Friday, February 27, 2009

Manny: Are you kidding me?

Seriously? He rejected the Dodger's fourth offer? Colletti, buddy, it's time to move on. Manny and Boras are playing you like a piano. I know it's frustrating when you need that big name, and everyone on your team wants Manny back, but Manny doesn't seem very interested for a guy who wanted to retire in LA (remember, he wanted to retire in Boston first...)

Cut your losses, accept that you wasted a lot of time wooing him for nothing.

Damn, I really thought he was going to take this one. No one is going to give him 100 million dollars right now, and if that's what he's waiting for, then I hope he makes himself nice and comfortable at home because he's sitting out this year. I feel Ned Colletti's pain. Manny is very frustrating, but you put up with him because he's worth it. He provides offense. He provides comic relief. He puts fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers. But he doesn't (and I say this with all the love I could give this guy) consider anyone else. It's all Manny all the time. I can't exactly say that I hold this against him. We've been hearing over and over forever that baseball is a business, and there really isn't loyalty from the managers to the players any more.

The problem I see is that Manny affects his teammates. I'd love to be in Dodger camp right now, listening to the reactions. Those guys, from what I've read, are expecting Manny back. Now that he's rejected another offer, do you think they still have that same confidence? Do you think they're feeling good about their playoff chances this year? I honestly don't know. If I had to guess, I'd say no, they're not feeling too good right now. Manny made LA love him, and now he's holding the GM hostage.

I'm one of what I feel is the minority - people who still love Manny and want to see him suceed. Granted, I want him to suceed less than the Sox, and every once in a while I feel a little bitter toward him, but I still love the guy as a baseball player. He's fantastically entertaining both with his bat and antics. I don't care what anyone says. These antics right now aren't so funny, but most of the time, you can't help but smile.

After this past off-season, I'm wondering if perhaps Scott Boras hates his clients... He doesn't seem to be doing them any favors. But that's irrelevant. For all we know, this decision was all Manny, because he believes he's still gonna get that really, really big payday. Maybe he wants to be paid more than Slappy annually. I don't know if that's possible, but if that's what he's holding out for...

Listen, I said a few weeks (months?) ago that I wouldn't be surprised to see Manny miss spring training. It's not like he ever cared about it before, so there's no real sense of urgency there for him. When he does get a contract he likes, and I'm not saying he will, he'll show up in shape and ready to go. I guess that comes along with that whole Manny being Manny thing...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Joshua: Sharper than Last Year

...but I'm not going to read much into it. Just as I don't much care that Wake gave up three runs. It's spring training. This is the perfect time for him to allow runs and work out kinks with his pre-owned catcher (I can't entirely say Bard is new, because he's not, so he must be preowned). I'm still trying to feel out a nickname for Bard. I didn't give him one the first time around because I refused to like him... you know, I had Dougie withdrawls. But now that I know Dougie isn't coming back, I'm willing to embrace Bard and support him 100%, so he obviously needs a nickname. It will come, in time...

In two innings of work against college kids, Joshua allowed no runs, no walks, and got two strikeouts. For the first spring game of the year, that wasn't bad at all. Then again, they are just college kids and Josh should be striking them out and not giving up hits. I saw video of how his 2 innings went. He looked ok. I'm content with it, but I'll reserve my excitement for the next time he pitches.

I'm also not going to go all crazy about the way our offense couldn't string together hits tonight, nor am I going to lose my mind about the fact that Jacoby Ellsbury picked up right where he left off in terms of frustrating me with his annoying habit of swinging at the first pitch. Patience, young CRW. Let your pitch come to you. You're our lead-off hitter, you're going to need to be able to get on base. Luckily, you have the entire spring to work out your issues with not being able to wait for the right pitch.

Dahmer looked pretty good, as did Fetus and the new guys/kids. Again, limited sample size, so I'm not going to get worked up. It was just really neat to be able to see live baseball again.

Now I want live, meaningful baseball!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy First Exhibition Games of the Year Day!

I'm certain I won't be seeing greeting cards for this any time soon, I'm just so happy that I finally have some fresh, new Red Sox baseball to watch.

It has been such a long winter, but finally, a lasting sign of spring. 1:05 (or roughly around there) Beckett vs. BC. I'd watch it if I wasn't at work, but since I am at work, I'll wait until 7 to see Wakefield vs. the Twins.

May you all have a happy, speedy day of work, and encounter no traffic that would impede you from getting home to your Red Sox!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mike Lowell: Another Year Older

... but still just as wonderful. Remember, Mike, you're still too young for hair dye. Keep the grey! I sure hope he has a fabulous birthday filled with sucessful rehab and other such magical things.

More importantly, I hope his hip is feeling better. It would be a shame if he couldn't dance at any point this year. Tragedy even.

So Javier Lopez joins Dice-K as the only two Red Sox pitchers on the WBC roster. Good for him.

I can't speak for other Red Sox fans, but despite what some of those silly sports writers think, I am absolutely psyched for the season. I love my Red Sox. I seriously doubt that their success will change that.

One more day till "actual" baseball! I can't wait!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spring Pitching Schedule: Just A Little Bit Cruel

Just reviewed the pitching matchups for the first few games of the spring. Does it seem just a tad evil to anyone else to give the Minnesota Twins a nicely aged Timmy Wonderpitches and leave the BC kids to fend for themselves against the fantastic piece of pitcher that is Josh Beckett?

I mean, really now. I've obsessed enough over how good Josh looks this spring. He doesn't even have to THROW anything... he didn't come in with that huge, unattractive beer gut. That right there should tell you that he did a little better with the training over the offseason this year than he did last year. An in-shape Josh Beckett would intimidate major league hitters, what do you think the BC kids are thinking?

I know Beckett's only gonna work an inning or two. Any more than that would be crazy, but those poor BC kids... then again, perhaps they like it better this way. I don't know... Josh is the hipper pitcher (yes, I just used the word 'hipper'... shut up), and the kids, they can relate to him and his 96 MPH fastball.... which he probably shouldn't be throwing to them. You know what would be fantastic? If he could snap off some really pretty curveballs. Nothing gets my heart fluttering better than a well-located, hard snapping Beckett curveball*. I think once I get through Wednesday and see a little bit of real, live, now kind of baseball, this craving will calm a little bit and I'll be able to think about things other than probable ERA's and OBP's and SB's and so on...

*Disclaimer: That is a lie. I can list several aspects of Red Sox baseball, and life in general, that get my heart fluttering faster.

My first live game of the year is April 8th. Please let me be seeing Beckett... or Johnny. Aw, hell, what do I care? As long as they win...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

John Smoltz: Car Mechanic.

Listen, I haven't been getting much sleep these days, so the sleep I do get is welcomed... even when it's filled with wacky dreams of pitchers I technically haven't even seen yet. (I don't count it unless I've seen them pitch live)

I had one of those mornings where I woke up knowing that I dreamt something about baseball, and then immediately forgot it. I spent the first few hours of my day slowly piecing together the fragments of my dream out of curiosity when it finally came back together for me. I was in some kind of grocery store/pharmacy... probably Stop and Shop... and I was arguing with an old coworker of mine. He was telling me his car was damaged beyond all hope. I was arguing that he just needs to take it to the right mechanic. I started walking away from him when John Smoltz comes into the store and tells my coworker that the car was fixed.

In my dream, I was shocked, and started questioning Mr. Smoltz about how he did that. He told me that he's got a lot of tricks up his sleeve, or something along that idea. I walked away from him and woke up. I don't know... I sort of feel that this was a good omen for the season, dreaming about John Smoltz and all.

I got a strange email from the Red Sox yesterday saying something like "Congratulations! You can buy Green Monster seats!"... I've never seen anything like this before in my years as a fan. I have NEVER 'won' one of their raffles, so I'm just assuming this is a figment of my imagination. But seriously, are you kidding me? $160 a seat to sit behind the left fielder? Really? I'll take four $30 standing room only seats... Trying to count out the days on the schedule to see if I can't trick my luck into giving me a Beckett game...

When this week is over, I'll be a happy girl. I've never had to log so many hours at work in my life (yet here I am, messing around with my blog!). Stocking up on rum for Friday night...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dustin Pedroia: Hulkamaniac?

Oh man, I love that little Munchkin. Seriously, with an ego like that, how can you not love him?

I was reading Rob Bradford's article on Dustin keeping himself motivated. If you haven't read it, and you, for some ungodly reason, need more reasons to grin and be thankful that this guy is on our team... go there now. Just do it.

Face it. Dustin has plenty of reasons to be cocky and arrogant these days. Most people (myself included... for shame, me!) thought he wasn't ready back in April of '07. I was clamoring for more time for Prince. But Munchkin proved me wrong, and I'm glad he did, because he became one of my favorites that year. Once he got himself started, the kid exploded. It was beyond impressive. To see him improve further the next year was even better. What on Earth can he do to top his first two full seasons in the big leagues? Possibilities are seemingly endless for him.

I would pay money to see a video of Pedey walking around in a Hulkamaniac t-shirt screaming "To be the man (woo!) you gotta beat the man!" Honestly. That's gold right there.... as long as he promises to keep the shirt on. I'm still scarred from the images of him at Mikey's dance tournament last year...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Joshua Patrick: Already Making My Life Full of Happy

Saw this link at Out In Center Field... it made my life. I have already seen it on a few blogs, so thank you to the people who made me aware of it.

I wouldn't be the one to tell Josh that Takashi is not of a hispanic origin. I also appreciate that Josh introduced himself as though Saito wasn't going to know who he was. Que pa-so... amigo. Oh Josh. Thank you for making my sore brain happy.

You adorable redneck.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Have I mentioned that Beckett looks fantastic?

Now that I'm not at work and actually have access to NESN and the assorted video clips scattered around the 'net of Mr. Beckett doing some throwing down in Fort Myers, I am happy with what I'm seeing. Everything about Beckett makes me happy. I didn't get a chance to hear him address the media this afternoon, but I'm sure I'll catch the highlights somewhere.

When we first got Beckett, I'll admit, I hadn't really cared too much about him. I knew about the '03 Series and such, but other than that, I had paid no attention to his career. After spring training started in '06, I told my friends and coworkers and anyone who would listen, "I am going to absolutely fall in love with this guy. I just know it." And of course, I did. No, I wasn't happy with his 36 home run, 5.01 ERA season, but neither was he. Despite his struggles, everyone knew he was going to be great. And he was. '07 was more than I expected, but I loved it.

I had no point of this post. I'm just happy to see baseball players in baseball uniforms getting ready to play baseball.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Report for Training, My Pitching and Catching Friends

Today is absolutely perfect. It's a beautiful, spring like day here in Natick... 50 whole degrees! I've even seen the sun on occassion... in particular, driving into work this morning, it was bright orange the whole way.

I go outside and I don't freeze. While I know this is temporary and the bad weather will be back, it's exactly what I needed after being stuck home with a cold the last few days. There's some hope that spring is coming back.

To top it all off, the boys are in Florida! Not all of them, for sure, but the important ones. The pitchers. The catchers. The keepers of the game's tempo. The pacemakers at the heart of the game! And the Commander even looks like he worked out this off-season (as opposed to Mr. Penny who looks like he sat around eating double cheeseburgers all winter.) These opinions are based directly from the early pictures I saw from the Globe... or the Herald. I think it was the Globe. Oh, what does it matter? It'e reporting day! (Ps... it was the Globe, and the pictures I saw were from Dirt Dogs)

Wakefield feels fine, Beckett looks fantastic (judging by his physique. I have no idea how the ball is coming out of his hand yet. No video feed here)... Papi says he's feeling super, Jason Varitek and Kevin Millar have jobs, and the world just seems like a beautiful place today. Baseball is in the air.

Just two more weeks until the beginning of meaningless exhibition games. I can't wait!

On another note, Tito is apparently taking a little bit of issue with what Julianna Ramirez is saying about Jack McCormick. I sort of want this just to go away peacefully, but I have a feeling it's just the beginning. We all know Manny doesn't like being upstaged by anyone. People were talking about Slappy, so Manny finds a way to get his face back on the papers. I do love the guy. I just have to remind myself of that every once in a while.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ducky: Becoming A Blue Jay

So Millar is going from the Red Sox, to the Orioles, to the Blue Jays... almost as if he's afraid to leave the east coast or something.

Regardless, good luck, Kevin. I'm happy you found a team, and we're probably be seeing a lot of you this year (keeping my fingers crossed on that!)

From duck to Oriole to Blue Jay. He's out of bird species on the east coast. Where next? Cardinals?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mr. Awesome: Potentially Not Ready for Spring Training.

In MY mind, the most important baseball news of the week is that Mike Lowell doesn't think he'll be ready to go this month. He needs more time to heal and regenerate the awesome. Awesome doesn't just happen, people. It has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is the hyperactive awesome gland somewhere in Mike Lowell's body. (I will not speculate as to where for fear that my genuine curiosity may be mistaken for perversion.... my perversion doesn't need curiosity as it's spokesperson!)

Most people don't even have awesome glands. Mike's is hyperactive. It's a medical condition that no doctor would ever dare fix, and we're damn lucky for it. I feel that giving Mikey as much time to rest as he needs is important to the overall well-being of our season... a season that feels like it should have been here a month and a half ago.

Unfortunately, no one is talking about Mike Lowell. Everyone seems to be discussing that OTHER third baseman. You know, the one who's always getting himself into trouble? Folks, you'll (hopefully) never see Mikey getting himself in the kinds of scandals that Slappy seems to find every other week. Mikey would be my breaking point, I think. If I found out he was doing the kind of stuff that Slappy was doing, I'd be heartbroken. Mike isn't my favorite player. It's been clearly documented that Tek is, but Tek has disappointed me a lot in the last year, so I no longer hold him to a high standard. He will always get the majority of my love, but he won't have the same level of respect again. It's cool - I truly do not need to respect the people I love.

Mike Lowell, on the other hand... well, I just can't fathom. I can't. My mind won't even let me fathom a little. No fathoming here today.

Speaking of old man Varitek (I kid because I love), he passed his physical and is officially able to catch for us again.

And I know there are still two days before pitchers and catcher report, but a good number of our boys are already down in presumably warm, sunny Florida because they are just as anxious to get the season underway as we are!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Truck Day: It's My Favorite Day

It's not, really, but the whole idea of it finally being here makes me happy.

I was so preoccupied by scooping up more Sox tickets last night that I forgot to buy my Slipknot tickets, and now the show is sold out. Oh well, guess I'll miss out. I've seen them plenty of times though. They generally sing the same things. The charm of baseball games is that you never know who will end up pitching. It's awesome, really. I wonder if I could calculate my starting pitchers yet. That's one of my favorite games... predicting the pitcher, even though it only works out about 20% of the time (changes due to rainouts, postponements, injuries, ect obviously can't be calculated perfectly in advance).

Assuming that the rotation is Commander, Binky, Daisuke, Timothy, and Penny/Smoltz, and assuming that Commander starts the home opener, my hopeful starting pitchers will go like this:

-April 8 - Binky
-April 21 - Wakefield
-June 19 - Binky
-July 4 - Penny/Smoltz
-August 1 - Daisuke
-Sept 4 - Wakefield
-Sept 13 - Binky

So, I'm on track to see my boy Johnny 3 times, and Timothy twice. I need to start planning now to catch a Beckett start. I'm not going a whole season without seeing Beckett again. Not happening. Of course, this is all just speculation. Josh might not be the home opening pitcher (though I really can't imagine that our ace wouldn't be...) and then my entire schedule will get thrown off. It's fun and exciting, though, to try to figure out who I will see. I'm hoping to pick up a few more tix over the course of the season. Hell, I might even wait outside of Fenway one day if I know Josh is pitching. I WILL see Josh pitch this year. Live. In Person. It will happen, and he damn well better win. It's an odd year. But, I seem to have a nice mix of pitchers already.

But yeah! Truck day! Spring training! I'm excited.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jonathan Tyler Lester: Enjoying the Sun and Grass...

....Presumably not the same kind of grass that Michael Phelps has been enjoying. The kind that's relevelant to a baseball fan. He surely is enjoying the grass that litters the infield, and covers the outfield. The kind that is good for baseball.

Although I was watching the weather yesterday, and the meteorologist did say that Florida was in a deep freeze, right on down to Miami. So, I don't know how much sun they're getting right now... and I don't know how refreshing it is to be standing out on that grass trying to warm up. But he's there.

If this can be the new version of truck day, the new symbol that baseball is coming, I would not mind. I would turn to my friends on January 31st and say "It's almost time for Lester to head down to Ft. Myers. I'm so glad baseball's coming back!" Knowing that someone is already there, getting ready for the season seems just a little bit cooler than truck day.

I have absolutely no recollection of Brad Wilkerson. The name doesn't even sound familiar to me. But, he's on our side now, so perhaps I'll try a little harder to commit him to memory. We need him, apparently, to be our bench guy while C+ recovers. Why does C+ require recovery time? Oh, no reason, just some minor back surgery. Just like everyone else, he was broken. Hopefully he is fixed now.

And perhaps, his ambulance will roll into Ft. Myers at the same time as everyone else's ambulances, and they can all wave to each other from their stretchers as they're being rolled into the clubhouse (or directly onto the field if they prefer). And looking over the battered bodies of his poor teammates, lying across all those stretchers, hoping to get ready for baseball again will be Munchkin. And for once in his life, he will feel taller than the rest, and his confidence will increase (if that's even possible at this point). Maybe it's not such a bad thing after all.

I'm hoping the Commander comes into spring training in better shape than he did last year. We all saw how well that worked out for him...

20 days until the first spring game of the season. Can you feel it? It's baseball. It's right around the corner!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Manny Ramirez: Thinks His Stock Hasn't Diminished

Manny, like Jason and some other relatively big names, are having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that they just just aren't worth what they once were.

Manny turning down the Dodgers' offer didn't surprise me in the least. He's never been the type that has a problem with missing spring training, so if he's not signed by the time players report, I won't be shocked. Unlike the Captain, I still think there would be a market for Manny if he sat out this year (not that he's planning on doing that, I just think he could). The man is gifted. He's also a little childish, but gifted nonetheless.

I still don't think anyone's going to give Manny more than two years. Teams look at the way he left Boston and back off on committing to him. Can't say that I blame them.

I really, really wish it wasn't going to snow today. I am so tired of the snow, I have no energy left to express my distaste for it.