November 30, 2018

Truck Day Is Only Two Months Away

Actually, it's 65 days.

February 4: Truck Day
February 13: First workout for pitchers and catchers
February 18: First full-squad workout
February 23: Red Sox play MFY
March 28: Opening Day! Red Sox at Mariners

J.D. Martinez was voted the 2018 Player of the Year, as announced by the MLB Players Association. JDM: "I'm very honored and blessed to receive this award, as it comes from the players. To be regarded the best by the men I most respect is a significant achievement in my career."

Tyler Thornburg - who had a 5.63 ERA in 25 games for the Red Sox in 2018 - has resigned for $1.75 million.

Could Matt Barnes close next year? ... Alex Speier, Twitter: "The chief criticism of Barnes is his walk rate - which was high. He walked and struck out exactly as many guys last year as Kimbrel while giving up fewer HRs and allowing less flyballs that were in danger of creating damage, despite facing more hitters."
           IP     H    R   BB    K   HR    WHIP
Kimbrel   62.1   31   19   31   96    7   0.995
Barnes    61.2   47   25   31   96    5   1.265
Jen McCaffrey, The Athletic, November 15, 2018:
Here's a look at five reasons why [Mookie] Betts won the MVP honors ...

While WAR gets a bad rap for being cast as the sole statistic by which some voters judge MVP candidates, Betts led the majors with 10.9 WAR this season, the highest for any position player since 2002, when Barry Bonds posted 11.8 WAR. ... [Betts] had more hits, runs and a better slugging percentage in fewer games than fellow AL MVP finalists José Ramírez of [Cleveland] and Mike Trout of the Angels. ...

Betts finished tied for the major-league lead in runs scored (129) with Cleveland's Francisco Lindor despite playing in 22 fewer games. ...

With two outs and runners in scoring position, Betts hit .433 (13-for-30) with a 1.571 OPS, including four home runs.

Of his 32 home runs, 13 came with the score tied. ...

He recorded two separate three-homer games this season on April 17 and May 2 and has now hit three homers in a game four separate times in his career — more than any other Red Sox player in history.

November 29, 2018

... Calgary, Sciamous, Delta, Port Hardy.

We are home.

After nine days of driving, we arrived in Port Hardy, British Columbia, on Tuesday evening (in the rain, naturally). Four local guys unloaded the U-Haul yesterday morning and we have begun unpacking. ... And are now connected to the rest of the world![Travelogue here.]

November 24, 2018

Sudbury, Wawa, Ignace, Brandon, Swift Current ...

Over five days, we have driven 2,980 kilometers. We spent Friday night in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, the third night in a stretch of sleeping in a different province for five consecutive nights. Tonight will be spent outside Calgary, and then we drive into the Rockies on Sunday.

If you have been following Laura's daily posts at wmtc, you will know we saw an actual, live wolf the other morning. And, on a pull-over to change drivers and let Diego pee, I found a small clearing where a bunch of animals had devoured most of a deer carcass. It seemed too close to the road to have been tracked and killed, so maybe the deer was hit by a car first and dragged off the road by wolves or coyotes (?).

Looking at the map of Saskatchewan, I found two towns very close together: Pennant and Success. Which reminded me I have some cool World Series-related prizes for a yet-to-be-announced contest: one copy of the 8-DVD box set and three copies of the official WS DVD. ... All I have to do is come up with a decent contest idea (or two).

(We drive through Medicine Hat, Alberta, today.)

November 19, 2018

'The Joy Of Sox' Moves West

This afternoon, we begin a nine-day drive across Canada -- nearly 5,000 kilometers (roughly 3,100 miles) -- that will bring us to our new home in Port Hardy, a small town at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

We have been considering a western move for at least a year. We were on the island for 10 days last April, driving around with Laura's brother and his wife*, getting a feel for various towns. We spent our time in the southern, far more populated, half of the island, going only as far north as Nanaimo.

*: M&M retired and moved from New Jersey to southern Oregon to be closer to their three adult children, who have all settled on the west coast. And Laura's mother, in anticipation of becoming a great-grandmother, also moved to Oregon. With high rents in Vancouver and a strong desire to escape suburban life altogether, we thought Vancouver Island would be a possibility.

In September, Laura saw an opening for a librarian in Port Hardy. When we looked at a map to see where that was, we were extremely surprised.

The town is approximately five hours north of Nanaimo! Because BC allows landlords to refuse to rent to pet owners (a fact we did not know in April), we had almost no housing options in Port Hardy. And so . . . we signed a lease before Laura had even interviewed for the job! It was a gamble, but she got the job!

Having worked for law firms in New York and Toronto for nearly thirty years, I was more than a little concerned about what I would do for work in a town of only 4,132 people (as of the 2016 census). I'll spare you the play-by-play and simply say that I will continue working for my current employer remotely, full-time, from home.

We had roughly three weeks to get completely ready. The two moving quotes we received were far higher than we expected, so we are transporting our stuff ourselves, with Laura's brother behind the wheel of a 26-foot U-Haul. When he and his wife moved to Oregon, he drove across the US three times - and he's very excited to drive across Canada. We are hiring moving crews at both ends because, as they say in the movies, "I'm getting too old for this shit".

It has been a hectic three weeks, especially since I spent one of them in Vermont seeing family and friends. And I learned last Monday that for six months out of the year, snow tires are legally required on many roads in BC and VI, so buying snow tires has been added to our lengthy to-do list.

I mapped out a reasonable driving schedule and Laura reserved rooms at dog-friendly motels along the way, as we will be Driving Mr. Diego. We expect - weather (and all other things) permitting - to be in Port Hardy on the evening of Tuesday, November 27. We will get slightly settled before Laura heads off on Monday, December 3 for some training. My first day of working remotely is Tuesday, December 4.

After renting houses in Mississauga for 10 years, going back to an apartment three years ago was tough. I missed having a backyard much more than I expected. I'm thrilled to once again have that outdoor space - and to enjoy it in much cooler weather. To say we hate the heat of summer would be a massive understatement.

I looked at the summer of 2018 in both Mississauga and Port Hardy. As early as May 1, it was already 4 degrees warmer in Mississauga (28 C/82 F) than it ever got all summer long in Port Hardy.

Days over 20/68 by June 15: Mississauga 34, Port Hardy 0.
Total days over 24/75: Mississauga 100, Port Hardy 1.

In fact, Mississauga had more days over 30/86 than Port Hardy had days over 20/68: 21 to 20.

All that . . . AND a more mild winter. Just a bit more rain is the small price I will happily pay.

I tried to see how far north Port Hardy is in relation to somewhere in the East. It is roughly where the smiley face is located.

Laura will be blogging at as we drive west. You will likely find me in comments.

November 18, 2018

What He Said (He Being Grant Brisbee, On Mookie Betts)

Grant Brisbee, SB Nation:
It's Hard To Watch Mookie Betts And Think Baseball Is In Trouble

Start by making a back-of-the-envelope list of everything you love about baseball. ... There's the immediate thrill of an obvious home run, and there's the moment where you realize that the single might be a double, or when a double might be a triple. There's the ball in the gap, hanging, hanging, hanging, with someone gliding underneath it, and there's the cat-and-mouse game of a runner on first with two outs. ...

In 2018, Betts did the things that make baseball exciting more often than anyone in baseball. Heck, more often than almost anyone who has ever played baseball. And we haven't even brought up the defense yet.

I still think about this play often:

That's not Justin Bour trying to stretch a single into a double. That's a fast runner trying to stretch a should-be double into a stand-up double. There's a school of thought that says that Kemp should get fined in kangaroo court for trying to take an extra base with a three-run deficit, but there's another, smarter school of thought that says human beings shouldn't make that play. ...

There are three players 5'10" or shorter who have been worth more than 10 wins in a season in the last 50 years, according to Baseball-Reference's WAR: Willie Mays, Joe Morgan, and Mookie Betts. That is, two of the greatest baseball players ever and a wait-and-see marvel who certainly isn't on the wrong path. ...

Betts is proof that baseball is a sport of reaction time and form, and it will forever value rapidly firing neurons and pitch detection as much as it values raw athleticism. When you get a near-perfect combination of neurons and muscles, like Betts, you have a super-player to celebrate. ...

He runs better than your favorite baseball player. He hits better. He catches better. He throws better. He bowls 300 games. ... He's a remarkable talent and a living brochure of what it really takes to thrive at this sport. Here's a player who does everything — everything — well ...

Just look at the dude play. This is how much fun it is to watch a player who can do everything well...