March 31, 2004

Red Sox 8, Pirates 8. Box.
Pittsburgh  110 030 030 -  8  13  1
Boston      010 041 020 -  8  12  0
Adam Hyzdu's two-run single in the eighth inning salvaged a tie with Pittsburgh. Boston erased a 5-1 deficit in the fifth on David Ortiz's two-run single and Ellis Burks's two-run homer. The Pirates retook the lead in the top of the eighth, on Humberto Cota's homer and Chris Stynes' RBI single. ... Bronson Arroyo allowed two runs and five hits in four innings. Relievers Keith Foulke (1 inning, 3 hits, 3 runs) and Scott Williamson (1 inning, 4 hits, 3 runs) did not do well.
Nomar On DL -- Out Till Early May. Nomar Garciaparra was placed on the disabled list today and will rest his right Achilles tendon for the next three weeks. If everything goes right, Garciaparra could begin a minor league rehab assignment and be back on Boston's roster by the beginning of May.

Ramiro Mendoza made his third appearance of the spring against Toronto. He needed only four pitches to get through a perfect 4th inning, then allowed three runs and three hits in the fifth. Terry Francona said Mendoza is healthy enough to break camp with the team. Mendoza: "Last year, I had a problem with my arm and I couldn't throw my sinker, but this year my arm is good. I'm throwing my sinker good and my changeup is nasty. ... I don't want to stay here [Florida]. I want to go with the team." ... Boston optioned left-handed pitcher Mark Malaska to Pawtucket.

On Pedro's way to the clubhouse after his outing yesterday, Martinez "noticed a couple young boys reaching over the fence with baseballs to autograph. Martinez took his off his cap and placed it on one youngster's head." Francona: "I'll be very excited to watch him pitch Sunday night, and then the next Saturday. He's going to be fine. What's the word, aberration? I think that's a [expletive] good word. Put that one down. Don't be missing words like that. I'm not sure what it means, but get it in there."

Dave Wallace: "It sounds crazy, but I think [Pedro's] stuff was a little better than it's been. He just didn't execute some pitches. Sometimes, he gets a little too fast [in his delivery] and ends up pulling the ball through the strike zone. He might have been anxious to get through his last [spring] start. He warmed up as good as he has all spring."

Robert Cremins, a former Boston Red Sox pitcher who in his first big league appearance had to face Babe Ruth, died Saturday at age 98. Cremins made his debut against the Yankees on August 17, 1927. Ruth was the first batter he faced and Cremins retired him on a grounder to first base. He appeared in three more games for the Red Sox and left baseball the following year.
Sweeping The Dust Of The Dead Under The Rug. There can be no doubt now. The 9/11 Commission is a sham. It is a pure political whitewash; it is obscene theater; and it is a disgrace to the memory of the nearly 3,000 people murdered on September 11, 2001 (and the tens of thousands they left behind).

"Under the agreement announced Tuesday, Ms. Rice will testify before the commission as early as next week. In exchange for her appearance, the panel agreed not to seek testimony from other White House aides at public hearings, although it can continue to question them in private. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney will not testify under oath. But they will submit to a joint, private interview with all 10 members of the commission, with what commission officials said was no predetermined time limit."

Regarding the Cheney-Bush meeting, there will be no audio, no video and no transcript. A staff person will be allowed to scribble notes. ... Why would the White House demand that Cheney and Bush testify as a team? TPM: "[T]his is simply another way to further dilute the Commission's ability to ask questions. If, say, the meeting lasts three hours, that's three hours to ask questions of both of them rather than three hours to ask questions of each -- as might be the case in separate meetings. ... Explanation number two would be that this is a fairly elementary -- and, one imagines, pretty effective -- way to keep the two of them from giving contradictory answers to the Commission's questions. It helps them keep their stories straight. ... The third explanation is that the White House does not trust the president to be alone with the Commission members for any great length of time without getting himself into trouble, either by contradicting what his staff says, or getting some key point wrong, or letting some key fact slip. And Cheney's there to make sure nothing goes wrong."

And this Commission has the gall to still call itself "independent."

March 30, 2004

It Doesn't Count. Pedro Martinez's line was ugly: 3 innings, 8 hits, 6 runs, 84 pitches. Martinez threw 46 pitches in the first inning, when Toronto scored six runs. Yet Dave Wallace, Terry Francona and Jason Varitek all had good things to say. Pedro: "I'm fine. It's the best I've felt all spring. I got my pitches in. It's Spring Training. The results don't matter." ... The Blue Jays feed was allegedly available online, but because MLB is MLB, I was unable to get the broadcast. ... So I have no idea what's up with Pedro. I guess we'll all find out on Sunday night.
Blue Jays 13, Red Sox 8. Pedro gets put six runs under in the first inning.
Boston   000 130 031 -   8 11 1

Toronto 600 031 03x - 13 17 1
Derek Lowe believes that "it's a hundred percent clear" the Red Sox will not sign him before Opening Day and judging from what he termed an unacceptable offer two weeks ago, he will likely become a free agent at the end of this season. "From a positive side, they've made it easy. ... All indications are that we may not talk until the end of the year."

Nomar is still in pain. Neither Garciaparra nor Bill Mueller will go to Atlanta for exhibition games this Friday and Saturday. Some reports say Mueller will be ready on Sunday and others say he is questionable. ... Boston will start the season with Pokey Reese at shortstop and Mark Bellhorn at second. David Ortiz will bat cleanup.

Pedro Martinez said he doesn't intend to speak with the media following his final spring start against Toronto today. He indicated he was insulted by reporters questioning his fastball velocity -- but he will speak after his Opening Day start. ... Trot Nixon is off to the University of Miami Spine Institute for an intensive two-week rehab program. ... Alex Speier takes a close look at Jason Varitek.

Idiots Abound: Newsday's Steve Zipay was in Boston yesterday, and after listening to sports radio for a few hours, he thinks he found the pulse of Red Sox Nation. We're "worried about the Boston offense and beyond that, the 2005 season" and "the sense of approaching dread remains."

Following up on an article in last weekend's Globe, Bruce Allen correctly notes that it's not Red Sox fans who will be lost when the team finally wins it all, it will be the media. "They will have no more 'curse' angle and story to fall back on and write about. ... [That] gravy train will have left the station. While Red Sox fans are celebrating and enjoying the thrill of victory, Shaughnessy, Littlefield and co-horts will be wondering what in the world are they going to write about now."
Predictions, Part 4. From the New York Daily News: Bill Madden, John Harper, Anthony McCarron, Vic Ziegel, Sam Borden, Bill Gallo, Adam Rubin and Mighty Quinn (my previous prediction posts: 1, 2 and 3):
              Madden    Harper     McCarron   Ziegel
AL EAST       Yankees   Yankees    Yankees    Yankees
AL CENTRAL    Royals    Twins      Royals     Royals
AL WEST       Angels    Angels     Mariners   Angels
AL WILD CARD  Mariners  Red Sox    Red Sox    Red Sox
AL CHAMP      Angels    Red Sox    Yankees    Yankees
NL EAST       Phillies  Phillies   Phillies   Marlins
NL CENTRAL    Cubs      Cubs       Cubs       Astros
NL WEST       Giants    Giants     Giants     Giants
NL WILD CARD  Marlins   Astros     Astros     Cubs
NL CHAMP      Cubs      Cubs       Phillies   Astros
WORLD CHAMP   Cubs      Red Sox    Yankees    Astros
AL MVP        Delgado   A-Rod      A-Rod      A-Rod
NL MVP        Pujols    Thome      Berkman    Pujols
AL CY YOUNG   Mussina   Pedro      Pedro      Pedro
NL CY YOUNG   Wood      Prior      RJohnson   Pettitte
              Borden    Gallo      Rubin      Quinn
AL EAST       Yankees   Yankees    Yankees    Red Sox
AL CENTRAL    Royals    Royals     Royals     White Sox
AL WEST       Angels    Angels     Angels     Angels
AL WILD CARD  Red Sox   Red Sox    Red Sox    Yankees
AL CHAMP      Red Sox   Yankees    Yankees    Red Sox
NL EAST       Phillies  Atlanta    Phillies   Atlanta
NL CENTRAL    Cubs      Cardinals  Cubs       Cubs
NL WEST       Giants    Giants     Giants     Giants
NL WILD CARD  Astros    Cubs       Astros     Phillies
NL CHAMP      Phillies  Cardinals  Cubs       Cubs
WORLD CHAMP   Red Sox   Cardinals  Cubs       Cubs
AL MVP        A-Rod     Jeter      Guerrero   Nomar
NL MVP        Thome     Pujols     Thome      Sosa
AL CY YOUNG   Mussina   Schilling  Schilling  Pedro
NL CY YOUNG   Wood      Prior      Trachsel   Prior
Steve Trachsel for NL Cy Young?!?!? ... Madden also predicts the standings:
Yankees    99  63  
Red Sox    89  73
Blue Jays  87  75
Orioles    81  81
Devil Rays 71  91
He also has the Royals winning the Central by 6 games over the White Sox and the Angels edging out the A's by 3 games. In the NL, the Phillies top Florida by 4 games, the Cubs (with 101 wins) waltz past the Astros by 10 games and the Giants finish five games ahead of Arizona.
Trying To Cut A Deal. Condoleezza Rice will testify in public and under oath before 9/11 Commission, as the White House has reversed its position (i.e., flip-flopped) that she was prevented from doing so by executive privilege. The White House is willing to allow George Bush and Dick Cheney to testify in private (not under oath) before all 10 commission members (they had previously said they would appear only before the chairman and co-chairman).

If Rice testifies, the pressure to have Bush do the same will increase -- and that is probably the White House's worst nightmare. It looks like the administration is trying to fashion some type of deal (a plea bargain?) that if Rice talks, the Commission will ease up on Bush and Cheney. Under this scenario, Bush wouldn't be questioned alone. Cheney will hold his hand and probably spend half of his time saying some variation of: "Uh, what George really means is ..."

From the text of the White House's letter to the Commission: "As we discussed last night, the president is prepared, subject to the conditions set forth below, to agree to the request of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States for public testimony, under oath, by the assistant to the president for national security affairs, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. ... The necessary conditions are as follows. First, the commission must agree in writing that Dr. Rice's testimony before the commission does not set any precedent for future commission requests, or requests in any other context, for testimony by a national security adviser or any other White House official. Second, the commission must agree in writing that it will not request additional public testimony from any White House official, including Dr. Rice. ..."

This is pure 100% horseshit. When the Commission decides to accept or reject these conditions -- and I can't believe they are even considering them -- one important question will be answered: Who is in charge of this "independent" commission?
Good Morning Tokyo. The Yankees won't finish the season in last place (darn!), but that's where they are now. Mussina held a 3-2 lead, but began the 6th by allowing a home run and 3 consecutive doubles. Tampa Bay 8-3.
            W    L   PCT.   GB
Tampa Bay   1    0  1.000   --
Boston      0    0   .000    .5
Toronto     0    0   .000    .5
Baltimore   0    0   .000    .5
New York    0    1   .000   1

March 29, 2004

Red Sox 8, Orioles 3. Box.
Baltimore  000 120 000 - 3  4  0 
Boston     070 100 00x - 8  9  1
In six innings, Tim Wakefield allowed two runs, struck out four and walked none. He will make one more start before the season begins -- an exhibition game in Atlanta. Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar and David Ortiz hit home runs.

On Sunday, instead of making the 2:45 drive from Fort Myers to Jupiter, Derek Lowe chartered a private jet, taking Millar, Jason Varitek, Gabe Kapler, Brian Daubach and Alan Embree with him. Time of the flight? 19 minutes. ... Good news: Lowe has that sinking feeling. ... Pedro Martinez is slated for 85-90 pitches against Toronto on Tuesday; Ramiro Mendoza will pitch two innings of relief. ... Bill Mueller will be ready by Sunday. ... Damon flies under the radar. ... Palm Beach Post: 60 Seconds with Kevin Millar.

EE News: Kenny Lofton will begin the season batting ninth, not first. Torre: "He wasn't happy." ... From the Daily News: Striking back at the Empire and Yankees-Red Sox getting bitter by the season (Jeter: "Unless it's just brawls every single game we play, I can't see it being any more intense than last year.")
Whatchoo Talkin' 'bout, Clarke? From Fark.

March 28, 2004

Marlins 4, Red Sox 0. Recap/box here and some pitch-by-pitch here.
Boston   000 000 000 -  0  3  1

Florida 010 001 20x - 4 7 1
Derek Lowe gave up three runs on four hits in seven innings; he threw 88 pitches, striking out two and walking one. ... David McCarty extended his hitting streak to eight games with two singles. Boston's only other hit came from Kevin Millar.
The Boys Of Summer Are Coming! Kevin Millar had a running diary last season at His first installment for 2004 is chock-full of cliches and it's here:

"I remember that last year I was one of the new guys and didn't really understand what it was like to play in Boston. I was just talking to Pokey and explaining it to him. He doesn't understand what he's about to experience. It's the most unbelievable thing in baseball, to play for the Red Sox and experience that atmosphere every night. ... Even a guy like Schilling, who played in Philly and won a World Series in Arizona, never experienced an atmosphere like you have playing in Boston. ... Opening Night is almost here, and we can't wait. This is the game, man, it's going to be on ESPN. The boys of summer are getting ready to go at it."
Let's Declassify All Of It. On Meet the Press this morning, Richard Clarke was asked if there was any inconsistency between his testimony before the 9/11 Commission and his statements two years ago before the congressional committee.

"No, there isn't. And I would welcome it being declassified, but not just a little line here or there. Let's declassify all six hours of my testimony. ... And I want more declassified. I want Dr. Rice's testimony before the 9/11 Commission declassified ... Let's declassify that memo I sent on January 25th [2001] and let's declassify the national security directive that Dr. Rice's committee approved nine months later on September 4th, and let's see if there's any difference between those two, because there isn't. ... [T]hey're basically the same thing and they wasted months when we could have had some action. ...

"[L]et's go further. The White House is selectively now finding my e-mails, which I would have assumed were covered by some privacy regulations, and selectively leaking them to the press. Let's take all of my e-mails and all of the memos that I've sent to the national security adviser and her deputy from January 20 to September 11 and let's declassify all of it. ... As well as her responses."

Clarke wants everything out in the open. Rice (who this week changed her nearly-two-year-old story about being clueless about "planes used as missles") says she'll talk but only if it's behind closed doors and not under oath. Who sounds more credible? One side wants the world to know what happened; one side does not. ... The question becomes: Why do they want to keep everything secret?
More on King/O'Nan Red Sox Book. "It began as an email exchange last summer. ... [Now Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King,] lifelong Red Sox addicts, will chronicle the season from spring training and Opening Day through to the highly anticipated events of the fall, in a hardcover book that Scribner will publish in late 2004. They'll go to some games together and each will keep a diary. They'll argue or agree about plays and trades, and the result will be a fan's notes for the ages."
Completely Ready. Has a pitcher ever thrown a complete game in spring training? It crossed Curt Schilling's mind yesterday. "I've gone eight in a spring training game before and had I made some better pitches early in the game today, I could have stretched it out that far." ... He threw 112 pitches in 6.1 innings (Herald and Globe say 108). In his 21.2 spring innings, he has 21 strikeouts and a 2.08 ERA. "Physically, I feel like I'm throwing the ball as good if not better than I've thrown it in the last five years with all my pitches."

Latest Nomar news: inflammation persists. Players must sit out at least the first six days of the season if they are placed on the disabled list retroactive to spring training, so Garciaparra will likely return no earlier than April 10. ... Nomar's absense means Cesar Crespo, who leads the team with 18 hits, has a chance to make the team. ... Trot Nixon travels to Miami for an extensive rehab program with the specialist who worked with Vladimir Guerrero last summer. ... A chat with Doug Mirabelli. ... The Fort Myers News-Press on 3B Gabe Kapler. ... David Ortiz smacked two doubles Saturday, giving him 11 extra-base hits this spring. ... Derek Lowe makes his final spring start today against the Florida Marlins.

From the Herald: "A Fort Myers TV station reported Friday night that Pedro Martinez was so upset about Boston reporters questioning his loss of fastball velocity that he will become a free agent at the end of the season. The report was apparently based on an overheard comment from Martinez to a friend. Martinez was unavailable for comment but club officials shrugged off the report and insisted the comment, if said at all, was just the pitcher expressing aggravation with the media."

He's cracking jokes, but it appears that David King of the San Antonio Express-News is picking the Red Sox and Cubs for the World Series. ... Ken Rosenthal does the same, but he says the Cubs will come out on top. ... Boston and Chicago seem like popular picks, so that means we'll be subjected to lots of "lovable loser" articles. Here's three:

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Hexes mark their spots: Red Sox, rabid fans grimly face Yankees"
Boston Globe: "Fever Pitch"
New York Times: "Oh, No, Not Again: Chronicling Chronic Losing"

The Times article begins: "The baseball season starts this week, so expect to hear the usual songs of despair from the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox, who are to futility what the Yankees are to success. Their World Series droughts of 96 and 86 years, respectively, are easily the longest titleless streaks in North American professional sports. ..." Wrong. The two longest titleless streaks belong to the Cubs (96) and White Sox (87). The White Sox last won the World Series in 1917.

Finally, Blue Jays pitcher Justin Miller has been ordered to wear long sleeves because his multiple tattoos are distracting to hitters. He apparently has 50% of his body covered, including "I Love Billy Koch" inked on his ass.
Another Patriot. Sibel Edmonds's story may get overlooked amid Richard Clarke's allegations. It shouldn't. Edmonds was a FBI translator who was fired in 2002 when she reported misconduct, security lapses and incompetence in the terrorism units.

The AP says Rice's refusal to appear in public, under oath, before the 9/11 Commission "is blossoming into a public relations nightmare. Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor at the College of William and Mary: "This is mostly about politics, not about the legalities. ... It hasn't kept her from talking to the press." ... Kerry's getting the hang of it: "If Condoleezza Rice can find time to do '60 Minutes' on television before the American people, she ought to find 60 minutes to speak to the commission under oath."

The Center for American Progress couldn't find even one reference where Rice, Dick Cheney or George Bush said "al Qaeda" or "bin Laden" in public between 1/20/01 (Inauguration) and 9/10/01. If you have one, they are offering prizes. ... Donald Rumsfeld says the 9/11 attacks were a "law enforcement" issue. ... The Pentagon acknowledges that "[t]o meet the demand for troops in Iraq, the military has been deploying some National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers who aren't fit for combat." Also: "Army sent mentally ill troops to Iraq."

A devastating article on the WMD Hoax. David Kay: "If Powell had said to the Security Council: 'It's one source, we never actually talked to him, and we don't know his name,' as he's describing this, I think people would have laughed us out of court."

OMG. "You can't see what you think is a threat and hope it goes away. You used to could when the oceans protected us, but the lesson of September the 11th is, is when the President sees a threat, we must deal with it before it -- before it comes to fruition through death on our own soils, for example." George W. Bush, March 26, 2004, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Finally -- don't drink the Kool-Aid!

March 27, 2004

Red Sox 7, Phillies 2. Box.
Philadelphia  101 000 000 -  2  5  1  

Boston 212 010 10x - 7 12 1
Curt Schilling pitched 6.1 innings and struck out 10. Ramiro Mendoza got the final two outs in the 7th inning on two pitches and breezed through the 8th. Tim Hamulack pitched a perfect 9th. ... Boston's final run came on a triple by Cesar Crespo and a single from Brian Daubach, who notched his team-leading 14th RBI of the spring. ... Red Sox doctor Bill Morgan was in the radio booth and said Trot Nixon improved quite a bit last week and Byung Hyun Kim is recovering quicker than expected. Kim will throw off a mound on Thursday. ... More on Nomar.
Nomar Will Miss Opener. Nomar Garciaparra will probably not be ready for opening day. "I think it's more unlikely as time goes on," team doctor Bill Morgan said Saturday. "We wouldn't rule it out, though." Garciaparra took about 20 swings in the cage and about 20 grounders at short this afternoon and said, "I'm definitely going to be out a few more days. I'm still optimistic, though."

Bronson Arroyo, who pitched six strong innings yesterday, was hit on the right hip when a bat slipped out of Gabe Kapler's hands and flew into the dugout. Arroyo was not hurt. ... The Red Sox are believed to have interest in re-acquiring Damian Jackson, who is being shopped by the Colorado Rockies. ... The 25-man roster should be set by the time the team leaves for Atlanta on Thursday. ... Players are antsy for the season to start. So are the fans.
Backing Away From A Fight. So Bill Frist says Richard Clarke "has told two entirely different stories under oath" and possibly "lied under oath to the United States Congress," but when he's called on it, he retreats, "telling reporters that he personally had no knowledge that there were any discrepancies between Clarke's two appearances."

C-SPAN is rebroadcasting Clarke's testimony at 10:00am tomorrow (Sunday) morning. Several news reports have taken clips wildly out of context, so if you have any interest in this story, please watch the whole thing. ... Also: a well-sourced list of 34 lies being told regarding Clarke's testimony. ... Condoleezza Rice will be interviewed this Sunday on 60 Minutes. What can she tell Ed Bradley that she can't say in front of the Commission? ... Remember: Democrats lie, Republicans misspeak.

I've said all along that I do not care who is implicated in allowing 9/11 to happen -- Democrats, Republicans, Ralph Nader, whoever -- we deserve to know the truth. Plain and simple. ... The terrorist attacks were allowed to happen. At this point, looking at the totality of the evidence, that cannot be denied. As Josh Marshall: "What this is about isn't Condi Rice or Richard Clarke or even George W. Bush. It's about what happened -- finding out what happened. One side wants to find out; the other doesn't. This whole story turns on that simple fact."

Support The Troops, Part 1,693: "Soldiers headed for Iraq are still buying their own body armor -- and in many cases, their families are buying it for them ... Last October, it was reported that nearly one-quarter of American troops serving in Iraq did not have ceramic plated body armor, which can stop bullets fired from assault rifles and shrapnel."

March 26, 2004

Red Sox 5, Pirates 1. Recap and box.
Boston      010 000 400 -  5 13  0

Pittsburgh 000 001 000 - 1 7 1
Bronson Arroyo limited Pittsburgh to one run on four hits and a walk while fanning four batters in six innings. Kip Wells held the Red Sox to one run on two hits and three walks. Both starters breezed through their outings thanks to a stiff wind blowing in from the outfield. ... Cesar Crespo's RBI double off of Mark Guthrie broke a 1-1 tie. Jimmy Alvarez followed with a two-run double. David McCarty chased home Alvarez with a groundout to third base to cap the big inning.
More on Pedro's Fastball. It was an issue after his last start and it is story #1 today.

Some fans and media have hinted that Pedro Martinez has claimed his mid-90s velocity is back in order to improve his chances at getting a lucrative contract from the Red Sox. But since we know the Red Sox watch him like a hawk and could easily tell if he was bluffing, that seems silly. ... Yesterday, after throwing 70 pitches over five innings against the Twins, Pedro seemed to back away from his earlier comments. "If you look at the last few years, why would I worry about velocity? ... If you're referring to '97, '96, or '95, you'd find me at 97-98 miles per hour on every pitch. I'm not. I got hurt. I'm older. I've got a lot of innings in this shoulder. I actually pitched the last three years around 91, 92. And then when I have to click, I click."

However, the AP reported that Pedro is throwing hard. "Pedro Martinez says he hasn't lost his fastball - and the radar gun shows he's right. ... Martinez's heater topped out at 93 mph against the Twins, and he threw three consecutive 91 mph fastballs to former Red Sox infielder Jose Offerman to end a Minnesota threat in the fourth inning." Pedro: "I haven't lost my fastball. Ninety, 91, now that's a good fastball. And if anyone wants to test it, go ahead. Let the scouts stand there with a bat and I'll give them a 91."

But radar guns are fickle and far from precise. A gun-toting scout sitting behind the plate said Martinez topped out at 91 mph. "He had a couple 90s and a 91. The rest were 86, 87, some 88s. He had his pretty good changeup and curveball. But hell, they're going to get to you if you don't have that little extra. He just wasn't the Pedro we all know. I've seen him four times. This is the best he's thrown. He didn't have 90 before. Maybe he's pacing himself. He looks fine. He just doesn't have the velocity. Maybe he will."

Another scout, who had not seen Martinez pitch this spring, said "it seemed like he was throwing from a different angle, from a lower arm slot than a year ago, getting underneath the ball instead of on top of it - there was no zip on his fastball." This scout said Pedro topped out at 90 only once.

A report from Bosox-L: "The announcers said he wasn't looking particularly sharp today. Although it should be noted that he hadn't fallen behind in the count until the 1st batter in the 4th inning. He was using a lot of off-speed pitches with runners on base. He wasn't hit hard, although he didn't collect a K until the 5th. The 4 hits were all either blown by the wind over the outfielders' heads or blooped. His only K, Luis Rivas, struck out swinging (a fastball up & in), the same batter he fell behind in the count to ... the announcers noted that this was the first time he came after a batter."

Martinez: "If I ever feel I can't compete, or I can't put up the numbers I've been putting up or somewhere near, I'll just pack my cleats and go home ... [W]hy would I worry about velocity? Why would I worry about anything at all? I'm still No. 1 on top of a lot of good guys that we have on this team. They have me as the ace."

Martinez: "I think experience is going to dictate what I have to do. ... Earlier (in my career), I was just a thrower. I was a young buck and I'd come in and just let it go: Here, this is what I have. But nowadays I know what to do and what to work on."

Theo Epstein: "Velocity is not important this time of year. And velocity is one of the most overated aspects of pitching. (Martinez) is very comfortable with where he is. He knows himself well."

Ramiro Mendoza threw a scoreless inning in his spring debut. Although his first pitch hit Torii Hunter, Mendoza retired the next three batters on two groundouts and a strikeout. ... Today, Bronson Arroyo starts against the Pirates in Bradenton and tomorrow Curt Schilling faces the Phillies. ... Horror writers Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan are collaborating on a book about the 2004 Red Sox. "Diaries in hand, they are to attend Red Sox games, taking notes to be compiled and published by Scribner when the season is history."
It All Depends On What The Definition Of "Prior Knowledge" Is. "Condoleezza Rice had asked, in her private meetings with the commission, to revise a statement she made publicly that 'I don't think anybody could have predicted that those people could have taken an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center ... that they would try to use an airplane as a missile.' Rice told the commission that she misspoke; the commission has received information that prior to Sept. 11, US intelligence agencies and Clarke had talked about terrorists using airplanes as missiles."

But it looks like Bush is out of the loop: "On a visit to New Hampshire [March 25], the president said if he knew terrorists would use airplanes to attack America, he would have used 'every resource, every asset, every power' of the government to protect the American people."

Three items that prove Rice is lying:

1. On the morning of September 11th 2001, Mr. Fulton and his team at the CIA were running a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building.

2. November 3, 2000: "The fire and smoke from the downed passenger aircraft billows from the Pentagon courtyard. Defense Protective Services Police seal the crash sight. Army medics, nurses and doctors scramble to organize aid. An Arlington Fire Department chief dispatches his equipment to the affected areas. Don Abbott, of Command Emergency Response Training, walks over to the Pentagon and extinguishes the flames. The Pentagon was a model and the 'plane crash' was a simulated one. The Pentagon Mass Casualty Exercise, as the crash was called, was just one of several scenarios that emergency response teams were exposed to Oct. 24-26 in the Office of the Secretaries of Defense conference room." Check out these three military photos.

"A plane crash is simulated inside the cardboard courtyard of a surprisingly realistic-looking model Pentagon. This 'tabletop' exercise was designed to help emergency relief personnel better prepare for disasters when they occur."

3. "The single best refutation of Bush Administration assertions that no one could have known about an al-Qaeda attack by crashed airplane is Bush's attendance at the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001, where the Italian government installed surface-to-air missiles at strategic locations around the city to protect Bush and the other leaders from just such an al Qaeda attack. This caution was based on information received by American and other intelligence agencies. Weeks later, in early August in Crawford, Bush received a report from George Tenet on the al Qaeda threat." Bush slept on an offshore military ship during the summit.

The second paragraph of a New York Times about Condoleezza Rice's refusal to testify under oath before the 9/11 Commission begins: "As she prepares to leave her job at the end of the year, Ms. Rice ... " WTF?

John Dean: "The [2003] 9/11 Report Raises More Serious Questions About The White House Statements On Intelligence" ... "Testimony from the former Bush administration counterterrorism czar and a new book have a 2-year-old story from The Tampa Tribune back in the news - secret flights of Saudi nationals out of the country in the aftermath of Sept. 11."

John Kerry on Bush's WMD jokes: "585 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq in the last year, 3,354 have been wounded and there's no end in sight. George Bush sold us on going to war with Iraq based on the threat of weapons of mass destruction. But we still haven't found them, and now he thinks that's funny?"
On The Newsstand. I was quite surprised.

Now it would be nice if the many instances of Bush comparing 9/11 to getting lucky at the horse track could receive some attention. See here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here (all from the White House website, by the way).
Ah, The Liberal, Bush-Hating Media. Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times White House correspondent, on criticism that reporters were too easy on Bush on the eve of the Iraq war: "I think we were very deferential because ... it's live, it's very intense, it's frightening to stand up there. Think about it, you're standing up on prime-time live TV asking the president of the United States a question when the country's about to go to war. There was a very serious, somber tone that evening, and no one wanted to get into an argument with the president at this very serious time." ... The Daily Howler is, like me, absolutely dumbstruck.

It's not surprising, but Fox distorted Clarke's testimony. Its online story includes these two paragraphs:

"You've got a real credibility problem," John Lehman, former Navy secretary under President Reagan, told Clarke, calling the witness "an active partisan selling a book."

Clarke responded: "I don't think it's a question of morality at all, I think it's a question of politics."

However, Clarke's response was not made to Lehman, but was a comment to a different question posed by another Commission member, former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson. Check out the transcript of Day 2 (Day 1 is here).

Re the timing of Clarke's book: As with all books written by former government officials, it must be submitted to the White House for review to insure that no classified material is included. The White House apparently sat on the book for at least three months (it was scheduled for release in late 2003). It appears that the White House hoped to delay the book's publication until either (a) Clarke testified before the 9/11 Commission or (b) (and ideally) the Commission had finished its work. But when the White House was forced to give the Commission a two-month extension of time, its plan backfired. So when they whine about the book's release in the middle of the "political season," they have no one to blame but themselves.

The Guardian: "The central allegation - that Mr Bush was so obsessed with going after Saddam Hussein that he openly challenged his counter-terrorism adviser to find a link between September 11 and Iraq the day after the attacks took place - is serious. ... 'The conversation absolutely took place. I was there, but you can't name me,' the witness said. 'I was one of several people present. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that the president had Iraq on his mind, first and foremost.' This former national security council official was too terrified to go on the record - he knows how vengeful this administration can be."

Some very important questions. ... I've linked to many stories, but for a daily wrap-up of the major media stories, you should check out Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing.

March 25, 2004

Twins 12, Red Sox 7. Box.
Minnesota  100 020 054 -  12  14  0  

Boston 001 001 104 - 7 14 0
Alright, here's some baseball news. ... Pedro Martinez did not seem particularly sharp this afternoon, allowing seven hits and three runs in five innings. Adam Hyzdu, Brian Daubach and David McCarty homered for Boston; for McCarty, it was #6 home run. ... Michael Restovich put the Twins up for good in the 8th with an RBI single off Mike Timlin that broke a 3-3 tie. Later in that inning, Michael Cuddyer ripped a grand slam off Timlin, who took the loss.
Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Dick Cheney claims Richard Clarke was "out of the loop", but Condoleezza Rice says Clarke "was in every meeting that was held on terrorism." ... Does anyone know why this administration believes that admitting its counterterrorism chief was kept "out of the loop" as threats increased throughout the summer of 2001 is something to be proud of? ... The public record is devastating.

On May 8, 2001, Cheney was put in charge of the new Office of National Preparedness -- to oversee a national effort to coordinate all federal programs for responding to domestic attacks. Cheney said terrorism is "one of our biggest threats as a nation ... We need to look at this whole area, oftentimes referred to as homeland defense." (New York Times, 7/8/02) Cheney's committee did not meet -- not even once -- before September 11.

Clarke kicked more ass on Larry King last night (I missed it because I was watching the Red Sox game): "The president was being told on a regular basis that an al Qaeda threat was coming, an al Qaeda attack was coming. Now, what does the president say in his own words to Bob Woodward in Bush at War? ... Bush acknowledged that bin Laden was not his focus or that of his national security team. ... 'I didn't feel a sense of urgency.' Well, how can you not feel a sense of urgency when George Tenet is telling you in daily briefings, day after day, that a major al Qaeda attack is coming? ... I think [sic] heaven for the family members of the victims who caused this commission to come into existence over the objections of the White House and who have now been able to get it extended over the objections of the White House."

Bush's Brand New Enemy Is The Truth: "One of the first official acts of the current Bush administration was to downgrade the office of national coordinator for counterterrorism on the National Security Council - a position held by Richard Clarke. ... Bush put him in a box where he could speak only when spoken to. ... Clarke was not the only national security professional who spanned both the Clinton and Bush administrations. General Donald Kerrick served as deputy national security adviser under Clinton and remained on the NSC into the Bush administration. ... 'I said they needed to pay attention to al-Qaida and counterterrorism. I said we were going to be struck again. They never once asked me a question, nor did I see them having a serious discussion about it.' ... [If Clarke was out of the loop] then the administration was either running a rogue operation or doing nothing, as Clarke testifies."

If the Bush administration indeed made terrorism an urgent priority before 9/11, there should be mounds of evidence to support this. In the last two days, the White House has immediately declassified documents and emails with which to attack Clarke, so where is the paper trail showing their eight-month "battle station" preparedness for al Qaeda? ... Jamie Gorelick, the only member of the 9/11 Commission who has read the President's Daily Briefings, said during the hearings that during the summer of 2001 the PDBs "would set your hair on fire" and the intelligence warnings of al Qaeda attacks "plateaued at a spike level for months" before September 11. ... So if Bush was on top of the threats and proud of his administration's actions, why is the White House fighting tooth and nail against the release of these PDBs -- and not a release to the general public, but simply to all 10 members of the Commission?

Also, if the White House believes Clarke is lying, charge him with perjury. He was under oath -- he actually referred to being under oath during his testimony several times -- so if he is lying, prosecute him now!

Update: MSNBC reports that Condi the Liar is willing to take time off from her busy media schedule to testify before the 9/11 Commission, but (again) only in closed session. ... "[W]e expected to be transparency, people who have got something to hide make us nervous." George W. Bush, February 16, 2002.
Yankees 8, Red Sox 6. A ho-hum night in Tampa. Box.
Boston    100 300 101 -  6 10  0  

New York 011 220 20x - 8 12 1
Gerry Callahan writes that resigning Pedro is an easy call: "Only one of the Sox' free-agents-to-be has said he is ready and willing to take a pay cut. After all of the aforementioned accomplishments, Pedro knows his years of earning $17.5 million are over. He's ready to settle for a scant $13 million or $14 million. So the Sox can actually re-sign the greatest pitcher they've ever had (who is only 32) and cut their payroll in the process."

Alex Rodriguez suffered a bruised left cheekbone last night after being struck by a thrown ball that ricocheted off Brian Daubach's leg. Boston third base coach Dale Sveum: "It got him good. It wasn't a grazing blow at all. You could hear it." Joe Torre: "He thought he got hit by a knee. That's how hard it was." Rodriguez was taken to the hospital as a precaution, and a CT scan was negative.

Notes: Nomar Garciaparra hopes to get some at-bats in a minor-league game early next week. ... Trot Nixon is at Stage three of a five-stage rehab program, which includes swimming and cariovascular work; he said that yesterday was by far the worst day he's had in terms of pain. ... Boston's starters had a 2.27 ERA before last night. ... Howard Bryant Q&A Part 2. ... Matthew Namee: "Is Mariano Rivera a Hall of Famer?"
588 Dead Americans -- Bush's Idea Of A Punchline. I'm disappointed that in the two days of public hearings before the 9/11 Commission, these two stories were not mentioned:

1. July 26, 2001: "In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term. ... Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department, however, would identify what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it."

2. September 10, 2001: "The state of alert had been high during the past two weeks, and a particularly urgent warning may have been received the night before the attacks, causing some top Pentagon brass to cancel a trip. Why that same information was not available to the 266 people who died aboard the four hijacked commercial aircraft may become a hot topic on the Hill." (Newsweek, 9/13/01) The only additional media mention of this story is in the next issue of Newsweek: "A group of top Pentagon officials suddenly cancelled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns." (Newsweek, 9/17/01) These two stories were at "" and "" respectively (as well as the print editions of the magazine), but are no longer operative.

Condoleezza Rice: "[Clarke] was in every meeting that was held on terrorism. All the deputies' meetings, the principals' meeting that was held and so forth, the early meetings after Sept. 11." ... WH Press Secretary: "Dr. Rice, early on in the administration, started holding daily briefings with the senior directors of the National Security Council, of which [Clarke] was one. But he refused to attend those meetings, and he was later asked to attend those meetings and he continued to refuse to attend those meetings."

"President Bush's national security leadership met formally nearly 100 times in the months prior to the Sept. 11 attacks yet terrorism was the topic during only two of those sessions, officials say." AP, June 28, 2002.

Meanwhile, at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association 60th annual dinner last night, George Bush presented a slide show, calling it the "White House Election-Year Album." He showed a picture of himself looking under furniture in a fruitless, frustrating search. "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere." ... That might be mildly amusing, except for the fact that Bush's lies about WMDs have caused the deaths of at least 588 Americans and thousands of innocent Iraqis. And he cracked this joke only a few hours after Richard Clarke apologized to the 9/11 victims families. ... Maybe Bush ought to take his act on the road. He could show it to the families whose sons and daughters have died for absolutely nothing. I'm sure they could use a chuckle.

March 24, 2004

Richard Clarke. Earlier today, I wondered why I still hold out optimism for the findings (or even the process) of the 9/11 Commission. Listening to Richard Clarke this afternoon, now I know why -- and my sliver of hope has grown just a little bit. Clarke was incredibly well-informed, concise and more than willing to criticize both the Bush and Clinton administrations where he felt it was necessary. At one point, Clarke said, "by invading Iraq the president of the United States has greatly undermined the war on terrorism" and there was dead silence in the room for 10-15 seconds. I actually thought the television transmission had frozen; it was like the proceeding was put on freeze-frame.

Will Clarke's testimony become a turning point in the overall investigation into 9/11? I hope so, but I truly don't know. It depends on how his devastating comments about the Bush administration's inaction regarding the intense warnings and threats over the 8 months before September 11 are taken by the public and the media -- and of course, the media will control how much, and which sections, the public hears. Tonight's newscasts and tomorrow's headlines should tell us a lot. ... Speaking of which, on Monday, Condoleeza Rice appeared live on all five morning shows speaking out against Clarke's book and she is scheduled to be a guest tonight on Fox's Hannity and Combs. Yet she refused to appear publicly (and under oath) before the 9/11 Commission this afternoon. ... It's well past time for a subpoena.

I thought the firestorm of criticism was coming back in May 2002 when it was widely reported that a mere 4 weeks before 9/11 Bush had been warned that Osama bin Laden was planning to hijack American airplanes in a massive terrorist attack. And we know now that the briefing said the attack would come within the US. But nothing happened and the story disappeared.

In his opening statement, Clarke said he welcomed "the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11. To them who are here in the room, to those who are watching on television, your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you and I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask -- once all the facts are out -- for your understanding and for your forgiveness." ... It was the first such statement by any official appearing before the Commission.

As I type this, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is laughing and chuckling with several members of the Commission. Donald Rumsfeld was doing the same thing yesterday. Why? Is there something funny about 9/11? Why are these men making jokes while they testify about their action or inaction regarding an event that killed almost 3,000 people and has inspired this administration to kill thousands more? Coming so soon after Clarke's apology and blunt testimony, it must be salt in the wounds to the victims families in the room.

Another huge story surfaced today: FBI translator Sibel Edmonds claims she was ordered to retranslate and/or adjust the translations of terrorist intercepts received before September 11, 2001 by the FBI and CIA. In a press conference in Washington after CIA Director George Tenet was questioned by the 9/11 Commission, Edmonds said she was offered a substantial raise and a full-time job in order to not go public with her information.

New York Press: "During a city council meeting last week that dealt, in part, with budget cuts set to affect the DA's office, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau ... let slip that the NYPD plans to arrest up to 1000 street protestors a day during this summer's Republican National Convention. ... Planning security for such an event is one thing, and is to be expected. But to have someone like Morgenthau or Ray Kelly come out and say, essentially, that they intend to arrest 1000 people a day because they don't like the Republican party?"
Thoughts on the 9/11 Commission. Gail Sheehy was with Kristen Breitweiser, Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg and Patty Casazza yesterday at the 9/11 Commission hearing in Washington, DC. From her excellent report: "The Four Moms had submitted dozens of questions they have been burning to ask at these hearings. Mr. Rumsfeld is a particular thorn in their sides. ... When the widows had a conference call last week with the commission staff, they asked that Secretary Rumsfeld be questioned about his response on the day of Sept. 11. They were told that this was not a line of questioning the staff planned to pursue."

In the public hearings I have both attended and watched on television, the members of the Commission seem to have assumptions about the terrorist attacks that they believe are true and ask their questions as though those assumptions are incontrovertible facts. The Commission has consistently refused to question the fundamental assumptions about 9/11 and by deciding that certain questions are not important, the Commission seems intent on reaffirming the "official version." Having the Defense Secretary describe what he was told and saw and did on 9/11 is apparently not worth the Commission's time. Of course, it's possibile these questions are being asked in private, but there are dozens of questions that deserve to be answered in public. (Rumsfeld's account as told in Sheehy's article is completely implausible.)

Despite my near-constant bitching about the Commission, I still hold some slim hope that it will do its job. I don't know why I have any shred of optimism; the less I expect, the less likely I'll be disappointed. The Commission's final report -- due at the end of July -- may contain some nuggets of truth, some new information to fit into the existing Timeline, but any truly groundbreaking information will come from researchers and the pressure applied by people like Breitweiser and Kleinberg, not from "independent" bodies like the 9/11 Commission.
Some Dates. Mostly from here.

June 22, 2001: CIA Director George Tenet is "nearly frantic" with concern about a terrorist attack.

June 28, 2001: Tenet writes a memo to national security adviser Condoleezza Rice: "It is highly likely that a significant al Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks." Some officials say Tenet "repeated this so often that people got tired of hearing it."

July 5, 2001: Richard Clarke, the government's top counterterrorism official, tells officials of a dozen federal agencies, including the FAA, FBI, Secret Service and INS: "Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon." For six weeks, the US government is at its highest possible state of readiness against imminent terrorist attack.

August 6, 2001: As George Bush is briefed that al Qaeda might plan a hijacking within the US, the government had begun to lessen its alert of the previous month. Both Bush and Dick Cheney remain on vacation for the entire month.

September 4, 2001: The White House holds its first meeting on terrorism.

September 9, 2001: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld threatens a presidential veto when the Senate proposed to divert $600 million from ballistic missile defense to counterterrorism.

September 10, 2001: Attorney General John Ashcroft rejects a proposed $58 million increase in FBI financing for counter-terrorism programs.
Red Sox Talk Contract With Pedro and Nomar. Pedro Martinez was "happy" after he and his agent met with John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein for two hours last night. Neither side offered much comment on the negotiations; Epstein said the talks were "good and productive." ... The Globe says the team is also making a concerted attempt before Opening Night to reach a long-term deal with Nomar Garciaparra, who turned down a recent offer. The Red Sox have not yet responded to his counteroffer.

Derek Lowe was scheduled to throw about 80 pitches yesterday, but he needed only 70 in his six shutout innings. He gave up three hits (all singles) and walked none. Ten of his 14 non-K outs were ground balls. In 18.1 innings over four starts, he has walked only three batters and has a 0.98 ERA. ... Ellis Burks went 2-4, with a three-run homer and 4 RBI. ... David Ortiz on why he likes hitting home runs: "You don't have to run like if you hit a double or something like that."

Two looks at 3B Gabe Kapler. ... Byung Hyun Kim has stretched out to nine minutes of long-tossing at 80 feet. ... Manny Ramirez, Kevin Millar, Pokey Reese and Bill Mueller are the only regulars who will make the trip to Tampa for tonight's game against the Yankees. Tim Wakefield will start and Ramiro Mendoza may finally see some game action.

Rivals in Exile: Wild Cards -- Ben Jacobs and Larry Mahnken "take a look at what, if anything, could stop the Yankees and Red Sox from making the post-season, and wonder if the Wild Card is worth it." ... Steve Treder: "The image we're often given of baseball in the 50s is one of static conservatism; we may be led to believe it was a dreary and monotonous time of stolid teams in baggy gray uniforms, relying upon tried-and-true formulas. The truth is entirely different: the 1950s in baseball was almost certainly the decade involving the most fundamental, startling, and dynamic change of any in modern baseball history."

March 23, 2004

Red Sox 7, Devil Rays 4. Lowe pitched six strong innings. Timlin allowed a grand slam in the final frame.
Tampa Bay  000 000 004 -  4   7  2  

Boston 300 030 10x - 7 10 0
Questions About Pedro's Velocity. Sean McAdam: "Martinez has been pain-free all spring, but some in management are asking why Martinez has yet to top 90 mph on radar guns in three Grapefruit League outings. There's also some fear that his lower arm angle ... is indicative of some soreness in the shoulder. ... One theory is that Martinez has deliberately held back from throwing as hard as he's capable of this spring because the Sox have not been more aggressive in their efforts to sign him. ... At the same time, Red Sox management could be asking the same question from their perspective: Why should we commit to him if he won't -- or can't -- throw harder than he's thrown?"

It is believed that if a deal isn't reached before the end of spring training, both the Red Sox and Martinez will not negotiate until after the season. I would be heartbroken to see Pedro in another team's uniform, but I don't have a problem with waiting until November. Everything Theo et al. has said and done shows me that they are content to wait. They want to see how Pedro performs this season and how his shoulder holds up before committing to him for another 3-4 years. If Martinez has another superb season and remains healthy, I don't see any reason why a deal could not be reached in the fall.

Player notes: Ellis Burks has not been cleared to play the outfield, but he believes he's getting close. ... Bill Mueller strained his right triceps swinging a lead-weight bat on Saturday, but says it is "nothing major." ... Byung-Hyun Kim threw from about 75 feet Sunday and did well, according to Terry Francona. ... Trot Nixon has begun his core-strengthening program. ... A look at two former replacement players -- Kevin Millar and Brian Daubach.

March 22, 2004

60 Minutes Transcript. Thanks to Sadly No (html and text files). ... One quote from Richard Clarke offered without comment: "He [Bush] asked us after 9/11 to give him cards with pictures of the major al Qaeda leaders and tell us when they were arrested or killed so he could draw X's through their pictures."
Los Angeles 3, Boston 2. Monday afternoon.
Red Sox  000 000 002 -  2  7  1

Dodgers 010 000 20x - 3 8 0
Curt Schilling pitched 5.2 innings this afternoon, allowing four hits and one run. That run came in the second inning when Jolbert Cabrera bunted for a one-out single. Luis Garcia followed with a single to center and Cabrera beat Johnny Damon's throw to third, allowing Garcia to advance to second. Cabrera scored on Jose Hernandez's groundout to shortstop. Bubba Trammell and Koyie Hill each knocked in a run in the seventh off Frank Castillo. ... Odalis Perez pitched five innings, allowing three hits and striking out five. Boston rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth off non-roster pitcher Rick White, driven in by Mark Bellhorn and Michael Hernandez. ... Ramiro Mendoza was scheduled to pitch in the game, but he cut his finger on the seam of the ball in a game of catch.

Schilling hoped to pitch seven innings, but after his 87th pitch -- strike three to Paul Lo Duca for the second out in the sixth -- he was pulled; he walked one and struck out four. "Command-wise early, I didn't feel like I was hitting one of my corners consistently, but I felt like it came as the game went on. ... That's what I'm going to try and do, my next start, hopefully stretch it out, get it to 100, 105 pitches in and then tune it up for the season." Schilling also said he would continue working on his changeup. "The one thing that the changeup is going to do is allow me to throw fewer pitches. In counts where I might get a swing and a miss, I can throw a changeup and get an out."

Also: Projo: "Boston has three spots open -- two in the bullpen and one on the bench -- and just a few short weeks to decide who will fill them." More info from the Herald and Globe. ... LHP Nick Bierbrodt has decided to become a free agent rather than report to Pawtucket. The Red Sox then traded Tony Womack to St. Louis for RHP Matt Duff, who was 4-2, 2.62 last year in Memphis (AAA). ... The pitching matchups for the first series at Fenway Park (against Toronto): Arroyo/Pat Hentgen, Pedro/Roy Halladay and Schilling/Miguel Batista.
Richard Clarke -- The Week Begins. Here are stories from the New York Times and Washington Post; the Post also has a Condoleezza Rice Op-Ed countering Clarke. ... One of the Times articles is written by Judith Miller, whose credibility issues regarding terrorism and the invasion dwarf those of Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass and Jack Kelley. ... Even the Wall Street Journal -- which actually ran several excellent investigative articles in late September and October 2001 -- sees fit to examine the gross inaccuracies in the Official Version(s). Better late than never.

Josh Marshall has several posts regarding Clarke and TPM promises to be one of the best guides to this story in coming days and weeks. Here's his latest; and then going back and coming up to today in chronological order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. All of these are essential reading. ... Clarke and other Clinton and Bush administration officials will be testifying publicly before the 9/11 Commission on Tuesday and Wednesday. If this story doesn't have legs, then it's a fair bet that no story critical of the Bush administration will.

March 21, 2004

Getting Away With Murder. Steve Gillard on Richard Clarke's charges (watch 60 Minutes):

"Rumsfeld wanted to bomb Iraq for 9/11, despite ample evidence Al Qaeda was responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Americans. ... Perle and Wolfowitz, despite all available evidence, would have let Osama sit in Afghanistan untouched just to get Saddam. ... Let's keep this in mind, and it's really simple: the Bush response to 9/11 would have let Osama get away with murder, killing thousands of innocent people. ... Americans are burning alive, falling from the Twin Towers, and Bush is more concerned about his vendetta with Iraq than hunting down the people who murdered them in cold blood."

The Junta's first response -- on the very afternoon of September 11 -- was to allow Al Qaeda off cost-free for killing thousands of innocent people in the US and instead kill thousands of innocent people in Iraq. Why? Why would they want to do that? ... It should be crystal clear at this point that the Junta had specific plans when they assumed office and nothing -- not even 9/11 -- was going to interfere with those plans. Indeed, their gut reaction was to use the attacks solely as a reason for bombing (and taking control of) an innocent country. Read the books from Clarke, Paul O'Neill, Paul Waldman and David Corn, and one fact is inescapable: it was all part of the plan.

"[T]he Bush response to 9/11 would have let Osama get away with murder, killing thousands of innocent people."

And if recent polls are any gauge, approximately 150,000,000 Americans don't give a damn.

Update: The Family Steering Committee is demanding the resignation of 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow. Its letter to the Commission:

"Very disturbing information has surfaced regarding Philip Zelikow's participation in the failure to heed warnings about al Qaeda and imminent attacks on America in the months prior to September 11th.

"It is clear that Dr. Zelikow should never have been permitted to be a member of the Commission, since it is the mandate of the Commission to identify the source of 9/11 failures. Dr. Zelikow has a conflict of interest that extends beyond just the transition. It is now apparent why there has been so little effort to assign individual culpability. We now can see that trail would lead directly to the staff director himself.

"What little time the Commission has left must be spent without the taint of Dr. Zelikow's influence. We demand his immediate resignation."
Red Sox 4, Orioles 2. We win again! The SoSH game thread has a pitch-by-pitch description of Arroyo's outing.
Boston     000 011 002 - 4  9  2  

Baltimore 000 101 000 - 2 6 0
MLB: Bronson Arroyo allowed one run and four hits in four innings. The run came in the fourth when David Segui singled, Miguel Tejada walked and (one out later) Jay Gibbons singled. Boston evened the game in the fifth when David McCarty broke Bedard's no-hitter with a home run to left-center field.

[The line scores show Boston scoring in the 4th (not the 5th) and Baltimore scoring in the 5th (and not the 4th); I've fixed the line score here to reflect the game summary.]

The Red Sox took the lead in the sixth when Manny Ramirez scored as Tejada threw late to first on McCarty's bases-loaded grounder. In the Baltimore half, Tejada doubled off Mark Malaska, stole third and scored on Doug Mirabelli's throwing error.

Terry Shumpert singled to begin the Red Sox 9th. Jimmy Alvarez then whacked a triple to right-center. Shumpert scored but may have strained a hamstring. David Murphy singled in Alvarez.
Kim, Nixon, Arroyo, Ortiz, Etc. Byung-Hyun Kim will start the season on the DL. The Red Sox want him to be able to throw off a mound by Opening Night, and if all goes well, be back by mid-April.

Trot Nixon talks in detail about his injury and says he'll likely play a few games in Pawtucket before returning to the big club. ... Tim Wakefield pitched four shutout innings Saturday, by far his best outing, according to Terry Francona. Wakefield has allowed 1 run in 9 innings and will pitch on three days rest Wednesday against the Yankees. ... Bronson Arroyo will start the home opener April 9 against Toronto.

Ortizzle: "In his first year with the Red Sox, he entertained teammates with jokes and treated fans to soaring homers. For doubters who thought that was a fluke, he's at it again." Sure, they are spring stats, but Ortiz is hitting .345 (10-29) and slugging 1.034.

Theo Epstein has been answering questions at SoSH. ... What was Kevin Millar's day like on March 12? ... A look at Dave Wallace. Tony Massarotti: "Different paces for Sox' two aces: Martinex, Schilling approach excellent from opposite directions" (yes, the typo is on the website). ... Ramiro Mendoza will pitch tomorrow against Los Angeles. ... The Toronto Star says even if you hate the Red Sox, you can like Terry Francona.

The Yankees are dealing with injuries as well. Bernie Williams has missed more than a month after an appendectomy (he may play as early as Wednesday, though). Jon Lieber, who hasn't pitched since mid-2002, has been sidelined by groin pulls. Travis Lee has an inflamed left shoulder and will likely be on the disabled list. In yesterday's loss to Pittsburgh, Enrique Wilson twisted his ankle and Miguel Cairo felt his right hamstring tighten up (possible subs at 2B include Homer Bush and Felix Escalona).

Quote o' the day: "I am on the juice. The juice of Jesus of Nazareth." Julio Franco (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

March 20, 2004

Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 4. The happy recap.
Blue Jays  000 000 400 -  4 10  0

Red Sox 000 105 30x - 9 9 0
David Ortiz broke up a scoreless game with a solo shot off Brandon League. It was Ortizzle's mlb-leading 6th home run of the spring. Kevin Millar's three-run homer and a two-run blast by Doug Mirabelli highlighted a five-run sixth against David Bush. The Jays cut into that lead with four runs in the seventh against Keith Foulke (Josh Phelps's two-run single was the key blow). Boston stretched its lead to 9-4 in the seventh on Brian Daubach's sacrifice fly and Mike Curry's double.

Tim Wakefield blanked the Blue Jays through four innings in his third outing (second start), giving up four hits, with one walk and one strikeout. Toronto starter Justin Miller allowed only a single to Millar in three innings of work; he also struck out three.

The Dark Side: Mike Mussina and Kevin Brown will begin New York's season against the Devil Rays on March 30-31 in Tokyo; both games start at 5:00 am EST. They will also probably pitch April 6-7 when the Yankees resume the series in Tampa Bay. (Jose Contreras and Donovan Osborne are scheduled to start exhibition games in Japan on March 28.) Javier Vazquez will then likely pitch the team's home opener April 8 against the White Sox.
Let's Start With The Good News. Nomar Garciaparra says he'll "be out at least another week [but] I still plan to be there for opening day." He'll wear an immobilizing boot for the next week and will take about another week to get back into game shape. Opening Day is 16 days away.

Trot Nixon will miss approximately 6 weeks with a mildly herniated disk. Theo Epstein said the six-week plan is "a very conservative treatment." Most of Nixon's ABs will go to Gabe Kapler and Ellis Burks. Kapler played 30 games in RF last season and is hitting .344 (11-32) this spring. ... Terry Francona said Kevin Millar could also see time in right, though probably not in Fenway's vast meadow. Manny Ramirez will remain in left.

Pedro Martinez worked on his mechanics and fastball (which was in the 86-91 range) in the early innings Friday afternoon. "The first two innings, I was a little flat. ... I was still pulling the ball to right-handed hitters. But after a couple of innings, I got better." Martinez struck out his last four batters. "From now on, I start pitching ... like it's the season and get ready for the first outing. In the last inning, I tried to pitch like it was a regular-season game, and just use all my pitches, mix them all, and use my experience." (Also here)

Pedro ended his Q&A session abruptly: "Asked about his spring training preparation, Martinez said, 'To me, once I step in the white lines, it's a game. At the same time, it's spring training, same routine, same - I'm actually tired of talking to you guys, right now. I'm bored.' He got up and was asked how his boredom could be alleviated. 'Just let me go, thank you.'" ... Pedro has two more spring starts: Thursday against Minnesota and March 30 against Toronto. That will give him five days rest before Opening Night.

Also: Byung-Hyun Kim's shoulder will be re-examined today. ... Ramiro Mendoza threw 35 pitches of live BP and may pitch in a game either Monday or Tuesday. ... Pokey Reese and Mark Bellhorn were sent home with flu symptoms and Johnny Damon had a personal day. ... Cesar Crespo is still smoking (.464 BA, .581 OBP). ... Moves: OF Jeremy Owens and C Kelly Shoppach reassigned to minor-league camp; RHP Edwin Almonte, LHP Phil Seibel and 3B Kevin Youkilis optioned to Pawtucket; RHP Jerome Gamble optioned to Portland; LHP Nick Bierbrodt sent outright to Pawtucket.
"'Conspiracy stuff' Is Now Shorthand For Unspeakable Truth." New York Times: "Senior Clinton administration officials called to testify next week before the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks say they are prepared to detail how they repeatedly warned their Bush administration counterparts in late 2000 that Al Qaeda posed the worst security threat facing the nation — and how the new administration was slow to act."

Two of the people briefed were Condoleezza Rice and Philip Zelikow. Zelikow is currently the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission -- conflict of interest? don't be silly -- and Rice (now National Security Adviser) refuses to answer any of the Commission's questions in public.

Shortly after taking office, the Bush Administration ordered the FBI and intelligence agencies to "back off" investigations involving Osama bin Laden while they negotiated with the Taliban over an oil pipeline. (Also here and here; in this light, many people see the 9/11 attacks as a "pre-emptive strike" against the US.)

Former White House terrorism advisor Richard Clarke will be on 60 Minutes this Sunday. "Clarke was surprised that the attention of administration officials was turning toward Iraq when he expected the focus to be on al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. 'They were talking about Iraq on 9/11. They were talking about it on 9/12. ... Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq. ... 'There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.'"

March 19, 2004

Red Sox 11, Pirates 8. The linescore says Pedro, the winning pitcher, is now 1-2, but he's really 1-0.
Pittsburgh  201 004 010 -  8  6  1

Boston 050 400 20x - 11 15 2
           IP   H   R  ER  BB   K  PIT   B/S   WP

Martinez 4 2 3 1 1 7 63 23/40 1
Pedro's play-by-play:

1st: Bobby Hill struck out swinging. Jack Wilson walked on a full count. Daryle Ward grounded to Febles, but he threw wildly to Crespo covering 2B. Wilson scored and Ward advanced to 3rd. Randall Simon struck out. Rob Mackowiak was safe on another Febles error (ball through legs). Orlando Merced flied out to short right.

2nd: JJ Davis walked. Chris Truby popped out to second. Humberto Cota popped out to shortstop. Hill popped out to left field.

3rd: Wilson singled to right. Wilson stole second. Ward struck out catcher to first, Wilson advanced to 3rd. Mackowiak singled to right, Ward scored. Merced struck out looking.

4th: Davis struck out swinging. Chris Truby struck out swinging. Cota struck out swinging.

Mike F's report. ... Manny Ramirez went 3-for-3 with three RBI and Kevin Millar had two doubles and two RBI. The Red Sox fell behind 2-0 in the first as a result of errors by 2B Carlos Febles. Boston came back in the second, scoring five times; Gabe Kapler ripped a three-run triple and Ramirez added a two-run double. In the fourth, Terry Shumpert had an RBI triple, Ramirez had a run-scoring single and Millar added a two-run double.
Missed Him By That Much. "A bulletproof LandCruiser at high speed bursting out of a tribal compound in Pakistan's South Waziristan region was just the latest infuriating setback in the US's quest to bring down the top of the al-Qa'ida tree. The car, followed by two armoured vehicles and a phalanx of heavily armed militants ... is believed to have contained Ayman al-Zawahiri, right-hand man to Osama bin Laden." ... So he outraced thousands of US forces and their surveillance capability, aircraft and laser-guided missiles by just stepping on the gas? ... Is this a test to see how stupid we are, if we swallow this crap? ... Now if he was driving Pedro's Aston Martin Vanquish, maybe, but a LandCrisuer? ... I see a pattern:

* bin Laden family members and Saudi royal family members secretly flown out of the US by the Bush White House a few days after 9/11.

* The November 2001 Kunduz airlift. Al-Qaeda and Pakistani military advisers are secretly airlifted out of the country by authorization of the US military. (Go here and read all the orange text for November 2001.)

* With OBL surrounded on three sides at Tora Bora, US special forces are not given the order to capture him. They watch as two helicopters descend into his location, take passengers and fly to Pakistan. A first-hand account from a special forces member is here.

* al-Zawahiri.

Plus: "The official merchandise Web site for ... Bush's re-election campaign has sold clothing made in Burma, whose goods were banned by Bush from the US last year to punish its military dictatorship." ... Bush-Cheney clothing made by slave labor in a military dictatorship? Why, I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you.


Not Good. Boston radio station WEEI reports that Trot Nixon has a slightly herniated disk and will miss six weeks. And Nomar Garciaparra arrived at camp this morning wearing "a removable cast on the lower part of his right leg."

And MLB is not carrying either team's radio broadcast of Pedro's start this afternoon against Pittsburgh. Boo.