Friday, April 27, 2012

Carl Crawford: Still Broken

I thought this was going to be Crawford's year. I really, truly hoped for it. He's a likeable guy, a good player, and just about any other nice thing you could think to say about him. I hated him when he played against us because he always made us look bad.

Well, he's still making us look bad.

I know it's only April. But Crawford started the season with a wrist injury that he's been rehabbing. And now it's his elbow... a sprained ulnar collateral ligament. He's been shut down from baseball activities again. This time, he's expected to miss upwards of three months. And what are the odds that in July, he'll be ready to play? He won't. A couple of rehab starts, maybe a couple of setbacks, and you're looking at maybe a September return. Or maybe this is just a lost season for Carl.

The Sox knew about his wrist before they signed him. Specifically, Theo Epstein, the asshole who ruined the team and then fled like a coward to Chicago, knew about the injury and still threw bags and bags of hundred dollar bills at him. The money Crawford is making from the contract he's currently signed to will be enough to ensure financial security for his great, great grandkids. And while the Sox are paying his absurd contract, our outfield consists of Ryan Sweeney, Marlon Byrd, and whoever else is not injured. It's bad.

I feel for Carl. He did not ask for these injuries, and if someone had presented me a contract as large as the one Theo gave him, I would have signed it, too. He didn't ask to struggle last season, and I won't believe anyone who said he wasn't trying. While I feel for him, I think it's time for me to admit to myself that this isn't his season either.

Hopefully we'll see him back at Fenway at some point. He's still got some redeeming to do....

Things: Lots of Things

To say everything has been a whirlwind in the last week is, for me, an understatement.

Since last Thursday, I got to attend the awesome birthday bash at Fenway. There is absolutely no way Millar and Pedro were sober while doing that toast. My favorite line from the toast? "This is getting awkward now, stop looking at me!" - Millar

Sunday, I went apartment hunting, and found an apartment that I loved. Wednesday I got the application approval for said apartment, and last night, I begun packing for my move next Saturday. It's been a lot. I'm a little upside down right now.

But that has nothing to do with sports! And I realized that my poor little blog has been very, very neglected. Let's face it, the past weekend didn't really give me a whole hell of a lot to talk about anyway, unless I wanted to include the phrase 'collapse' (which I didn't), so it was fine not to blog. But this week? Man, they've been pretty spiffy this week, haven't they? They've turned their spiff-dial to 11. Did you know the Sox have a spiff-dial? Well, they do. And it's at 11.

Last night for example... the Sox face the reigning King of the World, Phil Humber. They slapped him around, but good. Who slapped the hardest, you may ask? Salty. That's right, Sodium actually hit two home runs in last night's game! And Asshat? He hit a grand slam! I know, I wouldn't believe me either if I hadn't seen it. He also made some nice plays at third yesterday. Despite Ross being out with a knee injury and Munchkin looking like he was trying to take out his own knee, the Sox came away from this one with a 10-3 win. Doubront was lovely. Tazawa got a save. Trust me, it was fantastic.

Last night not good for you? Wednesday's game wasn't as spiffy (the dial was only set to 5), but it was a win. Dahmer struggled, letting up five runs on ten hits in five innings.... granted, two of those runs were inherited runners that Atch let score, but let's not get bogged down by the details. It should have been a calm game, but it turned into a nail biter. Just one more reminder that the bullpen struggles! Despite the struggles, they did win 7-6 to complete the sweep of the Twins.

I know, you're thinking that wasn't awesome. How about the awesome 11-2 win behind Beckett on Tuesday? The Sox had 18 hits, four of which were from Calviles. Two home runs - Calves and Papi. Doubles from everyone and their grandmother. Twins starter Nick Blackburn only lasted three innings. Granted, Beckett only went six, but he earned that win.

Monday's 6-5 win? On a night where Jon Lester looked like pure crap, the bullpen actually stepped up and secured a win! Morales, Bard, and Sauce combined for two innings of work and... AND they didn't allow a run. It's progress, people! Cody Ross had two home runs! TWO!

So, I think I'll try to get my 100th anniversary pictures up at some point this weekend, because I don't know how much time I'll have next week to post. Although I am disappointed for the Bruins (I still think they did great, they just need work on their power play.... badly), I am happy that my team has had four good games in a row. We needed it. Now we're only 2 games away from .500! Good luck tonight, Daniel Bard.

On a side note, did the White Sox really have Bobby Jenks and John Danks on the same team? Is this hilarious to anyone else? Do you think they'll want Jenks back?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Offense: Downturning

This is my effort to not be overwhelmingly reactionary... but I have to wonder. The Sox have played 12 games, and have won four of them. The ones they won were pretty awesome wins, but the ones they lost were flat out painful. So which is the fluke, the wins or the losses?

We all know this team is incredibly talented, but as we've learned from watching the Yankees in the distance for a while now, combining the most talented players doesn't always make a team. Yet it seems like these guys get along... it LOOKS like they work well as a group, but something's missing. The pitching and the offense, so far, are more often on different pages than they are on the same one. Hell, sometimes I think the pitching is in a completely different book. I'll say more about the pitching staff later.

I'm not going to get bent out of shape about the last two games. As much as it sucks to lose, the Rangers are a good team... but when we've got good teams on the ropes as often as we had the Rangers, we need to be able to deliver. And it's not happening. Truly, Bobby V. looks as stunned as the rest of us feel every time he walks to that mound. Last night, the heart of our order, Munchkin, Ernie, and Ross, went hitless. The bottom of our order, McDonald and Repko and everyone who came in to replace them, also went hitless. So if the middle of your order isn't hitting, and the  bottom of your order isn't hitting, the guys who are hitting are going to be stranded. But what options are there? Pretzels and Crawford are hurt. We're literally looking at a replacement level outfield. What do you do when you have to replace the replacements because they're struggling? You have to go further down the depth chart. It's generally not the most successful practice, and is definitely not a long-term solution. Luckily (hopefully?), it doesn't have to be. Crawford should be back before we know it... but we aren't even sure what we can get from him.

As for the pitching staff... our bullpen is horrible. You can't sugar coat it. The front office messed up with this bullpen. Who do you depend on? Just when it seems like someone is going to step up, they give up a handful of runs. Hell, Melancon was demoted because he was so flat out terrible. How do we remedy this? My guess is that they're not going to replace the whole bullpen, but at least in the recent past, we've always had that one guy who we can count on. Who can we count on right now?

I'm not panicking and I'm not quitting on my team, but it's frustrating watching these games. On the plus side, Beckett looked good and Asshat got his first home run.... so there's that.

I'll try to lower my expectations for Friday.

Friday With Tito: Francona Changes His Mind

I woke up this morning to the news that Tito has changed his mind about Friday.

Seriously? It literally warmed my heart. It eliminated my need for a warm beverage. I felt fuzzy all over. When I first found out that he wasn't going to be there, I was sad. I don't want to go as far as saying I was devastated, but probably more than sad. Something about Tito not being there seemed to make it a little less joyous.

I'm glad he's changed his mind and I can't wait to give him the raucous ovation he deserves.

I don't care what his motivation. I don't care if Kevin Millar was holding him at gunpoint, forcing him to make the announcement that he was coming. I don't care if he's only going to show up to give the middle finger to the management (imagine the ovation that THAT would receive!), all that matters is that he'll be in house.

How many people will be holding up those cans of Welch's juice, toasting to all Tito's done for the Sox? I think I'll be one of those people. I'm happy.

I won't be happy with the next post, but right now, I'm happy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Red Sox: The Musical

No one really wants me to rehash that 18-3 beatdown, do you? Well, too bad if you do because I don't want to.

Instead, I want to talk about a little project Lauren (from and I spent the majority of the game discussing.... Red Sox: The Musical!

Picture this... Scene One: Terry Francona asleep at his desk deep within the heart of Fenway Park. The sun rises, Tito wakes up with a big stretch. Music starts playing in the background. Tito brews himself a comically large sized cup of Bigelow green tea and starts in on the song "My Way's The Best Way," an upbeat tune about how the Red Sox will never need another manager. During the song, he alternates between sipping the tea and ripping up pictures of other major league managers he conveniently has sitting on his desk as he declares "My way's the best way for Fenway!" From the doorway, Larry Lucchino is seen watching with his arms folded. Before the song ends, he disappears.

Our hero of the musical, Jason Varitek, enters Tito's office to discuss the lineup for the night. He is informed that due to some struggling at the plate, he's going to be resting for the game later that night and Salty will be catching instead. Tek and Tito start in on a duet titled, "I've Got So Much More To Give."

Scene Two: The locker room after the game. The team has lost and everyone looks miserable. Kevin Millar and Dustin Pedroia lead the song "Cowboy Up," a motivational song that teaches that you CAN have fun playing baseball. Jed Lowrie stands up to try to have fun, injures himself and is traded to Houston before the end of the song. In the spirit of fun, Lackey, Lester, and Beckett sing a quick version of "Hell Yeah, I Like Beer." At the end of the number, Lucchino comes in and informs our favorite team that he's hired Mike Timlin as bullpen coach and has given him a crossbow to keep our pitchers in line. Julio Lugo arrived and he is bludgeoned by the chorus girls (IE - Lauren and myself... and my best friend, Amy, who has been waiting for another chance to pummel Lugo).

Kevin Youkilis sings a basebally version of the old Alice Cooper classic 'Vengeance Is Mine.' He rips out all of his luxuriously flowing hair in anger after striking out six times against the Kansas City Royals. At the end of his song, Lauren gets to appear and they duet a song titled "Love Despite the Rage." Cut to outside on the field at Fenway at night, under a full moon. Salty is sitting alone in the dugout. He too has been struggling at the plate. The catching corps is a mess. He sings the sorrowful tune "Thirty Three" in which he laments the fact that he'll never be like thirty three, despite all the tutelage Jason has provided to him.

I don't really know what else happens in the middle here. I didn't plan that far ahead.

Cut to the second to last scene of the play. It's game 7 of the World Series. John Lackey is the pitcher on the mound (I know, so unlikely but bear with me), and he unsurprisingly surrenders the go-ahead run in the six inning. With a score of 12-11 in favor of the opposing team, the Phillies, the Sox come up to bat. Quickly, we load the bases with two outs. Salty is scheduled to bat, but while walking to the plate, he is tackled by a  runaway Philly mascot and sprains his wrist. Tek is told to go up to bat. He stands at the plate feeling unprepared. The Philly pitcher needs to tie his shoe, so Tek takes the opportunity to look to the sky and ask for guidance. JD Drew's face appears in the clouds (think Mufasa from the Lion King). Jason asks him for advice. Drew announces he's going on the DL.  At that moment, Jason realizes that he's always had the strength inside him. Cue "I've Got So Much More to Give (reprise)." Jason somehow hits a grand slam.

In the dugout, John Lackey sees what just has happened. He sings, "I'll Do The Right Thing" with everyone sitting in the dugout as his backup chorus. He intentionally makes this crazy jerky motion and tears a hamstring. As he writhes in pain, the dugout chorus sways and sings, "We're gonna do the right thing, too! Oh, our fans are overdue!" The team goes out and plays flawless baseball and wins. They swarm the field, carrying all the injured players and sing all together, "Stronger Together," a song about team unity and the value of green tea. Antioxidants, you know.

In the last scene, Jason and Salty are sitting in the clubhouse on a bench talking about the win. Salty tears up, saying that he failed the team when they needed him most and starts singing "Thirty Three" again. Jason stops him and sings "Salty and Thirty Three," a song about how Salty may not ever be Jason, but if he believes in himself, he will carve out his own legacy.

I think that's the ending. Much happier story than last night's game, eh?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bobby Blows The Game: Sox Drop Last Game of Series

I'm not complaining about my team here. Sharky was on his game, and they could not get much going against him. Also, the home plate umpire gave Tampa almost another whole strike zone worth of strike zone. For reference, the last at bat of the game... Cody Ross saw, I  believe, five pitches outside of the strike zone. Three of them were called strikes, and he ended the game. Should he have swung, knowing that the umpire had a strike zone the size of Iceland? Sure. It doesn't make the umpire right though.

Daniel Bard was excellent. This was heads and shoulders above his last performance. Unfortunately, it was hot out, and Bard still isn't, in my opinion, as stretched out as other starters. What I mean is that he hasn't really had the chance to throw this many pitches as often as our other starters. In the seventh, after about 100 pitches and two outs, Bard lost it. A blind man could see that he lost it. The kid was clearly done. With relievers ready to go in the bullpen after a base  hit and a walk, Bobby V. did what any extremely knowledgeable baseball person would do.... he left the struggling starter in the game to walk two more consecutive batters, walking in the winning run.

Bobby screwed Daniel Bard on that. Bard should have been out of the game. Now, I'm all for letting your starters work themselves out of trouble on most occasions, but Bard had nothing left. He's still a converted bullpen guy, and the manager, the self proclaimed smartest guy in the room, should have been paying attention. In my eyes, this loss is on Valentine. And it's not just because I don't like him any more.

Still, the boys have nothing to be ashamed of. They won three pretty damn convincing games, and only lost by one run in their only loss. That, dear friends, is a successful series, if I do say so myself. Tonight, Jon Lester opens up a series with the Texas Rangers. In his first two starts this season, Lester has gotten just about no support. Let's see if the bats can give him a hand this time around.

Also, Washington Capitals? Milan Lucic is going to destroy you. It takes a really tough guy to attack someone from behind and then call him a crybaby. And I will reiterate the sentiments of Jack Edwards.... Lucic would make the crybaby gesture back to you, but he'd end up scratching his corneas with his championship ring. So.... there's that. Congratulations on win #2, Bruins! Two more to go....

Monday, April 16, 2012

Valentine: Stirring Up Trouble In The Hot Corner?

I'm not one to defend Kevin Youkilis, but... really, Bobby Valentine? After the good weekend that Youk had, why are you choosing now to call him out? What kind of manager makes those kinds of comments about his player.

I'll be the first one to jump on the "Youk is done, let's trade him" bandwagon, but I wouldn't ever question his commitment to the game.

From ProJo:

"I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Valentine said. "But [Saturday] it seemed, he's seeing the ball well, got those two walks, said he got his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he'll move on from there."
He had a bad start, going 0-12. We all know that. But did anyone think for even a second that Youk wasn't trying? I don't like this strategy by Valentine. I don't like that he's calling his players out for no reason. If there's a legitimate need for him to say something, have at it. There was no need, and I don't like it.

Kevin Youkilis's response:

 "I'm more confused than anything. Everyone knows I go out and play the game as hard as I can. That's just my style of play. I never was blessed with the raw tools like the guys who have got tools, so I've always hard to use playing the game as hard and with full effort my whole life. I don't know any better. That's just the way I play..."
 So for anyone looking for a little clubhouse stability, Bobby V. is here to tell you that even when you have a good game, you are not safe from his unfounded criticism. How long do you think before Bobby loses all the support of the players? You cannot question your players' hearts and not expect them to respect you less.  We all knew Valentine's act would get old. Who thinks it's already gotten there?

Sox Demoralize Rays: More Success on Jackie Robinson Day

I want to start out by saying that I love, love, love the idea of all the players wearing #42 for Jackie Robinson Day. It's a wonderful tribute to a man who played an integral role in the history of baseball. I don't like, however, when I am on trying to look up Jeff Bailey's uniform number so I can post my opening day pictures and all the numbers have been changed to #42. A minor issue, I guess. Just wanted to get my bitching out of the way.

For his second game of the season, Doubront again went five innings. He allowed nine hits and four runs with one walk and seven strikeouts. While the kid was pretty good, we really are going to need to get more than five innings out of him if he's going to be a worthwhile starter. That being said, he's young and I'm willing to give him the chance to adjust to the big leagues. I think he's going to be just fine.

For the second consecutive game, Ross and Calviles hit home runs. Ross went out of the park again. I'm sorry I doubted you, guys. Keep it up and I will gladly eat crow for the rest of the season.

The real beast though, is Papi. Is he on a tear or what? Granted, he was hitting the first six games of the season, but he's been destroying this weekend. 3-4 yesterday with an RBI, 4-5 Saturday with five RBI's, and 2-4 with 2 RBIs on Friday's game. With a .444 batting average, Papi is downright scary right now. I love it. I guess that's what happens when you  show up to camp looking as trim and fit as Papi did... and don't kid yourself, the dude looked good this year. The results at the plate are validating his extra work this offseason. It's pretty awesome.

Atch got a little roughed up, but he was saved by Padilla. Morales, though allowing two hits, had a good inning, and Sauce closed the door perfectly in the ninth. That ERA that used to be infinity is now down to 9.00. A few more innings like that, and he'll bring that baby down in no time.

Three wins in a row. The last time the Sox had three regular season wins in a row was July of last year. Seems like such a long time ago, doesn't it?

This morning's game brings Sharky to face Daniel Bard. I'm going to be interested to see how Bard fares against this Tampa lineup that is probably feeling mighty angry at losing three in a row to the Sox. As for Sharky, he's a mixed bag. I've seen the Sox beat the stuffing out of him, and I've seen him blow the Sox away. What we've got on our side is the fact that this is a big game for Sharky, trying to stop a four-game sweep.... and we all know the nickname Big Game James is normally more of a joke than a reality. This will be interesting.

Clay Pulls Out A Win: Sox Bats Stay Alive

Watching GameDay in the fifth inning. One on, David Ortiz up to bat, down two runs. I sat watching, quietly asking David for his first home run of the season. If we could just tie this up, it would be a whole new ballgame and we'd have a chance. Dahmer seems to have settled down. After four runs in the first and a run in the third, he's kept the Tampa bats quiet. We just need to tie it. There's no one I want at the plate more than David Ortiz in these situations.

The little blue pitch locator showed up, "In play, run(s) score." There's a couple of tense seconds as GameDay is updating. I figure a double would have gotten Youk home. It's got to be a home run or a double. But there it is. "David Ortiz homers (1) on a fly ball to right center field. Kevin Youkilis scores." Beautiful.

When the team starts responding to my requests, I know they've clicked. I don't know how long this particular click is going to last, but they've clicked. The great thing is that after that home run, it was just two innings before the bats completely woke up to put the smackdown on Tampa Bay. The Sox had scored 22 runs in their first six games, and they had scored 25 in their next two. Admit it, you weren't expecting that at all.

The greatest part was that almost all the runs came off the mighty home run ball. As opposed to Opening Day, where 12 runs were scored without a single home run, this game was the opposite. Our batters, at least during this series (hey, don't want to get too far ahead of myself) have found both the timing and the power they need. Home run hitters for the day included Salty, Munchkin, Papi, Calviles, and Ross. I believe at least two of those home runs went straight out of the park and into the parking lot on Landsdowne. Pretty cool if you ask me. I love to see that kind of power out of players that I don't expect it from.

Make no mistake, the Sox weren't scoring runs off the slouches in Tampa's rotation. David Price and Jeremy Hellickson are good pitchers. Unfortunately for them, and quite fortunately for us, the Sox had some pent up road aggression to take out, and they were the victims of said wrath.

It's a beautiful thing, winning two in a row. Hasn't happened in a good long while.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Opening Day: The Pictures

I can write out a long, wordy post telling you about opening day... or I can just do this:

-My eyes got misty when Tek and Wake walked out from behind the American flag. I had hoped they'd be throwing out the first pitches, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. And who better to catch those pitches than Dewey and Jim Ed?

-It was awesome seeing Grandpa Pesky shouting Play Ball! It scares me how frail he's looking.  I don't want to think about the fact that it took three people to hold him up.

-Beckett was amazing. The Sox kicked ass, and we won 12-2. Talk about the benefits of a home cooked meal.

-The loss of Pretzels is going to hurt. If only he hadn't let his marshmallows soften.

-Here, have a couple pictures!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Opening Day, Friends!

It's here. We've finally arrived. Fenway Park's opening day. It's going to be wonderful no matter what happens. I don't care about the 1-5 start. I don't care that Kevin Youkilis' face fills me with unbridled rage. I don't care that Jason-.... no, wait, I do care that Jason and Timmy won't be there to open the park up. That makes me sad. But other than that, I don't care!

I'll be there, greeting that beautiful old park as she awakens from her long winter's nap. My little group of Red Sox die-hards will be in the CVS family section. I don't know why. That's just where we could get tickets. I'll be taking as many pictures as possible, and hopefully I'll be able to get them up this weekend. I'm just so excited that even if I don't post pictures, you won't care, right? Let me have my joy.

So happy opening day to all my Sox friends out there. We've made it this far. It's all going to be ok.

On a little sidenote, if anyone is having problems with my blog, please let me know. There's some weird scripting going on, and my best HTML and Java experts are having a hard time figuring out where the malicious script is getting in. If you click a link that takes you somewhere you shouldn't be, please please please shoot me an email to Thanks all!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Another L For The Books: A Wasted Lester Effort

Red Sox, you guys make me sad.

I'm glad I have a day off from the torture that is watching you all fail.

That is all.

Tito: Won't Be Celebrating Park's Birthday

It doesn't surprise me, and he certainly has his reasons, but Tito has confirmed that he will not be participating in the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.

From Tito:
“Somebody went out of their way to make me look pretty bad,’’ Francona told Shaughnessy. “It’s a shame. I’m sure they’ll have a great event … but I just can’t go back there and start hugging people and stuff without feeling a little bit hypocritical.’’
It makes me sad, guys. I don't blame him for not wanting to go. Really, I don't. The smear campaign was crazy when Tito was departing. But as the best Red Sox manager possibly ever, for him to not be there? It's not right.

No other living manager has won a ring with the Red Sox. Tito has two. Tito was at the helm for the two most important seasons in recent history. What say you, Sox fans? Is this birthday bash going to be incomplete without Tito? Or will you not even notice his ommission?

Pedroia Can Play: Daniel Bard Sort Of Can, Too

Yep, another loss. Painful, right? Absolutely painful. Here we sit, alone in the basement of the AL East, hoping that someone throws us a rope so we can climb out. At least give us a flashlight so we can find the stairs. Bobby V is too busy taking phone calls during press conferences to tell Daniel Bard to throw higher in the zone.

Did Bard pitch well? Well enough. Much better than I thought he would, but he still allowed five runs in innings. Forgive me for my biases, but wouldn't Tek have actually made in-game adjustments? Was Salty making any? It didn't seem like it. To be honest, Salty looks nervous to me 90% of the time, so I have no idea what's going through his head. Maybe someone threatened him with rabid dogs if he failed to be Tek. I make no promises that it wasn't me.

Sox starters, listen here. It's your job to get into the seventh inning. In order to do so, you need to not suck so badly. Christ, at this point, I'll be happy with a quality start. Six innings, three or less runs? Ever heard of it? One run through the rotation and we've had exactly one quality start. Lester with his seven inning, one run effort. Had Doubront pitched on more inning, he would have qualified. That goes to pitch count. You should not, in any circumstance, be throwing more than five pitches to any given batter in any single at bat. I know, it sounds so easy, right? I live with the luxury of not having to follow my own pitching rules, so it's easy for me.

Five starts, one quality start, two painfully embarrassing ones (Looking at you, B-boys.... er, sans Bard), one sort of good one, and one sort of bad one. And we didn't even win the quality start! We need better from you, guys. I'm not hitting the panic button. I'm not announcing the sky is falling. All I'm saying is that you CAN do better, and you HAVE to do better. Munchkin needs some support here. Give the little guy a helping hand, will you?

Today at 12:35, Lester closes out the second series of the year. If he could pitch as well as he did on opening day, I'll be happy. Because it's Tek and Little Tek's birthdays today. You better not lose on their birthdays, Jon.

Also, Happy Birthday to Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon. I miss you guys...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hey Ozzie: Shut. Up.

Right about now, Ozzie Guillen is preparing his speech to either defend or apologize for his comments about Fidel Castro.

In case you haven't heard, in an interview with Time Magazine, Ozzie made a comment about how he loves Castro and respects the Cuban dictator for staying in power for so long. Also in case you haven't heard, Ozzie is the manager of the Marlins, a team situated in the Little Havana area of Miami.

The large Cuban community in Miami is calling for Ozzie's resignation. I don't blame them. Listen, I believe in freedom of speech, and I will defend Ozzie's right to say whatever he wants... but with that freedom comes the freedom of everyone else to react to what you've said. Ozzie put his foot in his mouth, and he needs to make his apology honest, sincere, and heartfelt and that STILL might not be enough.

Many times, I find Ozzie funny and entertaining, but I think he just went too far with this one. It's not like he marched into the American Fuzzy Animal Association (does that exist? I think it should exist) and announce that bunnies are dumb. He made a worldwide annoucement that basically undermines the hearts and feelings of the community he's trying to work in. If you don't have the community behind you, you aren't going to succeed. Who do you think buys the tickets that essentially pay your salary?

The Marlins have made their move, suspending Ozzie for five games. Now it's Ozzie's turn. Can't wait to hear this apology. Some how, I don't think it'll be enough.

Sorry, Blue Jays: We Needed This

I'm sorry that you couldn't win your home opener, Blue Jays, but this win was really important to us. Another season of starting 0-6 would have been too much to bear. Don't hold it against us. What you CAN hold against us is when we inevitably figure out a way to kidnap John Farrell and bring him back to Fenway. That's our manager and you all know it.

Does it surprise anyone that Munchkin lead this charge? I heard a clip of Valentine saying that Pedey was at the park before noon, pacing back and forth and saying that they're going to get it going (or something along those lines. This isn't a direct quote). As Munchkin goes, so goes the team.

I didn't get to actually watch the game, but I was getting updates sent to me. Doubront seems to have done well. That pitch count was a little out of control, and he didn't really go as deep in the game as we probably would have liked, but he must not have been terrible. Did anyone see the game? How did he look? I figure he'll be fine.

Nice to see Sauce has brought that ERA down to a manageable 27.00. Pretzels still has done nothing to contribute. Asshat has done even less, and from what I understand, he spent a lot of time pouting. Sometimes it IS a strike, Kevin. Swing at it or shut up.

Tonight, though. Tonight, I'll be able to watch Daniel Bard's debut for the season. Do I think he's going to succeed as a starter? Not really, but I'll give him the chance to prove me wrong. These Sox love to prove me wrong, so he may throw a no-hitter. But I may have just jinxed that, so by calling the jinx, I unjinxed it, right? I don't know. I'm running on three hours of sleep and sports superstitions sometimes go way over my head. Let's just enjoy putting our first notch in the win column, huh?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pitching Fails: Part Two Of Money Burning

Ok, admittedly, I didn't find as many position players as I hoped to actually fill out a major league roster. Two catchers, two first basemen, no second or third basemen, two shortstops, and three outfielders... That leaves me with sixteen spots open for pitching. Luckily, I have seventeen pitchers that I consider putrid! I guess I will have to make up my mind on who gets dropped by the end of the post.

Regardless, I just couldn't wait to post about the pitchers like I thought I could. Impatience will kill me one of these days, dear friends.

Here we go!

Starters: If you thought for a second that John Lackey was not on this list, discontinue that thought now. Could it really be a coincidence that we haven't reached the playoffs since Lackey inked that absurd five year $82M contract? He makes everyone around him worse. This will surely go down as the worst free-agent pitching acquisition in history. Definitely the worst in Red Sox history at least.

Daisuke Matsuzaka. Six years, $52M. His first two seasons were decent. 2007 was actually pretty good. Unfortunately, in the last three years, he's played exactly 45 games, totaling 250.1 innings. In three seasons. That means last year, he made almost $1.3M per game. For that kind of money, you better be winning every start. Even if he comes back and has a Cy Young calibur season this year, it'll never make up for the rest of that contract.

Matt Clement. I know, he got hit on the head, and that can really mess a guy up. It doesn't change the fact that he still collected every penny of that $26M/3 year contract. Over the course of the contract, he only pitched two of those seasons, posting a 5.09 ERA in 44 games, 256 innings. Yup, $101,000 per inning pitched.  He didn't have a big fan following here, but fans of opposing teams loved him.

David Wells. I always felt that "Boomer" was a undercover Yankee operative. The thing about Wells was that he actually posted a winning record in his time here, but I was MISERABLE watching him. 17-10 with a 4.56 ERA? He was so bad in 2006 that we unloaded him to the Padres in August of that year. We still paid the remainder of his two-year, $8M contract. Thank goodness he never racked up any performance bonuses. That could have left the Sox on the hook for $18M!

John Smoltz. It pains me to put him here, because I wanted SO BADLY for him to pitch well. He didn't, and the Smoltz reclamation project was deemed a failure. In eight starts, Smoltzy was 2-5 with an 8.33 ERA. Yes, Virginia, he WAS as bad as Lackey. The Sox gave him $5.5M for those 8 games, but cut him loose in mid-August of 2009, realizing that they could just go no further with him. Still, you can't blame them for taking a chance on a future hall of famer, can you?

Brad Penny. Garbage. Penny's entire Sox career was garbage. He single-handedly ruined many of my evenings at Fenway, and the Fourth of July game that I was so excited to be able to attend. That meat mound made $5M off a one year contract, getting cut ten days after Smoltz. 2009 was the year of Theo's reclamation projects, and not a single one worked out (with the possible exception of Saito.... I don't know if I consider him an exception).

Total Damage: $181,500,000

Bullpen: Let's start with the most recent.... Bobby Jenks. Two years, $12M. Had we known that $12M would include a DUI and multiple trips to the DL, would we have avoided that signing? Knowing Theo, probably not. Jenks appeared in 19 games last year, posting a 2-2 record with 6.32 ERA... but even these horrible numbers do not tell the full horror of Jenks on the mound. Granted, he only allowed 1 out of 4 inherited runners to score, but 22 hits and 13 walks in 15 innings? It makes for some tense, terrible baseball.

Eric Gagne. I would have made this trade, too. The Red Sox were the best team in baseball looking for a little extra help out of the pen for the playoffs. Gagne was pitching like an All-Star for Texas. The Sox agreed to pick up his $2.1M in performance bonuses, and they sent Kason Gabbard and David Murphy to Texas as compensation. Gagne, if you don't remember, was vomit-and-seizure inducingly bad. In 20 games (18.2 innings), he posted a 6.75 ERA. He was a huge part of the ALCS Game 2 meltdown. In his career with the Sox, he had five clean innings. Five. After the world series, Gagne was granted free agency, and that's the last I ever want to hear about Gagme.

Javier Lopez. Lopez was all kinds of awful, mostly in the last year. Acquired via trade from the White Sox in June of '06, Lopez was re-signed by the Sox twice. It was that last time that was regrettable. Of course it was his biggest payday. A one year, $1.3M bought us 14 games, 11 innings, and  a 9.26 ERA.  I would cringe, just flat out cringe every time Lopez would come into a game. I had a plethora of nicknames for him, none of them fit to print.  He was an average lefty from 2006-2008. By 2009, he was destined for the garbage heap.

Brendan Donnelly. The Angels traded Donnelly to us in 2006. Half way through 2007, he needed Tommy John surgery. He was named in the Mitchell Report (which I can't REALLY hold against him). He only appeared in 20 games but still collected $1.4M. Not the worst acquisition ever, but still not a great one.

Rudy Seanez. Rudy signed in December of '05. By August of '06, he was gone. He was part of that all-around terrible bullpen in 2006. It was the type of bullpen that made grown men cry and women faint in the streets. Rudy's paychecks apexed with the Sox, as they happily gave him $1.9M to post a 4.82 ERA in 41 games. Again, not the worst signing (that's Lackey), but generally when you release a pitcher when your team desperately needs pitching, you know it's not pretty.

Ramiro Mendoza. I bet some of you were happy when the Sox signed Mendoza, weren't you? Mendoza signed a 2 year, $6.5M contract at the end of the 2002 season after spending his entire prior career with the Yankees. Well, there was a reason they let him walk. He appeared in 64 games for the Sox, posting a 5.73 ERA. In 2003, he allowed 54% of inherited runners score. There is a reason that every bad signing results in people comparing the signing to Mendoza. Bad. Bad all around.

Joel Piñiero. Four Million Dollars. FOUR MILLION! And every time he stepped on the mound, he gave me aneurysms. I don't even want to talk about it. 31 games, 5.03 ERA. I wept for joy when we traded him away in July of '07. You think Mendoza was bad? Piñiero made a career out of making my life miserable.

JC Romero. JC signed with the Sox for $1.6M in December of '06. They released him in June of '07. Was he atrocious? No. But to pay that kind of money to a guy that you only get 23 outings out of is not right. I remember not enjoying his time here. Maybe I'm stretching it a bit here, but it's my list and I can do that.

Matt Mantei. Before the 2005 season, the Sox signed Mantei to a one year, $750,000 contract. In 34 games with the Sox, Matt could only get through 26 innings, posting a 6.49 ERA. Granted, the money wasn't extravagant, but it definitely wasn't a mistake the Sox would make again.

Wade Miller. Let's make this short and sweet. Wade pitched for one season, threw 91 innings, posted a 4.95 ERA and collected $1.5M. I wouldn't pay $20,000 per inning for that all over again.

Total Damage: $33,050,000

For the pitching staff alone, the Sox have committed $214,550,000 of essentially worthless dollars. You're looking at an extra $21M per season for the last ten seasons if these guys had never joined up with the Sox. If you add in the position players, the total wasted dollars comes to $386,450,000.

Well, I just made myself sad. At least baseball is on tv tonight, and no matter how bad it is, it's still kind of good.

Burning Money: Bad Moves By The Sox

Call it morbid curiosity or just plain old self torture, but I was again listening to the local sports radio station the other day. They came up with the idea to make a list of all the wasted contracts in the last ten years. Is this an exercise in negativity? Sure...  but the part of me that loves lists loves the idea.

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to see if we can make a full 25-man roster with all the bad signings or trades over the last ten years, and then I'm going to list the amount of money we set aside for these guys. For the record, no - Crawford will not be on my list. I happen to like Crawford, thank you very much.
Unfortunately, my definition of 'bad signing' is completely arbitrary and heavily biased, so if you've got something you'd like to debate, go ahead! I may just be swayed, you know.

I think for today, I'll stick with position players. I need time to build up my venom for tomorrow's pitchers list. Believe me, guys, we've had a LOT of really bad pitching.... as if you didn't know. Anyway... ONWARD!

Catcher: 2006's trade for Javy Lopez. The Sox traded Adam Stern to Baltimore in August of 2006 for Javy. He played in 18 games, collected twelve hits and four RBIs. He was released on September 8th after failing to live up to expectations. Though I think the O's sent the Sox money for him, I don't think he was worth the gas it took to drive from Camden Yards to Fenway.

I could try to make a case for Josh Bard or Kelly Shoppach, but Bard wasn't so bad, and I'm trying to give Shoppy a chance. It's hard, but I'm trying. So Kevin Cash, you're my (terrible) guy! I liked nothing about Kevin Cash the first time, and I liked him even less the second time. In total, I think he made $400,000 from the Sox, and every dollar of that brought resentment from me.

Total Damage: $400,000 and Adam Stern.

First Baseman: 2001's waiver signing of Tony Clark. When the Tigers were done with him, they threw Clark on waivers. The Sox were on the hook for 1 year at $5M. For that $5M, he played in 90 games and only collected 57 hits. That means he received almost $88,000 per hit during that year. His .202 batting average inspired the Sox to let him walk as a free agent at the end of the season.

The runner up is JT Snow. JT signed a 1 year, $2M contract with the Sox in January of '06. He was released on June 19th of the same year after  recording only nine hits in 38 games.

Total Damage: $7M

Second Baseman: I truly and honestly cannot find a second baseman in the last ten years that was undeniably horrible.  Rey Sanchez in 2002, Todd Walker in 2003, Mark Bellhorn in 2004 and part of 2005, Tony Graffanino in 2005, Mark Loretta in 2006, and Pedroia since then. No, I have no complaints. Good job on the second base choices, Sox.

Total Damage: None.

Shortstop: Julio "POS" Lugo. There is no question, no debate, no DOUBT in my mind that Lugo was probably the worst signing I've ever seen. Theo lusted after him and that misguided lust stuck us with a four year, $36M albatross. He was terrible in every sense of the word. In July of 2009, Theo finally put us out of our misery and traded him to St. Louis, where he would never be heard from again.

Very close runner up: Edgar Rentaria. In December of '04, after letting OCab walk, Theo made the brilliant decision to sign Rentaripoff to a four year, $40M contract. He lasted exactly one season. Though he hit a respectable .276, he made 30 errors and whined about the infield grass at Fenway. He was traded to Atlanta in December of 2005, and the Sox partially rectified their mistakes by giving me Alex Gonzalez.

Total Damage: $76M and lots and lots of hair clumps.

Third Baseman: Nope, sorry. I've got nothing. As much as I dislike Youk and Beltre, neither deserves to make the list. And if you think I'm putting Billy Mueller or Mike Lowell on the list, you're crazy.

Total Damage: Slight heartbreak at the retirement of Mikey Lowell.

Outfielders: To make my life easier, I'm going to group all the little outfielders together. Your candidates for the worst outfielders in the last ten years are JD Drew, Wily Mo Pena, and Mike Cameron.

JD Drew... I sort of don't want to put him on the list. He was a good little player... a little fragile, but really not terrible. He wasn't fantastic, though, and for $70M over five years, you want better than 'not terrible.' I'm sorry, JD, but you make the list.

Wily Mo Pena... we lost Bronson Arroyo because of him! I don't care what the justification was, I will never forgive him for being a major league player that Theo wanted. He spent half of 2006 and half of 2007 with the team before the Sox realized that he was not going to live up to his potential. Not for us, anyway. In the month after the trade, Arroyo actually had more home runs for the Reds than Pena did for us. Between '06 and '07, we paid him $3M. We paid cash to Cincinnati to get him, and we paid the Nationals to take him from us. Talk about a terrible ROI.

Mike Cameron. We all sort of knew this wasn't going to be a worthwhile investment. As nice of a guy as Cameron seemed to be, he just was not impressive in the field or at bat. Two year, $15.5M contract for a 38 year old outfielder? That was doomed from the start. Mike played in 81 games between 2010 and 2011, collecting 56 hits in 256 AB's. He ended up getting traded to the Marlins half way through 2011, and we paid them to take him. Wise business decision, I'm sure.

Total Damage: $88.5M and Bronson Arroyo.

Overall, I'm seeing a cumulative waste of $171,900,000, Adam Stern, Bronson Arroyo, and large clumps of hair (not to mention slight heartbreak over Mikey Lowell). Just wait. Seriously, the pitchers? So much worse.

I wonder how many of the hundreds of dollars I've spent on tickets went to Wily Mo's contract?

159 To Go: Nothing To Look Back Fondly On

Three games into the season and I'm having flashbacks to last year. I guess it could be worse, because even if this season is exactly the same as last season, we're looking forward to a summer full of awesome baseball, and then we can just shut off our TVs in September. It's fine! The season starts when the Sox win their first game and it ends on August 31st. If we can all agree on that, I think we'll be ok.

I don't have a single thing to say about Beckett's start. Not a single damn word. Moving on.

Yesterday hurt, in the most brutal of ways. So many leads squandered. So many head bashing moments. Our interim closer has not yet figured out how to close. He has an ERA of infinity. INFINITY. The rest of our bullpen heard rumors that giving up runs was fashionable, but they have not yet mastered the skill the way Alfredo has.

Now, I don't want to be too hard on Sauce because I know how good he was last year. He needs to get his head around this new role, and I really think he'll be ok. But infinity. It's not even a number, damnit. It's beyond numbers. The little sideways eight that tells you that you have not yet gotten an out. Infinity. Wow.

At least, at the very least, the offense came around yesterday. It doesn't matter when you can't close the book, but it was nice to see some runs. A little better pitching and we might be golden. Why am I being optimistic? I wasn't feeling optimistic yesterday. Actually, I was feeling pretty deflated, but it's fine.

Next up, Felix Doubront makes his regular season debut against the Jays. Would it be jinxing him to say that he couldn't possibly be worse than Beckett?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Opening Day: Loss Number One

I know I've seen a few people say this already, but I think that every team should be allowed to win their home opener. It was a tough loss, especially since the last time we saw real baseball, it was a similar type loss. Painful. Tough to listen to. I think I developed baseball PTSD after that base hit.

But, I promised I wouldn't write a negative post, and I won't.

I think Lester was awesome. He was cruising through those early innings, and it was only through the sixth and seventh that he was really laboring. Even laboring, he only gave up one run. Was he as sharp as he could have been? No, but he was great. THAT'S what I like to see, Johnny. Great work.

Munchkin continues to be a sparkplug and inspiration for the team. His ninth inning well-fought-for hit was terrific. Papi and Sweeney did their part, and we tied the game after I already assumed it was lost. But there's no shame in losing to Verlander even if we had lost. While Munchkin's first few at-bats were less than awe inspiring, he redeemed himself.

Alfredo Aceves will be fine at closer, I think. It was a tough situation he was brought into, and I truly believe that had it been Paps on the mound, he would have lost the game, too. Let's not give Alfredo a hard time. We need him to feel good in the closer's spot, so he's got my vote of confidence.

But Pretzels? You suck, Pretzels. Runner up-MVP or not, you took 11 pitches in four at-bats, you impatient piece of sourdough. You're my goat of the game, because I don't like you.

Everyone else? You're fine. I blame Pretzels. But, the game is in the past, and now I look forward to Beckett's regular season debut against the awkwardly named Doug Fister. Tomorrow. On TV. Look at that, I'm still excited. Game one is behind us. On to game two!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cubs: Sox

It's official, folks. The Cubs have had a better start to their season than the Sox.

They've scored a run.

This post is only partly in jest. Justin Verlander is damn good, but he's making me sad.

Interesting: No Scores

I mean, no scores anywhere.

Sox-Tigers are going into the fifth scoreless.
Braves-Mets also going into the fifth scoreless.
Phillies-Pirates into the third with no score.
Nats-Cubs just starting out.

Way to get off with a bang, MLB!


We Made It: Happy Opening Day

The grandest of all April days is upon is, folks. Today, in just two short hours and four short minutes, Justin Verlander will be toeing the rubber, staring down Jacoby Ellsbury. Hopefully Pretzels responds with a refreshing 'we've got this, calm down' home run on the first pitch. Hey, I know he's no Dewey, but there's always a chance, right?

Though, the 'Relax' thing has always been more Munchkin than Pretzels. I guess I can wait for the second batter of the season. All I really care about is seeing our boys put together good at-bats and give a damn. And hell, if we're going to try to beat Justin Verlander, this early in the season might be the best time to do it. Early in the season when people are still trying to fully get back in the swing of things is the best time to pummel them. For the sake of denial, let's not apply that same logic to the impending work of Jon Lester.

For those who are not yet aware, the Sox lineup for today's game is this:

Pretzels (CF)
Munchkin (2B)
Ernie (1B)
Papi (DH)
Asshat (3B)
Sweeney (RF)
Ross (LF)
Salty (C)
Caviles (SS)
Lester (P)

Just a few short hours.... I can't sit still, I'm so excited. And I promise, no matter what the result of the game, I won't have an angry post tonight or tomorrow.

Happy Opening Day, friends. We're here. We've made it.
All I can say, and all I want to hear is this (trust me, you've been waiting for it too!) - PLAY BALL!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Get Ready: Twenty-Six Hours Till Opening Day

I'm excited. Of course I am! What actual baseball fan isn't? I'm excited, but I'm not sold. I guess I just have to prepare for letdown, but God help that team if they lose the first twelve games of the season. More like God help my blood pressure...

Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach (from here on out, Shoppy) at catcher? Neither one is Varitek, so I am automatically unenthused. I guess 'Not Being Tek' is unfair criticism. Neither one of them had a say in the matter. I like to believe if they did, they would have chosen to be Tek. It will, however, be interesting to see what Salty will bring to the table after working under the tutelage of my favorite player. If I'm being honest (which, when it comes to Tek, I don't necessarily feel like I need to be), if either one of them can throw out base runners consistently and hit .240, I'll survive.

Ernie does not concern me at all. Nor does Munchkin. They'll be wonderful!

Mike Aviles at short? I don't know. Does having large calves make one a better shortstop? Can I call him Calviles? I don't know. I guess we'll find out.

Youk at third? Let's see if he can stay healthy. He's been pretty fragile lately.

Outfield. Besides Pretzels, do we HAVE outfielders? I think once Crawford returns from the wrist injury, he'll be worlds better than he was last year. Till then? Not at all sure what to expect from left and right, but if Pretzels is in center, I guess that'll be fine.

Papi? He's Papi. Come on now.

Pitching staff? Excuse my while I do my ostrich impression and bury my head in the ground. I'm not even sure I WANT to look. Bum thumbs and DUIs do not a great pitching staff make. There's no way it's going to be as bad as it was last year. John Lackey is on the DL, so it absolutely cannot be that bad.

I like baseball, so I'm going to enjoy the season... I just might not be pleasant about my enjoyment, so don't be surprised if you see a lot of overreactions like the one about Beckett's thumb. I'm not really THAT insane. It's just a little venting, is all.

Tomorrow, one o'clock. Opening Day. Palpable excitement!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Holy Thumbs: Sox Pitchers Damaging Digits

What the hell, guys?

What in the serious hell?

Opening day is THIS WEEK. I don't give a shit how you feel about the manager. I don't care if you're grumpy over a lack of beer. The season hasn't even started yet and half of you are hurting yourselves? Are you kidding me?

Listen, Bailey going down was fine, but Beckett? F off. I do not care in the slightest if your thumb is sore. Rub some dirt on it, suck it up, and be on the mound for game two. This is ridiculous! I'm legitimately angry right now. Josh has no right injuring himself at the start of the season. NO RIGHT.

100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. We celebrate by continuing our reenactment from last September.

My heart cannot, CANNOT, deal with the stress of another April like last April. I want the rest of the team bubble wrapped, stat! Not in five minutes, right goddamn now.

Ridiculous. So stupid. Rabble rabble rabble. Grumble grumble

Hopefully Not Breaking News: Bailey Injured, With Shampoo Bottle

If it weren't for that shampoo bottle, we might never have known why Andrew Bailey was pitching shitty. This is wonderful news. Don't you think it's wonderful news? I mean, goodness, we didn't need a closer anyway. Now that Bard is undeservingly and inexplicably in the starting rotation, and Paps is flapping his jaw in Philly, who's going to close? Aceves?

It's unsettling, this feeling of crashing and burning before the season gets under way. But with no closer, a makeshift shortstop, nobodies in the outfield, a pissed off pitching rotation, a manager who cannot SHUT THE HELL UP, and a GM who, for all intents and purposes, truly seems like he has no idea what he's doing? Yeah, unsettled. I guess the only cure for this is going to be Thursday. The beginning of baseball season. It's not going to tell us everything we need to know, but at least the panic won't matter as much. Baseball! On TV! Who the heck need panic anyway?

I know I'm ready for it. Are you?