Results tagged ‘ Josh Beckett ’

Two Honorable Dedications

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#4!

Once again, I can’t thank you all enough for stopping by and reading. I’m glad that you all have been enjoying what I have to say, and I hope that I will continue to get better in the future. Hopefully the near future seeing that I applied for a scholarship for this summer program that offers classes in sports writing and broadcasting. That’s pretty tailored to what I want to learn right? 
So I have two people that I want to dedicate this post to. The first time that Julia was number four over here, she dedicated her post to Joe Cronin. I want to do a small segment on Cronin because after all, his number was retired but I also want to dedicate a part of this post to Lou Gehrig. Yes, I am dedicating some of this blog to a Yankee. 
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So starting off with Mr. Cronin… he had a significant impact on the Red Sox not only as a player, but as a manager and general manager. He  played on the Sox for ten years (1935-1945) and had some pretty nice career statistics (.301 batting average, and 2,285 hits). What I like about some of these guys is how consistent they are. Cronin batted over .300 and drove in 100 or more runs eight times, and he was an All-Star seven times. I also like to look beyond statistics. 
In 1938, Archie McKain, a pitcher for the Red Sox, hit Jake Powell in the stomach. Jake wasn’t very happy, so he charged the mound, which was not okay with Joe Cronin. Cronin intercepted him, but he wasn’t even a player then. He was only a part time player for the Red Sox after the 1941 season. Besides his extensive duties with the Red Sox, he also served as the American League president from 1959-1973. 
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I know, even partially dedicating a post to a Yankee is weird. But how can I not recognize someone as great as Lou Gehrig? Even though he was a Yankee, the least I can do is respect him. Gehrig played with the Yankees from 1923 (when Yankee Stadium opened) to 1939. He died only two years later. His career was cut short at age 36 when he was diagnosed with ALS, which is now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He held the record for most consecutive games played at 2,130 until Cal Ripken Jr. surpassed him. I wonder if that record would have been longer if he hadn’t been diagnosed with that fatal disease. After all, he was nicknamed “The Iron Horse”. Even as I read about the farewell ceremony that the Yankees dedicated to him on July 4, 1939, it makes me tear up. I think we all have heard Gehrig’s immortal words at some point:
“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the planet”. 
I am honored to partially dedicate my post to Lou Gehrig. 
Disney World.
So the reason for my short blogging hiatus was because I went to Disney World this weekend with my best friend and her family. It was a spur of the moment type thing I guess. I didn’t really have time to blog because all I wanted to do was sleep when we got back to the hotel because my friend and I were both sick. 
So while I was there, my one-track mind was thinking about baseball as usual and as we were walking through the crowded streets of Fantasyland/Tomorrowland/Whatever, I was looking at baseball hats and shirts. 
As I saw the hats and t-shirts, I had a growing urge to go up to them and start a conversation as I normally do. But this would not have been a calm and cool before-the-baseball-game chatter. This would have been stressful-Disney-World-chatter. Not the ideal place to talk about baseball. 
Nonetheless, I proceeded to take mental notes of all the hats, and announcing to my friend that I approved of the Red Sox fans as I saw them. I saw Red Sox fans, White Sox fans, Tigers fans (more like one guy), Twins fans, Yankees fans, Rays fans, a Braves fan, Cubs fans, Marlins fans, a Dodgers fan, Brewers fans, and Phillies fans. 
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Although I wasn’t able to keep up with the scores as they were happening, it’s not like I was too far removed from baseball itself. The Braves play at Disney’s Wild World of Sports, which I took pictures of as we were driving by.
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And yet another baseball reference from this weekend! My friend’s father works right next door to Joe Dimaggio’s Children’s Hospital! There is even a Joe Dimaggio statue out front, and it’s on Joe Dimaggio Drive. 
Red Sox
As soon as I got to a computer, you can pretty much guess the first thing I checked. Oh yes, the box scores. I was very happy to see that my dear friend Chip Ambres hit a walk-off home run. I am proud to have his autograph. 
It looks like Beckett did pretty well, and will be starting on Opening Day! This will be his first start on Opening Day in a Red Sox uniform, and I am very glad that it is him. I think that this will be one of his healthier years, he has been looking great all Spring!
Masterson will not be in the starting rotation, even if Brad Penny can’t make his first “scheduled start”. I can understand this. I love having Masterson in the ‘pen, and even though I love his versatility, being part of that formidable bullpen will be just as good. 
So if Brad Penny isn’t ready? Clay Buchholz. I know some of you may still be getting over what happened last year with him. But now that he knows that it isn’t locked in, and that he could even be sent down to the minors after that start, I think that’s a lot more relaxing than having that pressure of knowing that you have to perform well. 
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The fact that Opening Day is coming up soon is not only exciting, to say the least for me, it’s also a bit sad. You see, I grew very close to my projects, and it’s time for some of them to be sent back down. Right now, a pretty epic bat
tle is going on between some of my favorite projects: Chris Carter and Jeff Bailey. 
I think they are both significantly talented, and I think it may even come down whether or not the Red Sox need a right handed batter, or a left handed batter. I think I’ll leave that for my next post though. 
Thank you all so much again for your support!

International Upset? Or enjoyable shock?

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Did any of you really think that the Netherlands would even win one game? I’ll be completely honest with you– I didn’t. I thought that teams would walk all over them– especially the Dominican. You know, the team with all the All-Stars? 

Here is was their lineup:
1. Reyes (SS)
2. Taveras (CF)
3. [Hanley] Ramirez (DH)
4. Ortiz (1B)
5. Tejada (3B)
6. Guillen (RF)
7. Cano (2B)
8. Cruz (LF)
9. Olivo (C)
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They have the two best short stops in Major League Baseball, Miguel Tejada (if that even is his real name), not to mention David Ortiz.
Here is the Netherlands lineup: 
1. Kingsdale (CF-RF)
2. Schoop (SS)
3. Simon (1B)
4. de Caster (3B)
5. Engelhardt (LF)
6. Adriana (DH)
7. Van’t Klooster (RF)
8. Jansen (C)
9. Duursma (2B)
I don’t know who ANY of these guys are! So the Netherlands are making the trip to Miami where they will meet Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the USA. I think that this shocked the world, and that is the beauty of baseball. I counted them out– I really did but you can’t do that in baseball. The Netherlands are kind of like the Rays of 2008. They came out of no where, and now their skills will be put to the test. 
It’s not like it wasn’t a close game though. It went scoreless into the 11th inning when the Dominican scored a run in the top half, but the Netherlands rallied in the bottom half to produce a walk-off victory. 
The Dominican Republic team is like Team USA of 2006–disappointing. So what went wrong? I think there are a few things that are significant. 
1. Overconfidence. Everyone expected a lot out of the Dominican Republic, especially with that lineup of theirs. They may have gotten a little too self-assured. 
2. Since most all of the players in their lineup play in the Major Leagues, none of their guys have had much practice. If it wasn’t for the WBC, they would be at Spring Training getting into baseball shape. Some of the guys on these other teams have been playing baseball in the winter, so that gives them some of an advantage. 
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3. Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez were both unable to play. I can definitely see Albert Pujols making a big impact, but seeing that this tournament is similar to the playoffs, I don’t know how well he would have done. 
I think that I will be lucky enough to get to a few of the WBC games. In fact, my weekend looks to be absolutely filled with baseball. On Saturday, I plan on heading to Fort Lauderdale to see the Red Sox play the Orioles, then go to the Puerto Rico vs United States game at 8:00 pm. Then on Sunday, the fantasy baseball draft!! I’m nervous about that, I have NO idea what I’m doing. 
 In the Realm of the Red Sox 
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Clay Buchholz had a successful outing against the Orioles earlier this week. He fired three scoreless innings and struck out two. There is even better news though: he says that he has never felt more confident before a game.
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Where does this confidence come from? Veteran starter John Smoltz. Not only did the Red Sox pick up an established talent, but they also picked up an adviser. And for the abundance of young pitching that the Red Sox have and will rely on in the future, it’s great to have a Hall of Fame shoe in to guide them along. 
I have heard that Randy Johnson is kind of mean, and I don’t think that does anyone any good. What if Tim Lincecum needs advice? That’s a bit discouraging, or at least I would find it to be. 
Josh Beckett had a successful outing today going four scoreless innings with two strikeouts. This week, Josh Reddick has been on fire! I think he is gaining confidence at the plate, which is what I noted that he needed to work on when I saw him a few weeks ago. Something tells me that he won’t be in the Majors this year. 
I can see him tearing up Double-AA ball though. I think I’m going to make him my future project– he has a guaranteed spot next year and will be on my radar! I have been very happy with the production of my projects thus far this Spring. 
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Mike Lowell finally returned to the lineup against the Orioles, and he went 1-3. He would not have gotten that hit if he hadn’t asked Terry Francona for another at-bat. I’m glad that he did, and I’m glad that he felt good. I know that it will take him a year to fully recuperate from the surgery, but I am confident that he will be fine if he can adjust. 
We signed all of the guys without contracts yet to one-year deals. This doesn’t mean that long contracts can’t be negotiated. As far as I can tell, Jon Lester’s deal is still in the works. This includes people like Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Justin Masterson, etc. 
I am hoping that I can get you guys some more information about Junichi Tazawa this weekend. I’ll bring lots of pictures from the WBC– I will be sitting in the upper-deck though. I know that a few of the guys from MLB Network are going to be there, and I want to meet them! 
-Elizabeth

#5: Nomar Garciaparra

Continuing in the tradition started by Jimmy Curran over at Baseball, the Yankees, and Life; I am dedicating my latest ranking, number five, to a former Red Sox player that has a very special place in my heart. 

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Nomar went to Georgia Tech, along with Jason Varitek (who had his number retired), and helped the “Yellow Jackets” get to the College World Series in 1994. He was a first round pick for the Red Sox in 1994, and played three years in their minor league system. He made his Major League debut in August 1, 1996, and his first major league hit, which happened to be a home run, came on September 1. It’s not like he was playing everyday though, John Valentin was the starting shortstop at the time, but not for long. By late 1996, Nomar had taken the job– Valentin moved to second base. 
Garciaparra’s rookie year was 1997, and he hit 30 home runs, and had 98 RBIs, which set a Major League record for RBIs by a leadoff hitter. He also set the record for leadoff home runs by a rookie. Do you guys know who broke it? (Hint: It was another shortstop). He had a 30 game hit streak which also set an American League rookie record. He was unanimously voted Rookie of the Year and even finished eighth in MVP voting. 
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In 1998 he finished with 35 home runs and 122 RBIs, and runner up for MVP. For the next two years, he led the American League in batting average. .357 in 1999, and .372 in 2000. He didn’t even win MVP those years. 
In 2001, the injuries began. His season was ended when he came into Spring Training with a wrist injury and returned in 2002 to bat .310. It was the beginning of the end. 
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Following a dreadful end to the 2003 season (Nomar did okay, but the Red Sox didn’t), the relatively new Red Sox ownership was investigating the idea of trading Manny to Texas for A-Rod, and Nomar to the White Sox for Magglio Ordonez. This obviously upset Nomar, and he became very unhappy. 
He was traded to the Chicago Cubs on July 31, 2004 for Orlando Cabrera and Doug (not even going to attempt his last name). Nonetheless, he was given a World Series ring from that year. God, I miss Nomar. 
Projects
For those of you that do not know, I have started a tradition of having “project players”. These are players that I see in Spring Training, or who may have a brief stint with the Red Sox, that I really like. Last year, Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson were my projects. 
I would now like to declare to you my projects for 2009: 
Jeff Bailey
Lars Anderson
Chris Carter
Nick Green
Junichi Tazawa
All of them are minor league players– you can check out my reports on them in my previous entry. Angel Chavez might make the list as well, he’s been looking great. 
Jacobyluvr asked some questions that are really important to look at right now in my last post: 
Initial Intake on Starting Rotation: 
Thus far, we have seen three out of five of our starting rotation: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield. 
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Josh Beckett has been looking great according to reports. The fact that he may look like his 2007 self is very pleasant to hear. Against Boston College, Beckett fired two innings and two strikeouts and didn’t allow any hits. Against the Twins, he also fired two perfect innings, but didn’t strike out anyone. The main thing for Beckett is to stay healthy. Some years he is incredible, others he is mediocre. Last season, he was always “catching up”– ever since that Spring Training game where he had the back spasms. 
Jon Lester pitched against Pittsburgh and earlier today against the Reds. Against Pittsburgh, he pitched two innings, allowed two hits, and struck out one. Today, against the Reds, he pitched two perfect innings and struck out two in the process. Lester is working on adding a changeup to his arsenal of pitches. He is so young that he can continue to learn and really develop. 
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Wakefield, in his start against the Twins, gave up two earned runs on five runs in two innings. Coming out of the bullpen (after Beckett) in the second game against the Twins, he walked one, gave up one hit and no earned runs in two innings. The thing about Wakefield is that he is either on or off– there is very little middle ground. He basically has one pitch, and even though the knuckle ball may be pretty hard to hit for some teams– all it takes is two pitches to time it down. The great thing about Wakefield is that he goes very deep into games. 
We can’t tell much about Dice-K because he has been training in Japan this entire time for the World Baseball Classic, which is starting this weekend. I hope that they don’t overwork him. I know how much he means to Japan and his country, but there are 162 games in the season, and he has to pitch every five days for seven innings ideally. The thing about Dice-K is that even though he went 18-3, he walked tons of people, but got tons of run support. He needs to cut down on the walks (I know he can get out of jams, but I would rather him to deep into games). I’ll be closely watching him in the World Baseball Classic. Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Big Papi say they have some plans to hit home runs off him. 
Brad Penny will most likely be the fifth starter. He has not pitched in Spring Training yet, and he will not be starting against Puerto Rico. The biggest thing for him is also to stay healthy, because when he is healthy, he is great. After all, in 2007 he did finish third in Cy Young Award voting. Justin Masterson did a great job starting though.  
Mike Lowell Situation
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In order for Lowell to be re
ady for Opening Day, he needs to take it a bit slower than everyone else simply because he is coming off surgery. I definitely would like to see him in a couple of exhibition games though because it would be tough just to come back without any practice. That’s kind of what happened to Josh Beckett. If Lowell is not ready for Opening Day, he should not play. The last thing I want is for him to push anything too far. If he is not ready for Opening Day, I have some ideas:
Kevin Youkilis could move to third, and either Lars Anderson, Jeff Bailey, or Chris Carter could come up to play first base. It would not be the end of the world if he can’t start on Opening Day. The main priority is for him to completely rehab. He is working out in Fort Myers right now with everyone else, but I would guess that if he is not ready for Opening Day, he should probably start out in Triple AAA just to get a feel for things. 

I can’t watch Spring Training games, which really upsets me. They’re always during school, so I can only check the score so often. Today, as I checked the score, I noticed that we were losing. Instead of freaking out, I checked the box score and checked out who hit and who pitched. Jed Lowrie had a good day, and Chris Carter got a hit too. As I was scrolling through the pitchers to see who had earned the runs, I noticed that Ramon Ramirez had three of the earned runs and four of the hits. He had looked so good before! Was it just a bad day? 
Thank you all for reading!
-Elizabeth

The First Game of Spring

It seems that anything of significance in the baseball world happens in my English class. When the MVPs were announced, I was in English. When the HOF inductees were announced, I was in English. And when Josh Beckett took the mound for the Red Sox against the Boston College Eagles, guess where I was? English. On my way, I was searching for someone that I could beg to borrow his or her phone. No such luck. I was not able to see whether Josh Beckett’s first pitch was a ball or a strike. 

I did feel like I contributed to that game in some way, shape or form. I’m very superstitious when it comes to baseball, kind of like Jane as she describes in her book. Well, as I was taking my notebook out for my American History class second period, I realized that I had a Yankee book in my backpack. ‘That can’t be good chi,’ I thought, so I asked my friend to guard it in her locker. Nothing personal Jane, just superstitions. 
The Red Sox beat the Eagles 7-1. A couple minor leaguers, including Chris Carter, had a nice game, and Josh Beckett fired two perfect innings and struck out two. 
Disappointed as I was for missing the afternoon game, I was quite excited when I found out that the evening game would be broadcasted on MLB Network. 
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the first inning by swinging at the first pitch he saw. ‘Patience!’ I thought! Well, he learned from his mistake in his next at-bat, and waited a few pitches before flying out to left. The important part is, he did make contact. 
Dustin Pedroia collected the first hit of the game, hitting a nice double, which isn’t surprising for a guy coming off an MVP season. 
I watched in awe as Tim Wakefield took the mound for the Sox. That knuckleball of his has been around since 1995. He played in Pittsburgh before that! I can’t imagine him anywhere else but the Red Sox, I’m glad that the Sox decided to pick up his option. Wake gave up three runs over two innings– a few batters were able to time the knuckle ball down, but some of the runs were just results of balls that got through the gap. The defense was a little rusty, but what can you expect after a long offseason? I just hate those blooper balls that fall in the proverbial bermuda triangle. Those aggravate me, unless the Red Sox hit one. 
Those balls going through the gap even got to Youkilis, it wasn’t just Diaz (SS) and Khoury (3B). By the way, did you guys see Youk’s latest Youk Fu? I thought that was hilarious! 
Josh Bard did a nice job catching Wakefield’s knuckleball. I think he should work on throwing over to second, because it’s pretty easy to steal considering Wakefield’s knuckleball is basically 68 mph. There was also one play in which Brad Wilkerson, recently acquired from the Blue Jays (RF) threw the ball in from the outfield and Bard tried to tag the guy before catching the ball. In the future, let’s catch before tagging :)
Billy Traber tried to pull a Dice-K: loading the bases with no outs. Even though it is Spring Training, it still gave me a heart attack. Dice-K may be the only pitcher in the majors who can get himself into jams and get out unscathed. You’re not there yet Billy, baby steps. After giving up a few runs, Billy did settle down to throw a couple of nice pitches. 
Justin Masterson was sporting a beard, so he looks a bit older. Masterson, Delcarmen, Lopez, and Rairez all pitched beautifully, giving up zero runs over five innings. Masterson was a bit shaky at first, but he calmed down after a little bit. 
Let me tell you guys, I am very impressed with Ramon Ramirez. Much as I miss Coco, that was a great trade. Three up, three down and two strikeouts. Talk about a great first impression. I would make him my project, but my projects are strictly confined to minor leaguers. 
Speaking of projects, Jeff Bailey has pretty much secured his spot as one of my projects. I was aware of him when he was with the Red Sox in 2008, and I liked what I saw, so he was definitely on my radar for tonight’s game. I hope to see him this weekend, as well as Lars Anderson. 
Jed Lowrie looked pretty good tonight, solid effort with some of those balls up the middle and a nice triple with an RBI. Jeff Bailey had the other RBI. I’m in the process of getting to know these minor league guys, but I should have at least three projects by the end of the Grapefruit League. 
To answer Jacobyluvr’s question, Jed Lowrie was my project last year. I was waiting for autographs outside of the player’s parking lot, and he drove out slowly, so I ran into the middle of the street to get an autograph. I barely knew who he was! After that autograph though, I knew he’d be coming. 
Rem-Dawg was unable to join Don Orsillo at the game tonight, he has an infection. All of us here at Red Sox Nation, and even on the entire blogosphere hope you feel better. Now, the Red Sox can always call me if they need an extra play-by-play. I feel like they have a mic wired to my house because they always talk about whatever I just finished talking about within five minutes. Maybe I’ll do that someday. 
Overall, I was impressed with the Red Sox’s performance, and I cannot wait until tomorrow. I apologize for the lack of pictures, I had this post ready to go an hour ago, but as I was looking around the internet for pictures, I somehow closed this window, and the blog was lost.
I’ll be bringing back some pictures this weekend! 
-Elizabeth

Back to the Red Sox

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It’s done! It’s finally done! Thank you all for the positive support that you have shown me throughout this entire process. From topics to write about, to the intro paragraph to the outline to the rough draft, you guys were always there for me. I think that speaks wonders for the wonderful community that we have here. 

I want you all to know that I took into consideration each and every comment that you gave me. You guys caught some really important stuff. Whether it was my contradictions, or my tense changes, or the places that I should separate my paragraphs– it all really helped! 
It’s not like I haven’t been keeping up with the Red Sox. Research paper or not, I always check in on the site. I’ve made it unavoidable for myself because it’s my homepage. 
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I’m feeling quite confident about the Red Sox’s 2009 season. They went into 2008 with basically the exact same roster that they came out of the World Series with… so the question is– what happened? 
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First of all, Curt Schilling was NOT healthy. He didn’t even make one pitch for the Red Sox. Not that I blame him or anything, I would not have wanted him to pitch unhealthy. So to fix this problem, the Red Sox went out and got John Smoltz. His role is almost identical to what Schilling’s was supposed to be last year. Schilling wasn’t supposed to come back until June of 2008 and look when Smoltz is supposed to come back: June 2009. Luckily Smoltz feels healthy. 
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Josh Beckett was not his 2007 self. Like I said a few entries ago, Beckett is like a cyclical economy, only not as proportional. He has a really good year, and then he has a mediocre year. A cyclical economy is a bit more extreme. Statistically, he’s due to have a good year. Even Francona says that he looks like his 2007 self. Beckett made some interesting speculations during his interview. He said he was “catching up all year”. It started in Spring Training when he had back spasms. I was at that game, I was really excited because I had never seen him pitch before (I still haven’t seen it)… then Manny Delcarmen pitched. It was still fun. 
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We never had a solid fifth starter. It started with Clay Buchholz, the no-hitter phenomenon. Turns out he still needed a bit more seasoning in the minors after he posted a 2-9 record. So the Sox sent him back down to Double AA Portland– the problem was, they never really planned for this. Who was their fifth starter going to be? They experimented with Bartolo Colon (he was a bit of a fluke– good luck to you Chicago fans). Then there was Dave Pauley, Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden, but we all know that they still needed seasoning (Pauley is long gone now). Then we finally acquired Paul Byrd in late July– it helped a bit. So what did the Red Sox do to improve on that? They went out and got not only John Smoltz, but Brad Penny. That Brad Penny acquisition was perfect– I’m sensing a comeback year. I’ll report back if I like what I see at Spring Training. 
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Jacoby Ellsbury was not as “Jacoby Ellsbury” as he was in 2007. But what do you expect? Everyone is worrying about how they don’t know what he’s going to do in 2009. Relax. Here is what I predict: He will bat about .285, maybe a bit higher, he will steal more bases, and he will be more consistent. Plus he still makes those incredible catches in the outfield. 
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Big Papi was not “Big Papi”. When this happens, it’s remarkable that you even get to the ALCS. His average dropped, his home runs dropped– everything dropped. So Ortiz worked out during the offseason, shaped up a bit, and rested his wrist. That was the big problem, I think he’ll be back. 
Manny being Manny was no longer the pride of Red Sox Nation. I loved Manny, I really did, but he had to go. He was just too worried about his contract and what was going to happen next year. If he can’t deal with the business of baseball, then he shouldn’t be playing. So he left, but boy did we get one hell of a guy. Jason Bay came in and performed beautifully. Not to mention that the “lack of experience in October” that everyone was fretting about turned into “Wow, Jason bay is thriving in October!!”. A better season this year? Oh yes. 
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Mike Lowell’s hip basically blew up. A torn labarum I think it was– that doesn’t sound pretty, and it wasn’t. It was painful watching him being in pain. He lost his range over at third, and he lost some power in his bat. When that happens to your 2007 World Series MVP, what are you supposed to do? Well, not only did the Red Sox management go out and get Mark Kotsay, Kevin Youkilis stepped up and went to third. He looked like he played third everyday of his life (and I think he was brought up as a third baseman). 
The bullpen was inconsistent. Everyone was tired during the summer, and you could tell. Poor Jonathan Papelbon would not have pitched in Game 7 if he had been needed. We overused him because our relief was inconsistent Well just look at our bullpen now! We definitely have one of the best in the Majors. It’s also good to know that Papelbon feels rejuvenated now. 
Not to mention the great looking bench that we have. When you have a guy like Rocco Baldelli coming off your bench, I think you’re in pretty good shape. By the way, I think Rocco would like us all to know: He feels fine. I can imagine that he has been asked that questions way too many times. 
Both of the contenders for starting shortstop say that
they are ready to go and that they feel great. The article about Lugo made me feel a little bit guilty though. I didn’t forget about him!! Maybe I was just– angry! I know that he has always been a second half guy but… that doesn’t mean that he’s allowed to blow off the first half! After reading that article, I’ve decided that the shortstop spot is completely wide open. I don’t want Julio to be nervous about living up to his contract. That’s the problem with all the money in baseball these days, it puts pressure on these guys. I hope that Pedroia, Youkilis and Papelbon don’t let their nice contracts get to them. I don’t think they will.
Speaking of contracts, the Red Sox management have mentioned that they would be in favor of a salary cap. Like they said, it would just take time. Time to figure out how exactly to do this. It would be great for some teams, but it would also hurt other teams– like the Red Sox. They are in favor of a “competitive balance”. Well, wouldn’t that make baseball even better if the games were even closer? It would be tricky for general managers to try and work out their teams, and would players be in favor of taking some pay cut checks? I like this idea, I just don’t want to see another 1994. It would make baseball easier to relate to though– it would bring it closer to the level that the New York Knickerbockers wanted to keep it at: an amateur game. 
I’ll be doing a full look at the Red Sox’s roster in the near future. 
I have the final draft of my paper (with footnotes too!). If you are interested in a copy, please leave a comment with your e-mail or e-mail me at elizabethxsanti@aol.com, and I’d be happy to send it. 
-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

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. 

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

CC Sabathia to the Yankees

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After roughly three weeks, CC Sabathia finally signed with the Yankees. The Yankees initially offered Sabathia six years at $140 million, but upped their offer to seven years $160 million. That was unnecessary, in my opinion, and a waste of money as well. Sure it had taken Sabathia a long time to respond, but the Brewers offered him $100 million, and there was a $40 million dollar difference to begin with, and no California team had made him an offer. It did not seem like the Yankees needed to increase their offer, but perhaps they did so to make it clear to Sabathia that the Yankees were indeed, the highest bidders. 

So what does this mean for our classic rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox? Well the Yankees really just bolstered their starting pitching, so that really puts them in contention for the AL East title. Now, that’s not to say that they weren’t in contention this past year… they had a lot of potential, but they were just plagued with injury after injury. The AL East is going to be absolutely crazy this year with the Rays, the Red Sox, and the Yankees. 
I haven’t heard much on the Hot Stove about the Rays, it’d be smart for them to lay low, they don’t really need to make any moves since they did get to the World Series. 
The Red Sox are in the “top four finalists” for Mark Texieria, as well as the Angels, Orioles, and Nationals. Then again, like I’ve said before, I really don’t think that we need him that badly. Sure he’d be a great addition since he’s young, a .300 hitter, and 30 HR hitter, but we got to Game 7 last year! It’s not like we were in last place, dying of run support (well, sometimes run support). We had 95 wins last year, if we don’t get him, it’s not the end of the world. 
The Yankees could be adding more to their starting rotation, they reportedly made an offer for five years to AJ Burnett, and are looking into Derek Lowe as well. The Yankees and the Phillies are reportedly the top two bidders on Lowe right now. Now, I know this probably won’t happen, but can you imagine if the Yankees added Burnett, and Lowe, retained Andy Petite, and had Cheng Meng-Weng (yes, I know, spelled incorrectly)? That would be absolutely insane. 

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So back to the question: what does this mean for the Sox-Yankees rivalry. Well, remember that the Sox have faced Sabathia before, when he was in an Indians uniform in the 2007 ALCS. Sabathia won the Cy Young award that year, but I honestly think that Beckett should’ve won it that year (I’m not saying this as a biased Red Sox fan either). The Beckett and Sabathia matchups were absolutely incredible and beautiful to watch. The two best pitchers in baseball (at that time) going head to head. Beckett prevailed in both of those games, and wound up being the ALCS MVP. Now that Sabathia is on the Yankees, this means more Beckett vs Sabathia matchups hopefully (if the rotations work out that way). This means that the Red Sox vs Yankees games this year are going to be better than ever!

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On to some Red Sox news and rumors (of course). Like I said, we’re in the top four contenders for Teixeria. If he does come to the Red Sox, I am resolved to learn how to spell his name. I can spell Yastrzemski but I can’t spell Teixeria? Anyway, the in the Rule 5 draft, the Sox selected Angels right handed pitcher Miguel Gonzalez. No other team has made an offer to our captain besides the Red Sox… the terms of the deal are unknown. Kevin Cash is available for arbitration, I did not know this, but it could be that he won’t fit into the plans for the Sox next season, he is the most likely candidate to be “non-tendered”. It seems like the Sox would be looking like a “complement” to Varitek with more offensive potential than Cash. 

Thanksgiving Dinner Consisted of… classic baseball games?

Even though baseball season is over, MLB.com/Live helps the baseball fans who are suffering withdrawal, cope with the offseason. Today, they showed Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS, a classic game. curt-schilling-bloody-sock.jpg

It was the bloody sock game, where Curt persevered through seven amazing innings; 

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it was the game where A-Rod knocked the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove, and then claimed that he didn’t do it; and it was the game where Mark Bellhorn hit a controversial three run homer. The umps had to confer twice, once when Mark Bellhorn hit the home run because it was originally ruled a ground-rule double, but replays showed that it bounced off a fan. They conferred again after A-Rod knocked the ball out of Arroyo’s glove, and replays once again clearly showed that A-Rod was guilty. As Arroyo said when he was asked to comment about the situation: “It was desperate measures, during desperate times”. If these calls hadn’t been overturned, the entire series could’ve been completely different. But that’s the beauty of baseball right? I wish I had MLB.com/Live, that would’ve been a great game to watch. 
It was after Thanksgiving dessert, which consisted of apple pie or chocolate cake, and we were just looking through the TV Guide for something to watch. My dad and I were absolutely thrilled when we found out that Sun Sports was broadcasting a Tampa Bay Rays Encore game. It was the game from April 27, 2008, a Red Sox vs Rays game. It was Josh Beckett vs James Shields, one of the best match-ups in the game. You guys might remember this game if you saw the highlight of Beckett’s error on a pick-off attempt, and seeing the ball roll slowly into right field, and then JD Drew’s throwing error. Both errors combined to allow Jason Bartlett to score from first base. Mike Lowell was on the DL, although I don’t exactly remember why, and JD Drew was healthy because he was playing in right field. The way that you could really tell, that it was young in the season was that a) the Orioles were in first place, and b) Manny Ramirez was still on the Red Sox. They skipped through innings, which was kind of annoying, but it was just so cool to watch Pedroia bat and think, wow, that’s the future AL MVP right there, and he doesn’t even know it yet. And to see Jason Varitek behind the plate and be thinking, Theo’s got to re-sign him, no matter what. I didn’t even look up the score of the game, because that would’ve ruined the beauty of baseball a little. The Sox ended up getting swept but it didn’t matter. It didn’t even matter that it wasn’t a huge playoff game, the fact of the matter was, it was baseball, and that’s all that matters. 
Wednesday night, I had watched the Ken Burns baseball movies, 1970-1994 edition, and it was absolutely incredible to watch. Game 6 of the 1975 World Series… Carlton Fisk’s home run. It was so beautiful. And of course, Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. I hadn’t seen “the play” in a really long time. But it was absolutely heart breaking. God do I feel bad for Bill Buckner, but to be honest, it probably would’ve taken me a long time to forgive him, I wasn’t even alive during that time period, so I don’t know how it felt live. Red Sox agony is tough, as Burns put it. Cubs agony is never even getting there, but Red Sox agony is getting so close, but seeing it slip out of your hands. 
Thanksgiving was great here in South Florida, we drove up to see my grandparents in Stuart, FL and we had a huge dinner. We didn’t even have turkey ironically enough, we had a great pot roast, and some apple pie or chocolate cake for dessert. In a way, my thanksgiving dinner consisted of some classic, heart breaking, baseball games as well. 
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, filled with plenty of food, and plenty of things to be thankful for. 
-Elizabeth
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