February 14, 2019

Go Fish

If you want to see some pictures of me ice fishing almost a half-century ago, click here.

If you couldn't possibly care less about that, click here.

February 12, 2019

White House Visit Update: If Trump Orders Fast Food, Brock Holt Has A Request

Nik DeCosta-Klipa of the Globe has collected everything various Red Sox players have said about visiting President Donald Trump at the White House on May 9 as World Series champions.

Team President Sam Kennedy called the visit "a great opportunity for the players", but has said attendance is not mandatory. So far, nine players have indicated they will attend, and three have declined.

Manager Alex Cora is tentatively going ("Sometimes you've got to show your face"), but admitted that his decision could "change tomorrow".

Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, and Rafael Devers are not going. Betts backed out last month with the Bartlebian statement: "I decided not to." ... Bradley: "I don't get into politics." He later tweeted he "still wouldn't go if Hillary was in office". ... Devers said he "wasn't compelled to go".

Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Eduardo Nunez are all undecided. EdRo is considering spending that off-day with his family. Rick Porcello said he would go along with whatever the team decides, but it was not clear if "the team" referred to management or his fellow players.

Chris Sale, Matt Barnes, Brock Holt, Sandy Leon, Mitch Moreland, Ryan Brasier, Heath Hembree, Blake Swihart, and Brian Johnson will attend.

Holt and Brasier are both "excited" to go. ... Hembree, who likes "everything" about Trump, said "Hell yeah". ... Holt cracked that he hopes Trump serves food from Chick-fil-A. ... Leon says going to the White House "would be an honor" since he supports Trump's position regarding his home country of Venezuela.
Re Chick-fil-A: Despite its laughable and easily-disproved claim of having "no agenda against anyone", the company has donated close to ten million dollars in the last decade to various anti-gay organizations and groups opposing same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ policies. Holt stands a decent chance of getting his wish.

Re Venezuela: Trump's band of sociopaths are the most recent US officials working to overthrow Venezuela's elected government and install a friendly puppet. Questions: "Why Does the United States of America Want to Overthrow the Government of Venezuela?" and "Why Venezuela Reporting Is So Bad" (aka Why Does the US Media Consistently Portray Falsehoods as Facts?) ... After receiving a phone call last month from Vice President Mike Pence, Juan Guaidó (a man groomed and cultivated by the US to undermine Venezuela's socialist government) proclaimed himself president of the country. The US media played its part, parroting the proper propaganda. The Canadian government played a large part in organizing this coup against Venezuela, a country that possesses - could this be relevant? - the world's largest oil reserves.

February 6, 2019

In Camp

At 11:15 PM (ET) on October 28, Chris Sale struck out Manny Machado and we began wrapping our collective minds around the undeniably surreal concept that we have witnessed the Boston Red Sox win FOUR World Series championships in the last 15 years.


What has the probable "Team of The Decade" been up to in the last 14 weeks?

Resigned: Nathan "Iron Man" Eovaldi (4/68) and Steve "World Series MVP" Pearce (1/6.25).

Acquired: Reliever Colten Brewer from the Padres for minor league infielder Esteban Quiroz. Brewer, 26 and a right-hander, debuted last year, allowing 15 hits, seven walks, and 10 runs in 9.2 innings. Six earned runs gave him a 5.59 ERA.

Departed Free Agents: Drew Pomeranz (signed with the Giants for one year), Joe Kelly (Dodgers, three years), and Ian Kinsler (Padres, two years). Craig Kimbrel and Brandon Phillips remain unsigned.

Claimed Off Waivers: Robby Scott (Reds).

Released: William Cuevas.

Signed to a Minor League Contract with Spring Training Invitation: pitchers Carson Smith, Erasmo Ramirez, Ryan Weber, Domingo Tapia, and Zach Putnam; catcher Juan Centeno; infielder Tony Renda; and outfielders Bryce Brentz and Gorkys Hernandez.

Signed to a Minor League Contract: pitchers Jenrry Mejia, Brian Ellington, Adrian Hernandez, Railin Perez, and Reidis Sena; outfielder Moises Barajas; and catcher Yorberto Mejicano.

Spring Training Invitation (non-roster): pitchers Josh A. Smith and Mike Shawaryn; infielders Bobby Dalbec, Josh Ockimey, Chad De La Guerra, and C.J. Chatham; catchers Oscar Hernandez and Austin Rei; and outfielders Cole Sturgeon, Tate Matheny, and Rusney Castillo.

Added to the 40-Man Roster: pitchers Denyi Reyes, Darwinzon Hernandez, Travis Lakins, and Josh Taylor; and infielder Michael Chavis.

Outrighted to Pawtucket: pitchers Austin Maddox and Justin Haley; and infielder Tony Renda.

Wednesday, February 13: Pitchers and catchers report & workout
Monday, February 18: Full squad report & workout
Friday, February 22: First game: vs. Northeastern Huskies
Saturday, February 23: First Grapefruit League game: vs. MFY
Thursday, March 28: Opening Day at Mariners

Two days ago, Peter Abraham of the Globe reported that every member of the Red Sox's starting rotation - Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Eovaldi, and Eduardo Rodriguez - was already in Fort Myers, more than a week before the official reporting date. After the Patriots won Sunday's Super Bowl, Sale remarked: "It's our turn now." ... (I think he means "It's our turn again"!)

The Red Sox have only one player among MLB's Top 100 Prospects: #69, Michael Chavis, third baseman. With Rafael Devers - one year younger than Chavis and clearly a better player - at third, Chavis's future is uncertain.

ESPN's Keith Law ranked Boston's farm system 24th (of 30) and Matt Collins of Over The Monster was not surprised. Law had zero Red Sox prospects in his Top 100, though pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez was on the "just missed" list. Collins notes that Law "always has very interesting lists that tend to part ways with the consensus" and he offers his thoughts on Law's 22 Red Sox prospects here.

Jackie Bradley will not be going to the White House on May 9. He is the third player to decline, joining Mookie Betts and Devers.

David Price has changed his number from 24 to 10.

February 4, 2019

Happy Truck Day!

Truck Day ... The First Sign of Spring!













Long ago, Jere posted pre-spring training newspaper clips from 1952, 1954, 1957, 1976, and 1984.


A Hike in the Ozarks, 1912:

February 1, 2019

Nick Cafardo: "I Enjoyed The Days When Umpires Actually Made Mistakes"

Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe, January 26, 2019:
All of the time-saving ideas for improving pace of play are negated by time spent on instant replay. Get rid of it. I enjoyed the days when umpires actually made mistakes, and when managers would come out of the dugout to perform a colorful and entertainin argument, as Billy Martin and Earl Weaver once did. The technological advancements have made the game more boring.
1. Cafardo, who is ensconced in one of the most prestigious baseball writing gigs in the world, admits his longing for those halcyon days when umpires made blatantly wrong calls.

2. Besides expressing his joy in watching teams lose games because of incorrect calls, Cafardo believes that umpires no longer make mistakes.

3. Cafardo does not realize that a hot-headed manager "performing" a "colorful argument" delays the game, often for a much longer period of time than a replay review.

4. While modern technological advancements have only increased and improved our knowledge of baseball and helped us appreciate and marvel at the myriad amazing things that players can do, Cafardo yells at them to get off his lawn.

(He also misspelled "entertaining" (or his editor failed to correct the mistake).)

Cafardo's moronic statement reminds me of something equally idiotic that Steve Lyons said on NESN back in May 2016. Lyons admitted that replay "really shows some of the flaws in umpiring, because they miss some calls and they have to be overturned. But ... I still think they get most of it right. And when they don't, well, sometimes you're supposed to lose."

Cafardo's Sunday column began thusly:
A few issues to think about as we move closer to spring training:

The rift between team owners and players is growing wider by the day as big-name free agents remain unsigned in late January. Both sides are on a collision course toward a major blowup and threat to future labor peace.

Will the Players Association take major action to protest what it feels is unfair labor practices by the owners? There already are some discussions on the player side on things they could do to get the owners' attention. One suggestion was a spring training boycott.
That's it. End of discussion. Cafardo does not write another word on this subject. He casually mentions the possibility of every major league player refusing to report to spring training - which is scheduled to begin in roughly two weeks - and believes, apparently, that typing the words is enough "thinking" about that issue. (Also, a boycott of spring training will do more than get the "owners' attention".)

And since this is a Cafardo Sunday Baseball Notes Column, he must include (as mandated by law):

Complaints about "analytics":
Older players bring clubhouse chemistry. They act as leaders and de facto coaches. They bring all of the intangible things that younger players can't offer until they've gained a little wisdom and experience. They offer things that analytic models can't always calculate.

[He also says hard-working, blue-collar, family-supporting, quotes-to-Cafardo-giving scouts can't find work because teams are being run by boring nerds.]
Unquestioning huzzahs for the Yankees:
When you ask the game's general hierarchy which team has won the offseason, a common answer is the Yankees. And with good reason.
Funny and inconsistent things:
The Yankees hate finishing behind the Red Sox in the standings and getting beaten by them in the ALDS. ...

The Red Sox seem to be in no hurry to sign a reliever. [then, in the next paragraph] There are still plenty of bullpen arms left ...
A ton of questions (instead of doing the actual research, interviewing, and brain-work involved in finding possible answers, Cafardo the Baseball Insider asks the reader, as if she is writing the column with him):
Imagine if the Red Sox didn't have 35-year-old Steve Pearce. Would they have won the World Series? ...

If baseball is a $10 billion business, why are so many teams on an austerity program? ...

Do we really think [the Red Sox will] be able to re-sign all of the players whose contracts are up for renewal over the next two years? ...

Could the Phillies wind up with both Machado and Harper? Or would they hold back on signing both so they can put themselves in position to sign Mike Trout when he becomes a free agent after 2020? ...

[A]re Gio Gonzalez or Ervin Santana possibilities for [the Yankees'] fifth [starter] spot? ...

Is the reason the Indians have shopped Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer more because in his new deal Carrasco will earn $3 million if he's traded before the end of 2019, and just $1 million after it? ...

What will the Orioles do with the first pick in the June draft?
Finally, there is this:
It appears the Red Sox have one more year to go for it.
After 2019, the Red Sox will no longer be allowed to try to reach the postseason. ... Damn it!