My Prime 9 Answers to the Red Sox’s Spring Questions

Life after Varitek re-signed has been so much easier. I have slept better the past two days, I am not as testy, and I got to tell everyone how happy I was that he re-signed. I guess it was a little obvious that I wanted him back. 

The Great Gatsby.jpg
In my American Literature class, we are reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’m sure that most of you have read this great American classic, and you can attest to how well written and intriguing it is. As I was reading through chapter four, we are introduced to Meyer Wolfsheim, a character who was inspired by Arnold Rothstein, the man who fixed the 1919 World Series. As we were discussing it in English today, my teacher said,
“Alright, we are introduced to a new character in this chapter, who is it?”
Immediately, I jumped on the opportunity to maybe– MAYBE get some baseball into this. 
“We are introduced to Meyer Wolfsheim, he’s a gambler– the guy who fixed the 1919 World Series–“
“Yes, would you care to explain that”
Ah, my one track mind was appeased! You all know the story of the 1919 World Series, I’m sure Jen can tell it best, and she will also endorse Shoeless Joe’s innocence. We even went on to the famous quote: “Say it ain’t so Joe,”. Too bad it was so. This is also where Ken Burns got the title for his episode, “The Faith of Fifty Million People”.
This wasn’t the only time that the 1919 World Series came up today. In my AP American History class, we just started learning about the 20’s. So of course I got the snide comment:
“Well, you know we won’t be seeing the RED SOX in this decade, they last won the World Series in 1919…”
1919?? I think we’re a year off here. 
“Actually, the Cincinatti Red Stockings won the World Series in 1919, it was the year of the infamous Black Sox Scandal? Yeah, the Red Sox won the World Series in 1918″
I love finding baseball innuendos wherever I possibly can. I’m thinking that it’s called ‘itching for baseball syndrome’ but I’m not really sure. 
As I logged onto the Red Sox website, as I always do as soon as I get home, I noticed the latest article Spring to Bring Nine Answers for Sox. Instead of reading through the article and then reporting the same thing, I decided to just look at the bold print, and offer my analysis on each subject. It’s like my own little Prime 9. I fully credit Ian Browne with the ideas and witty titles, but this is just my personal take. I have not read this article. 
David Ortiz 2.jpg
Big Papi tries to get his groove back
I think we all remember the… painful struggles that Big Papi went through the entire season last year. Especially the prolonged slump at the beginning of the year, which was shattered in a grand slam which I called against the Texas Rangers. It’s been known that he has bad wrists, and the doctor’s diagnosis was merely rest. There are 162 games in baseball, and one day off here and there simply won’t cut it. I think that since he rested it this entire offseason, that he has a great chance of getting his “groove” back for the 2009 season. Plus, he’ll get some extra practice in the World Baseball Classic. 
Jed Lowrie 3.jpg
Lugo and Lowrie battle it out at short stop
I knew that this was bound to happen as soon as Lowrie came up to fill Lugo’s void, which he happened to do very well. In fact, I knew he’d be good when I scouted him out at Spring Training last year. Lugo struggled at the plate, he struggled defensively… okay, he just struggled. When Lowrie came up on the other hand, he was great defensively, and even though his numbers fell towards the end, he DID have that walk off hit for the ALDS. He’s a bit better in the clutch than Lugo, but not by that much. I still think we need to give Lugo the benefit of the doubt, but I’d hate to see Lowrie’s efforts go to waste. 
Varitek’s Offense
I don’t need to say much about this. I’ve told you about his offensive stats, but I don’t think I mentioned much that he had been going through a somewhat nasty divorce throughout the year. Think back to 2007, specifically, JD Drew. Apparently, his son had some medical issues throughout the year, and that obviously hindered his offensive capabilities. So perhaps now that this divorce has settled down, Varitek might have a similar turn around year to JD Drew. It’s hard not to let your personal life interfere with your performance. It’s unavoidable, we’re all humans. 
Tim Wakefield.jpg
Bard-Wakefield back together again
Bard was absolutely fine in Spring Training 2006. In fact, everyone had him set to catch Wakefield for the year, he had battled it out and he won. Before the season started though, it seemed like he outthought himself a bit. If he could catch Wakefield before, there is no reason that he can’t catch him again. 
Dice-K Matsuzaka.jpg
Matsuzaka’s temporary exodus (I thought Ian’s title for this was clever)
I’m assuming this means journey to the World Baseball classic (told you I didn’t read it). The thing about Dice-K was that for a lot of his starts, he only went five or six innings. With our bullpen this year, that is a [unadvised] possibility. We want Dice-K to have longevity, and hopefully, the World Baseball Classic won’t tire him out before the season. There is no way we could prevent him from playing with Japan, after all, he is a superstar. 
Rocco Baldelli 2.jpg
Baldelli’s Energy Level
Now that he has been re-diagnosed with “channelopathy”, which is treatable, I think it is a bit more clear. He has even admitted that he is not an everyday player, but we all know that when he does play, he plays well. Having a player like Baldelli coming off the bench is great. 
Jacoby Ellsbury 3.jpg
Ellsbury’s Consistency
When Jacoby Ellsbury came up from Triple AAA Pawtucket in 2007, everyone was wowed by him. The way he hit in the clutch was incredible for an inexperienced player like himself. The problem was, a lot of people expected him to continue to play like that which is completely unrealistic. I think that now that he has had a year to adjust to the big leagues, that he will really improve. He’s a .285 average guy for me. He’s a catalyst for the rest of the offense– if he gets on base, he will steal, and then runs will happen. If he has a good year in 2009, I can see the Red Sox going long term with him. 
Bullpen Band.jpg
Sorting out the bullpen
Don’t they say that you can never have enough pitching? The Red Sox now have an abundance of pitchers, which they lacked last year. We have an incredible bullpen, probably one of the best in the majors. The bullpen is so overlooked sometimes, everyone always talks about the hitters and the starters, but the bullpen really matters! We could trade for more catching depth, which is what we need. Plus, more members of the bullpen band! 
-Elizabeth

13 Comments

I love the Great Gatsby! It’s my favorite book of all time! I almost died when I saw it on your blog. I loved the chapter about Meyer Wolfsheim; I thought it was hilarious. Unfortunately when we did our projects on The Great Gatsby someone else took sports (didn’t even mention baseball might I add) and I did cars or fashion I think. My teacher said that minus the cheating and lying part I reminded her of Jordan Baker.
Anyway you are right about the Red Sox pitching. I think y’all of have one the best pitching staffs (?) all around in the American league if not baseball.
Melissa
http://clemsongirlbaseball.mlblogs.com

Melissa: So far, I love the Great Gatsby!! Fitzgerald truly has a way with words like no other. I’m absolutely in love with the book. Besides the cheating and lying, Jordan Baker is a great character!!
-Elizabeth

Love love love love LOVE The Great Gatsby. The movie turned out to be really good, which surprised me since book-to-movie doesn’t always turn out well. And I will forever lobby for Shoeless Joe to be taken off the banned list. :) Someone will listen to me eventually. I hope Baldelli does well this season because I loved him last season.
Jen
http://ajroxmywhitesox.mlblogs.com

Jen: I’m with you on the Shoeless Joe thing, I think he should be in the HOF! The Great Gatsby is so beautiful. Are you talking about the movie from the 70’s? I hope Baldelli is able to stay healthy.

-Elizabeth

Elizabeth – great blog! (And yes – great book!) I worry about Dice-K in the WBC. If the Red Sox can’t find a way to get his inning count up we could be in trouble. I am so excited – the equipment truck leaves Friday! Spring is almost here! I don’t care what that silly groundhog said yesterday!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Now I want to read that book. One thing for me is finding a replacement for Varitex.

-Bob, http://bostonsports.mlblogs.com/

Great analysis! It will be very interesting to see if Bardo can bounce back and have success catching Wake or any of the guys. You have a ton of great pitchers, and it might be difficult sorting them out. But hopefully you will be able to have a solid bullpen and plenty of guys for the band, too!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

Julia: Can fans go watch the bus leaving? That would be so exciting!!

Bob: You’re right, Varitek’s successor is crucial to our future.

Kaybee: I have faith that Bardo will bounce back, and we always need guys for our band!!

-Elizabeth

Elizabeth, you really covered all the bases with that post (pun intended). You nailed all the Red Sox question marks going into the season – at least the ones this Yankee fan would ask from afar. And I do love how you find a way to bring baseball into every setting. I’m guilty of the same thing!

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Jane: LOL, but it’s better than thinking about all the other annoying things in life right? Like chemistry, and well, life outside of baseball?

-Elizabeth

Congrats on your #17 ranking in the latest Leader list! The Red Sox are well represented on the list!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Does Lugo really even deserve the opportunity to “battle”? Talk about bad investments… whoo wee!
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Jeff: It was a bad investment, but so is basically putting a couple of million dollars on the bench.

-Elizabeth

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