Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Tomorrow is, possibly, Manny Ramirez Day in Fort Myers. The day after that, the Sox will play the cross town Twins in the first game of the Mayor's Cup, a small trophy going to the winner of the Spring Training series between the Twins and Sox who both train in Fort Myers. Australia will also begin training at the Red Sox facility and will be playing an exhibition game against us. This suits Red Sox minor leaguer and Spring Training invitee Trent Durrington who won't have to go anywhere when he goes from the Red Sox to team Australia.

A few days ago was Photo Day, when the team takes a team picture and many baseball cards are photographed. Players going on to international duty donned their international uniforms. David Wells, who isn't expected to be on the team for much longer, did not participate on photo day. Neither did Manny Ramirez, of course.

Several pitchers started to throw live batting practice including Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Jonathan Papelbon, and Jon Lester. Will Lester asked to be called Jonathan if he makes the big club this season?

For once, the Red Sox actually had a decent amount of young pitching talent in Baseball America's top 100 prospect list. Jon Lester was ranked as the 22nd best prospect, Papelbon was 37th, Craig Hansen was 54th and infielder Dustin Pedroia was 77th. Baseball Prospectus ranked Pedroia at 11th. One can easily see how much of an unclear science valuing prospects is. However, it is very nice that we actually have some young pitching talent on its way up. If Papelbon does well, and Hansen and Lester develop in the minors, we could have a nice staff at the end of a season with pitchers ranging from veterans like Curt Schilling, to recent college grad Craig Hansen.

The Bruins will be back in the swing of things on Wednesday night when they play down in North Carolina against the Whalers/Hurricanes. Carolina, by the way, has the most points in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins will welcome back Gold medal winner P.J. Axelsson of Sweden. The Bruins didn't sent too many players to the Olympics this year and that might help them in the regular season. Several teams will be struggling for a few days as players return from Torino. The Bruins desperately need maximum points from as many games as possible. Starting off against Carolina will be a test, but the Bruins can do it. They've been edged out by the Canes 4-3 twice this season, but both losses were in OT.

Speaking of the Whalers, did anyone else hear an organ version of the Hartford Whalers theme song played at the hockey rink in Torino, Italy during the bronze medal game between Russia and the Czech Republic? I did, and it was awesome.

The Patriots are once again facing an off-season full of questions. They are once again without an offensive and defensive coordinator due to Eric Mangini going to the Jets to be their head coach. More importantly, the NFL may or may not have a collected bargaining agreement in place for the upcoming season. The deadline is tomorrow, but we've seen deadlines for CBAs pushed back numerous times, particularly in baseball. Without a CBA in place, the 2007 would be a season with no salary cap. Teams could spend as much as they wanted on players. This would seriously screw things up, especially if those teams that go way over the cap are forced to go below the cap in 2008. Even worse, there might be a lockout of the 2008 season if no CBA is agreed on.

The Patriots also might have to find a new kicker as they didn't put the Franchise tag on Adam Vinatieri. They haven't done much in terms of negotiating with him because of the uncertainty of the NFL's economics for the upcoming season. If he goes, I think it will be a big blow to this team. Yes, he is just a kicker, but he is the most dependable kicker in the history of the game. How many times have we seen other teams lose because their kicker missed a field goal near the end of the game? Quite a few times. How many has Vinatieri blown? Not too many, if any.

The Patriots also released Duane Starks who spent most of the 2005 season injured and trying to chase down receivers running for touchdowns. The Pats also extended the contract of special teamer Don Davis. The Patriots also might have to replace Willie McGinist this upcoming season. We all forget because of the way he plays, but Willie isn't exactly young for an NFL D-end. He's been around a long time.

There are so many uncertainties with the Patriots and the NFL, and there isn't anything we can do about it except sit, wait, and watch.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Boston College had been 1-4 against ranked teams this season, beating only #25 North Carolina back in January. They had lost to the #14 NC State Wolfpack 78-60 in Chestnut Hill on the 10th of January. The Eagles needed two overtimes to do it, but they edged NC State 74-72 to win a very big game. The win gives the #13 BC Eagles a 9-5 ACC record with two conference games remaining, both at home and both against unranked opponents (Wake Forest, Virginia Tech). All BC has to do in order to ensure a 4th seed in the ACC tournament, and a bye, is to win one of those games or have Florida State lose on of their remaining games. Florida State has one of their games against #1 Duke so the odds of them running the table are slim. The Eagles are pretty safe in the 4th spot and if NC State loses their last game against Wake Forest and BC beats both Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, the Eagles will move into the 3rd seed for the ACC tournament. Getting the 3rd seed would bring us out of the bracket with the #1 seed. The ACC tournament will begin on March 9th (March 10th if BC gets the bye) in Greensboro, NC. If the Eagles have a good showing in the ACC tournament, they will probably get a good seed for once in the NCAA tournament.

The game itself was a great one. BC had a lead in the middle of the 2nd half before NC State when on an 8-0 run and got the lead back. Neither team led by more than 6 points the entire game. BC played some amazing defense in the overtimes, as did NC State. Only 12 points were scoredby both teams in the two overtime periods. Sean Williams had 8 blocked shots for BC. He also got 7 boards and a steal to lead the BC defensive effort. Craig Smith had a double-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 assists. The Eagles blew some opportunities to win this game, but whenever they did so they'd make up for it with a great defensive stand or a big shot such as Sean Marshall's three point play that won the game in double OT.

After starting their first ACC season by going 0-3, BC has gone 9-2 in the league. Their non-conference schedule hasn't exactly been easy, but they've had a few big wins within the league such as this one against NC State, and the win against UNC earlier in the year. They are poised to do some damage in the ACC tournament and if they can win two games in that, they should get a very good seed for the NCAA tournament.

Boston College is also still on top of the Hockey East standings despite a pair of losses to Maine over the weekend. They have three games left before the end of the regular season. They are 3 points ahead of rival Boston University. BU has a much easier schedule going against UVM, and then Northeastern twice. BC plays UMass-Lowell and then two against 4th place UNH. Of the 10 teams in Hockey East, only Merrimack College has been eliminated from making the tournament.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


According to the Red Sox brass, Manny Ramirez will not be participating in the World Baseball Classic. This means that if he reports on March 1, as promised, he will not leave on the 2nd to join the Dominican team. Actually, this works out to give Manny more time in Red Sox camp than if he had arrived on time and played in the WBC. Perhaps the Sox and Manny made a deal in which Manny agreed to not play in the WBC in return for permission to arrive late for camp.

Of course, the team claims that they did not ask him to pull out of the event.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


David Wells, like Manny Ramirez, asked/requested/demanded a trade this off-season. David Wells, like Manny Ramirez, didn't get his request. David Wells, like Manny Ramirez, was not traded because the team couldn't find a good deal. David Wells, like Manny Ramirez, doesn't want to play for Boston anymore. But unlike Manny Ramirez, David Wells isn't guaranteed a spot on the roster, let alone a starting position. David Wells has only been with Boston for a season, unlike Manny who has been here for 5. David Wells has been paid a few million dollars by the Red Sox. Manny is bordering the $100 million mark. Yet David Wells was still able to show up for camp. David Wells was still able to work out with the team. David Wells is still DOING HIS JOB! So while criticising Manny, let's give credit to David Wells and all the other players that are doing their jobs.

Let's also stop with the Keith Foulke criticism. People are complaining that "how can you be bored when you get paid $7 million?" I'm sure there are a good number of people in this world with boring but high paying jobs. Foulke never said that he was bored when he pitched, either. I think he meant that he doesn't like to watch the game, he only likes to play in them. And you know what, THAT IS FINE! I don't care if he is having fun sitting in the bullpen. Hell, a lot of releivers don't even watch the game until the 5th or 6th innings. If Foulke goes out and pitches like he did in 2004 or 2003, I don't care how he feels about baseball. Again, it is all about doing your job and doing it well. If Foulke does, he can call me Mr. Burger King or KFC Man for all I care.

Steve Buckley wrote a harsh piece in the Herald today about Manny laughing at the Red Sox as he plays games with them. I don't think Manny is so maniacal. I just think Manny is immature. He has no boundaries or restrictions. He's a spoiled brat that simply can'd listen to discipline. I see them all the time at school. Do you know how many rich, spoiled New Jerseyans go to my school? Manny reminds me of them. They get everything they want 99% of the time and in that 1% of the time they don't, they can't take it.

Someone commented on my last post that if you get 140 RBIs, you can do whatever you want. Sadly, this is true. However, it will be very interesting to see what happens if Manny doesn't get such huge numbers this season.

This might be the best situation. Manny never shows up, thus making him in violation of his contract. This means his contract would be voided, freeing up millions of dollars for the Red Sox in the next few years. It is sad that it might come to this.

Just a question to ponder: would we have been better off if the Manny for A-Rod trade went through? That's a tough question to answer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


According to the Boston Red Sox AND Manny Ramirez, the $20M slugger will not be reporting to Spring Training until March 1st. According to a jointly issued statement, Manny requested, and was granted permission to arrive late. According to the statement, Manny has been working out in Florida and will continue doing so. He won't, however, continue to do so with the team. Why? I have no clue. What could possibly keep him from moving his lazy ass across the state to work out with the team? Neither the team, nor Manny have stated why this is happening. That's the weirdest part, in my opinion. All you gotta say is "family problems" or "sick" or something like that. At least give us a reason. And give your teammates a reason, too.

What kind of message are we sending to younger players like Dustin Pedroia or Craig Hansen? That if you're good enough, you can walk all over the team? That isn't a productive message.

So Manny will report to Spring Training on March 1st. The next day, he may or may not leave to play for the Dominican Republic. This is just another chapter in the all too long and frustrating book of Manny Being Manny.


According to the Red Sox, Manny Ramirez is not in Italy. He isn't even abroad. However, this statement doesn't come from Manny himself. Nor has clubhouse friend David Ortiz - who wore a "Manny being Manny" t-shirt - talked to him in some time. Neither has manager Terry Francona. Ortiz seems confident that Manny will be in camp sometime this week, as is Francona. We'll hopefully see you soon, Manny, wherever you are.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Curt Gowdy passed away in Palm Beach, Florida from leukimia according to the Red Sox. Gowdy was the voice of the Red Sox from 1951 to 1965. He then went on to become a legend in sports broadcasting, announcing 16 World Series, 9 Super Bowls, 14 Rose Bowls, 24 Final Fours and 8 Olympics. He was how thousands of Red Sox fans received information on the team for over a decade. He was and is a legend.


According to David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez will be going to Italy for a vacation starting today. Ortiz said "He probably was just kidding." Manny is supposed to report by Wednesday, but he doesn't HAVE to report until the 28th, which is the mandatory MLB day. Manny is also going to be playing for the Dominican in the WBC. I think he should be in Florida right now with the team getting some training in, and getting to know the new players. And there are a lot of new players.

David Wells reported to Spring Training on time but is behind schedule with his throwing. The other pitchers are throwing off mounds but Wells is still throwing indoors. This isn't a big deal considering Wells' age and the fact that he had knee surgery over the off-season. Wells really doesn't have a place on this team and the Red Sox have been looking to deal him for months. However, there have been few takers for the 43 year old coming off of surgery. The Sox probably won't get very much for him considering his age, physical condition, and the fact that everyone and their mother knows we're desperate to trade him.

Curt Schilling seems to be pumped and ready to play. At least according to him he is. His goals for this season are 35 starts and 245 innings. That might be asking a bit much from the 39 year old, especially with several younger arms available for the Sox and a bullpen that appears to be much more reliable than last season's patchwork. We've got guys like Beckett, Papelbon, Arroyo, and maybe even Jon Lester that can take some of the pressure off Schilling. Hopefully Francona won't obey Schilling's commands to let him pitch 245 innings because I think that is simply too much. We need him to save those extra 45 innings for the post-season. Hopefully.

Something to watch this Spring will be Keith Foulke. But don't watch his stat lines. He didn't pitch well at all in 2004 Spring Training and looked what happened in the regular season. The important thing to watch is his changeup and his fastball. Does his changeup fool good hitters in combination with his fastball? If the answer is "yes" then he is probably going to be set for baseball in 2006. If not, it could be a long season.

Foulke claims to not be a fan of baseball. I'm not going to get on his case for this one. I know a lot of athletes at my school that play their sport, love their sport, but don't follow their sport on a professional level. I can understand this. I play poker a lot and usually don't watch it on television. Why? Because I'm not playing it.

Speaking of poker, I have a poker blog you should check out if you're interested in, well, poker.

Some interesting results on a fanpoll run by Boston.com. According to the poll, 62% of fans voting feel that Josh Beckett should be the #1 starter this season over Curt Schilling. This may change as Spring progresses, but it is very interesting. I think Schilling should be the #1, but I don't think Beckett would be a bad choice for #1 starter. Frankly, it doesn't mean that much.

82% of fans say they'd rather have Coco Crisp in center-field now and in the future as opposed to Johnny Damon. This has got to be the Yankee effect. I think a case can be made that Crisp is a cheaper, younger option. But Damon was a big part of our lineup. Crisp had solid numbers last season but it will be interesting to see if he can reproduce them under pressure in Boston.

86% of people don't think the Red Sox should trade Ramirez before the season. I agree with the majority. If we could get equal value and not have to pay a large amount of his salary, then we could consider it. However, I don't think we can get equal value and it appears as though we're stuck with a great hitter who may or may not be in Italy.

86% of fans felt that the combination of Youkilis and Snow will be better than Millar and Olerud. I have to agree with this one. I think Youkilis should have been used more last season and was benched because of his youth, not his talent. Millar shouldn't have had more than 200 ABs last season with how poorly he was producing. I think Snow and Youkilis give us a lefty/righty combo that can get on base and help keep the offense going. Not a whole lot of power, but they should combine for more HRs than Millar and Olerud did last season.

70% of fans think Mark Loretta should be starting at 2nd base over Tony Graffanino. I'm one of the 70%. Graffanino had a solid end to the season alst year, but Loretta is a good defnsive 2nd baseman and he ha proven himself more over the long run of a season. However, I think Graffanino should be given plenty of opportunities to play multiple games per week and maybe even in a row.

73% of fans would rather have Bill Mueller at 3rd base over Mike Lowell this season. I'm in the minority on this one. I think Lowell is going to have a very good season. Mueller was solid as a rock at 3rd base, but Lowell will bring more pop to the lineup. Mueller was also getting slowed down by cosntant knee problems.

71% of fans would rather see Alex Gonzalez at short-stop as opposed to Edgar Renteria. Renteria was simply terrible with us. He'd show signs of coming out of his slumps and then go right back into them. His defense was subpar. Alex Gonzalez isn't going to hit very well, but he will give us consistent defense. He also won't complain about the infield grass.

69% of fans think the Red Sox new infield is better than the old one. I agree. First base is improved, 2nd base is improved, 3rd base might be a wash, and short-stop is about the same only with more consistent defense.

93% of fans would rather see Doug Mirabelli be the backup catcher over John Flaherty. I'm one of them. However, we got a starting 2nd baseman for a backup catcher. Then we got a solid backup catcher. That's a good thing. I will miss Mirabelli, though.

55% of fans think the 2006 lineup is better than last season's. I think it will be about the same. I think a lot depends on Manny and Ortiz producing like they have the past 3 seasons. That isn't a given, folks.

Here's a close one. 52% of fans think David Wells would be most valuable to the Sox as part of a trade, while 48% think he will be best as part of the rotation. I think we don't need Wells and he is a big question mark. I think he'd be best in a trade. He doesn't want to pitch here, anyway.

47% of fans think Arroyo should go to the bullpen if it comes down to Clement, Papelbon, and Arroyo to fill out the last two spots in the rotation. I think Arroyo has proven himself to be an excellent bullpen pitcher and I think he is somewhat inconsistent as a starter having lengthy hot stretches and cold stretches. Clement has been a starter for most of his career and I don't think he would adjust easily to bullpen work. Papelbon excelled as a releiver last season, but I want to see what the kid can do as a starter.

93% of fans think our projected rotation this season (Schilling, Beckett, Wakefield, Papelbon, Clement) will be better than last season's rotation. If everyone is healthy, then they are right.

53% of fans are unsure as to which Keith Foulke will show up this season, the 2004 version or the 2005 version. 39% are positive, as am I, and think the 2004 version will pitch for us in 2006.

84% of fans think the Red Sox bullpen is improved compared to last season. 13% of fans are complete morons and think the bullpen is about the same as last season's. 3% of fans should be banished from Red Sox Nation for being so dumb as to think that last season's bullpen is better than this season's.

Most of the fans seem to think that the 2006 Red Sox are better than the 2005 Red Sox. I tend to agree with them. However, we have huge question marks. One is worth $20M and may or not be in Italy. One is worth $2.5 M and may or may not be traded. One is worth $7 M and may or may not be healthy enough to be a closer.

We'll just have to see what happens.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Curt looks in much better shape than he did at this time last year. This is great news. We're gonna need him to come through for us if we have a chance this season. Timline, Wake, and Schilling all reported to Fort Myers early. Coco Crisp, Kevin Youkilis and Tony Graffanino are among the position players who have reported early. David Wells has technically reported in the sense that he is within the state of Florida according to Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. Wells, however, is not at the Red Sox facility in Fort Myers, however. In 12 days, the Red Sox will begin their Spring Training schedule against their Mayor's Cup Rival, the Minnesota Twins who also play in Fort Myers. The Red Sox first home ST games will be a split-squad doubleheader against Boston College and Northeastern on March 3rd. Nine of the Red Sox Spring games will be on NESN, and a few will even be on ESPN or ESPN 2. I'm pretty sure WEEI will broadcast most Spring Training games.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Yesterday afternoon, the Red Sox equipment truck was loaded outside of Fenway Park and started its journey south to Fort Myers. Pitchers and catchers report on Saturday the 18th and full workouts begin on the 23rd. The games begin on March 2nd against the Twins. The first televised game (according to RedSox.com's schedule) will be on Saturday the 4th against the Pirates. The Red Sox will play in the Grapefruit League once again but will also play split-squad games against Boston College, Northeastern, and the Australian national team. Spring training will end on the weekend of April 1 and 2 in Philadelphia against the Phillies.

The season begins on April 3 in Arlington, TX at 2:05 and will be televised nationally on ESPN 2.

The World Baseball Classic will be drawing some Sox players away from the club to play for their national teams. Alex Cora will be playing for Puerto Rico, Lenny Dinardo for Italy, Alex Gonzalez for Venezuela, David Ortiz for the Dominican Republic, Manny Ramirez for the Dominican Republic, Adam Stern for Canada, Julian Tavarez for the Dominican Republic, Mike Timlin for the USA, and Jason Varitek for the USA.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Roger Clemens has stated, essentially, that he has five choices. He will play for Houston, the Rangers, the Yankees, the Red Sox, or he won't play at all. The Red Sox seem poised to make a big move to sign Roger Clemens. According to Gerry Callahan, they've prepared a video presentation for Clemens that includes Sox fans imploring him to return to Boston. What the Red Sox need to do, and the video is part of this, is to make it clear to Roger that if he comes back here, he will be treated properly. They need to make clear that the reign of Dan Duquette is long since over. They need to make it clear that most of the fans here will love him if he returns. They need to make it clear that he will be paid a proper salary.

If we get Roger Clemens, we're definately contenders to win it all. The Red Sox should spare no expense in bringing him here. He would complete our rotation. We'd have him, Schilling, Clement, Wakefield, and Beckett. That is a very good rotation. Furthermore, we could move Arroyo to the pen or keep Papelbon in there.

This is ludicrous, but maybe we should even retire the number 21 just to show him that we want him on this team.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


According to this article in the Hartford Courant, the Red Sox talked to the Angels last week about a possible deal involving the slugger. The deal would have brought Ervin Santana and Chone Figgins to the Sox along with some prospects. The negotiations didn't go anywhere, however, possibly because the Red Sox wanted the Angels to assume all of Manny's remaining contract. I think this was just Theo testing the waters, as he has been known to do.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Since a January 12th loss to the LA Kings, the Bruins have been on a run. They got a point in 8 of their 9 games since then. They have gone 6-1-2 in those games. They just pounded the first place Ottawa Senators 5-0 the other night, beating them for the 3rd time this season. Tim Thomas stopped all 44 shots he saw. The Bruins will have 6 games in 10 days in the month of February before the season is put on hold for the Olympics.

The Bruins aren't sending too many players to the Olympics this season. Marco Sturm will play for Germany, Alexei Zhamnov will play for Russia, PJ Axellson will play for Sweden, and that's it. This means that most of the Bruins will be pretty well rested when the season resumes in March.

At the moment, the Bruins have crawled out of the cellar of the Northeast Division into a tie for 4th with Montreal. They are only 3 points behind Toronto for 3rd place in the division, and more importantly, the 8th most points in the Conference. If they can continue this run and continue to rack up points, they will soon be in the playoff picture.