January 31, 2005

Slappy. The blue-lipped one talks to Bob Klapisch about what will likely be his legacy as a Yankee:
In the heat of the moment, you do things sometimes out of instinct. I thought it was a smart play, and we almost got away with it. We put an umpire in the position of having to turn over a call like that in Yankee Stadium. It gave us a shot. (Umpire) Jim Joyce told me, 'if you'd knocked the crap out of (Arroyo) it would've been legal because he was in your way.' So if I had a chance to do it again, I would've tried to run him over. Even though I probably would've hurt someone with my weight and velocity, dropping my shoulder down.
Of course, right after the game, Rodriguez maintained that he hadn't done anything wrong (oh goodness no!) and was simply in his normal running motion. ... And now he's admitting he'd injure another player in order to cheat (though he would have had to go way out of the baseline to hit Arroyo)? I suspect he won't be digging in at the plate at any time this season against Boston.

Slappy also boasted: "My approach is to win championships. The only way to do that is to be myself, and to take care of my world. With my talent people will follow naturally."

January 30, 2005

Guapo Gone Wild. So Rich Garces fails to show up for a Venezuela Winter League game on January 17. His wife files a missing persons report and there is speculation that he may have been kidnapped.

But now we learn that El Guapo is safe and sound -- he was simply at a beach party and had neglected to tell his family. ... Man, that must have been one hell of a party.
One To Nine. As was the case in 2004, the Red Sox will head into spring training in a few weeks with their 25-man roster just about set. The Herald's Tony Massarotti proposes this batting order:
Damon, cf
Renteria, ss
Ramirez, lf
Ortiz, dh
Millar, 1b
Nixon, rf
Varitek, c
Mueller, 3b
Bellhorn, 2b
Last Wednesday, the Sox traded Doug Mientkiewicz to the Mets for minor league first baseman Ian Bladergroen. Before the 2004 season, Baseball America listed Bladergroen as one of a dozen breakout players in the minors and the 22-year-old batted .342-13-74 in 74 games at Capital City (A) before a ligament tear in his left wrist ended his season in July.

Tony Massarotti (Herald): "The bottom line is the bat of Kevin Millar is worth more than the glove of Doug Mientkiewicz ... In 2005, Mientkiewicz is due $3.75 million, while Millar is slated for $3.5 million. ... The Red Sox can find someone to do what Mientkiewicz does, which is why David McCarty already has been signed to a minor league contract. ... Seriously, people, was this even a decision?"

Millar's streaky bat has always annoyed me (and his adventures in the outfield make Manny look like Willie Mays) and I absolutely loved Malphabet's glove work (and expected his bat to rebound from last season), but this is still probably the right decision. The salaries are relatively the same, so I assume that wasn't a factor. Still, that lineup will hit like a motherfucker, so perhaps sparing some offense at first in favor of defense wouldn't have been such a bad idea. Ah well, Kentucky Fried Kevin it is.

At the same time, the Sox and Snook agreed on where the World Series baseball will be for the next year. It will be encased in a special plaque and join the trophy on its victory tour.

January 25, 2005

Good Deed. Larry Mahnken, who writes the excellent Replacement Level Yankees Weblog: "My apartment burned down at about 2am [Monday] morning. I'm currently homeless."

Keving18 at SoSH adds that Larry "is currently unemployed and had no property or homeowners insurance" and suggests that a donation via Paypal at his site would be much appreciated.

January 24, 2005

The Coma Guy. Can this actually be true? ESPN's Bill Simmons:
Here's a movie idea: diehard Red Sox fan falls into a coma before the 2004 playoffs, spends the next four weeks fighting for his life, then regains his senses after the World Series. He survives ... only he feels ripped off, because as millions of Sox fans say, "I saw them win in my lifetime," this poor guy is the one who didn't see anything.

Never mind. It's too improbable, right?

Meet Steven Manganello, known from this day forward in Red Sox history as The Coma Guy.
More. I googled his name, but all I got is Simmons and various links to the story. If this is legit, I think we'll be hearing more about this guy pretty soon. ... The Sox ought to have him throw out the first pitch when they raise the flag in April.

January 23, 2005

Waiting On A Sunny Day. One of several pictures posted by Anne at SoSH:

Another poster says Truck Day is exactly 3 weeks away!

January 22, 2005

Stop Sniveling ... After Alex Rodriguez slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove late in ALCS Game 6, costing the Yankees a run and possibly the AL pennant, Curt Schilling called the chop "freakin' junior high baseball at its best," then twisted the knife. "Let me ask you something: Does Jeter do that? You know for a fact he doesn't because Derek Jeter is a class act and a professional, that's why."

Yesterday, "still clearly seething" from Schilling's comments (according to Michael Morrissey of the New York Post), Slappy McBluelips answered back: "To me it was just odd, because I mean we beat him a couple of times during the year and he was crying on the bench. And then he lost Game 1 and he wouldn't talk or anything. And obviously, he wins Game 6 and then he's still talking 'till today. ... I just hope he continues to talk about me and my teammates. It's going to give us great motivation to beat him up in the future."

Schilling: "It's not true, I talked after Game 1. I don't care what Alex says. When someone says that, you consider the source. ...[I] was upset, but I wasn't crying on the bench. ... If that's what he needs (for motivation), cool."

Slappy also took the blame for his pitiful performance (2-for-17) in Games 4-5-6-7 of the ALCS: "At the end of the day, I feel like my job was a failure because I was basically taken there to be the final part of a world championship team. So if you have to blame someone or point a finger at someone, you have to look in my direction, and I take 100 percent of the blame." ... He said his team's unprecedented choke job has been "the driving force of my winter."

Read the Globe, Daily News, Post, Times, Hartford Courant and Newark Star-Ledger.

Dirt Dog improves on the classic picture of Slap-Rod. He also links to a story in the Las Vegas Sun, wherein Doug Mirabelli talks about Doug Mientkiewicz after the final out was recorded in St. Louis. "I could read his mind. He was in that dog pile and squeezing his glove as hard as possible." I figured from the snip that Belly knew Snook was planning to hoard the ball, but Mirabelli actually supports Malphabet. Right after the story broke, he called Mientkiewicz and told him: "You are the dumbest guy in America if you give the ball back."

Also: Mark Bellhorn and Bronson Arroyo agreed to one-year contracts on Tuesday. The team will likely move either Doug Mientkiewicz or Kevin Millar once Carlos Delgado decides where he wants to play. The Globe's Chris Snow looks at the Sox's two first basemen; he also wrote a nice feature on Theo Epstein's four assistants.

January 16, 2005

#26. Thanks to Red at Surviving Grady for listing me as one of the 39 things that haunt his sleep.

Which reminds me to tell you to buy his upcoming book -- Surviving Grady: A Journal of Unhealthy Red Sox Obsession During the Greatest Season Ever. With a great picture of Dave Roberts on the cover, it will be unleashed on the world in April.

January 15, 2005

Sunday Conversation. Curt Schilling talks to ESPN's Jayson Stark:
I will do everything within my God-given ability to be healthy, 100 percent, on the mound that night [Sunday, April 3, facing former teammate Randy Johnson when the Red Sox open the season in New York]. ... I am convinced now the ankle will be healthy by then. But the arm has to be where it needs to be. I have to be comfortable knowing I can take the ball on Opening Day, and not go out there with a pitch count.
ESPN will broadcast the entire interview on Sunday night.
Yawn. Filip Bondy in the Daily News:
Yankee stove hottest -- Surge ahead of Bosox by landing Randy

"... An inferior Yankee rotation was just a stolen base and a line drive away from sweeping Boston in four games. The Yanks might have pulled it off, forever disguising that motley rotation and weary bullpen.

But we are talking about probabilities here, and the AL East odds have changed dramatically over the past couple months. The Yankees are drubbing the Red Sox this winter, 19-6, maybe worse. They are now an intimidating, mercenary team capable of putting together a 1998-type season, minus only the good feelings.

... Apparently, Theo Epstein wasn't watching very closely last winter when the Yankees frittered away their slim advantage over his team. Epstein has virtually replicated Cashman's errors, step by step. ..."
Yes, the Yankees were unable to sweep the Red Sox, thanks (in part) to "a stolen base and a line drive." But, as Bondy neglects to mention:

The Yankees were unable to beat the Red Sox in 5 games.

The Yankees were unable to beat the Red Sox in 6 games.

The Yankees were unable to beat the Red Sox in 7 games.

The Yankees were unable to beat the Red Sox at all.

Also, in 2005, New York has a question mark at first base, a gaping hole at second, and an aging center fielder. The closest Bondy comes to addressing these issues is when he says having Bernie rather than Beltran in center will be better for the team's clubhouse chemistry. Oy.

January 11, 2005

Talk Of The Town. And his official press conference is this afternoon!

January 10, 2005

Welcome To New York! Oh, this is going to be good.
Randy Johnson is in town for his physical, but things got a little out of hand when a CBS 2 camera caught up with the future Yankee on the way to the doctor's office.

Monday morning, in midtown on Madison Avenue between 58th and 59th streets, CBS2 cameraman Vinny Everett shot some video of Johnson, a standard procedure with a big-name athlete coming to town.

The security representative with Johnson put his hand on our camera, and swiped it away.
Johnson: "Don't get in my face and don't talk back to me, alright!"

Here (with video (and subtitles!)).
Four More Blogs. Not always about the Sox (they talk about football too, for some reason), but worth checking out:

Cursed to First
The Baseball Desert
Felines for Anarchistic Green Democracies

January 9, 2005

A Slow Sunday. Joel Sherman of the Post compares the Red Sox and Yankees rotations:
Red Sox    Yankees    Edge

Schilling Johnson ---
Wells Mussina Mussina
Clement Pavano Pavano
Miller Wright Wright
Arroyo Brown Arroyo
If everyone is healthy, I would say Johnson tops Schilling, but Clement and Wells are both better than Pavano and Mussina. I'll agree with him on Wright and Arroyo.

Dirt Dog has comments from everyone involved in Ballgate (Josh Beckett says keep it). He also says Derek Lowe has inked a deal with the Dodgers.

Following a report in the Houston Chronicle, ESPN reports that Carlos Beltran has signed a 7/119 deal with the New York Mets. Houston offered 7/108, which was fine with Beltran, but the Astros would not give him a full no-trade clause.

My ticket for Game #2 (Yankees, April 5) arrived yesterday. Hurry up, spring!
Spinoff. For those you who come here for political comment and are bothered by all the goddamn Red Sox information, you're in luck: I've created another blog.

Joy of Sox will feature Red Sox/baseball stuff and This Blog Needs No Title (or whatever it ends up being called) will be about everything else.

January 8, 2005

Give It Back. It started with Dan Shaughnessy's column in Friday's Globe:
Doug Mientkiewicz has the ball. The Red Sox want it back. ... "We're going to make a request of him to return it to us," Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino said late last night. "We want it to be part of Red Sox archives or museums so it can be shared with the fans. We would hope he would understand the historical nature of it."
Mientkiewicz called the ball "my retirement fund ... I'm thinking, there's four years at Florida State for one of my kids. At least." ... Later that day, Snook called WEEI: "I thought it was going to be a light-hearted article. ... I was just joking around with him and kidding about it. ... If they'd like to show it to fans, I'd be more than happy to. Hell, I'll stand out there myself and show it to everybody."

John Henry (e-mail): "I called Doug to discuss the situation with him on Thursday. We spoke on Friday. We didn't discuss solutions. ... I just wanted to listen to what his feelings were with regard to all of this. I have a great deal of respect for Doug." ... Team spokesman Glenn Geffner: "It's not a huge controversy. This story has been blown way out of proportion."

The location of other World Series final out balls? 1983 Orioles (Cal Ripken), 1998 Yankees (Andy Pettitte), 1980 Phillies (unknown), 1985 Royals (unknown), 1986 Mets (unknown), 1988 Dodgers (GM Fred Claire), 1990 Reds (Todd Benzinger) and 2002 Angels (Darren Erstad). ... The Hall of Fame has the ball from the final out of only two championships -- 1889 and 1903.

Also: Pokey Reese agreed to a $1.2 million, one-year contract with the Mariners on Tuesday. ... Sox players react to Randy Johnson agreeing on a 2/32 contract extension with the Chokers. ... The Dodgers are close to signing Derek Lowe to a 4/36 deal.

It's official: The Red Sox and Chokers will open the 2005 season on Sunday night, April 3. ... David Ortiz says he's still recovering from a nagging right-shoulder injury but expects to be healthy by spring training. [Fuck you, Dale Sveum.]

January 7, 2005

So What's The Difference?* Yesterday, many Republicans used the words "frivolous," "crying wolf" and "conspiracy theory" to describe the suggestion of some Democrats that the Ohio votes in the presidential election might need investigating. One problem was the fact that some counties had more votes cast than actual voters.

But now another day has dawned and what do we see? ... Why it's the Republicans filing a lawsuit to challenge the results of the governor's race in Washington state because (wait for it) there are "lingering questions about why the county shows more votes counted than people voting on Nov. 2."


And by "unbelievable," I mean "completely believable."

Any of the conservative people reading this blog care to explain this one?

[* - besides the fact that a Democrat won, I mean]

January 6, 2005

Democracy: Yea or Nay? Only 32 out of 530 members of the Senate and House voted Yes to investigate Election Day problems in Ohio.

There have been scores of oddities reported since November 2, including the fact that two Perry County precincts reported turnouts of 124.4% and 124% of registered voters. Nearly 94% of the Senate and House said that wasn't worth taking a closer look at, so those totals were officially certified today as part of the final count. ... Move along, nothing to see here.

I undoubtedly have disagreements with many of the 32 names listed below, but on the issue of having fair elections in this country, they are only ones worth listening to. The other 498 can go to hell.

Senate (74-1, 25 non-votes):

Barbara Boxer (California)

House (267-31, 132 non-votes):

Corrine Brown (Florida)
Julia Carson (Indiana)
William Clay Jr. (Missouri)
James Clyburn (South Carolina)
John Conyers (Michigan)
Danny Davis (Illinois)
Lane Evans (Illinois)
Sam Farr (California)
Bob Filner (California)
Raul Grijalva (Arizona)
Alcee Hastings (Florida)
Maurice Hinchey (New York)
Jesse Jackson Jr. (Illinois)
Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas)
Stephanie Tubbs Jones (Ohio)
Carolyn Kilpatrick (Michigan)
Barbara Lee (California)
John Lewis (Georgia)
Ed Markey (Massachusetts)
Cynthia McKinney (Georgia)
John Olver (Massachusetts)
Major Owens (New York)
Frank Pallone Jr. (New Jersey)
Donald Payne (New Jersey)
Jan Schakowsky (Illinois)
Bennie Thompson (Mississippi)
Maxine Waters (California)
Diane Watson (California)
Lynn Woolsey (California)

Several other Democrats made excellent speeches -- Mel Watt (North Carolina), Grace Napolitano (California), Barack Obama (Illinois) (as did Independent Bernie Sanders (Vermont)) -- but they all turned chickenshit when the time came to vote.

January 5, 2005

Standing With Conyers. Tomorrow, January 6, Representative John Conyers will object to Ohio's presidential vote count. However, he will not be allowed to speak unless at least one other member of the Senate agrees to let him have the floor. And that act would force a debate and investigation about what happened in Ohio (and at this point, to think the 2004 elections were fair and correct, can only be ignorance, whether willful or otherwise).

As fellow Red Sox fan William Pitt writes:
In a perfect world, all 100 Senators would stand up because of one simple fact: They are where they are because of the vote, and if they do not protect that vote, it may be them looking at the short end of the stick come some future election day. All 100 should stand, but it only takes one. It only takes one to move us closer to that more perfect union, where every vote counts and every vote is counted, where the citizenry can trust that the people leading them were properly chosen, where partisans acting in the dark of night to thwart that simple, admirable goal are exposed and purged from our system.
It couldn't be more simple: If we don't have fair elections -- if Democrats or Republicans are able to suppress votes and rig voting machines -- what makes this a democracy? ... So take one minute and tell your senators to stand up for honest elections.

January 2, 2005

Behind The Scenes. Bob Hohler has an excellent look at some of what Terry Francona dealt with last season:
The moment Francona first extended his hand in spring training to Manny Ramirez, the slugger verbally lashed out at the new manager, then briefly boycotted the first team meeting. ... Angered by Pedro Martinez breaking protocol and bolting from Camden Yards before the game ended after he pitched in a 7-2 loss on Opening Day in Baltimore, Francona privately engaged in a long, heated argument with Martinez the next day. ...

Francona kept secrets, protected reputations, and prevented isolated personnel problems from mushrooming into destructive media conflagrations ... even as he served as a season-long lightning rod for public criticism.
Johnny Damon has finished the book he's writing with Peter Golenbock. Amazon says the title is "Idiot: ... Or How I Learned to Stop Thinking and Beat 'The Curse'" and it is scheduled for an Opening Day release.
The Steal. Bill Burt talks to Dave Roberts:

"Normally, guys don't like when a pitcher throws over that many times. But honestly, it got me in the game. After the second throw over, I felt like I had played nine innings. I was so focused. ... [After Rivera's third throw] I was going no matter what."

Scoring that 9th inning run "was the greatest feeling I've ever had on the baseball field. ... Friends of mine are telling me that that stolen base will be a defining moment in my career."

I don't know when (or if) Roberts will ever play in Fenway Park again, but if he does, the ovation he'll get will be deafening.
Bush Math. The New York Times reports on Bush's campaign promise to cut the deficit in half by 2009:
To make Mr. Bush's goal easier to reach, administration officials have decided to measure their progress against a $521 billion deficit they predicted last February rather than last year's actual shortfall of $413 billion.

By starting with the outdated projection, Mr. Bush can say he has already reduced the shortfall by about $100 billion and claim victory if the deficit falls to just $260 billion.
Not only that, but the White House is not including (a) costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, (b) the cost of major initiatives like overhauling Social Security, and (c) "trillions of dollars in [other] costs that lie just outside Mr. Bush's five-year budget window."
The Disappeared. The Bush Administration is considering a Pentagon/CIA request for "a more permanent approach for potentially lifetime detentions, including for hundreds of people now in military and CIA custody whom the government does not have enough evidence to charge in courts." ... Remember: they hate us because we're a beacon of freedom throughout the world.
Your Tax Dollars At Work. A document posted at The Memory Hole cites a June 1994 Air Force proposal ("Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals") which suggested possible new chemical weapons, including:
Chemicals that effect human behavior so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely effected. One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior. [spelling as in original]
Total cost of the project through fiscal year 2000: $7.5 million.

January 1, 2005

It Worked For 2004. So why not 2005?

"I've said this every January 1 since I've been a serious Red Sox fan -- beginning in 1976 -- and I'll say it again: 'This is the Year!'"

MLB.com has an early 2005 preview (Red Sox). ... The Chokers' payroll is now estimated at $205,000,000.