Yankees for cash, cash the Boston owner sorely needed. A collosal mistake? I'd say it was the biggest boo-boo any sports owner ever committed, BAR NONE. January 5, 2010, which is coming up really soon, will mark ninety years since the Babe left Boston as a pitcher and went to NYC and became an outfielder and THE home run king. What might have been had he stayed in Boston? God only knows. He's the only one. Here's a blurb from the book, courtesy of Michael K. Bohn. Thanks, Michael...


The following is an excerpt from "Heroes & Ballyhoo: How the Golden Age of the 1920s Transformed American Sports" by Michael K. Bohn:

"Ruth tipped his caddie as they walked from the 18th green toward the clubhouse. The Babe had just finished a golf game at Griffith Park, a public course located a few minutes from Hollywood. It was Sunday, January 4, 1920, and Ruth was enjoying his last few weeks on the West Coast before heading back to Boston with Helen. They had stayed after he concluded a series of exhibition games in November and December.

As he walked around the practice green, Ruth saw a short man on the clubhouse porch who looked a lot like the New York Yankees’ manager. The man approached Ruth. "I’m Miller Huggins, Babe. I’d like to talk to you." They had seen each other on the field every time the Red Sox and Yankees had played for the past two seasons, but Huggins introduced himself anyway..."


If you click on this post's title, you'll be zapped to the entire article. It has much more of that important meeting between Huggins and the Babe, one of the deepest and darkest developments in Boston Red Sox history. But hey, we broke the curse 86 years later and now, even though the pinstripers are TEMPORARILY the world champions, the future remains bright. That's the way we want it, isn't it? Please click on this post's title for the entire WILL enjoy.

I hope you and yours had a wonderful and safe Christmas Day. Be careful if you're going to be on the roads today or tomorrow. Return home safely. Thanks and as always, BE WELL. Click on that title! You'll be happy you did. See ya. Ho ho ho.

Friday, December 25, 2009


It's Christmas morning, December 25, 2009. 2010 is almost upon us. Where do the years go? I wanted to leave you with the words of John Lennon as he, Nadia and I wish you the best Christmas of them all...

Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun.
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young.

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear.

And so this is Christmas
For weak or for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong.
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight.

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear.

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun.

And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young.
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear.

War is over
If you want it.
War is over

Words and music by John Lennon 1972

Have a happy and healthy Christmas Day with family and friends. What could be better? I'll tell you...nothing. Love the ones you love more than ever and as always, BE WELL. Thanks for popping in to my little corner of the "blue nowhere." I appreciate it more than you'll ever know. God bless us every one.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay (Again) ?

Jason Bay has not had much luck since becoming a free agent. The Boston Red Sox offered him $60 million for four years of his services and the NY Mets made it $65 million. But his agent, Joe Urban, has been in touch with the Red Sox again. It would be great to have a monster bat like Jason's in the middle of the lineup but where would all the outfielders play? Would Mike Cameron only play when a lefty pitches, spelling JD Drew or Jacoby Ellsbury? Or maybe Ellsbury would be part of that mammoth trade we've all waited for but probably will not happen. I don't know...I want Jacoby's speed at the top of the lineup. I think that is essential. But having Bay back would certainly be sweet and Adrian Gonzalez along with him? Holy you-know-what! This is a job for Superman....errr, Theo. I'll leave it up to him. One thing's for sure and that is this...the Boston Red Sox could use another bopper bat. That's for sure. But at what cost? Boston's shopping days are most likely over (famous last words).

As you read in the post directly below this one, the national champion University of Connecticut women's basketball team pulled away in the second half and thumped number two Stanford by a score of 80-68. They were behind at the half, the first time that's happened in their 49 game double digit victory streak. So there's Connecticut and everybody else until someone beats them. I don't see that happening unless injury rules its ugly head. Please...NO.

It's Christmas Eve Day all around the world. I want to wish you a happy and healthy Christmas and I'll be back tomorrow morning with all the non-news. 'Tis the season for non-news, you know. Click on the title of this post for the Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs' take on Maya Moore and the UCONN game and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Still #1 UCONN Over # 2 Stanford...80-68

What a tremendous women's basketball game. That's all I can say. Here's what the AP just said...
Moore, Charles help No. 1 UConn beat Stanford
AP Basketball Writer

"HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Maya Moore scored 23 points and Tina Charles added 20 to help top-ranked UConn win its 49th straight game, an 80-68 victory over No. 2 Stanford on Wednesday night in front of a sellout crowd of 16,294.
The Huskies (10-0) won their first nine games this season by at least 25 points and an average of 46. UConn hadn't faced a team the caliber of the Cardinal, who the Huskies beat last season in the national semifinals en route to a perfect 39-0 record and sixth NCAA title.
The Cardinal (9-1) proved to be no match as UConn extended the third-longest winning streak in women's basketball history. UConn won 70 straight from 2001-03 and Louisiana Tech had a 54-game streak from 1980-82."

49 games in a row for the UCONN Women Huskies. DOUBLE FIGURES every one! Again, number two in the nation Stanford 68, number one champions University of Connecticut 80

I'll be back in the morning.

Agreement Between Umps & MLB...Lowell Musings...# 1 Versus #2 In Women's College Basketball Tonight

Do you remember the atrocious and incredibly botched calls (plural...yes, there were many) made by the umpires in last year's baseball post season? Apparently, major league baseball and the umpires are trying to do something about it. Here is the entire Associated Press release from yesterday...
NEW YORK—"Major League Baseball and its umpires have completed negotiations for a new labor contract and are likely to announce an agreement Wednesday, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press.
The sides worked into Tuesday evening to reach the deal. Owners are umpires hope to ratify the agreement next month.
Management has been seeking to gain increased flexibility on postseason assignments as part of the agreement, which could allow umpires to work the World Series in consecutive seasons. Following a series of missed calls during the playoffs, MLB went with an all veteran crew of six umpires in this year's World Series."
In my opinion, the umpires chosen to handle the league division and league championship series as well as the big one, the World Series, must be the cream of the crop. I still think some form of instant replay review must be installed and in use for close calls at the bags or at the plate as well as fly balls being called foul or a home run. THAT IS A MUST IN MY BOOK. Let's hope this agreement helps.

On another subject, Mike Lowell, I have this observation. He was unhappy last year when his role was diminished with the acquisition of the valuable Victor Martinez. In fact, he wanted out. Well, he almost got his wish but his thumb got in the way. Here he is...

“I understand the business,’’ Lowell said. “I have no problem in them shopping me around. But I would have preferred to have this surgery in October once the season was officially over if the severity of the injury had been known then. I don’t want to race to spring training.’’

Mike, you should have just had the surgery. As for his future, he said this...

“I have no idea. I have absolutely no idea. That’s not my department.’’

That makes two of us. In an ideal world, he would accept a diminished role. Face it, he doesn't have the range at the hot corner because of his hip. He could play there from time to time if needed. He could also DH when the Red Sox are facing a lefty and pinch hit at ANY needed time. WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?? He is a great guy to have on the team and the Boston brass would not be saving that much money by trading him. Of the $12 million due to him in 2010, Boston was ready to pay $9 million just to acquire Max Ramirez from the Rangers. Max who? Mikey's place is here...I hope to hell he stays.

Lastly, there is a tremendous women's college basketball game coming up at 5:30pm EST tonight and most of you will be able to see it. It's on ESPN 2 and ESPN 2 HD. Number two Stanford will play the number one world champion Connecticut Huskies. The Cardinal has a record of 9-0, the Huskies an equally impressive 9-0. The game will be at the XL Center smack in the middle of downtown Hartford and by the 5:30pm EST game time, it will be a sellout, as well it should. If you're preparing dinner and you want to watch the nation's two best women's teams in a December battle, turn that television to ESPN2. Women's basketball? The way these two teams play...OH YEAH. Who knows? You might be amazed.

Have a great Hump Day Wednesday. Nadia and I are not getting along right now but that's a story for another day. I love her, though, through the thick and through the thin. Please click on this post's title for more on the Stanford/UCONN battle and as always, BE WELL. Thanks. GO HUSKIES!! 5:30pm tonight on ESPN2.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Pinstriped Vasquez

Yes, the Yankees delved into their bottomless wallets again. More tomorrow.

Hey, Theo isn't finished yet, Yankee fans.

Knowing That Thumb...Part Who Knows????

My thanks go out to OVER THE MONSTER. They are great guys and great news gathering members of Red Sox Nation. In my last post I mentioned could the Boston Red Sox NOT know about the right thumb injury to Mike Lowell? Well, it turns out they did and maybe were trying to pull a fast one over the Texas Rangers. Here's Mikey...

"I was in constant and open communication about my thumb situation from the moment it happened to every week after," he said."I’ve had very open and honest communication with the training and medical staff," Lowell added. "The day this thing happened it was X-rayed and I told them about the pain, which was Oct. 2. That’s why I didn’t play the other two games. We taped it up in a way that we thought would help me in the postseason. They thought it might be a strain or a bone bruise. I don’t want to lay blame on anybody because in ‘07 my other thumb got hurt and they thought it was a strain as well and it ended up being that way and everything settled down nice and easy."

So the Boston Red Sox WILL end up with Mr. Mike Lowell. I think that's great!!! I have more to say but I need more time to digest everything. I'm sure Theo will do the right thing. Ya know what? The right thing might be doing nothing! And remember...Jason Bay is still teamless.

Click on this post's title for more on the Sox and as always, BE WELL. Thanks for popping in.

Monday, December 21, 2009

More On Lowell's Thumb

According to Boston Red Sox assistant general manager Ben Cherington, the Boston medical staff says that right-thumb-ailing Mike Lowell should be ready to go,100%, by mid-February. That's great news. I was wondering why the club did not know that Mikey was injured, or where. Cherington had this to say...

"Even at the end of the playoffs, in our exit physical, he barely made mention of his thumb," Cherington said in the interview. "It's just one of those things as a player you get used to being a little dinged up at the end of the season. I think that's how he felt it. And then Mike, as many players do, sort of took his customary break after the season, let the body heal and then when he went to pick up a bat again recently as per his normal schedule he still felt a little bit in there and so wanted to get it checked out."

I guess I understand how it could happen but you wouldn't think it would in a big league baseball physical. Cherington went on...

"Well, I think the main thing for us now is just to help Mike get healthy. He's been a big part of our team for the last several years and the trade, as we talked to Texas, it wasn't about not wanting Mike Lowell. It was about possibly making a move to get a player we liked back and give us a little bit of financial flexibility to do some other things. Mike's an excellent hitter, an excellent hitter at Fenway Park, and so he'll be an important part of our team and certainly if there's interest down the road we can consider that."

At first, Cherington implied that the team DOES NOT LIKE Mike Lowell. In fact, he came right out and said it. Read the second and third sentence of that last quote. To me, having Mike Lowell on the Boston Red Sox gives the team MUCH more flexibility. If he's coming back to spring training at 100%, the possibilities are endless. He can play an occasional third, spelling Youk, he could DH against lefties (way important if Papi isn't going well or when a lefty pitches) and pinch hit when needed. Remember, with a good hand he can pop one out at any given time. He's still "Mr. Doubles." Theo can get Beltre or Gonzales and maybe an arm for the 'pen and finish this off-season rebuilding. He sure has made the Boston Red Sox a better ball club than last year. To be continued? I certainly hope so. One BIG bat would make me very content.

That's it for this Monday, Christmas week and a short one for most. Thanks for stopping in, leave a comment if you'd like and don't forget to click on this post's title for the Red Sox home page of the Boston Globe. As always, BE WELL.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mike Lowell Deal With Texas OFF

Boston Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell will not be going to the Texas Rangers after all. The deal is off because the Rangers, when they examined Mikey's right thumb, found a torn radial collateral ligament that will require surgery. Lowell will have that procedure done next week. Is this good for the club? Money wise, it isn't. Boston was going to have to pay only (only??) $9 million of his $12 million salary. But that's not important. What happens if the Sox acquire first base slugger Adrian Gonzales. The original plan with Lowell gone would have been to move the versatile Kevin Youkilis to third to make room for him. That still might happen. Another logical alternative would have Lowell moving over to first if there is no power trade, but Red Sox manager Terry Francona has said he does not want to do that because Mike has never played that position before. Makes sense to me. How about slotting Lowell in at DH when the team faces a left hander. Hmmm. This is one where team management's judgement will determine Lowell's fate. He's being paid twelve million dollars no matter what, so they have to play him in some capacity.

In weather news, I'm sure most of you heard what happened when that monster nor'easter storm barreled up the eastern seaboard. Many cities, places not used to snow (DC) received 20 inches plus of the white stuff. That is staggering. Here in Connecticut, the numbers varied wildly. The southeastern third of the state was dumped on with twenty plus inches while the northwest portion received just four or five inches. I'm in north central Connecticut, so we're in the middle of those figures. On my mini-walk on this pre-dawn Sunday morning, it was snowing moderately with ten inches on the ground. At the most, two or three more inches will fall, and that's just fine with me. It will be a perfect morning for Nadia (when she wakes's only 5:30am) and I to have a snowball fight. She said she'd splatter me. I have a different opinion. But when the sun peeks over the horizon, it sure will be a pretty and brilliantly bright white sight. Sunglasses, please. I can't wait.

You can click on this post's title for more on the Mike Lowell situation on this peaceful (except for the plow drivers) Sunday morning and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Varitalk From Fenway...Huge Storm Approaches The Northeast (that's us!)

Boston Red Sox captain Jason Varitek took a couple laps around Fenway Park's ice rink with Bobby Orr. Believe me, he's much more at home with a glove on his left hand than skates on his feet, but he made it and answered some questions from the gathered media. He was asked about his new captain's role for the Red Sox...

“Just seeing it in a different role and seeing how my body adapts to maybe the less pounding, the less physical grind, that might be a good time for me to transition,’’ said Varitek, who will turn 38 on April 11. “I’m preparing as I always do, to be able to handle as much as I can. So I’ll prepare for a full-time role even though it’s dictated in another way. That way if something happens, I’m ready to go. I don’t think I’ll change my pride in my work. I don’t think that’s going to change, just the playing time is going to change. Vic’s going to play the majority of the time. For me, I kind of got in that role last year, so I had two months to kind of get used to it.’’

He will be Victor Martinez' backup and play one or two times every week, counseling the pitching staff all season long. This is another reason that the 2010 version of the Boston Red Sox will be better, power bat or no power bat. And if Victor is injured (he won't...please!), who better to step in.

Late this afternoon into early tomorrow afternoon, southern New England will join the states who have been tremendously affected by this Nor'easter type of storm. A nor'easter is a storm that moves up the eastern seaboard and with the right storm track, could and will deliver a ton of snow to the region. In this case, we expect one to two FEET of snow. You can click on this post's title for the very latest USA digital radar images. It takes about 30 seconds to load. When it does, use the blue bar at the bottom of the screen to scroll east (right) and the blue bar at the right side (north-south) of the screen until you can see New England and the middle Atlantic states. If you do it now, you will see what I mean. I love the snow...don't get me wrong, and a big nor'easter on a Sunday is ideal except for the retailers trying to make their bottom lines better during these days before Christmas.

Thanks for stopping in on this "calm before the storm" Saturday post. I wish you the best, click on the title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Who's On First? Whaa??

Hello on this single digit Friday morning. Brrr! I read a transcript of Terry Francona's comments on Boston radio station WEEI, home of the Boston Red Sox. Among them was this gem. Essentially, he said he'd be OK with Casey Kotchman playing first base, moving Youk to third, where he's very comfortable. Kotchman plays the position well and would bat near the bottom of the Sox order. Ellsbury, Buchholz etc. would stay if that were to happen. On the negative side, that much needed bat for the middle of the Boston order would be missing in action. Was Tito being coy with a misdirection play? To be honest, I really don't know. The Red Sox right now are a vastly improved team over the 2009 version, but so are the pinstripers. We'll see what Theo has up his sleeve...soon. Adding a bat like Adrian Gonzales would surely make the Boston Red Sox the favorites to win the 2010 World Series. That much is certain. Now we wait, and see. As Tom Petty wrote and sang, "the waiting is the hardest part."

We here in north central Connecticut have our eyes on a major storm that right now is affecting Georgia on its northeastern trek. How close it comes to us is all important. If it veers a little towards the east, we'll receive one to two inches of snow. But if it hugs the coast JUST A LITTLE, we will get one to two FEET. The Connecticut meteorologists have to carefully monitor the track of the storm and they'll know SO much more in twenty four hours. I'll let you know. Count on it.

Have a great Friday and a terrific weekend. If there is any breaking Red Sox news, you'll read it right here. Please come back often. I write a post every morning with more if necessary. Click on this post's title for more on the Sox and as always, BE WELL. Thanks.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Simple. Ellsbury Too Valuable For Red Sox To Include Him In A Trade For ANYONE!

That's right. Pure and simple. Jacoby Ellsbury, who while batting mostly leadoff, hit .301, stole 70 (!!) bases and scored 94 runs. He can take the extra base on a single even when it isn't given to him. It rarely is. That's why the San Diego Padres drool over him and would be willing to part with Adrian Gonzales if Jacoby is included in the distantly possible trade. Here's a unnamed NL scout...

“Boy, I’ll tell you, guys like Ellsbury are rare,’’ said one veteran National League executive. “That’s rare talent and athleticism in a baseball uniform. Believe me, I completely understand the Padres needing to get him in a deal for Gonzalez, but I’d think of another player or two to include if I were the Red Sox.’’

DAMN RIGHT. We, Red Sox Nation and the Fenway Faithful, have been treated to watching a still very young Jacoby Ellsbury improve every year. Ya know what? He will continue to do so. That's why if Red Sox general Manager Theo Epstein was on the phone with me right now, I would BEG him to substitute someone, anyone else. If the Padres have their hearts and souls set on Mr. Ellsbury, tough! That's just one guy's opinion but that guy happens to be me. Listen to this quote I just stumbled upon...

"'s not likely we trade Ellsbury,'' one Red Sox person said.

I hope that is an accurate statement. Boy, do I !

Mike Cameron and John Lackey were introduced to Red Sox Nation yesterday and donned their new Boston uniforms...well, at least half of them, the top half. Cameron will switch from his normal centerfield position and slide over to left. Jacoby? Boston manager Terry 'Tito" Francona was non-commital, suggesting some kind of blockbuster trade might be on the horizon, a trade that would give the Red Sox one more POWER a huge cost. My goodness, their starting rotation of Beckett, Lackey, Lester, Buchholz and Matsuzaka, with Timmy Wakefield available to spot start anytime, anywhere, is as good as anyone in baseball. Rotation...solid. Bullpen...almost solid. Bench...pretty darn good. Defense...extraordinary. So the big question in my mind is this...where will Jacoby be playing in 2010? I hope Theo uses his head. So far so good on that.

Please click on this post's title for the latest on what has been (so far) a very busy and productive off season for the Boston Red Sox, the team I love. Thank you for stopping by. I will be back as soon as I hear ANYTHING, and as always, BE WELL.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Red Sox & Adrian Gonzales???

The rumors I'm hearing are that the Boston Red Sox are going hard after the slugging first baseman who goes by the name of Adrian Gonzales. Wouldn't that be nice?

I'll have more, if anything or all, first thing in the morning. I'll see you then.

Lackey & Cameron Come To The Hub Of The Universe...Chapman Draws A Big Crowd

It will be a busy day at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts on this Hump Day Wednesday. There will be dual press conferences to introduce the media and Red Sox Nation to John Lackey and Mike Cameron. Cameron, a Gold Glove outfielder, will meet and greet the assembled mass at 11:30am EST. He'll be followed by John Lackey at 1:30 pm EST. Lackey was the best free agent starting pitcher available and Cameron is a defensive specialist who, along with Ellsbury and Drew, will cover a lot of ground in the outfield. He can hit, too. He's one of the few who have clubbed four taters in a game. Boston will still be seeking third baseman Adrian Beltre or they'll ink a first baseman with a potent bat, moving Youk to third permanently. Oh, an arm or two for the bullpen couldn't hurt, either.

The Cuban free agent pitcher Aroldis Chapman was on display yesterday in Houston for all to see (except the media). There were scouts for fifteen different MLB teams in attendance to watch a Chapman holding back from going full bore but still hitting 96 MPH with his fastball. He still needs refining and will start out at the Triple A level if he lands in Boston. The Sox have already offered him $15.5 million.

That's it, short but sweet for today. Have a great Wednesday as we start our slide into the weekend and then Christmas week, a short one for most. Click on this post's title for all you need to know from the Boston Globe and as always, BE WELL. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Red Sox Ink Cameron...It's Bye-Bye Jason Bay...Is Beltre Boston Bound?

The Boston Red Sox have made some rapid-fire moves in the past few days, moves that are important if Boston wants to overtake New York. Having already signed righthander John Lackey to a five year deal, the Sox have added defense to their outfield with the acquisition of Mike Cameron. He signed a two-year deal. Last year, Mike hit .250 for the Brewers but showed power with his 24 taters and 70 RBIs. Those numbers should go up this year with 81 games played at cozy Fenway Park. He is a Gold Glove outfielder who will probably play left, with Jacoby staying in center. That's where Ellsbury is most at home. He can burn the turf with his lightning-like speed. This also means that Jason Bay is NOT coming back. Hey Jason, it was fun while it lasted. There are swirls going around that the NY Yankees have been in contact with him. Speaking of the pinstripers, Hideki Matsui is now an Angel from Los Angeles. They'll use him at DH. Toronto's Roy Halladay is also changing cities, moving south to a very strong Philadelphia Phillies team, last year's best National League club. He'll be terrific there...that I know.

The Mike Lowell trade to the Rangers has been held up because Mikey might need another thumb surgery procedure. If the Sox ink Beltre, that would necessitate a trade eliminating Lowell from the Boston Red Sox mix. My opinion? If Mike Lowell's thumb and hip allow him to play a good defensive third base and be comfortable at the plate, KEEP HIM! If not, go after Adrian Beltre long and hard. He's another Gold Glover. Kevin Youkilis is very comfortable at the hot corner should the Sox land a first base power machine. Theo and company are far from finished. Remember, two bullpen arms are needed. On the bright side, two missing pieces of the puzzle are in place and that's good.

That's a wrap for a busy Tuesday morning, a warmish (38F) pre-dawn here in north central Connecticut. The cold air is on its way for the end of the week, a mid-January type of frigidity. I'm ready.

Click on this post's title for the latest Red Sox news and as always, BE WELL. Leave a comment if it strikes your fancy...I'll answer you. Thanks. I'll be seeing you. Soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Boston's Lucky Lackey?

This, from fox dot com, just a few minutes ago...

"Free-agent right-hander John Lackey underwent a physical Monday with the Red Sox, an indication that he is close to an agreement with the team, according to a major-league source.
The deal is expected to be similar to the five-year, $82.5 million contract that the Yankees awarded free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett last winter.
The Red Sox generally do not like to award five-year contracts, which is one of the sticking points in their negotiations with free-agent left fielder Jason Bay. It is not known whether they would guarantee Lackey five years, or award him a three- or four-year deal with options.
The signing of Lackey would represent the Red Sox's second major move of the offseason; the team earlier signed free-agent shortstop Marco Scutaro to a two-year, $12 million contract."

What a rotation the Boston Red Sox will have if this deal goes through. Lackey is a tough competitor and will be a superb number 3 (2?) starter with Beckett and Lester. GOOD JOB, Theo! Now, a bat, a big one with a couple bullpen arms.

Red Sox Are Under His Thumb

The Mike Lowell for Max Ramirez transaction has been held up because the team from Texas is concerned about Mikey's thumb, a nagging injury that has haunted him for a year or so. The assistant Red Sox GM said this...

“There are still things to go over, It would not be a complete surprise if it didn’t happen.’’

And the Boston manager, Terry "Tito" Francona...

“It’s hard, I can’t really comment on it because it hasn’t gone through,’’ Francona said.

The Red Sox would not only be trading one of the most beloved players on the team. In addition, they will give Texas $9 million just to alleviate any money woes for the Rangers with Mike's $12 million contract for his one remaining year. To me, a fan, this is SHEER LUNACY. Boston has many other needs and a Mike Lowell at third base or DHing or just sitting on the bench is far better than a Max Ramirez, who can hit but is sub-par behind the plate. I feel for Mike but I know the Fenway Faithful and Red Sox Nation are behind him 100%. I can imagine the thundering ovation he'll receive the first time he strides to the plate or takes the field this coming year. Oh yeah. He WILL be with the Boston Red Sox for the 2010 season...I feel it in my bones.

OK, let's face it. The Boston Red Sox will set their own price limits for any available free agents. If that player and his agent ask for too much, the Sox WILL NOT BUDGE. That's the way it is. Theo Epstein seems to be content to "wait for next year" when the crop of available players will be overwhelming. That's not the way Larry L. feels but wallet watching seems to be the way the Sox will go right now.

Have a great Monday. It's relatively warm outside at 35 degrees F. here in north central Connecticut. It almost feels like spring except for the white layer of snow atop the grass. But it's December 14th...that's normal. I hope every one of you had a great weekend. By the way, you can click on this post's title for all the sports news from SI dot com and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you soon. Promise.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Red Sox Roadblock Blues

Jason Bay's agent, Joe Urbon, had some harsh words for the Boston Red Sox yesterday. Now it seems that there is a major roadblock diminishing the chances of Bay returning to Fenway's leftfield. Bay rejected Boston's first offer of $60 million for four years. The Red Sox made a second offer, which I'm sure was higher but it seems it was not high enough. Here is Urbon...

“It’s pretty simple. We reject the Red Sox’ latest offer for a number of reasons but primarily the valuation of the offer isn’t where we think it should be, nor is it where other clubs have valued Jason in this marketplace,’’ Urbon said. “That’s just led Jason to be more interested in the other opportunities at this point, rather than with the Red Sox. We’ve been talking with them for 10 months,’’ Urbon said. “We’ve got to a point where, based on the offers we’ve received from other clubs, we needed to make it clear where we stand, and they’ve made it clear where they stand. If they want, they can reengage at some point in this process, but we’re not going to wait. We can’t wait. We have to go at the pace of the other clubs.’’

Doesn't sound good, does it? Boston, in my opinion, sticks to their guns when sometimes another $10 million or so would do the trick. I just don't understand. Theo Epstein has repeatedly said that retaining Bay is a huge priority. Will this slip through his and John Henry's fingers? We'll have to wait. But the Yankees have been busy and have vastly improved their outfield with the acquisition of Curtis Gunderson. Theo, can you hear me? Oh, the pinstripers released former ace pitcher Chien-Ming Wang. He'll find another club and will be ready to pitch by June. He was ineffective last year because of injury.

That's it...have a great Sunday. It's cold here in north central Connecticut (11 degrees F) but those temps will rebound into the middle 30s. Click on this post's title for the latest Bay news and as always, BE WELL.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

No Panic Needed...Tiger's Statement

Nick Carfado of the Boston Globe wrote a piece yesterday on this year's off season transactions so far. In it, he noted that only a handful of teams did anything at all...yet. There is plenty of time and plenty of wheeling and dealing in store for the Boston Red Sox. Read this quick quote...

“Are Boston fans panicking about the Yankees getting Granderson?’’ asked a National League executive. “I don’t think they have to worry. When all is said and done, Boston will be the most active team. They always are.’’

Well, I hope he's right because the holes are there. I also think that trading Mike Lowell for a back-up catcher says a couple things. It says to me (and Carfado) that the Sox are confident of landing a third baseman (Beltre?) or a first baseman (Gonzales?). Add a left fielder and three arms and that would do it. Easier said than done, huh? It HAS to be done.

In other news in a different sport, Friday night Tiger Woods announced he will take an indefinite leave of absence from the golf tour. Here is his entire release...


*I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try.
I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.
After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.
Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.


I think he's doing the exact right thing...repairing his family. I applaud him. Yes, what he did was wrong. It would have been almost OK if he wasn't married with children, BUT HE WAS.

That's it for this Saturday morning. I hope your weekend will be a great one. It's cold here in north central Connecticut. The thermometer stands at thirteen degrees F. But it's warm in here and that's all that matters.

You can click on the title of this post for all the sports news from SI dot com and as always and forever, BE WELL.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lowell Deal Still A Definite "Maybe"...UCONN Women Win Again (What Else Is New?)

The deal that would send Boston Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell to the Texas Rangers in exchange for catcher Max Ramirez was not completed before Theo Epstein and the other general managers returned home. That doesn't mean it won't happen, however. Here is Texas GM Jon Daniels (Jack's brother?) with a few words...

“Both clubs understand where the other one is and what we’re looking to do, and at the same time we’re also both looking at alternatives and what our options are,’’ Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "I think there’s always different layers to these things,’’ Daniels said. “Both clubs are kind of evaluating. I think the general parameters are understood. Both clubs need to decide whether it’s the right fit.’’

I don't know what to think about this whole thing. The very idea of a Mikey Lowell-less Red Sox team seems so strange, alien and foreign. Will they acquire a power hitting first baseman and move Youk to the hot corner? I have no idea but we all know that Boston needs another power bat and a full time leftfielder as well as a couple bullpen guys and a starter. Epstein has a long way to go to fill those needs.

Last night in Hartford, the national champion UCONN women's basketball team won its 47th game in a row, all by DOUBLE DIGITS, beating Hartford by a score of 80-45 and moving their record to 8-0. Their second real test of the season (they routed number ten Texas IN Texas) comes up in about ten days when they play second ranked Stanford. That should be a good one. I still think they'll win that one by ten or more...they're tremendously good with a stifling defense and the best player in all of women's basketball. Her name would be Maya Moore. Center Tina Charles is also one of the elite players. I could go on and on and on...but I won't.

I had a great birthday yesterday capped off by a great dinner. Thanks for your good wishes. You can click on this post's title for the latest on Mikey and as always, BE WELL. Thanks.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You Say It's Your Birthday? It's my Birthday Too..Bye Bye Mike Lowell??

Hello to you on this Thursday non-snowy morning, December 10, 2009. It's my birthday and tonight Nadia and I will be going to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse for steaks, baked potatoes and salads (maybe sauteed mushrooms). If you have a Ruth's Chris near you but have not tried it, you really should. But hey, there is real Boston Red Sox hot stove news.

Boston is ready to trade Mike Lowell to the Texas Rangers. Catcher/first baseman Max Ramirez will be coming to the Hub. This is not a done deal, a source noted...

"This thing could still blow up," one source said.

I love Mikey and I wish him the best..I always will. He'll DH and play first over there and do a great job, I'm sure. I'll be checking the Rangers' box scores next season to follow his progress. This most likely trade opens the door for the Red Sox to sign third baseman Adrian Beltre which would keep Youkilis right where he belongs at first. Other names still very much in the mix are Jason Bay and Matt Holliday. BOTH of 'em would be nice.

I hope your Thursday will be a great one as I keep getting older and older. Such is life. I don't feel any older most of the time. I'm REALLY looking forward to a loudly sizzling Ruth's Chris New York strip steak, even now at 5:12am. There is no better. Click on the title for more on this possible trade and as always, BE WELL. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Winter Meetings Day 2

Hello to you on this very snowy early Wednesday morning from north central Connecticut. The hot stove winter meetings are starting to become just that...HOT. The Yankees acquired All Star centerfielder Curtis Gunderson. They parted with Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy and the minor league outfield prospect Austin Jackson. Johnny Damon's worth just free falled because those pinstripers could put Cabrera in left. But that's enough about the New Yorkers. On to the Boston Red Sox.

Theo Epstein did not have much progress with Jason Bay's agent but they are the favorites to land him. Matt Holliday is another true possibility. There will be more this week from the meetings, hopefully a ton more.

I have to run. Have a great Wednesday and as always, be well.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

JOHN WINSTON ONO LENNON...October 9 1940-December 8, 1980

Hello again, John, on this sad day, December 8, 2009. I know you know that every year I write a post with only you in mind and this day will be no different. It's been 29 years since that deranged idiot shot you multiple times in the back. You didn't even see what was coming as those hollow point missles of death shredded your body, killing you within ninety seconds.

John, you will always be remembered for the good things you did. The music, oh, the music. You brought joy to my life and so, so many others. You strived and stressed for world peace but this blue marble still doesn't get it. I don't know if I'll be around when finally the human race will put it all together, but I have faith that one day, it will happen. I know it.

I hope you're happy up there strumming your accoustic and smiling. I know I miss you SO much. But ya know what? WE ALL SHINE ON. On and on and on and on.

Thanks for everything.


Monday, December 07, 2009

Let The Winter Meetings Begin...

This post's title (there is no "it") refers to the annual Winter Meetings, Major League Baseball's meet and greet and wheel and deal week for every team to better themselves. Of course, the Boston Red Sox are absolutely no exception. Sox General Manager Theo Epstein had this to say...

“The meetings are important because it’s the signal for the industry to go ahead and get stuff done,” said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. “Agents engage and teams engage with each other, which is rarer than you think. It’s not every day you get to talk trade with other teams. It’s hard to pin teams down and hard to find two teams willing to be aggressive at the same time. It’s a not-so-subtle push to the industry to go ahead and get some things done.”

A left fielder with pop in his bat....Jason Bay? I read in the Boston Herald (thanks BH) that the Red Sox, who have already offered him a four year deal worth $60 million, would go as high as a five year contract for $80 million. Yes, he is THAT valuable to the team. If he wants to come back here and try, with his teammates and friends, to win it all, well, this is the place. As for Holliday, neither he or Bay are in any great hurry, so I'm pretty sure Boston won't be in any hurry either. His agent is (OH BOY) Scott Boras, who always waits until the very last moment. So hold that thought...for now.

The Red Sox know that they can NEVER have enough starting pitching so they'll be on the lookout for another rotation arm. Lackey? Way too expensive ($100 millionish) for an arm over thirty years of age. Roy "Doc" Halladay will also have a huge price tag, this time in players, not dollars. The Boston Red Sox will look at others. One thing is certain, at least to me...there will be another starting pitcher on the 2010 staff. If one guy goes down for ANY reason during the 2010 season, we'd be covered.

The Boston bullpen has lost Wagner and Saito, so look for Theo to find and sign two experienced bullpen guys, maybe one of them a Type A free agent (they would have to give up a second round pick to land him). I don't envision them signing two Type A's because they already have signed another Type A, our new shortstop, Marco Scutaro. We'll all see what Theo has up his sleeves. Magic? I'm looking forward to it, in fact. Surprise me, Mr. Epstein...please.

That's it for this sudden Monday morning, my birthday week (the 10th). Thanks for stopping in to my little corner of the "blue nowhere." You can click on the title of this post for more on the Sox from SI dot com and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are welcome.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Winter Meetings Begin...Larry Lucchino And Theo Epstein Speak

Happy Sunday, everyone. We had a little snow last night but not much. That's OK, there will be plenty of the white stuff by April. The MLB winter meetings will be held this week and the Boston Red Sox have to make multiple deals. The shortstop position is in very good hands but still needed are a left fielder, bench guys and pitching help for the starting rotation (just one) and the bullpen (multiple arms). DO NOT RULE OUT A BLOCKBUSTER DEAL. I think there is a better than 50/50 chance that something like that will happen. Do not expect the Jays' Doc Halladay unless the asking price drops. Adrian Gonzales, the Padres slugging first baseman, is a much better possibility. Jason Bay would be nice with a little moolah help from John Henry's wallet. He knows the Wall, he'll hit thirty taters and we all know he's very comfortable in Boston. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was asked by the assembled media on Saturday some fairly interesting questions. Here's a smattering of what he had to say...

“I’d say 90 percent of our time as baseball operations is spent trying to build the foundation and build our long-term outlook. Ten percent of our time is spent maximizing our competitiveness in any one particular year. So the short fix, the shiny toy, it’s always attractive, it’s always a temptation, there’s always a seduction there.

Larry Lucchino had much to say. Here's a bit...

“The best franchises in baseball are those that keep one eye on the present and one eye on the future, because you can’t be intensively focused on one at the expense of the other,’’ Lucchino said. “The lifeblood of the franchise is having young talent coming up year after year. Maybe one guy one year, maybe two or three guys another year, but to have that regular flow, it enables one to do what we’re talking about, to have more of a balance between the present and the future. But in the end you have to realize you’re not going to win every single year, you’re not going to win 95 games every year, you’re not going to make the playoffs every year, you’re certainly not going to win the World Series every year.

LL spoke the truth...I agree with him 100%. This is the busiest time of the post season and the Sox want those four or five guys who will put them over the top and keep them in the running for October play. I couldn't imagine them NOT being in it until the very end. Faith (and money), that's what it's all about. I DO know one thing...Theo has his hands full but every one of us knows he can do it. He will.

I hope your Sunday will be a terrific one, a day of rest, maybe some shopping (not me) and a nice meal or three. I'll be back to start the new week early tomorrow morning or sooner if needed. You can click on this post's title for the Boston Herald's Red Sox homepage. Included is a revealing conversation with Big Papi from the Dominican Republic. I loved it. As always, BE WELL, be safe out there and please come back. Thanks.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

More On Boston's #16, Marco Scutaro

New Boston Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro was in town yesterday and proudly showed his number sixteen Red Sox uniform and cap to the assembled media. To say he looked like a happy man is an understatement. He signed a two-year $12.5 million contract with a club option for a third year for $6 million or a player option for $3 million. By the way, he was almost snatched by the A's. Here he is...

“There was a team that was making a real good offer, but I can say this, I took a little less money just to come here, to have a chance to win a ring,’’ Scutaro said yesterday. You get to a point where you just want to live the experience, you want to be in the World Series, you want to win the ring,’’ Scutaro said. “And I think this is the perfect team to go there.’’

With that kind of attitude, the Fenway Faithful and all of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International will love him. Boston GM Theo Epstein spoke of the club's thinking process about Marco, who will be a perfect fit for two years until Iglesias will be ready to take over the six hole...

“We were looking to upgrade at shortstop. Right from the start, we identified Marco as the best free agent and a guy who would be the best fit for this ball club. When someone has a career year, a best of his career year at age 33, I think you have to look at it with some scrutiny. The more we looked at Marco’s career, and broke down his performance from the time he played in the minor leagues through his transition period into the big leagues to his career as a utility guy to the last couple years, it’s clear there’s been improvement. We don’t expect him to go out every year and repeat what he did last year, that would be unrealistic to expect that,’’ Epstein said. “But I think we feel like we’re seeing a really good player finally get his chance. Marco’s got great hands. He’s got good range. He knows how to play all the infield positions."

He sure sounds like he'll be a perfect fit for that team from New England. The entire deal will be finalized after his complete physical, including a close look at his right heel which was hurting him and ended his '09 season two weeks early. The cause of his pain was determined to be plantar fascitis. Any pressure on that heel caused him jolting pain and limited his range enough to ride the bench. PF is a sometimes re-occuring ailment and we have to hope that that is not the case for the upcoming season. I think he'll be great. Now Theo Epstein must turn his eyes to acquiring a couple power bats (left field and first base), two arms for the bullpen and maybe (doubtful but maybe) another starting pitcher. Yes, he has his hands full but to be able to be competitive with those New York pinstripers, those moves are essential.

I hope you have a great weekend as we here in north central Connecticut and much of New England expect a few inches of snow later in the day. It's no big deal but because it will be the first measurable (?) white stuff of the season, it's worth mentioning.

You can click on this post's title for SI's Red Sox home page. As always and forever, BE WELL. I need you here to read my sometimes rambling but most of the time sensible thoughts about the Boston Red Sox, MY baseball team. Thanks.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Marco Scutaro New Red Sox Shortstop For Two Years..Pedroia Will Stay At Second..Saito Goes To Braves..UCONN Women Roll Again To 46th Straight Win

It was a rather busy and important December Thursday for the Boston Red Sox. They signed shortstop Marco Scutaro to a two year deal with an option for a third, negating the need for Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia to move to his left and handle that position. The deal is pending a physical. In 2009 he hit .282 with 12 homers, 60 RBIs, 100 runs scored and 35 doubles, all career highs. Here's Marco talking about his late season plantar fasciitis foot troubles (thank you Boston Globe)...

“The people of Boston called again and asked for my medical report, and we are working on it,’’ Scutaro told Diario Panorama, a paper in Venezuela this week. “I have to go to a doctor to confirm that I am OK about the injury I had at the end of the season.’’

Scutaro's great offensive numbers will help the Red Sox immensely. He will hit in the number eight or nine spot in the starting lineup. His on base percentage is a good one and he'll be on base when the top of that lineup comes to the plate. He should be great at that bottom-of-the-order position.

In other Sox news, the Atlanta Braves signed another member of the Boston bullpen, the second in two days. First it was Billy Wagner and yesterday, Takashi Saito signed with that club. He will be paid three million bucks for his one year deal. We wish him the best. Right now it looks like Boston GM Theo Epstein will be looking for a couple additions to the Red Sox 'pen as well as a power bat (or two?). Boston will do whatever is necessary to be able to contend for 2010...have no fear. And they will. Keep the faith. I do.

As the days and weeks go by as we rapidly approach Christmas and the New Year, the Boston Red Sox are slowly filling in their missing puzzle pieces. I'll say this right now...expect a blockbuster deal or two (three?) before spring training blows in like a dream.

The Unniversity of Connecticut national champion women's basketball team rolled to their 46th consecutive double figure victory last night, whupping Vermont by a score of 84-42. They look unstoppable and will face their second huge test of the season when they play Stanford. Me, I ain't worried, not one bit.

Have a terrific Friday as the weekend is just hours away. You can click on this post's title for more on the Scutaro acquisition and as always, please BE WELL. Your comments are always a blessing. I'll reply to every one of them. Thanks.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Billy Wagner Goes To Atlanta...Players Push For First Round Of Playoffs Upped To Seven Games...A Shift Possible?

Billy Wagner got his wish and has become a member of the Atlanta Braves. He signed a one year contract for $7 million. I say good for him. Best of luck, Billy. You still have it. Here's his new GM...

"The bullpen is one of the areas we needed to upgrade to get where we want to go," Braves general manager Frank Wren said during a news conference at Turner Field. "Billy was at the top of our list. The first day of free agency, we gave him a call."

The major league regular and post season is being scrutinized. There are some who want the first round of the playoffs to be extended to seven games. I agree. After playing 162 games over nearly six months, the existing five game format rips off the eight post season clubs. Hey, that's just my humble opinion. Also, there are those who would like to reduce the number of days off between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the World Series (thanks, Boston Herald). To me, that's a much less important issue. Here is Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association...

"Everybody’s in agreement that the postseason schedule needs some adjustment," Weiner said.

The seven game first round post season schedule change would enhance just about everything related to MLB. Let's hope that the powers that be JUST DO IT! The other issue is low on my list of important things to do.

I wish you a Merry Christmas (oops) a great Thursday and click on the title of this post to be zapped to ESPN dot com. As always, BE WELL. I'll be back. I hope you will, too. I mean that. See ya.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Red Sox Moving Pedroia To Shortstop??

Hello on this Hump Day Wednesday, the first one in December, my birthday month. I came across an article written by Peter Gammons over at ESPN dot com. I was surprised, to say the least, but after some semi-serious thought, I think the possible move makes a ton of sense for one or two years until phenom Jose Iglesias matures. Oh, by the way, that move is this...shifting Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia over to shortstop, a position the Boston Red Sox need to fill for the 2010 season. Here are some of Pedey's thoughts, courtesy of Mr. Gammons...

"They've asked me if I think I could play shortstop," Pedroia says. "They've put it out there and I've told them I'm all for it. I can do it. I can't wait for Tito [Terry Francona] to call me and ask, 'Can you do it?' I can do it. I really want to do it. One thing they know is that I will catch the ball," Pedroia says. Which, except for the final month and a half with Gonzalez, was not the case in 2009. You don't have to turn to John Dewan's Fielding Bible to know that shortstop was Boston's black hole until the purchase of Gonzalez. When the idea of moving back to shortstop was floated to me, I welcomed it," Pedroia says. "I'm excited. Tell Derek Jeter to enjoy the gold glove and silver slugger awards while he can."

Watch out, Sportsman of the Year (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?) Derek Jeter. Pedey works out in the offseason and plays a ton of tennis to keep that keen eye/hand precision. He's tremendously quick with his reactions and has a super arm. Some people out there are saying that the Red Sox shouldn't mess with second base perfection but here's what I, just a fan, think. He can and will be just as good playing shortstop as he has been at second plus the six hole is crucial to the infield defense. That's our one and only Pedey. The Sox are worried about the Toronto Blue Jays shortstop, Scutaro, because of his plantar fasciitis, which would severely limit his range. Pedey was an all-American shortstop in college and with his supreme reflexes and speed and his ability to put the glove on the ball, Boston would be just fine. Better, in fact. We'll see what the club will do.

Thank you for stopping by once again. I love you for it. You can click on this post's title to read the entire ESPN Peter Gammons piece and as always, BE WELL. Please.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Red Sox Arbitration Bits...and more

The Red Sox will offer arbitration by the end of the day to soon-to-be free agents Jason Bay and pitcher Billy Wagner. We know Bay is going to test his value and become a free agent seeking a four year deal. Boston has already offered him a $60 million four year contract but, as you probably know, he declined. The Sox will still be in the hunt...they need a power hitter and Bay or (maybe and?) Adrian Gonzales top their list. I don't expect to see Doc Halladay in a Red Sox uniform next year. The asking price will be too high. So I think the Sox will go after Bay and/or Gonzalez. My goodness, both would be extraordinary.

Don't forget the aforementioned Billy Wagner, who has hinted he might like to come back and be an eighth inning pitcher, part of the bridge to Paps and a guy who could close out a game in the ninth if Papelbon has been overworked. His arbitration decision is a big, fat question mark. I, for one, would welcome him back. I think we ALL would. C'mon, Billy.

Last night, the New Orleans Saints thumped and bumped the New England Patriots. The final score was 38-17 and right now they are the cream of the NFL crop. The Pat's defense was undressed and raped by the Saints offense, most notably by Saints' quarterback Drew Brees.

I'm just about finished for this early morning (early, what else is new with me?) Tuesday. Tiger Woods has declined to play in his own PGA tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, held in California this week. He has still not talked to the California Highway Patrol, something he doesn't HAVE to do but boy, it would save him from SO much tabloid journalism and relieve golf fans' anxiety. He f*cked up, that's my opinion. Click on this post's title for every news article about his early morning single car accident. I'm serious! Click away.

Baseball news is slow, but it won't be for long. Get ready! That Hot Stove is slowly starting to warm up, bit by bit. As always, BE WELL.