What Do I Want? I've resisted writing about the Nomar/Manny/ARod rumors so far because I can't figure out how I truly feel. It's probably way too early in the process to sort it all out. There are at least three sides to my thinking and I'll put them in these catagories: (1) 13-year-old fan, (2) 40-year-old fan, and (3) someone who wants to see a World Championship before he dies.
Fan #1 is emotionally connected to various players as only a young fan can be and while he acknowledges that ARod is a better player than Nomar, he would hate to see the Red Sox win a championship with Nomar wearing another team's uniform. That just seems wrong. Manny is an insanely good hitter and this fan has been pinching himself ever since the Red Sox signed him. (When his skills decline, he'll be overpaid, but the young fan couldn't care less about payroll.) This fan loved the rollercoaster ride of 2003 and believes that with a new manager, Curt Schilling, Manny and Nomar, the Red Sox will be really tough to beat.
Fan #3 wants the Red Sox to put the best damn team on the field regardless of cost, even if that means flipping 70% of the roster every winter. The main thing is he wants to celebrate a Red Sox World Series title and he wants it soon. He figures he'll get used to whatever players suit up as the year progresses and by September/October, he'll love them all like longtime friends. Can Boston get ARod and keep all Nomar and Manny? If not, he'd gladly switch ARod for Nomar and trusts the front office to do what is best re: Manny and his $.
Fan #2 is a mix of both of these guys -- and I guess that's where I am, flip-flopping back and forth. I like Nomar, but his first-pitch hacking drives me nuts and I get very excited thinking of Rodriguez in Fenway. I want Manny in left field, batting 3rd or 4th, for the next few years but I realize Theo and the Trio could likely spend his salary more wisely and cover more of the team's needs (and in several years, Manny'll really be untradeable, so maybe now's the time if they want to do it at all). The team has a spending limit (although I do not know what that is, despite press reports) and I want them to get the most baseball talent for that money. ... I'm conflicted and so I'm simply waiting and watching. When the moves get made (or not) and the 2004 roster becomes clearer, then I'll have a better handle on how I feel.
Arn Tellem, Nomar's agent: "After all Nomar has done from the first day he stepped on the field for the Red Sox, to wake up on his honeymoon to read the paper and to see that John Henry is in direct talks with A-Rod is a total and complete slap in the face ..." (lots more quotes) ... Nomar called Boston's WEEI: I never said publicly that I wanted to leave Boston. My actions have been to go on the field and give my all every day. ... They never asked me if I wanted to leave. I never said I wanted to leave. They might be judging basically on my expression. I will tell people this. I admit I don't make their life [in the media] easy, but I respect every single one of them. ... It's the only uniform I've known since I became a professional baseball player and the only one I want to know."
Alex Rodriguez says there is no meeting with John Henry this week. ... Rangers owner Tom Hicks: "I think both teams are kind of sitting back and doing other things. As I said all along, I don't think anything is going to happen. I think Alex will be our shortstop. Will there be further discussions? Yeah, probably. But nothing is imminent." Whatever happens, the Rangers want it settled by December 16. ... The San Francisco Chronicle says Keith Foulke is weighing 2 offers: Oakland's 4-year/$20-24 million versus Boston's 3-year/4th-year option/$26 million. ... The Red Sox claimed left-handed relief pitcher Mark Malaska (25 yo, 2-1, 2.81 ERA in 22 games last season, .232 OBA) on waivers yesterday from the Devil Rays.
Box of Soap. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card dismissed as "a moot point" any lingering question about whether Bush relied on faulty intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq. Well, it doesn't appear to be moot to the Iraqi Resistance, or to the families of the 441+ Americans dead (so far) who have died for a lie. ... US Lt. Colonel Nathan Sassaman, whose battalion controls Abu Hishma in Iraq: "With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them." ... Florida continues to have voting problems.
What, Me Govern? Mad magazine's G.I. Joke.