January 2009

Youkin’ for four more years! & Autograph Stories

The thing about blogging is everyone reports on articles that other people have already written. I’ve slowly been realizing that, but Rockpile Rant had a blog a few days ago about it. The cool things about blogs though, is that you can incorporate your opinion into it any way you want. When I write these, it’s pretty much like I’m thinking aloud. 

Mark posted an entry yesterday about journalism, and I learned a lot! A few weeks ago, I was e-mailing Tommy over at Rocky Mountain Way and he gave me some great tips about journalism. Unfortunately, as of late, I’ve heard that journalism is “a dying art”. Newspapers are going out of business, or they’re “in cahoots” with other newspapers. It seems like blogging is the next big thing. Tomorrow, I’m going to get an AP Stylebook, and I’m going to start incorporating some of the tips into my blogs, and articles for MLB Center
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It looks like the Red Sox will be Youuuuuuuuuuking for another four years, and my mother will keep asking me why they’re booing a Red Sox player for the next four years. I think that this is a great deal. Youk finished third in the MVP voting, and has established himself as the true rock of the Red Sox. He can pretty much do anything, play anywhere, hit anywhere in the order, you name it! He definitely takes the game really seriously as well– he’ll knock over water coolers just because he strikes out. It’s okay Youk, we’ll work on that. Mazeltov buddy, I know you’re Jewish.
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UPDATE!!!!!!!!! A Hot Stove Report literally just came out–Jason Varitek and the Red Sox are to meet tonight. I knew we were still interested in him! The Sox know how important he is, and don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about it AGAIN. Thank God Scott Boras won’t be there, he’s screwed the Red Sox over a few times:
1. He told Jason Varitek to decline arbitration. No team has made him an offer yet, and he could potentially be making less money now. Bad mistake on your part Borass! 
2. He screwed the Red Sox in the Mark Teixeira deal. Not that I wanted Mark or anything, but still, I’m not one for shady dealings. 
One thing I love about MLBlogs is that it’s full of inspirational characters. In fact, pretty much every one of you has inspired me in one way or another. Yesterday, Tommy inspired me to write about my very first autograph. He had a great entry on his blog if you haven’t seen it. 
Believe it or not, I got my first autograph last year. It was at a Spring Training game (Red Sox vs Reds) and we started talking with this lady, Helen. She was really nice!! She showed me all of her cool Red Sox artifacts like autographed balls, and pictures and what not. So she offered to take me and my father down to the players parking lot after the game. A couple of fans go down there after games and just hang around outside the fence and try and stop players.
So we went after the game, and most of the players didn’t stop. Big Papi drove away in his nice black Escalade truck with shaded windows, Pedroia drove away in a Volvo, and Terry Francona drove out in a silver truck (I think). Then another car was about to pull out, Jed Lowrie. I barely knew who he was back then, but I had read about him in the program. I recognized him and started screaming his name. Then, I ran out into the middle of the street (it wasn’t busy) and he stopped! I was the first in line, and he rolled down his window and autographed a ball for me! It was so nice!! I was so happy when he came up from Triple AAA Pawtucket because not only did I predict that he would, but I could tell everyone: “He signed my ball!!”
One more cool story though, this is one of my favorites. I was at a Red Sox vs Orioles game, and I forced my friend Marissa to go two hours early. My friend Marissa’s uncle has these incredible seats. Seven rows behind the Red Sox batting box!!! So around fifteen minutes before the game, Julio Lugo and Mike Lowell are warming up right near the batter’s box. So my friend and I are screaming Julio’s name at the top of our lungs because he’s the closest. He smiled at us! Then, after he was finished throwing, we screamed his name again and then he pointed at us, and threw the ball right to us! Alright, and the embarrassing part of this story is that I started to… tear up a little bit (okay more than a little bit) because I was so happy.
And with this whole dedicating numbers business going around, I’ve decided to dedicate my locker, and combination to the Red Sox.
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The locker number is 483 so I dedicate the four to Joe Cronin. Julia has some great background information on him in her blog.
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I dedicate the 8 to the great captain Carl Yastrzemski
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And I dedicate the 3 to another captain, Jimmie Foxx
And the locker combination is dedicated to…
First number: JD Drew, Trot Nixon and Dom Dimaggio (I had to mention all three of them!)
Second number: To another Red Sox captain, Jason Varitek–may you sign with us tonight!! I swear if when he signs with us, I’ll probably throw a party
Third number: Fred Lynn and Josh Beckett, as I did my ranking. 
And lastly, a shout out to another one of my best friends, Emma. Emma is one of my friends who doesn’t even like baseball, but reads my blog, which means the world to me. 

MLB Network Request and Tim Lincecum

I was thinking about the MLB Network today as always, and I can only complain about one thing. It’s not even a complain–it’s more of a request. 

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Last week, Kevin Millar was on the ‘Hot Stove Report’ for two days, and he was wearing a suit! I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who thought that I’d NEVER see Kevin Millar in a suit in my life. Anyway, so at one point in the show, they went to their field to get a hitting lesson from Kevin Millar. We all know that Kevin Millar is somewhat of a powerful guy, and with Harold Reynolds is just lobbing balls at him, without any protection.
Sure, the Under Armor outfits are snazzy, but when Harold or Magrane, or whoever are pitching to people like Kevin Millar at least need that fence thing (anyone know what it’s actually called?) to protect them. 
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And when Harold Reynolds is catching behind the plate for National League Cy Young Award Winner Tim Lincecum, he should at least have some protection. Sure Lincecum isn’t throwing his normal speed (and don’t you just love that windup?), but all I request is a little protection. 
Imagine if something happened to dear Harold. One of my favorite analysts would be temporarily recovering in the hospital. We don’t want that to happen! 
That Millar-Pedroia interview was hilarious! My favorite part was:
Kevin Millar *after reciting the long list of Pedroia’s achievements*: And you wear my number!
Dustin: Yeah, the best part is wearing your number. I actually have a funny story about that. I was warming up one day, and this elderly lady was wearing a number 15 jersey and I thought, ‘oh, that’s sweet’. But then I looked closer as saw that it said Millar and I almost threw up! I was like: ‘That was a hundred thousand years ago’! LOL
And then there was that story where Pedroia started yelling at Millar, because Millar always yells at.. well… everyone, and Pedroia convinced the guy playing all the music to stop playing Millar’s song. Once it actually happened, Pedroia was actually screaming up at the guy from second base. Pedroia is such a character. 
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I didn’t know much about Tim Lincecum during the regular season besides the fact that he was REALLY good. But after hearing some more about him through MLB Network, and seeing his interview and pitching techniques, I’ve decided that I really like him. He’s only been in the league two years and he’s already picked up a Cy Young Award. I love young talent. In ’08 he went 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA, and his windup is so cool! And I’m sure the King of Cali can tell you more! 
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Apparently, he’s a pretty big part of MLB ’09 The Show (or one of those baseball games), and he had all these movement censors attached to him so that his actual windup could be incorporated into the game. I’m not too good at video games, but I’m pretty wicked when it comes to Guitar Hero. I definitely want to try out MLB ’09 The Show–Pedroia is on the cover of it!! I remember Scott wrote an article on his addiction to a baseball game a little while ago. 
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Derek Lowe signed with the Braves. Sure, I wanted him on the Red Sox, but I knew as soon as we got Brad Penny that he wouldn’t be coming over here. I did want Lowe back because I still love him. He was so good during the ’04 post season (we’ll always remember Game 7 in our hearts) and he had that beautiful no hitter in 2002, which Jason Varitek caught. Jason Varitek is the only pitcher in history to have caught four no-hitters. Hideo Nomo in 2001, Derek Lowe in 2002, Clay Buchholz in 2007, and Jon Lester in 2008. How can we not re-sign him?? 
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Former Red Sox utility infielder Alex Cora signed with the Mets a few days ago. He was pretty nice to have backing up the entire infield, but his offense was always a little shaky. Still, I am concerned that we don’t have a good back up second baseman or shortstop. We have Mark Kotsay to backup first, and Kevin Youkilis can move to third if needed. Maybe what we’ll end up doing is keeping both Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie, and having them battle out the starting shortstop position in Spring Training (ONE MONTH!!!!!!!!!!) and having the other one as a backup. If not, Kevin Youkilis could probably play every infield position if we really needed him too–in fact, he could probably play them all at once! 
So last night, I decided to make my status on facebook (kind of like Twitter) my blog URL. I didn’t think too many people would click on it–little did I know that people would actually read it! Normally when I see a link on facebook, I just bypass it–especially if it’s a youtube link. But I always appreciate people reading what I write :). Thank you guys so much for your support!!
I’ll be dedicating my locker combination to some Red Sox players in my next post LOL. And Tommy has inspired me to write about my autograph from last year (yeah only one lol). 
-Elizabeth

Future Blog of the Red Sox Makes #19

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Wow, I can’t believe that my blog made number nineteen among Fan Blogs. When I joined this site, I honestly did not expect to even be in the Top 100 at any time, so this is really surprising. So of course the only thing I can do is thank the people who read these, and the comments that they leave. I truly enjoy reading all of them and replying. And I love reading your blogs as well! I guess this means that I’m one of the most popular young bloggers on the site (alright ‘Burgh Blues, you’ve got me)– and the most popular young Red Sox blog on the site? But hey, Bigpapi72 is up there too! You guys are really making my dreams come true!! 

So as I was scrolling through the comments on Mark’s ‘Latest Leaders‘, I noticed that Jimmy dedicates whatever ranking he is to a player. So Jimmy, consider yourself an inspirational figure because you’ve inspired me to do the same!
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I dedicate number nineteen to the great Red Sox center fielder Fred Lynn. You can see him in my ‘Best Red Sox of All Time‘ entry. 
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Alright, and a quick shout out to Josh Beckett as well who also wears number nineteen. I still think that he should’ve won the Cy Young award in 2007 rather than CC Sabathia. I had this argument earlier this morning with my friend, Nick. Obviously, I won :)
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The Red Sox have truly made their bullpen one of the best in baseball. The bullpen is where the Sox struggled the most (other than injuries) last year in my opinion, and Theo has really salvaged that. We just recently picked up Takashi Saito. He’s been with the Dodgers for the past three years and has a 1.95 ERA. I love the sound of that!! The Red Sox have one of the best bullpen’s in baseball going into the 2009 season.
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A couple of entries ago, ‘Levelboss’ asked me where Masterson is going to go. I think that’s one of the best questions anyone could ask about our pitching staff right now. Justin Masterson is so versatile that he could start OR be a force in the bullpen. Now that we have Smoltz probably going into a starting slot when he returns around June, we could probably have Masterson starting until then. The thing is, the Red Sox are going to have to look at Brad Penny during Spring Training to see if he’s destined for the bullpen, or the starting rotation until June. 
MLBlogs I want YOU to offer your opinions about my research paper–don’t worry it’s about baseball. 
In my death AP American History class, we have a research paper, and I’ve decided to manipulate it so I can write about baseball. Basically, we have to write about how new ‘spaces and liberties’ were created in America’s Gilded Age. Luckily, we can talk about cultural spaces as well– and baseball is one of the richest cultural ‘spaces’ in the history of America! And I think you guys have some of the best opinions and ideas out there. So, if you have any opinions or suggestions on this topic, I’d be happy to hear it! 
-Elizabeth

Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice to the Hall of Fame!!

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I was in my American Lit. class when the clock struck 1:30. I tensed up and started breathing a little heavier. “Oh my God, Oh my God!” I whispered, checking my phone every ten seconds to see if my father had texted me with any news.

“What?” Ben, the kid sitting next to me asked. “It’s 1:30!” I said. He gave me a weird look, so I explained “The people elected into the Hall of Fame are announced now!” He rolled his eyes, and continued listening to whatever it was we were talking about in class–something about Hemingway. As soon as the bell rang, I was determined to find an iPhone and check ‘Red Sox Mobile’.
I walked over to the little area that my friends and I sit in and started saying “I need the internet!” repeatedly. I went up to my friend Will, and demanded the iPhone. I went to the Red Sox website–nothing! So I went to MLB.com, but still nothing! Fine, it had only been ten minutes since 1:30 but still–no news?? This bothered me the rest of the day until finally, when school ended, I had a voicemail from my father. Jim Rice was finally in the Hall of Fame!!
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I was so happy when I heard the news! Jim Rice had finally made it, after fourteen years of coming so close, but losing (sounds like a few World Series years right?) he made it in his fifteenth and final at-bat. 
He now joins the other two Red Sox captains, Carl Yastrzemski and Jimmie Foxx in the Hall and is the fourth Red Sox player elected to spend his entire career there. 
Okay, it’s not like it wasn’t close. He received 76.2% of the votes, but hey, he deserves it! 
In early December, I wrote an entry on why Jim Rice should be in the Hall of Fame. Some of you may vaguely remember it, but if not, you can read (or look at it) here
When I got home from school, the first thing I turned on was MLB Network, and Jim Rice was at an interview. I tried to watch it but my brother started complaining and got another remote from the other room, and attempted to change the channel. I wouldn’t let him, and finally he gave in. 
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Another to enter the famous “Hall” today, was Rickey Henderson. He is absolutely incredible. He had 3,055 career hits and 1,406 stolen bases! In one year, he stole 130–in one year!! I think that’s absolutely incredible. 
I have the utmost amount of respect for these players, and I am happy that it will be perpetuated in the Hall of Fame. 
**More to come on Takashi Saito soon**

John Smoltz out of a Braves uniform?! And Baldelli’s Homecoming

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There are a couple of players in baseball that we absolutely cannot imagine out of their uniform, and John Smoltz fell under this category for me. He was with Atlanta for twenty years! From 1988-2008, and he was incredible! His career record is 210-147, he has 3,011 career strikeouts, and a 3.26 ERA. The strikeouts is definitely the most impressive, he reached 3,000 against the Nationals if I’m remembering correctly. Anyway, he’s been with the Braves for SO long, it’s still hard for me to imagine him outside of a Braves uniform.

Hardball and Darion are pretty upset about it, and about the entire Braves offseason. They lost out on Burnett, Peavy, and Fucal (the Furcal situation being the most annoying in my opinion). 
Interesting thing about Smoltz is that he probably won’t pitch until around June 1. He’s going to be like the Curt Schilling of last year, only he’ll actually pitch! According to his now former manager Bobby Cox, he looks “incredible” pitching.
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The Red Sox also acquired Rhode Island native Rocco Baldelli. The cool part is, he grew up rooting for the Red Sox **okay, no he didn’t as I just found out. Just a rumor I heard! Thanks to Julia for the correction!**, and probably dreaming about hitting home runs over the green monster (like he did in the ALCS–only he wasn’t on the Red Sox). Rocco Baldelli not only has a great name, but he also had a great start to his career. In 2003 he came in third for the Rookie of the Year awards and batted .289 with 184 hits. However he didn’t even play in 2005, and his playing time was limited from 2006-2008 because of injuries. Originally he was diagnosed with mitochondrial disorder, which causes excessive fatigue. Now, he has been re-diagnosed and has channelopathy (more on that later). Baldelli will serve as the fourth outfielder the Red Sox have been looking for. This will still let Jacoby almost everyday because Baldelli obviously can’t play everyday. Theo said that he’s been in talks with Baldelli since November! Theo, you’re so sneaky! 
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And now, Mark Kotsay could be back on the Red Sox. Kotsay will probably serve as the backup first baseman again for the Red Sox. This is good because if anyone else in the infield gets injured, Youkilis can go play their position (I am convinced that he can play anywhere–he can probably pitch too) and Kotsay can stay over at first. 
So with these two acquisitions, tons of trade rumors popped into my head, so I had a mini-panic attack yesterday. Here are a few, and why they can’t happen
1. Jacoby Ellsbury could be traded for more catching depth
This could not happen because not only has Theo made it clear that Jacoby is meant as the future, but Baldelli obviously can’t play everyday, so getting rid of Ellsbury would leave not only a serious hole in the outfield, but a serious hole in the lead off spot, and with base stealing! 
2. It is now safe to send Clay Buchholz to Texas for more catching depth now that we have Penny and Smoltz
This could not happen because Smoltz and Penny are only one year deals, and Clay Buchholz is obviously the future of pitching. I have now deemed Clay Buchholz my “project”. 
Being my “project” is a very special thing. Last year, Justin Masterson and Jed Lowrie were my projects and look how well they turned out! So now that I’ve officially decided that Buchholz is my project and that I will invest my faith in him, hopefully he will do better. 
One more thing before we go. Scott Boras really screwed Jason Varitek over. I’m not saying that he’s not coming back because I truly believe that he will. But we all would’ve been at ease by now if Boras didn’t convince Varitek to reject arbitration. It was pretty much his only chance at making $11 million per year. I’m pretty furious with Scot Boras but I realized something today. If I have even a little doubt that he’s going to come back, then he won’t, but if I put every ounce of faith that I have into Jason Varitek’s return, then I think he’ll come back. I’m not even going to doubt it anymore. I’m going to will it to be true just like Fisk and everybody willed that ball to stay fair. 
Just a quick shout out to my friend Steph. She’s one of my only friends who have looked at and read my blog, and I just wanted to thank her for that! Means a lot!
-Elizabeth

MLB Network– Bringing us the ‘one constant’, constantly!

The Red Sox Catching Situation and Brad Penny

This is for you levelboss! 
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Josh Bard is back on the Red Sox– yes back! He had a short stint with the Red Sox in 2006 when he had 10 passed balls in one month! He was then traded to San Diego in which the Red Sox acquired Doug Mirabelli. Originally, Bard came over from the Indians along with Coco Crisp. I’m sure Kaybee could tell you how “Bard-o” as she calls him, did in San Diego better than I could. And Bigpapi72 had some interesting things to say about the Penny and Bard situations as well. 

Interestingly enough, Bard caught Wakefield fine in Spring Training of ’06. He thinks that he outthought himself, which I noticed happened a couple of times this season with the Red Sox. Take for example, Clay Buchholz who was basically the Red Sox prodigy when he threw that no hitter against the O’s in ’07 but then fell “flat on his face” (like Bard did) this year. What happened? He outthought himself (and he was fine in Spring Training for the record as well, after all, he did earn the fifth spot). Luckily we still have him down in the minors! 
Another one, but this only happened during one game, was Jon Lester in Game 7 of the ALCS. He was outstanding in the ALDS, and in the first game he pitched of the ALCS, but I think that it all got to his head. Everyone chalked up a win for him, but it didn’t work out. He also outthought himself. The Red Sox have got to work on this! 
“I caught him fine in Spring Training and then we had those couple of off-days before the game in Texas, and I think that people were trying to help me and they were trying to help me be a better player,” Bard said, “but I think that it started to get into my head a little of, ‘Why don’t you watch some video of how Doug [Mirabelli] did it and maybe this will help you with some things.'”
Says Bard. So the Red Sox just need to let him be this time… don’t try and change his mechanics or anything. 
Even Theo Epstein himself admitted it was a “short-sighted mistake”. As soon as Bard left Boston, he hit .338 with San Diego. In 2007 he hit .285… not bad. However, in 2008 he was injured and only hit .202. 
On another good note about Bard, he also has experience catching a Cy Young pitcher, Jake Peavy (Kaybee and Hyun Young’s favorite!). 
The thing is, Bard won’t only be catching Wakefield, he’ll have a bit more playing time this time. Hopefully, the Red Sox do retain Varitek… and if they do, I guess he’ll be getting more rest. 
Here is what I would do: 
I would sign Varitek to a two year deal. Varitek wouldn’t have as much playing time as last year, but he would still have more playing time than Bard.
We all know that Varitek will not catch Wakefield, he just never will. Bard will probably be catching Wakefield, as well as others on occasion. 
This pretty much means we’re not getting Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Theo worked this out perfectly in my opinion because now we don’t have to give up any of our star pitchers. 
If we need a back-up back-up catcher (as always) I’d say George Kottaras is the best bet that we have. Teagarden is on the Rangers anyway so if he’s not a free agent than we probably don’t want to look into him.
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On another note, the Red Sox signed Type-B free agent Brad Penny to a one year $5 million dollar contract with potential $3 million dollar signing bonuses. Hopefully this will work out better than Bartolo Colon (because we all know how THAT ended). Unfortunately this probably means that we won’t be getting Derek Lowe. I’m guessing Lowe will go to the Mets now. Statistically, Brad Penny is better than AJ Burnett (not counting the 2008 season). Penny has a better career record (94-75) as well as more innings pitched, and Burnett has been playing one more year than Penny. Penny actually had back to back 16 win seasons, and I think that he’ll be able to bounce back this season. Plus it’s a low risk deal So Penny will probably be the number 4 or 5 starter, but we’ll see how he does in Spring Training.
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And another rumor that came out about our favorite person, Manny Ramirez? The Giants are interested in him and they reportedly offered him a four year contract. If Manny is looking for even a remotely long term contract, this is definitely the best he’s going to get. 
 -Elizabeth
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