January 2009

My One Offseason Wish Came True!!!

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Ever since Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS was over, I was thinking about it. I knew that Jason Varitek would be a free agent since the second the 2008 season began, and watching him behind the plate I knew that no other person could fill that void. Sure I was sad that the season had ended, but I was so proud of everyone on that team, I wrote an entry thanking them which you can read here. After that loss we had a day off from school, which was a relief so I could recuperate and figure out how to face all of the comments I was going to get the next day. I was watching interviews of some of the players when I came across one of Jason Varitek. A reporter asked whether or not he would be returning to the Red Sox next year and Varitek’s eyes welled up a bit, and as he choked back the tears he said, “I don’t know,”. That’s when my tears started coming: he did not know. 

You and I both know what he has done for this team, I’m not going to go into the whole stat recap, and how he has caught four no hitters or anything like that; after all, I’ve been telling you that for the past three months. 
You know that I was happy when the Red Sox went out and made all those signings and pick ups within basically two weeks. I know we needed to bolster our bullpen, and I know we needed to extend Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis’ contract. But what I still didn’t know was really bothering me! I would become very defensive about it as well, if it would ever come up at school I would put on a dead serious face and say, “He’s coming back!”. 
At some times it would get even more uncertain. I was almost shocked when he declined arbitration, even though I knew one of the motives behind offering him arbitration was just precautionary. We would need two draft picks should he sign elsewhere. It was even more uncertain after the shady Mark Teixeira dealings that were entirely Scott Boras’ fault. The Red Sox’s relationship with Boras was completely shattered, so how could Varitek sign if his agent was the devil’s spawn? 
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I am now proud to say that Jason Varitek will be returning to the Red Sox in 2009. It’s not just me either– it’s Julia, and it’s Bob, and pretty much everyone around the Blogosphere. I’m friends with Vanessa from ‘Flair for the Dramatic’ over on Facebook, and she told me that “the rivalry wouldn’t be the same without Jason Varitek”. 
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It’s not just us fans either, it’s the players as well. Ask any pitcher on our staff, and they will tell you how much Jason Varitek means to them. As far as I can tell, he takes so much stress of their shoulders because he will do the thinking, and the pitchers will do the pitching. I think they all have a great relationship with him– which is good, because after all he is their captain. 
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Told you I’d be using Sesame Street :) 
Remember that terrible chemistry test I told you about? Well, I got that back on Friday, and well, everyone did badly. I did better than I thought I would, I got a C. As soon as I got it back, chemistry wasn’t even on my mind, my sole question was: ‘Could this C stand for the Captain and Catcher of the Red Sox coming back today?’. A couple of my friends just shook their heads at me. I built a fortress around myself during classes with my backpack so I could have my cellphone out, and wait for the fateful text message. No such text message was received, but I found out the second I got home. Let’s just say I let out a scream, tears welled up in my eyes, and I jumped around my house screaming/saying: ‘He’s back! He’s really back!!!’. 
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My friend asked me to help her out on an English essay, the question being: ‘What is a hero?’. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I thought of my hero, Jason Varitek and started describing to her some of his traits, the first one being: ‘A hero is someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty,’. Doesn’t that sound like Varitek to you? 
Tomorrow, I’m going to a Superbowl Party, but I don’t even like football that much, like I’ve said before, baseball is my one and only. So while everyone else is thinking about the superbowl tomorrow, I’ll be celebrating the return of Jason Varitek. 
Happy, you were right!! You called it all season long!! I’m sending you all virtual brownies! 

Someone give Jason a Sign!!

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Tomorrow is Friday, which means that we will finally know whether Jason Varitek will be returning. My endless crusade for his return for the past three months will finally come to an end. You have heard from me countless times about his intangible impact on the pitching staff and what not, but this weekend be prepared to hear something new. I hope that tomorrow evening [presumably], I will be posting a celebratory entry, with tears of joy rolling down my cheeks, and Jason Varitek brownies will be cooking in the oven. 

I will be waiting for that fateful text message from my father all day, and I don’t think my peers will be surprised if I let out a scream during class when I find out the news. My phone will probably be taken away and I will be issued a detention, but it is well worth it to know the news immediately and be relieved for the next year (or two). 
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When this situation is finally figured out, I think the future of Clay Buchholz will be more clear as well. Julia commented yesterday that she thinks that Clay will be traded to the Texas Rangers for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Like I said before, I would be a bit concerned if this happened because Smoltz and Penny are only one year deals, but seeing that we have a whole year with them, Michael Bowden could be developed in the minor leagues. 
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If you haven’t already heard, Mike Lowell will not be playing in the World Baseball Classic. The fact of the matter is that he is coming off an offseason full of rehab and we don’t want to inhibit his potential to start on Opening Day. I want him to play during Spring Training and I want him to be perfectly healthy for the 2009 season. I’m pretty sure he was injured throughout the 2005 season when he was with the Marlins and he really bounced back from that. He’s only 34, there’s no reason that he can’t bounce back again. Chase Utley had a hip problem and he’s ready to go as he said in an interview on the Hot Stove Report. Maybe Mike Lowell should be up there as well. 
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I’m I am (learning from the J-Blog school) wondering if the Red Sox still have the chance to lock up some key players to some long term deals. I would like to get one done with Jason Bay. As far as I know, the free agent market for left fielders isn’t going to be too great next year and I’ve really come to like Jason Bay. As of right now, I don’t think that Papelbon will get locked up long term because even he hinted that “they don’t see eye to eye on that”. I would not mind waiting until next year to lock Papelbon up. 
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I also think that depending on how Jacoby Ellsbury does in 2009 that the Red Sox should look long term to him as well. By trading Coco Crisp to the Royals as one of the first moves of the offseason, it was implied that Ellsbury is the future center fielder of the Red Sox. 
Once again, I had a conversation with the dedicated Cubs fan and asked him about Jake Peavy. 
William [Cubs fan]: I would love to acquire Jake Peavy if the Cubs don’t have to give up too much talent. 
(I don’t even need to interview Kaybee for this one). 
Me: You said yesterday that you liked Ricketts over Steinbrenner. I thought you liked the Yankees. 
William: Well, I have a lot of respect for the Yankees, but the Cubs are truly my favorite team. 
William also plans on reading Torre’s book. I’m going to tell him to pick up Jane’s while he added. 
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I was scrolling through the impressive World Baseball Classic roster and not only did I notice the Red Sox names, but I noticed the abundance of star players on the Dominican Republic’s team. Looks like they’re going to be unstoppable. Seeing that a few games are being played in Miami at the Marlins’ stadium (sadly called Dolphin Stadium), I will be trying to attend. 
I outlined the games that I am planning on attending in Florida for the upcoming season because I don’t know when I will be making my pilgrimage to Fenway. Spring Training games are obviously up there as well as a few Rays vs Red Sox series and a couple of Marlins games. I am wondering if any of you will be making the trip down to Florida for Spring Training. Let me know, I look forward to seeing you there.
-Elizabeth

A Brief Look at the Future of the Red Sox Pitching Staff

Yesterday, ‘Jacobyluvr’ posted a comment with some great questions regarding the future some of the Red Sox’s young pitching stars. Here’s my take on them:

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Where might Jon Lester be in the starting rotation? 
Lester really stepped it up last year, and pretty much established himself as the ace of our staff. I think that he would do great in the number one slot. He had great success in the post season as the ace of our staff (besides Game 3 of the ’08 ALCS) and I think that success will carry over into next year. In 2008, Beckett was plagued with injuries so his stats declined a bit, but this could also come from the amount of pressure that came from being the runner up to winning the Cy Young. Since Lester wasn’t in the running for the Cy Young, I think he’ll be okay. If he doesn’t start in the first slot, I can see him in the third slot. For some reason Dice-K seems like a second slot guy to me. 
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What are your thoughts on Clay Buchholz, is he still with us?
Yes, Clay is still with us. The Red Sox were smart to keep him in Double AA Portland after starting the season out 2-9. There is no doubt that Buchholz has talent, after all he did throw a no hitter against the Orioles on September 1, 2007. It was noted by various reporters that Buchholz’s stuff improved in Double AA, as well as in the AFL (Arizona Fall League). Seeing that Smoltz and Penny are only one year deals, I think that 2008 will be a year that Buchholz can really develop and fine tune his techniques so that he is ready to start in 2009. 
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What about Masterson?
The great thing about Masterson is that he is very flexible. Smoltz won’t be coming back until about June, so Penny could either be starting, or in the bullpen. If Penny is in the bullpen, than I think Masterson could serve as a great temporary fifth starter. We know that Masterson can handle pressure, and for such a young guy, that’s impressive, and reassuring to know. In Game 5 of the 2008 ALCS Terry Francona and John Farrell put him in the bottom of the ninth with a one run lead and he put two men on– but after being briefly talked to by Varitek and Farrell, he was able to settle down and close it out. He is also training as a starter so that he can go wherever the Red Sox need him to go. In the long run, depending on how Buchholz turns out, he could be a starter. For now, I see him as a reliever though. 
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Did you see MLB Network’s Prime 9 on short stops? If so, what did you think of A-Rod being ranked second? 
I am definitely one that gives credit where credit is due, but I honestly don’t think that A-Rod deserved to be ranked the second greatest short stop of all time. I think that he can be ranked up there in the top nine, but just not second. Personally, the top three shortstop for me are:
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Honus Wagner
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Ozzie Smith “The Wizard of Oz”
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Cal Ripken Jr. 
I know that A-Rod has accomplished some incredible feats, he is probably one of the greatest baseball players of our time, but just not the SECOND best, perhaps the fifth best.
As we all know, it looks like the Ricketts family is going to be purchasing the Cubs. What I didn’t know until today was how Cubs fans feel about this. Cubs bloggers if you’re out there, please leave your URL because I would love to read your opinions on this. Anyway, I decided to investigate and find out what one Cubs fan thinks about this. Jen, I’m sure you hate him already.
I found William Hector today actually wearing Cubs colors, I wondered if it was intentional but he classified it as a coincidence. William doesn’t keep up with all the names of players and what not, but he loves watching the games. 
Me: William, how do you feel about the Cubs new ownership?
William: I like it! I like it better than Hank Steinbrenner. 
Now Yankee fans this does seem like a low blow to the Yankees, but William is actually a Yankee fan! I neglected to ask him how he felt about Jake Peavy when we got onto the topic of Joe Torre’s new book. He asked me if I was reading it, but I told him I was reading my friend, Jane’s book first. 
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Speaking of Jane’s book, I’ve come up with a few reasons why I’ll be reading hers first as oppose to Torre’s. 
Joe Torre bashes A-Rod a lot in his book. Don’t I already know that I don’t like A-Rod? Does Joe Torre have to convince me to continue not liking A-Rod? Absolutely not! I know Jane is a Yankee fan and all, but she’s still a baseball fan right? Torre is a manager, Jane is a fan (and wicked author). I think I can relate to Jane a bit more than I can relate to Torre. Plus, after reading an excerpt from it on Amazon, I laughed! Torre’s book just reaffirmed my hatred for the Yankees.
I’m not looking to have my beliefs changed AT ALL, I’m fine with hating the Yankees but that doesn’t mean I hate ALL Yankee fans. The Yankee fans here actually are quite smart, and make it easy to actually co-exist with them! 
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I’ve decided to be a conformist and join the fantasy
baseball craze. From what I’ve heard, I have to rally up some friends and start a league on either Yahoo or ESPN. So, here’s an open call to all who would like to start a fantasy baseball team with me. 
Varitek, your deadline is Friday. Funny how Scott Boras was quoted saying that “he has nothing to say”. This is good, as long as he keeps his mouth shut, we’re all better off!
-Elizabeth

A Review of the Red Sox Offseason

Now that there are less than three weeks until pitchers and catchers report, it seems like an evaluation of our teams’ offseason actions would be in tact. The interesting thing about the Red Sox’s offseason, is that it took a while to get started. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. 

It’s not like we had a disappointing 2008 season, not advancing to the World Series “isn’t the end of the world” as Manny Ramirez would say. On the other hand, the Yankees had a bit more of a disappointing 2008 season– let’s just say it wasn’t up to their expectations. So they went out and blew spent $20 million more than they should’ve on CC Sabathia. They made a risky investment on AJ Burnett, and they signed Mark Teixeira (this is probably their wisest investment) to an eight year deal. 
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With all of these investments, the Yankees have spent roughly $422.5 million dollars. As far as I know, none of these contracts involved “incentives”. Personally, I think incentives are the best type of contracts because you set specific goals for the players to achieve, and if they don’t achieve this goal, then you don’t have to pay them. 
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When the Red Sox signed Pedroia and Youkilis, I really didn’t see much of a need to put incentives in those contracts. First of all, they both finished within the top three for MVP voting, and the last time that happened was 1986. A wise investment? I think so. Plus, both players are products of the Red Sox farm system, and both have mentioned that they love playing in Boston. The Red Sox signed Pedroia for six years, $40 million dollars, and the Yankees signed Sabathia for the same amount of years, but $100 more million dollars than that. Pedroia won the MVP and Sabathia wasn’t even in the top three in the National League.
We all know that Mark Teixeira is good, but I feel like with Kevin Youkilis, I’m not even “settling”. Since I’ve established the legality of comparing Youkilis and Teixeira in one of my recent posts, it is needless to say that we are getting Youkilis for one hell of a bargain. 
I know our starting rotation isn’t the best in the majors, but it’s definitely up there. A lot depends on the durability of Dice-K, if Beckett can bounce back, if Lester can stay consistent, the dancing ability of Wakefield’s knuckleball, and new veterans like Smoltz and Penny.
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At first, I was all for signing Derek Lowe (after AJ went to the Yankees), but what I wasn’t thinking about was the future (ironic right?). If we had gotten Derek Lowe, that would have seriously displaced the abundance of our young pitching talent. Lowe would’ve been an overpriced (14-11 with an ERA over 3.00 is not worth $14 mil or whatever he was demanding) three year investment, where as people like Smoltz and Penny are low risks with potentially high rewards. Plus, they have incentive contracts, my favorite!! 
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This gives our young pitchers even more time to develop and fine tune everything in the minors, and since both Penny and Smoltz’s contracts are one year deals, it will give our young stars the opportunity to start full time next year. 
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Then there’s the bullpen. In 2008 our bullpen had one of the highest ERAs in the majors, we went out and signed Ramon Ramirez and Takashi Saito. Their statistics speak for themselves, but I have a feeling that the addition of the both of them, plus having Justin Masterson full time, will really solidify our bullpen. Plus, we signed Papelbon to a well deserved deal. 
There is still a possibility for that deal to go long term, but I don’t think it necessarily needs to (and neither does Papelbon). The Red Sox could potentially wait until after the 2009 season to sign him to a long term contract, but there is no one else in the Majors I would rather have right now. 
Not to mention the signings of Josh Bard and Rocco Baldelli. It’s nice that Bard is getting a second chance, but the front office is essentially getting a second chance as well seeing that Theo classified the trade as a “short sighted mistake”. Having a player like Baldelli coming off the bench? Need I say more than that? 
Once you look at all of these signings up close, it seems like it all kind of crept up on you. Just the other day, my math teacher asked me: “Since when did the Red Sox bullpen become so good?”. 
It has been reported that the Red Sox have included a deadline with Varitek’s latest offer. Deadline or no deadline, it doesn’t make a difference. Varitek needs to take this deal if he wants to have a job in 2009. That’s how scary the market is, if he doesn’t take this offer, he might not have a place to play. Yeah, it will be a pretty big pay cut, but a lot of players have taken some major league pay cuts. Jason Varitek, it’s up to you. 
-Elizabeth

Even the players want Varitek back!

It appalls me that some Red Sox fans don’t want Jason Varitek back. Perhaps they are those lowly bandwagon fans who only look at the statistics and don’t realize that there are certain players whose impact goes much beyond the box score. 

It goes beyond hardcore fans who want Jason Varitek back on the Red Sox. Even fans of opposing teams know that Jason Varitek belongs on the Red Sox. I have said before how much of an impact Jason Varitek is on the pitchers, and I’m not just making that up. 
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Upon signing with the Red Sox, Jonathan Papelbon said, “There are certain players in Major League Baseball that you take a gamble on, whether it’s age or whether it’s money… Varitek is, no question about it, in that category… Whether it’s a money issue, or whether it’s an age issue, there’s not question in my mind, you make a gamble with a person like that. It’s that simple to me.”
Papelbon has spent his entire career with the Red Sox, so he has only known one catcher, Jason Varitek. 
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If that’s not enough for you, Curt Schilling, who joined Boston in 2004, had some stuff to say. Curt has been around a little bit longer than Papelbon, so he’s definitely speaking some words of wisdom. Schilling speculated that the Sox have invested roughly $45 million dollars in its pitching staff for next year and “if your catcher doesn’t work with your pitching staff, it’s not one player that has a down year, an off season,  it’s potentially the entire staff”. He then said that he’s “very comfortable in saying that there is very little chance that every guy on that staff won’t be better if he’s back next year. He’s the kind of guy that makes you as good as you can be in each start”. 
The most significant quote though was, “Jason knows us as good, if not better, than we know ourselves” 
I don’t remember the exact quote, but I do remember Kevin Youkilis saying that it would be a huge blow not to see Varitek back at Spring Training. 
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It seems like Theo and the front office have finally listened to the pleas of fans, and the pleas of the players themselves. As we know a contract offer has [finally] been made. That took a while after the whole arbitration mistake. Varitek wants two years, and he could finally be getting his wish. The contract could guarantee two years, or Varitek could attain two years by having a certain number of at-bats. It’s like those incentive contracts that we gave John Smoltz and Brad Penny. Those are the best type of contracts. Instead of just throwing the money at people and potentially getting disappointed (like the Dodgers and Andruw Jones), that money should certainly be attainable, but only by certain means. 
Hopefully Varitek would be willing to accept a lower payroll. His hopes for something around $10 million dollars were diminished upon declining arbitration. I really find it interesting that apparently he didn’t know that by declining arbitration that the receiving teams would have to relinquish two draft picks. Does that sound like the captain of the Red Sox? Are players really that blind to the business side of baseball.
I blame Scott Boras. I have no warrant for that, but I blame him. 
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Another player announced his retirement. This time it was Sean Casey. Great, our new team just lost it’s first baseman (just kidding). 
He only played 12 major league seasons, the majority of which he spent with the Reds. This doesn’t mean he’s done with baseball by any means. He signed on for some kind of job with the MLB Network. Could he be another analyst? I could definitely see him up there. 
Did you realize that with the abundance of unsigned free agents out there that you could form a pretty good team? If you didn’t see the entry, all you have to do is scroll down. If you could name it, what would you name it, and which city would it be in? 
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I found out yesterday that my friend’s Dad used to be a partner in owning the Savannah Sandgnats. Unfortunately, she did not realize the significance in owning an autographed John Smoltz ball (I’m the one with the Jacoby picture in the back),or sitting on his lap for that matter, or owning a signed World Series ball. Regardless, her father has agreed to let me interview him for this blog.
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So, if you could ask a former minor league baseball owner any question(s), what would you ask?

An Ode to the Unsigned

It’s already January 24, and there are still so many un-signed free agents out there. The market has been so terrible this year, that these players are going to have to settle for less than they’re worth. I’d be willing to bet that all of Scott Boras’ clients regret signing with him. The fact that a lot of them aren’t signed yet is his fault. As an agent, he should be able to see that accepting arbitration is their best bet! 

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Orlando Cabrera hasn’t signed anywhere and he’s an above average shortstop. His batting average has never been astounding but he’s a pretty good fielder! 
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Sean Casey, the winner of the “Good Guy Award” hasn’t been signed either. He’d be a great presence to have in the clubhouse and would bring some handy veteran experience. If no one signs him, he plans on retiring. 
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Joe Crede hasn’t signed anywhere yet either, but I’m pretty sure that Jen wants him back. After all, he has played his entire career with the Chicago White Sox.
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Adam Dunn has yet to sign anywhere, and if people are so concerned with strikeouts, then why is Ryan Howard asking for $18 million in arbitration? I understand that Ryan Howard is more powerful, but Adam Dunn could be a great DH for someone who is lacking in the power department.
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Nomar Garciaparra (uh oh, call Tommy, I need support!!!) has not signed anywhere either. I know he has injuries but the Indians didn’t hesitate to sign Carl Pavano. The Red Sox signed Rocco Baldelli and he’s had more of an injury history than Nomar. It looks like the Phillies are interested in him though. (We’re sorry Nomah!!!). 
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No one has signed Ken Griffey Jr. and that guy is incredible. If you’ve seen MLB Network’s Baseball Seasons 1995, then you know what I mean. I know he’s getting old but, it’s Ken Griffey Jr.!!! I think it’d be great if he ended his career with Seattle. 
 

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Pedro Martinez hasn’t signed with anyone, and I know his talent has been dwindling away, but he could be one of those low risk high reward pickups for a team. Plus he had arguably one of the best seasons ever in 1999. 
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Kevin Millar (calling Tommy again) is also unsigned. Who doesn’t want this guy in their clubhouse? I would’ve taken him over Kotsay just so he and Pedroia could argue over 15. 
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Andy Petite hasn’t signed anywhere yet. I know he didn’t have his best season with the Yankees but it’s not like he’s a terrible pitcher. Not that I want him on the Red Sox by any means…
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Manny Ramirez–Manny frikin Ramirez hasn’t signed with anyone yet! The future HOF star, the most feared right handed hitter in the game. It’s his own fault though, knowing Manny, no one is going to want to offer him four years. He’s just going to have to accept lower than what he wants like everyone else. You may be good Manny, but you’re not God’s gift to the baseball world. 
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Ivan Rodriguez hasn’t signed anywhere! Has he even received an offer? I think not. I know he’s not the guy that he used to be, but he’s still a great catcher. He could be facing the fate of signing a minor league deal. A minor league deal!!! That’s outrageous. 
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Curt Schilling hasn’t signed anywhere, but I really think that he should retire. He’s definitely not going to be the same pitcher he used to be, and I don’t know if anyone is going to want to sign him so he can pitch half of a season. He’s all for signing Jason Varitek though. *Hint, hint Theo*
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It really surprises me that no one has signed Ben Sheets yet. If the Yankees pursued AJ Burnett without hesitation, then I don’t see why Ben Sheets is such a big deal. 
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If you didn’t know already, Jason Varitek hasn’t signed yet. There’s an offer on the table for this. I have some advice for him on this one: DO NOT CONSULT SCOTT BORAS. Scott Boras is a life ruiner, it’s as simple as that. 

Future Blog of the Red Sox Jumps to Number 13!

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I think I’m going to make a habit of choosing pictures of Sesame Street characters for my number pictures.

This week was quite the week for me if you know what I mean. I didn’t realize how much it had tired me out, I took a four hour nap when I got home! 

The best part of this week though, and the highlight of most of my days actually, is this blogging community. The encouragement I get from you guys is absolutely incredible. You guys really think I can do it! I get some support from my friends who I’ve known for at least five years, but getting all this unconditional support and faith from you guys– some of whom I’ve only known for a month, it really shows the kind of community that we’ve built here. 
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Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to read about the chemistry massacre I went through today (really, I won’t be offended). Not that I want to become a professional athlete, but chemistry just isn’t necessary to become a writer. It was the most ridiculous test that I’ve ever taken. One of the smartest girls in my class took her unfinished test to our teacher, and said: “I can’t do this, I have no idea what I’m doing.”. I made myself believe that I knew what I was doing, but in reality, I had never seen some of the stuff that was on this test. I had done so well on the quizzes and homework, that it was almost hysterical that I had no idea what I was doing. When the bell rang to end class, no one else had left. Everyone at the same time said, “I still have three [workout] problems left!!,” After a while, our teacher said,
“You guys have to leave, it’s unfair to the other students”
It was then that I made the mistake of opening my big mouth by saying, “This test is unfair,”. A mistake on my part admittedly, but to prove to you the legality of that statement, everyone immediately agreed. 
After that, all I wanted to do was to go home and watch baseball. I didn’t want to think about anything else, or deal with anything else. I wanted to come home and just write. 
Nevertheless, there were two really bright spots in the past two days. The Future Blog of the Red Sox came in at lucky number 13 in the latest leaders list! Did you see that Bigpapi72 jumped to number eight?? Plus, Tommy was kind enough to put me in his Timeout at the plate. If you haven’t checked out Tommy’s blog yet, you have to see the kind of journey he’s about to take. It’s the definition of inspirational
Unfortunately, no substantially good Red Sox players have ever worn thirteen so it’s kind of a tough dedication. It’s not like number nineteen where I had an abundance to choose from (Fred Lynn and Josh Beckett). I was hoping for at least number fifteen so I could dedicate the entry to Kevin Millar and Dustin Pedroia, but hey, I don’t mind scooting up two extra places. That makes me even happier. 
But, since they are TWO players, and I moved up TWO extra spaces, I feel the right to dedicate fifteen to them. 
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Kevin Millar is the man who created the “Cowboy Up” rally cry. He was also the one to name the 2004 team the “idiots” and was always known for trying to keep loose spirits within the clubhouse. In fact, he tried to get the team to take a shot of whiskey before Game 7 of the ’04 ALCS (I believe) to loosen everyone up. He was definitely the jokester of the clubhouse, and is still loved and missed dearly by the clubhouse and the fans. In ’07 he came back to Fenway to throw out the first pitch and say the starting lineup. He has also been kind enough to lend his number, 15, to Dustin Pedroia. He made two appearances on the MLB Network in a suit, and I can definitely see him on that panel of analysts someday. 
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We have all heard about the iconic Dustin Pedroia and the many awards that he has accumulated over his first two years in Major League Baseball. The thing about the ‘Destroya’ is that he goes beyond the statistics. He has now established himself as the clubhouse jokester. He’s the one always hyping everyone up, the one cracking all the jokes He feigns cockiness but is probably one of the most approachable guys in baseball. He loves getting his uniform dirty, as he will slide unnecessarily into bases. He’s not really afraid of anyone; before game 5 of the ’07 ALCS he said, “I’m swinging the bat good, I don’t care what anybody says!”. I’m a huge fan of Pedroia, and I’m glad that he is happy in Boston. 
Apparently, the Red Sox have an offer on the table for Jason Varitek. He already decline arbitration so if he wants to stay with the Red Sox, as he has stated, this is the offer to take because it doesn’t look like he’s going to get one from anyone else. 
Thank you guys again!!
-Elizabeth

A Cornucopia of Dumb Baseball Questions

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As writers, we have to realize when we make mistakes. That was one of the lessons in Mark’s J-Blog School. In my last post, I posted a MLBlog definition that you guys all helped me with. Even though it was a great definition, I think we were just defining the fan blogs that we read. Julia and Bigpapi72 recommended that I send it to Mark, and I did. It was within his response that I realized our mistake. “MLBlogs are whatever people want them to be… Do not try and define the indefinable”. 

The thing is, we weren’t looking outside our realm of fan blogs. We forgot about Alyssa Milano’s blog, we forgot about the baseball cleat advertisements that keep beating us out on the rankings list (I feel your pain COB), and so many more! Anyway, Jen was partially right in attempting to define MLBlogs as a community. At least there seems to be “one constant” (there are endless ways to use this pun) throughout any type of blog on here: baseball!
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I feel like this week I’ve been bombarded with stupid baseball questions. You guys will be appalled when you read some of the questions I heard this week. To these people’s credit, they do not know anything about baseball, but still… 
I was in my history class talking about the MLB Network and how I have the Red Sox 2007 post season run on DVD and how I’m always watching it when I hear the question:
Haven’t you seen these games already though?
Me: Well, yes but..
.
[We’ll use the alias Bob]: So what’s the point in watching them again if you already know what’s going to happen
Me: Well, first off I haven’t memorized the score so I don’t know EXACTLY what’s going to happen. And I can focus on certain players. I can see the look in JD Drew’s eyes when he’s about to slam a 3-1 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the first into dead center field. Something in his eyes that is different from the rest of the season.
Bob: Okay, okay… So on this MLB Network do they show the Bill Buckner play
Me: *shudders*. Yes, they play it quite often actually. Did you know that Dwight Evans has never watched the replays of that play? 
Bob: Wow. [This was actually a sincere wow, and yes, I explained to him who Dewey is].
Then, in my Life Skills class, we’re learning about setting goals, and we get this handout, and on the top of the sheet it says: Yogi Berra. Sure he played for the Yankees, but still, it’s baseball! We’ll use the alias Steve for this one.
Steve: Wait, who’s Yogi Bera?
Me: *slaps hand to forehead*. Steve– Yogi Berra played for the Yankees in the 1950’s. He caught Don Larsen’s perfect Game 5 of the 1956 World [I’m cut off]
Steve: OH! Is this where Yogi Bear came from? This sounds like something he would say
Me: NO! Yogi Bear and Yogi BerrA are two totally different people! 
Finally, today in math, my math teacher was telling me how he has been watching Ken Burns’ baseball series on the MLB Network. Bob once again asks why I’m watching baseball when it’s not even baseball season. 
Aside from these appalling baseball crimes, Jonathan Papelbon signed a one year, $6.25 million dollar deal! He is now the richest, first-year arbitration player ever. Papelbon brings more than just his pitching stats to the table. 
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He has this ridiculously intimidating stare. He takes a deep breath, and then faces Varitek, and narrows his eyes and puts his mouth in an ‘O’ shape. He’ll either nod or shake-off pitches. Then, he hurls the ball 90 something mph and blows it right by some of the best hitters in baseball! 
Then there’s the dancing. After winning Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS, Jonathan Papelbon came out in his boxers and did this… Irish step dance to ‘Shipping Up to Boston’ by the Dropkick Murphys. 
He is also part of the notorious Bullpen Band (called the Black Pearl right?). He has an unparalleled intensity on the field, but is a humorous guy to hang around with in the clubhouse. 
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Papelbon also had some very nice words for the only catcher he has ever known. His captain, the one and only Jason Varitek. 
There’s certain players in Major League baseball . . . that you take a gamble on, whether it’s age or whether it’s money… Varitek is, no question about it, in that category. Whether it’s a money issue or whether it’s an age issue, there’s no question in my mind whatsoever. You make that gamble with a person like that. It’s that simple to me.”

So, it’s not just me, and JULIA and BIG PAPI who are willing Varitek to come back, he means A LOT to his players as well. 

I had an RSBS moment today! During my history quiz, on the bonus question (which I honestly cannot remember), among the choices were:
b. Jeffery
c. Allen
Too bad I was the only one LOLing at this. 

-Elizabeth

Kevin Youkils vs Mark Teixeira–a friendly comparison

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For those of you that did not already know, I have a research paper coming up. We are supposed to focus on a certain kind of liberty or “space” that was created during America’s Gilded Age. And what better space to talk about than baseball: America’s past time! It’s a new cultural space, that provided lots of liberties, and even took some away. Last night, we had to e-mail our ideas to our teacher, and his response started with: ‘I should’ve known!’.

Luckily, the thinks that it will be a good topic. The best part is–I love researching about baseball. There are so many great sources that I can consult, and I’ll be able to use Ken Burns’ baseball movies as a guiding tool. 
I’ll be posting my ideas, thesis statement, rough draft(s), etc. for your pleasure and critique!
Apparently, the Red Sox “swapped” right handers with the Orioles. Pauley was removed (is that synonymous with designated for assignment?) from Boston’s 40-man roster earlier this month to make room for John Smoltz. I vaguely Pauley’s name a couple of times this season. I knew he was a prospect and I remembered one terrible start that he had. Let’s just say his ERA was 11.68. 
For some reason, I’m also imagining a decent start by him (he did start two games after all), but maybe I’m just imagining things. In exchange, the Red Sox got Randor Bierd. I looked up Randor Bierd, and was not impressed. Then again, maybe if we give him some more time to develop in the minors, he’ll be worth something.
My only question is, why would the Red Sox and Orioles swap right handers with the same, relatively mediocre stats? Was it really necessary? 
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I was inspired to do a Youkilis-Teixeira comparison seeing that I was told that Youkilis is no where near as good as Teixeira. 
The thing is, I’m not really counting Youkilis’ first two years because he had no where near as many at-bats as Teixeira did in his first two years. I think it would be unfair if we measured Teixeira vs Youkilis with unfair statistics. 
2006 was the first year that Youkilis had over 500 at-bats, 2003 was Mark Teixeira’s. In that year, Youkilis batted .279 with 159 hits and 72 RBIs. In 2003, Teixeira batted .259 with 137 hits and 84 RBIs. 
Believe me, I know that Teixeira is more of a power hitter than Youkilis, but moving along…
In Youkilis’ second year with over 500 at-bats he batted .288 with 152 hits and 83 RBI’s. In Teixeira’s second year with over 500 at-bats, he batted .283 with 153 hits and 112 RBIs. 
And in Youkilis’ third year with over 500 at-bats, he batted .312 with 168 hits and 115 RBIs, in Teixeira’s third year with over 500 at-bats, he batted .301 with 194 hits and 144 RBIs. 
Now in this comparison I’m not looking to say that one is better than the other, I’m just saying that they are very comparable and are of equal caliber because 
1. Youkilis is just getting into his prime. Give the guy time! 
2. The reason his RBIs aren’t as impressive is because he didn’t start batting fourth in the lineup until this year. 
Regardless, it’s still going to be a great matchup!
In my last post, I asked you guys to give me your one true sentence, and I got some great ones:
Julia“The greatest joy in my life is waking in the morning, sun streaming in the window, and knowing that I have a loving family to face the challenges, obstacles and rewards of the day ahead.” 
I love how Julia is able to look on the bright side of the obstacles that face her everyday. I think if we all tried to do that, we’d get things done a lot easier
Bringing Diamondback:In Manhattan there is a North End Avenue, which is somewhere in the southern region of the island. 
Ah, the simplicity of life. 
Jen: “If you don’t tell someone you love them, you may never get the chance because life is short.”
Life really is too short, and I think that sometimes we have to swallow our pride, that that risk, and maybe get everything.
Jimmy: “When all else fails ‘pray to God’, as He has all the answers.”
God will always be there for us– to lead and guide us through all of our troubles
Hyun Young: “Realizing you can’t do everything you want, makes you realize grasping what you have now is enough.”
I think we all have to make do, and be thankful with what we have. It’s one of the most important things that we have. If we strive to only do things that we want, we may forget what we already have.
Jeff: “The Cardinals win the pennant! The Cardinals win the pennant!”
How does this not surprise me? LOL
Thank you all for your sentences!! Also, if you didn’t give me one last time, I’d still love to hear from you! 
You guys also helped me to define a MLBlog:
MLBlog: A MLB sponsered web page in which diverse, hard core baseball fans express their thoughts, comments, ideas, and opinions about their respective teams
regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender, political views, religious views or sense of humor. 
-Elizabeth

How Would You Define a MLBlog?

Blog: (As defined by the dictionary on my computer’s dashboard) A website on which an individual or group of users produces an ongoing narrative.

Blog: (As defined by the trashy URBAN DICTIONARY): A meandering, blatantly, uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic, life. 
Okay, maybe some blogs are like that, but I think we do it a little differently over here at MLBlogs. There may be the occasional paragraph dedicated to our personal lives (which I honestly find interesting), but for the most part, our blogs center on how our personal lives are affected. 
Then, I looked up ‘MLBlog’ on urban dictionary, and they didn’t have a definition… yet. So, I was about to add a definition when I decided to ask you guys to help me define it. So, how would you define a ‘MLBlog’?
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As you all know, the one thing that I’ve wanted throughout this entire offseason is for the Red Sox to re-sign Jason Varitek. Theo got a little distracted when he decided to make our bullpen one of the best in baseball (if not the best), but that’s alright, it’s for the good of the team after all. 
Then again, so is Varitek. Apparently he and John Henry met one-on-one for an hour and a half. I’m pretty sure they weren’t looking to negotiate a contract, but maybe to start talking about next year.
There’s some pretty good news coming out of this meeting. 
1. Jason Varitek wants to come back to play for the Red Sox, and Theo and the Red Sox want to bring Jason Varitek back. Too bad Varitek’s agent is the epitome of all evil, Scott Boars.
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2. Scott Boras wasn’t at the meeting! John Henry doesn’t like Scott Boras very much, with good reason of course. 
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In ‘The Matrix’, we are taught to avoid agents, and run away from them. If I saw Scott Boras, I would probably run in the opposite direction. Agent Smith was defeated in ‘The Matrix’, so metaphorically speaking, maybe Scott Boras will be defeated. Neo rhymes with Theo right?
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Papelbon filed for arbitration recently. We were getting him at SUCH a discount, I’m sure he’ll be making more money next year. I’d love to sign him for a long term contract though. 
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Speaking of long term contracts, wouldn’t it be nice to lock up Jason Bay for a few more years as well? The free agent market for left fielders isn’t that great (Manny does not count since the chances he’s returning to Boston are basically zero).
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In one of my recent posts, I mentioned that I really like Tim Lincecum. Another National League pitcher that I really like is Cole Hamels. Hamels just signed a three year deal with the Philles. I’m sure Phillies fans are happy about that, after all, he was their World Series MVP. I’m sure he’ll be a candidate for a Cy Young Award in the near future.
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And he’s cute too :)
In my American Lit class, we learned a little about Ernest Hemingway. One of the most interesting things about him, in my opinion, was that it was his life’s goal to write one true sentence. So besides defining a MLBlog, if you could write one true sentence… what would it be? 
-Elizabeth
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