Sunday, January 31, 2010

UCONN Women Roll To 60th Straight Double Digit Win..Wakefield Honored And Happy

The national champion University of Connecticut women Huskies travelled to Pittsburgh and won their 60th straight game, ALL BY DOUBLE DIGITS. They overmatched and overwhelmed Pitt in every way possible. The final score was 98-56. They know where and when to pass the ball and have, with a great supporting cast, the two best players in the far. They are Tina Charles, who scored her 2000th point yesterday and Maya Moore, who IS the best player in the nation.

Yesterday, Boston Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield was honored with the Bart Giamatti Award for community service. He was visibly moved. Here is part of what he had to say...

“I’m completely humbled by this thing and honored at the same time to be recognized for doing things off the field,” he said. “I don’t do the things I do for recognition. I do them because I care. This is a great honor to be recognized by the B.A.T. team. I really strongly believe in their mission and their passion to give back to the baseball family. We all as players could eventually down the road need assistance,” Wakefield said. “Whether it’s careers cut short by injury or something happens that’s part of life, we all could need help. All current players and members of the baseball community should support this fine organization.”

Great job, Timmy, great job. We're proud of you. And I'm proud of YOU, my Constant Readers, for stopping in on this frigid Sunday morn. I hope your day will be a great one. You can click on this post's title for a list of the UCONN women's 60 game win streak and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Theo..Six Plus Defense Equals Well Rounded..UCONN Women Go For 60 Straight Double Digit Victories

The Boston Red Sox GM, Theo Epstein, spoke to the Boston Herald's Michael Silverman recently about his club's starting pitching. He stressed that the fact the Red Sox have six starters ready to toe the mound will not be a problem. He also mentioned Boston's vastly improved defense. Here's a quote from Epstein...

“I’ve been around teams that had deep starting pitching on paper and by the time you get to the season, you can’t find a starting pitcher to take the ball,” Epstein said. “I don’t see that as a problem. I see that as a potential asset. It’s not worth wasting time thinking about it or talking about it unless or until you get to a point during the regular season when you have more than five guys who are healthy and can do a good job starting. We’re not at that point right now. In our club’s case, what we feel good about is how well-rounded we are,” the GM said. “A lot’s been made about moving in a different direction with our defense. That’s not really what we did. We just made an attempt to become well-rounded and be good in all areas of the game.”

Now THAT makes sense. In my book, and I'm talking from experience, a club can never have too many starting pitchers. If Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Buchholz, Matsuzaka and Wakefield all remain healthy throughout the entire regular and post season, Timmy will probably pitch once every couple of weeks. That depends on the off days built into the Red Sox schedule. Tito Francona, the manager, would not want to stretch any starter's off days by more than one so Wakes will be on a very flexible schedule. Who knows? In case of a game where the regularly scheduled starter gets bombed out after a couple innings, we'll probably see Timmy warming up early in the bullpen. Of course, we hope that will not happen. The Red Sox would be behind in that case. So six equals five plus a way.

Speaking of this post's title, simply click on it to be zapped to the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage to catch up on all the Sox news. February starts on Monday and the Sox news will pick up dramatically. You can bet your bippy on that. As always, BE WELL and have a terrific weekend. Oh, the University of Connecticut national champion women's basketball team, the Huskies, will go for their 60th (!!) consecutive double digit victory today at 2pm EST. They play Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. Look for them to win by thirty plus. There's no national television but if you're in Connecticut look for them on CPTV or listen to them on WTIC AM 1080. The video feed might be available on the UCONN Huskies website. GOOGLE IT. And the beat goes on, the beat goes on. See ya.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Contreras To Philly...Will Petey Follow?

The Philadelphia Phillies, who came so close to winning it all last season but were outmatched by the NY Yankees, have signed pitcher Jose Contreras to a one year deal for one and a half million bucks. While pitching for the pinstripers, Jose bended under the unending pressure. He's capable, with a good and solid ball club like the Phillies, to be an effective pitcher. He will most likely come out of the bullpen to blow away four or five batters, especially if the Phillies, as rumored, bring back Pedro "Petey" Martinez. I'd do it in a minute if I were them. As for Contreras, he's a great pickup by the National League champs. Here is the Philadelphia GM...

“Jose is a versatile pitcher who will likely get stretched out in spring training as a starter, but our scouts feel he is best suited for a significant role in the bullpen," Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "His competitiveness and durability are pluses and what he showed in his brief stint as a reliever in Colorado gives us reason to believe that he makes our pitching staff stronger."

Look for Philadelphia to be in it until the end...they're THAT strong. In the coming days I'll pick my division winners in both leagues. I'm not good at prognostication and the only race that's a lock is the one in the AL East. But I'll give it a shot. Oh, I almost forgot this. The Mets are looking to sign John Smoltz to a one year incentive-laden deal. At 43, he wants to try it again. I think the National League is the place where he should be. Face it, he was a bust in Boston.

I hope your Friday will be a great one..the weekend, too. It's a shiveringly cold 3 degrees here in north central Connecticut with wind chills about ten degrees below zero. Schools are delayed, black ice is all over the place, just about everything! Even the sun hasn't showed its face yet. It's still January, I know, I know.

You can click on this post's title for more baseball news and as always and forever, BE WELL. I'll see ya...soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Yanks Sign Randy Winn..Bye Bye Johnny?

Ex-Boston Red Sox outfielder turned traitor Johnny Damon's chances of returning to the NY Yankees were dealt a deadly blow when the pinstripers inked outfielder Randy Winn to a one year deal worth $2 million. This was recently announced by the Associated Press. Last year with the SF Giants, Winn hit .262 with only two taters and 51 RBIs. His on-base-percentage was a lowly .318. It looks like Johnny Damon and his agent, Scott Boras, simply priced themselves out of New York City. That's good for Boston because with Damon in the two spot of the batting order, the Yankees are a much better team. His stroke is made for the stadium's right field porch. So it's bye bye Johnny, Johnny bye bye (as Bruce wrote and sang). I hope he ends up in the National League. Here's the latest from fox dot com...

"The Yankees need Johnny Damon. Damon needs the Yankees. But so much for happily ever after. The World Series champions will replace Damon with Randy Winn, Brett Gardner and maybe a right-handed hitter such as Rocco Baldelli on a minor-league contract. Seriously. The Yankees, you see, are on a budget. Johnny Damon would have been a good fit with the Yanks this season.
I’m calling it now: The Yankees will be looking for a better left fielder in July. Damon, possibly headed to a second-division club, will be one of their prime trade targets. Where's Damon?"

Wow, a great question. And now...Boston Red Sox stuff...

Here's the Boston Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard talking about his teammate and the closer, Jonathon Papelbon...

“He’s a competitor. He’s ready every day to throw. And really, he’s a good guy for me to watch personally. I have aspirations of hopefully closing some day, whether it’s here or somewhere else, because as a reliever that’s the ultimate goal. And who better to watch than a guy who’s a four-time All-Star and has closed out World Series games? I know I can compete with the best players in the game,” he said. “Coming into this season, I realize my stuff plays at this level. I know what I need to do to be prepared between outings. It’s not a mystery to me anymore. I know what a 162-game season feels like. I know what the playoffs feel like. All of that stuff I didn’t have at this time last year.”

Daniel, the Boston Red Sox will need you big time to hold the fort in the seventh or eighth innings until it's time for Papelbon to nail it down. Good luck to you. This will be Bard's first full season in the big leagues. He started stong last year but had an ERA north of four over the last six weeks with a propensity to give up the long ball. Yes, he can throw 100 plus miles per hour but it's all LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. I think he'll be just fine.

Enjoy your Thursday as we here in north central Connecticut prepare for another Arctic cold air outbreak. Winds will accompany the frigid air starting late this afternoon. We were due...the last ten days have had high temperatures of forty degrees or above.

Thanks for stopping in once again, click on this post's title for more Red Sox and baseball news and as always, BE WELL.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hermida Signs With Red Sox..

This is from the Boston Globe from yesterday with my thanks...

"The Red Sox today agreed to terms with outfielder Jeremy Hermida on a one-year, non-guaranteed contract for the 2010 season, thus avoiding salary arbitration. The sides agreed to a $3.345 million deal for 2010, a team source told the Globe's Amalie Benjamin. Hermida made $2.25 million last season. Hermida was seeking $3.85 million and the Red Sox had offered $2.95 million. In most of these cases the sides split the difference, which is what the Sox did here. Hermida, who turns 26 on Jan. 30, was acquired by the Red Sox from the Florida Marlins on November 5, 2009. The left-handed hitter batted .259 (111-for-429) with 13 home runs and 47 RBI over 129 games with the Marlins in 2009 and set a career high with 56 walks."

So once again Theo Epstein avoids any arbitration proceedings. His record is spotless. Hermida is the final piece of the 2010 Boston Red Sox. Now let's see them perform up to their capabilities. If they do, the sky's the limit. I like the sky!

OK, I have a treat for you...I just spent thirty minutes with the Boston Globe's "Touching All the Bases" 20 question multiple choice poll which has tremendous questions about the 2010 team. Simply click on this post's title and you'll be instantly teleported to that fun quiz. Beam me up, Spock. Enjoy and as always, BE WELL. I'll see ya soon. Have great Humpday Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wakefield To Be Honored Tonight...John Henry Speaks About His Club

Tonight Tim Wakefield, the Boston Red Sox longtime starter and knuckleball specialist, will be honored in New York City with the 2009 Bart Giamatti award for community service. Yes, Wakes not only does his best for the ball club, and has for a long time, but devotes much of his time helping those in the community who need it most, both in Boston and his hometown of Melbourne, Florida. Timmy, we salute you.

The Boston Herald's Michael Silverman had an interesting piece in today's paper (thanks also to the Herald's John Tomase for the preceding story) that illuminated Red Sox owner John Henry's thinking process about the job Theo Epstein did in revamping the ball club. DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE has been the keyword and when it came to shelling out the bucks, John Henry and his wallet were there. Here are a few of his words, edited (but not changed) slightly by yours truly...

“I believe the 2010 club on paper is stronger than 2009,” said Henry. "Theo is much more of a fan of defense than I am - probably because he understands baseball on the field much more than I do,” said Henry, who mentioned that he “wasn’t aware that so much attention was being paid” to the defensive overhaul of the club. "We won 95 games in 2009 - third best in the major leagues,” said Henry. “Going into the offseason we were focused on how we get to 2012 - a year in which we believe there is a good chance we will begin to get some significant help again from our farm system. Those of us who watch every game are painfully aware of every flaw - probably overly aware of our flaws in comparison to other clubs,” said Henry.

I like what I see...a lot. The club will keep unearned runs to a minimum with a vastly improved defense. The infield is one of the top three in all of baseball and the lineup SHOULD produce enough runs to help the mighty starting rotation. The back end of the bullpen is solid as a rock as well. The 2010 Boston Red Sox will be fine, just fine. Let's just hope the injury bug stays away from Fenway and its team...our team.

I hope every one of you has a terrific Tuesday as we inch closer and closer to spring training. It's hard to believe February is just around the corner, a mere five (!!)) days away. My goodness. Mercy! Click on the title for more on the Sox from the Boston Globe and as always, BE WELL. See ya soon.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Daddy Pedey

I came across an article on the WEEI website once again and I wanted to share it with you. If you remember, Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia's wife, Kelli, went into premature labor last summer. It seems that things are just great right now. Here's Pedey...

"Things are so good right now," Pedroia told the Bee. "Last year was a tough year. Much better now. It's been the greatest thing," Pedroia told The Bee. "Having a baby really changes you. You feel so fortunate. I look at life differently. I feel more at ease, more laid-back, and I love the idea of being a great father. It's fun watching him grow every day."

I'm happy for Pedey and Kelli and I wish all three of them the best. I have to make this post a short one because I couldn't find anything else Red Sox to write about. Here in north central Connecticut we're "enjoying" yet another rainstorm as the storm track lately has taken storms to our west. The counterclockwise winds surrounding the low pressure system quickly bring in warm air from the south and west, eliminating any chance of the white stuff. The skiers are bummed...that's for sure. I'm not worried because I realize there's a whole lot of winter to go. I want a big weekend storm with 12 inches plus. My fingers are crossed but it won't happen in the next seven days. I can wait. I guess.

Have yourself a very merry Monday (if there is such a thing), click on this post's title for more something and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jason Bay..What Really Happened

I came across an article on the WEEI website written by Rob Bradford that hooked me in and educated me. Its subject was Jason Bay, who will play for the Mets starting this coming season. What most of us don't know is how close he came to staying with the Boston Red Sox. When his decision was made, Bay said this...

“I was truly happy to put everything behind me and become a member of the New York Mets,” Bay said from his Seattle-area home.

Here's the true story in a condensed style. In July, the Red Sox made their quite nice four year offer for $60 million. That's a cool $15 million per year and Jason was prepared to accept it and stay in Boston, a place with a small park that would be kind to his knees, not so in NY where the Metsies play, not at all. Bay's physical, routinely ordered by Boston and all major league clubs, convinced the Sox to change the deal. There were issues with Bay's shoulder and knees. At the time, Bay said this...

"I felt great, so I didn't believe that there was anything wrong,” Bay said. “I felt extremely confident that if I had another doctor look at my films, the diagnosis would be different.

Boston ended up changing the flat four year deal with one that called for two years at $15 million per year with years three and four included if Bay remained healthy and productive. It also called for Bay to have knee surgery following last season. That was the deal breaker for Jason and his agent, Joe Urban. Sayanara Boston, hello Big Apple. The Red Sox later removed their request for immediate surgery and increased the guaranteed number of years to three. The same health provisions would be in place for year four. THE ANSWER WAS NO.

Were the Boston Red Sox being overly careful? With $60 miilion dollars on the line, they were being smart. We'll see what "would have happened" as we watch Bay play with the still woeful Mets. I wish him luck but I'd still rather see him at Fenway Park taking balls off of the Green Monster. Our defense is better with the addition of Mike Cameron but, well, I don't know. It just seemed that Jason Bay was great right where he was. I'll miss him. I wish him luck. Here he is expressing his frustration with Boston's demands...

“Nothing had changed with me physically since the club’s diagnosis back in July, so I just couldn’t understand what was going on. Listen, I could understand the club wanting all these medical contingencies if I had spent any recent time on the DL,” Bay said, “but I had no history of being a risk for injuries and I wasn't hurt."

We'll see, won't we? Have a great Sunday, a football Sunday, in fact. The American and National League championship games should be good ones. Oh, not only did the UCONN women Huskies basketball team slap Villanova silly with their 58th straight double digit win but the men's team, recently departed from the men's top 20 poll, stunned number one in the country Texas in a nationally televised game that was held at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Good for them! The city of Hartford was aglow yesterday afternoon as the 16,671 people departed the arena, weekend and all.

Click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox (I'll find something) and as always, BE WELL.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye...UCONN WOMEN Win 58th IN A ROW, All By Double Digits

This is from Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated dot vom, just now...

"Johnny Damon and the Yankees spoke again within the past few days, and Damon now has been given the weekend to decide whether he wants to come back on a bargain deal.
The chances he will accept a low-base contract for a few million dollars (probably no more than $5 million guaranteed) from the Yankees still appear slim, so Damon's tenure with the team could officially end early next week.
The Yankees plan to sign an outfielder from the remaining list of free agents that includes Reed Johnson, Randy Winn, Xavier Nady, Jim Edmonds and Jermaine Dye by mid-week if Damon doesn't call them in the next couple days. The Yankees are telling free agents they have about $2 million left in their budget"

The Yankees HAVE A BUDGET? Maybe this year. Only the sons of George would know. And as Damon would say..."it's only business." Take the money, dummy.

By the way, the University of Connecticut women's national championship basketball team, the Huskies, won their 58th straight game this afternoon on the road in Philadelphia, humiliating Villanova IN Philadelphia by a score of 74-35. That's 58 in a row DOUBLE DIGIT WINS. Every one of 'em. My goodness!

1 2 Final
Ct. 45 29 74
Vil. 12 23 35

Simply click on this post's title for all about the game in Philadelphia from the Associated Press. See ya. BE WELL.

Ken Burn's BASEBALL Part Two

Ken Burns, whose remarkable documentary covering the history of the game we love is being updated. It will cover the years 1994 to 2008 and will have one chapter (he calls the chapters innings in the film) concentrating on the 2004 Boston Red Sox run to their world championship. The four hour movie will run on your local Public television station in October. Make sure your DVRs and VHS machines are ready. Burns is asking anyone with pictures of the Red Sox (Jere?) from 2004 to submit them to this email address...

And here's the director himself...

“Baseball is a precise mirror of who we are, and I can’t recall a time that was more evident, particularly considering the deep emotional, communal, and personal impact, than during the 2004 ALCS when the Red Sox overcame the Yankees. And one impactful way to capture the essence of that is to feature those personal mementos, the photographs of joy and jubilation, the celebration photos in the immediate aftermath, the fathers and sons and daughters, that picture of a Red Sox cap on a gravestone of a loved one who didn’t live to see the day,’’ Burns added. “Anything that illuminates the feeling and moment of what that was like for those who truly lived for this team, those snapshots and memories, we hope they will generously share them with us. The story can’t be fully told without them.’’

If I had any pictures of that joyous 2004 I'd be emailing them now. Sadly, I don't. The only images I have are in my brain, and they'll be there forever. Thankfully.

Have a great weekend and a terrific Saturday. As always, be well. See ya.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Spaceman Speaks..Spring Training Almost Here

Ex-Boston Red Sox lefthander Bill Lee, popularly know as "the Spaceman," really let Jim Rice have it. He was comparing Jim Ed to Hall of Fame nominee Andre Dawson. Here's what he said...

“Hawk’s (Dawson) a leader,” Lee told the newspaper. “He led by example through pain and suffering, going out there every day and laying it on the line. Character. I’d take him over Rice any day of the week. Rice had one of the greatest years in ’78, but over the course of a career? Hawk could play the outfield. Rice was a good outfielder there for a while, but then he got heavy. He got sedentary. He really didn’t work as hard as Hawk had to work every day. He was a pain in the ass.”

Ya know, he might be right (not about the pain in the butt part). I always thought that Rice's slumping late numbers had to do with growing nearsightedness. I still do, in fact. Yes, he became a little heavier in his "later" years but that happens to a lot of players. Without near perfect vision, hitting the round baseball becomes next to impossible. Remember, this was in the days before RK and Lasic surgery. It was glasses or contac lenses or not play. That's it.

It almost Fort Myers time! Players are to report to the Florida training headquarters February 23rd. Pitchers and catchers are due February 19th...hey, that's less than month! The first spring game will be March 3 and the first regular season game will be on April 4th against the NY Yankees. We're into the final weeks of the off season and I can't wait to hear the ump call out "play ball." Music to my ears. And yours, I hope.

That's it for this Thursday. I have an early appointment and I have to scoot. Click on this post's title for more on the Sox and as always, BE WELL. Thanks.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pudge Fisk Rips Into McGwire & Clemens

I came across a small article in the Boston Globe this morning and I found it to be very intriguing. I wanted to run it by you and then I'll comment on it. Recently, Hall of Fame Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox catcher Carleton "Pudge" Fisk, much beloved by all citizens of Red Sox Nation, let loose with a few choice syllables regarding Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and steroids. Here's Pudge on Mr. McGwire, the single season home run "king." Yeah, right. You cheated, Mark. No ifs, ands or buts. Here's Pudge...

“McGwire says, ‘Well, it doesn’t help eye-and-hand coordination.’ Well, of course it does. You are going to be stronger and you are going to be better,’’ said Fisk. "Some of these numbers that are out there are really warped. You saw how McGwire was viewed in the Hall of Fame voting. If you take the length of time that they use that stuff and subtract 15 or 20 home runs a year for those guys, where are their numbers then? There’s a reason they call it performance-enhancing drugs,’’ said Fisk. “That’s what it does - performance enhancement. You can be good, but it’s going to make you better. You can be average, but it is going to make you good. If you are below average, it is going to make you average."

And what about the Rocket, Pudge? What say you???

“The reason he (Clemens) got let go from the Red Sox was because he was starting to break down. His last couple of years in Boston just weren’t very productive, a la ‘The Rocket.’ Then all of a sudden he goes to Toronto and he wants to show somebody something. Then he gets two consecutive Cy Young Awards in ’97 and ’98. Come on, give me a bucket."

You need to toss your cookies, Pudge? I'M JUST KIDDING. Roger became wider and more muscle-bound after he left Boston. Was that due to steroid use? Innocent until proven guilty but OF COURSE IT WAS! His denying of that fact have only made things worse for him.

I remember the real Rocket in 1986. He had the fire and the fury and the young body to pull it all off, without PEDs. How many times does one get to see (in person) a guy strike out twenty batters? Clemens did it against the weak hitting Seattle Mariners. I was there at Friendly Fenway and I still have the VHS tape of the highlights of that game, a one hour special produced by channel 38 in Boston with game play by play done by Bob Montgomery and the one and only Ned Martin. MERCY! I take that old tape out at least once a year and look for myself in the stands as I watch the overpowering Rocket Man. I haven't found me yet but Roger sure showed up that day ready to go. By the way, the VHS tape still looks great to this day, 23 years later. I might put it on after I finish writing this post. In fact, I will!

That's enough memories for now. The point of me writing this is this...I wanted to draw attention to what Pudge said. I agree with his every word.

Click on this post's title for something Red Sox and as always, BE WELL. Feel free to leave some comments. It's been a long time. I'll answer every one of 'em. See ya.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Solamente Hermida-Calhoun Steps Aside

After yesterday's "almost" last minute signings, only Jeremy Hermida remains unsigned. As posted below, the Boston Red Sox and Jonathon Papelbon agreed to a one year deal worth $9.35 million. THAT'S A BARGAIN. Manny Delcarmen and the Sox inked an incentive-laden one year $905,000 deal and Ramon Ramirez will earn $1.12 million in 2010. That leaves one unsigned player. Hermida made $2.25 million last year. I don't expect a raise this year, not much of one anyways. He's our number four outfielder and he will see substantial playing time. Theo Epstein will handle this one before February 1...umm, I'm fairly certain.

Jim Calhoun, Hall of Famer and coach of the University of Connecticut men's basketball team, was forced to take a leave of absence yesterday presumably for health reasons. He's had three bouts with cancer in the past but the current situation does not indicate a reoccurance of that dreaded disease. THANK GOD. We hope and pray for the best. Jim Calhoun is more than a good coach. He's a great man. Click on the title of this post for more on the situation (including video) from the Hartford Courant.

Thanks for stopping in, click on that title and as always, BE WELL.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Paps Deal Done...

It made sense and the Boston Red Sox did it. Jonathon Papelbon is signed for another year. What would we do without him? Here's the Boston Globe & ESPN release...

"There will be no arbitration showdown between Jonathan Papelbon and the Red Sox. The Red Sox closer and the club came to terms on a one-year deal this afternoon, according to multiple reports. The Globe's Tony Massarotti confirmed that Papelbon will receive $9.35 million in 2010, with the deal reaching $9.5 million if incentives are met. The terms were first reported by ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. The Red Sox have also come to terms with relievers Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, according to the Globe's Amalie Benjamin. A baseball source told Massarotti that Delcarmen will receive $905,000 next season, including an additional $15,000 if he pitches 65 games."

To The Boston Red Sox...SIGN PAPELBON

The Boston Red Sox and four of their players have until noon today (Tuesday) to reach salary agreements or else Theo Epstein's spotless arbitration record (none) will be gone and monetary figures will be submitted for February judgements. Theo has never gone that route before. The four players are Jeremy Hermida, Ramon Ramirez, little Manny Delcarmen and most notably Jonathon Papelbon. In my view, Hermida and Ramirez will avoid arbitration. The same goes for Manny Delcarmen although I don't know anyone's thinking process. I give you my opinion as a fervent Boston Red Sox fan.

Obviously, the biggest name of the four is Jonathon Papelbon, one of the elite closers in major league baseball. Sometimes his occasional blown leads and blown saves starkly stand out year to year but look at Paps' 2009 numbers...1-1, 1.85 ERA & 38 saves. Outstanding. In the past Paps has been willing to accept one year contracts from Boston and he'll probably do the same this year and next before he will be a potential free agent in 2012. Remember, time flies and that's only two years from now. He earned six and a quarter million smackeroos last year and could easily earn ten million this year and even more in 2011. Is he worth that kind of dinero. Simple. YES!!!!!

I implore Theo and Jonathon to agree on SOMETHING before noon today to avoid the trials and troubles of arbitration. Where would we be without Papelbon. Those two world championships would just be mirages, wonder dreams of what could have been. But they were real. Thank goodness.

That's all I have for today except for this. Last night, the national champion University of Connecticut women Huskies went down to Durham, North Carolina, number seven Duke's home court and killed them by a score of 81-48. That was their 57th (!!!) win in a row, all by double digits. They go on and on and on, simply unstoppable. If you click on this post's title you'll be zapped to the Hartford Courant's coverage of the mismatch.

By the way, if you read the Offerman post just below this one, the latest news is that Jose has been banned for life from the Dominican League. That's the right call if you ask me. Click on the title of my Monday post and put your sound on to see what caused his lifetime ban. Temper temper, Jose.

As always, BE WELL and I thank you for popping in to my little corner of "the blue nowhere." See ya.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ex- Red Sox Jose Offerman's Temper Violently Flares Again

For the second time in 2 1/2 years, ex-Red Sox infielder and former All Star Jose Offerman let his temper get the best of him while ON THE FIELD. You may recall a couple years ago he repeatedly swung a bat at a pitcher whose pitch came a little close to his body. If I remember correctly, he charged the mound, bullike, and tried to hurt the guy. Well, this time it was a little different. Now he's the manager of the Licey Tigers of the Dominican winter league. After an argument about an ejection of one of his players with ANOTHER umpire, Offerman got into it with first base umpire Daniel Rayburn that eventually led to Offerman cold-cocking (unannounced punch) Rayburn. The game was on Dominican television and all you have to do is click on this post's title to see the entire incident. When you do, scroll down to the bottom of the Boston Herald article until you see the You Tube screen and click on that. Thank you Boston Herald & You Tube! Click away and enjoy...the commentary is in Spanish but the video tells the story. By the way, Offerman's team was down 6-0 at the time but that's absolutely no excuse for what he did. The police put him in jail until the end of the game so Rayburn could decide if he wanted to press charges. I hope he did...the guy's an as*hole.

That's the only Boston Red Sox-related story I could find that was interesting to me. I know you'll find the video interesting so don't forget to click on this post's title. As always, BE WELL. I'll be back tomorrow, if not sooner. Thanks.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

UCONN Women Roll To 56th Straight Over ND..Yankees vs. Red Sox Hot Stove Doings

The National Champion and number one in the country University of Connecticut women Huskies basketball team soundly thrashed the number three team, none other than Notre Dame, by a score of 70-46 in Storrs, Connecticut in front of a sold-out wildly cheering crowd. Before you knew it, the Huskies had jumped out to a 17-2 lead. Remember, Notre Dame has beaten its opponents by an average of over twenty points, but not Saturday night. The UCONN women have now won 56 straight contests, all by double digits, including this year the numbers 2, 3, 7 and 10 teams in the nation. I know there was a football game on last night at 9pm ET but I hope you caught a bit of the game, oh, say the first 15 minutes. Dick Vitale, lovable him, was going nuts! So was I. Oh yes!!

John Tomase of the Boston Herald ran an article in the Sunday morning paper that compares the best and the worst of the 2009-2010 hot stove season. With his permission I'd like to show you his NY Yankee and Boston Red Sox evaluations. Here you go...

YANKEES - "Continuing their trend of acquiring All-Stars in their prime, the Yankees struck quickly this offseason to land center fielder Curtis Granderson from the Tigers, upgrading one of their weakest positions. They then added Javier Vazquez from the Braves, giving them one of the deepest rotations in the game."

RED SOX - "Mock run prevention all you want, but the only the misstep the Sox have made was not sticking to their original offer after correctly reading the Jason Bay market. Regardless, John Lackey gives them another horse atop the rotation, while Marco Scutaro and Adrian Beltre represent significant upgrades at short and third."

OK, I'm back and yes, the Yankees bought a bone fide center fielder. Curtis will fill a void for the pinstripers and he should be a great fit. We all know their multi-million dollar starting rotation, a quintet that brought them a world championship. The Bombers made that quintet better with the acquisition of the always tough Javier Vazquez. The Yankees will be in the thick of things all season long and probably into mid October. They are good.

The Boston Red Sox also did well. The shortstop hole has been filled with Marco Scutaro, a capable man on defense who will bat near the bottom of the order but will provide left side solidity, as will, to a greater extent, the new hot corner guy, Adrian Beltre. What an infield Boston has! The outfield? With Cameron in center, JD in right and the speedy Ellsbury making love to the Green Monster, we're outstanding there too! February approaches. Please let us all hope and pray for no debilitating injuries. It's not life, it's baseball. I know that, but I love the Boston Red Sox. I guess it runs inside me, deep inside. And say a prayer for the people on the island of Haiti. My God.

Click on this post's title for all the details and video interviews of yesterday's ESPN Gameday game as UCONN kept it going. As always, BE WELL. Have a great Sunday and enjoy the football games. Thanks. A comment or two would be great! I'll answer every one of 'em. Promise. See ya.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Red Sox Pitching Coach John Farrell On Daisuke Matsuzaka..ESPN Gameday Today With The UCONN Women, A First.

Good morning on this warm pre-dawn Saturday. I have a couple of things to write about and the first one concerns Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was featured along with the Darkman in the post just below this one. It's all about communication, open communication between a player and his coaches, managers and trainers. John Farrell is the pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox and he had a few things to say about number five starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. He stresses that open communication between all parties is vital...

“I think the one thing that we strive to do, and go to great lengths, is to put a player in the best position possible to have success,’’ Farrell said before last night’s Boston Baseball Writers Association dinner, “and that takes an openness on all parts to accomplish that. I think when it comes out after the fact, there is some frustration there, but I know that as a competitor he wanted to be on the mound and he didn’t want any other distractions. But I think, based on the challenges that we dealt with and the obstacles that were overcome physically, I think we’re moving toward a more open and consistent line of communication.’’

This all stems from Daisuke's "hidden" leg injury that occured during his preparation for last year's World Baseball Classic. He did not communicate that ailment to the Boston trainers and in effect ruined his season. John Farrell wants to make sure that will never happen again. Here's Dice...

“Fortunately I was in charge of my own training, so if it started to hurt, I could adjust to not hurt myself,’’ Matsuzaka was quoted as saying. “But pitching while hiding the injury was very difficult. Even when I didn’t feel the pain, my body was holding back because it sensed the danger.’’

He was never the same in 2009 as the Daisuke we were used to. He's our number five guy...if he pitches like a number two, the Boston Red Sox will go far, far into the stratosphere of late October. Here's hoping.

Lastly, ESPN/ESPN HD is pulling a first-timer at 9pm tonight. Well, it starts earlier than that but ESPN Gameday will be covering a women's basketball game with their "A" team of Dick Vitale, Dan Schulman and Doris Burke. The national champion UCONN women, winners of 55 straight games and rated number one in the country, will face the third rated and also undefeated Notre Dame team here in Storrs, Connecticut. It should be a good one.

You can click on the title of this post to be zapped to the Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs and his thoughts about Dick Vitale and the rest of the crew. Have a great Saturday and a terrific weekend. As always, BE WELL.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Okie Signs...Matsuzaka Hid Injury

I have two Boston Red Sox matters of interest for you today. You probably saw them in today's Boston papers but the Red Sox have inked left handed reliever Hideki Okajima, the Darkman, to a one year contract worth $2.75 million. There will be no arbitration hearings. Last year, Okie was flat out great, going 6-0 with a ERA of 3.39, fine numbers by anyone's standards. He appeared in a personal high 68 games and was superb in most of them. Go get 'em in 2010, Okie!

Daisuke Matsuzaka was lost for most of the 2009 season with what was then known as a shoulder ailment. What we, Red Sox Nation, did not know was that he hurt himself while getting ready for that accursed World Baseball Classic. Here's part of an interview with a Japanese newspaper that explains just about everything...

"Early on in January 2009, I hurt my right inner thigh. I consider movement around my hip joint a crucial part of my pitching motion. It happened during my exercise to strengthen my hip joint that I incorporated into training since 2008. I may have pushed myself just a little too hard. It wasn't the pain that killed me, but it was the regrets and guilt that filled my mind. It was the time to start building up for the season, but I hurt myself because of my own doing.
I had to make a decision whether this injury was serious enough to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic. But my body was functioning well, and by taking anti-inflammatory medicine I could tolerate the pain. So I continued training, but actually it was even hard just to jog. My plan after the WBC was to heal myself while keeping my turn in rotation. But the condition didn't get better as the season went on."

No, it did not, far, far from it. His entire mechanics were off and he was shut down for most of the season. He's had the whole off season to heal himself and get into the kind of shape that's required for a full season of major league baseball. It looks like he's done it and Daisuke's just about ready for spring training. He'll be the number five starter in the Red Sox super-strong rotation, a rotation six deep. Headed by Beckett, Lester and Lackey, followed by the ever-improving Buchholz and the aforementioned Matsuzaka (Timmy Wakefield will be a spot sixth starter, probably pitching once every ten days), great things could happen with an average or just above average amount of runs scored. The new and improved Boston defense will do its part in denying enemy runs and the bullpen, headed by Bard and Papelbon, will be able to take care of the late innings and nail down games. Now the players and coaches must MAKE it happen. The pinstripers are super strong so the 2010 season will be a battle to gain a playoff spot. I'm pretty sure, barring any devastating injuries (God forbid), that the Red Sox will be in the thick of it in October. Faith. Red Sox Faith. The only kind.

That's a wrap for this soon-to-be warm Friday. Temperatures in the mid-forties will be a real treat here in north central Connecticut. A mini January thaw? Maybe.

Make the most of your Friday, click on this post's title for more on our Sox and as always, BE WELL. I thank you for stopping by once again. You make my day.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Amalie Benjamin Illuminates Red Sox Pitcher John Lackey.

I came across an article written by the Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin. By the way, she's great! Her subject was none other than the newest member of the Boston Red Sox starting rotation, John Lackey. He seems to be a football player at heart but when he steps on that mound, watch out. His agent, Steve Hilliard, had this to say...

“When you’re with John off the field, the dichotomy strikes you right away,’’ Hilliard says. “He is very laid-back, very relaxed. You don’t get this sense that he’s wired really tight, a super intense guy. But when he puts the uniform on and walks out on the field, it’s a 180-degree swing. He becomes the most intense competitor.’

That's the kind of pitcher the Red Sox want and need. That's why they spent the big bucks. My goodness, a starting rotation of Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Buchholz, Matsuzaka and occasionally, Timmy Wakefield should be awesome. And here's the man himself, John Lackey...

“When I first broke into the league, Tim Salmon told me that I shouldn’t talk to hitters ’cause the more comfortable they are with you, the more comfortable they are in the box. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if we went to my house and played some pool or something, I’m going to want to win,’’ Lackey says. “But I’m definitely pretty laid-back off the field. But every fifth day - ask the guys that played with me - I’m probably not the nicest person in the world. I’m ready to get after it. I’m there to win. I’m not there to mess around, for sure. When you’re competing, you’re competing. I’m not there to be your friend at that time. I’m not a big fan of talking to other team’s hitters."

He likes to amp up and go out there and put up round numbers (zeros) on the opponent's half of the scoreboard. You know what? I think he's going to do JUST that. Good luck, John.

I hope you have a tremendous Thursday. I'm still getting used to living alone once again and it's a little tough. But I'll be OK. Click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and as always, BE WELL. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bye Bye Nadia...For Now

I just returned from the Hartford Amtrak train station. My girlfriend Nadia is now on her way to Washington and then will head west on another train to Chicago and then a third and last train to St. Cloud, Minnesota. That's a lot of hours on three different trains but I made it as easy for her as possible. She will have a private compartment (with bathroom) on her last two legs of the trip. I'm sure she'll enjoy the dining car, too. She likes to eat. Sure beats a bus! She'll arrive in Minny around 1am Friday.

I'll' miss her bigtime but I'll see her next month when I visit her and her new apartment. Safe trip, Nadi. I love you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

McGwire Comes Clean And Fesses Up...HE CHEATED BIGTIME

Single season home run "king" (I use that term very loosely) Mark McGwire came clean yesterday and told us what we all knew in the first place. Here are some snippets for his Sunday interview with Bob Costas. I guess this took courage to finally open up but I have no compassion for him, none at all. Five years ago while under oath he had a chance to do just what he did yesterday, but nooo. Here he is in his own words...

“I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era. I never knew when,’’ he said, “but I always knew this day would come. It’s time for me to talk about the past and confirm what people have suspected. After all this time, I want to come clean,’’ he said. “I was not put in a position to do that five years ago in my Congressional testimony, but now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about it. I’ll do that, and then I just want to help my team.’’

Why did he do it? Why did he say he was "not put in a position" to come clean when he appeared before Congress and SWORE TO TELL THE TRUTH? TOTAL BS. He continues his confession...

“During the ’90s I went to the DL seven times and missed 228 games over five years,’’ he explained in his statement. “I experienced a lot of injuries, including a ribcage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was definitely a miserable bunch of years, and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries, too.’’

He obliterated Roger Maris' home run record of 61 in 1998. Was he using steroids in 1998? OH YES. Here you go...

“I used them on occasion throughout the ’90s, including the 1998 season.

Anyone with vision could tell his body was bloatedly muscled. Hey, one plus one is was that obvious. Case closed. The single season home run record should have a monstrously HUGE asterisk next to it if not right on TOP of it. I doubt the Baseball Hall of Fame will allow him into their halls. I sure hope not. He's an outcast who turned himself into a muscle-bound freak of nature, able to bash baseballs to another time zone. The bottom line? HE CHEATED. PERIOD. Case closed for me. What do you think? I'd love to know. Comment if you can, click on the title of this post for more on Mr. McGwire and as always, BE WELL. Thanks for reading me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chapman To Reds..Jeter to Wed?

Aroldis Chapman and the Cincinnati Reds have agreed to a 5 year deal for $30 million. Needless to say, the Reds' move surprised many in baseball. A small market team shelling out that kind of cash is not an everyday sight in major league baseball.

It's a slow Red Sox news day once again. Derek Jeter MIGHT be getting married. This is from the New York Post via the Boston Herald. Here you go...

"The New York Post reports Sunday that the star shortstop and girlfriend Minka Kelly will be married Nov. 5 on Long Island. Acting on a tip, a reporter posing as a bride-to-be spotted an entry reading "JETER wedding" on the calendar for the Oheka Castle in Huntington, N.Y. Sales manager Rick Bellando insisted that a celebrity wouldn’t be listed under his real name when the reporter pointed it out."

That's all I have fit to print today. It's a bitter cold morning once again here in north central Connecticut but the temperature (7 degrees) is almost near normal for this time of year. It's the wind that'll kill ya. As always, BE WELL and enjoy your Monday.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The UCONN Women Are Miles Above ANYONE Else In The Nation! ANYONE!!

Hello on this four degree Sunday morning. The temperature is still dropping because the sun will not peek over the horizon for another couple of hours (it's down to 3 degrees now). I wanted to tell you about yesterday afternoon's nationally televised NCAA basketball contest between the number seven in the nation North Carolina women Tar Heels and the number one national champion University of Connecticut women Huskies. The Huskies demolished the Tar Heels by a score of 88-47. It wasn't even close. And yes, they are THAT good!

Click on this post's title for a full wrap up of the lopsided UCONN win. They've won 53 straight games, ALL by double digits. Hey, the Tar Heels were trying to avenge last seasons 30 point loss when they were rated number two and look what happened! I love it.

There is no hard Boston Red Sox news so I'm going to leave you with my warm fuzzy feeling about yesterday's basketball action. The Patriots will play today, wounded but inspired. Boy, oh boy, Tom Brady has all the pressure squarely on his shoulders. I wish him and his team good luck as they try to advance to the next round of the NFL playoffs.

Make the most of your Sunday...there are only 52 of 'em every year. Click on this post's title for more on the UCONN game and as always and forever, BE WELL. Thanks.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

UNC Tar Heels...Number Seven??

It's half time and UCONN is up huge...more to follow.

Here is the game summary from yahoo dot com...the number 7 UNC Tar Heels went down to number one University of Connecticut by a lopsided score of 88-47. Yes, UCONN is that good!

I'll be back first thing in the morning. UCONN is number one with 54 straight DOUBLE DIGIT VICTORIES. Can any team be better?

The Best Red Sox Third Baseman Ever?

Of course, this post's title refers to the newest member of the Boston Red Sox, Adrian Beltre. Though he hit only .265 last year while playing half his games at Seattle's cavernous Safeco Field, Fenway Park should be more to his liking. Boston GM Theo Epstein, who has upgraded his team with more pitching and defensive excellence, says this about that...

“We think Fenway is a fit for Adrian,” Epstein said. “It’s hard to emphasize just how much Safeco deflates offensive performance for right-handed power hitters. It’s really a tough place to hit. I think Adrian’s reputation as one of the best defenders in the game, period - let alone one of the best defensive third basemen - is well-known,” Epstein said. “He’s got all of the attributes that you look for in a third baseman.”

I would tend to agree with Theo. Playing at Safeco is sometimes a deflating experience for hitters. Balls hit solidly that would be gappers or taters turn into outs there. NOT AT FENWAY. I look for Beltre to hit .280 or so with 18 to 22 home runs. As for his defensive ability, he is unequalled at the hot corner. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon called him the best defensive third baseman he's ever seen. Here's the man himself, Adrian Beltre...

“I take my pride in my defense even though I would like to be more offensively solid,” Beltre said yesterday at the press conference to introduce him as the Sox’ new third baseman. “I really like more the offensive side of the game. I’m 100 percent. My health is good,” Beltre said. “I’m real excited to come out and prove that I’m healthy. I made the decision to come here and take my chances to be on a team that has a legitimate chance to get to the World Series.”

We're in for a 2010 treat. Beltre plays the baseball, not the other way around. One of his signature plays is charging a ball and nabbing the runner at first. His range is superior and he will make the infield much more sound. Hey, with three Gold Glovers and a super solid shortstop, well, the sky's the limit. Epstein has said that a run prevented is as good as a run scored. I second the motion! I can't wait to see the revamped Boston infield and outfield this coming season.

Have a great weekend as much of the country shivers with continued brutal blasts of frigid Canadian air. Here in north central Connecticut, the temperatures are more seasonable with lows in the low teens and highs in the middle twenties. Stay warm. Please.

Oh, don't forget...the number one national champion University of Connecticut women Huskies basketball team, undefeated at 14-0, will play the number seven North Carolina Tar Heels here in Connecticut. The game will be nationally televised on CBS and CBS HD beginning at 4pm. I know there's a great football game at that exact time so I'll be going back and forth, forth and back. That previous channel button comes in mighty handy sometimes. The Huskies will be gunning for their 54th win in a row. They've won 53 straight, all by DOUBLE DIGITS. They're fun to watch.

You can click on this post's title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Beltre Signing Official..Hall, Too

This will be a quickie on this snowy pre-dawn Friday morning. Adrian Beltre passed his physical and is officially a member of the Boston Red Sox. The same thing goes for Bill Hall. Beltre will make $9 million this season and will hold a $5 million option for 2011. That option will increase to $10 million if he has 575 plate appearances this season. Hall is due $8.4 million this season, with a club option for 2011 worth $9.25 million along with a $500,000 buyout.

I'll see you soon. Have a great Friday as we get ever closer to the weekend. And closer.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hall Of Famer Andre Dawson..More Beltre Banter

Andre Dawson received the votes he needed and he is the newest member of the baseball Hall of Fame. He briefly played for the Boston Red Sox and Red Sox Nation congratulates him. Before he heard the joyous news, he took a trip to the cemetery. His words follow...

"I went by a cemetery to visit my mom and also my grandmother," he said. "It's the first time I had done that. I just felt a little bit more optimistic about this year, and I just wanted to share a few things at that grave site. It meant a lot to me to get out there."

It was Andre's ninth try to gain induction and this time, HE DID IT! Good for him. Bert Blyleven, the pitcher with the impossibly good curve, fell five votes shy and Roberto Alomar eight. So close. Dawson said this after his vote total was announced...

"If you're a Hall of Famer, eventually you're going to get in no matter how long it takes," Dawson said during a telephone conference call. "As I sit here, the only thing I can think of is that it was well worth the wait."

Nice job, Andre! Changing the subject to more of a Red Sox one, Andre Beltre is not your normal contact hitter. In fact, he swings a lot...too much, in fact. Read this little blurb, please...

"He’s certainly not the prototypical Red Sox hitter,” a longtime American League scout said yesterday. “He’s got good bat life and the power to hurt you, but he’s not going to be Kevin Youkilis up there, grinding out his at-bats. He won’t be a great situational hitter.”

Beltre has above average power but has a low on-base-percentage and swings at a ton of pitches. If he grows to like the Green Monster, he might hit 40 doubles. That would be nice. He'll bat near the bottom of the order (eighth, just in front of Scutaro). When it comes to defense, he's one of the best. That's part of Theo Epstein's game plan...great pitching, a great bullpen and superior defense. It'd be nice if Papi can return to being BIG Papi. He could cement the entire offense together and make it better.

That's it for this Thursday. Nadia will be leaving this coming Wednesday. I'll miss her. As always, BE WELL and I'll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Kotchman Traded..Ellsbury Moves To Left..Beltre Physical Thursday

OK, the Boston Red Sox have been making quick and decisive moves with Theo's aim of sacrificing some run production to vastly improve the Red Sox defense in mind. Well, he's done it and I think Boston has finished all of their off-season moves. First up, Casey Kotchman, who just mere days ago expected to be the Red Sox starting first baseman, was dealt to the Seattle Mariners for Bill Hall, cash and a minor league player to be named later. What about Hall? He can play third base, left field and right field and he has, in the past, played second and shortstop. Hopefully he will NOT be needed in Boston's stellar infield. His best offensive year was in 2006...his batting average was .270 and he clubbed 35 (!!) taters and batted in 85 runners. Not bad, but that was almost four years ago. Last year with Milwaukee and Seattle, he hit (gulp) just .201. He was hampered with injuries and I sincerely hope the left field wall will be to his liking. He'll fill in anywhere he is needed.

It's official. Jacoby Ellsbury will play left field for the Red Sox and Mike Cameron will play his customary Gold Glove center field. Ells has been dissed in the past for his seeming inability to come in or go out to catch a ball. Left to right, there is no one better but I think his critics were seeing things that I did not. At any rate, it's JD in right, Mike Cameron in center and Jacoby Ellsbury in left. Not bad...for now. In fact, it's outstanding. With three Gold Glovers in the infield, the Boston Red Sox will be fine, just fine. They don't have the power of the NY Yankees but their starting rotation is better (by a scinch) and the two bullpens are equally competent. It might all come down to run production, as the Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs, who writes about sports better than any human being on THIS planet, suggested in his morning column. I implore you to click on this post's title and read it. That's all you have to do. My Constant Readers, you're the best and so is Jeff so just click on the title and then leave me a comment or three. Thanks.

One more thing. The Beltre deal will not be final until his Boston physical, which will take place tomorrow. Don't worry, unless something is drastically wrong with him, he'll be at third and Youk will man first. With Pedroia and Scutaro, WOW!

I must leave you now so click on the title for the Jacobs piece. Quite simply, you will love it. You might not agree with it but you WILL enjoy reading it. As always, BE WELL. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Add Beltre To The Boston Infield

It's official. Pending the inevitable physical, Adrian Beltre will be the new Boston Red Sox third baseman for 2010...and maybe 2011. He signed a one year free agent deal for $9 million with a $5 million player option for 2011. He will improve the Red Sox infield immensely with his hot corner defense and, with Youkilis at first and Pedroia at second, will be the third Gold Glover in Boston's superb infield. Shortstop Scutaro is no slouch either. In the outfield, Mike Cameron has won three Gold Gloves and speedster Jacoby Ellsbury will get one soon. That's for sure.

Theo Epstein was not happy with last season's defense so he improved it AND added John Lackey, the best starter on the free agent market. Youkilis will stay where he belongs, at first, and Mike Lowell, healing from his thumb injury, will be on that trade list. There is no place NOW for him on the Boston Red Sox. I love the guy, but what's done has been done. I'm sure many of you feel the exact same way. Mikey...good luck. We love you SO much. The Boston Red Sox will never be the same without you.

You can click on the title of this post for the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage and as always, BE WELL.

Monday, January 04, 2010

What Teddy Ballgame REALLY Wanted...

I came across this story about baseball's best hitter in the Boston Herald and I couldn't pass it up. You remember that after Teddy passed in 2002, his (evil) son, John Henry Williams, insisted that his dad wanted his head severed from his body and cryogenically frozen. It was done. Eight years later, a letter from Teddy, apparently genuine and kept in a safe by his Boston attorney and friend Robert E, McWalter, has surfaced. The letter was dated December 19, 1991. Here is exactly what it said...

“It is my wish that no funeral or memorial service of any kind be held and that my remains be cremated as soon as possible after my death. I want you to see that my ashes are sprinkled at sea off the coast of Florida where the water is very deep,”

That missive seems pretty clear to me. Teddy wanted to give something back to the fishes he loved to catch. Here is his lawyer, Robert E. McWalter...

“That’s the real thing,” McWalter, who has the original letter in a vault. "It’s a ‘Twilight Zone episode. What’s right is right, and you can see right here what Ted’s wishes were.”

My opinion on all this? I BELIEVE EVERY WORD. Get Ted's head out of that frozen vault and make his wishes come true. It's the only right thing to do. I know this sounds more like an April Fools joke but I assure you, it's not. Thank you Boston Herald for bringing this matter to my attention.

There's a rumor going around that the New York Yankees are keeping their DH spot open in the hope that they can acquire a booming bat (Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, or Adrian Gonzalez) to accompany Mark Teixeira in their lineup. If they do that, and I'll be honest, not only will they win the AL East but they'll repeat as World Champions. I hate to say it but that's the way I see it.

The holidays are over and Monday begins, the first one of 2010. I hope you can make it a great one and as always, BE WELL. I'll be seeing you...soon.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Big Papi's In Shape..Youk On The Red Sox

I read an article in the Herald this early Sunday morning saying that apparently Big Papi David Ortiz has worked hard during the off season to get in better shape. He has shorn ten plus pounds and strengthened his body. After all, he's not a twenty-something year old any more. His offense will be all the more important with Jason Bay's bat out of the lineup. But the Sox will again be capable of scoring runs, especially with Ellsbury and Pedroia at the top of the order and Scutaro and Cameron at the bottom. With the pitching staff Theo has assembled, we should be OK although those world champion pinstripers seem to have improved themselves also...bigtime.

Kevin Youkilis and Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia will be at the center of Red Sox present and Red Sox future for many years to come. That's why they both are signed to long-term deals, deservedly so. Here is Kevin Youkilis with a few syllables about the ifs, buts and maybes of the 2010 Boston Red Sox...

"Guys could have unbelievable offensive seasons. Guys could have bad seasons. You never know what’s going to happen in baseball. That’s what makes it a great sport. We play hard every day. We respect the game. I think that’s a big thing. This team has some guys that can improve on their numbers from last year. There’s a few guys we added that will hopefully improve on their numbers too. You hope for the best, hope guys can have good years, put us in the playoffs and try to win the World Series.”

That would be sweet, wouldn't it? It's very important that Big Papi regain his "pop." He'll be counted on big time. Scutaro must reach or come close to his career year in 2009 and Mike Cameron, in addition to his tremendous outfield defense, must also contribute at the plate. I think Fenway Park will be to his has in the past and now he'll play 81 games there.

So all the pieces are in place (I'm fairly certain). I honestly don't think there are any more tricks up Theo's sleeves. But in baseball, you never know.

As always, BE WELL. Thanks for stopping in. I appreciate it immensely...I really do. Happy New Year. See ya Monday!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

UCONN Women Win 91-25

That's right...51 games in a row, all by double digits. This one was a mismatch. The women Huskies won by 66 points over Seton Hall on the road somewhere in the swamps of Jersey (the Meadowlands, to be exact).

More tomorrow. Thanks.

Thrilling Hockey At Fenway Park

The Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers played a hockey game yesterday afternoon in Boston. Sound routine? This tilt was ANYTHING BUT because it was held at Fenway Park. The Bruins won on a walk-off overtime goal. The final score was 2-1 Good Guys and when that game-clinching goal went into the net, I was reminded of the sound of a walk-off Boston Red Sox win. It was truly exhilirating. Here is Zdeno Chara of the Bruins on that moment...

"Might as well have been a walk-off home run, when you heard that noise. It's one of those things,'' Chara said, "that you experience once in a lifetime. An overtime goal, and it happened right in front of me. The way they all got up and danced and chanted. When you're playing in front of 35,000, 40,000 fans, it makes a big difference, it's so much bigger, so massive, to hear so much noise is incredible. To experience what the Red Sox experience was awesome.''

It was an exiting spectacle to watch even though I only caught the last period of play. I'm sure glad I did. Fenway never looked better. It'll return to normal in a couple of months with the smell of fresh, manicured grass and the beautiful (sometimes) infield. The reason I said "sometimes" is because some players think that there are uneven spots on the playing surface that cause bad bounces and hops but for us in the stands and watching on NESN, it's always a sight to behold. I can't wait for the spring.

To be truthful, that was the first and probably the last Boston Bruins post I will ever write (unless they win the Cup). But Fenway Park in January was too much for me to resist. I hope your New Years Day was filled with family, fun and food with a little football and a parade or two mixed in. Nadia and I had a quiet holiday here. Yesterday morning, the usually busy roads were isolated and deserted, dead zones. It seemed like a peaceful oasis, albeit a twenty degree one. The snow fell softly and the wind was light, making it much more bearable than the days before.

As always, BE WELL. It's been a while since there was any hard Red Sox news, but I'll be here to bring it to you. I'll be seeing you. Thanks for stopping in.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Years Day 2010

Hello and happy New Year circa 2010. One year gone, another following right on its heels, hopefully a better one all around the world. I wish you health. I wish you (and the world) peace. I wish you the best of everything.

This is my 2,355th post since I started this thing in November of 2005 and the years have flown. But the time I've spent at this keyboard writing to you has been the best time of all for me. I mean that.

As always, BE WELL. God Bless. Stay safe on those roads and I'll see you tomorrow. Oh, I almost forgot. Click on the title of this post to see a NY Times slideshow with shots of the New Years celebration last night in Times Square, NYC, just one of the joyous moments all around this blue marble we call Earth. Our Earth, our home. Thanks.