A few days ago, just before the beginning of Spring Training as well as the Daytona 500, John Henry and Jack Roush racing entered a partnership. For about $50 million, Henry bought 50% of the NASCAR team, which is one of the largest and most prominent in the sport.
For those who don't know, Roush Racing is a very large and successful team. It is probably the closest thing Ford has to a factory team, and the relationship between Roush and Ford is very close. The team fields 4 full-time NEXTEL Cup cars, along with a part-time car. There is also a number of BUSCH Series and Craftsman Truck Series vehicles owned by Roush (these series are the NASCAR equivalent of AAA, and AA). Roush has a highly organized developmental process for young drivers, and also sells a number of cars, parts, and engineering services to other Ford teams.
Roush is coming off a not so stellar season, but their size and strength is still unquestioned. This deal makes a lot of sense for them considering the amount of capital they, along with other Ford teams, will need to invest in developing cars in order to compete with Dodge and Toyota teams, which have a great deal of factory backing.
I think the deal also makes sense for the Fenway Sports Group, as NASCAR can be a lucrative investment, as well as a prestigious one. Despite what some may say, it is no longer a regional hick sport. However, this move to invest in NASCAR would have been better had it come a few years ago, when NASCAR was still booming. Although the sport is still growing, its rate of growth is much smaller than it once was.
A few people on WEEI are worried that the Red Sox will be "shoving NASCAR" down people's throats. I really don't see how that would be possible. How does one exactly shove a sport down anyone's throats. And judging by the fact that concerts at Fenway Park aren't shoved down any throats, I think it's safe to say that NASCAR won't be showed anywhere.
MATSUZAKA PRESS CONFERENCES, HOW ANNOYING ARE THEY?
It's been "breaking news" all over NESN, Boston.com, and WEEI whenever Matsuzaka is questioned by the media. I don't see what the big deal is. What can he really say that will be so impressive? Are we that starved for baseball season to start that we're weak at the knees whenever there's a translated press conference. And how long do these things have to take? A US reporter will ask one of his long, stupid, complicated questions, it'll get translated into Japanese, Dice-K will answered, and it will get translated back into English. All this effort in order to answer questions as silly as "What do you think about how much the Sox paid for you?" or "Have you talked to any of your teammates about how much media is surrounding you?" Honestly, let's wait until he actually throws a pitch in a Spring Training game, then we can utilize this vast and intricate linguistic nightmare in order to find out important things that actually pertain to the game of baseball.
And I really do hope Matsuzaka can find a good "play-catch" partner.
OKAJIMA ARRIVES IN FORT MATSUZAKA, BUT I THINK ONLY HE KNEW IT
Hideki Okajima, the OTHER Japanese pitcher we signed this season, who many fans have dismissed as an asset for helping Matsuzaka adjust to MLB, arrived in Fort Myers, carrying his own bags, not being attended to by an entourage of handlers, and with no $2.5 million background behind him.
I'm not saying I feel bad for Hideki, and I'm sure he's happy to be here, but I'm starting to wonder, what if some of the Red Sox start to resent the special treatment that Matsuzaka is receiving? Ballplayers can often have larger than life egos, and some guys might not like how Matsuzaka seems to be stealing the spotlight in town. I'm not naming names, and I'm not making a prediction, I'm just saying it is a small concern I'm having with all this balley hoo surrounding Daisuke.
I'll be one of the first to say this, though, welcome to the Red Sox, Hideki. If I knew Japanese, or could type Japanese characters, I'd type it in Japanese.
SOME DETAILS OF DREW DEAL DISCLOSED
Alliteration is fun.
Just a few details concerning JD Drew's deal.
If Drew doesn't play in 500 games by 2010 (125 games per season), he will see $9 million of his 2011 salary deferred. If he doesn't play 375 games from 2008 to 2010 (also 125 games per season), the same money will also be deferred.
The $9 million deferred would have a 1% interest and would not be fully collected by Drew until 2030, if man is still alive (reference to the Zager & Evans song). This is a small comfort, knowing that the Sox can withhold a little money in case drew isn't all that healthy.
Keith Foulke retired before ever playing in any kind of game for the Cleveland Indians. He exited the Sox unceremoniously, and never had a chance to pitch against the team he helped to win the 2004 World Series. As much crap as Foulke took for his Burger King remarks, he was a major part of winning the World Series, so thanks, Keith.
Kevin Youkilis showed up to Fort Myers a few days early, and a few pounds lighter. Youk remarked that he felt as if he was "dragging" a bit last season at times.
The Red Sox avoided arbitration with outfielder Wily Mo Pena. They offered and he accepted a 1 year, $1.875 million deal.