March 31, 2008

Monday Afternoon With Jere

Red Sox blogger Jere interviewed me this afternoon for his YouCastr show. You can listen to all the fun -- 77 minutes!!! -- here.

Topics include: the genesis and evolution of JoS, who's who in the game thread community, discovering the Red Sox at age 11 in a Winooski, VT shoestore, my complete lack of concern for Don Zimmer's well-being, the truth behind Dan Duquette's "twilight" comment, my softball-playing career with Larry David, an amazing example of how obsessed Yankee fans are with the Red Sox (and Red Sox blogs), and why I moved to Canada (and am typing this from an igloo).

March 30, 2008

Red Sox One-Hit By Dodgers

The Red Sox bats were silent this afternoon as three Dodgers pitchers tossed a one-hitter. The lone Boston hit was Bobby Kielty's single with one out in the eighth inning. Other baserunners: Dustin Pedroia walked to start the game and Alex Cora reached on an infield error two batters after Kielty's single. Final: 8-0.

Clay Buchholz went 3+ innings (facing two batters in the fourth): 5 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, 70 pitches (38 strikes, 32 balls). As notes:
Buchholz struck out four consecutive Dodgers at one point, but also allowed seven consecutive batters to reach base in the four-run third inning ...
Some cool Stat of the Day links:
There have been six starts since 1956 in which the starting pitcher lasted only one pitch.

Which batter has had the most four-strikeout games in his career?

Since 1956, there have been three pitchers who have gone two consecutive starts without a retiring a batter.

Guess who had the top salary for 2007. (see lower left corner)

Projections & Predictions #4

Nineteen ESPNers predict the 2008 season.
AL East
Red Sox (14)
Yankees (5)

AL Wild Card
Cleveland (6)
Tigers (5)
Red Sox (4)
Yankees (2)
Angels (1)
Cubs (1) [so sez Pedro Gomez]

AL Pennant
Tigers (8)
Cleveland (6)
Red Sox (3)
Angels (1)
Yankees (1)
So 12 of the 19 experts say the Yankees will stay home this October. Only one -- Rob Neyer -- think the Red Sox will not make the playoffs.

Of the three Red Sox pennants:
Tim Kurkjian: Red Sox over Mets
Eric Karabell: Cubs over Red Sox
Sean McAdam: Red Sox over Diamondbacks
Amy Nelson is also picking the Cubs to win the World Series, over Cleveand. The one Yankee pennant picker, Peter Pascarelli [now that's some aliteration], has the Chokers losing to Atlanta.

Peter Gammons and Peter Pascarelli pick Manny Ramirez as the AL MVP. Steve Phillips and Karabell went with David Ortiz.

Jayson Stark, Nelson and Pascarelli predict Josh Beckett as the Cy Young winner.

Neyer, Enrique Rojas, Jonah Keri and Nate Ravitz have Clay Buchholz as the AL Rookie of the Year, while Karabell and Phil Rogers picked Jacoby Ellsbury.


Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail (Canada's national newspaper) predicts this finish in the East:
Red Sox
Blue Jays
His papermate Jeff Blair also picks the Red Sox to take the East (MFY 2nd) and to defeat the Mets in the World Series.

Anyone Recording 60 Minutes?

So we left for work without setting the VCR for tonight's Bill James interview on 60 Minutes. Sigh.

I'd like the entire show, but if I could get just the James segment in any video format -- or if someone lets me know if it's uploaded somewhere -- I'd appreciate it.

Impressions Of Tito

Graig Murphy does an amazing Francona.

But how can he do an entire press conference and not use the word "awesome"?

March 29, 2008

A Short, But Tall, Porch

Sunday 1:25 AM: Red Sox 7, Dodgers 4

Anyone wanna guess the final score?

In the first baseball game played at the Los Angeles Coliseum since 1961, the Red Sox and Dodgers will meet on a field with the left field line only 201 feet away (shades of Ned Williamson at Chicago's Lakefront Park). Yook:
Two hundred feet to left? That's awesome.
Imagine if they brought the Wall one-third closer to the plate at Fenway. There will be a 60-foot-high (or 62) mesh fence on top of the left field wall. The wall in right field is 440 feet away.

Jason Varitek thought the last time he had played on a field with a 200-foot fence was the Little League World Series when he was 12. Kevin Cash -- who will start tonight with Tim Wakefield pitching -- is not expecting a 61-48 score.
Think about the Coke bottles [above the 37-foot Green Monster]. They're not 30 feet above The Wall and not many hit there. I think there will be a lot of "oohs" and "ahs" but I don't think it's going to play that much of a role in terms of home runs. But if it plays off the net and ricochets all the way back to me at the plate, I might think differently.
How many high flies to left will fall on the other side of the fence? Will the outfielders play over towards right field and let the third baseman and shortstop play caroms off the left field mesh? Will balls carom? How tight is the mesh?

A crowd of 93,103 watched a 1959 exhibiton between the Yankees-Dodgers. A crowd of 115,000 is expected tonight for the 10 PM game. Terry Francona hoped to rest his starters, but "out of respect to 115,000 people, we're going to play them a little bit".

(The game is on both NESN and MLB.TV, so we might have a game thread.)

Colon May Join Red Sox For 1st Yankees Series

Terry Francona, on Bartolo Colon:
I think we're all pleased ... and he is, too. He commanded both sides of the plate and his breaking ball had some depth to it. I think the more he gets into shape, the better he's able to throw the ball down in the zone.
John Farrell:
Compared to his Florida starts, he threw the ball down in the zone more consistently, which is what he needs to do. There are indications that he's getting into better shape. He's able to hold his stamina.
Colon did not talk to the media after the game. He did not allow a hit for 2.2 innings. He gave up a run when Andre Ethier and Jeff Kent both doubled to start the fourth. His fastball was 89-91 mph, reaching 92 four times. Colon will start for Pawtucket on Thursday and he may join the Red Sox for the April 11-13 Yankees series.

Francona, on Farrell's medical issue:
He had a bone sticking through his mouth. He had surgery on his mouth [Thursday]. He just went about his business and did his job and shouldn't even have been [in Japan]. I don't think he had a solid meal while we were over there. He never said anything, came home [Wednesday], had it operated on, general anesthesia, and he's out here today. That's the life of a coach.
The three pitchers vying for the final roster spot — David Aardsma, Javier Lopez and Bryan Corey — are all out of options. Barring a trade, two of them, to get to Pawtucket, will have to be snuck through waivers. ... Josh Beckett will pitch a minor-league game on Tuesday in Fort Myers and join the team in Toronto on Thursday.

Timlin To DL

Mike Timlin has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 20; Timlin will be eligible to pitch April 4 in Toronto. Timlin has a laceration on the ring finger of his right hand.

March 28, 2008

Colon Faces Dodgers Tonight

Bartolo Colon should throw at least 60 pitches tonight against the Dodgers:
Pedroia, 2B
Varitek, C
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Lowell, 3B
Youkilis, 1B
Ellsbury, RF
Crisp, CF
Lugo, SS
Globe: "Varitek was slid into the No. 2 slot to get an extra at-bat."

J.D. Drew:
I'm a lot more mobile. I still have a little twinge in there. I did some exercises and had some ice and some massage. It continues to calm down. ... If I made as much improvement tomorrow as I did today, then I should be looking good.
Josh Beckett will pitch again in Florida on Tuesday and could pitch the final game of the Toronto series, on April 6.

Sean McAdam, on the Red Sox/Dodgers game Saturday night:
Some 115,000 fans are expected [which would be the biggest crowd ever to watch a baseball game in the United States] ... It will be just 201 feet down the left field line with a 62-foot-high netting. The left-center power alley will be just 280 feet, with straight-away center at 362 feet.

Bill James On 60 Minutes

An interview with Bill James will air on 60 Minutes this Sunday, March 30. Morley Safer interviewed James during spring training while also filming segments with various Red Sox staff, including Terry Francona and Theo Epstein.

I liked what SoSHer Rough Carrigan had to say:
There's the possibility for a fascinating piece. James writes well, speaks well and he can be very glib. There's a great story there about someone who saw ignorance, indifference and tradition ruling a field and created a business where none existed simply by searching for the truth in that field and writing what he found. I hope it isn't another superficial story where they just look to pigeonhole him as that wacky stats guy and get a couple off the wall comments. When he started, there was The Sporting News, SI and baseball digest and if a player had a good batting average then he was a good hitter. If he didn't, he wasn't. Period. And he changed that limited way of looking at things. And he had fun doing it.

Something Else #5 - REM

From 1982-1987, there was no better rock and roll band on Earth than REM.
The Athens, Georgia-based quartet released a five-song EP (Chronic Town) in 1982 -- then followed with five superb albums -- one per year -- Murmur, Reckoning, Fables Of The Reconstruction, Lifes Rich Pageant, and Document.

For me -- in my early 20s, a music addict with a college radio show -- guitarist Peter Buck was the epitome of indie rock cool. The one-time record store clerk was a font of knowledge and trivia about American music, praising and promoting other bands like Jason and the Scorchers, the Replacements, Hüsker Dü and the Minutemen, as well as older influences like Big Star, in interviews.

The 1980s was a tremendously creative period for American rock music -- and REM was one of the bands that set it in motion. Here's a clip of the band from October 6, 1983 playing "Radio Free Europe" on the David Letterman Show (their national TV debut).

For their second song that night, REM opted for a song so new, it was still untitled. They had played it live for the first time only three days earlier. Gutsy choice for a new band, but they clearly knew what a gem they had, since it's one of the best songs of their career.

After their amazing indie run, REM left IRS for Warner Bros. and their creativity flagged. The band gained tremendous mainstream success (everyone has probably heard 1991's "Losing My Religion") but subsequent recordings were hit and miss, rarely touching the genius of their early days. After drummer Bill Berry left the band in 1997, they struggled mightily to find their creative edge as a trio. Their three albums without him seemed like an attempt to distance themselves from their past -- to explore new musical ideas and not fall back on being the rock band they once were.

REM's 14th studio album -- Accelerate -- will be officially released next Tuesday. The band has been streaming the entire thing online and it's been uploaded to many mp3 blogs. I found a copy a week or two ago. I had heard bits of the recordings of their five nights of "working rehearsals" in Dublin last July -- held while they were recording the album -- but I never expected to hear the band sound like this again in the studio. One word:


Glorious, loud, buzzy, insistent, slashing, snarling GUITAR! Put that together with Mike Mills's propulsive, muscular basslines and the return of his wonderful harmonies and a fully engaged Michael Stipe spitting out lyrics that mine his political anger while struggling to rise above the sonic maelstrom and you get: Holy shit!

Accelerate's first three songs -- Living Well Is The Best Revenge, Man-Sized Wreath, Supernatural Superserious -- constitute the strongest start to an REM album in 21 years -- a kick-ass cacophony that blazes by in a mere nine minutes. Indeed, the band wastes little time on this record: five of the 11 songs clock in at: 2:05, 2:07, 2:18, 2:33, 2:39 -- and the entire CD lasts about 34 minutes.

The rest of the album cannot maintain that furious kick start, but it's pretty damn good. Since 1987's Document, only Automatic For The People (1992) and New Adventures In Hi-Fi (1996) can even think of holding a candle to this album.

Check comments to listen to some early REM.

March 27, 2008

SI: Red Sox Will Finish 2nd

Sports Illustrated's baseball issue is out, with Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury on the fold-out cover.

The magazine predicts the Yankees (94-68) will win the East ahead of the Red Sox (92-70), and that Boston will lose the ALDS to the eventual World Champion Tigers.

The issue also includes "Restocking a Rivalry", an article from Tom Verducci about the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry and the 2005 draft.

Beckett Pitches Four Strong Innings

Extra Bases reports Josh Beckett pitched four innings for Portland (AA) this afternoon against the New Britain Rock Cats.

Beckett threw 47 pitches (33 strikes) and allowed only one hit -- a single to start the fourth. ... Batterymate George (Canadian) Kottaras hit a three-run dong.

Why Is Gerry Callahan Pining For The Gerbil?

It appears that the Herald -- and Gerry Callahan in particular -- is pining for Don Zimmer circa 1978, as it/he takes Terry Francona to task for playing Coco Crisp over Jacoby Ellsbury in the second of the season.
... Game 2, Tito? So soon? Ellsbury, the SI cover boy, starts Opening Day, gets one hit, makes one great catch, helps win a game and then takes a seat so Crisp can play the second game of the season? Is that the plan, to just let Coco and Jacoby take turns?

Someone has to explain this one.
Okay, Gerry, listen very carefully.

(1) The Red Sox are playing halfway across the world.

(2) In a normal season, we'd still have a week remaining in spring training.

(3) Ellsbury banged his back against the center field wall in Game 1 and would soon be flying 10 hours to LA.

(4) Bench players need playing time to avoid getting rusty.

(5) It's only the second #@&*^%#-ing game of the season. Second!

Does any of that make sense to you? Or do you really truly that Tito should run his starting nine out there every single day regardless of the team's schedule, the need for days off, assorted injuries, whatever?

There are plenty of people who follow the Red Sox who remember when we had a manager that followed that dubious philosophy. I was under the assumption that you were one of them.

Forward, Into The Past

The Red Sox are now in Los Angeles. Their charter flight left after Game 2 -- 1:30 AM on Thursday -- and landed in LA at 6:30 PM Wednesday. Flight time: Negative 7 hours.

Bartolo Colon should throw somewhere between 60-75 pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Friday's exhibition. Joining the red Sox for the weekend series will be several players from their Lancaster (A) farm team, including Lars Anderson and Joe Thurston.

Josh Beckett will be eligible to come off the DL before the Toronto series, which begins April 4. He'll pitch against minor leaguers this weekend.

Manny Ramirez's 4 RBI was the most for a Boston player on Opening Day since Jack Clark had four on April 8, 1991. Manny was also one of four Sox players (Cora, Drew, MDC) who met with a group of fans who had travelled to Japan for the series.

Jason Varitek went 0-for-8 in Japan, with six strikeouts and two groundouts (one a double play). ... Brandon Moss was optioned to Pawtucket.

March 26, 2008

G2: Athletics 5, Red Sox 1

Red Sox   - 000 001 000 - 1  5  0
Athletics - 013 000 01x - 5 9 1
Harden (6-3-1-3-9, 95) was tough to hit and Lester (4-5-4-3-4, 83) was tough to watch. Emil Brown atoned for his base-running blunder yesterday by smacking a three-run dong to left in the third. Manny hit a solo shot with two outs in the sixth. Other hits: two singles from Lowell, a single from Lugo and a double from Crisp. David Aardsma pitched 1.2 innings (1 H, 3 K) and looked very good.

156 hours and change until the next regular season pitch.


Jon Lester (2007 ERA+ 104) / Rich Harden (2007 ERA+ 171 (25.2 IP))

Red Sox Athletics

Dustin Pedroia, 2B Travis Buck, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B Mark Ellis, 2B
David Ortiz, DH Daric Barton, 1B
Manny Ramirez, LF Mike Sweeney, DH
Mike Lowell, 3B Emil Brown, LF
Brandon Moss, RF Bobby Crosby, SS
Jason Varitek, C Jack Hannahan, 3B
Coco Crisp, CF Kurt Suzuki, C
Julio Lugo, SS Chris Denorfia, CF
Francona said Lyndon's back is okay, Coco was going to play today regardless. Drew's back is no worse, but the team is playing it safe, since they have a 10-hour flight to California coming up.

Also, SoSH TaLK on Yook's cut-off in the 10th inning of Game 1.

March 25, 2008

Extras on Opening Day

Manny Ramirez, on facing Huston Street in the 10th inning:
I told Alex [Cora], I want to face this guy. It came true and I did. ... He's nasty. I like those challenges.

Sean Casey told Brandon Moss that Joe Blanton likes to throw changeups to left-handed hitters. In the sixth inning, Moss got a change and singled to right, giving Boston a 3-2 lead. It was Blanton's last batter.

The Red Sox will be allowed to use a DH in their weekend exhibition series against the Dodgers. The starters will be Bartolo Colon, Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz.

At Game On!, the bar near Fenway, it was standing room only by 6 AM.

Since 1956, the Red Sox have played extra innings on Opening Day eight times.
April 16, 1964 - Red Sox 4, Yankees 3 (11)

April 12, 1966 - Orioles 5, Red Sox 4 (13)

April 8, 1969 - Red Sox 5, Orioles 4 (12)

April 7, 1977 - Cleveland 5, Red Sox 4 (11)

April 4, 1988 - Tigers 5, Red Sox 3 (10)

April 3, 1989 - Orioles 5, Red Sox 4 (11)

April 2, 2001 - Orioles 2, Red Sox 1 (11)

March 25, 2008 - Red Sox 6, Athletics 5 (10)
After that 1969 win, the Red Sox then lost to Baltimore 2-1 in 13 innings and beat Cleveland 2-1 in 16 innings.

G1: Red Sox 6, Athletics 5 (10)

Red Sox   - 000 003 001 2 - 6  11  0
Athletics - 200 002 000 1 - 5 7 0
Matsuzaka surrendered a line-drive home run to Ellis on his 3rd pitch of the game and had early control problems (though at times, he was getting seriously squeezed). He threw 30 pitches in each of the first two innings, walking four, hitting one, and tossing a wild pitch. Oakland stranded two runners in the first and left the bases loaded in the second.

Dice (5-2-2-5-6, 95) recovered, retiring 10 of his last 11 batters, allowing only one ball out of the infield.

Boston grabbed the lead in the sixth. Pedroia doubled to right, Youkilis walked and Manny drove brought them in with a double down the left field line. Ramirez scored on a single from Moss, who got the last-minute start after Drew's back tightened up.

Kyle Snyder relieved Dice in the 6th and promptly gave the lead back as Crosby singled and Hannahan donged. Javier Lopez came in and got out of the inning quickly. Tito gave the 8th to Bryan Corey, a move which paid off. Ellsbury had to make a leaping catch at the center field wall on Brown's leadoff drive, banging his shoulder a bit, but Corey got the next two A's on weak grounders. That let Jeemer take the 9th and Bot the 10th.

In the ninth, two outs away from defeat, Moss hit his first major league home run -- down the right field line off Huston Street -- to tie the game. And the Sox tagged Street again in the 10th. Lugo reached on an infield single to third and was bunted over by Pedroia. Yook fanned and Ortiz was intentionally walked. Ramirez came through again, with a double off the wall in right center. Four RBI for Manny today. He watched it for awhile from the plate, but still slide easily into second.

Snuffer wasn't his snuffin' self in the bottom of the 10th. He walked Barton and Brown cracked a one-out double. Barton scored, cutting the lead to 6-5, but Brown was caught in a rundown between second and third -- 9-4-3-5-6-3 -- for an important out. Crosby and Hannahan both singled, putting the winning run on first, but Suzuki grounded out 3-1 to end the game.


Daisuke Matsuzaka (2007 ERA+ 108) / Joe Blanton (2007 ERA+ 106)

Red Sox                  Athletics
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Travis Buck, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B Mark Ellis, 2B
David Ortiz, DH Daric Barton, 1B
Manny Ramirez, LF Jack Cust, DH
Mike Lowell, 3B Emil Brown, LF
J.D. Drew, RF Bobby Crosby, SS
Jason Varitek, C Jack Hannahan, 3B
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Kurt Suzuki, C
Julio Lugo, SS Ryan Sweeney, CF
Daisuke Matsuzaka, P Joe Blanton, P

March 24, 2008

Schilling: "It's On Like CHB To Bad Hair"

The Lug Has Spoken!

Hold on tight ... this bus don't stop until the end of October!

2008 W-L Contest Entries

I received 72 entries this year -- by far the biggest turnout in the five years of the contest!

Since a tie is likely, Manny Ramirez's OPS will be used as a tiebreaker. For example, if Boston wins 100 games and Manny has a .900 OPS
Mr. X    100-62    .902
Ms. Y 100-62 .898
both posters would be .002 away. I'll extend Manny's stats to extra decimals to determine the winner.

This year's prizes are: NESN's 2004 "Faith Rewarded" DVD and two soon-to-be released books: Jose Canseco's "Vindicated" (further 'roid ruminations) and "When Boston Still Had The Babe" (extensive biographies of the 32 players from the 1918 championship team).

PLUS ... a special grand prize! The winner is welcome to watch a 2009 Red Sox game* at Chez L-Sock. Game night includes dinner in our backyard, alcoholic beverages of your choice, and overnight accommodations. Transportation to the Toronto area not included. [*: Monday-Thursday only]

Good luck to everyone!
                             MBM OPS
redsock 104-58 .975

DKSB 103-59 .985
MattySox 103-59 .863

jackmarshall 102-60 1.048
Ray 102-60 1.002
L-girl 102-60 .990

Erik 101-61 1.057
Paul A. Anthony 101-61 .985
Leigh Balcom 101-61 .970
chUck 101-61 .940
Mike 101-61 .909

Bosox Fan in Wichita 100-62 1.055
Amy 100-62 1.000
Jeff Watjen 100-62 .987
Danie 100-62 .981
Omnipotent Q 100-62 .892

sparky 99-63 1.050
Gareth 99-63 1.002
jere 99-63 .999
Patriots Film 99-63 .990
johnc 99-63 .983
Benjamin 99-63 .976
james 99-63 .940
bennymac 99-63 .911

steeplechase3k 98-64 1.070
AHop 98-64 1.050
tim 98-64 1.024
Pokerwolf 98-64 1.016
Paul 98-64 .999
Redsauce 98-64 .964

9casey 97-65 1.062
snoneil 97-65 .998
Chris (DSF) 97-65 .981
Aaron 97-65 .965
the bottom line 97-65 .960
Mike Keefe 97-65 .941
Pepe Lepew 97-65 .931
Chris 97-65 .919
joe grav 97-65 .904
michael 97-65 .903
Mike Berry 97-65 .902

The Pita 96-66 1.037
Matt 96-66 1.014
Paul Hadzewycz 96-66 1.012
tist724 96-66 .994
ish 96-66 .986
Joel 96-66 .942
liitle jerry 96-66 .935
Woti-woti 96-66 .930
phrenile 96-66 .902

SoSock 95-67 1.062
Rob 95-67 1.038
MikeT9485 95-67 1.013
alclem 95-67 .999
Joel Freedman 95-67 .981
R. Da Silva 95-67 .968
Jack 95-67 .942
Shan-a-Funk 95-67 .941

Zenslinger 94-68 1.015
Devine 94-68 1.001
Ben 94-68 .940
Patrick 94-68 .870

heng brothers 93-69 .968
Fenway West 93-69 .952
charlie pioli 93-69 .890

Nick V 92-70 .950

Carl 91-71 .966
Conrey 91-71 .920
Brian 91-71 .899
dj1480 91-71 .890

s1c 90-72 1.013

Lord Lynch 89-73 .882

karin a 87-75 .951
I've also ranked the OPS predictions:
    Manny 2000        1.154
Manny 1999 1.105
Manny 2002 1.097

steeplechase3k 1.070
9casey 1.062
SoSock 1.062
Manny 2006 1.058
Erik 1.057
Bosox Fan in Wichita 1.055
AHop 1.050
sparky 1.050
jackmarshall 1.048
Rob 1.038
The Pita 1.037
tim 1.024
Pokerwolf 1.016
Zenslinger 1.015
Manny 2001 1.014
Manny 2003 1.014

Matt 1.014
MikeT9485 1.013
Paul Hadzewycz 1.012
Manny 2004 1.009
Manny Career 1.002

Gareth 1.002
Ray 1.002
Devine 1.001
Amy 1.000
jere .999
alclem .999
Paul .999
snoneil .998
tist724 .994
L-girl .990
Patriots Film .990
Jeff Watjen .987
ish .986
Paul A. Anthony .985
DKSB .985
johnc .983
Manny 2005 .982
Chris .981
Danie .981
Joel Freedman .981
Manny 1996 .981
Manny 1998 .976

Benjamin .976
redsock .975
Leigh Balcom .970
heng brothers .968
R. Da Silva .968
Carl .966
Aaron .965
Redsauce .964
the bottom line .960
Manny 1995 .960
Manny 1997 .953

Fenway West .952
karin a .951
Nick V .950
Jack .942
Joel .942
Mike Keefe .941
Shan-a-Funk .941
chUck .940
james .940
Ben .940
little jerry .935
Pepe Lepew .931
Woti-woti .930
Conrey .920
Chris (DSF) .919
bennymac .911
Mike .909
joe grav .904
michael .903
phrenile .902
Mike Berry .902
Brian .899
Omnipotent Q .892
charlie pioli .890
dj1480 .890
Lord Lynch .882
Manny 2007 .881
Patrick .870
MattySox .863
Even with his 2007 slump, Ramirez is one of only ten players in baseball history with a career OPS over 1.000:
Babe Ruth 1.1638
Ted Williams 1.1155
Lou Gehrig 1.0798
Barry Bonds 1.0512
Albert Pujols 1.0402
Jimmie Foxx 1.0376
Hank Greenberg 1.0169
Todd Helton 1.0138
Rogers Hornsby 1.0103
Manny Ramirez 1.0023
In adjusted career OPS, Manny is 25th all-time.

AL OPS: From 1999 to 2006, Manny finished 1st, 1st, 4th, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 4th and 2nd.

Toronto To Host 2009 WBC Games


The first-round venues are set for the second running of the World Baseball Classic, which will begin on March 5, 2009, in Japan.

As in 2006, Tokyo Dome and Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, will host first-round games. In 2009, those venues will be joined for the first time by Rogers Centre in Toronto and Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City. ...

The 16-team field is the same as '06 ... Next year's brackets are as follows:

Pool A -- China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea will begin play on March 5 in Tokyo Dome ...

Pool B -- Australia, Cuba, Mexico and South Africa, from March 8-12 in Mexico City.

Pool C -- Canada, Italy, the U.S. and Venezuela, from March 8-12 in Toronto.

Pool D -- Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Panama and Puerto Rico, from March 7-11 in Puerto Rico.
No word on whether the Babe Ruth of Canada will return.

Ellsbury To Start Season Hitting 7th

Tomorrow morning's lineup will likely have Jacoby Ellsbury in the 7th spot (or 8th) -- with Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis at the top.

Manny Ramirez was asked if he was nervous or excited to have Daisuke Matsuzaka pitching on Opening Day in front of a hometown crowd.
Not really. Why should I be excited? ... We saw him pitch like 30 games in Boston. It will be the same. We saw him pitch so much and they televised all his games in Japan.
Sean Casey has a stiff neck -- "I took a three-hour nap on the plane and when I woke up and tried to turn my neck, it was like, 'Whoa, this isn't good'" -- so he will be one of the three inactive players for the two games, along with Mike Timlin and Tim Wakefield.

If/when Josh Beckett is put on the 15-day disabled list, it will be retroactive to March 19, so he'll be eligible to return on April 3 -- an off-day as the team travels to Toronto.

David Ortiz, on his 2004 trip to Japan:
I had a little bit of a hard time with the food, until I found a Chinese restaurant. I was there every day. Every day. I was killing it. At one point, I showed up at the door, and the guy was like, "Again? What's wrong with you?"
Jet Lag Watch: Michael Silverman reports that during Ortiz's third at-bat on Saturday, "his eyes [began] to close on him and he began to drift off - while standing at the plate."

More MLB Confusion?: The Red Sox found out they may be playing the three exhibition games in LA without a DH. Tito: "I was under the impression that we would have a DH. We're trying to [fix that]. That would really hurt us. We don't need to go into the season and not have David playing."

Projections and Predictions #3

The Boston Globe has posted its season preview section:
           Benjamin  Edes      Ryan      CHB
AL East Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Yankees
AL Cent Cleveland Cleveland Cleveland Tigers
AL West Angels Angels Mariners Angels
AL WC Tigers Tigers Blue Jays Red Sox
AL Pennant Red Sox Cleveland Red Sox Tigers

NL East Mets Mets Atlanta Mets
NL Cent Cubs Cubs Cubs Cubs
NL West D'backs D'Backs Dodgers D'backs
NL WC Dodgers Atlanta Mets Padres
NL Pennant D'Backs Cubs Dodgers D'backs

WS Champs D'backs Cleveland Red Sox Tigers
Elsewhere, Nick Cafardo picks the Blue Jays to win the East.


Highlights from Athlon's 2008 preview:

AL East: Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, Orioles
AL WC: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Angels
ALCS: Red Sox over Tigers
MVP: David Ortiz
CY: Justin Verlander
RoY: Jacoby Ellsbury

NL Divisions: Phillies, Cubs, Diamondbacks
NL WC: Dodgers
NLCS: Diamondbacks over Phillies
MVP: Ryan Howard
CY: Brandon Webb
RoY: Kosuke Fukudome

WS: Red Sox over Diamondbacks

Red Sox "Final Analysis":
For 86 years, the Red Sox went without a title. Now, since the start of the 2000 season, Boston is the only franchise with two. Unlike the 2004 Sox, who had a number of key free agents, the 2007 team introduced a number of new, young players who help ensure that the Red Sox will be in the thick of championship contention for years to come.
Yankees "Final Analysis":
If the pitching holds up, Girardi's Yankees have the ingredients to fuel another run into October. The offense is powerful and versatile, and if the young starters are as good as they think, they'll be the favorite for the wild card and should challenge Boston for the AL East crown.
Previous P&P: 1 and 2.

March 23, 2008

Beckett, Timlin May Start Season On DL

Josh Beckett pitched two innings (35 pitches) this morning in an intrasquad game. It was his first game action since March 8. "There were no problems. The back is healthy."

Beckett said he needs 14 more innings in Florida -- and he mentioned April 10 as a possible return date. Beckett and Mike Timlin may both begin the season on the disabled list.

On Saturday morning, Bartolo Colon threw three scoreless innings for Lancaster (A), allowing four hits. He threw 34 pitches, struck out two and did not walk a batter.

Two different types of baseballs were used in the exhibition games. Red Sox pitchers used the usual MLB balls, but the Japanese teams used balls that are "slightly smaller, with more of a raised seam, and a bit livelier".

Craig Breslow was placed on waivers and claimed by Cleveland.

Red Sox 9, Yomiuri 2

Red Sox - 000 004 032 - 9  13  1
Yomiuri - 100 100 000 - 2 7 0
JD Drew is ready to play some ball. Two days after belting a three-run home run, Mr. OnFire clubbed a grand slam, leading Boston to victory. (The game ended about 9:15 AM Boston time.) Box and recap.

Jed Lowrie also homered, Coco Crisp tripled, and Kevin Cash, Julio Lugo, Brandon Moss and and Bobby Kielty doubled. The Dominican Duo went a combined 1-for-6.

Tim Wakefield (5.2-5-2-1-3) threw 74 pitches. Hideki Okajima pitched a scoreless seventh inning.

March 22, 2008

Pitching Assignments

Everything seems set until the home opener on April 8. When Josh Beckett will join the rotation is not yet known.
Fri 0321 - Exh Hanshin 11PM: Buchholz
Sat 0322 - Off
Sun 0323 - Exh Yomiuri 6 AM: Wakefield
Mon 0324 - Travel
Tue 0325 - G1 Oak 6 AM: Matsuzaka/Blanton
Wed 0326 - G2 OAk 6 AM: Lester/Harden
Thu 0327 - Off
Fri 0328 - Exh @LAD 10:30PM: Buchholz
Sat 0329 - Exh @LAD 10PM: Wakefield
Sun 0330 - Exh @LAD 4PM: Colon
Mon 0331 - Off
Tue 0401 - G3 @Oak 10PM: Matsuzaka/Blanton?
Wed 0402 - G4 @Oak 3:30PM: Lester/Harden?
Thu 0403 - Off
Fri 0404 - G5 @Tor 7PM: Buchholz
Sat 0405 - G6 @Tor 1PM: Wakefield
Sun 0406 - G7 @Tor 1PM: Matsuzaka
Mon 0407 - Off
Tue 0408 - G8 Det 2PM: Lester
Wed 0409 - G9 Det 7PM: Beckett?
Thu 0410 - G10 Det 7PM: Buchholz
Fri 0411 - G11 NYY 7PM: Wakefield
Sat 0412 - G12 NYY 4PM: Matsuzaka
Sun 0413 - G13 NYY 8PM: Lester

Manny Eyes 600 HR

Manny Ramirez wants to play six more years (all in Boston) and hit 600 HR.

Also, he and Dustin Pedroia have agreed to change positions.

Red Sox 6, Hanshin 5

Red Sox - 410 001 000 -  6  9  1 
Hanshin - 040 001 000 - 5 10 1
Recap and video here. A game thread (of sorts) is here.

David Ortiz and JD Drew both hit first inning home runs. Drew's was a three-run job. Javier Lopez, Manny Delcarmen and Jonathan Papelbon held the fort for the final three innings, allowing only one hit and two walks.

Tim Wakefield starts the second exhibition game (6 AM Sunday).

March 21, 2008

Broadcast News & Open Bars

The first two games of the season will be televised by both NESN and ESPN2. There are also several bars/restaurants in Boston (and Rhode Island) that will be opening before sunrise.

NESN's pre-game show will begin at 5 AM, with the first pitch set for 6:05. The pre-game will be rebroadcast at 1:30 PM, followed by the game at 2:30 PM. ESPN2 -- with Gary "Sock" Thorne (ugh) and Steve Phillips (double ugh) -- will rebroadcast the game beginning at 1 PM.

In Boston, Game On will open at 5:30 AM on both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Dennis & Callahan will broadcast live on Opening Day. Game On is usually open for breakfast, so there should be food. The Cask will also open at 5:30 AM and on Opening Day, the first 100 fans will receive a free breakfast. State laws prohibit the sale of alcohol before 8 AM. (BeerWorks is not an option; a SoSHer was told they "always open at 11:30".)

In Rhode Island, ShamRocks, an Irish Pub in Wakefield, will open at 6 AM and offer prizes after each inning. They'll have breakfast for $5 and hot dogs for a buck. Charlie O's, in Narragansett, will also open at 6 AM, with a cash bar and $5 breakfast buffet.

Please add any information on other places to watch the games in comments.

The exhibition games scheduled for tonight (11 PM EST) and Sunday (6 AM EST) will be broadcast on WRKO 680 AM. They will also be shown on MLB.TV.

Lester Flying Commercial; Timlin Has Stitches

Jon Lester pitched five perfect innings in a AA intrasquad game yesterday. He struck out eight, including the last six batters he faced.

Afterwards, he threw a short bullpen session to reach 80 pitches. "I guess it served its purpose ... I was able to get my pitch count up, got the innings and got my work. ... There are no limitations going into the season ..."

Lester left Florida for Tokyo at 7 AM this morning. He's travelling by himself and, unlike his teammates, he'll be flying commercial.

Dan Shaughnessy reports that "this whole jet lag thing is overrated. I know Mike Mussina is still trying to recover from his 2004 trip to Japan with the Yankees, but most Red Sox players should be OK by the time they play the Hanshin Tigers at the Tokyo Dome Saturday afternoon."

Mike Lowell has played in Japan before -- when he was 9 years old. (The Herald posted a picture of the young Doctor.)

Here is a bit of the Sox's busy schedule. ... Terry Francona is hoping for six innings from Tim Wakefield and five from Clay Buchholz in the exhibition games.

Mike Timlin needed two stitches in his right ring finger on Wednesday after a grounder banged off his hand. Terry Francona was unsure if Timlin would be available for the season opener on Tuesday.

Bill Nowlin looks back at games played by the Red Sox outside the United States, including in Arizona before it became a state.

March 20, 2008

The Flight

Good tidbits on the plane ride to Japan from Sean McAdam, Michael Silverman, Ian Browne, and CHB.

McAdam noted the plane had a camera mounted somewhere on its nose, so passengers could watch the takeoff and landing on the video screens in the seatbacks in front of them.

Browne reported that Manny Delcarmen's six-month-old son "was amazingly tolerant of the long flight".

Also, Kyle Snyder was Mr. Celery for a day.

Extra Extra! Papelbon Doesn't Read Books

Around the time the Red Sox and Blue Jays were supposed to begin yesterday's exhibition game, MLB proposed to pay $20,000 per employee -- not the $40,000 fee it originally promised. The Red Sox players rejected that. Mike Lowell: "Half isn't equal." At that point, management agreed to kick in the remaining $20,000 and sort out the issue with MLB at a later date.

I'm not sure MLB can look any worse that it has in this case. It wanted two teams to start the season in Japan, so it agreed on appearance fees for players, coaches and trainers, then reneged on its promises to off-field personnel, ignored Terry Francona's phone calls for two days (which put the lie to the "miscommunication" defense), learned about a possible boycott of a nationally televised game several hours in advance, and still failed to resolve the issue. The money involved is mere peanuts to this multi-billion dollar industry. It's shameful. (For its next trick, perhaps MLB will cancel the dental insurance for its Park Avenue office employees.)

The Courant and Globe each have a timeline of the day's events.

I don't appreciate that coaches are [viewed as] second-class citizens. That has never sat well with me. We're over there representing Major League Baseball, and we've talked about doing it with class, but this is disheartening. This is hard to understand. We were told [they would be paid] and the players believed it, too. I double-checked on this [over the] winter.
As I type this, the team has already landed in Tokyo. Jonathan Papelbon planned to play Texas Hold 'Em the entire flight. "My plan is to slow play the [expletive] out of them and take all their money. ... I don't read books."

Alex Cora went to Japan for an series of exhibitions against Japanese All-Stars in November 2004 ("See, I really was an All-Star") and he loved the experience.
I guess I felt the same way Americans feel when they come to Puerto Rico and everyone is speaking Spanish. I went to Japan and everyone was speaking Japanese. It was just a great experience. ... [Hideo Nomo] took me out one night to one of the best restaurants I've ever been to. The food might be an issue to some people but, to me, it was awesome. It was just a little hole in the wall, but probably the best sushi experience I've ever had.
Because of the delay (and possible cancellation) of the Jays game, Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched for Pawtucket at the minor-league complex. He threw 78 pitches (50 strikes) in six innings against Rochester (6-3-1-1-8). John Farrell thinks Matsuzaka will throw about 85-90 pitches in the opener on Tuesday.

Josh Beckett threw a 45-pitch bullpen session Wednesday morning and will likely work in a minor league game on Sunday. Farrell: "[H]e proved that there were no restrictions when he got on the mound ... and surprisingly the arm strength hasn't suffered that much of a setback."

Bartolo Colon was assigned to minor-league camp.

March 19, 2008

Francona Talks About Dispute

BostonSportZ has a ESPN's five-minute, in-game interview with Terry Francona.
Blue Jays - 000 000 040  - 4  9  0
Red Sox - 003 000 000 - 3 3 0
Kevin Youkilis belted a three-run home run, but Hideki Okajima faltered in the eighth (the recap says that CF Reid Engel lost a ball in the sun that fell for a three-run double). Coco Crisp and Dustin Pedroia singled for Boston's other two hits. Ococ also threw out Vernon Wells at the plate. Box.

Boston finished the Grapefruit League with a 7-11-2 record. Next game: Saturday morning in Tokyo against the Hanshin Tigers.

Red Sox Refuse To Take The Field

1 PM Update: Red Sox win standoff with MLB. Game on!


The issue has not been resolved and the Red Sox have not taken the field. The game was supposed to begin about 10 minutes ago.

ProJo Blog:
Jason Varitek just said the Red Sox are not going to play today's game until "MLB gets this straightened out." When asked if the club would be going to Japan, he replied: "We'll wait and see."
It has also been reported that MLB also reneged on a promise to allow family to travel with the players during the trip.


Mike Lowell:
It's not just the coaches, it's the staff, the trainers, a lot of people are affected by this," said Lowell. "I'm so super proud of this team. When we put it to a vote it was unanimous, we're all in agreement that we're not going to put up with this.
Curt Schilling:
It’s wrong, it’s wrong. It was part of the basic agreement when we talked about it last year. The coaching staff was part of the conversation, we all heard it. It’s not really surprising because the coaches and staff are people generally who have always been overlooked and undervalued.
Terry Francona:
We’re spending energy on something we don’t want to spend it on. I don’t understand it. I was embarrassed this morning. I had to tell them, "Hey, that money you may have already spent, go get it back." ... I did not have an off day yesterday. I had the phone glued to my ear because I was promised some answers and I haven’t even received a phone call. ... What I want to do this morning is get excited to play a baseball game and what I ended up doing is apologizing to the coaches and being humiliated.
Some of the things that have been promised to us have already been taken away. From the players' standpoint, we all felt the same way. This can't happen. ... They [MLB] wanted this trip to happen so badly, a lot of promises were made and they're falling by the wayside time and again. [The coaches being paid] is something we were adamant about at the time and we've reiterated it multiple times.
Stay tuned ....

Herald: Sox Consider Japan Trip Boycott

The headline is a bit alarmist. There is no way MLB doesn't resolve this in time.

Rob Bradford, Herald:
According to multiple clubhouse sources, the Red Sox will be holding a players-only meeting later this morning concerning the issue regarding the coaches potentially not being paid the $40,000 allocated the players.

The sources indicated that the players will be issuing a mandate to Major League Baseball that if the coaches aren't paid, then the team will not be getting on the plane later today for Japan.

According to one player, the agreement originally approved by the players included paying the $40,000 to the coaches.
Meanwhile, the travel roster:

Pitchers (13): David Aardsma, Clay Buchholz, Bryan Corey, Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester, Javier Lopez, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Jonathan Papelbon, Kyle Snyder, Julian Tavarez, Mike Timlin, Tim Wakefield

Catchers (3): Dusty Brown, Kevin Cash, Jason Varitek

Infielders (8): Sean Casey, Alex Cora, Mike Lowell, Jed Lowrie, Julio Lugo, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis

Outfielders (6): Coco Crisp, J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Bobby Kielty, Brandon Moss, Manny Ramirez

Jeff Goldberg, Courant:
The Red Sox will have to declare a 28-man roster from their overall group of 30 before the start of the first regular season game March 25, including three inactives for the two games. The same three will be inactive for both games. It will be from that pool of 28 that the eventual 25-man roster will be set. For the two games against the Athletics, the three inactives should include Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz, who will start the two exhibition games March 22-23.

The Red Sox will use a 9-man bullpen in Japan, which will be trimmed to seven for the start of the official regular season April 1.

March 18, 2008

Contest Reminder

There are still six days left to enter the W-L contest.

Also, there may be a "Yankee Elimination Day" contest later in the year.

30-Man Japan Roster Almost Set

The Red Sox are allowed to take 30 players to Japan, but only 25 can be active at any time. The team announced today that Coco Crisp and Bobby Kielty will be going (as will Curt Schilling, though he won't be playing).
01 Ortiz
02 Varitek
03 Youkilis
04 Pedroia
05 Lowell
06 Lugo
07 Ramirez
08 Ellsbury
09 Drew

10 Cash
11 Casey
12 Cora
13 Crisp
14 Kielty
15 Brown
16 Lowrie
17 Moss

18 Matsuzaka
19 Lester
20 Wakefield
21 Buchholz
22 Snyder

23 Tavarez
24 Timlin
25 Delcarmen
26 Okajima
27 Papelbon

28 Aardsma
29 Lopez
30 Corey
31 Breslow
One of the final four (or final two?) will be left behind. ... Moss, Lowrie and Brown will be back in Pawtucket for the AAA opener on April 3.

Jon Lester will not travel with his teammates. He'll pitch in a minor league game Thursday, leave Florida that night, and arrive in Tokyo on Saturday.

Clay Buchholz threw 53 pitches in four hitless innings for Pawtucket against Indianapolis (Pirates) yesterday (4-0-0-1-3). Using his two-seam fastball, he threw first-pitch strikes to 9-of-15 batters. The PawSox lost 5-2.

Josh Beckett threw from 120 feet. Francona: "He hasn't been down long enough where he's lost any arm strength. We don't want to do anything crazy, but he had another really good day."

Beckett will throw a bullpen session on Thursday and pitch in a minor league game (35 pitches) Saturday or Sunday. His next outing -- 50-55 pitches -- will be five days later.

Optioned to Pawtucket: Ps Craig Hansen and Lincoln Holdzkom, C George Kottaras and 1B/OF Chris Carter.

Daisuke Matsuzaka says his wife wanted him to go to Japan, but he wanted to be present for the birth of his second child.
I talked to Tito and he suggested I head up to Boston [Friday night] and speak to my wife in person. I just happened to be home for that, and my son came along [Saturday]. So he's a very good boy. ... If I could pitch well for him, that would be great.
Johnny Damon, on the CF battle between Coco Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury: "I still think I'm a pretty tough person to replace."

March 17, 2008

Yankees 8, Red Sox 4

Red Sox - 002 200 000 - 4   8  0
Yankees - 430 100 00x - 8 12 1

Check out this morning's post for an exciting two-man game thread.

Best Hank Quote?

How did I miss this one? It was in the same article as the "mouse" comment.
"I really have nothing more to say about the Red Sox the entire season. We've covered that ground and, basically, I'm tired of talking about them."
Chokers play the Red Sox today -- can Mr. Hankee keep his pie-hole shut?

Francona Announces Season-Opening Rotation

Daisuke Matsuzaka will be the Opening Day starter next Tuesday morning. Jon Lester will start Game 2.

Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield will get the ball in the two exhibition games before the opener. Matsuzaka and Lester are likely to start the third and fourth games of the season in Oakland (April 1 and 2), with Buchholz and Wakefield pitching the first two games in Toronto (April 4 and 5).

Josh Beckett threw from 120 feet today.

Red Sox-Yankees at 1:15 PM

Bartolo Colon / Andy Pettitte

In their only spring meeting, both teams are expected to field something close to their regular lineup, although Manny Ramirez will not be making the trip to Tampa.

Colon should pitch no more than three innings and be followed by Julian Tavarez and Javier Lopez. Pettitte skipped his last start with a mild left forearm strain and is scheduled to throw 60 pitches.

The two teams meet for the first time during the season on April 11.

Michael Silverman, Herald:
Is Joe Girardi really ready for the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry?

By the looks of it, no.

March 16, 2008

"Your drag bunt shows off your speeeed, but homers are what you waaaaaaant"

This is brilliant.
Stuck Inside Mom's Basement With the Spreadsheet Blues Again

... Now the trainer gave me two cures,
Then he said, "Jump right in."
The one was lidocaine,
The other was just a vitamin.
An' like a fool I mixed them
The swelling was not sublime,
My butt's just getting uglier
An' I may have to do some time.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be Stuck Inside Mom's Basement With the Spreadsheet Blues Again
If only this came with an audio recording.
(found via shysterball)

In 2004, I did a short Dylan post, which I think has held up quite well.

With Cash, Wakefield Is Perfect

Tim Wakefield worked with his new batterymate Kevin Cash this afternoon and pitched five perfect innings against a lineup of Reds AAA hitters.

Wakefield threw 64 pitches (48 for strikes) and logged three strikeouts. ... Earlier, he spoke about the release of Doug Mirabelli:
Very shocked. ... I'm saddened by the whole situation, but it's a business decision on their part. I feel like Cash can do a good job, but I'm really going to miss Doug ... I'll miss his friendship. We've been together for eight years. ... By no means do I want to take anything away from Kevin Cash. He did a great job with me last year. ...

Dougie was a great teammate. He was not only my personal catcher but a lot of guys in that clubhouse respected his opinion. He watched other hitters. He watched other pitchers. There were even times when David [Ortiz] would be hitting and he'd say "Hey you're doing this wrong." ...

My feelings for Doug are very strong. When you lose a friend like that, it takes a while to get over it. ... I have to compete, so I can't dwell on it too much. But when I'm not competing, it's something I think about."
In Boston's main game, a 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh, starter Kyle Synder allowed one hit over three innings. Julio Lugo played for the second day in a row. After going 2-for-3 on Saturday, Lugo (as DH) was 2-for-4 today.

Tito: Beckett Will Stay In Fort Myers

Terry Francona:
It's not the right thing to do [to send him]. Everything we say, we need to live by.
Beckett had a throwing session with John Farrell this morning. He made 25 throws at 60 feet and 10 throws at 75 feet -- and had no pain. Farrell told the Globe:
The main thing is there was no discomfort and no restrictions. His arm action and follow through, at least on flat ground was normal. Tomorrow he'll go back to 90 feet. Then on Tuesday we would look to get back his normal long-toss activity, pre-bullpen and finish up with some flat ground work before we go to the mound which would be on Thursday.
Farrell added that having Beckett pitch in Oakland on either April 1 or 2 would be "too aggressive".

March 15, 2008

Hank: Don't Mess With Us!

Hank Steinbrenner, on his team's recent brawls with Tampa and the subsequent fines and suspensions (my emphasis):
"There are going to be problems, especially if they go after our stars. It's not going to be tolerated. We never have done it to them. It's just not going to happen anymore. ...

"All I can tell you is that I will support everything he [Joe Girardi] does, and that will never change. ...

"I don't want these teams in general to forget who subsidizes a lot of them, and it's the Yankees, the Red Sox, Dodgers, Mets. I would prefer if teams want to target the Yankees that they at least start giving some of that revenue sharing and luxury tax money back."
Wow. What a moron!

Yankee beat writer/blogger Peter Abraham says Shelley Duncan slid into Akinori Iwamura at second
like he's Bruce Lee. ... He took off for second knowing he would be out. The throw beat him by five feet and he slid in with his right foot as high as it could go. The umpire ejected him immediately ... If somebody from Tampa Bay had done that to Cano, you'd all [NYY fans] be losing your minds.
(Abrahams on MFY fans cheering the "new" tough Yankees here.)

Here's the slide (turns out Wheat Thins tried to give Iwamura a vasectomy with his left foot):

Oh yeah, that's a clean play.

Video here and here.

Oh, Boy! Dice Should Open Season

Ian Browne,
Daisuke Matsuzaka became a father again on Saturday morning, and as a result, he ... now becomes a candidate to pitch the season opener against the Oakland Athletics on March 25 at Tokyo Dome. ...

Matsuzaka's wife, Tomoyo, delivered the couple's second child -- and first boy -- at 7:30 on Saturday morning. ... It is believed that the birth took place in Boston. ...

Matsuzaka will pitch in Boston's Grapefruit League finale against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, the same day the team will depart for Tokyo.
Excellent timing!

March 14, 2008

Manny Ramirez, Philosopher

Howard Ulman, AP:
"You've got to be a boat knowing where you're going," saith the sage of the Green Monster. "We've got money. We're famous. But you've got to know what you want. ... If we want to repeat, we're going to go and do it. Everything is possible in life. ... Hey, you're the architect of your life. Let me tell you something. We've got so much bad stuff inside, it's up to us to make the best of it." ...
David Ortiz:
He's ready to go this year ... The guy is a machine, man. I have learned so much from Manny since I got here. The guy is prepared to play. I don't care what people say. In this game, to be at the top of the league as a player doesn't come just because you're sleeping at home. You've got to work to get to it. That's why Manny's numbers have always been where they are. ... The good thing that happens to the two of us is that we know each other pretty good, so when he does something wrong, he'll tell me and when I do something wrong, he'll do the same thing. That helps us to figure things out, from one at-bat to another.
Yesterday against the Twins, both Ramirez and Ortiz singled and doubled. Today, Manny hit a two-run home run in the first inning.

[Ramirez] seems very sincere in preaching an optimistic life view, an outlook that has him convinced that the Red Sox will want to keep him next year if he has a great season.

"Not if," he declared. "I'm going to have it. No doubt. Hey, I'm Manny Ramirez."

Curt On Doug

38 Pitches:
In the 20 years since I was first called up to the big leagues I’ve played with exactly 2 players who’s presence in the clubhouse carried onto the field. Darren Daulton in Philadelphia, and Doug Mirabelli here in Boston. ...

Very few players have that ability, and when they have it you know it. 4am landing in Toronto after a sweep, quiet plane, get on the bus for the 40 minute ride to the hotel, dead silence and everyone is wiped. By the time you got to the hotel the entire bus was laughing and the day was behind you. It's a gift and Doug had it in spades. ...

To say it was a shock to us would be grossly understating the impact. Guys were still shellshocked today.

Delcarmen, Walking Gingerly, Leaves Game

Update from Cafardo:
Manny Delcarmen had an ice pack on his right knee and won't throw for a couple of days, but he said he's fine after slipping on the wet grounds at City of Palms Park while trying to turn a double-play and leaving the game in the seventh inning.

"I just slipped a little bit on the mound ... I have a little bit of tendinitis on my knees anyway, so anytime I slip, it might flare it up a little bit ... but I'm good. They probably won't let me throw for a couple of days."

Nick Cafardo, Globe:
Manny Delcarmen has just left the game walking gingerly out of the game out with the trainer and replaced by Craig Breslow here in the seventh. The ground was wet as a result of the rain that's falling at the moment but Delcarmen went to reach for a ball and then made a throw to second and came up a bit lame.
Breslow did not pitch, however, as the game was called in the top of the seventh, with the Red Sox ahead 7-4. Julio Lugo (lower back tightness) did not play; he has now missed 11 games.

Rocco Baldelli has been placed on Tampa's disabled list indefinitely due to "metabolic and/or mitochondrial abnormalities, which cause severe fatigue and muscle cramping. ... his body is not producing the chemical ATP (adenosine triphosphate), causing his muscles to not work properly or recover as they should ..."

Time Crunch For Coco Re Japan

The Red Sox leave for Japan next Wednesday and it sounds like Coco Crisp may not make the trip. Crisp met with Theo Epstein and Terry Francona Thursday. The Herald reports that Francona
has been meeting with all of his players so nobody is caught off-guard by the team's decisions. ...

Earlier this week, Francona indicated it would be unrealistic for the club to play someone during the regular-season games in Japan if the same player had not been on the field in Florida.
More Tito: "Realistically, we're leaving in six days and we wanted him to understand what possibilities exist."

Coco has only four at-bats this month and has been sidelined with a sort left groin. He took part in a full workout today.

The Courant says Josh Beckett "could be close to playing catch". Francona: "He's doing the treadmill. He's getting there."

Art Martone remembers Doug Mirabelli:
Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

And others, like Doug Mirabelli, latch onto it.
The time of April 2's game in Oakland had been changed from 10 PM EST to 3:35 PM. "According to the San Francisco Chronicle ... the Players Association argued that the Red Sox needed time to adjust to eastern time to get ready for an April 4th game at Toronto after a day off on April 3rd."

Theo Gives Credit To Cash

Theo, on catcher Kevin Cash:
I think the staff felt pretty strongly that Cash was prepared to do a better job, and that led to the tough decision today to let Doug go. ... His defensive execution has been really good. I think we knew a lot about that, but seeing him here in Spring Training continuing to call a good game, continuing to receive well, throw well, block well ... And he's very into the advanced scouting part of the game and working with the pitching staff. He's impressed the coaching staff with his ability to do those things.
You never want to evaluate in spring training, but everything counts, from the first day of drills to the games. You don't want to make an evaluation based on one play or one game, but it's just, especially with players well into their 30s, you just try to look and evaluate and make sure their skills are still there. In this camp, the evaluation was that Cash was doing a lot of things right defensively and could handle Wakefield. It was a tough decision, but the right choice for the club overall was Cash. ... We're confident he can do the job.

Clemens Has Family Link To Houston Clinic

A week ago, I posted that IRS agents were investigating Shaun Kelley's weight control clinic "as part of an effort to determine whether Roger Clemens obtained steroids or human growth hormone in the Houston area".

Today, the Daily News reports that
Clemens' stepsister, Bonnie Owens, was a massage therapist at the clinic in 2005 and dated one of Kelley's trainers from 1991-1993.
Also, in that March 7 Times story, Kelley described Clemens as "an acquaintance" who he had met "a couple" of times. Today's Daily News states "Kelley has vigorously denied being a close acquaintance of" Clemens, quoting him as saying: "I do not know Roger Clemens."

March 13, 2008

Colon Pitches Out Of Jam In Debut

Bartolo Colon pitched two innings against Tampa Bay this afternoon, allowing two hits and one run.

Colon escaped a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam in the first, striking out B.J. Upton, popping up Jonny Gomes and retiring John Rodriguez on a grounder. He allowed a two-out, solo home run in the second to Jon Weber.

Colon threw 26 pitches and finished with a 2-2-1-1-1 line. He'll make his next start on Monday, in Tampa, against the Yankees. ... Kyle Snyder pitched two shutout innings in relief of Colon. Hideki Okajima and Javier Lopez also threw scoreless innings. The game ended in a 3-3, 10-inning tie.

Curt Schilling was placed on the 60-day disabled list. That opened up a roster spot for right-handed reliever Lincoln Holdzkom, who had been selected by the Phillies in last December's Rule 5 Draft, but was returned to the Red Sox. ... RHP Devern Hansack and OF Jonathan Van Every were optioned to Pawtucket.

Sure enough, Billy Crystal got the loudest cheers of the day, along with two standing ovations, two fist-bumps from CI and a high-five from Slappy McBluelips. (No word on whether he received a TrueYankee™ Curtain Call.)

Mirabelli Released

It's a move that's been long overdue, but I'm still surprised.

Tony Massarotti, Herald:
Prior to today's meeting between the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays at City of Palms Park, the Red Sox informed Mirabelli that he has been released. Mirabelli confirmed the move by phone, but declined to comment on the team's decision following the team’s morning workout.

Mirabelli had been in the starting lineup and was scheduled to catch right-hander Bartolo Colon. ... The Sox informed Mirabelli of their decision during batting practice this morning, the player said.
Nick Cafardo, Globe:
Wakefield endorsed [Kevin] Cash last season when Cash caught him and at that point it gave the Red Sox the thought that Cash could be a cheaper way to address the backup catcher role. [Dusty] Brown has caught minor league knuckleballer Charlie Zink. ...

Cash is a nonroster player, and he had not yet been upgraded to the roster. He appears to be a likely choice to be added, however.

The Sox replaced Mirabelli in the lineup with Brown, who is also considered a possible candidate for the major league club.
Ian Browne,
Mirabelli was supposed to start for the Red Sox in Thursday's game, but was scratched about an hour before game time, leading to rampant speculation that he was on his way out. That speculation proved to be correct.
Mirabelli hasn't hit a lick since 2004. Yet he remains far and away a better hitter than Cash, who in five seasons has posted a .167/.223/.265 batting line. That's a career OPS+ of 26. As one SoSHer pointed out, Roger Clemens has a better career OBP (.236).

If both Belly and Cash can catch, then the better player is Belly, though he is six years older than Cash. Is a (Coco-related) trade in the works? Could Brown or George Kottaras get a shot?

"Dirty Watah" In Fort Myers

Matt from Dirty Watah writes:
I just got back from a couple of days in Fort Myers/Vero Beach where I was lucky enough to sneak a press pass and follow the Sox. I thought you might be interested in some of the blog posts that followed.
He also posted pictures. Check it out. I enjoyed this gem:
Doug Mirabelli is just as cocky in person as he sounds in the papers. Talking about himself as he ran off to the batting cages: "Looking real fit. I fear for the American League this season!"
This from a guy who might make history this year with a negative on-base percentage. Matt swears it's true, so Dougie's Diary may not be far removed from reality.

March 12, 2008

Billy Had A Bad Week

October 20, 2004

Reminded that when the Yankees were busy sucking in the late 80s/early 90s, Crystal was wearing a Mets cap in his movies, I found this post from "xmulderx" via the Google:
I go back and watch some Mets games i do have on tape from the 80's all be it on betamax yikes. I am surprised that thing still functions. But there are atleast a couple of ocassions where robin williams and billy crystal are in the booth calling the game for a couple of innings. When asked who there favorite team was: Billy Crystal says the Mets are by far his favorite team, while Robin Williams says he is a big giants fan. I realize he is a yankee shill it seems in recent memory, but he is a phony yankees fan. There was a reason he wore a Mets cap in City Slickers aswell. He is a clear case of a bandwagon fan and a disgrace to both teams fanbase.

Coco to Mets -- Not True

There were rumours this afternoon of Coco Crisp being sent to the Mets for Angel Pagan. Apparently, they are completely unfounded. ... Here's the SoSH discussion after the "deal" was announced on WFAN.

(Pagan is definitely on the short list of Best Player Names.)

Yankees To Let Billy Crystal Play

Jim Baumbach, Newsday:
Look, we've never taken spring training games too seriously. ... But just because these are exhibitions doesn't give the Yankees - and commissioner Bud Selig - the license to turn the Yankees' camp into a bad joke for a few days. ...

The Yankees announced Monday night they are signing [the pompous, insufferable, funny-only-to-himself "comedian" Billy] Crystal to a one-day, minor-league contract with an invitation to major-league spring training. Seriously. He will practice with the Yankees today and play in their game against the Pirates tomorrow afternoon in Tampa.

It's a birthday gift of sorts - Crystal turns 60 Friday and he will wear No. 60. ...

If Crystal really wanted to taste the life of a major-leaguer ... there are a number of less offensive ways to go about it. ... [T]he Yankees' Web site says their next fantasy camp begins Nov. 17.
Kevin Kernan, Post:
Isn't this the kind of stunt the Rays or the Padres usually pull? ... The fans will probably give Crystal a standing ovation.
Meanwhile, Selig, who earned $14.5 million in 2006, says he has no plans to read any of Barry Bonds's recently unsealed grand jury testimony: "I think all the lawyers around me will." Way to earn your keep, Bud.


I know I have a picture of Crystal at Yankee Stadium (in the owner's box?) after his team choked away the 2004 pennant, but I can't find it. Can anyone out there help?

Save Beckett For Home Opener?

Josh Beckett is not going to Japan. The first regular season game on American soil -- April 1 in Oakland -- is now three weeks away. Since he couldn't pitch on Saturday and there's been no word on when he might be able to throw a side session, I'd say Beckett won't pitch against the Athletics at all. Play it real safe, have him skip the Toronto series too, and give him the home opener on April 8.

An MRI ruled out a disk problem, so that's good: the problem is muscular. Beckett said he got a good night's sleep on Monday and he was "walking somewhat gingerly" yesterday.

Terry Francona:
The one thing we're not going to do is send him over there to pitch three innings and hurt his back. We just want him to be healthy for the long haul. ... [A]nd when he feels good enough that he thinks he could pitch, then we'll probably sit him a couple more days, just because we don't want to ... start doing things that could re-aggravate it.
Mike Greenwell, on Dan Duquette:
I really thought what he did to that organization was a shame and I'll say that right to his face. What he did to that organization was a shame.
Laying the groundwork for the team's first World Series title in 86 years? Yeah, that was a damn shame.

Bill James, talking with Gordon Edes:
All research begins with ignorance. The ability to focus on what it is that you do not know is critical to doing research. ... We do not understand the world; the world is billions of times more complicated than our minds.