MANNY SHOWS UP TO CAMP EARLY...KIND OF
You should never, ever, expect Manny to do anything except the unexpected. We in Red Sox Nation were all informed through Manny's PR frontman Julian Tavarez, and then officially through the Red Sox that Manny Ramirez would not arrive in Fort Myers until March 1st, with the reason being that he wanted to spend time with his sick mother. Then we found out about a car show in Atlantic City he was planning to attend before reporting to Spring Training. That's when it hit the fan, and the fan could definitely feel it.
Then Manny surprised everyone by not only skipping the car show, but reporting to camp yesterday, 3 days earlier than expected. It seemed like another Manny induced malignant clubhouse tumor had been averted, and the day had been saved.
But let's not forget that Manny was still late for Spring Training. Let's not forget that even though he didn't go to the car show, he still wasn't in Fort Myers. Let's not forget that he informed the Red Sox of his intentions through Tavarez. Let's not forget that he's kept his teammates in the dark throughout all of this. And let's not forget that he is Manny Ramirez, and will once again "be Manny" in the future.
SCHILLING DENIED EXTENSION, TALKS TRASH ON S.O.S.H.
Curt Schilling was denied his contract extension for the 2008 season. The move was not a surprise, because the Red Sox are about trying to win ballgames and not appeasing The Blowhard. Curt wanted $13M guaranteed before he threw a pitch in Red Sox uniform, and the Sox rightfully denied him this. If he has a good season and looks capable of pitching into 2008, then the Sox will do what they can to retain him.
I'll give Curt credit, he doesn't want contract BS to go on during the regular season. But he also forgets that the date to declare free agency occurs well after the end of the season, not well before it. But Curt has essentially already declared. I don't think he's greedy for money, but like most ballplayers he is greedy for respect. And that respect just so happens to be demonstrated through money.
Strangely enough, there isn't much frustration among Sox fans concerning this. Perhaps we're all too excited about Matsuzaka to pay full attention to Curt, or perhaps all of our ire is being focused on Manny. Or maybe a large chunk of Red Sox Nation worship Curt Schilling as the man who single-handedly won us the World Series. Hopefully few of these people are registered voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Curt is acting like a big baby, he put an ultimatum to the Red Sox that was simply ridiculous and selfish. If Pedro did something like this, people would be trying to run him out of town. But Curt doesn't have an accent, and his skin is fair. I'm not accusing anyone of anything, I just think that it's a bit odd that he's gotten a free pass by many fans. Last week, Boston.com did a poll asking about whether or not the Sox should extend Schilling's contract. Of the 8,700+ votes, 41.8% sided with Schilling, accusing the Red Sox of making a big mistake.
To quote Maurice Vaughn: "Dumb, stupid Boston fans, they're STUPID!"
Now, Curt is a professional, and he'll pitch his best. We all know that he will. But I don't like how he's responding to this. After all, he put the ultimatum to the Sox to sign him "or else." He was the one who surprised everyone by announcing he wasn't going to retire at the end of the season only a month before Spring Training started. Remember, the Sox are long-term thinkers, and they probably figured Curt would be out of the picture in '08. Now all of a sudden, he pops back in and demands $13M upfront. Curt needs to realize he was being stupid and impatient.
I don't like the fact that Curt engages in an internet flamewar against Dan Shaughnessey. I think it's ironic that Shank is the one not posting messages on Sons of Sam Horn, whereas the millionaire pro ballplayer is. Next thing you know, Curt will challenge Shaughnessey to an online duel of Halo to settle the score between them.
You can read Curt's post on SOSH here, his screename is Gehrig38.
I don't disagree with most of what Curt says in the post, and I think it's cool that he interacts with fans this way, but if he responds to some criticism from a sportswriter by blasting him on an internet messageboard, what the hell will he do when CNN criticizes his lack of political experience, or his inability to comprehend that Hillary Clinton is FOR the war in Iraq during some sort of Senate campaign?
MATSUZAKA THROWS BATTING PRACTICE
I can't believe I'm writing about this. Even more unbelievable is that when I read about Matsuzaka throwing BP, I got really excited.
Daisuke threw 44 pitches in his first BP session on Saturday. Yesterday he threw 50 pitches. The batters who faced him included Wily Mo Pena, David Ortiz, Julio Lugo, and Manny Ramirez. Manny only saw three pitches and didn't swing at any of them. Ortiz was the only hitter to get a "hit" off him, a groundball single.
Imagine how exciting it will be when he pitches in a Spring Training game. Speaking of which...
STARTERS ANNOUNCED FOR UPCOMING S.T. GAMES
Wed 2/28 vs. Minnesota: Curt Schilling
Thu 3/1 at Toronto (SS): Kason Gabbard
Thu 3/1 vs. Northeastern (SS): Josh Beckett
Fri 3/2 vs. Toronto (SS): Kyle Snyder
Fri 3/2 vs. Boston College (SS): Daisuke Matsuzaka
Sat 3/3 vs. Philadelphia: Tim Wakefield*
SS = Split Squad game
* = Jonathan Papelbon will get work in this game in the early middle innings
UPCOMING GAMES ON RADIO AND/OR TV
The following Spring Training games will be available on television:
Wed 2/28 7:05 vs. Minnesota - NESN
Sat 3/3 1:05 vs. Philadelphia - NESN
Wed 3/7 1:05 vs. NY Mets - NESN
Mon 3/12 7:05 vs. NY Yankees - NESN
Sat 3/17 1:05 vs. Cincinnati - NESN
Sun 3/18 1:05 at Baltimore - NESN
Wed 3/21 1:05 at Pittsburgh - ESPN
Thu 3/22 1:05 at Philadelphia - ESPN
Sun 3/25 1:05 vs. Florida - NESN
Mon 3/26 1:05 at Cincinnati - ESPN
Wed 3/28 7:05 at Minnesota - NESN
Upcoming Spring Training games on WRKO 680:
Wed 2/28 7:05 vs. Minnesota
Fri 3/2 6:05 vs. Boston College
Mon 3/5 1:05 vs. Los Angeles
Wed 3/7 1:05 vs. NY Mets
Thu 3/8 1:05 vs. Toronto
Sat 3/10 1:05 at Detroit
Mon 3/12 7:05 vs. NY Yankees
Wed 3/14 1:05 vs. Pittsburgh