Thursday, December 29, 2011

Trecherous: Okajima Signs With Yankees

Man, I thought I was upset about this whole Josh Reddick thing, and then I find out that Okajima signed a minor league deal with the Yankees? Why don't you just twist that knife a little bit more, Oki?

I didn't fault him for being upset after being taken off the 40-man roster. It's hard to fault a guy for actually wanting to play and wanting to be a useful member of the team. I agreed with that decision at the time because Oki was struggling and he wasn't helping anyone, but I've always liked the guy.

He was the throw-in. He was the guy they brought in to be BFF's with Dice-K, who wasn't expected to be spectacular but would still get outs. Well, he was spectacular, and when he would come out of the bullpen, you knew that the game was in good hands. A good portion of the time, his speed didn't crack the 90's, but he kept the hitters confused. Not many would argue that he ended up being a valuable part of the team longer than Dice-K did... though Dice is still technically part of the team and may once again prove valuable (not holding my breath).

Okajima once signed a baseball for my mom in spring training, and that was all she could talk about for the rest of vacation. That baseball is proudly displayed in her living room (next to two signed Jason Varitek baseballs), and it makes both her and I happy whenever we see it. Also, the Okajima song is the finest piece of music ever written. Perhaps I'm being a tad hyperbolic, but I love that entrance theme. I can't hear it and not sing along. I just can't.

But now Oki is a Yankee... at least a minor one... and I just have to thank him for all he's done and boo the hell out of him if he ever pitches against us. Sigh.

Oakland: Reddickulous

I dislike this. I dislike this tremendously. While I have few qualms about Andrew Bailey, I have tremendous problems with trading Josh Reddick to get him. Seriously. I love Josh Reddick. I honestly thought that he would be in right field this season, and he still might be! Only in Oakland.

Keebler thus far has been making.... interesting... moves. They really aren't the type of moves that I can get excited about or think, 'hm, I've always kind of liked that player. I wonder how they will fit in with the team.' Instead, I feel like it's a bunch of moments of, 'who the hell is that guy?,' or 'he traded FOR a former Yankee?!,' or 'no, really, who the hell is that guy?' I'm not saying that we need to sign Prince Fielder, but it would actually be nice to get a piece that I'm happy about. Maybe Andrew Bailey will be that piece, but his appearances will always be bittersweet because I will be stuck with thinking about poor Josh Reddick in Oakland.

I wish you the best of luck, Josh. I'm glad I was able to be in attendance for a good handful of your best games as a member of the Sox. Enjoy Oakland but know that I now have to root against you every time you come back to town.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

As The Crickets Chirp: Darvish Finds Out The Name Of His Secret Admirerer

The Red Sox seem to have posted no bid for Yu Darvish, so there hasn't been much news coming out of my go-to media outlets about his posting process. My guess is that after the fiasco that was Dice-K, Keebler decided that the best bet would be to stay far, far away from that mess. Actually, I think the reason that Keebs has made such minor moves and has kept so quiet is his post-traumatic stress disorder kicked in at the mere mention of a posting process.

"No, Theo, don't do it!" He begged.

"Quiet, Ben. This Dice-K guy is a sure thing."

"Won't you please think of the children?! The children, Theo! They don't even know what a gyroball is! I'm not sure it really exists!"

"Enough out of you. Back in the basement you go."

And there Ben would stay, through the bidding and negotiation. He was only let out of the basement once the damage was done, and even then he was given a pencil and a piece of paper and forced to learn how to spell Matsuzaka. It's bad memories for him. He just couldn't go through that again!

Anyway, the Texas Rangers won the bidding. I guess they saw something in this guy, and if Nolan Ryan thinks he's good enough, then I'm looking forward to seeing him pitch. Against us. When we face the Rangers. Wait, why am I looking forward to this? I give up. It's been a slow week. In case nothing else happens and I don't check in before Sunday, have a very Merry Christmas, you all.

I'm sort of hoping that Santa leaves me a right fielder in my stocking. What are you hoping Santa leaves you?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nick Punto: He Is Now On Our Team

With no facts or stats to back up this statement, I will make the following reaction to signing Nick Punto for 2 years $3M:

We traded Jed Lowrie so we could sign an older, more expensive Jed Lowrie.

Brilliant, Keebs. Brilliant.

Lowrider: Astro?

Farewell Lowrider. We hardly knew ye. Mostly because you couldn't stop hurting yourself and you didn't really get a chance to play. Your future now includes a trip to Houston with your (hopefully) buddy Kyle Weiland. I always felt bad for Weiland. He struggled every time he seemed to pitch for us. I might have been imagining that, but I'm pretty sure I'm not.

Parting with Lowrie does not surprise me. He couldn't show them what he needed to show them in order to become the shortstop of the future. Weird, now he's actually a shortstop of the future (get it? Because the Astros are a futuristic team? Is that funny? I don't think it's as funny in print as it was in my head. Sorry). Regardless, I don't think this is going to make his BFF-MVP runner up very happy. You know Lowrider was the only one Jacoby actually liked by the end of the season... if you are willing to believe what the media tells us. I'm not. Well, sometimes I am, but not in this case.

Melacon will be shipped to us as payment for these fine baseball players that we've provided to them. He seemed to have put up pretty good numbers last year, with the caveat being that it was for the Astros. Is he supposed to be our new closer? I don't know if I'm comfortable with putting the fate of my baseball games in the hands of a former Yankee.

Whatever. I don't honestly care about Lowrider and Weiland getting traded. I'm still in mourning over the possible end of Varitek's Sox career. I wish them well, but that's really the best I can do right now. Good luck in Houston, guys.

Oh Captain: Don't Go

I'm not really sure WHAT to say right now. Nothing is official. There's a chance for him to come back in some capacity (though definitely not as a player), but with the recent signing of Kelly Shoppach, who I happen to loathe, it seems all but certain that Jason Varitek's days with the Sox have come to an end.

(Please take a moment to cue up "Yesterday" by Boyz II Men, as you will need it for reflective background music as I begin my goodbye speech)

Jason made me fall in love with baseball. We didn't watch sports in my house growing up. I had zero exposure to the world of baseball. My dad wasn't a sports fan and my mom (a closet sports fan) followed his lead. When I was 18, the guy I was dating suggested we watch a baseball game. I agreed, mostly because I wanted to impress him. And then there was Tek. One look, I was hooked. I can't explain it. He hit a home run in the very first game I ever watched. For some reason, with my complete lack of knowledge for the sport, I didn't expect that catchers were able to hit. Tek hit. I fell in love. From that moment on, I needed to know everything I could about the novel concept I had just witnessed. Baseball. Imagine that.

Fast forward eight years. I know I said I'm ready for Tek to not be on the team any more, but I'm not. I'll never be ready. I want him on the team, I just don't neccessarily want him playing! That's not too much to ask, right? We've got a bunch of guys on the team who didn't play last year and a bunch more who won't be playing this year. We give THEM money. We let THEM show up to the park. Sign Tek for league minimum and give him unneccessary surgery!

If our GM or our manager or our Larry Lucchino think that Kelly Shoppach is the answer to anything other than 'who is a worse offensive and defensive catcher than a 40 year old Jason Varitek,' they are either fooling themselves or they are morons. Honestly, I do not see a single upgrade in Shoppach other than he's not 40. He's not even good looking. We got rid of him for a reason back in the day. If anyone in the organization honestly believed that he was worth retaining, they wouldn't have traded him to begin with. Theo held on to his favorite minor leaguers with an iron grip. We didn't believe in Shoppach then, and I have less reasons to believe in him now.

I understand wanting to save money, but do we really have to downgrade at positions? I'm not liking this. Bringing back Ortiz was a gesture of good faith to the fanbase, but you've got to do better than Shoppach. In case I haven't mentioned this, I hate Shoppach.

But, if this is goodbye, Jason, I want you to know that I cherished every moment of our time together. My well-worn Varitek jersey will never be retired (not until it is literally falling apart beyond repair) and I will support you no matter where you may end up. My heart breaks at the thought of you leaving. I know I was distraught when Mikey left, and we hadn't shared as many moments as you and I have, Jason. I thought we were in it for the long haul, but I guess fate has decided to tear us apart. Maybe in some other capacity, we can be together again. I'll never forget you, oh captain, my captain. Now please give me a moment. I think I have something in my eye.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Top Free Agents Keep Signing: Marlins And Angels Spending Like Drunken Sailors

Let me start by saying I have zero problem with these teams ponying up big money for free agents that they covet. I would be the Queen of Hypocracy if I said it wasn't ok. And I am equally fine with the fact that the Sox are not big-spending this year.

The Marlins made the first few big moves, and it looked like they were serious about Pujols. But then they stopped, and the Angels took over. Not only did they giftwrap CJ Wilson for themselves, but they tossed ten years, $250M+ at Albert and have wooed him away from the World Series Champion Cardinals. Money always talks, doesn't it?

I didn't care where either of them ended up. Would I like to have Pujols on my team? Yeah, probably... but logistically, we have nowhere to put him, and giving anyone more than a four or five year contract gives me hives. Anyone who honestly says they don't want Albert on their team is either in denial or does not watch baseball. Or maybe they don't like his face. There are certain players whose faces I do not like. CJ Wilson... yeah, I probably should have wanted him on my team, but I didn't. I would have rather had Buehrle.... Buerhle.... Bue... that guy from the White Sox. I would have rather had him. Wilson is talented, but I'm just not sold on him. It doesn't matter, really. I'm not a GM and I never should be.

Really, the only thing that I actually care about right in this very moment is the fact that Papi accepted arbitration and will be coming back. They needed to bring him back. I truly believe the goodwill of a patient, yet frustrated, fanbase was completely riding on Papi being brought back. At least the front office recognized that. I don't care how much money they have to pay him through arbitration. If they have no problem throwing money at Lackey for being useless, they can throw equal amounts of money at Papi for having a purpose. I'm looking forward to seeing how Keebler fixes the rest of the team. He's taking his time. I hope the slow rebuilding process is worth it, because it's driving me crazy. Typical neurotic Boston fan. What can I say? I just love that dirty water so, so much...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Arbitration Man: Papi To Accept Keebler's Offer

I think that had our GM included several cases of Chips Deluxe, or even E.L.Fudge cookies this would have been a done deal already. As it stands, the word is not official that Papi will be accepting arbitration, but it's likely. He still has until 11:59 PM to make up his mind one way or another. Hopefully, he'll say, 'Sure Keebs. Give me that one year and I'm gonna tear the cover off the ball and make you regret not giving me a long-term contract.' I mean, he'd probably say that in a cooler way, and with more of a Dominican accent, but you get the idea.

If our Papi does indeed accept arbitration, I will let out a huge sigh of relief. I need this. I think David needs this, too. It seems that most of the teams that have expressed interest in him have dropped out. The Jays don't want him. The Mariners don't want him. There are no other offers on the table, apparently. I'd say that I'm shocked, but I guess I can understand the logic to not wanting to sign a DH to a long-term contract worth around $10M per year. Papi wants a pay day, and he wants to guarantee a few other paydays after that. It's his right to look for a multi-year deal, but with such little interest, accepting arbitration is wise.

No one is ever going to love you the way we love you, Papi. Such a large chunk of this fanbase stood beside you, faith unwavering, through your toughest trials. So many of us never stopped feeling like you were one swing of the bat away from winning every game we were behind. You have our love, but sometimes all that love can guarantee you is arbitration. It may not be a fair trade. Oh no, it's not. But we want you to stay. Because we love you. Because you are an institution here. Because, damnit, you're Big Papi and I wouldn't trust any other pair of broad shoulders to carry this team when they need it most.

And maybe, if you keep doing what you do, we'll have the pleasure of watching you retire with "Red Sox" on your chest.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pedro: Hall Of Fame Bound

There's no question in my mind that Pedro's going in to the Hall. Not as a spectator, not as a visitor, but as a first ballot Hall of Famer. If he's not first ballot, everyone who didn't vote for him should have their vote revoked. Love him or hate him, Pedro was a force. He made the best hitters pumped up on the best steroids look foolish. And he made it look easy. This article from the Bleacher Report highlights Pedro's HOF resume. I do not agree with the assumption that he is a second balloter, but we'll conveniently ignore that part. Also, I'm a shameless homer for the players I love.

Another issue that should not be up for debate... Pedro is going in as a member of the Red Sox. He was with us longer than any other team. He was in his prime, and therefore the most dominant. He won a World Series with us and accumulated two out of his three Cy Young awards with us. I know the HOF committee gets to decide what hat he wears, but they need to slap a B on his forehead and call it a day, no questions asked.

Aside from all this HOF talk, hearing of Pedro's retirement makes me sad. It's an end for me, as a fan. The era of Pedro is officially over. There's no hope remaining that he'll come back just for a few games, toss on that old #45 and make batters look silly. I've already missed him in the last few years. Knowing that he's not walking through those doors any more makes me miss him so much more. Good luck with family life, Petey. We'll see you at your induction speech.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Just A Thought: 25

I'm not sure how I feel about Bobbysox wearing number 25. For some reason, I never had a problem with Mikey Lowell wearing the number, but letting Bobby wear it? I don't know.

Since Mike, I am a little protective of that number. Is that odd of me? Perhaps. But I love Mike Lowell, and my lifetime membership to the Mikey Lowell fan club was not negated by his retirement. I didn't see Tony C. play, so it didn't bother me as much. But Mikey? I adored watching him play.

You have upped the ante, Bobby. You better be good.