Results tagged ‘ Julio Lugo ’

If I were a General Manager…

I’d be willing to bet that a lot of us our familiar with the musical: Fiddler on the Roof. At one point, the main character, Tevye day dreams about what he would do “if he were a rich man”. I’m starting to get the feeling that it may be a bad thing if I don’t remember the ending of the play considering I was a villager (with no lines) in the play when I was in seventh grade. I’m getting the feeling that he doesn’t become rich, but everyone ends up happy. 
Maybe the same can I apply as I share with you my daydreams about what I would do if I was Theo Epstein for a day. I doubt that I’m cut out for the general manager business though. I can only imagine the amount of stress and responsibility Theo has with putting together a team like the Red Sox each season. Nonetheless, it is a fun idea to entertain considering I’m constantly making suggestions as to what should be done. I wonder if I have enough stamina to be a general manager, a journalist, and a broadcaster (or even enough time). 
Before I talk about my fantastical crusade as a general manager, I have a few other things to get to. 
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I realized that I neglected to mention my thoughts on Casey Kelly in my last blog. For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, he was drafted by the Red Sox in 2008 not only as a pitcher, but as a shortstop as well. He spent the first half of this season pitching, and he will be spending the second half as a shortstop (from what I can remember of the report). I would actually be completely okay with him training as a shortstop, and holding off on the pitching aspect. The Red Sox organization is already full of great pitchers with a lot of potential. Shortstops? Not so much. 
I’m pretty convinced that ever since Nomar Garciaparra left in 2004, that there is a minor curse when it comes to shortstops. Hanley Ramirez, the star of the Marlins, was homegrown talent, but he isn’t playing for the Red Sox. Was it a mutually beneficial trade? Yes. Would I do the trade again? Absolutely. 
We signed Julio Lugo expecting him to be a pesky leadoff hitter like he was with the Rays. Unfortunately, that did not work out as he was designated for assignment and traded to the Cardinals a couple of days ago. Jed Lowrie is homegrown talent, but he has barely had a season. Nick Green (who must have been thoroughly exorcised considering he came from the Yankees) has been a pleasant surprise, but nothing outstanding, though I shouldn’t try to compare anyone to Nomar. 
Shortstop is currently our weakest position in my opinion, catching (I will address this later) coming in second. We need to have a legitimate “shortstop for the future” developing in the minors. 
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I really wish I had seen Mark Buehrle’s perfect game live, but as I am not a fan of the White Sox or Rays, I didn’t have some sort of crazy premonition that compelled me to watch the game. To put this feat in a historical context is really incredible, all of the statistics that come up amaze me. It’s kind of funny how people consider perfect games to be so exciting, yet technically speaking, nothing happens since the opposing team is literally shut down. It’s the beauty of the pitching though, and the fact that it is so rare and precious that makes it beautiful to me. 
I don’t have to be a White Sox fan to appreciate this, I think that every baseball fan should find this to be beautiful and stunning. I can understand that it must have been embarrassing for the Rays to be shut out like that, but it’s really just something you tip your cap to. It is something that I will always remember. 
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I would be remiss if I failed to mention the Hall of Fame inductions, which I was delighted to watch on MLB Network. I was in absolute awe to see 50 living legends all in one place, and I’ll be completely honest with you: there was a good portion of them that I hadn’t heard of, but that just makes me even more excited to go to the Hall of Fame in a few weeks. 
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It was really inspiring to see Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice give their speeches. Henderson was so humbled by it, and I loved the way that he got into the game, and the part about following your dreams. Jim Rice just looked euphoric– it was great to see him drop his usual demeanor and just laugh. 
Watching the whole Hall of Fame induction ceremony inspired me even more to begin my crusade to enshrine Pete Rose there. I will save my argument for another post, but I would really like to have a makeshift plaque made for him, and bring it to Cooperstown myself. Believe me my friends, I am getting him in there. 
So with the trade deadline coming up, there are plenty of trade rumors going around. I nearly spit my water everywhere when I read that Bronson Arroyo may be headed to the Yankees (this rumor has been squelched for the record). I couldn’t imagine my Arroyo in pinstripes. But this brings me to my main point (I guess?), what I would be doing if I was Theo Epstein. 
I am actually very happy with the Adam LaRoche trade, not because he is adjusting extraordinarily well to Pittsburgh, but because he is a significant upgrade from Mark Kotsay. I never thought Kotsay was anything unique, in fact I was a bit upset when we re-signed him because I thought Chris Carter or Jeff Bailey would be sufficient, if not better. Plus, we didn’t lose any significant prospects (if I don’t talk about them, they aren’t significant). 
We all knew that we had to get Julio Lugo off of our hands. Nice a guy as he may be, he just simply hasn’t been living up to the organization’s expectations, and regardless of his contract, it was for the greater good of the team that he is gone. Chris Duncan is in Triple-A right now, and I am dying to scout him. 
I am actually perfectly content with our roster right now. We don’t need to be involved in a break-the-headlines trade like last year because our left fielder isn’t complaining
about his lifestyle. Poor Manny, $20 million a year and adored by fans– tough life. Yet we still are involved in trade talks. 
I have heard the Roy Halladay rumors, and I was not attracted to him for a second (same thing happened with Mark Teixeira). I know what kind of pitcher he is, but I know what kind of pitching we have in the minors. Would Halladay solidify what has been perhaps a somewhat disappointing rotation (specifically Dice-K and Penny’s lack of depth)? Sure, and I’m pretty sure his contract is locked up for a few years. 
Think about what we might have to give up for him though. They asked the Yankees for Joba, Phil Hughes and two more prospects. I am very protective of our bullpen, and even more so of our prospects because the good ones (that are likely to go in a trade) are my projects. Roy Halladay may be the ace of the American League, but I’d be willing to say that Michael Bowden is the next Roy Halladay. That is how much I believe in our prospects. Think about how important Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden could be in the future. 
I have also heard the Victor Martinez rumors. When I said that I think catching is our second weakest position, I do not mean currently. Most of you know how hard I lobbied for Jason Varitek’s return, and I for one have not been disappointed. When I say catching is our weakest position, I mean for the future. George Kottaras is only around because he can catch a knuckleball, and I personally prefer Dusty Brown. I’d rather stick around and wait for Joe Mauer to become available. Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek are both legitimate catchers, who both deserve a lot of playing time. Should Martinez come to the Red Sox, I would think that someone’s playing time would be significantly impacted. 
I think we should stay right where we are right now. We are still very legitimate contenders, but we have to look to future acquisitions too. 

Taking a Leave of Absence.

Hello friends, I just wanted to take the time to let you know that I will be unable to blog productively for three weeks. Normally it takes me a good two hours to write a good one, and I’ll barely have time. 

This leave of absence is not because I failed a drug test. I actually had my yearly physical this past week, and I am all healthy. No Performance Enhancing Drugs over here. Manny and A-Rod, on the other hand, were not as lucky. 
The reason behind this leave of absence is due to a summer program that I have attended the past three years: The Great Books Summer Program. I will be out at Stanford University reading some of the greatest, most obscure literature that one can imagine. I have attended the program at both Stanford University and Amherst college, and it has been a significant part of my life ever since I attended. Even though it is only for a short time period, I consider the friends I have made there to be some of my best friends. 
This program has always served as a huge inspiration for me. The people who work there are all genuinely kind human beings who tell me that if I’m going to dream at all, I need to dream big. My counselor last year, Kyle LeBell (who is going to Israel this summer to become a rabbi) told me that “I should get lost so I can find myself”. 
When I’m out there in Stanford, it’s like I’m in my own little bubble– separated from the outside world for three, glorious weeks. I pretty much experience a catharsis that renders me overly skeptical and miserable upon my return. My home away from home: 
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I am actually separated from my baseball bubble whilst in this summer bubble. I do not have access to a computer for a good three hours to watch a baseball game. While my father is able to send me some updates, it still is not the same. 
That means I won’t be seeing Jacoby’s out-of-this-world catches. No Pedroia scampering around the infield and hitting balls that are anywhere over the plate. No ‘Papi’ chants after he hits a home run. No Youuuuuuukilis/Drew back-to-back hits. No Jason Bay clutch, clutch, CLUTH hitting. No Jason Varitek wisdom. No double-taking at Mike Lowell’s plays at third base. I won’t be able to laugh/curse Nick Green at the same time for his base running skills, and I won’t be able to cringe when Julio Lugo gets a ground ball. I will probably miss Jed Lowrie’s return, as well as Jerry Remy’s. I will miss Eck’s language, and I will miss John Smoltz’s start. I need to stop this list. 
I regret not being able to get up my Yankees vs Red Sox blog in time too. I’ll just give you some highlights. 
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I was able to go on a tour of Fenway Park thanks to some very kind people. I was on the field during batting practice, and I was ridiculously close to the Yankees as they started warming up. 
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Can you imagine the thoughts running through my mind as people like Johnny Damon and Alex Rodriguez were within arms reach? Jail time doesn’t look too good on a resume though. 
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I met a couple of reporters, I’m sure you know who they are. They were very kind. 
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I went back up to the Green Monster, the view was breathtaking, as usual (and by usual, I mean the second time) 
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I got a picture with the metaphorical Fisk pole, and a picture of the actual Fisk pole. 
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I was a kid in a candy store walking through the Red Sox Hall of Fame. I especially loved the ‘Greatest Moments’ section. 
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I also saw the view from right field, and the new section that was added (under the Cumberland Farms sign). 
The game itself was glorious, but the weather wasn’t as cooperative. Luckily, a rain delay never ensued. I was soaked to the bone, and so was all my stuff, but you guys know me during rain delays. 
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I played with some of the modes on my camera, and I took some pretty cool pictures. The people behind me actually asked if I was a reporter. I told them I was up and coming. 
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Seeing a game live is always a treat for me, to say the least. What was even more of a treat was Big Papi’s home run! Manny Delcarmen didn’t help our cause too much, and I feared I would be seeing a loss. But the offense came through, and treated me to a win. 
I wish you all a nice three and a half weeks, and you can keep up with me on Twitter. I figured out I can send texts, so I’ll let you all know what I’m doing. 

I’m Baaaaaaaaaack

When Manny Ramirez said that upon signing his contract with the Dodgers, I don’t know how much he really meant that. Then again, why should I even consider trusting Manny? He hates me anyway. Manny, the catalyst of the Dodgers lineup, and one of the biggest reasons that they have the best record in the majors, is suspended for fifty games.

The Manny that a year ago today, I would have proclaimed my love for him and would have defended him against any accusations. The many whom I made a statue of in my seventh grade art class. I plan on destroying it tomorrow (expect pictures). I don’t know the entire story, but when I turned on MLB Network yesterday, I was shocked 
Much as I hated to admit it, Manny still had a place in my heart, even though I didn’t want to allow him one. I loved him unconditionally, and it’s kind of hard to get over something like that, but this helped. I’m sure most of you know my steroids policy, and if you don’t, then I am very strongly opposed to them. The fact that Manny has taken any form of PEDs significantly impacts my views of him. I want to believe that he only took these during his time with the Dodgers, and not during his Red Sox legacy. I don’t want those records to be tainted. Having this be about him, and not a player that I hate, like A-Rod, and not a player that I’m apathetic towards like Barry Bonds, maybe, hits a lot closer to home. 
Anyway, these past few weeks have been tough, because I was extremely focused on studying for the AP exam that I took today. I feel really confident about it though, so I think it paid off. I want to give this confidence to David Ortiz, so he can hit a home run tonight (amen).
This did not stop me from taking an opportunity to attend a Red Sox vs Rays game last Saturday. After my subject test, my father and I embarked on the four hour crusade to Tampa, and returned home around 2:30 am.
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We crossed over the bridge that I hate (mainly because my father told me how it collapsed years ago WHILE we were on it). We satisfied my craving for a Checker’s hamburger, which resulted in a stiff neck (don’t know if it’s related), and we were at the Trop before the Red Sox started batting practice.
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In fact, they were stretching. I have to be honest with you though. I don’t really like the Trop that much. Besides the constant annoyance of the cowbells, that the kind Rays fans behind me kept ringing in my ear the entire night, it just doesn’t really make me feel like I’m at a baseball game, but I suppose it’s sufficient during the thunderstorm season. 
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I made my way down to the Red Sox dugout where I began my conversations with my extended family. It only takes a few sentences to come out of my mouth for them to say ‘Wow, you’re a diehard aren’t you?’.
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It also took only one yell of Dustin Pedroia’s name for him to not only turn around, but also for me to start getting requests from people to yell out other people’s names. I was quite successful in getting players to wave to me. Besides Dustin, Jacoby Ellsbury, Julio Lugo, Nick Green, and George Kottaras also waved. Unfortunately, the security guards did not let me on the field, nor did they let me in the dugout. They were very nice though.
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I’m pretty sure I started my ballhawking career. As Julio Lugo was playing catch to warm up, I called his name, and he smiled and waved. After he was finished, I called his name and asked for the ball… and he threw it! And I actually caught it while holding another ball.
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I was even successful in attaining an autograph: Nick Green for the third time this season. I guess I just have this connection with Red Sox shortstops. It was especially nice to see Mike Lowell’s home run because I actually took the American History subject test at his old high school.
The next day, when I walked into my history review, one of my friends said, “Wow, you look dead,”. It was worth it.
While I was able to study while watching the Yankees series, I actually had to miss the games against Cleveland to study. While it was nice to see the Red Sox sweep the two game series against the Yankees to continue their perfect record of 5-0 against them, I was quite disappointed that I wasn’t able to see history be made last night against Cleveland.
But before we get to that, I’m pretty sure Joba Chamberlain was insinuating that he wanted to throw at Kevin Youkilis’ head. After all, he did throw at Jason Bay, hitting in the clean up spot, hitting for Youk. It’s not like that game was an easy win though, after all, Jonathan Papelbon did load up the bases in the bottom of the ninth.
I missed history being made, while studying for history. How ironic is that? Scoring twelve runs in one inning without recording an out is pretty impressive, so I think I need to re-watch that. When my history teacher asked me how I felt about the exam, I responded,
“Well, the Red Sox won last night, so I’ll do well.” And I think I did.

Baseball, Chemistry and my Projects!!!

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Baseball is the perfect medication– for anything really. This morning, I had this terrible chemistry mishap, and I was basically yelled at profusely. I’m in an awful predicament in which I have to make sure that my teacher doesn’t try and take points off of my test. It really wasn’t my fault! It was merely a false assumption, and miscommunication. 

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It was like I was the center fielder and my teacher was the left fielder. I assumed one thing, and she assumed another thing, we miscommunicated, and the next thing you know: the ball is disappearing into the vines at Wrigley Field! I was quite frustrated with the whole situation, and it was really stressing me out. 
Baseball saved me. I was working on my math homework at the end of class when my math teacher asked me who would be the Opening Day starter for the Red Sox. Immediately, all my worries were gone and I was able to focus on the pitching staffs of the Red Sox, Rays, and Yankees. It may not be able to cure the minor cough that I have now, or the major cold that Tom has, but it can make you feel better! 
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As I was studying for this evil chemistry test over the course of the past week (I swear I must have done about sixty Lewis Dot Structures), I began translating it to baseball terms. No wonder, it all became clearer. 
I totally understand ionic bonding now that I have related it to baseball. It’s basically when a metal reacts with a non-metal. The way I initially thought of it was: when the thing on the left side of the periodic table reacts with the thing on the right side of the periodic table. Ionic bonding is very different from covalent bonding. Ionic bonding is two totally different things transferring electrons.
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Ionic bonding happened at the World Baseball Classic. Mets players and Phillies players were brought together, Red Sox players and Yankee players were brought together… I wouldn’t really expect them to get along. But Dustin Pedroia and Derek Jeter became fast friends, and it seems like that friendship will last. I really wish ionic bonding had been a question on my test, I would have given this example. Instead, I had to talk about bond angles. 
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Then there are covalent bonds, which is when non-metals combine and share electrons unevenly. I thought of a couple of examples that are somewhat applicable. This could be like the American League East. There are five teams packed into a really strong division, and the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees are going to be winning and losing games against each other right and left. The Blue Jays and the Orioles are going to give everyone trouble too– no one is walking off with the division. 
How would you guys translate this to baseball? If you don’t want to even think about it, I don’t blame you!
My Projects
I am very happy to announce that two of my projects will be making the Opening Day roster! Though they will be coming off the bench, I am very proud of the both of them for working really hard this Spring. 
I noticed the two of these guys at my very first Spring Training games this year. I could just tell that they were going to do well. I even said a couple of entries ago that I thought that these guys were capable of making the roster. 
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I think that Nick Green’s spot was much easier to foresee than Carter’s was. Although Angel Chavez performed really well this Spring, Nick was hitting all over the place! Plus, he can play virtually anywhere in the infield and the outfield, which is perfect for the utility role that we need coming off the bench. 
It’s not like this spot was open at the beginning of the Spring though. We have to remember that this spot was going to either Lugo or Lowrie at the beginning of the Spring, depending on who got the starting shortstop job. Two questions come to mind when I think about this. 
One: I wonder if the Red Sox were leaning toward either one of them before Lugo even had his injury. There are plenty of pros and cons to starting each player, and both were performing really well. The biggest factors in the decision would have probably been Lugo’s contract, and Jed’s versatility. 
Two: When Lugo comes back, where will he fit in? First of all, when Lugo comes back, that probably means that Nick Green will no longer fit into the roster. We already have a backup outfielder (Baldelli) and then Lugo or Lowrie will take the utility spot. I am very curious to see what will happen with this. 
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The reason that Carter’s spot was harder to see was because Jeff Bailey was also performing really well this Spring, and he is the veteran of the two. I could see that they both have the potential to make it in the Majors, which is why they were both my projects. Carter will be filling in for Mark Kotsay (back surgery). Carter has been working really hard on his defense this Spring, and that was his biggest problem before– his hitting is great. 
I think that we should all keep Bailey on our radars though. I would not have been disappointed if Bailey had made the team. I think that the both of them could serve the Red Sox really well. If one of our outfielders gets injured, we know who to call. 
A lot of us are familiar with Clay Buchholz, and it looks like he will be starting the season down in Triple-AAA. Even though he had a rough outing against the Rays today, he still performed really well this Spring.
He is the first in line to come up if one of our starters gets injured. Last year, we rushed him way too much, but we didn’t have much of a choice with Curt Schilling out of the rotation. The acquisition of Brad Penny makes the situation a lot easier. I expect to see Buchholz come up a lot this season. I would say a similar track to Justin Masterson. 

The Injury Bug Must be Exterminated

It’s one thing when you get an injury in the middle of the offseason. It’s another thing when you get injured (however minor it may be) three weeks before Opening Day. 

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The injury is making its way around baseball, and pretty fast too. It made its way through Florida, but those who were bitten have only suffered mildly. The disease is spreading quickly, especially through the Classic in Florida as Ryan Braun, Matt Lindstrom, Dustin Pedroia, and Chipper Jones have all been cautioned to take it easy, or taken out of the Classic entirely. It even gave Phillies fans a scare when it attempted to bite their ace Cole Hamels, and it has temporarily sidelined Trevor Hoffman. Julio Lugo wasn’t as lucky, the injury bug got to his knee and has forced him to have surgery. 
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It then made its way to Arizona where Manny Ramirez attempted to find the bug and purposefully get injured so he could sit out for another week to sulk about how he had to go out and play left field one day instead of serving as the designated hitter. 
Dustin Pedroia has actually returned to Fort Myers and is out for the rest of the Classic. Originally, the injury was reported to be a strained oblique muscle. Josh Beckett had a strained or irritated oblique during the playoffs last season, and his playoff performance wasn’t what it has been known to be in the past. 
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The good news is that it’s not a strained oblique, it’s a strained abdominal muscle. He could be back playing this week! I would be happy to greet him if I am able to go to the Red Sox vs Marlins game on Saturday. As long as he is healthy and ready for Opening Day, I will be very happy. 
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Other victims of the Classic (okay, that’s a bit harsh) are Braun, Jones, and Lindstrom. It’s obvious that Chipper Jones wasn’t feeling too right, he hadn’t even gotten a hit before he left. His oblique was bothering him (maybe they confused him and Pedroia?) and it could continue to bother him for an extended period of time, though he his optimistic. 
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Matt Lindstrom injured his right shoulder– in fact, he strained his right rotator cuff. He is still “with” Team USA despite being unable to play. Right now, he has to focus on the regular season, being ready for the opener. 
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Ryan Braun “aggravated his right rib cage” and is being temporarily held out of games for now. It would be really nice if they could use another word other than ‘aggravated’, it makes it sound way more dramatic than it actually is. I don’t know much about Braun’s personality, but apparently he would “bend the truth” so that he could play. I love that player mentality, but he has to think towards the future of the season–being ready to play for as many of the 162 games as possible, and hopefully more. 
What are the similarities of these cases? All of these injuries are products of the Classic. I love the World Baseball Classic, but for guys from the Major Leagues, it’s just a bit soon for them to be playing nine innings. I know that they have regulations for pitchers and stuff, but these players are still in Spring Training mode, even if they are pretending that they are in playoff mode. Granted, these injuries could have happened in Spring Training but it’s still a different atmosphere, as I described. 
I am so sorry that Julio Lugo had to have surgery, but at least it was before the season rather than during. He was working so hard to earn that starting position back– he was hitting all over the place and his fielding has much improved. This surgery will have him out for about a month, but this opens a position for utility player to come up. 
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Who will this utility player be? My project, Nick Green. Well, that’s who I would pick at least. Let me tell you guys, he has been hitting so well this spring, and his hitting potential can definitely been developed (not to mention that his fielding is solid). 
Most of you guys know that our backup first baseman (and outfielder) Mark Kotsay had back surgery, so another opening is available. My pick? My project, Chris Carter. I believe in both of these guys and I think that they could do a great job. 
So how do we terminate this injury bug? I have already begun by praying. During church on Sunday, my mind was side-tracked of course thinking about baseball, so when it came time for our private petitions you can only guess what mine were. I even phrased it nicely:
That Dustin Pedroia and Julio Lugo may make speedy recoveries and be healthy as soon as possible, we pray to the Lord. 
-Elizabeth 
PS #1: This is my 100th entry! I hope to have many many more :) 
PS #2: I don’t have the grade yet, but my history teacher said that he really liked my research paper! I’m going to revise it and organize it thematically rather than chronologically. 
**This is SUCH a stressful WBC game!!!

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

#17– Cecil Cooper

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Continuing in the tradition recently established here by Jimmy, I have decided to dedicate my latest rank. After some research, I have come to the conclusion that #17 goes to Cecil Cooper. 

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Cecil Cooper was nicknamed “Coop”, so immediately I wondered if the fans chanted “Coooooooooooop” like they chant today for “Youuuuuuk”, or maybe even how the Yankees cheer for “Moose”. Cooper has statistics similar to Jim Rice (the average at least), and played for 17 seasons, six of which were with the Red Sox, the others with the Milwaukee Brewers. He has a career average of .298 with 2,192 hits and 1,125 RBIs. He was a five time All-Star, and went on a run from 1977-1983 in which he hit .300 or higher. His career year was 1980 in which he batted .352. In fact, Youkilis is even more similar to him because the both of them are Gold Glover first baseman. He has also won the Roberto Clemente award, was inducted into the Brewers Walk of Fame, and has been the manager of the Astros for the past two years. 
I added that ‘Statistic Counter’ to my blog, unfortunately I set it to start at zero so I have absolutely no idea how many “hits” I really have. 
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Daily Dosage of Baseball

Today’s dose of baseball came in my second period American History class. We are currently learning about the 1920’s and we were talking about pop culture icons. We all know that baseball was popular in the 1920’s and so the icon that we talked about was none other than, George Herman Ruth, better known as Babe Ruth. As soon as I saw his picture come up on the powerpoint, I cringed.
Dr. King [teacher]: And there was Babe Ruth, the baseball icon. Elizabeth, would you like to talk about him? [I wonder how he knew that I would know about him….]
Me: No… I mean… Well, he was the home run king for a while… But, he actually came from no where really. He lived at an orphanage for a while, he was both a pitcher and a hitter… He’s probably the greatest player all time. 
Well, as soon as Babe’s picture came up on the powerpoint, the guys in my class jumped on the opportunity to bring up the most infamous trade in baseball history. Their snickering and mockery began! Here are some of the low-lights that they centered on: 
Babe Ruth used to play for the Red Sox didn’t he? Oh wait, what happened? Oh yeah! He was sold to the Yankees so your manager could finance a play right? 
Me: Get over it! 
I would go see that play, wouldn’t you?
Me: Never… 
It went on and on to the World Series titles, and then back to Babe Ruth with many hushes, shushes, ‘get over its’, ‘don’t start with me’s’ and more. I know that he is probably the greatest baseball player of all time, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t cringe every time that I hear his name. 
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Apparently, Mark Kotsay is having back surgery. Our backup first baseman is having back surgery less than a month before Spring Training is beginning. The Red Sox re-signed him a couple of weeks ago to a $1 million dollar contract, and he’s getting back surgery?? Did we know about this upon signing him? 
Still, the Red Sox don’t expect him to be missing much time. This explains the recent signing of Brad Wilkerson, another veteran first baseman who happens to also be a left handed hitter. It was a minor league deal for a “base salary” at $400,000 with incentives (my favorite!!) up to $2.5 million. 
What about Jeff Bailey? What about Lars Anderson? Those are two very capable first basemen. I know Anderson needs some more time to develop down in the minors, but Bailey did relatively well with the Red Sox. Couldn’t Bailey be the back up first baseman? 
Jeff posted a comment on my recent Prime 9 blog about Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie. He asked if Lugo even deserves an opportunity to “battle” it out for shortstop. Here is what I think:
I know that Jed Lowrie proved himself, I know that he can field well, and that he can hit in the clutch. I got tired of Julio bobbling the ball and over throwing first base, I got tired of him striking out on the low and outside pitches every single time! I liked that young face of Jed Lowrie, plus, he was my project! However, if the Red Sox made a pretty big investment with Lugo. It didn’t really turn out they way that he wanted it to, but if we were to put him on the bench, wouldn’t that be kind of wasteful? 
If Lowrie does prove himself in Spring Training, then by all means, he deserves a starting spot, regardless of Lugo’s contract. 
Thanks again for helping me come in at 17! 
-Elizabeth

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. 

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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. 
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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. 
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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. 
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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. 
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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. 
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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. 
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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. 
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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

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. 
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