Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Forgettable Game...Tweaking 'Tek's Swing

Michael Bowden was bombed in his first spring start against the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays, giving up 4 runs and 5 hits in only 1 2/3 innings. The game was essentially over after 3 innings, with Gonzalez contributing to the Rays run total. Here's the Boston pitching summary...that's all I'm going to write about this mismatch. Lowrie, Bay and Youk went a combined 0-7 and Rocco Baldelli contributed his first Red Sox base hit...

M Bowden (L,0-1) 1.2 5 4 4 2 0 0 **
E Gonzalez 1.1 6 6 5 1 0 1 **
D Hansack 2 0 0 0 0 4 0
C Zink 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 **
S Green 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

Ugly stuff, huh? The two stars denote the pitchers who gave up runs in the game. On the brighter side, Jason Varitek and the Boston batting instuctors are working on 'Tek's approach and swing when batting lefthanded. He is a true switch hitter, always has and always will, but he's had so much more success when batting from the right side. He's less consistant from the left side of the plate. His routine is not consistant batting lefty. I'll let him tell you...

“My timing tends to get out of whack,” Varitek said. “That’s always been my issue. When you’re under control, it makes it less about timing and more about my ability to get through the hitting zone. I have a tendency to pull off the ball at times, and when you pull off, your hands drag. It’s all connected. It’s just a matter of fine-tuning some things with my fundamentals.”

Hitting coach Dave Magadan had this to say about the tweaking of Varitek's lefthanded batting process...

“Over the years,” said hitting coach Dave Magadan, “he’s tapped his bat, he’s double-tapped, he’s double-strided, he’s triple-strided. It’s too much to think about and too hard to repeat that, over and over and over again over the course of the season and keep it consistent. We’re just trying to get him to a place where it’s a repetitive thing: stride, take his hands back and swing. If he can do that - and I believe he can - the consistency will be there and I think we’ll see improvement.”

We all hope we'll see improvment this year. Behind the plate, controlling a game and his pitchers of the day, there is no one better. But last year's batting average was miserable, to say the least. That the Red Sox coaching staff is trying to fix what ails him bodes well. If Jason can bring his average up to a respectable .275, there will be not one person in Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International who will gripe about his resigning. I hope he can do it. These 2009 Boston Red Sox must be able to pitch and hit, not the power plus hitting that we've become used to but the ability to score 4 runs or so per game. The starters and the solid bullpen will take care of the rest...they will!

I hope your Saturday will be a good one. The UCONN men and women's basketball teams will both be playing today, and I'll be glued to each game. The men are ranked number two but might slide into the number one spot with a Saturday afternoon victory. The women? They are undefeated with two games remaining, one in Hartford at the XL Center this evening against Seton Hall and the season finale at Rutgers early next week. Neither Seton Hall or Rutgers has a chance at beating them, barring a complete UCONN collapse. Believe me, they ain't a collapsing type of team. You can click on the title of this post for more Red Sox news and as always, BE WELL. Be safe, be happy, be you...see ya.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Lester Working On A New Weapon

Jon Lester, who started yesterday's 3-2 Boston Red Sox loss to the Pirates, pitched two scoreless innings, giving up zero runs. Saito followed him with a two strikeout scoreless inning. The three Pittsburgh runs were given up by Lentz, who I am not familiar with. You'll find the Sox pitching summary below. That's the first thing I look at this early in the spring. The hitters will come around...I learn more from the pitching summary than anything else when it's this time of year. But the big news is that Lester is working on a new pitch, the changeup, to add to his weapon arsenal. Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona explains...

"The idea is twofold,” manager Terry Francona said. “One is to incorporate the changeup more and give him another weapon. And in the meantime, staying away from the cutter early in camp helps with arm strength and saves some wear and tear. The cutter is a weapon and then all of sudden, it’s a very effective weapon. You go to it, you go to it and all of a sudden, your fastball loses velocity. It’s been a very effective pitch for him, but he understands the need to have other pitches. We don’t want any of our pitchers to go with the cutter too much. We understand how good a pitch it can be, but you can lose some of your fastball with it.”

Jon Lester added this tidbit...

"The changeup just adds another pitch. It adds another dimension that hitters have to worry about. It takes pressure off of my fastball and my cutter, because primarily behind in the count we go two-seam away or cutter in. It just gives the hitters something else to look for."

The more pitches the better, and anything he can confidently throw for strikes when he's down in the count is vital. Jon was 16-6 in 2008 and he's our solid number two starter. I expect great things from him and a changeup certainly will help confuse and confound the opposing hitters. He and Beckett will make a great one-two punch and with Matsuzaka, Penny and Smoltz following them, well, wow. Wakefield will be the number five guy until Smoltz is ready to go.

Takashi Saito, bad elbow and all, was very impressive in his one inning of work. One inning per appearance will be the norm for him in 2009. He managed to strike out two and hit 93 MPH on the radar gun. Tito said this about that...

“I didn’t expect to quite see 93 MPH out of him today,” Francona. “We’ve been kind of easing him into it. That was nice to see.”

OK, here's that pitching summary for Thursday's game...

J Lester 2 2 0 0 0 1 0
T Saito 1 1 0 0 0 2 0
H Okajima 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
W Littleton 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
F Cabrera 1 1 0 0 1 0 0
H Jones 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
A Mills 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
R Lentz (L,0-1) 1-3 1 3 2 2 1 0 **
M James 2-3 0 0 0 0 0 0

Wins and losses are in no way important this time of year...the players' health and conditioning are what counts. And except for Lentz, who will disappear by season's start, the pitchers did a great job. That's what counts. Have a great Friday...for some reason, since I woke up I've been thinking it's Saturday. No such luck, I guess. Click on this post's title if you wish for the latest news about Manny and his nonsensical agent, Scott Boras(s). Believe it or not, Boras(s) rejected a Dodger two year offer for $45 million bucks. Where's the logic there? Don't ask me, but read the SI article by clicking this post's title. As always, BE WELL. Aloha. Shalom. See ya. Go Sox. Forever.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Beckett Smooth, Wakefield Bumpy

The Boston Red Sox played two games yesterday in Florida, winning the first game over Boston College 7-1 and losing to a "real" team, the Twinkies, 5-2 in the nightcap. In the latter game against Minnesota, Tim Wakefield was his typically mediocre self, giving up three runs in only two innings. The other two runs were given up late in the game by Traber. The Boston pitching summary is right here, with the pitchers who gave up the five runs starred...

T Wakefield (L,0-1) 2 5 3 2 2 0 0 **
J Masterson 2 1 0 0 1 0 0
M Delcarmen 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
J Lopez 1 2 0 0 0 1 0
R Ramirez 1 0 0 0 0 2 0
B Traber 1 3 2 2 1 1 0 **

That was the night game. I don't have a boxscore for the first game against Boston College, but I can tell you this. Josh Beckett looked fine. He threw just 22 pitches to record six outs. Newcomer Ramon Rodriguez also looked great, showing tremendous "pop" on his fastball. Beckett said this after his impressive first outing...

“You can’t go out there and not think about the back problem in my first outing,” Beckett said after the Sox had dispatched BC with a 7-1 win. “I definitely thought about it coming in. It was like, ‘Is this going to happen again?’ It was nice to get out there and feel good. It’s nice to go through a spring training,” Beckett said, “and just know what you’re going to do every day and not have to deal with sitting in the training room for three or four extra hours.”

Hey Josh, it's so nice to have a healthy you. Win 20 this year. I also want to reiterate something I said in a previous post, and I'd like to read your comments about this one. The Red Sox will have six bona fide starters when John Smoltz joins the rotation in late May or early June. Boston will take Timmy Wakefield out of the rotation mix when that happens, maybe for the last time. That is just my "right now" opinion. Doesn't Beckett, Lester, Daisuke, a healthy Brad Penny and a healthy John Smoltz sound good? It sure does to me! So much better than last year, a year filled with injuries and the Sox coming so close to their third World Series appearance this century.

The Red Sox will play the Pirates today at 1pm eastern time, but it won't be televised. Just scroll down three or four posts for the NESN spring training television schedule. I've got you covered, or at least I try my best to do exactly that. You can click on this post's title to be zapped to the Boston Herald homepage. They'll give you more details on BOTH games. As always, BE WELL. Cheers. L'chaim. To life. See ya. Don't forget those comments, if you can. I'll read and respond to every one. That's a promise.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Big Papi Power Show

Big Papi David Ortiz put on a power show in a batting session down in Fort Myers. He put a few dents in Luis Tiant's rental Mercedes SUV which was parked 500 feet from the plate. It seems that his shoulder and troublesome wrist problems are behind him. Sox manager Terry Francona had this to say...

“We all knew last year he wasn’t playing at 100 percent,” manager Terry Francona said. “When your numbers reflect that a little bit, whether it’s perceived or true, and you take some shots about getting old, it’s human nature to want to shut people up and prove them wrong. It’s important to note the people second-guessing him weren’t in uniform. We knew what we had, appreciate what he’s doing, and now he’s healthy. He’d like to go back and have some Ortiz-esque numbers.”

Papi had this to say...

“I’m getting there,” he said. “You know how it is in spring training. You feel more comfortable every day.”

A healthy David Ortiz batting after MVP Dustin Pedey Pedroia and before Kevin Youkilis is so important to the success of the club. Papi will be playing for the Dominican team in the World Baseball Classic. Stay healthy, Papi. We need you.

In other Sox news, Julio Lugo has again made it plain to everyone on the team that he wants to be the everyday shortstop, making Jed Lowrie a bench player who will not play everyday. I can't say that I blame him. May the best man win. The other piece of the shortstop puzzle is Jed Lowrie. Here's part of what Lugo had to say...

"I'm ready to do it now," Lugo said. "I'm ready to get back to that level of play. I feel stronger this year, mentally. My injury (torn quad) is 100 percent healed. I haven't played at that level I've always played. I know it's there. Sometime it's going to come out. I'm getting ready for that. My first year was tough for me," Lugo said. "You come to a new team where you want everybody to see you play well. But then in the second half, I played well and everything was good. The first half of last year, I made some errors at the beginning, but I was going to handle myself in the second half like I always do. I've always been a second-half guy."

He has to prove that he can hit and hit with power. He's a notoriously slow starter and that will not work in his favor. We'll see....time will tell.

That's it for this Wednesday morning, Hump Day. I haven't had breakfast yet because I have to fast before going to have some bloodwork...routine stuff. They open at 8am and that's when I'll get there. My snack will be waiting in my car when I'm finished. I don't like fasting because with type 1 diabetes, I must maintain my sugar (blood glucose) level and keep it in the normal range. It's 6:40am now so I have less than 90 minutes until I can have that snack. Wish me luck and as always, BE WELL. See ya. Click on the title of this post for more Red Sox goodies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Pretty Penny

There was some good news yesterday from the Red Sox spring training facilities in Fort Myers, Florida, and it came from newly acquired pitcher Brad Penny, who is an important part of the 2009 starting rotation. Here's some of what he had to say, edited a bit by me. My thanks to the Boston Globe...

"I felt great," said Penny. "Today, for me, answered a lot of questions, mentally and physically. I didn't know what to expect the first time going out there to face hitters, but everything felt great. It's been awhile since I've been out there to pitch, my command wasn't where it normally is, but it wasn't bad. I had life on my fastball, felt a good rotation on my breaking ball. The splitter was a little erratic, but that will come later in spring. I just want to go out there and pitch. Last year was a rough season being hurt, hopefully I'm on the right track. I feel 100 percent, but the schedule I'm on now, it's smart," said Penny. "If you listen to me, I'd want to go out every other day, but this is smarter. It gives me a chance to strengthen my shoulder."

And what does manager Terry "Tito" Francona have to say?

"...he's doing great," said Francona. "He's a good worker, done all that we've asked of him. This is just a program we came up with before he started here."

The Red Sox are being cautious with Brad, and that's a good thing. He still has more than a month before he will be scheduled to toe the rubber. He's our official number four starter, ahead of Wakefield (for now...Smoltz will be here by June), Matsuzaka, Lester and Beckett, in reverse order. As I have written in earlier posts, thats a rock solid six man rotation. The bullpen might even be better.

I received an email from NESN yesterday, a nice one. They informed me that the Boston spring training television schedule will not be telecast in high definition. The standard definition feed will be shown on both NESN channels here on Comcast. But remember this...every game during the regular season, the games that count, will be broadcast in SD and HD. Ya see...more good news. All in all, this was a "good news" post. And that's the way I like it. My thanks to NESN (the name of the gentleman who emailed me escapes me. I'm sorry for that). They're the best...they bring the Boston Red Sox into our homes with wonderful sounds and pictures. Long live the New England Sports Network, channels 28 and 200 here in north central Connecticut. Just check your cable, sat. or TV guides to find it where you live, although you probably already know where to go.

That's a wrap for this bitter cold Tuesday. The normal high temperature for this date is 40 degrees F. I wish we could get near that, but not today. Click on the title to be transfered to the NESN homepage. You'll find everything there, including the complete Red Sox spring training TV schedule. Thank you for stopping in once again and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Takashi Saito...An Arm Boston Needs

This season, Takashi Saito, who came to the Red Sox from the Dodgers, will be an important part of the setup role in the bullpen, joining Ramon Ramirez, Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen and Justin Masterson. They will take care of the seventh and eighth innings until Jonathon Papelbon comes in to nail down a victory. His elbow lacks much of it's structure, but at the age of 39, he decided to forgo an operation that would have sidelined him for a year. Believe it or not, he'll be wearing number 24, Manny's number. He actually called Ramirez to ask for his permission, like it was needed. He said this. All quotes are from the Boston Globe, with my thanks...

"Manny said, 'No problem,' " said Saito through interpreter Masa Hoshino. "He said 24 and 99 are both very lucky numbers and to take one of them. I am very appreciative of the Red Sox for allowing me to wear the number."

Takashi will be in an unfamiliar role...that of a set-up man, not a closer. He spoke of his brilliant 2007 season with the Dodgers, a year he collected 39 saves and was an All Star...

"Just before the playoffs, and even after we clinched, I came in to close a few games," he said. "I think there were some difficulties in communication, but I had prepared to be a closer but I'd be brought into games and situations where it was 10-0 and I wouldn't perform really well. At the time, I don't know if I felt disappointed . . . but I moved beyond that, and if the team had advanced to the World Series I would have been ready to come back in. Of course I understand the situations that I come in will be different and I know I will have to adjust to it mentally and physically, but right now is the time to start making those adjustments," he said. "It's an area where I can't spare any effort, giving my all to get prepared for my new role so that I can contribute to the Red Sox"Every day is just a dream for me," he said. "Just looking around here and seeing my teammates. Amazing pitchers like Papelbon and a list too numerous to mention. So I'm very happy to be here. Very excited. But at the same time I can't just be happy to be here. Every day I ask myself, 'How can I perform better and how can I contribute better to the team?'"

What a great attitude! Takashi, if your elbow holds up, you'll be just fine, better than fine, in fact. By the way, Saito's career numbers include holding batters to a .182 average with only 52 walks (!!) in 187 2/3 innings. WOW! The Sox are stocked with five highly regarded relievers who will serve as the sturdier than ever "bridge" to ace closer Jonathon Papelbon. This might be, if the injuries stay away, one of the best bullpens the Red Sox have had in a long time. If they can score enough runs with the six starters they have, 2009 will be sweet, very sweet, and we all can use a bit of sweetness.

It's another seems like they come along every single week. Well, I guess they do. I hope yours is a great one and remember, only two more days until the first Boston spring training game will be televised on NESN and NESN HD. You can click on this post's title for more Red Sox news and views. As always, BE WELL. See ya.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lugo On Manny...Spring Pitching Schedule

Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo, who was out most of last season due to injury, apparently misses Manny Ramirez. I have a quote from him on that subject and then I'll tell you what I think. You probably already know how I feel about that quirky and unpredictable leftfielder...

“It’s a big hole,” Lugo said. “Whatever he (Manny) does, people call it stupid. But he can make a team go from bad to good. When a team expects Manny to do something stupid, like everybody says . . . when it comes to the last inning he hits a three-run homer to put us ahead. Some people weren’t happy with him here,” Lugo said. “He had a misunderstanding with some people. So you move on. You let it go and move on. There are other teams out there where he could be a good fit.”

OK, ok. What Lugo didn't say speaks louder than what he did say. Sure, Manny can improve a team immensely...if he wants to. If he doesn't want to, he can be a devisive force, just as he was in 2008. If you poll the Red Sox players from last season, you'd find that most of them wanted to shed Ramirez like an unwanted wart, a pimple on the face of near perfection. From fisticuffs in the dugout with Youk to his altercation with the Red Sox travel guy to faking injuries, once even forgetting which knee to favor in a completely made-up injury, to taking a couple days off while the Yankees were in town, he was, in a word, despicable. No ifs, ands or buts. I hope Jed Lowrie is our starting shortstop, but he and Lugo will duke it out in the spring training games, which start Wednesday. Here is the tentative starting pitching rotation for the first few games, starting this Wednesday. Hey, that's only three days away. The following paragraph is from the Sunday Boston Herald. They have my thanks...

"Josh Beckett will be on the mound for the Red Sox’ spring opener against Boston College on Wednesday at City of Palms Park. Later that night, Tim Wakefield will be on the mound for the Grapefruit League opener against the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium. Jon Lester will face the Pirates on Thursday, followed by Michael Bowden against Tampa Bay on Friday. Chris Johnson will face Northeastern on Saturday afternoon, and Clay Buchholz is set to go against the Reds later that night.
Brad Penny is tentatively scheduled to make his first start March 5."

That's four out of five of our regular starters. Daisuke Matsuzaka is playing for his country in the World Baseball Classic and will join the team later. But baseball games are just games, and even though NESN will be televising just a smattering of the Florida games to come, it's an exciting time of the year, a time when wishes are wished and faith and hope blooms. Here are the preseason games scheduled to be televised by NESN...

Wed, Feb 25 7:05 PM Red Sox @ Twins (SS) Fort Myers, FL NESN
Sun, Mar 1 1:05 PM Red Sox @ Twins Fort Myers, FL NESN
Sun, Mar 8 1:05 PM Red Sox vs Rays Fort Myers, FL NESN
Fri, Mar 13 7:05 PM Red Sox vs Yankees Fort Myers, FL NESN
Tue, Mar 17 1:05 PM Red Sox vs Twins Fort Myers, FL NESN
Sat, Mar 21 1:05 PM Red Sox @ Marlins Jupiter, FL NESN
Tue, Mar 24 7:05 PM Red Sox @ Yankees Tampa, FL NESN
Sat, Mar 28 1:05 PM Red Sox vs Twins Fort Myers, FL NESN
Sun, Mar 29 1:05 PM Red Sox @ Phillies Clearwater, FL NESN

So tune into NESN Wednesday at 7:05pm EST for your first taste, your first look at the 2009 Boston Red Sox. Please understand that the preceding list is not the entire spring training Sox schedule, just the games that will be televised on the New England Sports Network, better known as NESN. I don't know what I'd do without Comcast Cable's NESN and NESN-HD feeds. HD is just like being there, or as close as you can get.

Enjoy your Sunday, the second half of the weekend. Mike Lowell is getting a day off after four staight days. Big Papi was back in there full steam yesterday, Josh Beckett has looked great so far and the camp is calm and focused. Let's hope that bodes well for the 2009 season. The Red Sox will only get stronger as the season progresses. John Smoltz comes immediately to mind...what a shot in the arm he will be. If you'd like, leave a Manny comment or a comment about anything. Or you can simply click on this post's title for more on that team from Boston. As always, BE WELL. L'chaim, cheers, ciao. See ya. Be happy.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Big Papi and Angel Presinol...What's Up?

Angel Presinal...does that name mean anything to you? It didn't to me until ten minutes ago. He's a trainer who owns a training facility in the Dominican Republic. He has been linked to Alex Rodriguez and steroids. Now, Big Papi David Ortiz' name has come up, too, among others. Appearing on Comcast SportsNet’s “Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight,” Ortiz confirmed he used Presinal’s facility in the Dominican Republic. Presinal, who has close ties to Alex Rodriguez and is banned in big league clubhouses, was the subject of a New York Daily News story yesterday that linked Ortiz and a dozen other Dominican players to Presinal’s gym in Santo Domingo. But Papi characterized the relationship as strictly a player/trainer one. He said this. My comments will follow...

“This place where he works out is a facility that’s like five minutes away from my house,” Ortiz said. “It’s like an Olympic place where everyone goes and hits, runs, gets all their work in. It’s like in the middle of everyone’s houses, so we all go down there and work out. He’s a good trainer. He’s the guy that teaches you how to train, how to get your body ready to go. Besides that, I have no idea about any of this. He got into some trouble before from what I hear, and that’s something he’s got to deal with, especially with what’s going on,” Ortiz said.

I believe David Ortiz. I've been to the DR and know where the training facility is. It's nice and in a suburban area. If it's THAT close to Papi's home, there's no reason why he shouldn't use it...until the AROID controversy, that is. But the important thing is to believe in our DH, and I do. 100%. By the way, it seems that Presinal was banned from big league clubhouses in 2001 after border agents in Toronto intercepted a gym bag full of steroids that Presinal signed for. When questioned, he told investigators it belonged to Indians outfielder Juan Gonzalez. He sounds like someone Big Papi should stay away from...I hope he will.

Have a great Saturday and a terrific weekend. You can click on this post's title to be directed to the Boston Herald Red Sox homepage. You'll find all the details there. My thanks to the Herald for the quotes from John Tomase's intriguing article. As always, BE WELL. Cheers. Skol. Aloha and Shalom. See ya.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pedroia Wants To Play All 162 Games

Boston Red Sox second baseman and AL MVP Dustin Pedroia, our Pedey, is one of only eight players in baseball history to have won the Rookie Of the Year award, the AL MVP award, a Gold Glove and a World Series. And he's done that in just two seasons. Pretty amazing, isn't it? But he has his sights set on accomplishing something that only five players did in play in all 162 regular season games. Here's how he put it...

"I want to play every game and make sure I'm not tired throughout the year," Pedroia said. "I think if you condition your body the right way, you can do that. It's a long season, but if you take care of your body, you can play them all. It's a big part of what I'm trying to do, is be consistent every day and help this team win games. I did a little bit more running in Arizona," Pedroia said. "I conditioned six days a week, instead of two last year. I want to make sure my legs are even stronger than the year before. It helped me out a ton. It makes my body feel good throughout the whole year. I was a little banged up at that time," Pedroia said. "That was one of those times that I needed a day off. If you need one, Tito is really good about it. He usually knows more than I do, because I'm not going to say I need one."

We all know the Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona likes to give his players a day off every once in a while so that they can recharge a bit. When he heard that Pedey wanted to play 162, he said this...

"162 what, cribbage games?"

Then he got more serious...

"Sometimes guys need a blow. They get beat up. He's already proven he's going to be out there a lot. Because of the way he plays, he'll take a dive in the hole and land on that shoulder. I think I need to be smart enough to every once in a while pull the plug on him and let him bounce back."

Pedey didn't miss a game until the first week of June last year, but if you ask me, and who would, I'd agree with Tito. Sometimes guys will just need a day off, preferably before an off day. That would make it a two day mini-vacation to rest the sore bones and heal the bumps and bruises a little bit. It makes sense.

Right now down in Fort Myers, it's all quiet on the southern front. JD Drew thought he made his back soreness sound much worse than it is with his quotes to the media. Good news. Big Papi's wrist is doing well and should not hinder him in any way. Mike Lowell is still bitter about the Teixeira quest, but that will fade. I haven't heard a bit about how Beckett is feeling, but in this case, no news is good news, at least without Manny on the team. You'll read all the spring training news right here, with an everyday link to guide you to a source of more Red Sox reading and viewing pleasure.

Thanks for stopping in and have a great Friday and a really great weekend. As usual, God willing, I'll be back here on both Saturday & Sunday, or sooner if any news breaks.. Click on the title for something red and as always, BE WELL. L' life. Cheers. See ya. Please leave me a comment or three if you have the time and the desire...I look for new comments multiple times every day, and I respond to every one. Ciao.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Steamer Will Pass The Torch To Paps...Shea Stadium Is History

Boston Red Sox closer Jonathon Papelbon needs only twenty saves this year to surpass Bob "Steamer" Stanley's team record for saves...that number is 132. Here's what the Steamer had to say...

“Records are made to be broken and he’s one of the premier relief pitchers right now,” Stanley said from USA Training Center in Newington, N.H., where he’s a pitching coach. “Did I ever think my record would last that long? No. But people haven’t been sticking around long enough to break it. More power to him.”

Stanley also holds the American League record for single-season relief innings with an unbelievable 168 in 1982. 168? Wow! I'm speechless. Paps knows he will have save number 132 in the middle of this season and become the all time Red Sox saves leader. He has so many years left to go. It seems he's getting better every year. Here's what he had to say, short but sweet...

“I do plan on breaking that. There’s no question about it. It’s definitely in my sights and something I want to do.”

The Steamer also holds the Red Sox record with total appearances with 637...that's also amazing. He said this about that...

“I don’t think anyone will ever catch me in games pitched,” said Stanley, who hurled for the Red Sox from 1977-89. “That’s one thing I’m very proud of. And the innings record, that’s one that’s never going to get broken either, the way the game is now. Those are a couple I’ll have for a while.”

I remember Bob Stanley so well. I saw him countless number of times in those years 1977-89. Please don't remember him from the 1986 World Series with the Mets...his place in Boston history is rock solid. He induced ground balls like Babe Ruth hit home runs...often. More than not, he was effective, very effective, and was a rock in the bullpen. I still can't believe that single season relief inning mark of 168. He must have almost thrown his arm off. But they say a sinkerball pitcher is most effective when pitching often. I guess he, I know he did.

In one other bit of Sox news, Josh Bard will wear uniform number three, the same number that Jimmie Foxx wore. Foxx is said to be the greatest Red Sox player to never have his number retired. Why? It's because he spent the bulk of his career with the Phillies, 11 seasons, in fact. And one other baseball note...Shea Stadium is gone, the final piece being pulverized yesterday. But the memories remain, and they always will. Forever and ever. If you want to see the destruction of the Met's now former home, just go to Michael Leggett's blog. It's called RANDOM FANDOM RED SOX NYC. Just click on this post's title and you'll be there...scroll down to see all the pictures. Mike is a good friend of mine, so please check out his blog. The Shea Stadiun pictures are sad, but you should see them. Hi Mike!

Thank you for stopping in on this rainy, not snowy, Thursday. I appreciate it. You can leave a comment and you can also click on the title of this post. As always, BE WELL.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Troubled Mike Lowell...Papi Wants Pop

Mike Lowell is a troubled man, and it's not because of his hip, which has healed nicely. He's bothered by Boston's energetic attempts to acquire first baseman Mark Teixeira. If the Sox were successful, Youk would have moved to third and Mikey would have been the odd man out, riding the bench multiple times every week. Remember, he accepted a lot less money to stay with the Sox instead of going to the team that would have paid him the most, much more than he's making right now in Boston. Why did he do that, you might ask? It's because he loves the Fenway Park enthusiasm and the Boston fans, the sheer excitement that is a part of every Fenway game...and many road games with the Red Sox traveling road show. The Boston fans, quite simply, are the best, and he knows it. He loves it, too. As do I. Here's part of what he had to say. I'll follow this quote with some thoughts of my own. Here you go...

“I don’t think you could be anything but hurt,” he said yesterday, noting that, “As much as the player wants to believe that this is a game, you get signs throughout your career that it’s not a game, it’s a business. It’s still a game for me and the 25 guys that take the field, but it’s still a business on the other side. It doesn’t change anything in terms of how I prepare for the game,” he assured us. “It’s just little signs of a wakeup call that, you know, it’s a business, and the fans might take it as a game and the players might want to take it as a game, but it’s not always that.”

Mike, you're exactly right. Baseball is a business, a money making enterprise that's played 162 times a year on a beautiful and vibrantly green diamond shaped playing field. Make no mistake about it. Every Fenway Fanatic wanted the team to resign him, and they did. But Mark Teixeira for eight years was too good for the Sox to pass on. But Boras(s) gave the Yankees the last shot, and they outbid every other team (just the Sox, we came to find out) out there. That's Boras(s) for you. It turned out that Mr. and Mrs. Teixeira had the pinstripers in their sights the whole time, and that coupled with Hankie and Hal's "open wallet policy" sealed the deal. But Mike has to realize that baseball IS a business, pure and simple. John Henry and company were just trying to improve their team the best they could, and they were right. Hey, Youk will still be manning first and a healed Lowell will take care of the hot corner. I hope Mikey Lowell will not let his bitterness hinder his play. Knowing him as I do, it won't, and that's good. He's been a Fenway Faithful favorite ever since he arrived in the Beckett trade. We love him...always will.

One other thing. Big Papi David Ortiz has been voicing his opinion that the Boston brass should acquire another bat, a big one, in the void left by troublesome teambreaker baby brat Manny Ramirez. Here's part of what he had to say...

"Our division is built up around pitching," said Ortiz, who himself is angling for a bounce-back season. "I'm pretty sure our division has the best pitching in the league all the way around. You play 19 games against everybody. When you add it up at the end of the season, you're playing almost 100 games in your division. So out of 162, you want to make sure you win most of those games. But if you have offense, you have chances. If you don't have offense, you can't control it. Because you have a guy going out there and trying to throw seven good innings, eight good innings, and you don't produce for him, what's going to happen at the end of the night? He might end up losing the game, 2-1, 2-0, 1-0, and you don't want to be facing that kind of situation."

Big Papi is exactly right. Yes, we have a great pitching staff, the starters and the bullpen, but a team can't go "all the way" if they can't score enough runs. That's baseball. So I applaud Ortiz for saying what he said.

Oh, there will be no AROD stuff today. I've had enough of him, more than enough. Enjoy your Tuesday, click on this post's title for more Red Sox articles and enjoy your Hump Day Wednesday. As always, BE WELL. Cheers. Aloha. Shalom. See ya! I'll be back.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Alex Rodriguez "came clean" (pun intended) this afternoon in Tampa, Florida. He met with a full contingent of the media, made a statement and took questions. Here is a little of that bullshit from ESPN dot com...
"Alex Rodriguez expanded on his admission last week that he used a banned substance earlier this decade, saying a cousin injected him with an over-the-counter drug designed to give an "energy boost."
The New York Yankees star third baseman said using the banned drug that he said he obtained from the Dominican Republic was a "stupid mistake."
"I knew we weren't taking Tic Tacs," said Rodriguez, who was joined at the head table with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi. Rodriguez refused to reveal the identity of his relative.
The third baseman said he was injected twice a month in 2001, 2002 and 2003. He said his decision to use what he called an "energy boosting" drug was purely ignorant.
"We consulted no one. It was pretty evident that we didn't know what we were doing," Rodriguez said.
"I'm here to take my medicine," Rodriguez said. "One thing I will say after today I hope to focus on baseball. We have a very special team here. The fact is, it (the steroid story) came out and I'm here to share my story and put it out there, and hopefully I can put this behind me and my teammates don't have to carry the burden of answering all the questions for me.
Spring training represents a new start to me."
I listened to the entire press conference on the MAD DOG show on Sirius radio. He kept calling it a stupid mistake (a three year mistake!!) made by a "youngster." By the way, he was 25 years old and one of the richest people in the entire world. 2001-2003...boy, Alex, it took you a long time to learn that you made a mistake. For someone who cares about his body and what goes into it, YOU'RE A TOTAL IDIOT! You always will be. You're branded as just that. Click on this post's title for more ESPN laughs...really!!


Hello again on this Tuesday morning. I wanted to share a great blog with you. It's called A SCARLET SHUTTER. Just click on the title of this post to go right there. The author can write...amazingly. Click on the title and when you get to the author's blog, scroll down to BAD BOYFRIEND, part one. After that captivates you, scroll up to part two of the story. I know you'll love it!

Thanks. Click on this post's, if you can.

It's Lugo Vs. Lowrie In Epic SS Battle

The Boston Red Sox have started spring training with two shortstops who want to be out in the field every day. When Lugo, who was injured throughout most of the 2008 season, was asked who the starting shortstop will be, he said this...

“You’re looking at him. Like I said before, they know what’s going on," said Lugo, referring to the Red Sox. “They know how it’s done. It’s one of those things I’m not going to make a decision on. Every year’s a new beginning. Whatever you did last year doesn’t mean anything any more. I don’t worry about that. I just come here and do what I do, play baseball the best I can. I can’t make those decisions. They know what they’re going to get from me. This is not my first rodeo."

Julio, you sound pretty cocky, don't you? Jed Lowrie, the other piece of the puzzle, said this when asked the same question...

“Julio sees himself as the shortstop and I see myself as the shortstop, and I think that’s fun,” Lowrie said. “It’s not like a personal battle between Julio and me. This is a challenge, it’s a competition to make this team better. And so I welcome it, because it’s always a competition. Even if you’re an established guy there’s always going to be someone there trying to take your job.”

So the battle lines are drawn and the combatants are ready. One of them will be the starting everyday shortstop for the Boston Red Sox. The other will sit on the bench a lot and fill in when needed. Or something like that. It's said that a player should not lose his starting job because of an earlier injury, but it happens. And it'll happen again. And again. May the best man win.

Thanks for stopping in on this cold Tuesday morning. I appreciate every one of you. You can click on this post's title to be zapped to the Red Sox SI page. As always, BE WELL. See ya.

Monday, February 16, 2009

JD Drew's Back Will Be A Season-Long Problem

Red Sox rightfielder JD Drew is still having back problems. A herniated disc is bulging and coming into contact with the sciatic nerve, and that causes considerable pain and stiffness. Drew had an MRI in the offseason that showed no significant damage, but this is something that should have been taken care of well before the start of spring training. I had the same problem in '78 and the pain that ran down my leg was the most severe I've ever experienced. I had an operation and the doctor removed the cracked disc. The relief, when I regained feeling from the waist down, was immediate and blessedly great. JD had this to say...

"Just been one of those injuries that have kind of lingered and I've been able to hit and run and do all that stuff," Drew said. "Some days I wake up and the back is an issue, some days it doesn't seem to be too bad. Just in the maintenance stages. Everything's well enough to perform and play as far as that goes. Just try to isolate it and keep it from flaring up too bad."
"I'm not concerned that I won't be at full capacity to play," Drew said. "If we had to go out there and play a game today I could do that. It wouldn't be a problem. That being said, I have battled with this the entire offseason, just as far as stiffness goes. Not really mobility as much. You wake up . . . you move around, you do a few things, you sit down for a while, you get stiff."

I think JD is a stiff for not taking care of this. Rocco Baldelli might be seeing more playing time than he or we thought. This is a shame because when JD's back is feeling good, as it did much of last season, he can be and is a potent force at the plate, a much needed bat for the Mannyless Red Sox. This is a problem that the Red Sox do not need and it ain't going away without surgery. It seems like that's not the way the Red Sox medical staff and JD himself are going to go about it, though. We'll have to hope for the best. Everyday, every game will be different, with good ones and bad ones, one after the other. I hope the good outweighs the bad...bigtime.

I hope you had a marvelous weekend. Enjoy this Monday, President's Day, and as always, BE WELL. Click on this post's title for more on Drew, among other things. Aloha, cheers, take care, see ya. Comment if you'd like...please.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tek Talk

So the Captain is back, and that's a good thing. Jason Varitek will be behind the plate in 2009, calling the pitches and handling the needs of his pitcher(s) of the day. Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona is happy about his return, too...

“It makes our lives . . . easier knowing he’s back there putting those fingers down.”

And how does Varitek feel about once again donning the Boston uniform? This is part of what he had to say...

“I am ecstatic that I’m a Red Sox. I’m ecstatic that I have the peace of mind knowing that I’m going to be in this uniform. I get closer to retiring in this uniform. I’m not saying that I’m retiring any time soon, but it allows me that opportunity.”

OK, I've heard and been a part of so many conversations discussing the positives and negatives of having Jason on the team. I couldn't be any happier...the pitching staff couldn't be any happier. His teammates? The same thing. He will work extensively with team hitting coach Dave Magadan to try and tweak his left-handed batting average upwards. He's fine when batting from the right side of the plate, but his left-handed average last year was only .201. That's not acceptable. Here's Tito on that subject...

“I know he’s going to work with Mags,” Francona said. “Right-handed, I don’t think we’re looking for any adjustments. Left-handed, I think . . . he has a lot of moving parts left-handed. He’s always going to. It’s easier for him to maintain his swing right-handed. That’s always been the case.”

Here's what I think will happen this season. Tek will bring his batting average up to .268 and once again be a force defensively behind the plate, communicating with his pitcher(s) as only he can. And I couldn't be any happier. What's good for the Boston Red Sox pitching staff is good for the Boston Red Sox.

Click on this post's title for more about the team. Have a great Sunday, go #1 UCONN (women AND men), and as always, BE WELL.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Smoltz Ready To Go, But The Red Sox Will Slow Him Down...Just A Little

Spring in Fort Myers, Florida...oh, what a wonderful place to be. The young players working out in conditioning drills yesterday intently watched the veterans. One veteran, a new member of the team, is a pitcher named John Smoltz. He looked great doing the training camp drills. This is what he had to say about his return timetable. It looks like Boston will "sit on him" until late May. Here's part of what he and Sox skipper Tito Francona had to say...

“I don’t doubt there are going to be times when we have to sit on him,” said manager Terry Francona.

Said Smoltz: “My timetable is a lot faster than most. They don’t really want me to think about anything other than June, to be as strong as I possibly can to help them down the stretch. Even if I think I’m ready in April and May, it really doesn’t matter. Their biggest challenge is to tame me down, because I’m a full-bore guy and I love to compete.”

I love his competitive nature and I have no doubt we'll all see him toe the rubber sometime in May. Who will the Red Sox drop from their five man rotation to make room for him? That's an easily answered question. I ask you, who is the weakest Red Sox starting pitcher? That's easy...Timmy Wakefield. He has been our workhorse, but when you have five guys like Beckett, Lester, Daisuke, Penny and Smoltz, I do not see where Timmy will fit in. He's even more of a liability coming out of the bullpen. Sure, every year he goes on a hot streak of five or six starts, a streak where he gives up three runs or less and goes seven or eight innings per start. Let's hope that streak happens early in the season, because John Smoltz will be ready in May. As you read earlier, I know he thinks he'll be ready by Opening Day. But as the song goes, "the waiting is the hardest part." So true. I think he'll be a valuable member of a stunning Red Sox starting five, with a great bullpen to back 'em up. Time will tell, as it always does.

That's it for now...short but sweet on this Saturday, February 14, 2009, St. Valentine's Day. The flowers (a dozen long stemmed roses) that I ordered for my girlfriend Nadia arrived yesterday at her home in Minnesota, on time as promised by pro flowers dot com. I recommend them highly. Proflowers, not Nadia. She's mine, thank you. Enjoy your weekend and click on this post's title to be linked to the SI Boston Red Sox homepage, which is updated every day with all the articles you'd ever want to read. As always, BE WELL. Shalom...l'chiam, which means to life. It's all we have. See ya. Your comments are always welcome and always answered. Every single time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Quiet Start To Red Sox Spring Training...Terry Francona's Thoughts

The most exciting event for Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona so far down in Fort Myers was his hole in one yesterday at the golf course. He had witnesses, too! Good for him...maybe that's a good sign of things to come. Tito did have a few things to say that are baseball related. First up are his thoughts about Big Papi David Ortiz. My comments will follow...

"Some guys have laid some eyes on him in the Dominican Republic and he looks tremendous," Francona said. "I'm excited to see David because that would be great news for us."

How about third baseman Mikey Lowell?

"(He's been on ) a little bit of a slower program at the beginning of camp. I don't think that's earth-shattering. Again, the idea is to get him ready for Opening Day. That's a pretty legit timetable. It doesn't have to be that day or the day before. The idea is to get him back, and once he's back, getting playing consistently like he can, so I don't like to put an artificial date on it. I think he'll be fine, Francona said."

Tito also mentioned the already infamous Manny Ramirez book that I wrote about yesterday. Just scroll down if you missed it. Here are his comments...

"I was asked last night about it and I saw some excerpts," Francona said. "In what little I did see, it sounded like the book shouldn't have been in the non-fiction area of Barnes & Noble. My recollection of some of that isn't anywhere close to his. And that's disappointing. And I think it was obvious over the years we bent over backwards to be fair not just with Manny, but with all of our players," he said, "while at the same time having them understand that they need to be accountable for their actions . . . I don't apologize for anything that happened. I thought we did the best we could."

I guess the best wasn't good enough for "Sir" Manny. What a douche. Lastly, here are Tito's thoughts about the resigning of team captain Jason Varitek...

"Sometimes the business side drags out a little bit, and thankfully I don't have to be a big part of that business. But to have him back is great. It certainly makes our job a lot easier, and there are a lot pitchers that are probably thrilled that he's back. And again, I don't think he has to hit .300 for us to be successful. But I do think that there's going to be somewhat of a bounce-back year. But regardless, I think we've proven that if he doesn't hit, we can win, and if he does hit, that makes us a little bit of a special team."

OK, here are some of MY thoughts, if you wish. If not, just skip to the next paragraph. Firstly, we need a Big Papi with pop in his bat, and that means a healthy and sound wrist. I sure hope he is doing well. The 2-3-4-5 spots in the Red Sox lineup are crucial to the team's future success. That's Pedey, Papi, Youk and Lowell. And speaking of Mike Lowell, we all have to hope he will be (or is) pain-free in the hip area. I can only imagine how painful any injury like that could be. Ouch. We need ya, Mike. Tito's comments about 'Tek were right on the money. He doesn't have to hit .300...frankly, I think he's unable to do that. But with a .275 average and his reassuring presence behing the plate, we'll be fine for 2009. By this time next year, however, the Red Sox will have already signed, one way or another, a younger catcher, a guy who can hit AND the same time. We can only hope. One last tidbit from my brain. The Boston Red Sox pitching staff is as solid, starters to bullpen, as any in all of MLB baseball. Good pitching beats good hitting, as the saying goes. A healthy Beckett will make all the difference in the world. Dominate, Josh Baseball.

Well, that was fun...writing this post, I mean. Click on the title to be linked to the SI Red Sox homepage, where you can go anywhere you want with a single click. Have a great Friday the thirteenth. Leave a comment if you'd like...I'll repond to it. As always, BE WELL. Aloha. Shalom. L'chaim (to life). Hello. Goodbye. See ya.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Manny In Hardcover, Telling "His" Side Of The Story....More Fiction Than Fact...IDIOCY

Let me start out by saying that I strongly dislike Manny Ramirez after he showed his true colors to Red Sox Nation last year. He's a baby, he's a bum, he's a whiner but boy, can he hit the baseball. It was fun while it lasted, except for the latter half of 2008 (and 2007 etc.), but now he has put out a book, cowritten by Shawn Boburg and Jean Rhodes. It's called BECOMING MANNY: INSIDE THE LIFE OF BASEBALL'S MOST ENIGMATIC SLUGGER. I could substitute the word "enigmatic" with a couple choice ones of my own, but not here, not now. This information came from today's Boston Herald. My thanks to Sean McAdam. I'll link his piece to this post's title and remind you later.

The book states that when Manny shoved traveling secretary Jack McCormick, he was settling an old score. Gene Mato, one of Manny's ex-agents and his wife Julianna had this to say about that...

“Jack disrespected Manny for many years and on many occasions,” Gene Mato, one of Ramirez’ former agents, told the authors.
Ramirez’ wife, Julianna, added, “Jack’s response was very rude. And Jack had a history of insulting Manny in front of the other players.”

She went on to suggest that the Sox saw the confrontation as an excuse to deal Ramirez away a month later. That's total bullshit.

“They gave him up to the press instead of protecting one of their own players,” Julianna Ramirez is quoted as saying."

TOTAL bullshit. Here's what the beloved Red Sox skipper, Tito Francona, had to say ...

“I think we did everything in our power to protect Manny,” Francona said. “At the same time, we wanted him to own up to his actions. We tried to do it privately but also make him understand that there were consequences for his actions. I thought we did the best we could. I think we bent over backward for Manny, like we did many times.”

It's ironic that Mrs. Ramirez would take shots at McCormick, who is physically no match for Sir Manny and shouldn't have been shoved in the first place. Jack was the one who "waived" the rules and let her have a seat on a team charter flight to Houston. Here's Terry on that...

“It was Jack’s idea to waive the rules to allow Julianna on the charter,” said Francona. “I don’t remember it the same way Manny does, or for that matter, Gene Mato, who wasn’t there.”

Exactly, Tito, Mato wasn't even there. Manny's future legacy in Boston has been totally erased. He's just a bad taste in the mouth of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International, a taste of pure putrid puke. Hey, it's his own fault. WHAT A BUM.

When you click this post's title you will be magically transported to the Boston Herald Red Sox homepage. You can read the entire Manny article there. Do me a favor, don't buy the book, or at least wait until the softcover edition comes out. For that, I thank you. As always, BE WELL. Take care of yourselves. Leave a comment or three...I'll respond to every one. Thanks. See ya.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Red Sox...Two Years To Joe Mauer?

This is from the St. Paul (MN) Pioneer Press...
"Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek's $5 million contract offer that could include an option through 2010 is intriguing. Twins catcher Joe Mauer can become a free agent after the 2010 season, and baseball insiders say Boston would be a big, big bidder if he's available."
So, will it be Jason Varitek for two years until the Boston Red Sox can acquire a young and talented catcher? Joe Mauer fits the bill. His stats are right here. Look at his 2008 batting average and drool...

AVG .328 HR9 RBI 85
Minnesota Twins | C | #7
Bats: L Throws: R
Ht., Wt.: 6'5"
Born: Apr 19, 1983, in St. Paul, Minnesota

2008 0.328 146 536 98 176 31 4 9 85 84 50 0.413 0.451 0.864
2008 1 21 242 8 1 11 1 1 0.500 141 244 4.1

A .328 batting average! Holy you know what, but he won't be a free agent until after the 2010 season, if at all. But that kind of power and defense behind the plate are just what the Red Sox will be (are) looking for. That's a Wednesday quickie from me...have a great Hump Day! As always, be well. Cheers. Aloha. Farewell. Amen. Goodbye....for now. I'm not going anywhere.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


In a face up interview with ESPN, Alex Rodriguez admits that he knowingly took steriods from 2001 to 2003. That's a long time ago...has he been clean since then? Here's part of what he had to say...
"I was young, I was stupid, I was naive," he told ESPN's Peter Gammons. "I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time. I did take a banned substance, and for that I'm very sorry. I have millions of fans who will never look at me the same," Rodriguez mused emotionally in the ESPN interview, adding that he would be "really pissed off" if he were one of them."
Former Red Sox pitcher John Burkett (remember him?) had this to say...
"I feel terrible for guys like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Willie Stargell, and Frank Robinson who set all those records, and now these guys who have cheated are surpassing them," said former Red Sox pitcher John Burkett, who faced Rodriguez from 1996 to 2003. "It's a shame."
When AROD took the performance enhancing drugs, he was playing for the Texas Rangers for a ton, wait, maybe five tons of money. Rangers owner Tom Hicks, at least right now, is NOT a happy guy. Here are some of his words...
"I feel personally betrayed; I feel personally deceived by Alex," Hicks told reporters in a conference call. "He assured me that he had far too much respect for his own body to ever do that to himself . . . If he's now admitting that he started using when he came to the Texas Rangers, why should I believe that it didn't start before he came to the Texas Rangers?
Way to say what you think, Tom. Maybe you should have assembled a better pitching staff all those seven years ago instead of loading up on the bats and trying to score ten runs per game. How many times did the Rangers score six to eight runs in a losing cause? The answer...too many times to count. But that's off the point.

Here are my feelings...I know you've been waiting with bated breath (not). I am not a fan of Alex Rodriguez. That'll never happen. Things might have been quite different had the proposed trade to the Red Sox happened. I remember an interview on the streets of New York City with AROD for the TODAY SHOW. He was holding a Boston cap in his hand. But it was not to be. He ended up with the pinstripers and the rest is history. At least he admitted his use of performance enhancing drugs. I am including the link to that audio/video interview. Just click on this post's title WITH your computer's audio on. Now. Your comments are always welcome and, as always, BE WELL. That's the most important thing. It really is. Happiness and health. L'chaim (to life). Click on the title to watch the eight minute interview.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Schilling Wants All Names Released

Curt Schilling has spoken out on his blog 38 PITCHES. He wants the powers-that-be to release ALL the names of the supposedly confidential survey that listed the players who tested positive for steroids. Here's part of what he had to say...

"I'd be all for the 104 positives being named, and the game moving on if that is at all possible," former Boston ace Curt Schilling wrote on his blog Sunday. We can't be shocked by any names, any more," Schilling said in his blog."

I'm with him...he makes a lot of sense. But other players, such as ex-Red Sox player Sean Casey, are against releasing any more names. Why? Read on...

"...because it was supposed to be a survey test and those results were supposed to be confidential," he said. "The only reason we opened up the collective bargaining agreement was on those terms."

Hey Sean, you play, you pay. I'm with Curt on this one, even if some Red Sox and ex-Red Sox players are included. Thanks for stopping in once more...I didn't know I had two Monday posts in me. See ya.

Manny Is Confident He Will Play In 2009

I came across an article in the Boston Globe this morning that concerned Manny Ramirez and where he will play this year. Make no mistake about it...he will be playing for someone. Here's part of what he said in a Spanish language interview, his first in a long time...

"We're in the seventh inning and I'm waiting for my pitch," said Ramirez. "I know that if I play six more years, I could get to my 3,000th hit and, who knows, maybe my 700th home run."

Six more years? Not all of them in leftfield, I know that much. There's DHing in his future if he hangs on that long. There was talk earlier that Manny might be headed to the SF Giants. Not likely. Here's what SF GM Brian Sabean said to the San Francisco Chronicle...

"It's going to take a special set of circumstances," Sabean told the Chronicle. "It's not going to be a long-term contract. It's not going to be at the dollars being speculated. It's going to have to make business sense and it's going to have to make baseball sense with a player who certainly has a tremendous upside in the end and some warts that still leave him on the market because of what his lack of all-around play is and what his past has been in previous organizations."

I don't care where he ends up, as long as it's not Boston. And it won't be. It would be nice if he stayed in the National League...we won't have too face him until October, if then. I won't even wish him good luck because of his behavior with the Red Sox. He acted like a big baby who couldn't get what he wanted. Wah Wah Wah.

I have to wrap up now...a doctor's appointment is coming up too soon. Click on this post's title for the SI baseball homepage. You never know what will turn up there...they're the ones who broke the AROID news. Thanks for stopping in, and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


What's next for this confused and untruthful baseball player who happens to be convienently out of the country when the news of his 2003 positive steroid test results broke worldwide? Maybe he's on an island with the "Queen of Puke," Madonna. At least that's what I think of her...always have, always will. Wherever he might be on this big blue beautiful planet, he's not saying anything. And maybe that's for the best...he has absolutely no defense to these allegations simply because blood tests usually do not lie. The thing about this entire sordidness that bothers me most is that A-ROID won the MVP award in '03. Give it back, Alex. Yeah, right...when pigs fly and when donkeys speak fluent Latin.

I linked the latest about AROID from the Sunday NY Daily News and Mike Lupica. Simply click on this post's title and you're there.

Boston's equipment truck is traveling southbound and will be in lovely and warm (?) Florida in a couple days. But once again, that team from the Bronx is being looked at as the "Bronx Zoo." Hey, Hal and Hankie, what are your thoughts? So far, the brothers haven't said a word. I'm not surprised.

Enjoy this warmish Wednesday, and as always, BE WELL. Remember to click on this post's title for the Lupica article. I'm ready to read and respond to any of your comments about the tainted pinstriped slugger, or about anything baseball. See ya.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS...holy sh*t...

By SI's Selena Roberts and David Epstein
"In 2003, when he won the American League home run title and the AL Most Valuable Player award as a shortstop for the Texas Rangers, Alex Rodriguez tested positive for two anabolic steroids, four sources have independently told Sports Illustrated.
Rodriguez's name appears on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball's '03 survey testing, SI's sources say. As part of a joint agreement with the MLB Players Association, the testing was conducted to determine if it was necessary to impose mandatory random drug testing across the major leagues in 2004.
When approached by an SI reporter on Thursday at a gym in Miami, Rodriguez declined to discuss his 2003 test results. "You'll have to talk to the union," said Rodriguez, the Yankees' third baseman since his trade to New York in February 2004. When asked if there was an explanation for his positive test, he said, "I'm not saying anything."
Phone messages left by SI for players' union executive director Donald Fehr were not returned.
Though MLB's drug policy has expressly prohibited the use of steroids without a valid prescription since 1991, there were no penalties for a positive test in 2003. The results of that year's survey testing of 1,198 players were meant to be anonymous under the agreement between the commissioner's office and the players association. Rodriguez's testing information was found, however, after federal agents, armed with search warrants, seized the '03 test results from Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc., of Long Beach, Calif., one of two labs used by MLB in connection with that year's survey testing. The seizure took place in April 2004 as part of the government's investigation into 10 major league players linked to the BALCO scandal -- though Rodriguez himself has never been connected to BALCO."
I still can't believe what a two-faced as*hole he is...have a great weekend.

VARITEK Passes Physical...He's Back!

This post was just released on the Boston Herald blog three hours ago...

"Jason Varitek passed his physical, and the team announced yesterday (Friday) that he had signed a one-year contract with an option for 2010. The deal was first agreed to last Friday.
Varitek, traded to the Red Sox from Seattle in 1997 and named captain in 2004 after his last fling with free agency, will earn $ 5 million this year."

That's good news indeed, but it doesn't mean that the Red Sox won't trade one of their young arms for a younger catcher with a better the future, not right now. The entire Red Sox pitching staff is overjoyed that the captain is back. He helps every one of them in SO many ways. I, for one, am very happy.

Five days, two hours to go until pitchers and catchers report to Fort great is that! Have a great Saturday and a wonderful weekend. The Red Sox news will pick up when the Florida spring camp opens. It's eeriely quiet right now. You can click on this post's title for more articles concerning our Sox from SI dot com. As always, be well. Take care of yourselves.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Theo's Final Thoughts On Teixeira, For Now...Truck Day Parade Is Today

Theo Epstein recently waxed eloquently on the Boston Red Sox' attempts to obtain slugger Mark Teixeira. And here I was thinking all that talk had gone away like a whisp of fog rapidly evaporating on a clearing day. But his words are interesting on this Truck Day Parade Day. Yes, I said parade...more on that later. Theo speaks...
“I just remember feeling like we were this close to landing one of the best players in baseball, and the fact that he showed up on a division rival left us feeling we were in an even worse position than before,” Sox general manager Theo Epstein said yesterday. “But it didn’t change who we were. It was just one more thing we had to overcome from a talent standpoint at that time vis-a-vis the Yankees. It wasn’t the end of the world. It just wasn’t the outcome we were looking for.”
“I don’t think this was any momentous event or turning point or anything like that,” Epstein said of Teixeira. “He’s a really good free agent, an elite player we really liked, and he went to the team that offered him more money. It’s pretty commonplace. We’ve proven over the last couple of years that we’re not big free agent spenders. Whenever there’s a player on the open market the Yankees want, they’re going to get him."
What he's saying is this..."damn Yankees." But the 2009 version of the Red Sox has better pitching, in the rotation and in the bullpen, than 2008's model, and with a healthy Mike Lowell and a healed Big Papi, they'll be just fine. We also need our ace, Josh Beckett, to be healthy all year long. The club collected many low cost high risk players. If, oh, two of them fully recover from their 2008 health scares (Penny, Smoltz, Saito), this club will do no worse than the AL Wild Card. My predictions for the AL East will be right here near the end of the team's Fort Myers stay. Let's have a healthy spring training camp first.

And speaking of spring training, the annual Boston Red Sox Truck Day is today (thanks, Ian). Red Sox Hall of Famer Johnny Pesky will serve as the Grand Marshal of the truck departure parade. Pesky, whose uniform number ‘6’ was formally retired by the Red Sox last year, will ceremoniously “start” the engines of the equipment truck. Sounds like fun to me, and the weather will be a little warmer, but not much. Onward ho! Southbound and down.

You can click on the title of this post for more on the Red Sox from (check out the third article from the top under RED SOX BASEBALL NEWS). Its title..."Player for player, the Yankees are better than the Red Sox." We'll see about that! As always, BE WELL. Your comments are welcome and always needed. Shalom, aloha, see ya, my Constant readers.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Kotsay Out Two Plus Months After Back Surgery...The Red Sox 2009 Bullpen

The Boston Red Sox have felt the sting of the injury bug even before the 2009 season begins. Mark Kotsay, signed to a one-year deal last month, underwent back surgery on Jan. 29 to remove a displaced disc fragment. Kotsay will not be ready to start the regular season but is expected back around May 1, according to a baseball source. We all hope he's ready by then...ready and completely healthy. Now the Brad Wilkerson signing makes more sense. He was inked to a minor league deal and will attend spring training with the big club.

No word from Boras(s) or his client, Manny Ramirez, yet. I wouldn't be surprised if the "delirious duo" wait until March to sign with the Dodgers. He'll be playing somewhere (other than Boston), that's a 100% sure thing.

The Red Sox bullpen is complete and looks damn good. Here's a quick rundown of the main guns...

1) Jonathon Papelbon...ace closer. No more needs to be said. Simply the best.
2) Manny Delcarmen...part of the sturdy and solid bridge to Paps.
3) Ramon Ramirez...see #2
4) Hideki Okajima...our "Darkman." He's a great lefty asset to the 'pen.
5) Javier Lopez...another effective lefthanded batters to a .189 batting average last year. He had a great 2008.
6) Takashi Saito...he's 39 years old and had elbow problems last year. If he's healthy, he'll make a great addition to Boston's deep bullpen.
7) Justin Masterson...induces righty batters to hit the ball on the ground. That's SO important when coming into a game with men on base.

I like our bullpen...a lot. Now if the injuries can stay away for eight months or so, the Boston Red Sox will be just fine, thank you. Have a great Thursday. It's another below zero morning here in north central Connecticut, and I'm getting sick of it! As always, BE WELL. You can click on the title of this post to be linked to the Boston Herald Sox homepage, where you can read the entire bullpen article and all the latest on Kotsay's condition. See ya! Stay warm if it's cold and cold if it's warm.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Manny IS An Idiot...So Is Boras(s)...

I'm the one who added the extra "S" in the title. Boy, it fits! It seems, at least right now, that troublemaker Manny and his inhuman agent have rejected the Dodger's $25 million offer three times. What is he thinking? We all know his "true colors" from 2008.

That's it for now... I think that Manny WILL be in Dodger Blue soon. Scott Boras(s)? I don't give a darn...believe me, I was going to use another word. Over and over again.

And again. Are you with me???

Jon Lester Is Already In Fort Myers!

Hello on another frigid morning. It's Wednesday and still dark outside, but I've already read the two major Boston sports sections and found a great article written by the Herald's Sean McAdams. Jon Lester has completed his journey to the Sunshine State eight days early. I guess he's ready for the warm air and beaming sunshine, two things we could use up here in north central Connecticut. Here's what he said about his annual southbound trek...

"It's kind of a routine now," said Lester. "End of January comes, it's time to start packing up and heading down. It's something that I enjoy doing. I get used to being on the grass and in the's just nice to be able to get down here."

Here is the spring training arrival schedule. Red Sox pitchers and catchers are required to report by Feb. 12, with their first workout on the 14th. Position players are due to report by the 16th and the first full-squad workout will be on the 18th. If you are going to be venturing to Fort Myers sometime this late winter, don't forget this restaurant tip...if you like (love) baby back ribs on a huge platter, with a plate of the best onion rings I've ever had and maybe a pitcher of beer or root beer, here's where you should go. It's called MICHELBOBS. There is one in Naples and another in Fort Myers. It might get crowded but the wait is worth it. I'll never forget how good those ribs were. I can almost taste them now. They're the kind of baby backs that demand a huge pile of napkins always at hand. MMMM.

OK, I was making ME hungry, thinking of ribs at 5:25 in the morning. Jon Lester, our solid number two guy in the rotation, had this to say about the return of team captain Jason Varitek...

"With Tek signing last week, it's a definite boost to our club," said Lester. "He came to my wedding a couple weeks ago. I talked to him just briefly. I know how it is. You don't want to talk about that stuff in the offseason...I just asked him how the process was going, and he said, 'It's going.' I kind of hit him on the chest and said, 'I hope you're back.' That was it."

Congratulations to Jon on his wedding. We all wish him well. There's been no word on Manny and the Dodger's offer...not yet. I'd be shocked if he doesn't wear Dodger blue in 2009. Completely and utterly shocked. He knows the color of money, though, so expect him to be playing in southern California come early the National League, away from us until October...maybe.

That's a wrap for this Hump Day, February 4th. Be safe and have a great middle of the week day. You can click on this post's title to be linked to a two minute fourteen second video of many of your favorite Boston Red Sox players. Make sure you turn the sound it loud! As always, thanks for being here and BE WELL. L' life. Always and forever.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Dodgers Offer Manny Many Millions

Twenty five million dollars, to be exact. That's how much they're willing to pay the slugger for the 2009 season. Considering the state of this offseason's free agent market, if I were Manny (and I'm glad I'm not), I would literally pounce on the offer. Take the money and run, Manny. I'm glad you'll be in the National League.

I was able to buy an excellent pair of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band tickets for the April 24th show right here in Hartford. They're in a perfect location but they cost a pretty penny, a ton of pennies, in fact. I and many friends found that Ticketmaster's website was almost shut down by the sheer volume of hits and by the time the system returned to it's normal slowness, all the good seats were gone. But I had a contingency plan in place and implemented it immediately. By 10:40 on Tuesday, about 40 minutes after Ticketmaster started to sell the tickets (the show sold out in half an hour...that's 16,580 seats in 30 minutes), I was golden with a prized pair of ducats, with the section, row and seat numbers included. They'll be here on Wednesday, so I'll be watching that mailbox like a hawk. I'm a little poorer than I was 24 hours ago, but my happiness more than makes up for it. That's Bruce for you! Let's see, this will be show number sixty for me. Remember, that might sound like a lot but I've been going to Bruce shows since 1974, before his BORN TO RUN 1975 national emergence to superstardom. He's been one of the greatest songwriters for thirty five years now. It doesn't seem possible, but it is. His last three albums, all of them released in the 21st century, have maintained his supreme standard of excellence. I salute him.

Any Red Sox news is either slim or none, so I'll make this a short post. There are only nine days left until pitchers and catchers report to sunny and warm Fort Myers. Time flies, doesn't it? You can click on the title of this post to link with the SI Red Sox page. You'll have your pick of many articles from all kinds of media. As always, BE WELL. L' life.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Congratulations To The Pittsburgh Steelers

Wow, what a Super Bowl! The fourth quarter was worth the price of admission alone. The Steelers are the first six time Super Bowl winners, and they deserve it. From the wars with Dallas in the mid seventies to the present, the first decade of the 21st century, they have showed supreme excellence. The halftime show with Bruce and the E Street Band was great, too, with one of the longest Bruce "stage slides" I've ever seen. He actually bumped a camera at the end of his seemingly frictionless on-his-knees journey. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Born To Run, Working On A Dream and Glory Days made for a glorious 12 minute party. I'm used to him in three or four hour chunks instead of a 12 minute morsel, but what a morsel it was. And the game, especially the fourth quarter, blew away all expectations. To NBC, congratulations on a job well done. Final score...Pittsburgh 27 Arizona 23. All I can say is 'WOW."

"Glory days, well, they'll pass you by.
Glory days, in the wink of a young boy's eyes.
Glory days, glory days..."

Oh yes, have a great Monday. I'll be on Ticketmaster (gulp) at 10am when the Bruce tickets go on sale for his Hartford date on April 24th. As always, BE WELL.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Hello on this Super Sunday, February 1st. As you all know, there will be a football game beginning shortly after 6pm EST. Arizona will be playing the Steelers, who are bidding to become the first team ever to win a sixth world championship. I used to be a Pittsburgh fan in the 70s when their rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys was so intense. Since then, I've drifted away from them and have given my heart to the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics. The Sox are by far number one in my soul...that's why I try to write this blog. But today belongs to football and I'm rooting for Kurt Warner and the Cardinals. I'm always a sucker for the underdog, and that's what they are. Final score? Beware, this comes from my heart...24-14 Cardinals. But the score could easily be reversed. The only sure thing will be a twelve minute party with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band at the half. They'll be playing four songs in rapid succesion. Some of the lyrics and guitar riffs will be altered or deleted to fit that twelve minute "package," but I know he'll knock our socks off.

I'll leave you with a comment on the Boston/Varitek-Boras(s) negotiations, when Boras(s) dropped the ball, so to speak. We're lucky that he doesn't PLAY baseball. This is from the Boston Globe's Bob Ryan...

"Varitek has blindly trusted Boras from the beginning, and things have always worked out in his favor. This time, however, Boras was utterly reckless. Did Boras really think he could hypnotize some club executive into believing Varitek was still a decent hitter? It's been obvious for several weeks that there was no market for Varitek, that if he was going to prolong his major league career, it would have to be in Boston, where people will love him, warts and all.
So there it is. Jason Varitek gets paid far more than he's worth anywhere else. He bats ninth, probably gets pinch hit for a lot, and, if the Good Lord's willin' and the creek don't rise, he might even have another three-hit game. But the pitchers are happy, and there's a lot to be said for that."

Wow, Bob, well said. If the pitching staff is happy, I'm happy. It looks like the Red Sox will be going with the catching duo of Varitek and Bard. Let's hope 'Tek can rediscover the power of that piece of wood called a bat in his hit the baseball where they ain't. Click on the title of this post to access the entire Ryan article. Have a great SUPER SUNDAY and as always, BE WELL. Go Cards...go Bruce. But Bruce and the E Street Band are a sure thing.