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 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.