11.25.02: A young man's game. If Theo Epstein doesn't back out before the press conference for any "personal" reasons, he'll be calling the shots as Boston Red Sox GM for the foreseeable future, maybe the next 30 years. And yes Larry Lucchino will be there every step of the way. Along with John Henry, Bill James, and a host of new advisors. Most of Red Sox Nation applaud this move and are ready to give the local kid a shot. Or maybe they're just glad to have this knock-down, drag-out process over with.
For those who say Theo is too young for the job, I'm reminded of the guy who made the computer I type on now, Michael Dell. Since founding his Austin, Texas-based company in 1984 as a 19-year-old dropout from the University of Texas, Dell heard no shortage of experts explain why the sky was about to come crashing down on top of him -- starting with the stock market collapse of 1987, which hit just as he was preparing to take the business public. A company of less than $8 billion at the time, the PC maker grew to finish 2001 with $32 billion in sales. Just one example of someone who hit their prime before their time. If there is a key to Michael Dell's success, it is his ability to make the right decision at the right time -- and often, that decision is to do nothing at all. Hopefully Theo shows some patience with the current Red Sox, who seem to be only a few players away.
And what will Theo do with Grady? Nothing. Although if he had his druthers, he'd probably make a switch if there was a viable candidate out there, but Theo has already spouted the "our manager won 93 games" party line. So we might as well get behind Grady now and hope he learned a thing or two from the pack-it-in, mail-it-in early, there's-always-tomorrow 2002 debacle.
And what will Theo do with the millions saved by hiring him in lieu of Billy Beane? Spend it on a brand new first baseman? Try to replace Burkett? Get a new closer? Hopefully all of the above. Time to put the hot stove on the front burner.
10.9.02: Grady and the New GM. You've got a better chance of seeing Lou Gorman return than you do of Larry Lucchino admitting that after a worldwide search the best candidate for the plum GM job is one of Dan Duquette's two assistant GM's, Mike Port. Carve it in stone, he's not it even though I like Mike too. Same for Tim Naehring, please, Theo was running circles around him ten years ago. Gene Michael?!? We're dusting off old Yankee managers now? Well then let's just bring in Zim to replace Grady while we're at it. And forget Omar Minaya.
The GM decision is all about how much power Larry is willing to relinquish, and how quickly he wants Theo at the top, three years or five. That's why he's out west stalking Beane right now.
The idea of a GM picking his own manager started going out the window when Lucchino gave Grady a two year deal. It would have been perfectly reasonable at the time to only give him one year based on the fact that they publicly said they would name a permanent GM at the end of one year. Grady would have understood that, it would not have been an embarrassment to only give him one year IMHO, considering the unique circumstances. Because now Lucchino uses "we have a manager under contract for 2003" as one of his bullet points on 'why we're supposed to keep Grady' PowerPoint presentation.
Yes there is another car waiting for the media member who can write the most ridiculous Grady Must Stay column. Right now, Michael Holley remains way out if front, but he doesn't want a free Thunderbird convertible either.
If either Mike Port or Theo Epstein were the GM, and could make their decisions without ramification from Lucchino/Henry, both would choose to fire Grady.
Another piece of double-talk going on was that when Grady was hired, we were sold on the fact that he 'managed thousands of games in the minor leagues' he wasn't just a minor league guy, he was Mr. Award Winning Minor League Guy and we should be happy to get him because he's seen every possible game situation and will seamlessly be able to inject this game management expertise to the big club.
Never happened. As you know, Grady was outfoxed, outmatched, outwitted, outplayed in every situation where it mattered, all year long. Pitchers warming up two batters too late, the tail runner pinch runner backfires, wrong guys resting on wrong days and guys that need rest burning out, using Embree and Howry in blowouts and getting blown out when the needed them, not knowing platoon splits resulting in splitting headaches for the astute members of RSN on SoSH.
Notice the suck up media and H/W/L don't say boo about Grady's ability to manage games now... no, the smokescreen is about 'his ability to keep Manny focused on his batting title,' 'he never got to pick his own bullpen coach.' Holley: 'he's overpaid his dues,' 'he won 93 games in his first year as manager,' and the best flip-flop: 'he's a first year manager you know.' HAAAAA what a joke. I thought he was Mr. Field General from all those minor league wins and BA awards?
Regarding off-season moves, they'll sign Floyd, put him in left, Manny will mostly DH, they keep Nixon in right. Acquire pitchers by hook and crook. Then get a big gun firstbaseman. That will be it. If someone has to be traded for a decent pitcher, it's Shea. Varitek could be part of a package with Shea if a catcher and the right pitcher came back.
I sat behind the dugout his last game against the Yankees in '96, tears welled up in my eyes when they played 'Rocket Man' when he came in from the bullpen... but we gave it to him good all game long for leaving town as we knew he would, The Texas Con Man, quit against the Mets, let Dave Stewart eat his lunch through the 90's, sandbagged Hobson, got fat here for four years, poisoned the atmosphere, selfish lying dirty rotten MFY bastard....
Bring him back. No question.
9.18.02: Thanks for the memories? No more Nomar? Say it ain't so. Here's saying Nomar gets a rousing standing-O tonight and clears the air with the fans once he chills out. Am I still bummed at him for being so smug in July about 'having plenty of time,' the 'little leaguers' BS, and the steroids 'false positive' crap? Yes. Do I wish he would dive for balls and get his uniform dirty every once in while? Yes. But I'm not ready to advocate trading him for overreacting in The Year to be Jeered.
Is this a lousy town to play in? You'd have to ask them. But I was at The Rack last night for a friend's CD release party when Carlos Baerga walked in and I almost got a bear hug myself. Rey Sanchez said thanks and shook my hand after I told him "great game tonight Rey." And Doug Mirabelli came in and mingled easily with the patrons as well. They had a great time as they usually do with about 200 fans in the house, peacefully co-existing even though the Red Sox are not going to be playing this fall for the third year in a row. No one jeered or hassled the guys in public. We're not a bunch of A-holes as some people would have you believe.
Secret to the Tim Wakefield turnaround? Like with most of us out there... a good woman. Tim's lovely and smart fiancé Stacy Stover started whooping his soft-in-the-middle body into shape about two years ago. "Get up, we're going running." Red Sox Nation thanks you Stacy :-). Now let's sign Tim up for a three year extension.
Grady on putting the Sea Dogs out there for $60 a seat Tuesday night: "There was a long time without any off days... some guys are running on fumes. I thought that was the best thing to do. You get to a point where we've been, playing hard... you run a big risk of injury... it's tough... they've been working real hard since September 1st..." Oh, thanks for telling me now that they started playing hard on September 1st, I could have saved a lot of time and money. See you in Portland Mr. Little.
And no Larry Lucchino was not happy about all the negative calls that came in to NESN about the 30-year-old-minor-leaguer-line-up and the perception that they mailed it in for the paying public Monday night. But as Jimy Williams might say "the horses have already left the barn."
9.17.02: The Year to Drink Beer? I'm still a little emotional after watching "The Corsi Years" on NESN last Sunday. What a story... what a story. I wonder if the other six people who watched are still teary-eyed? Oh and belated happy birthday Corsino.
Don't get too excited if you've been asked to put in your two cents on Fenway Park via an "email conference" today. Chances are your feedback will fall on deaf ears. Example: Popped down to the Player's Club after a Sox game a couple of Sundays ago. I was watching the end of the Buffalo-Jets game with Larry Johnson and a friend of mine. Big beautiful television. And we had a table and seats right in front. The rest of our crew was across the street at Atlas but I was going to get people back to the Players' Club to watch the 4:00 game as it was a decent set-up for football. Went up to get a couple of Buds, and it was something like $14.00 for two beers with tip. When I asked the bartenders what the deal was with mortgaging your house for a brew, they said "we've told them upstairs that the beer prices are too high and no one will stay here... but they just won't listen." Very scary. The bartenders go home empty handed, and eight people drink beers for the next three hours elsewhere. File under penny wise, pound foolish.
Is Manny ever going to speak to the fans again? I'm done waiting for the apology for not running out the ball.
I was sitting with a Stonington, CT police officer and his girlfriend last Friday behind the Sox dugout (yes I had the big ass American flag). When the game went south faster than Grady Little on September 30th, the catcalls and chants began. When our police officer yelled "I didn't pay $60 dollars to see this!" Rodrigo S., the friendly Fenway ambassador/usher, stood up and said "Would you keep it down." No, we're not keeping it down, we're fed up.
Hey Grady, was it still too "loud" for anyone to hear anything last night (this guy missed his calling, should have been a defense attorney)? Grady also says lots of guys fly home during season, he would too, and would like to play with his grandchildren. Please fly home to see your grandchildren and accept the Portland assignment for next year. Water would then seek its own level.
When the fans wanted to know what happened with Manny's check swing u-turn, the reporters went into the clubhouse to ask our questions. When Rey 'Dirty Pool' Sanchez saw the reporters coming, he said to Manny in Spanish "just tell them you don't know what they're talking about." What Rey didn't know was that Bob Hohler speaks Spanish. And now we know the depth of the deceit that has poisoned the Friendly Fenway Clubhouse.
Is it all still Rich Garces' fault? And is this still Dan Duquette's team?
Un-Amannycan? When John Dennis was ranting about Manny on September 12th at 6:15am, it nearly knocked me out of bed. I thought he was going to be talking about his big, clutch home run the night before, but John was furious at Manny's tardiness at getting to the top step to salute the country on its most solemn day, the country that pays him $160M beans. And Manny's mindless walk three feet ahead of his firefighter partner set him off as well. Over the top by John? Maybe. Manny evil? No. Sick of his crap? Yes. But in all fairness to Mr. Dennis, there were three or four calls that followed from people who were equally as outraged. One veteran shouted out "There is not a man on that team!" Ouch.
Wonder is NESN will rebroadcast the ceremony to exonerate Manny? Don't hold your breath.
Tom Daley is the coach of the Worcester Little League team, Jesse Burkett All-Stars. When the team took the field at Fenway a couple of weeks ago, his son had to walk out to left field alone. Apparently Manny was busy still fishing through his CD collections. When Tom tried to cheer up his son by saying "hey you had the whole left field to yourself, wasn't that great?" His son replied "dad... I felt stupid." File under: Superstar Stupid Time. Nice work Manny.
Grady said not benching Manny on the spot was "the worst mistake I've ever made as a manager." No kidding. Now go play with your grandkids Grady. They miss you. We won't.
9.10.02: "Wait 'till next year." Those were the words of a high-ranking Red Sox official when asked last week if they could possibly rip off 15 in a row and get right back in the race. But he wasn't talking about the cliché, he actually meant "wait 'till next year." Translation: "we're going for it next year, the Boston Red Sox are not going to be 'rebuilding' in 2003." Good news, especially for the grandfathers of Red Sox Nation.
In other tidbits, shared on the condition of anonymity, the "interim" General Manager is just that. I like Mike, but Beane or Riccardi and Macha or Showalter is the right thing to do for the franchise. When asked if Grady's contract was two years with an option, the answer was "it doesn't matter." Translation: they'll eat the short dough, this experiment is over.
"And why are your friends (on SoSH) still in love with Dan Duquette? Don't they realize that this guy had eight years, unlimited resources, and yet was only able to win one playoff series?" My answer, "they are not my friends." And yes, they are reading, sometimes.
Regarding first base, admittedly "that position killed us." When asked if Big Juan Diaz might have a shot next year: "he can't play, is not in our plans, we can do much better." Of all the free agents Alan Embree is the top priority to get resigned, and it should happen as Urbina is long gone and hard to find like most of his clutch pitches this season.
And if you think you can trade John Boycott Burkett for a bag of balls, apparently "it's not that easy."
After Friday night's game, Cliff Floyd pulled his Mercedes (with a couple of hotties inside) into the Texaco on Boylston Street and actually got out to pump his own gas. Who does this? Supposedly Jeff Kemp is the only other major leaguer who does. But what was great was that Cliff was actually signing autographs and chatting with a bunch of kids while filling his tank. Just for fun, a bunch of us sitting at the corner of the Red Sox dugout were yelling "Pump Your Own Gas Cliff" after his home run on Sunday. He seemed to get a kick out of it. And here's hoping he re-signs here for the right amount (yes we do care about Cliff as we understand his comments on the pressure of Boston were taken out of context). He plays, runs, and hits everything hard, even though he is hurting badly. We could use more guys like that, especially if he's willing to play for $6-7 milion.
Other chants heard at the park over the weekend included "Bentley" when Rey Sanchez stepped up to the plate and "There Goes Another 25 Grand" when Mannyjuana struck out with the game on the line.
"Phony Clark Your Cell Phone is Ringing" was another crowd pleaser during halftime... err the fifth inning. Yes more people were watching or listening to the Buffalo/Jets game than were paying attention to the disaster on the field as Going, Going, Gomes turned into Willie Outer Banks seamlessly. And hey Phony, when the phone don't ring, that's your next $5 million major league contract on the other end.
The Herald's Tony Mazz said on The Zone that "the Red Sox don't want it as much as the other teams." If that's the case, and the evidence doesn't show otherwise, it's the ultimate insult to Red Sox Nation.
$27.00. The cost of two beers and two El Tiante ham sandwiches (with pickle) at the new Yawkey Way concourse. Good news is you can now go down to 'Who's on First' during the game and do a couple of shots of Jägermeister to wash away the pain.
The police, working closely with MLB, busted a 'Yankees Suck' t-shirt factory last week, confiscating 30,000 shirts and two printing machines (will they please come and take a few "It's a Whole New Ballgame" shirts off our back as well?)
Rumor has it some of the old-line Globie scribes are not so enamored with 'Hench's Corner.' in the Sunday Notes column. I'm shocked that these well-known pompous asses would object to some new blood, and more importantly, some new style and brutal honesty invading their oh-so-sacred turf.
The vast majority of the Red Sox minor leaguers are slow and fat (much like the Dan Duquette years). Expect some changes in the strength and conditioning program and personnel asap.
Anybody going on the Red Sox cruise with Grady and "others" in January? Supposedly it leaves from Southhampton England and will cruise the arctic waters of the Atlantic. Hmmm.
9.4.02: I'm ready for Freddy. Who is Rey banjo-bat Sanchez not to speak to the fans who foot the bill for his $300,000 Bentley after he blows a routine double play at the most critical point in this season? That's Dirty pool in these parts. Hey Rey, don't plan on shipping your Arnage T next time the union gets tough, just drive it out of town. Let the Freddy Sanchez Era begin tonight.
I was all set to settle into the big eighth inning comeback last night when the MoneyManny steps up and tries to pull a low and away first pitch with a home run free swing, head flying, with the tying run on second. That's "Manny being Manny" again, with the obligatory shuffle to first, barely entering the camera frame as the easy double play was completed. One more time with those OPS numbers?
Things to do on Thursday: I'm busy working on my six rows deep by 12 seats wide sign "Hey Bags-are-Packed Burkett, Buy a One-Way Ticket to Texas Next Time." Why does Grady think it's a good idea for Bad-News-Beer-Belly-Boy to ever pitch at Fenway again in this lifetime as a member of the Red Sox? Hopefully Theo is scouting out any possible takers for BoycottBoy as I type.
Of all the post-strike-threat finger-pointing and blow-up quotes, this one may be the most telling: ''here, a lot of guys make a lot of money and everybody does their thing,'' as Cliff Floyd said last week. ''Different strokes for different folks.'' And 25 guys, 25 tabs again. And Floyd will probably fly the free-agent coop. Do we even care what Cliff does?
Is he Dodger blue? The fact that Nomie "I know my first-pitch average... but don't pay attention to that stuff" is thinking of pulling a Mo Vaughn on us shouldn't surprise anyone. I'll never forget seeing Nomar on "Extra Innings" on July 26th smirking at those who were concerned saying "pffft, it's July... and people are talking about this... is it July?." No Nomar, sadly it's September, and we're no longer concerned.
Going, going, Gomes? Last night? A Little much don't you think Grampy? Howry waiting for "tomorrow's" game? Embree getting ready for '03? Do you even know you're 5-1/2 back on September 4th? The Angels with Appier going against Tampa are poised to go 30 games over .500 tonight. And the locker room cuts continue to contain "we'll get 'em tomorrow's." ...Go Pats, Crush Steelers!
"Malaise," "Inertia," "Flaccid," "Solemn." These are the words I've heard to describe the 2002 crew, hardly "The Year to be Here." Know this NESN friends, The Nation can no longer bear to watch one more TYtbH commercial, especially the "...we're gonna wii-iin" ad. Give me the old bag in the parking lot all day long if you have to. Is the "Big Three" spot still in the mix?
The Red Sox rang the opening bell at the AMEX yesterday morning... the market proceeded to tumble over 350 points en route to its biggest drop in a year. 'Nuff said.
Oh and New York won the media/staff softball game against Boston last week too. Yankee GM Brian Cashman hit a three-run double to win it for the bad guys. In other news, Dan Duquette was hanging out just north of the border at "Water Country" in Portsmouth, NH a couple of Friday afternoons ago (again, water seeks its own level :-).
Unfortunately "Rolls Rey" Sanchez doesn't make that play "10 out of 10 times" to be perfectly Frank.
Tony C's hottie daughter said on WBZ's Sports Final: "what we don't know is all the 'ins and outs' of what took place back then"... I would say it was all the 'ins and outs' that started this whole thing to begin with (bada-boom).
Something to chew on: Trot's tobacco cheek is growing to the size of that "second-evil-head" in the Mike's Hard Lemonade commercials.
Is Tony "Mr. Steinbrenner has done an outstanding job with the Yankees and he continues to be successful" Clark still here (like the Seinfeld episode when George quits his job but shows up at the Monday morning meeting)? I'm seriously starting to get tired of his act (and tired of my Strike on Sleep 'till he's Swept out of Town). Let him go, praise the Lord, Fehr the Cartel, whatever Phony... just take the last couple of checks and go already.
8.25.02: The Hunt for Red Sox October. There goes the three-game winning "streak" as Nomar Garciapopup was in full (first pitch) swing in the ninth yesterday. But it was good to see a little Paul O'Neill on the way back into the dugout by our refocused shortstop, and right on the heels of his F-bomb laden pep talk on Wednesday.
For those who can fill my hard drive with Manny's OPS numbers for any split imaginable, I continue to see a guy who has the talent to break some random Ted Williams' consecutive on-base records but yesterday flies out in the sixth and grounds out to the pitcher in the ninth with the close game on the line. Meanwhile, Jason Giambi is hitting seventh-inning game winning home runs in low scoring affairs (NY-3 Texas-2 yesterday).
The Dog Days of Bummer: nothing makes me feel worse than knowing David Wells was right all along.
Holy Cow! (was the little play on words by-the-by). Speaking of "Bye...Bye...Bye," Everett was on 1510 The Zone with Mike Wallace, a.k.a. Debbie Wrobleski (who I attempted to ask out back when Kevin Kennedy was manager) on Thursday. Carl called Boston fans "boring and unoriginal for booing me... they don't have much to say because I play well... (last year) was one of the worst clubhouses in baseball with no leaders on that team until Carlos Baerga and Rickey Henderson came on board this year... I was the only one who would speak up for other players... I say what I feel, not what's popular... until the fans relax and the media stops being jerks, Boston's not going to win anything... the media adores some guys but I never threatened to "kick the scorekeeper's ass' like some other players' did." That's The Truth's story and his sticking to it (you need your head examined if you believe one word this fraud says).
In John Tomase's Lawrence Eagle Trib column on Carl (Captain Kook Strikes Back), The Excuse plays the race card and the tired "you know Boston" as his latest reasons for being a pathetic failure here. And according to John "he was just starting to get into the whole race thing when his cell phone rang and ruined the interview. Damn 21st century technology."
Clemens was on David Letterman Wednesday night, where he said: "We have a boss 'Mr. Steinbrenner' that wants us to be in the World Series... so we have to get there again, that's what I like about being in New York." Who do the Red Sox fear if they don't get into the World Series? John Henry? Lucky (damn right)? Mr. Little?
More of Rockhead and Dave: DL: (I hate management, believe me....) But can you explain this strike to us, what is the reason the players would strike? RC: (the players) make it fun for the fans, we don't want to strike, we set the date so we could find a medium point... Mr. Torre has us concentrating on what's going on in the field. DL: Do you always call him Mr. Torre? RC: Well, when I'm not pitching well it's Mr. Torre, if I'm goin' good it's 'Skip.' DL: So what are the key issues here for those of us not really following this? RC: The revenue sharing is good.The luxury tax is the sticky point. DL: Will there be a strike? RC: I say it will not happen (crowd applause). Oh yeah, sure, let's bring the bum back next year so he can pass Cy Young in Red Sox wins.
I posted it to a popular Red Sox discussion board after the devastating loss on Tuesday night to Texas: "After last night's debacle and this team now officially as lifeless as it's been since the mid-60's, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the 2002 version of the Boston Red Sox will make a resurgence starting tonight and sail into the playoffs as the AL League Wild Card team." How's that for a glass-is-so-full-it's-spilling-a-flood-on-my-kitchen-floor outlook?
File this one under 'In the Doghouse and in Gilligan's Island Quicksand Up to his Chest': Gerry Callahan asked Larry Lucchino "has Tony Clark's role with Player's Association contributed to the lack of success he's had with the Red Sox this year? Larry answered "here's something I never use on this program, 'no comment.' GC: "but it's not in your contract to say 'no comment' with us." Larry: "alright then... "No Commento." Ouch. Say goodbye to the $5 million slowest swing in baseball. And praise the Lord.
I sat next to Jim Fregosi for Pedro's effort on Friday night. He's a roving scout for the Atlanta Braves and was at Fenway looking at the Angels, particularly Jarrod Washburn their outstanding lefty starter. They may try to pick him up in a trade if they lose Glavin or Maddux this off-season. Atlanta sure knows how to keep it going.
Speaking of "I Like the Way You Do It," on Friday Grady said "these jobs and these seasons are going to come and go with the Red Sox." Be careful what you wish for Gramps. Seriously, he was talking about baseball in comparison to what the Red Sox and WEEI did on Friday, raise over $350,000 for cancer research. I was remiss in not linking to The Jimmy Fund during WEEI's recent radiothon. Like Larry Lucchino, I have highly personal reasons for supporting Dana-Farber (having raised over $16,000 by running two Boston Marathons myself). Please donate if your economic situation is not in such dire straights that you'd have to consider striking from your day job.
8.21.02: Where's our Paul O'Neill?
"When he saw Jeter and A-Rod laughing it up on the field during a game in Yankee Stadium he would run up and get right in Jeter's face and let him know that this bull#&%! would not be tolerated... not on this field, not while he's playing.... how Red Sox fans can continue to cheer these frauds is beyond me." Those are the comforting words of one of my oldest friends who just happens to have pinstripe-colored blood (among other things) running through his veins. Z-man-the-Yankee-fan loves Paul O'Neill, the "heart and soul" of the Bronx Bombers, and the brand of baseball he forced on his team. Even though O'Neill is up in the broadcast booth now, the tone he set in 1993 remains with the Yankees, just as it did when Mattingly stepped down and O'Neill took the torch. It was all about winning, and O'Neill was dead serious about it. Chuck your helmet after popping out. Toss the bat after taking strike three. Smashing a paper cup against the dugout floor after hitting into a double play. That's quintessential Paul O'Neill. He had the "fire" that the Red Sox have been looking for all season, the "sense of urgency" which are now the watchwords of the day. Where's our Paul O'Neill?
Funny line dropped by an 'EEI caller this morning: "The Red Sox bullpen is shakier than Michael J. Fox giving Mohammed Ali a piggy-back ride."
Dustin Hurtmanson is hoping the Sox pick up his $7.5 million option for next season. Insanity reaches a fever pitch. Sure Dustin, let's say $1 million, laden with incentives? Or better yet, why don't you just play for this year's money next year since you didn't earn it? Sorry Bulldog, "sorry" doesn't cut it in these parts anymore.
The mood of The Nation has never been nastier. When people are longing for the days of Mike Lansing and Dante Bitchette, you know you got trouble Larry. Some people are calling this the least likable team they've ever seen. And I have a hard time arguing against that.
How are our player's reps doing these days? Well, team-rep Johnny Damon is all set to play in a beer league in Florida. Funny, I would have thought he'd be focused on working as hard as he can to stop this strike and wouldn't rest until our National Pastime is saved from permanent death. Oh but we've AL-rep Tony Clark to take care of that. He, who stole $5 million right out from under Duke's nose, has the gall to speak about labor relations. If the guy had put half the energy into his swing that he puts into the Union and his hairstyles, he might be hitting .230 with five home runs today. Wouldn't you just love to see him get cut in September?
Burkett has already given the Bitchette "hey if we don't win, we'll go home and watch football just like you" speech. Wonderful. Can we boycott the second year of his contract? The second the guy opened his big boycott mouth, it was over.
Nomar, who had a stranglehold on the number one spot for years, would not even crack the top 10 of most popular athletes in Boston right now. My how far his star has fallen. Mr. even-keel has run aground. Let's just hope the food table is in tact.
During my weekend hiatus from this train wreck formerly known as "The Year to Be Here" (Note to NESN: pull those new ads with the players getting all fired up for the camera stat, it's not what anyone needs to see right now) I had the pleasure of going down to The Razor to welcome the Pats back. Sat 30 rows from the new field, beautiful sightlines, stadium is as advertised. My only regrets: the $6.00 Buds and the fact that they were out of tartar sauce for the $8.00 fried clam strips (was hoping for bellies) before the game even started. Otherwise, Gillette Stadium is the best little bargain in town (sarcasm).
Hey at least down there the team is greater than the sum of its parts. This team has just fallen apart.
8.16.02: Adding insult to injury. My Cambridge Racquet & Fitness Club's softball team's season ended last night too. The Mass State Police team, complete with cops who were dead "ringers" for Johnny Val, Jim Thome, and the Green Mile guy, beat us 7-5. But we played with a hell of a lot more heart and fire than a certain other more highly-paid unit that I follow. For one, I played the full game in the field with a three-week-old torn calf, that's what you do in playoff Softball. Unfortunately it's one game and out. So it's over. Plenty of time for rehab now.
The play-by-play from the last of Nomar's five first-swing atbats last night: "...somehow Nomar is up there on a 1-1 pitch...here's the pitch, ball bounces twice, 11 feet outside, Garciapopup checks his swing... the one-two pitch, bounces in the dirt, Nomar somehow holds back... the two-two, a mile outside, Nomar again shows the Patience of Job... the three-two pitch, line fly right to right. Ho-hum... Breaking News: Locker Room Uncut.... Nomar says "nobody's getting down in this clubhouse... we battled out there all night... we'll get dressed and get back out there tomorrow"... Whew! For a minute there I was worried.
Along with 70,000 other Red Sox fans, I will be sitting in a sweet spot at the grand opening of Gillette Stadium on Saturday night to welcome the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots back home (a shiver of gargantuan proportions just ran down Larry Lucchino's spine). A team, with heart, that wins. Imagine that.
So yesterday morning I was updating the Globe link and did a quick scan of the 'On baseball' column. The beginning was about palm trees being moved out of the Safeco outfield and I saw some mentions of the Sox tendencies to be on the wrong side of blowouts, Baerga recruiting Pineiro for his winter team, and the Sox failure to get a streak going. I posted the "Uprooting Interest" headline like the Globe had. Fifteen minutes later I was sitting in a barber's chair in Oak Square reading a printed version of the Globe. I'm looking for the 'On baseball' column so I can read it through. Except I can't find the palm trees. And my paper Globe has the headline: "Finger of fate points in familiar direction" and is a totally different column and this version's got good stuff on the role of "luck" that John Henry says contributed to the one-run losses. So I'm thinking, why the hell isn't this the same as the online version... it's got nothing to do with the game ending late? So the piece goes on to mention the bad fate that has permeated the Red Sox past, including Aparicio stumbling around third in '72, the year this torture began for me. But then suddenly Edes adds in:
"New owners have managed to drive off the rats that used to have the run of the place - there hasn't been a single rodent sighting by this correspondent, who used to have rats waiting for him at the press box elevator door on his way out of Fenway Park - but they have apparently haven't shaken themselves of the notion that forces beyond their control are still capable of haunting their nights."
I jerk my head back for a double-take (which is not a good thing to do in a barber's chair) and say to myself, holy #&%!, Edes is calling Duquette and his minions rat bastards now? I know the relations between the media and the team weren't good last year but did they really wait at the elevator to escort him out of the building? Wow, calling these guys "rats" could be bigger than Junkomania... somebody said something to him about this column and he got in trouble... looks like someone thought the rat references were a little too close to home... maybe some of those "rats" are still around and it would cause a ruckus... God if Shaughnessy's little 'piece of junk' line caused such a tizzy, imagine the controversy when readers figure out they pulled this column online and in the later editions, holy cow. And Greg Dickerson had just reported that Offy wanted to beat Edes up on Tuesday to boot (but turns out it was Tony Mazz). The boards are going to have a field day with this, hard evidence that The Red Sox Globe is pulling the strings and will kill any column they deem controversial, even though the rat references were dead on.
I sent Edes an email at the Globe to get to the bottom of this outrage, presenting my evidence above of a Globe heavy-hand.
Then today, low and behold, I get an email back from the man himself. And Gordon simply writes:
"I meant real, actual rodents."
Oh... as Rosanne Rosanna Danna used to say, "...Nevermind".
(But I still like the story better with Duquette and Kevin Shea playing the role of the rats...)
8.14.02: A series of disappointments. (Dirt) Dogs were put in this world to remind humanity that love, loyalty, devotion, courage, patience, and good humor are the qualities that, with honesty, are the essence of admirable character and the very definition of a life well lived.
- Christopher Snow in Seize the Night, by Dean Koontz
There's no worse feeling than being disappointed in someone, or being a disappointment to someone. Like when you did something so terribly wrong that your girlfriend doesn't just threaten to break up with you, or throw something at you, she says the magic words "I'm really disappointed in you." There's no worse feeling on either side, and disappointment has been running rampant lately.
Just a short list of some of those who have come up short:
My man Trot - Yes the turnaround has been solid, right through last night, but he should have taken on that Captain's role by hook or by crook, formally or not, right from the get-go. Right after he saw Manny-Being-Manny coming a mile away this spring with the "insurance/doctor's appointment" scam. Trot should have stuck to his guns, demanded his two-spot back, and infused some life into this 2002 unit. Call it whatever the hell you want, but these New Red Sox needed the leadership, gusto, determination, and finishing power that the Dirt Dog brand of baseball brought most of last season. Step up, speak up Trot, we need to hear something real.
Grady Little - I guess we now know why he got a standing ovation at his announcement. Maybe we should have held the applause? Note to Grady: we can't "get 'em tomorrow" much longer... as a famous coach once said, "The Future is Now." No need to beat a dead horse on the rest of the well-chronicled moves and non-moves that killed the season, and he did avoid the one-run loss again last night. No, Summertime Grandpa Grady doesn't pitch or hit, but as I keep hearing people saying "the team takes on the lackadaisical personality of the manager." Indeed.
Nomar - No interest in ever taking a strike to extend an atbat, inning, work a pitcher... I've never seen more rallies die via the pop-up. And the same old "just one game, we'll be back out there tomorrow" lines. More passion was uttered in his stumps on steroids, traveling and schedules, and strike-so-the-little-leaguers-don't-get-burned-by-these owners.
Burkett - Gammons was right all along. Boycott? Boycott being a beer man at my softball game? Boycott what?
Manny Ramirez - Indifference makes a difference. In addition to everything else we see with our own eyes, this guy was yucking it up with Prime Time in Pawtucket while the crowd stood singing for "God Bless America" during his rehab. Lucky would say RB-Bye-Bye if anyone could stomach the contract. "Manny for Mo and move around the dough" looks better every day. Watching this team play and listening to "Locker Room Uncut" on NESN is making me long for the Hit Dog who could at least cut to the chase.
Jason Varitek - While the signed ball still sits proudly on my mantle, could you just find a way to stay out of the double play? Is that asking too much?
Pedro - "Jose didn't get many chances." Jose didn't get many chances!?! Then what were the daily "WHAT IS HE DOING IN THE STARTING LINEUP BATTING SECOND AGAIN!" cries from the Nation all about? Offerman not getting enough chances? I'm all about helping your bummed out buddy in a "pinch" but pulheeze Petey.
The Disingenuous Dance has had many partners this week.
And I'm so disappointed.
8.11.02: Pedro's out of focus, misses photo opp! Why that little prima dona 170-pounds-soaking-wet... just kidding, that was my changeup. Who cares that Petey missed the team photo? He was picture perfect yesterday. But Neumy does make good points, you do mark history with the team photo and it is a tad disrespectful.
A personal thank you to my friend Matt "The Factor" Lyons, who set me up six rows from the field yesterday. Matty's come a long way from throwing golf balls at Mickey Rivers from the bleachers. I've never had such a great view of Pedro, and it was fun whispering into the ears of the Sox players in the on-deck circle ("Hey NOMAR, my name's OBP, do you know me?"), but after eight innings and eight Amstels, I was speechless.
I was fortunate enough to get on-air with Mike Port on The Zone last week. After I lauded him with praise for releasing Oliver, Garces, and Offerman, picking up Embree, Howry, and Floyd, and successfully commandeering the War Room on trading day, I got around to asking him Curly's draft question: "With Floyd in the fold, will you now turn your attention to the draft and getting the top talent signed?" Port answered roughly: "Chadd and the scouts working on it, working hard... aware of the schools and when classes start...other clubs... rounding into shape, still alive on most of these fronts, made great selections but if you don't sign them...good course of negotiations..." And now it looks like number one draft pick Lester is in, but good Neighborgall is out.
This Must Be 'The Place?' Shame on those of you who are saying that because Dauber and Sanchez were at 'The Place,' a popular watering hole downtown, on Thursday night that it contributed to The-Pop-Up-That-Fell-Down Friday night and Rey's "flu-like symptoms" yesterday. They only had "a couple of drinks" according to someone-who-was-there. Jeez, give these guys a break, it's not like they were out getting gassed the night before Yankee day games. This isn't 2001 you know (although a little Dirt Dog fighting spirit wouldn't hurt right about now).
Line of the week on WEEI's Whiner Line: "If John Henry had added a couple of rows of seats in front of the bullpen, we would've won that game." I guess it's just me, but I've seen a thousand better catches than Long's grab.
Is Eminem's 'Without Me,' the Trot Nixon Show parody coming to a radio station near you? Stay tuned.
The man that shilled for Dan Duquette nine years ago, Peter Gammons, likes Billy Beane (or is it Bean?) to be the next Sox GM.
In the sprit of shameless self-promotion (which we do less of than any other site on the planet) and in an effort to answer our oh-so-many critics over the past year, one loyal reader this week best articulates what this site is all about:
"Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your site! I discovered it about 6 months ago and can’t get enough of it. Not only is it funny and entertaining at times, but informative and honest, as well. There’s only so much I can read ESPN, NESN and Red Sox sites. The honesty and insight on your website is refreshing! Thanks for the great escape from passive, straight fact media. It’s nice to read information given by true Red Sox fans! Keep up the awesome work!
Fellow Red Sox Fanatic,
Our Boy All Grows Up! And one more round of props for our own Kevin Hench who cracked the Sunday Globe this morning (let's just hope he doesn't forget the little people... and the Little people).
Kudos to the unctuous Laguna Beach Bum Craig Dickinson (or is it Greg Dickerson?) the Dennis & Callahan fill-in last week who screamed "YOUR WEBSITE SUCKS" on air when his borrowed anecdotal theory that "managers affect about 10 games a year" was challenged by me. And after his tirade, he offered no evidence to support his theory. Well at least we know what t-shirt Craig wears to the Park. More proof that water does indeed seek its own level.
Namedropping: For the second year in a row, Mayor Tom Menino is a Dirt Dog. Caught up with Mr. Maaya on Yawkey Way yesterday (something I won't be able to do once the Sox claim the street) and gave him his 2002 shirt. ...found myself on the corner of the bar with Skakel lawyer Mickey Sherman at The Cooke House in Newport. I said nothing about the trial, just joked about what I had heard about his going out for 'lobster campanese' when he finally felt he could grab a bite to eat during the Moxley trial. Anyway, turns out he's a lifelong Mets fan. So I cheered him up with my 1986 houseparty popped-the-cork-with-two-out-in-front-of-50-people-including-four-rabid-Mets-fans little tale. He got a kick out of that, glad I could cheer him up, case closed.
Housecleaning: We're trying to update some of the forgotten sections and figure out a mutually-palatable solution to the 'Headlinks' gaps (for now, the top three links will always take you to today's Globe, Herald, and ProJo stories), unfortunately our little labor of love has suddenly turned into mostly labor.
Last but not least, Major League Baseball/Bud Selig is cracking down on fan websites and doesn't appear to be worried about alienating baseball fans any further than they already have. First back in early July, MLB took over Astros Daily, a site similar to ours, faster than you can throw a gate up on Yawkey Way and turned it into a Stepford Wife site. Take a look at this godawful thing now: www.AstrosDaily.com. Then Bud moved on to www.Metsonline.net and buried it. And most recently on August 5th, Selig sent a 'Cease and Desist' order to Bronx-Bombers.com and MLB has now begun negotiating (is this taking away from fixin' that strike thing?) to keep them up in some form. Hmmm, who's next Bud? And why do I feel like Princess Nefretiri talking to Sephora in "The Ten Commandments" after Pharaoh's reverse-curse on the first-born is explained, "Moses (Larry) would never hurt MY child, that you can be sure of" So let it be emailed by the local lawyers, so let it be done?
Could this be the parting of the (New) Red Sox?
8.06.02: It's a whole new ballgame, part II. Right off the bat Grady, guys who make over $15M per for working 162 days a year, and already had 39 games off at home in Miami, don't get anymore mental health/new hair-do days this year, Capeche?
Now, moving on to your pitching philosophy: "he's capable of ripping off five, six, seven innings every night, too, as a starter and what more do you want from a starter?'' Grady Little asked about Tim Wakefield yesterday. What I want from a starter is eight or nine innings, not five and six Jimy, err Grady!
I was really kidding when I asked Sean McDonough yesterday "any chance someone would pick Manny up if we put him on the wire? It's probably the only way to get out of this $160 million albatross right?" But the scary part is that the question was a heartbeat away from being taken seriously by Sean, Ron Borges, and Mike Giardi who did say it may be the worst contract ever signed in professional sports. Manny better get that one tool working fast.
Signs things are getting serious: Pedro's slamming of the front office for the way they made malcontent Offy fly through Texas to pick us his four million dollar severance package on the way to Braintree, goes virtually unnoticed. Goes to show you that 10Ks a game is the price to get The Nation to bite its collective tongue. Remember the outcry against Pedro last year after his Danny Almonte comments?
Look for a BIG ovation for Clifford The Big Red Dog tonight. Huge. We'll be down with the signs.
Anyone who was rooting for the Yankees to beat Anaheim last weekend, please log off this site now and don't come back. Ever. Losers play for the wildcard when they are four games out in the beginning of August.
Grady cannot logically explain why Howry and Embree were in that blowout Friday night in Texas, which led to the Arrojo-in-the-seventh-of-a-close-game-good-idea brain fart.
And Grady, let me say it first "we just ran up against some good pitchin' tonight, we got snakebit a little bit out there." Nope, you punched that ticket about 15 times already. Good pitching is coming at you all month long, get used to it, and figure out how to win these close ones.
March 4, 2002: "I'm back, I want my own show! I couldn't take it anymore!" August 1, 2002: "send us an email... that's Eddie and Jags at 1510 The Zone daut kaum." In other media news, look for major changes to NESN's pre-game show after the Minnesota series as the Boston Globe takes over.
The Globe reported first that Offerman's insubordination took place Monday night against Anaheim. Two days later the Herald chimes in that Offerman refused to go in for Baerga in the seventh inning on Sunday against Baltimore at Fenway. Both papers say Mike Port confirmed their reported incident, but not the other. Me thinks the Herald's Michael Silverman is smokin' somethin'.
Yes, we are going to pat ourselves on the back for being 9-1/2 hours ahead of the rest of the world on Offerman's release, but only because we figured it out all on our own, no team/media/personal sources contributed to our scoop. Larry told you he was releasing Offerman in his weekly report on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan. All you had to do was listen.
Signs I really am Lucky's lap dog: People are sending me messages for Lucchino. First, "larry, i hear that hell froze over on may 1, 2002. mazel tov, larry grumet." Larry please give Larry a call.
Secondly Larry, could you please address the following somewhere, or have Theo or Port do it? This from Curly over at ProJo's 'Your Turn':
"The Sox are among the poorest teams this year in signing top picks, and time is running out. The No. 1 pick (Lester) is unsigned, as is Neighborgall, the guy who slipped in the draft, and three other top 10 picks. Maybe with Floyd in the fold, these guys will turn to the draft and getting the top talent signed, as they promised to do. If they don't sign at least two or three of their unsigned picks, this draft could wind up being as bad as the 1997 debacle of Curtice, Fischer, Capista, Glaser, et. al."
The Nation is never happy Larry. Never.
7.31.02: Today. (Happy Birthday to us. Site is one year old today. Many thanks to our 238,288 visitors (and now counting over 3,000 a day) for checking in, and especially those who help out with our ever-increasing server fees by purchasing a couple of shirts and hats.)
Today is the first day of the rest of your season. The big bat has been found. And for those of you who think that getting a stick wasn't as important as getting another starter, I ask you to look back at the Arizona, Atlanta, and Los Angeles games. The pitching was there. The hitting was not.
Kudos to the front office team who worked 25/8 on the Big Deal. Kudos to Gordon Edes for giving it to us right a week early. And Kudos to the fans who didn't bail out on the new group. (Pay no attention to any panicky whining that was going on here yesterday, it was just a set-up for today... we never lost faith for a second :-).
Port, fresh off his beating out the Yankees for Clifford, and doing a little chest-beating too, puts the pedal to the metal for a pitcher today.
Sun has set for the last time (yeah, we liked him too), but this is not the same old Song and dance my friend (read: Dante Bitchette).
7.30.02: Tomorrow. (Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya tomorrow! You're only a day a way!)
The sun'll come out Tomorrow Bet your bottom dollar That tomorrow There'll be sun!
Just thinkin' about Tomorrow Clears away the cobwebs, And the sorrow 'Til there's none!
When I'm stuck with a day That's gray, And lonely, I just stick out my chin And Grin, And Say, Oh
The sun'll come out Tomorrow So ya gotta hang on 'til tomorrow Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya Tomorrow!
You're only A day A way!
7.28.02: Make the move. The clock is ticking on the trade deadline, rumors abound, anything short of a top-of-the-line brand name hitter or pitcher will be deemed a disaster at this point. Here's guessing that Fossum and Song go in a package for either/and/or Rolen, Colon, Floyd, or Thome.
I was at the morning Ted Fest last week. When I was leaning over the Red Sox bullpen wall, the phone in the pen started ringing, but no one was there to take the call. It kept ringing, and ringing, no one was there to answer. Maybe it was Grady calling from Yankee Stadium.
Regarding the Ted napkinpact, Jeff Baskies, CEO of Mass. Lawyers Weekly and experienced Florida probate attorney, told WEEI's Big Show "if this is all they have, they're probably going to lose." Besides the inherent problems with the trunk-stored oil stained paper with the changed date and questionable signature sandwiched in between Fraudia and Freezer Boy, the most interesting fact presented was that Ted signed his original will, hospital submission papers, and all other legal documents as "Theodore Williams." The "Ted Williams" autograph was reserved for memorabilia... and no-witness agreements. Just give the man his real last wishes.
Kudos to Mike Port for his tough-love handling of the Garces release. It sends a strong message that fitness and focus are always going to be part of the deal around here, fan favorite or not, multi-year pact or plain old multi-million dollar deal. On sale at Twins Souvenirs: 6,000 number '34' XXXXL "El Guapo" shirts, while they last.
Note to my friends at NESN: Please, I'm beggin' you, no more new player-feature commercials. Manny, Hillenbrand, Urbina, and Burkett went right into the tank the second their new spots broke. File under: Curse of the Corsino.
A Dominican gentleman called in to WEEI last week to complain about Dan Shaughnessy. He said "he called Jose Offerman a piece of junk... I'm a janitor and I find good things in the junk, there's nothing good about Jose Offerman."
How about that (I'm not going to say I told you so) Trot Nixon. Who are we trading him for again? And who plays right, left, first, and DH in his absence?
Welcome to the Grand Illusion, come on in and see what's happening, pay the price get your tickets for the show... a.k.a. 'Fenway Magic.'
If I hear the Fehr-and-Loathing line of "we've made a lot of progress with the worldwide draft issue which is very important to both sides," I'm gonna snap. Do they think we were born last night?
Line of the week: Pedro and Lowe, and pray for snow.
As far as the wide-ranging criticism of the front office for not making a major move yet, a savvy poster on SoSH said "they're just working the count right?... we still believe in working the count don't we?" Yes we do Nomar. As long as TheBigMove is made by 4pm EDT Wednesday. If we haven't seen any live action by then, all bets are off.
7.09.02: All-Star shame. Been out in the sun too long... Hey I was selected to the All-Star team but the sticker on my windshield says I have to change my oil today... so I can't go. You can now skip the All-Star game for any old reason, who cares? The players? No. The fans? No. The All-Star game you couldn't wait for as a kid is over. Imagine The Kid skipping out on the A-game to go fishing? Never happened (and it won't happen his next time around either :-).
The Yankees "budget" keeps expanding faster that El Guapo's ERA. They're quickly becoming the Harlem Globetrotters competing against the likes of the Boston Shamrocks, Washington Generals, Baltimore Rockets, New York Nationals, Atlantic City Seagulls, and the New Jersey Reds. Good times. Thanks George.
What happened to Nomar the quiet man? Do we need to hear that the players will strike for "my brother Michael and the kids in the sandlot playing Little League?" Embarrassing. Hey Little Leaguer, if the players don't strike you might only make $6M per year, not $10M for being a .230 hitter. Incentive bonuses slashed. Signing bonuses cut back by 5%. Cy Young, MVP, All-Star bonuses could remain flat. Contract buyouts out. Hey Little Leaguers, if you don't stick a needle in your ass you might not be able to compete. Oh the humanity! Poor little kids. Scraping to get by in 2010.
And where did Nomar come up with the "false positives" and "confidentiality" crap regarding the scourge that is steroids. I don't think Norma Rae rallied for the union more than Nomar. Take the test. Take the test. Take the test. Not you Nomar, we know you're clean, but that's all you should be saying. Why does random testing work in the NFL Nomar? False positives? You've been watching too many 'Quincy' reruns.
Ted Williams looks like he could have been Sammy Sosa's jockey. Who is looking out for the game here anyway?
Everyone should be forced to wear their pants and socks like Bryant Nelson. It looks like the kid is ready to run unlike some other players who look like they're going snowboarding out there with their dumpy, baggy hip-hop look which is so over.
Remember the game against Cleveland (6/27) that got rained out because of the sudden thunderstorms? Turns out that wasn't the only thunderstorm at Fenway. Lucchino wanted to get the game back on but umpire John Hirschbeck had already left for the airport to catch an early flight to his next series. Lucky was furious and you could hear him screaming from the street.
Just heard the first "why don't they clone Bill Buckner and spread him around the Red Sox minor league system" joke by Craig Kilborn. Here we go.
Met John Henry on Yawkey Way. But when we started to chat, the WB56 cameras came rolling in. We were both interviewed on Ted. He followed me as the lead on The Ten O'Clock News, must have been the sign :-). Oh and yes the 'Yankees Suck' guy is pissed about the Metro article. I was misquoted I tell ya.
Can we stop with the "hey would you trade Trot for Sammy Sosa now?" baloney? The trade was never going to happen and there were about three people (no not me) who said they wouldn't do it. Sick and tired of people proposing all these Trot trades. Let's see who carries the team up until the strike.
Mike Port claims he had jury duty the day Duke traded Tankersley for Sprague.
Death or no death in the family, losing two out of three to the toothless Tigers at "home" is inexcusable.
I love Fenway, but I went to a game with my friend Monty last week (Monty is about 6'2" 250 and I'm... a bit smaller) one of us had to lean forward while the other leaned back just so we could drink our beers. No chance of us just sitting side by side and having a conversation. And these were box seats. Knock it down, build it up. Right over the Pike.
Reminder to JHW: The various fees and minimum funding which the Alcor Life Extension Foundation requires from Cryotransport (Suspension) Members in connection with their cryostasis (cryonic suspension) arrangements is increasing in August. Lucifer may have to get a job while he waits to put that DNA on eBay (Is this the same DNA that created him and Bobby-Jo?).
I long for the days when all we had to worry about was Ben Affleck's bad jokes and Manny's lost-and-found earring.
Breaking news: Manny has arrived in Milwaukee, well-rested, for his at bat tonight. He is expected to rejoin the Red Sox sometime in August.
6.25.02: Stand by your Manny. As frustrating as the Manny mishandling was from Jeff Moorad's phone calls to Dr. Uribe's underlings to the Miami MIAs to cancelled Dr. Morgan appointments to changing timetables to missed flights to jumping the gun on BP to overreacting to under reacting to sending him to Pawtucket too soon to keeping him in Pawtucket too long to head flops to mining diamonds to too long plane rides to too many one run losses, to busses to mid-game haircuts to fifth inning exits to .100 batting AAAverages to "whatever, nothing matters to me," it's time to get behind your Manny.
His head was not in the game at Camp Pawtucket. He needs the 40,000 people, lights, camera, and action to get somewhat focused.
You'll see a different Manny tonight. So bite your tongue, clap your hands, and pamper him just like the Red Sox do. Bottom line, they're a .500 team without him right now.
The Ramirez rehab was one of three big bungles by the new Red Sox regime, the other two being starting the game on April 3rd, which may have cost them Dustin Hermanson for the season, and the last mistake being allowing JohnHenryWilliams to make a mockery of a travesty of a sham out of his poor dad, the team, and the new administration.
Speaking of bad moves coming in threes, Dan Shaughnessy is in a second-place-slump himself. First he gets garbage tossed at him by most everyone for the "junk" tag he hung on Offerman. Then he gets his Mazz kicked on the Johnny Shellgame shocker. And now he's sending out computer viruses from his Globe email account. I've received two emails from the curly haired one with the subjects: "Eager to meet you" and "Garden of Eden." Luckily I had protection (some wish they did from his Globe columns).
After watching and listening to The Dentist read his PowerPoint presentations over home runs in the booth, some out there in the Nation need Novocain. As Rough Carrigan writes on SoSH "just spare us the spiel. Every American adult has seen or heard thousands of ads by age 30. We can detect sales talk. Don't give us sales talk. We'd like to know a little bit about you for our files. We'd like to help you learn to help yourself. We're all about value. We can never take the fans for granted. Spare us. We'll judge whether or not you care by what you do, not by how much you tell us you care."
It was Bill Buckner night in Chicago at the Cubs game last night.
More from the worn-out-their-welcome department: Grady's Jimy-like lineups and over-resting people is starting to grate on people's nerves. Did he play enough National League ball on this last trip? Did he ruin Trot's start and put him in a spot to be traded now? And was he hemming and hawing about first base for too long? Stick Big Thunder in there and let him swing the bat. At least it looks like he has a chance of getting a hit.
Welcome home Red Sox. It's warm now, but no longer fuzzy.
6.24.02: Johnny Shellgame gets to first base. Lucchino and Henry at odds on helping John Henry Williams, stupid soap opera continues in Florida this week. 6:20: This paragraph brought to you by the now defunct porn hosting website Hitter.net, the domain name on the hat that "dad wore in his last appearance at Fenway. The hat dad's wearing to his goddamn grave" said JohnHenryWilliams the First, Looking-Out-for-Number-One-Son, the Greatest Bullshitter that Ever Lived.
So JohnHenryWilliams is back in the limelight signing a minor league deal with the Red Sox. Of course he's another first base/DH type. Hey with Tony Clark's retirement and Daubach suddenly struggling again, why not take a look at the soon-to-be-34-year-old inexperienced Splendid Grifter?
"Autographed JohnHenryWilliams' Fort Myers first baseman's jerseys available at JohnHenryWilliams.com. Sign up today and get two months access to the secret live cam in dad's bedroom absolutely free. Act now and get a copy of a signed rent check from my sister Claudia along with a copy of her court summons. 'Thanks Ted' rookie cards available soon" (or as soon as he can cut a deal).
Fenway Magic, Promotion #2:
Take your picture with owner John Henry and stoner John Henry for the low, low price of $400.20. Act today and get a vile of dad's signed toenail clippings for only $999.99... while they last.
That's 1-800-John-Henry-Williams-Is-The-Devil. Not-so-smooth operators are standing by.
6.14.02: The road to recovery. Suddenly the M*A*S*H unit and the psychiatric ward are full again. The Sox will have their hands full on this NL trip: Manny is still sore and needs more time to get his timing right. Rey Sanchez pulled a Dustin Hermanson and is on the indefinite timetable. Varitek's ankle is hurting. Pedro is still on the couch at $300 an hour. Rickey who? Trot and Tony continue to fight through vicious slumps. Hillenbrand is heading downhill. And the Sox get a Maddux-Glavine double-dose this weekend, no skating around the star rotation this time.
Shocker: Sox to stay at Fenway.
Enough of the Clemens nonsense. Hit 'em, don't hit him. Bat him, don't bat him. Who cares? Like Grady said, it's store-bought Bob Watson we've got to worry about.
Sports Illustrated's Jeff Pearlman was kind enough to respond to my tirade about his Yankees Love column:
"...Why so much anger? It's just baseball... I spent 90% of the series at Fenway in the standing-room-only section, not in the press box (too sanitary up there)."
"That's a funny place. But I'm no serial killer," said Pearlman after reading the thread on his column on the SonsofSamHorn Red Sox message board.
"Thanks for the letter. And for reading.
PS: For the record, I was not and never have been a real Yankee fan. I grew up down the street from a kid who pitched for Seattle, so the Ms were my team."
So Jeff is simply another front-running fake Yankee fan writing for a national rag. But he gets points for taking the heat. I promised to check in with Jeff Pearlman when his Yankees don't "win the division by 10 games" and his M's get ready for a Boston-Seattle pennant battle.
6.7.02: Pearl of wisdom: Jeff's a real gem. Have you read this week's thoughtless Sports Illustrated piece on the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry and recent series by Yankee shill Jeff Pearlman, a lifelong pin-striper born and raised in Mahopac, NY and now living in Manhattan. Objective for sure.
Result: another tired blanket description of Boston and Red Sox Nation from a national publication. After Pearlman paints us all as being caught up in the barely-breathing 'Yankees Sucks' embarrassment, he writes "after Clemens surrendered seven runs in 3-2/3 innings on May 24th, in a game Boston would win 9-8, the boos and chants of "Clemens sucks!" that accompanied his departure nearly equaled the decibel level at a DMX concert. Unlike the masses at Yankee Stadium last weekend, who jovially mocked the Red Sox with chants of 'Nine-teen-eight-teen!', there is a palpable bitterness to the Boston crowds."
So as always, here in Boston we're "bitter" while the New York fans are "jovial." What bullshit you bomber butt-kisser.
First of all Jeff, the chant that erupted inside Fenway starting in the second inning on May 24th, was the really jovial "Rah-ger... Rah-ger" chant, not "Clemens sucks!" as you claim. Step outside the press box sometime and find out what's really happening inside and outside the park. And "Rah-ger... Rah-ger" is the second cousin to "Dar-rul... Dar-rul" another oh-so-bitter chant that's been around since '86.
He goes on to write the absurd "yet afterward the Yankees were showering and eating and talking as if they had been bitten by a flea" after the Sox beat the Yankees last Friday night. Then he describes the Clemens 20-strikeout banner in the Fenway concourse having some mustard "spittle" on it, another sign of our "hostility." What a reach from this rat. Who gave this guy a license to write for SI?
Pearlman later describes the right-field crowd in Yankee Stadium after last Saturday's 10-2 defeat of the Red Sox "...the famed Bleacher Creatures made life miserable for the fearless few who ventured into enemy territory wearing Boston garb. There was no anger, though, just free-flowing put-downs... the assaults began early. 'Let's go Celtics' (they were eliminated the night before), '1918', and 'Trot Nixon sucks!"
So "Trot Nixon sucks!" is now "free-flowing" but we're the bitter, hostile crowd?!? Pearlman goes on to close this airline magazine quality piece with a quote from a Yankee fan who says "There's no hatred here, only pity... Boston is like the kid in the neighborhood you used to beat up on, and he couldn't fight back. They've never stood a chance."
Yeah, we never stood a chance because New York has been bankrolling their way to the World Series since the early 70's. Now that the playing field is a little closer to level (are we under a billion in the real revenue gap yet?) we stand more than a chance pal.
In the SI email, you get even more gems from Pearlman "After spending time watching these teams play each other both at Fenway and Yankee Stadium, I got the sense that Red Sox fans are desperate to beat the Yankees while New York fans really don't get caught up in the day-to-day scores. They seem confident that by the end of the year the Yankees will probably be ahead of the Red Sox in the standings anyway. I have to say that I agree with the New York fans. Even though the Yankees trail the Red Sox in the standings right now, I think the Yankees will win the division by 10 games."
Yankees win by ten games? Jeff Pearlman is a fraud. He invokes every hackneyed reference from Beantown to Bucky Dent to Bill Buckner to Green Monster in this piece of mail-it-in trash. Hey Pearlman, welcome to the present. You don't know Boston. These aren't my grandfather's Red Sox. And I've got news for you, we're not bitter, we're simply better.
"Pearlman Sucks!" Now that makes sense.
6.3.02: Trade time. With Guap weighing in with an 11.77 ERA, a plus 1.100 OPS against, and back in Boston with a bad hamstring, and Rickey's banged up back, it's time to test Mike Port's GM mettle. He doesn't sound happy with "Richard" Garces but can he make a middle relief move with nothing substantial to offer?
Gammons says Cleveland and Toronto won't talk to Boston about Colon and Escobar because there aren't any players here better than what they already have over there. And there aren't too many outfielders out there either, but the Sox can't continue to go with a Daubach, Nelson, Offerman backup mix much longer, can they?
I am shocked and chagrined at all the people who are offering to drive Trot Nixon to the airport for any pitcher with a pulse. How quickly they forget who held it all together through thick and thin, all season long, just last year. I didn't realize we had disposable team MVPs. Look out for a monster second half from Nixon. Volcano will explode and that's not crying wolf again.
The other trade options look like pending free agent dumps. Do they really want to take on another Lansing-Arrojo deal and throw good money after mediocre? Do they want to go into 2003 with more Hermanson, Oliver, Offerman-type contracts?
But what are the alternatives? They don't live in Rhode Island. The upper minors are as bare as advertised both at the position and pitching levels. The AA prospects are thin as well. People sing Song's praises, but the rest of the group has been overrated for a long time, traded prospects aside.
Who will be the real trade bait in the call to arms? For now, we'll just have to sit and wait.
Speaking of trades, happy, happy birthday to the mercurial Carl Everett who turns 31 today. If they released Oliver overnight, it was a great trade for Boston.
5.29.02: Manny thoughts. Two-cents while trying to program my Tivo to record Lou Merloni vs. Ben Affleck, Celebrity Boxing III on Fox next Sunday night. Lou, you gotta be thick-skinned like Manny. He would love getting roasted by a celebrity if he knew it was happening. While Ben's busting chops was quite funny, his muffed play-by-play was as wooden as his acting. And nice comebacks from the clubhouse over the Affleck flap, Lou can quit his part-time day job anytime.
6:00pm is the deadline for submitting your resume to become a Fenway Ambassador. Successful candidates "are intended to be the pinnacle of customer service, good will, kindness, and helpfulness. These are people who inherently go out of their way to meet and help people, to solve problems, to thrill children, and to spread the magic of baseball throughout New England." We've been taking care of this job outside the park since last July. I guess the check is in the mail right Larry :-) ? They're going to get about 10,000 resumes from blanketing Boston.com all week for the three open positions. Nice grassroots database building guys. And what happens to all the cranky white-hairs clogging up the aisles already?
Deep breath, repeat after me... "he just crushes the ball... he just crushes the ball." Hey send us a postcard at least will ya' IronManny? Don't you have friends in the old neighborhood that you wouldn't mind seeing in Gotham City this weekend? What the hell are you doing down there? Better not be recording a new single, that won't work. Hope you're just setting up Nintendo GameCube's all over the house, planting your tomato garden, or watching South Park. See you in July buddy, don't worry about nothin'.
The statute of limitations just ran out. You can no longer refer to Juan Pena's two starts in '99 as a reason to call him up. But you can reference his towering ERA and the fact that he's given up more home runs that the Yankees hit this month as reasons not to put him on the bus.
Alright Grady, I get it. Pedro should probably sit on Sunday. Hey Buckley, yeah Buckley, where was your know-it-all rant about Pedro starting in New York yesterday? Pure genius calling for him to sit after last night's game blowhard. Had those of us who "know nothing about baseball, know nothing about Pedro... or both" known that he had complained of a heavy arm during long-toss on Sunday, the decision would have been as obvious as your elitist Monday morning quarterbacking. Nice grift Grady. Bonus points for keeping it in-house.
Sat two seats over, one back from Peter Gammons at the Pedro/Yankee game at Fenway last week. He was affable to the fans behind home plate, shrugging when asked if Tony Clark's swing can be saved, and telling me that Wells was all set to go on Saturday. He stood up for every two-strike count along with the rest of us, but he wouldn't physically clap when Pedro got the K. Gasbag stares at his cell phone more than a Marblehead girl in an Irish bar. Is he just checking the sports ticker or waiting for Mike Hampton to call to confirm his trade to the Red Sox for Ramirez?
Derek Lowe has the biggest start of his career Friday night.
5.28.02: Good move, bad move. Thank God Grady came to his senses and has decided to sit Darren down for a bit. I'm not convinced that Oliver is a piece of ju... err uh... is totally hopeless... as a player (note: Darren is a wonderful person). But it was time to make the switch, albeit a day late to salvage the Yankees series.
Moving on to Pedro: Bad move. They may not get swept in the Bronx with a rotation of Lowe, Arrojo, Castillo, but they could easily lose two of three under Grady's plan. But then we've got Pedro pitching against the Mighty Tigers in Detroit on Monday, ugh! I don't like it one bit. How about a Little Carpe Diem?
Seize the moment Grady. Get tough Grady. And suck it up Pedro, you can get five days of rest over the next three starts by going Sunday and then next Saturday (using the two off days June 13th and 17th to "protect" him again). Keeping Pedro on schedule this week will also allow him a second start in New York on Sunday July 21st, instead of starting against Tampa at Fenway the game after.
Never mind the psychological side of the situation, the full game gain in the standings is huge as this race seems destined to go down to the wire. And New York doesn't seem to lose to White Sox of the world as easily as the Red Sox do. A game swing in the standings now = a game swing in the standings in September. The math don't lie. No one is asking Pedro to pull a Bob Gibson here, just asking him to go about his normal routine for one more week.
Go for the green Grady, just like you would on the 16th at Pinehurst. You are playing for first place in the American League's Eastern Division. This is no time to settle or talk wildcard. Success against the Yankees is your choice. If you choose to sit him on Sunday, fine. But as Rick Pitino used to say, it stinks and it sucks.
Barks and Bites - May 2002
Barks and Bites - March/April 2002
2001 Barks and Bites