Friday, March 31, 2006


Tavarez was suspended for 10 games starting Opening Day unless the reliever appeals. He probably will appeal and the suspension will probably get reduced. No other player was suspended or fined in the incident. I'm sure Tavarez's history (this is suspension #5) didn't help him in this situation.

In other news, the Red Sox and David Ortiz are on the verge of agreeing to a $50 million contract extension which would keep Ortiz with the Sox until 2010. Ortiz would finally be getting paid an amount he deserves: $12.5 million a season.

Today is the last day the Red Sox will be in Florida. They play Philly this weekend before starting the season on Monday in Arlington against the Rangers.

I can't friggin wait.

Monday, March 27, 2006


So Julian Tavarez was covering home plate. Joey Gathright slid into Tavarez. Tavarez thought Gathright was a bit too over zealous. So Tavarez hit him with his fist. You know, the animosity between the Red Sox and Devil Rays never ceases to amaze me. This incident seems as though it was our fault, but usually it is their doing (Gerald Williams charging Pedro, the constant throwing at our best hitters). I for one am grateful for it because it makes playing the D-Rays 20 times a season bearable.

This incident comes right after Josh Beckett and Ryan Howard got into a shouting match that resulted in the benches clearing but no punches being thrown. Howard hit a long fly ball and stood to watch it. It wasn't a fair our foul type thing, this one was to center field. He stood and stood up Beckett and watch his potential homerun fall into the center-fielder's glove for a long out. Then Beckett, upset by this classless showboating, yelled at Howard. The yelling continued when Howard took the field and Beckett returned to the dugout. The benches cleared as Howard approached the dugout. I can't say I blame Beckett. I mean, who admires their fly outs in spring training anyway?

The Red Sox will play the Phillies in Philadelphia to end spring training on Saturday and Sunday. Beckett will probably not pitch in those games. The Sox host the Devil Rays April 18th to the 20th. Tickets are on sale now.

One thing is for certain about this Red Sox team. They've got fire in them. They may not be the Idiots of 2004. But they are definitely not bland and boring.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


This weekend was all about college sports, which is rare in New England. Boston College was in the Sweet 16 in both men's and women's basketball. BC was also in the NCAA hockey tournament along with BU, Maine, UNH, Harvard, and Holy Cross.

The weekend started off poorly for BC with a heartbreaking 60-59 loss to #1 seed Villanova on Friday night. The Eagles should have and could have won this game. They pulled out to a 16 point lead in the first half and were playing their brand of basketball then for some reason allowed Villanova to set the pace for the rest of the game. Nova came back but BC led by 8 points with 10:00 left in regulation and blew that lead too. Down the stretch, BC really shot itself in the foot at the foul line and offensive possessions that went nowhere.

BC did not score from 3:07 left on the clock until Jared Dudley hit his 3 pointer at 0:28. Coming down the stretch, that is a terrible drought. Only BC's defensive play prevented Villanova from running away with it. The Eagles went 3 for 7 from the foul line, several of those misses coming with less than 5:00 on the clock and the front end of a 1 and 1. Overall, BC was 8 for 17 in the game and Villanova was 14 for 20. In a game as close as this, that is a huge differential.

In OT, the Eagles simply looked frazzled. They missed their first three shots, not scoring until 2 minutes into overtime. By then they were down by 5. Craig Smith got it within one with a drive to the hole and the foul on the play gave BC a chance to tie it at 56-56. But Smith missed it.

The game came down to BC with the ball and 18 seconds on the clock. They were down 58-57. They inbounded and Craig Smith hit it to take the lead with 12 seconds on the clock. At first, BC defended Villanova perfectly. Then on an inbound play, the Eagles let Nova inbound it beneath the basket. Will Sheridan put it in for the Wildcats and the Eagles were sent back to classes.

Craig Smith had a good day but not one his best. He had 14 points, and 14 boards, but he was 2 for 6 from the line and turned the ball over 7 times. The only player that rebounded consistently besides Smith was Sean Williams who turned in another good defensive performance (7 rebounds, 3 blocks). Boston College turned the ball over 21 times, while forcing Villanova to turn it over 10 times. Near the end of the game, the turnovers were hardly even forced by Villanova. Passing the ball to no one, bad dribbling, et cetera.

BC had a great run this season. They finished 3rd in the ACC, and was on the precipice of greatness all season, losing by only 2 to Duke twice, and losing to #1 Villanova by a single point in OT. They had a team capable of winning it all. They just made a few too many mistakes near the end.

The BC women also fell just shy of making the Elite 8, losing to 5th seeded Utah 57-54. This came after BC upset #1 seed Ohio State to make the Sweet 16.

Here's the good news for BC. They won in the first round of the NCAA hockey tournament 5-0 against Miami-Ohio. Also winning in the first round was BU. Holy Cross pulled a major upset by beating 3rd in the country Minnesota 4-3. Also in the first round, Maine beat Harvard 6-1 and UNH barely fell to Michigan State 1-0. The big match-up for the second round was BC vs. BU. The game was played in Worcester and the winner would be going to Milwaukee as part of the Frozen Four. Boston College had lost to BU in their past 4 meetings, including a 1-2 OT loss in the Hockey East Championship game and a 3-2 loss in the Beanpot. BC got revenge though, with a 5-0 drubbing that sent BU packing back to Boston and sent the Eagles packing for Wisconsin.

Boston College was joined in the Frozen Four by North Dakota. Today Cornell plays Wisconsin, and Maine plays Michigan State for the last two spots. BC will be up against the North Dakota Fighting Sioux in the national semi-finals, which will be in less than 2 weeks.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Adam Stern had yet another good Spring outing and is making a good case for the Red Sox to carry 5 outfielders. He went 3 for 5 with a double, a homerun, and a stolen base. He also knocked in two runs. He is batting .429 in Grapefruit League play to go along with his .667 WBC average. Overall in Spring games he is batting .500 (15 for 30) and is slugging 0.967 combined.

Willy Mo Pena also did well, going 2 for 4 with a laser homerun and 2 RBI. It wasn't enough thoush as Papelbon gave up 2 runs in 5 innings, Timlin gave up a run in an inning, and Riske gave up 2 runs in an inning. Craig Hansen continued his scoreless Spring with a clean sheet in the 8th.

You'd think that Indy fans would be jumping for joy. After all, last season ended for them on a missed field goal and they had just signed the guy who almost never misses when it matters most. Yet it seems as though many Colts fans are dissapointed to see Mike Vanderjagt leaving and going to Dallas and Adam Vinatieri coming to Indianapolis. This makes me wonder, maybe Indy fans are morons. Also, maybe Pats fans are overreacting.

Opening day in Arlington, TX is getting closer and closer. There are still a few questions yet to be answered, however. Curt Schilling will start on Opening Day, and Beckett will come after that. But who will be #3? Probably Clement who has had a good spring. Then Wakefield. Then the #5 hole which is vacant because Wells won't be starting until the 10th game of the season. Papelbon will probably pitch there, but if he does well, will he be removed from the rotation?

Then there's the question of the backup catcher. The pride of Ithaca: Josh Bard, has seen the most time there this spring. He brings some experience to the position with 149 games caught with the Indians. In 1,197.2 innings behind the dish, he has allowed 9 passed balls or 1 every 133 innings. He's batted .278 this spring and has seen more time than the other catchers. Unless the Sox can acquire another backup catcher, I think he will be it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Been listening to WEEI off and on and reading a few posts on a few message boards and I think that people in Patriot Land need to calm down. Some people are viewing this as the end of a dynasty. Some people are proclaiming Vinatieri as being "greedy". I think these opinions are too extreme.

In the end Vinatieri is a kicker. He's a great kicker, but he isn't the be all and end all of the team. Yes, he was money when it mattered most. But there are many more important elements of a football team that are more important.

I don't think Vinatieri is being "greedy" either. He wants security and he's gotten it with his $3.5 million signing bonus. This type of stuff happens in pro sports. It is a business.

So let's get off the Patriots back just a bit. Let's see who they get to replace Adam and how it works out during the season. And let's get off Adam's back. Both the team and Adam have performed so well for us over the past few seasons that we should cut them just a bit of slack.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Of all the teams, he had to go to the Colts. Indy signed away one of the biggest heroes in Boston sports history today. They needed a kicker and they got one of the best ever. This is just another player the Patriots have lost this year. Others such as Willie McGinist, and David Givens have left the team. There is some serious work to be done down in Foxborough to fill these holes for the 2006 season.

Having Vinatieri was like starting every game with a 3-0 lead. He is the clutchest player in any sport that I have ever seen. When you called on him to be the hero, he would do it, even on the bigger stages.

Adam was getting older. Last season, he had some troubles with his back and his range was down. The Patriots took a lot of punts when maybe 2 seasons ago they would have attempted field goals. His kickoffs also weren't going as far as in the past, but that is a small part of the game.

The Patriots depended on Vinatieri more than any other team depended on their kicker. We play such a close game and depend on getting small edges that amount to victories. Vinatieri was one of those edges. The Pats will get a decent kicker to replace Vinatieri, but I don't think there is a kicker out there to match Vinatieri's ability to perform under pressure. The Patriots will have to adjust for that.


Japan won the first ever World Baseball Classic. Did you know that? Now for some reason, the next WBC will be in 3 years in 2009. Perhaps for the next one, they'll learn a few things:

1. Don't schedule games during the NCAA tournament. Even the NIT knows that.

2. Try not to have it during Spring Training. It isn't really the best players in the world when they're kept to pitch counts and are swinging like it is Spring Training.

3. Maybe have more international umpiring crews.

4. Don't just arbitrarily select 16 countries, make them qualify in some way.

5. It is boring to have teams in the same group in the 1st round play in the next round. We never got to see the US play Cuba or the Dominican play Japan.

6. Don't put the games on ESPN Deportes and don't give the NIT more priority on regular ESPN.

It will be back in 2009, they're sticking to March, and it will probably still be in North America.

It will be interesting to see how participants in the WBC start off the season. Will they be warmer and fresher having played in serious games, or will they be colder having had limited playing time, or will they be worn out? Time will tell.

To Mr. Steinbrenner, though. One MLB player was hurt, more than 150 were not.

Monday, March 20, 2006


The Boston University Terriers plowed through UNH 9-2 then squeezed by arch-rvial Boston College in the Hockey East finals in overtime 2-1 in order to claim their first HE title since 1997. The win also helped BU to move up to #1 in the national polls.

BU will be playing in Worcester in the Northeast Regional bracket as a #1 seed, facing off against Nebraska-Omaha on Friday afternoon. Also playing in Worcester will be Boston College, who will play against Miami after the BU game.

Two more Hockey East teams made the NCAA tournament. Maine will play Harvard in Albany. Also in Albany, UNH will face Michigan State. Two more Massachusetts teams made the tournament. The afore mentioned Harvard and Holy Cross, who will be facing off against Minnesota in Grand Forks, ND. Overrall, that makes for 6 out of the 16 participants in this year's tournament teams from New England. There are six teams from the Great Lakes area, one from Colorodo, one from Nebraska, one from North Dakota, and one from upstate New York. Can you see why college hockey hasn't caught on nationally?

Here's the full bracket


The Red Sox have traded Bronson Arroyo to the Reds for outfielder Willy Mo Pena. Many people felt that the Red Sox were going to trade one of their starting pitchers because they simply had plenty of them to trade. Wells probably would have been the most desireable for the Sox to trade, but he was also the least tradeable.

Arroyo is 29 and had never really blossomed into the frontline pitcher many in Red Sox Nation had hoped he would. He went 24-9 in his 3 year career in Boston and was an impressive 10-2 in the post-season. However, his ERA in the post-season tells a different story, it is 7.41. Last year, Arroyo's ERA was 4.51 and the year before was 4.03. He showed signs of brilliance in his first few outings of 2005, including a brush with a no-hitter against the Tigers. However, as the months progressed, his ERA gradually went higher and higher. Arroyo's struggles continued in Spring Training.

Willy Mo Pena is 23 years old and has experience at all outfield positions. Last season he hit .254 with 19 HRs in 99 games. I think he'll be a solid bench player with pop and defensive versatility. We needed a 4th outfielder, especially with the injury prone Trot Nixon out there, and Willy Mo is it. He's got some upside with 45 HRs in the past 2 seasons, both in limited playing time.

I think this deal almost had to be done. The Red Sox had a lot of starting pitching and needed some depth in the outfield. The way I look at it, the Red Sox traded a reliever for a 4th outfielder.

I think Willy Mo will see some time in the outfield as a defensive replacement for Manny late in games, as a pinch hitter for guys like Gonzalez, and as a right handed semi-platoon player to spell Nixon against tough lefties like Randy Johnson. His depth should add a good deal to this team and he probably won't be clamoring too much for extra playing time.

The Red Sox have also offered an invitation to camp to Juan Gonzalez. The 36 year old has struggled to stay healthy over the past few years, playing in only 1 game last year and 186 over the past 4 years. That's only about 47 games a season. Again, the Red Sox need outfield depth. This is a chance to get it without giving up much. Gonzalez's career numbers speak for themselves (.295 BA, 434 HRs, 1,404 RBIs). If he can be healthy and come off the bench with some pop, then he'll be worth a shot.

I'm sorry I haven't been posting that much over the past few days. With March Madness and St. Patrick's Day, I've been somewhat busy. I'll have summaries on the Red Sox in Spring Training, the BC Eagles in the NCAA tourney, and the Hockey East tournament as well as the Celtics who are only 3.5 games out of a playoff berth.

Also, I'm not getting paid for this, but see the movie V for Vendetta. It is awesome.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Curt Schilling started out masterfully, spinning three beautiful innings Saturday afternoon against the Pirates. Then it all fell apart. Schilling has been toying with the idea of pitching inside. He's had some good masters of this art to observe in the past from Randy Johnson to Pedro Martinez. However, he didn't really show the fortitude necessary to pitch like that on Saturday. Maybe that wasn't it, but I think it was.

When you're not used to hitting batters it can affect you. Curt has only hit 47 batters in his Major League career over 18 seasons. The most he ever had in a single season was 6. Compare that with Pedro who has hit 119 in 13 full seasons, or Roger Clemens who has beaned 150, or Randy Johnson who has hit an impressive 168 batters over 18 seasons. These guys are used to seeing players go down and even get hurt when hit by the ball. They are also used to throwing up and in without hitting someone in the head.

Pitching inside is all about the threat. Even the toughest hitters covered in steroid filled muscles and layers of padding don't want to get hit, especially in the head. This instinctual fear keeps them from getting too comfortable in the batter's box. This allows the pitcher to more freely throw the ball over the plate. However, the intention is almost never to hit someone in the head with a pitch.

I don't think Schilling meant to hit Duffy in the head. I think he went up and in on a player that, like Schilling, is still in spring training mode and isn't at 100% on his toes like he would be in May or June. So Duffy went down and maybe Curt got a little shaken up about it.

Whatever went wrong, it went wrong big time. Curt gave up 4 runs in his final inning of work, ruining his stat-line on an otherwise fine day of pitching.

The good news from Saturday's 10-7 loss to the Pirates was that the bats came alive just a bit. J.T. Snow went 2 for 3 with a double and a pair of RBI. Alex Gonzalez and Tony Graffanino each went 1 for 3 with an RBI. However, Schilling's implosion and Jon Lester's lackluster relief performance resulted in yet another loss in spring. Hopefully, the Red Sox will get losing out of their system before April.


Adam Stern was welcomed back to the Red Sox with a singing of "O, Canada" by some of his teammates and went 1 for 1, but the return of the WBC star was not enough. Neither was a 2 run homer by Kevin Youkilis which was all the Red Sox offense could muster in terms of scoring. Papelbon started off nicely but faded, eventually allowing 5 runs in 3.1 innings. His stamina will be pivotal to the Red Sox this year if he is going to be in the rotation. We've seen this problem with Bronson Arroyo as well as with other younger starters such as Casey Fossum a few years back. They mow through lineups one or two times then hitters figure them out and knock them around. It usually isn't a question of arm strength. It is coming up with new ways to fool hitters. Great pitchers toy with hitters each time through the lineup, setting them up, and showing them something different each time. That's what good starters have to do to produce Quality Starts and go deep into games.

So the Red Sox have lost yet another Mayor's Cup to the crosstown Twins. It isn't serious, but in March on the verge of serious baseball, it is fun to pretend, isn't it?

Keith Foulke faced batters for the first time on Friday. He played long toss on Sunday. No word yet on when a return is expected.

David Wells will pitch in a minor league game this week. No word on when he will join the big club.

A friend of mine went down and saw the Sox in spring training this week. He said that Crisp looked good. Not only was he putting up good numbers, but he was making solid contact and was playing heads up baseball, particularly on the bases. We need that type of Dirt Dogedness on the team, especially from our leadoff hitter.

In the first game of 2nd round play, the Americans walked off with a 4-3 ninth inning victory over the Japanese, but it was not without some controversy. With the game tied at 3 in the top of the inning, it appeared as though Japan had taken the lead of a sac fly. The Americans appealed and the play was upheld by the 2nd base umpire. Then the play was overturned by the home plate umpire. Those plays are always bang bang but I can't recall an appeal denied then that denial being overruled. Be that as it may, the Americans have taken a pivotal game against a tough team.

Cuba beat Venezuela 7-2 in Pool 2 play. Cuba is demonstrating that they are a legitimate threat in this tournament despite having no Major Leaguers on their roster.

Puerto Rico beat the Dominican 7-1. David Ortiz and Alex Cora both went 0 for 4. Julian Tavarez pitched an inning allowing 3 unearned runs and 3 hits. Hard to call all of those runs unearned when you allow 3 hits in an inning.

The US takes on Korea tomorrow, Cuba plays the Dominican in a huge matchup of epic proportions, and Venezuela faces off against Puerto Rico.


I'm calling it, although it could have been called long ago. The season for the Bruins is over. After a 6-2 loss to the Sabres Sunday night, the 5th loss in a row and the 8th out of the last 9 games played, the Bruins are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoff hunt. With 17 games left, the Bruins are 13th in the Eastern Conference standings, 10 points behind 8th place Tampa Bay. That isn't the major problem, however. The problem is, the Thrashers, Islanders, Maple Leafs, and Panthers all stand in between the Bruins and the 8th and final playoff spot. It just simply seems incredibly unlikely that the Bruins will amass enough points in their remaining 17 games and for five teams to fold up, especially considering how badly the Bruins have played recently and the loss of Sergei Samsonov. So this is it. The Bruins are done. Hopefully I'm wrong. But I doubt it very much.

The potential disaster in the NFL was averted as the League and Player's Association came to an agreement on a new CBA. However, the football news was not completely good. The Patriots cut defensive end/outside linebacker Willie McGinist a few days ago. The move was an obvious one because of McGinist's $7 million cap figure. I wouldn't be shocked if the Patriots attempted to sign him with a more cap-friendly contract, but I also wouldn't be surprised if the NFL's all-time leader in playoff sacks gets some big offers to play elsewhere. It will be sad to see Willie go, however. He made many big plays in many big games and his versatility and stamina were remarkable. Players like him allow coaches like Belichick to look smart. Not that Bill isn't a genius, he just looked like a super-genius with guys like McGinist out there.

There were some close games, but each of the favorites moved on in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs. Top seed Boston University beat UMass in two games to advance. Maine beat UMass-Lowell 4-3 twice to move on. Boston College squeezed by Vermont in OT then crushed them in the second game to go to the semi-finals. UNH needed double OT to seal the deal but eventually put Providence College away.

The Semi-Finals begin on St. Patrick's Day in the Garden with Boston College playing Maine and Boston University playing New Hampshire. The winners of those games will play the next day for the Hockey East Championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Sources and Resources for this post:
Yahoo! MLB Photos Sports
Hockey East Online
World Baseball Classic


It happened a few months ago, BC was selected to play in the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise against Boise State instead of somewhere a bit warmer and somewhere a bit more neutral. That was understandable. The teams selected by more desireable bowls had larger fan bases and more notoriety. However, this seeding situation is unexcusable. The NCAA seeding system is supposed to be based entirely on the quality of the team. However, BC was screwed out of what should have been a 3 seed. Now, I know it is only 1 seed difference, but they should have gotten a 3 seed and a playing location closer to home such as Dayton or Detroit.

What confuses me is that Boston College got a 4 seed, and North Carolina got a 3 seed. We beat UNC twice, including the ACC Semis. We lost to Duke in the title game by the slightest of margins. Yet we have been ranked by the NCAAs to be weaker than at least 12 other teams even though we are ranked 11th at the moment and just beat Maryland, UNC, and lost by 2 to a #1 seed.

The seeding isn't the only thing that irritates me. BC will be playing in Salt Lake City. The other three teams in BC's pod are all western teams (Montana, Pacific, and Nevada). Hell, Nevada is right next door to Utah. If BC manages to win their first two games, they'll move on to Minneapolis. They will probably face Villanova.

I think BC has earned a 3 seed and the chance to play closer to home. They finished 3rd in the ACC, 11th in the nation, then went through the ACC tournament losing only to #3 in the country Duke by 2 points in the state of North Carolina. Apparently, that isn't good enough. Oh well.

I'm probably overanalyzing minutia here. Boston College still has one of the easiest paths it has ever had in the NCAA tournament. They should beat 13th seeded Pacific. I think they'll have a close one against 5th seeded Nevada but should move on. After that, they're certianly capable of beating Villanova but it won't be easy. After that it will probably be Ohio State or Florida which will be tough but not as tough as Villanova. Then probably UConn or Tennessee. BC is a candidate to win all of this thing. Do I think it will happen? Probably not. But if they play just a bit better for a bit longer than they played against Duke today and do it every game, they will win it all.


Chapel Hill, NC is 45 miles from Greensboro. Chestnut Hill, MA is 640 miles from Greensboro. In a game that was essentially a road game, the BC Eagles were able to hold on against #10 North Carolina 85-82, earning a spot in the ACC finals against #3 Duke. This was the second time the Eagles defeated UNC and it was probably the more impressive victory considering how well the Tar Heels have been playing, beating Duke on the road only a few days prior to this game.

Craig Smith and Jared Dudley led the way. Smith had 23 points and 15 rebounds for his second double double of the tournament. Dudley played all 40 minutes of the game and contributed 21 points. Sean Marshall had 14 points for BC, and freshman Tyrese Rice added 10 off the bench. Points off the bench were the difference in this one, one of the differences, at least. BC had 14 points from bench players while UNC only had 6.

The game was a close one the entire way through. BC clung to a 43-42 lead at halftime. In the 2nd half, they pulled away, leading at times from between 8 to 12 points. In the closing minutes, as UNC got more aggressive and BC more conservative, the gap closed. However, BC hit a few key baskets that secured them a victory and a spot in the finals.

Now it is on to face Duke. Much like UNC, Duke will essentially be playing a home game. This game is a winnable game for BC. Duke had some struggles to close out the regular season with a home loss to UNC and a loss to unranked Florida State. The two teams played each other on February 1st with Duke eaking out an 83-81 victory at Chestnut Hill.

However, there are many reasons why Duke is the #3 team in the country. They will probably be the #1 team if they win this game after #1 UConn and #2 Villanova each had early losses in the Big East tournament. They've only lost 3 games all season. Two were on the road, and one was against arch-rival North Carolina. They haven't had an easy schedule to navigate, either. This isn't Gonzaga, here. They beat Memphis, now the 5th ranked team in the country. They beat Texas in Austin when Texas was #2 in the nation. They beat Indiana on the road when Indiana was ranked 16th. They've beaten a good number of good and solid teams and beaten up on many opponents. They've scored over 100 points twice, over 90 7 times (including 97 against Texas), and over 80 on 19 occasions this season. They're a powerhouse.

This game is almost a no lose situation for Boston College. Nobody would expect them to beat Duke in Greensboro, especially considering Duke's history in the ACC tournament (16 titles, 6 of the last 7). However, the Eagles have made it to the ACC finals, beat UNC on a national stage and have probably secured themselves a 3rd seed in the NCAA tournament regardless of the outcome of this game. They have an opportunity here to do even better than that. If they can win this game, they could earn themselves a 2 seed.

At the moment,'s Bracketology has the Eagles as a 4 seed, but this might have been before BC beat UNC and it was a good 4 seed going up against Kent State, then the winner of West Virginia or San Diego State. Today's game against Duke could be the biggest game in Boston College history if they win it.

Sources and Resources for this post:
How Far Is It? by

Saturday, March 11, 2006


The Red Sox beat the Phillies 9-4 and the BC Eagles beat Maryland 80-66. Wakefield started for the Red Sox going 4 scoreless innings allowing only 2 hits and 2 walks. His ERA this spring is 0.00. The combination of Seanez and Riske continued to give up runs. Seanez went 1 allowing a run, as did Riske. Delcarmn allowed an unearned run in an inning of work.

Coco Crisp continues to have an impressive spring. He raised his average to .615 with a 2 for 3 performance last night, knocked in a run, and stole 2 bases. Loretta went 1 for 2. Trot Nixon went 2 for 4 with a solo HR and a pair of RBI. Manny went 1 for 2, Lowell 0 for 2, Youk 0 for 2 and Gonzalez 0 for 2. Murphy had a big day going 2 for 3 with a pair of homeruns and 5 RBI.

The Red Sox play the Pirates today and Curt Schilling is starting.

Craig Smith led the #11 BC Eagles to victory in the 2nd round of the ACC tournament last night. He had 21 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists. He also added 3 steals. The Eagles exploded in the 1st half, going into the locker room with a 41-22 lead, then they put it in cruise control and won by 14.

This afternoon at 4, the Eagles face a tougher task. They will play #10 North Carolina. The game is essentially a home game for the Tar Heels, who beat Virginia 79-67 last night and are also rolling just like the Eagles are. They've won their last 8 games, including one against Duke. They've won 11 of their last 12. BC and UNC played each other once this season and the Eagles won in Chapel Hill 81-74. If BC wins this game, it will impress a lot of people on the selection committee.

Friday, March 10, 2006


If I knew how to Photoshop properly, I would replace the puppets with Roger Clemens, Derek Lee, Ken Griffey Jr, and Alex Rodriguez. And yes, I'd make A-Rod one of the female puppets.

Team USA advanced to the 2nd round of the World Baseball Classic with a 17-0 slaughter of South Africa. I'm not surprised and so I'm not really celebrating too much. If you ask me, we shouldn't have had to win this game in order to advance. Losing to Canada was inexcusable.

It gets much harder for the United States. They are in Pool 1 of the 2nd round with Mexico, Japan, and South Korea. Both Japan and South Korea should be well rested. Second round play begins on Monday. The first game for the US: Japan. The two teams with the best record in the 2nd round will play each other a 2nd time with the winner of that game advancing to the finals to play the winner of Group 2.

I think so far this thing has been a success. No players have gotten hurt, and there have been some really amazing games and performances. What surprises me was the way the weaker teams played. Teams like Australia, South Africa, and Panama were long shots to advance but they played very well considering the disadvantage in talent they have.

How bout this for a story, Shairon Martis of the Netherlands and a prospect in the Giants farm system threw a 7 inning no hitter against Panama. The Netherlands put up 10 runs so the game ended early via the slaughter rule. Martis was right on the edge of the pitch count limit for the 1st round, throwing 65 total pitches and allowing only 2 base runners.


The Boston Red Sox lost to the Los Angeles Red Sox 6-4. That is not a typo. The Dodgers are the Red Sox retirement home. Anyway, Arroyo dissapointed again while Derek Lowe was stellar for the Dodgers. Arroyo went 2 innings, allowing 5 earned runs. If this type of pitching continues, he very well may end up out of the rotation to start the season.

On the plus side of things, Abe Alvarez pitched a scoreless 7th allowing only 1 hit, and Craig Hansen pitched a perfect 8th. Trot Nixon was 1 for 2 with a walk, J.T. Snow was 1 for 3 with an RBI. Other than that, the Red Sox regulars were kept in check by Lowe and the rest of the Dodgers staff.

The Florida Marlins beat up on the Boston Marlins 12-1. That too, is not a typo. The Red Sox are a depository of former Marlin talent. The big hero of the day was former Red Sox prospect Hanley Ramirez who went 3 for 3 with a triple. He also scored 3 of Florida's runs as their leadoff hitter.

This game was not the Red Sox most determined effort to win this Spring. David Pauley started on the mound for us and was releived by Matt Ginter, Mike Holtz, Mike Burnabay, Craig Breslow and Jermaine van Buren. None of these guys will probably be on the 25 man roster on Opening Day.

Offensively, the Red Sox had more of an effort, it just wasn't that well executed of an effort. Alex Gonzalez went 0 for 3, Mark Loretta went 1 for 3, Mike Lowell went 0 for 3, Youkilis had a decent day going 1 for 2 with a double and a run, and Enrique Wilson went 0 for 2 but had the Sox only RBI of the game.

The Sox host the Phillies tomorrow afternoon at City of Palms Park.

After a surprising 8-6 loss to Canada, and thanks to a Mexico victory over Canada, the United States can advance to the 2nd round of the World Baseball Classic, only if they beat South Africa on Friday. They should do this, especially with Roger Clemens starting, but South Africa has not been a pushover. They nearly beat Canada and Canada beat us so anything can happen.

Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, South Korea, and Japan have already advanced to the 2nd round of the WBC. Friday's games will determine the 2 other teams that will advance with them.

Just a few performances in the WBC by Red Sox players:

In Canada's 11-8 win over South Africa, Adam Stern went 2 for 3 with a double, an RBI, a walk, and a pair of runs scored. In Canada's 8-6 triumph over the US, Stern was the hero going 3 for 4 with a triple, a homerun, and 4 RBI.

Also in that game, Jason Varitek went 2 for 3 with a Grand Slam and 4 RBI. It wasn't enough, but it was the biggest hit of the day for the Americans.

In Mexico's 9-1 demolishment of Canada, Stern was a mere 1 for 2 with a walk. He has probably been Canada's MVP of the tournament thus far which may bode well for him in terms of a roster spot on the Red Sox.

In Puerto Rico's 2-1 victory over Panama, Alex Cora was 0 for 1 with a walk, a K, and a sacrifice. He went 0 for 3 with a SAC fly RBI in PR's 8-3 win over the Netherlands.

Lenny DiNardo got the loss for Italy when they fell to Venezuela 6-0. He started and allowed 2 runs in 2.2 innings of 4 hits.

David Ortiz went 0 for 2 but walked twice in the Dominican's 8-3 win over Italy. Papi might set and hold the WBC walk record for years to come. They just simply do not wish to pitch to him.

Sox youngster Trent Durrington went 0 for 4 but stole 2 bases in Australia's 2-0 loss to Venezuela.

So far, no player has gotten hurt in the WBC.

BRUINS TRADE SAMSONOV, LOSE TO HABSIn the first game of 4 very important contests between the Bruins and the 8th placed Canadiens, the Bruins were unable to come out on top. They were shut-out 3-0. Before the game, the Bruins were sellers in the NHL trading deadline, sending explosive winger Sergei Samsonov to Edmonton for centers Marty Reasoner and Yan Stastney as well as a 2nd round pick.

Neither Stastney or Reasoner are very good and the move appears to be an effort to get something before Samsonov left via free agency at the end of the season. It is very sad that the Bruins have traded both Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov away. They were drafted together years back, both in the 1st round and have both been great players. They were supposed to be the foundation of a Bruins Stanley Cup. Now they are gone. This has been a sad season for the Bruins.

Boston College will face off against Maryland in the 2nd round of the ACC tournament today in Greensboro. The Terps beat Georgia Tech 82-64 yesterday to advance. Maryland edged BC 73-71 back in mid December in College Park. The Eagles have improved since then and are rolling. However, BC has a tendency to fall short at the end of the season in most of its sports. Hopefully they can come up big, and win a few games in this pre-tourney tourney.

Sources and Resources for this post:
World Baseball Classic's Sports Section
Yahoo! MLB Photos
Yahoo! NCAA Hoops

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Manny Ramirez went 2 for 3 in his first Spring Training game with 3 RBIs that helped push the Red Sox over the Orioles in City of Palms Park by a score of 10-6. Ramirez's nice outing was joined by Coco Crisp who had a very nice day for himself in the leadoff spot in the order. Crisp was 3 for 3 with a double, a pair of singles, 2 runs scored, and a stolen base. Trot Nixon also had a good day going 1 for 1, walking twice, scoring twice, and knocking in a run. Mike Lowell went 1 for 2 and knocked in his first run of the spring. J.T. Snow was 1 for 3 with an RBI. Alex Gonzalez did not have a good day, he went 0 for 3 and made a throwing error. He's still trying to get readjusted to be being back in Fort Myers and not playing for Venezuela, I think. Let's remember, this guy isn't known for his bat. Neither was Edgar yet we expected Nomar Garciaparra of 1997 numbers from him for some reason.

The pitching wasn't as good as it could be. Papelbon started, allowing a pair of runs off 4 hits in 3 innings. Rudy Seanez and David Riske continued to be less than adequate. Seanez gave up 2 runs in an inning of work. Riske allowed 1 earned run and 2 runs total in the next inning. Cla Meredith got the win with 2 scoreless innings. Manny Delcarmen pitched a hitless 8th inning.

Flaherty was vying for the backup catcher's spot behind Jason Varitek but instead he's decided to call it quits. Flaherty is a veteran of 14 seasons and although he didn't give a reason in any of his statements to the press, he just might not be feeling it anymore. Be that as it may, that's one down in the competition for the backup catcher's role.

Interesting piece by the Associated Press's Howard Ulman:

Here's the article on

I don't know if Schilling should stray away from a style which he is comfortable with, however he seems like the type of player that analyzes his performances and comes up with good strategies to improve himself. If this is what he wants to try, then he will probably be successful in doing it.

It's hard to view the WBC as the Ultimate Baseball Competition, which is how it is being vigorously promoted by MLB, when pitchers are kept to pitch counts and hitters are in rusty spring training habits swinging at bad pitches and taking bad swings at good pitches. It is also difficult to get into baseball games when there is 6 inches of snow outside. However, it was still fun watching today's games. I must say, I was more excited about the Dominican beating Venezuela than I was about the US beating Mexico. I want the US to win this thing, but they are supposed to beat teams like Mexico. No offense to the Mexican team, but the US team is simply stacked. The Dominican win over Venezuela, however, was much less expected and it was nice to see David Ortiz beat up on the team that didn't want his new teammate Alex Gonzalez on their roster.

Mike Timlin got the win for Team USA by pitching a perfect 4th inning. Really, Jake Peavy deserved the win with 3 shutout, 1 hit innings to start the game, but for some reason the 5 inning rule for starters applies in the WBC. Oh well, that is something nice that Timlin can put on his resume. He won the first WBC game for the United States.

How awesome was it that the fans in Arizona were booing Alex Rodriguez? I don't know if it was the Mexican fans or the American fans or sections of both. However, it was indeed awesome.

Also in WBC action, Alex Cora went 0 for 1 with a walk for Puerto Rico in their 2-1 win over Panama. "Italy" slaughtered Australia 10-0 in 7 innings. I didn't know until today that any team up by 15 through 5 innings or by 10 through 7 wins via a slaughter rule. Half of "Italy's" RBIs came from American born players. All but 2 and a third innings were pitched by Michigan native Jason Grilli. My point is, "Italy" is a fake team.

South Africa is surprisingly hanging in there with Team Canada. The South Africans, arguably the 16th best team in the competition, had been up 4-3 but are still in the game down 6-4 to the Canadians who have much more Major League talent than the South Africans do.

Tomorrow afternoon, Canada plays the US and we will see Team Cuba for the first time in the WBC. It should be interesting to see how Cuba fares against other pro-level all-star teams.

According to a book that is about to come out, Barry Bonds used steroids and HGH. The book documents, in detail, Bonds performance enhancing drug usage and claims that the slugger started doping in 1998. Now, a lot of people are instantly believing this as fact just because it is in some book written by a pair of San Francisco Chronicle reporters. I'm going to play Devil's advocate. I think Bonds has taken HGH in the past, but there is no proof of that. Certainly, what we know about this book is not proof either. An excerpt will be in the March 13th issue of Sports Illustrated and I'm sure the book will be out in time to capitalize on this very convenient surge in free publicity.

I'm just going to say right now that I hate Barry Bonds. I hated him before he got huge and became the best hitter in the game. I hated him because he is an a-hole, takes up 3 locker rooms in the Giants clubhouse and has a recliner in there. I also think he is a cheater. But I can't prove it. There simply is no proof out there. Yet. So let's not convict the guy just because we don't like him and want to find something about him so we can tear him down. Let's investigate properly and let evidence make conclusions and not our own biases.

It will be interesting to read this book, however.


The Bruins needed to come back from the Olympic break and earn points. They needed wins, and OT losses. They have been in every game since they came back, but haven't gotten many points out of them. Since coming back, they have won a single game and lost three more. That's 2 points in 4 games. That won't cut it. The games have been close but the Bruins have lacked a killer edge to them. They lost 4-3 to Carolina, and lost 3-2 to Buffalo twice. They have a huge game Thursday night against Montreal in the BankNorth Garden. The Bruins have fallen 7 points behind Montreal for the 8th and final playoff spot. Not only that, the Islanders, Maple Leafs, and Thrashers are all in between us and the Canadiens. Conveniently, the Bruins will host the Islanders on Saturday. They're still in this one, folks. But they need a swift kick in the ass and need to get in gear.

Sources and Resources for this post:'s Sports Section
World Baseball Classic
Yahoo! MLB Photos
Yahoo! Sports MLB Section
The Houston Chronicle


David Ortiz has three homeruns this Spring, that is more than the rest of the Red Sox have this Spring. He had two today against Venezuela, one off of Johann Santana who fooled the Red Sox in the opener of Grapefruit League play last week. Ortiz had a solo shot in the 2nd, and then hit a 2 run blast to start a 5 run rally in the 9th. At the time, the Dominicans led 6-5 and wanted some insurance. Venezuela had come back from behind twice in the Caribbean World Series to beat the DR and eventually win it all. Ortiz provided them with some insurance.

Ortiz was 2 for 3, with the two homeruns, 3 RBI, 3 Runs, and 2 walks. Julian Tavarez also saw some action. He pitched an inning and a third. He allowed an inherited runner to score with 2 outs in the 7th and then pitched a hitless 8th inning.

The Dominican Republic takes an early lead in Pool D with their 11-5 victory over Venezuela. The DR is essentially in the second round with this win. All they have remaining in the first round is a game against Italy and one against Australia. I don't think either of these teams has much of a chance against the Dominican or Venezuela. However, Australia could surprise a few people.

Sources and Resources for this post:
World Baseball Classic
Yahoo! MLB Photos


Kirby Puckett passed away on Monday from a stroke. He was only 45 years old, the second youngest member of the Hall of Fame to pass away behind only Lou Gehrig. Puckett was a great player whose career ended too soon due to glaucoma. Puckett helped the Twins claim two World Series titles. In the 1991 post-season, he hit 4 homers in 12 games, 2 in the World Series against the then upstart Atlanta Braves. That was one of the best World Series ever played, and it is one of the first I remember, thanks in large part to Mr. Puckett.

He was an All-Star in 10 of his 12 MLB seasons. He won 6 Gold Gloves as an outfielder and was a 6 time Silver Slugger winner. He never won the MVP but he was in the top 10 in voting on 7 occasions. He won a batting title in 1989 and led the league in hits 4 times. In his short but sweet career, he ammassed over 2,300 hits, over 1,000 runs, 1,000 RBI, 207 HRs, 134 SBs, and a career batting average of .318. He was a great player, and a loveable one.


Roger Clemens is going to wait until after the World Baseball Classic until he makes a decision whether or not he will pitch in the Majors this season. If he decides to pitch, he must then decide where he'll pitch. As before, the contenders are the Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, and Rangers. The Rangers and the Red Sox each made video presentations to Roger. I'm sure all four teams made lucrative offers. I don't think this will be very much about money. If Roger cared about money so much, it'd be a no brainer that he would pitch this season. I think this will be about where he wants to end his career.

Some of the things I think Clemens will consider in making his decisions:

Clemens has a history with the Red Sox, Astros, and Yankees. However, one could argue that his history with the Red Sox is much more important to his career. He earned 3 of his 7 Cy Young awards with the Red Sox. He earned one each with the Astros and Yankees. Clemens won the 1986 AL MVP with the Sox, pitched 13 years out of his 22 in Boston, and won 192 of his 341 games. However, he did win a World Series with New York. Furthermore, his history with the Red Sox and the city of Boston isn't without its darker moments. He's gotten booed almost every time he's pitched there in an opposing uniform, was generally disliked in his last two seasons by a large contingent of fans, and was deemed to be washed up by the previous organization.

The Present:
Roger will probably consider what his role on the team would be and who his teammates would be. On the Red Sox, he'd be on a World Series contending team. The same goes for Houston and New York. However, the Red Sox have much better pitching. He would probably be the #1 pitcher in Boston, but he'd be competing with Beckett and Schilling for that role. He's also have old friend Al Nipper as his pitching coach. Also, Terry Francona seems to be a universally respected and admired manager. But so isn't Joe Torre. On the Yankees, he'd be with Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina. He would be the Ace of the staff. In Houston, he'd be with his teammates from last season as well as buddy Andy Pettitte. On the Rangers, he'd be playing mostly with up and coming hitters and a grab bag of pitchers.

Is Roger willing to uproot and move back to the Northeast? The guy is considering not even playing baseball at all, which makes the move to New York or New England seem even more drastic. Roger's expressed an interest to pitch in the state of Texas his entire life. Is he willing to move back North where MLB baseball is life, and be 1,500 miles away from his home just for a season of baseball?

The Fans:
The manner in which Roger departed Boston and New York left sour tastes in the mouths of Red Sox and Yankees fans alike. Roger might not want to return to these places because of that. I know several Sox fans that still don't like Roger and claim that they won't like him if he returns. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd change their tune the minute Clemens is on the mound. But what if he doesn't have a strong start. Then the fans in Boston in New York that still hold a grudge against him will turn on him. Does Roger want this? Wouldn't he rather pitch in Texas where he is almost universally loved and where fans don't turn on a dime?

Roger has some tough decisions to make. There's a lot of give and take on this one. He's got several sets of decisions to make, actually. Does he play, or does he not play. Does he play in Texas or in the Northeast. Does he play for Houston, Texas, New York, or Boston.

Sources and Resources for this Post:
Yahoo! MLB Photos's Sports Section

Monday, March 06, 2006


The Red Sox got the win, but the big news was Josh Beckett's less than amazing start. He went 3 innings, allowing 5 runs. He gave up a pair of solo HRs, 5 hits, and threw a wild pitch. He walked one and struck out two. The word from Fort Myers is that he was throwing mostly fastballs and the D-Rays were sitting on them.

Craig Breslow had another good outing, he pitched a perfect inning and struck out a batter. Craig Hansen got the win with an inning of scoreless releif. Youkilis fell back into his slump with an 0 for 3 performance. 8 of the Red Sox 10 hits and all 8 of their RBI came from players that probably won't make the 25 man roster.

The Red Sox host the Orioles tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Kevin Youkilis broke out of his short slump that began Spring Training with a 2 run homer that helped the Red Sox to a 3-0 victory over team Australia last night in Fort Myers. Australia was just one of 5 teams that played MLB clubs yesterday before beginning the WBC this week. The US beat the Giants, Houston lost to the Dominican, the mets fell to Puerto Rico, and the Braves beat the Netherlands.

David Ortiz saw his first action of the Spring in the Dominican Republics 12-8 exhibition win over the NL Champion Houston Astros. Not surprisingly, the homerun came in a critical moment in the 6th inning and broke a 5-5 tie. It also began a 3rd run inning for the Dominicans. Ortiz went 1 for 2 with the solo shot, and he walked twice. He played the DH for the DR with Albert Pujols and Pedro Feliz splitting time at first base. Ortiz probably won't see too much time in the field but it hasn't been ruled out completely.

Julian Tavarez pitched in the game in relief of starter Francisco Liriano. Julian did not impress. In 1 inning of work, he allowed an earned run off 2 hits and 2 walks. He also recorded a strikeout and threw a wild pitch.

Jason Varitek helped Team USA beat the San Francisco Giants 11-7. He went 2 for 2 with a pair of singles. He knocked in a run and scored a run. Tek was also hit by a pitch.

Mike Timlin played in the game, as well. He didn't do as well as Varitek. He pitched one inning in releif of Al Leiter who came in for Roger Clemens. Timlin allowed an earned run off two hits in his first action of the Spring.

Former Red Sox defensive Ace Pokey Reese is in the news. Reese was released by the Marlins after a 2 to 3 day unexcused absence. No-one knows where Reese went or why. He might be the type of player the Red Sox might think about scooping up if everything is OK. He can play great defense at short-stop and second base and would give some speed to the bench. It worked out pretty well the last time he was on the team.

In the first great game of the World Baseball Classic, Korea edged Japan 3-2 in the Tokyo Dome in front of over 40,000 fans. A game like this is what the WBC should be all about. Two all-star teams playing the best baseball in the world. Hopefully there will be more games that are as good as this one. Tuesday's first game, the Dominican Republic against Venezuela, should be a good one.

This was the Red Sox third Spring Training victory, but they are still winless against Grapefruit League squads. They play Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg Monday afternoon.

Sources and Resources for this post:
Yahoo! MLB Photos
World Baseball Classic Home Page


There have been 52 ACC championship men's basketball tournaments in the past. Boston College is now officially a part of that long and storied history. BC received a 3rd seed for their first ever ACC tournament, behind only powerhouses Duke and North Carolina in the regular season standings. BC will face the winner of Thursday's game between 6th seeded Maryland and 11th seeded Georgia Tech. Here's a bracket (you gotta click on it):

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The Eagles are rolling, having won 8 of their last 9 games, and 13 of their last 15. Whoever their opponent is, it should prove to be an interesting match-up. Maryland beat BC in College Park 73-71. The Eagles split their season series with Georgie Tech with a 66-64 win and a 60-58 loss. However, both the loss to Maryland and the loss to Georgia Tech took place in the early part of the season when the Eagles were struggling.

The BC hockey team will also be a 3rd seed for the upcoming Hockey East tournament. However, the Eagles had been on top of the Hockey East standings before their weekend games against UNH. Boston University claimed the top spot, with Maine moving into 2nd. UNH finished 4th, Providence College 5th, Vermont 6th, UMass-Lowell 7th, and UMass-Amherst 8th. Northeastern and Merrimack College finished 9th and 10th and did not qualify for the tournament. The tournament also begins on March 9th. Here are the pairings for the first-round, which is a best of 3 series played at the better seeds' rink:

#8 UMass - Amherst @ #1 Boston University

#7 UMass - Lowell @ #2 Maine

#6 Vermont @ #3 Boston College

# 5 Providence College @ #4 New Hampshire

Speaking of amateur hockey, if you're interested in Massachusetts high school hockey and the Super 8 tournament, you might find this Quick Shot on interesting

Sources and Resources for this post:'s BC basketball clubhouse's high school sports page
Hockey East Online

Thanks to PicTiger for providing
Free Image Hosting.


According to, David Wells has reversed his stance on being traded. Those are the words used by If you ask me, if you reversed your stance on being traded, that means you don't want to be traded and are hoping not to be traded. It seems like Wells is simply accepting that he might not be traded. I think Wells has realized that there is very little market value for an aging player coming off knee surgery. He also said that the Red Sox look to be a better team than they were last season and he doesn't mind going out on top.

I don't see much space on this roster for Wells. We've got Schilling and Beckett, practically assured of spots in the rotation. Then we've got Wakefield, Arroyo, Clement, and Papelbon. That's 6 potential starters as it is. The bullpen doesn't have much room either. Foulke, although his health is questionable, will hopefully be the closer. Riske, Timlin, Tavarez, and Seanez will be out there along with the 6th man out of the rotation (probably Arroyo or Papelbon, although Wakefield is definitely a possibility). That's 11 pitchers right there. The Red Sox could decide to carry 12 for a while, but that means forfeiting position player depth, which we could theoretically do considering the versatility of guys like Cora and Graffanino. But then we couldn't have dedicated backup outfielders because the other two bench spots would be occupied by Youkilis/Snow and whoever the backup catcher is. Unfortunately, the Red Sox don't have much depth in the outfield. Cora and Graffanino have combined to play 4 total games in the outfield in their careers (all in left field). I think the Red Sox need to have a dedicated 4th outfielder, 2 replacement infielders, a spot for either Youkilis or Snow - whoever isn't playing - and a backup catcher. Five bench players means, 11 pitchers.

I guess Wells could go into the rotation and Papelbon and Arroyo could move to the pen, and a player like Seanez could not make the 25 man roster. I guess Wells could pitch out of the pen as a lefty specialist. Of course, if Foulke doesn't start the season on the roster, then there is room for Wells. But then again, there'd also be room for guys like Manny Delcarmen, Abe Alvarez, and Craig Hansen.

The Red Sox lost their 3rd Grapefruit League game in a row, this time to the Twins again. The good news was that Wakefield was good in his first outing of the Spring, going 2 no-hit innings with 2 strikeouts. However, he did walk 3. It will be interesting to see how Wakefield adjusts to not having trustworthy Doug Mirabelli catching him this season. Wake also made this tag out after throwing a wild pitch:

More of the positive news, Manny Delcarmen pitched a perfect inning, striking out 1 batter. Trot Nixon, Mike Lowell, and J.T. Snow all went 1 for 3.

Now the bad news. David Riske and Rudy Seanez continued their struggles combining for 3 innings, 5 earned runs, 7 hits and 2 walks. As a team, the Red Sox only managed 6 hits and 1 run. And this wasn't against Johann Santana like last time against the Twins.

I'm not too worried, though. The Red Sox offense is playing without Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Mark Loretta, and Jason Varitek. Granted, these guys would only have 2 at-bats per game, but that is 8 at-bats from top players compared to 8 at-bats from backups. That's usually a quarter or a fifth of a game's at-bats for an offense right there.

The Red Sox are in the midst of playing team Australia. I'll have notes concerning that game later tonight.


The Red Sox lost to the Pirates 7-6 behind a bad Bronson Arroyo outing. Arroyo went 1 and two thirds innings, allowing 5 hits, 3 earned runs, and 2 walks. Abe Alvarez releived him and pitched nicely, going 2.1 innings, allowing only a hit, a walk, and striking out 2. Craig Hansen saw some action but didn't pitch stellarly. He went a scoreless inning but gave up a hit and 2 walks.

Willie Harris started in center again going 1 for 3. David Murphy continues to sruggle, he went 0 for 2. Mark Loretta continued to excel going 2 for 2. Trot Nixon went 1 for 2. Mike Lowell was 0 for 1. Youkilis is still struggling, he went 0 for 2. Alex Gonzalez made his first Spring start, going 0 for 1.

Gonzalez is apparently pissed at Venezuela manager Luis Sojo. Apparently, Sojo told Gonzalez he was definately going to be on the 30 man roster. Then Gonzalez showed up and while asleep, Sojo called his cel phone and left a voice mail informing he was cut from the roster in favor of another pitcher. I can't blame Gonzalez for being upset. If you're going to cut a player, do it before he shows up. Failing that, do it in person, man to man.

Speaking of the World Baseball Classic, the New York Yankees did something hilarious. George Steinbrenner, as we all know, is very much against the WBC because it is taking players from his team, which is a huge investment for him, and putting them in competetive yet somewhat meaningless games. Outside of the Yankees Spring Training facility, before a game, was a notice to fans apologizing for the absence of players like Bernie Williams and Alex Rodriguez. Classic.

Boston College will be the third seed in the ACC tournament thanks to UNC's upset over Duke last night.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Curt Schilling went against the BC Eagles and threw 4 innings allowing only 1 hit. He struck out 3. James Vermileya and Jimmy Serrano pitched the final 3 innings of the 7 inning exhibition game combining for 1 hit and 5 Ks. Willie Harris saw his first action, playing in center field and leading off. He went 1 for 2 with a double and a run scored and a pair of RBI. Mark Loretta also had his Spring debutgoing 1 for 1 with a double and an RBI. Trot Nixon went 0 for 1, Mike Lowell went 1 for 2, Youkilis continued to struggle going 0 for 1, and potential backup catcher Josh Bard went 1 for 2. The Red Sox got 10 runs off 14 hits and won 10-0.

Matt Clement started the night game against the Northeastern Huskies. He went 2 innings allowing a hit (which was a solo HR), an earned run, and striking out 4. Coco Crisp played in his second game of the Spring, going 1 for 2 with a run and an RBI. Tony Graffanino went 2 for 2 with a homer, a run and an RBI. J.T. Snow made his debut going 1 for 1. David Murphy continued his short slump, going 0 for 2. John Flaherty went 0 for 1, and Enrique Wilson went 1 for 2 with a run scored. Overall, the Red Sox had 9 runs off 11 hits and won 9-2.

Red Sox newly acquired short-stop Alex Gonzalez returned to Red Sox camp after spending the day in Clearwater with team Venezuela. Venezuela does have Ozzie Guillen and Omar Vizquel at short-stop. Gonzalez was the hero of the Carribiean World Series for Venezuela, batting over .300 and scoring the winning run of the final game. I can't say I'm upset that Alex Gonzalez will have 3 weeks in Sox camp turning double plays with Mark Loretta. Actually, I'm happy.

''If I thought about how I felt last year in my best start and ranked it, today was in a different stratosphere from a physical standpoint -- as far as how I felt -- compared to any time, at any point last year,"

''I think I can be better than I was in 2004 simply because I have 2004 to use as an experience," he said. ''I'm a year smarter on the hitters in this league, a year smarter on the rigors of pitching in the American League as opposed to the National League, so I don't go into any situation looking to duplicate something I've already done. I'm trying to do something I've never done before."

''The two big things that come out of this game today for me, that I wanted from an approach standpoint, were how I felt and my velocity,"

Schilling estimated that his fastballs were between 92-94 MPH consistently. He seems pretty upbeat, but then again, he always seems upbeat. Time will tell. But if he's healthy, watch out.

According to Papelbon and the Red Sox training staff, Papelbon did not receive a major injury when hit by a batted ball in between the heel and the ankle. The ball came just below the ankle which Papelbon was thankful for. Had it hit the ankle, it could have been serious. Papelbon remarked: ''Hopefully, the Big Man above was watching out for me." I think he's talking about Jason Varitek.

It is still unknown as to what substance Keith Foulke has had injected into his knees. Rumor has it that it is a chemical that replaces the fluid surrounding the knee with healthier fluid.

The Asian group in this competition was somewhat of a joke. Japan, one of the top baseball countries in the world, home to Ichiro Suzuki, Hideo Nomo, and Hideki Matsui, has dominated their competition and clinched a spot in the elimination round. Japan beat China 18-2, and Chinese Tapei 14-3. Korea was less impressive with their 2 wins, beating Tapei 2-0 and China 10-1. When I first heard that China was in the competition, it was somewhat confusing. Then when I saw that they were in a group with Japan and Korea, I knew they had little to no chance to even win a game.

Today, the Red Sox play the Pirates in Grapefruit League play, Boston College finishes their first ACC regular season at home against Virginia Tech, and the Bruins play the Sabres.

Friday, March 03, 2006


The first ever WBC began with Korea beating Chinese Tapei 2-0. Korea and Tapei are just two of the 16 teams that were selected to compete for the title of best baseball country. This whole thing has caused some controversy, some questioning, and some anticipation.

First of all, the concept of a baseball World Cup is a good one, if you ask me. Baseball is more than just an American sport. It is played in South America, Central America, North America, the Carribean, Asia, Australia, and in small pockets in Europe. Many of these countries have great amount of pride in their athletes. Orlando Cabrera, a good but not great MLB short-stop is a hero in Columbia, for example. International competitions such as soccer's World Cup, and Olympic hockey are very fun to watch because national pride is on the line, and the team's are usually All-Star calbre teams.

As far as business decisions go, the WBC is a good one. It is a chance to have a few games on ESPN, sell a few tickets to games, sell some merchandise, and more importantly grow the brand of baseball across the world. Countries like Australia have small but growing groups of fans that spend money on baseball, watch the games on satelite TV, and some eventually become baseball players. Beleive it or not, there are dozens of pro Australian born players in the minor leagues. Australia is just one of the markets across the world that baseball can use to make some money and expand the game of baseball.

Unfortunately, the WBC has been poorly planned out. The timing of it is all wrong. If you want to have a huge event, you don't time it to coincide with the NCAA tournament. If you want to have an event that measures the best of the best in baseball, don't have it during Spring Training when the best of the best are supposed to be getting into baseball shape and pitchers aren't supposed to throw that much. And if you want to have it be the best of the best, don't select the competitors, the competing teams should have to earn their spots. Every team in the soccer World Cup except the host team has to qualify from their region. The qualifiers for Olympic hockey are based on results in previous international competitions. Arbitrarily selecting 16 teams to be in the competition just doesn't hold with the concept the WBC claims to hold to.

Another thing the competition claims to be about is national pride. That doesn't make sense because Mike Piazza and Lenny Dinardo are not Italian, they're Americans with Italian ancestry. And do you think Andruw Jones would go around and call himself Dutch? No. He's Aruban and Aruba happens to be a territory controlled by the Netherlands. Under these standards, Puerto Rico shouldn't have a team because it is a territory controlled by the United States. Yet Puerto Rico has its own team, but Aruba is part of the Dutch team.

Let's look at the venues for the games. Tokyo, and San Juan are both baseball hotbeds. But Orlando, and Phoenix are not. It is screwy that the event is taking place in the US, Puerto Rico, and Japan. That's just weird. It should all be in one country or a region of countries like the World Cup of soccer. And it should be played during the summer so that baseball hotbeds like Chicago, Boston, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Baltimore, and other MLB cities could be used. Don't you think that places like Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium should be where the best baseball teams in the world play?

It is too late to save the 2006 WBC, but let's think about what to do for the next one. I'm thinking it should be played entirely in the US, during the summer, and played only in MLB ballparks. The MLB season would stop, just like the NHL season stops for the Olympics. The regular season would start a week earlier and end a week or two later in order to accomodate this. Because it would be played in the middle of the season, pitchers could go deep into games and players would not be seperated from their teams while their teams were still playing and training.

Instead of simply selecting 16 teams, teams would qualify form their own regions. North America, South America, Central America, the Carribean, Asia & Australia, and Europe & Africa would have qualifying rounds to determine the best teams from each region. Like the soccer World Cup, the amount of teams per region would depend on how good those regions are at baseball and how many good teams they can send to the competition. Asia, for example, would be able to field more good teams than North America so Asia would get more slots in the competition.

There'd be a group stage with teams from different regions, not four teams from the same region. This would create more interesting games in the earlier rounds. The top two teams from four groups would move on to elimination series, not one game elimination. Baseball, as we all know, is not a game that can truly be played over 1 game. Series test depth of pitching staffs.

This is just some stuff that has been floating around in my head. It's pretty dull, but I think the WBC has potential to be a great thing and it has been ruined by some of the idiots at Major League Baseball.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Coco Crisp went 3 for 3 in his first game in a Red Sox uniform, falling a homerun shy of the cycle. He was the Red Sox offense for the first half of the game, which the Sox lost 6-3 to the crosstown Twins. Crisp's performance was almost a response to Johnny Damon's 2 for 3 outing with the Yankees in their 6-3 loss to the Phillies. Crisp will be facing a lot of comparisons between he and Johnny Damon for the next 7 and hopefully 8 months. Crisp also had the first RBI of the game for the Sox. He then got knocked in to score the 2nd Sox run of the game.

The news wasn't all good out of Fort Myers. Jonathan Papelbon got hit with a liner in the foot early in the game. He stayed in there but his pitching was less than stellar. He faced 9 men in an inning and two thirds, giving up 4 hits, one of which was a homer, 2 earned runs, and walking a batter. He only struck out one Twin. The outing wasn't God aweful, though, and that's really the only thing that would be worrisome in the first game or any early Spring Training game. It didn't seem like the liner to the foot was bugging him too much, but he may or may not be feeling it all too well tomorrow. One good note on Papelbon, he induced 4 ground ball outs and 0 fly ball outs so when he kept the ball down, he was doing very well. His problem was keeping it down.

How much might it hurt guys like Papelbon, Delcarmen, Alvarez, and Hansen that Varitek is out of camp for the WBC?

None of the other potential Sox regulars did very well at the plate. Graffanino, who thinks he will be traded, went 0 for 3 with a K, but he did knock in a run. Youkilis went 0 for 3, grounded into a double play, and left a runner in scoring position with 2 outs. John Flaherty went 0 for 2, with 2 LOB, and had a throwing error trying to throw out a base stealer. Twenty-five year old David Murphy got the most playing time and also had probably the worst day. He played in left and center field, and went 0 for 4 at the plate with 4 strikeouts.

As usual, the players that had good days were the ones fighting to stay on the roster. The Red Sox had 9 hits, 6 of which came from players that probably won't be on the 25 man roster on Opening Day. The other 3, of course, came from Coco Crisp. Dustin Pedroia got a chance to pinch hit and play some short-stop. He went 0 for 1 with a strikeout. Luke Allen has a solid day, going 1 for 2 at the plate and recording an outfield assist.

Rudy Seanez did not astound me. He pitched an inning, giving up a pair of solo homeruns. Another newcomer, David Riske, followed him and gave up 2 hits and another run. Delcarmen pitched a scoreless 5th, allowing only a basehit. Hansen pitched a perfect 6th, recording one strikeout. Twenty-six year old Craig Breslow releived Papelbon in the 2nd with 2 outs. He walked a man to load the bases, but he was able to get out of the jam unscathed.

Tomorrow, the Red Sox have split-squad games against Boston College and Northeastern. Curt Schilling will start in the BC afternoon game, and Matt Clement will go in the Northeastern night game.


PJ Axelsson was welcomed back to Boston with a ceremony just for him and his Olympic gold medal. Marco Sturm, fresh from Torino and team Germany, scored the game winner with less than 3 minutes before the end of regulation. Every point is precious for the Bruins now with only 22 games remaining in the regular season. The Bruins are still 4 points behind Montreal for the last playoff spot. Montreal also has 2 games in hand. This was also a big win because the Bruins and Thrashers are now tied for 9th behind the Canadiens. The Bruins have 4 games against Montreal in March and April. Each game will be vital if the Bruins want to make the playoffs.

The beginning of the free agent signing period will be pushed back by three days so the League and the Union can have some time to "cool off" so they can reconvene probably sometime next week. If they hadn't pushed back this deadline, many teams would have purged their rosters in an effort to get under the cap. This whole thing could wind up being a big mess.

The Eagles beat Wake Forest the other night to move into 3rd in the ACC standings and clinch at least a 4th seed and a first round bye in their first ever ACC tournament. If BC beats Virginia Tech at the Conte Forum on Saturday and #15 UNC loses to #1 Duke at Cameron Indoor, the Eagles will move into 2nd in the ACC and get a much better path through the ACC tournament. If they get the 2 seed, they won't face Duke until the finals if both teams make it that far. BC is on the verge of getting a really good seed in the NCAA tournament. They are currently projected by as being a 4th seed. If they can win two games in the ACC tournament, they will make a big impression on the selection committee and might get a good 3 seed.

South Korea and Chinese Tapei kicked off the first ever international competition of the best baseball players in the world. None of the Red Sox players are in the Asian Group that is the first group to begin play. However, players have left Fort Myers to join their teams. The first game in North America will be March 7th at 1:00 PM when the Dominican Republic faces Venezuela. More on the WBC in a later post.


You know, it's hard to take Johnny Damon's "Thank You" ad seriously when he says stuff like this from the NY Times:

"'He thought for sure he was going to be gone,' Damon said Tuesday. 'Unfortunately for him, he's not. He's been there for five years. He just wants a change. He knows how good he is. It's just an unfortunate situation.'"

Seriously, Johnny, shut up. Try to adhere to the Jimy Williams doctrine when it comes to talking about the players on the other team (remember when that Japenese reporter asked Jimy about Ichiro "Oh well he plays for Seattle. Go over and talk to Seattle." Or maybe adhere to the Bill Belichick doctrine of only praising opponents in public forums.

David Wells continues to be standoffish to the media. When asked whether or not he was still seeking a trade, Wells responded "That's it asked the wrong question." The Q & A was over. Remember, this is the same guy who stood up for Kenny Rogers last season. NESN cameramen, beware!

Tonight, the Red Sox begin their Spring Training schedule by going across town to Lee County Stadium to play the Minnesota Twins. The Red Sox have released their starting lineup for tonight's game:

1. CF Coco Crisp
2. 2B Tony Graffanino
3. 1B Kevin Youkilis
4. RF Dustan Mohr
5. C John Flaherty
6. DH Ron Calloway
7. SS Alejandro Machado
8. LF David Murphy
9. 3B Enrique Wilson

Jonathan Papelbon will be on the mound.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Manny Ramirez has kept his promise and reported to Fort Myers today. He deflected questions and stated that his "...main focus is baseball." Let's hope he's right.

In other news from Fort Myers, Keith Foulke's progress has been slowed down and he has been taking injections in his knees which troubled him all season last year. Let's hope this is just a temporary problem due only to his return to a strict training regimen and doesn't last all spring, or even worse all season.