Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trot Can't Catch A Break

Poor Little Tek... one of my favorites to ever put on a Sox uniform. The guy just can't catch a break these days.

According to Hot Stove Talk, my poor Trot was released by the Brewers after batting just over .100 this spring. It really does make me very sad because I want so much for him to get back to the majors. I guess I consider myself lucky that I was able to see his return to Fenway in September of '07, despite how painful it was for me to watch him play in a different uniform. I know baseball is business, and just like every other business, when you can no longer do the job you get replaced. I don't want to say that Trot can't do the job any more, but it's not looking good.

Trot still gets a page on my calendar every year. Maybe I should stop putting him in there and he'll have better luck? I know he's a tad superstitious. Ok, next year, I'll leave Trot out and maybe he'll get back to the major leagues. I love and embrace every player that was on our 2004 roster (except Nomar.... I never could bring myself to like Nomar), but Trot holds a very special place in my heart. I don't know why. I don't know what it is about him, but Trot, Bellhorn, and Ducky are my holy trinity of former players that I love and adore more than any others. Well, the other two parts of the holy trinity have jobs. Kevin is hamming it up in the Toronto minor leagues after parting ways with the Orioles (boo! bad form, Baltimore!) and my beloved Bellhorn recently signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies. At least the have jobs. I'm still holding out hope that someone else will pick up Trot, because damnit, I feel like he deserves it.

Anyway, I wish every member of my holy baseball trinity luck this year. I want nothing but happiness for all three of them.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thank You, Curt

Before the 2004 season, he came to us with an impressive resume and a promise to break a curse after being wooed to Boston by Theo and Co. over Thanksgiving dinner.

That 2004 season is legend, and needs no explanation. Schilling made good on his promise, and the Red Sox became World Series champions for the first time in 86 years. Three seasons later, Curt helped the team to another World Series championship, and unofficially passed the 'ace' torch to our young fireballer, Josh Beckett. At that point, some suspected, but no one knew it would be Schilling's last hoorah. He was not able to participate in 2008 due to shoulder issues. Over the last year, we sort of knew it was coming. It just seemed like too big of an obstacle to get him back. The last game he pitched was a win in the World Series, 5.1 innings with a 1.69 ERA. That's as close to vintage Curt as we could ever hope for, and the perfect way to step out.

I wish he would have known how tough the rehab and possible return would have been right then and there, and maybe he could have retired on top instead of waiting a year trying to bounce back from surgery. I think everyone would have put their hearts into saying goodbye to this man just a little bit more. He meant so much to the baseball fans in Boston, for us to not be able to give him a proper send off seems unfair. Although, there was always the parade... I guess you can't get a much better send-off than a parade.

He's got a big mouth, and a ton of opinions that no one wants most of the time, but you could see how much he truly loved the game, and appreciated the fans. How much more could you ask for from an athlete? Few athletes made themselves and their lives so easily accesible to fans. Of course, his blog tended to get him into trouble, but admit it... it was awesome that a major league player was willing to blog and let us know what was going on. He may be a loudmouth republican (my favorite nickname for him), but nothing Schilling has ever said or written has gotten me angry. I've found great appreciation for him and great amusement from him. While I never got to see him pitch live, I can never forget what he brought to the Red Sox.

Love him or hate him, he essentially destroyed the remainder of his career to bring us that World Series in 2004. He bled for us. He put his health on the line. We watched him pitch his heart out every time he took that mound, and that's all I ever asked of him. Some might say he did it all for the personal glory, but honestly, the reason does not matter to me. All I care about is that he did what he said he was going to do, and he amused me along the way. Thank you, Curt, for everything you've done for the Red Sox and the communities that you constantly help out. You will be missed on that mound.

I hope you get into the hall of fame, because that's one induction speech that I just don't want to miss.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Bard is Gone... Again

Josh Bard has to be thinking to himself, "What the F*&K!?!?!" right about now.

He was placed on unconditional release waivers. I feel bad for the guy. I wanted him to be here, and he really was working so hard. I thought it was working out. He decided to sign here... maybe because of the lack of market for him... a place where he was unceremonially shipped out of to bring back someone who did what he did, only a little better. Josh Bard felt that he had something to prove in Boston. Well, we're shipping him out again.

I really was ready to fully embrace him this time. I've moved past Dougie (sort of), and I wanted to see Bard succeed. It's probably nothing to do with his abilities. It probably has more to do with the fact that George Kottaras has no more minor league options, so he needs to stay with the big club. Still, a part of me is a little sad.

Josh Bard, we hardly knew you. I wish you well, wherever you end up, and I hope it's a nice place... a place where they don't trade you, or cut you, or make you think you're wanted until one day you wake up and realized that you weren't meant for them anyway. I don't know what I'm talking about any more, so farewell, Mr. Bard. I know we'll probably meet again...

In the same note... welcome to the big leagues, Mr. Kottaras. I hope your stay here is long and fruitful. Or something.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lowrider: Making Doc Miserable?

I put a question mark there because I didn't see the game... just as I don't get to see or hear a majority of the spring training games here at work.

I'm trying to think of something... anything... to clear my head a little from this stupid finance class I'm taking. Let me re-phrase that... the class is not stupid. I'm sure it's a wonderful class, but I've NEVER taken a finance class in my life. I don't understand any of this stuff, and the professor is using a total sink-or-swim method. He might as well be 'teaching' the class in Japanese, because I just don't understand any of it. And I'm ridiculously frustrated.

So why am I complaining about it on a sports blog? Because this is my sports blog, and I need to vent otherwise I'm going to end up throwing books around the office, and I really can't afford to lose my job! I feel like crying. None of this makes any sense, and I hate it.

Glad to hear that Pedroia is doing better. It makes my angry and extremely irritated mind feel a little bit better. Also making me slightly happier is the news that Lugo will miss more time, and Lowrider gets to be the opening day starter. Considering I've got decent seats for game two of the year, I'd much prefer Lowrider over POS as my first shortstop of the season. In a similar note, I'm happy that we retain Mr. Awesome as our starting 3B, I should be able to get some nice pictures of him on April 8th.

Nice to know that something is going my way this week.

PS - Binky officially signed his contract. He's ours. Muahahaha!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pedroia: Hopefully Less Injured in Real Life than In My Mind

I saw a piece o'info on Dirt Dogs saying Munchkin had injured himself during warmups in the WBC. My brain started crying. Dear God, let him be ok! We can't make it through without our tough little Munchkin. We JUST got Mikey back, and Papi, too. (And technically Kazerud since he was hanging out with team Canada for a while).

So, please Pedie, be ok. My mental health needs you to be ok, otherwise there will be tears. Horrible, terrible tears of anger.

What would be even worse is if Pedie was hurt, and Lugo was ok...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Beckett:What A Shock, Strong Again

Yes, I've made it abundantly clear that I basically start drooling whenever I see Josh pitch this spring, but I've also been very good (at least I think I have) about keeping my expectations for the regular season in check. I refuse to deny that I'm excited for Josh to have a good season though. I really think he looks so far like he's back on track. If he is, then we have Josh and Jon both ready to go for the season? I'm feeling pretty good about our chances, aren't you?

Jon Van Every, one of my favorite itty bity baby Sox, sprained his ankle in the exhibition game yesterday. Booo! I'm hoping for a quick recovery for him, because, as I just said, he's one of my favorites. Don't get me wrong, I really don't think there are any itty bity baby Sox that I don't like. I will be making my first trip down to McCoy this year to see the kids, and I'll also be traveling upwards to Portland to see the teeny tiny smaller SeaDogs.... wow, if these guys knew how I referred to them, with these condescending adjectives I like to toss in there, I'm sure they'd be offended. I mean no harm, however, to either the itty bity baby Sox in Pawtucket, or the teeny tiny smaller Sox in Portland. I'm excited to see both teams.

I don't know why I've never been to either stadium... or to see the Lowell Spinners, who I haven't yet come up with an annoyingly condescending nickname for. But, hey, first time for everything, right? Happinesss.

So, Mr. Awesome himself, Michael Averett Lowell returned to us in baseball form a few days ago. I neglected to mention it because I am not nearly as awesome as Mikey. Today, however, he will be playing third base for us for the first time this spring, and there's not much about that statement I don't like. When Mikey was hurt last season, we were ALL hurt last season, so his triumphant return to the hot corner will be... well, triumphant. Perhaps now that the hip has healed, we'll be seeing more salsa dancing out of our handsome third baseman. Wishful thinking?

OK - just to touch on the comments that Pap made about Manny, and I'm going to make it brief.... I don't know if he was asked about Manny in the interview or what happened, because I didn't read the whole thing and I hate to take it out of context... but, we all know Papelbon has no shame, and isn't afraid to make an ass out of himself. As big of an ass as Manny made out of himself recently, Pap is right there with them. Maybe Manny was a cancer, but seriously, Pap, show a little decorum. I don't know, it might be just me, but I can definitely envision Papelbon throwing a hissy fit at some point in the future and demanding his way out of town... so for him to be complaining about Manny now sort of makes me sigh sadly. I think Jonathan just badly needed attention. Now he's got it. It's over with. The End.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Netherlands: Beating the Big Boys

Wow... I know a lot of people are apathetic to the WBC, but seriously, I hope you were just watching the Netherlands vs. the Dominican Republic. I turned the game on in the 9th, and watched until the underdogs got a walk-off hit against Marmol.

I was captivated. I wanted so much for the young guys of the Netherlands to beat the Dominican. It's not because I have anything against the DR, but they came in with a powerhouse reputation, and few people gave their opponents a chance. It's always fun to see an underdog win.

That game was awesome. I'm glad I saw it. I hope you did too.

Now, Papi can come back to Ft. Myers and get his pre-season work in where he belongs. With the Sox.

Congratulations, guys on the Netherlands team that I don't know. Super impressive. I may even have to look up your names!

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'll Keep Him, Thank You Very Much

Sitting around, enjoying the nice weather yesterday and I got a text message... "Hey! Lester signed for five years!"

Really? I'm guaranteed five more years of my dearest Jon pitching for the Sox (barring a trade, which I just don't ever want to see). Sweet! Seriously, how much better can a 55 degree day get? Assorted baseball programs on my TV, sunlight streaming into the house, windows all open, and the security of knowing that we've got our guy for a good while now.

I'm as sentimental as anyone, so this contract extension really does put a genuine smile on my face. When Jon first started coming up to the big club, I instantly adored him. The biggest reason for that was because he looked like such a quiet, nice kid and because he struggled with his location. I wanted to see him succeed so badly. Most people at the time were telling me that he would never be better than a fourth or fifth starter, and he was looking to become trade bait. I wanted so badly for that not to happen, because I just liked Jon.

And then he got cancer, and he fought it, and he won during a time where my family was battling cancer and other illnesses. His victory gave me hope when I so needed hope. Listen, I know people fight and win against cancer every day, but I don't know those people. I tend to know the people who lose the war, so seeing someone win even if I didn't know him personally, it really hit me. If there was ever a little part of me that even questioned his toughness, and I'm not sure there was, that part was gone. I could never doubt him again after that, and I just couldn't bear to even think about him leaving the team.

Of course, after '07, we were hearing a lot of trade rumors... Lester and Ellsbury for Santana (or, you know, Buchholz and Ellsbury, or Buchholz and Lester, or just about any combination of our young talent for Santana). I think I held my breath that entire winter, or at least until Santana landed on the Mets. At that point, I know there were a lot more people like me... people who believed that Jon was the real deal and didn't want to see him go. Some people still didn't think he could put it all together, but he had more supporters at that point than he did doubters.

Then it happened. I bought tickets for a random game in May. They were a birthday present for my friend who doesn't get to go to Fenway often, and I just happened to be able to get tickets for the day of her birthday. I'll be honest, we weren't expecting much more than an easy victory, but I'm sure any one who has ever been at a live no-hitter can attest, victory was not easy that night. After the sixth inning, when you looked up and saw all those zeros, it was hard to sit down. Being superstitious (just a little bit), I refused to verbally acknowledge what was going on. Everyone else around us did the same thing... except that one guy sitting in front of me, but he got quickly beaten by his friends for muttering 'no hitter.' People were holding their breaths, staring with nervous eyes. Any pitch could be the one that ended it. Honestly, the only way I could describe those middle innings was that there was a buzz. That buzz made the game anything but easy. Of course, the roar in the later innings made it that much harder. I think everyone in attendance wanted this one. I wanted it for Jon, sort of as a justification that we didn't need Santana. And from that moment, everyone could see that he finally put it all together, and was ready to be the rock for the staff.

Think about it though... if you were one of those people who weren't sure of Jon when he first came up... who would you want to see on the mound RIGHT NOW from the Sox organization in a big game?

My answer is Lester. Followed closely by Beckett (he still needs to prove to me that he's healthy, which I'm sure he will once the season starts).

So we get Jon until 2014, and I just could not be happier this morning

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Varitek: Throwing Out Your Baserunners

So, looking for updates on the Sox/Red game... first thing I see is "After Lester hit Jay Bruce with a pitch, Varitek threw him out trying to steal second. Nice throw by Variek, nice easy tag by Ivan Ochoa." (update courtesy of Adam Kilgore of the Globe). Good way to start a game. See! SEE! Tek can still throw out baserunners! I don't care that I have no idea how fast Bruce runs, or that it's still early in spring, he can be useful. So Varitek critics, stifle yourself, will ya?

I'm getting so ahead of myself, I know. It's only March 3rd (Opening day in just over a month!) and I'm already declaring that Varitek is proving all of his critics wrong. He's got a lot of work to do before he silences the critics, but I support his efforts.

POS has food poisoning? Are you sure it's not rat poisoning?... ok, that may have been a tad mean, but I don't like POS. Never have, never will. Can't bring myself to cheer for him, and can't give him credit when he does something right (not like that ever happens). I always have one guy, one player on my Sox, that just makes my eyes twitch. Lugo has been that guy for the majority of his years here. When he was injured, it was Kevin Cash. I hope this illness puts him at a disadvantage and Lowrider wins the starting job. I know it's unlikely, but I hope.

I will say, it's early enough for me to not panic about all the DP's our guys have been hitting into (ahem, Mr. Baldelli, I'm looking at you... or I would be if I were in Florida right now)... but if they keep this up throughout the season, I'm going to be bald. I don't know... perhaps it's just because I hate the DP so much that it SEEMS like our guys hit into an extraordinary amount of them, but really. I've got to look this stuff up... hold on.

Last year, the Sox grounded into 147 DP's... using the AL east for comparison... the Yankees had 149, the Rays had 111, the Jays had 150, and the Orioles had111. So, technically, the Red Sox weren't that bad by comparison. Really, this proves nothing to me and it doesn't make me feel any better. I kind of got off on a tangent. It happens sometimes.

Anyway, 20 pitches for Lester in 2 innings. Couldn't ask for a cleaner outing, but I'm wondering if he's actually getting enough work in with these quick spring starts.... same goes for Beckett.

And our guys fail to do any damage with their bats... sigh. Again?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Just Lost NESN

They're telling me to stand by. I don't accept this... even thought I don't really have a choice.

So Youk shaved. After trimming down a little bit and making himself look like the ultra-hillbilly, he shaved the beast off all together. It's so weird, seeing him looking like that kid that we shuttled up and down from Pawtucket again. It feels like it's been so long since I've seen him without that ridiculous beard. Youk hit a home run to add to our lead a few innings back. Always a good sign.

NESN came back just long enough to show me Saito hitting some little Twin (I have no idea who the guy is, and honestly, I don't much care either). Saito doesn't look too bad, but I think the wind is messing with the guys today.

Beckett, on the other hand, looked great. 30 pitches in 2 innings is exactly how much I like to see our pitchers throw. 5 pitches per batter, three batters per inning is what I like to see. Don't get me wrong, I have no problems with letting pitchers throw less, but in general, 15 per inning works for me. Josh is looking sharp and that makes me happy. I remind myself that it's still spring, and it's still early, but I'm feeling good about what we're seeing so far.

I was happy with Timothy's work today. 2 innings, no runs is good. He isn't as sharp as I'd like to see, but it's hard to make a knuckleball "sharp" to my standards. Still, he has a few mechanical adjustments that need to be made, but he'll be ok. Paps also looked good. Oki let up a few deep fly balls, but they were harmless, so it's not that bad.

I read somewhere this morning that Schilling wants to pitch for the Cubs.... really? Hmm...
(Editor's note... Schilling posted a blog about this very topic... and while I never mentioned that he was definitely coming back, because I hadn't heard that part of the rumor, I do want to clarify that he's not demanding to pitch for them or anything. He would like a chance to help the Cubs the way he helped the Sox. Personally, I think that would be pretty cool.)