February 28, 2014

Baseball Books Due In 2014 (Including DLUWT)

Ron Kaplan has posted a long list of baseball books set to be released in 2014. Under "Happy Anniversary", we find:
Idiots Revisited: Catching Up With the Red Sox Who Won the 2004 World Series, by Ian Browne (Tilbury). Did someone say anniversary? Only 10 years for this one. It was a doozy only in that it had been so long before the last Boston championship. I'm waiting for someone to write about the Playoffs against the Yankees that preceded the trip to the Fall Classic.

Don't Let Us Win Tonight: An Oral History of the 2004 Boston Red Sox’s Impossible Playoff Run, by Allan Wood and Bill Nowlin (Triumph). What did I just ask for?
Amazon states that DLUWT ($18.60, 25% off) is in stock March 3!

(I uploaded six pictures from the book here.)

February 27, 2014

Baseball Today!

The Red Sox play their annual college doubleheader today, kicking off their spring training schedule with two seven-inning games against Northeastern and Boston College.

Here is the lineup for the 1 PM game against Northeastern:
Sizemore, LF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Napoli, 1B
Gomes, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Middlebrooks, 3B
Lavarnway, C
Bradley, CF
Brandon Workman will start and likely pitch two innings, with Henry Owens, Noe Ramirez, and Burke Badenhop following in relief.

The Red Sox will send an all-prospect lineup against BC, with Rubby De La Rosa, Matt Barnes, Miguel Celestino, Tommy Layne, and Alex Wilson on the mound.

February 22, 2014

Lucchino, Levine Exchange Comments; Yankees Sound Pathetic

The Daily News calls it a "war of words", but it was barely a skirmish.

Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino made some fairly bland (and factual) statements yesterday about the Yankees:
We're very different animals. I'm proud of that difference. I always cringe when people lump us together. Other baseball teams sometimes do that. They are still, this year at least, relying heavily on their inimitable old-fashioned Yankees style of high-priced, long-term free agents. I can't say I wish them well, but I think we've taken a different approach.
Naturally, Yankees President Randy Levine replied:
I feel bad for Larry; he constantly sees ghosts and is spooked by the Yankees. But I can understand why, because under his and Bobby Valentine's plan two years ago, the Red Sox were in last place. Ben Cherington and the Red Sox did a great job last year winning the World Series, but I'm confident Cash and Joe and our players will compete with a great Red Sox team to win a world championship this year.
Lucchino sure loves to poke a stick in the Yankees' side. And whoever it is in New York - George, Hank, or Levine - always takes it way too seriously and makes a fool of himself, to some degree. I mean, invoking 2012 after the Red Sox got their shit back together as an organization and calmly won a World Series? All you can do is laugh at how sad that retort is.
Meanwhile, the Yankees seem to think they will have a great season ...

February 21, 2014

Playing Pepper: Eight Bloggers On The 2014 Red Sox

Since 2009, Cardinals blogger Daniel Shoptaw (C70 At The Bat) has been asking bloggers of each team a few questions about the upcoming season. Today, he posted the Q&As of eight Red Sox bloggers on the 2014 team. Check it out here.

February 19, 2014

Ortiz: " I Can’t Wait ... I'm Hungrier Than Ever Right Now"

David Ortiz is about to begin the final year of his current contract, and he would like to extend that into 2015. Principal owner John Henry thinks that is "conceivable" that the issue could be settled this spring.

The 2013 World Series MVP has spoken a lot in the last day or two about his contract situation, and offered his unvarnished opinion about various media members - the Globe's Nick Cafardo and Dan Shaughnessy, to name two obvious examples from the print media - who have suggested he shut his yap when it comes to being properly compensated for his services.
I don't even know why they're bitching about me talking about contracts. Guys putting up my numbers, they're making [$]25 [million], [$]30 million. I'm not asking for that. I'm asking for half of it. And they're still bitching about it? [Expletive] them. I'm tired of hearing them talk [expletive] about me when I talk about my contract. Hey, every time I talk about my contract, I earn it, [expletive]. So don't be giving me that [expletive].
More Flo:
As long as I have been in this organization, I don't think I have disrespected [anyone]. I think I have been honest. I think I have been legit and I've been one of the greatest to wear this uniform, too. Some people forget about that but sometimes you've got to let them know. I think it's very disrespectful for someone out there to be saying that I'm greedy, that all I want to talk about is contract. When am I going to talk about contract? When I retire? ... A lot of them go out there on the radio talk, those radio shows or whatever, they always like to come out with their chest wide open and talk trash ...

Haters man, haters, haters. People hate. That's the world we're living in today. People hate people [and] are not comfortable with you doing well, and that's it. ... That part of it motivates me to come in and kick ass, to be honest with you. I'm super-excited. I can't wait for the season to start, can't wait, can't wait. I'm anxious. I'm hungrier than ever right now. To me, what we did last year don't matter. I want to get another one ...
Another one? ... This season, the Red Sox will try to grab their fourth World Series championship in the last 11 years. (I can scarcely believe that previous sentence is true.)

In 11 seasons with Boston, Ortiz has been paid (according to B-Ref) salaries totaling $110,912,500. That's an average of $10 million a year, a shit ton of money to you and me, but chump change in the world of major league baseball. So he's asking for $15 million for 2015? That would be the highest annual salary of his career, by the way. Dude's been horrifically underpaid, if you ask me.

After he's turned in a .962 career OPS in a Red Sox uniform - and led the franchise to THREE WORLD SERIES TITLES - Ortiz has earned the right to say whatever he wants whenever he wants to whoever he wants for as long as he wants.

"[Expletive] them", indeed.

February 18, 2014

Red Sox Vs The East; Jeter Hagiography In Full Swing

ESPN's Sweet Spot blog looks at how the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox match up against the other AL East teams for 2014: Rays, Yankees, Orioles, and Blue Jays.

From those previews, we see that Baseball Prospectus pegs the division like this:
Red Sox    89-73
Rays       89-73
Yankees    82-80
Blue Jays  80-82
Orioles    75-87
Fangraphs asks: Who Should Be Boston's New Leadoff Hitter?

You may have heard that Derek Jeter is retiring after the 2014 season. Spring training has just begun and it's clear the extent to which the national media will praise Captain Intangibles this summer will make its usual Jeter Lovefest sound like non-Giants fans serenading Barry Bonds.

Jon Paul Morosi, Fox Sports, Jeter Means Just As Much To Baseball As He Does To Yankees:
Even the most obsessive Red Sox fans who jeered Jeeeee-taaaaah with irrational hatred during the tormented years before 2004 would have to agree: Jeter has been baseball's most consistent winner and greatest ambassador for the past two decades. ...

In the wake of Jeter's announcement, the debate raged on Twitter and through radio airwaves: What was the all-time best Jeter play? ...

The mere existence of that discussion validates Jeter's mystique. For how many other active players would we be able to have a similar conversation? Are there any? ...

Jeter always has possessed a preternatural sense for what was expected of a man in his position. ... Jeter's grace is not a myth.
Ian O'Connor, ESPNNewYork, As Always, Derek Does It Just Right:
Jeter is about to go down as one of the top 10 players in franchise history, and depending on how you keep score, maybe one of the top five. ...

Jeter was closer to perfect than just about any Yankee before him. ... The shortstop who made a career out of making the right call made another one Wednesday. Of course he did.
Jayson Stark, ESPN, Baseball Is Losing Its Face:
How does any sport replicate what Derek Jeter has meant to baseball over the last decade and a half -- and still does? Is that even possible? ...

[W]here does baseball find the next Derek Jeter? Good luck on that. ...

Is Derek Jeter irreplaceable?
Albert Pujols compared him to Christ! "Only Jesus is perfect, but he's pretty close to that guy." ... SB Nation had a somewhat more nuanced look. ... The Onion provided some humour: "Derek Jeter Announces 2012 Will Be His Final Decent Season".

A half-serious question: Will I have to watch the entire season on mute?

February 13, 2014

Dale Hansen: It's Time To Celebrate Our Differences (And Michael Sam)

Most of you have probably seen this already, but in case you have not ...

WFAA (Dallas) sports anchor Dale Hansen offered his comments on the recent news that college football star (and future NFL player) Michael Sam is gay:

You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft.

You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome.

Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome.

Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away?

You lie to police trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that.

You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!
The full text of Hansen's comments is here.

February 8, 2014

Truck Day!

Plenty of Red Sox players are already in camp in Fort Myers, but today marks the unofficial first day of spring.

The equipment truck will leave Fenway Park for a 1,480-mile journey to Florida at 10 AM. Kyle Brasseur of ESPNBoston snapped a shot of the rig:

February 6, 2014

"A Broken Home at Camden Yards: Babe Ruth's Early Life in Baltimore"

Baltimore historian Fred B. Shoken:
One hundred years ago Babe Ruth became a professional baseball player. In February 1914, he left Baltimore's Saint Mary's Industrial School to join the Baltimore Orioles of the International League. That year he pitched for the Orioles, Providence Grays and the major league Boston Red Sox. Although he was an excellent pitcher, Babe Ruth is best known as a home run hitter especially during the years he played for the New York Yankees from 1920-1934. ...

As a local Baltimore historian and baseball fan, I have long been interested in Babe Ruth's early years in Baltimore. Although dozens of Babe Ruth biographies have been published, his life prior to 1914 has not been well-documented. ... Through newspaper articles, court records and other resources, I have been able to uncover new facts about Babe Ruth's early life in Baltimore.
Shoken has generously shared the results of his research - a ten-part series titled "A Broken Home at Camden Yards: Babe Ruth's Early Life in Baltimore" on his blog, Babe Ruth 100.

In my research on the 1918 Red Sox, I found a photo of George Ruth as a seven-year-old, his age when his parents first turned him over to the Xaverian Brothers at Saint Mary's. The future greatest baseball player of all-time is on the right.

February 3, 2014

A Second Sign Of Spring

Some selected predictions from two more baseball season preview magazines:
Athlon Sports

American League East
Red Sox
Blue Jays

AL Wild Cards: Red Sox, A's
ALCS: Tigers over Rangers
NLCS: Cardinals over Nationals
World Series: Cardinals over Tigers

AL MVP: Mike Trout (Dustin Pedroia #5)
AL CY: Yu Darvish
AL Rookie: Taijuan Walker (Xander Bogaerts #3)

Boston Final Analysis: The Red Sox need to be realistic about teams that come out of nowhere - they often return there. While the Red Sox could certainly contend for another World Series and will be right in the thick of the AL East race, they're more likely to cede the stage. Last year they avoided injuries (besides Buchholz) and got bounce-back years from virtually all of their 30-something free agents. Those players are now a year older, and an injury to Ortiz or Pedroia or even Victorino could be devastating. On the flip side, they're beginning the process of getting younger with Bogaerts and Bradley, but entrusting two vital defensive positions to rookies generally isn't a World Series-winning strategy, at least in Year 1. It's Years 2 and beyond that have the Red Sox so excited.

New York Final Analysis: The Yankees have enough players in the latter stages of their primes to form a relentless lineup. If they stay reasonably healthy, they wil contend in the AL East. They just might have to outslug teams to do it, unless the pitching staff improves. Expect Cashman to stay on the lookout for arms to support the potent offense.
USA Today Sports

Eight writers predict the AL East winner: Rays (4), Red Sox (2), Yankees (1), Blue Jays (1). ... Of the six writers that did not pick Boston for 1st in the East, four of them picked the Red Sox for one of the wild cards. ... Two writers pick the Red Sox to win the ALDS, but lose to the Tigers in the ALCS.

Paul White (who oversaw the AL preview) picked the Red Sox to win the East over the Rays by six games with 94 wins. He has the Yankees in 4th (three games out of the cellar) with 81 wins.

Here are the eight WS predictions:
Tigers over Dodgers
Tigers over Dodgers
Dodgers over Tigers
Dodgers over Tigers
Rangers over Atlanta
Rangers over Cardinals
Rangers over Cardinals
Cardinals over Yankees

AL MVP: Mike Trout (5), Prince Fielder (1), Evan Longoria (1), Josh Donaldson (1)
AL CY: Yu Darvish (6), James Shields (1), Chris Sale (1)
AL Rookie: Xander Bogaerts (5), Taijuan Walker (1), Jose Abreu (1), Jonathan Schoop (1)