Results tagged ‘ Kevin Millar ’

Looking Back on 2011 & Assessing the Off-Season

Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are ‘it might have been.'”

It’s truly heartbreaking to imagine what “might have been” had the 2011 Red Sox not suffered their historic collapse. Fans and reporters alike anointed the Red Sox as World Series champions before pitchers and catchers even reported. It wasn’t a positive attitude that permeated spring training last season. It was assumption. This led to the insidious sense of entitlement that plagued the players, fans, and media.

After the overwhelming success the Red Sox had this past decade–two championships in four years–fans and media started to expect championships. Everyone has expectations, but it is the attitude that fans, players, and media have toward these expectations that can affect on-the-field performance.

There is no doubt that Epstein assembled an exceptional team. But I think things started to go wrong when people started to prematurely compare them to the 1927 Yankees before a game had even been played. People forgot that baseball is not played on paper. The 2011 Red Sox suffered from entitlement issues.

The collapse was slow and painful. After an less-than-thrilling April that inspired doubt, the Red Sox turned around and had an incredible summer. I spent many summer nights watching Adrian Gonzalez litter opposite-field doubles; I watched Josh Beckett have his typical odd-year success (including a one-hitter), and I watched Jacoby Ellsbury earn himself second place in the American League MVP race. It was almost too good to be true. When the Red Sox started to struggle in September, I tried not to get too concerned because they always stumble a bit in September. I wasn’t as confident that they’d win the World Series without cornerstone players such as Clay Buchholz and Kevin Youkilis. I was 100% confident they would make the playoffs though.

September 28th, 2011 is a day that will live on in infamy. It was like watching an Aristotelian tragedy, but I doubt that Aristotle himself could write something of this magnitude. I thought I was still bitter about Vladmir Guerrero ending the Red Sox’s 2009 campaign, but I will never, ever be able to erase Robert Andino’s fly ball that should have been caught by Carl Crawford. But I was still confident that the Yankees wouldn’t blow a seven run lead to the Rays.

I still maintain my conspiracy theory that the Yankees blew their seven-run lead on purpose. You don’t just leave a fastball up in the zone to Evan Longoria. I try to be objective as a fan who hopes to be a sports writer, but that was the day I lost my objectivity. I cried. It was an awful combination of disbelief, shame, and shock.

As much as I have always thought that Terry Francona is overrated as a manager, I will not assign the blame to him. I don’t think he managed his pitching staff well (you and I both know that he always leaves pitchers in too long), and I think he plays favorites. Maybe I just love national league baseball, but there are so many times where a bunt would have been effective. And there is no excuse for Jacoby Ellsbury only having 39 steals when he had a career high on-base percentage. (Obviously Crawford should be mentioned when it comes to base stealing, but he had a career low on-base percentage).

I will also not assign blame to Theo Epstein. I know he has made some mistakes with free agents (see: Julio Lugo, Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lackey, Bobby Jenks, no Carl Crawford is not on this list), but those signings were made with good intentions. Julio Lugo terrorized the Red Sox when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays, John Lackey was dominant in the AL West, and Daisuke Matsuzaka had the same amount of hype as Yu Darvish had this year. I guess the road to hell really is paved with good intentions.This is why I hate long-term contracts though. I don’t know why, but I feel like I’m the only person in favor of incentive laden contracts. It’s risky to base a contract on the past, no matter how consistent the numbers are. Would incentive-based contracts really be that radical? If a player performs as he has been, he’ll get the money he wants. But it’s not fair to pay guys like John Lackey ridiculous amounts of money if he’s not performing the way he did in the past (which is why he earned the contract in the first place). I digress.

I will, however, shamelessly assign blame to the pitching staff. There is no denying that everything went wrong at once. But the beer and chicken incidents that surfaced exemplify the entitlement issues that I talked about earlier. As unacceptable as it was, one has to wonder if the same reprimanding reaction would have occurred had the Red Sox advanced in the playoffs.

Josh Beckett can argue all he wants that the 2004 champions drank whiskey in the dugout. We have to assign context to these situations, though. Kevin Millar encouraged everyone to take a shot of whiskey before Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS to loosen everyone up. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and others lackadaisically drank during the game on days when they were not pitching. I know it only happened once or twice, but from a fan’s perspective, it just doesn’t look good.

Changes needed to be made, and I firmly believe that change will come in the form of Bobby Valentine. I was admittedly skeptical at first (though I was delighted that I no longer have to listen to him on Sunday Night Baseball), but I think that Valentine is the perfect man for the job. Go ahead and complain about his less-than-impressive managerial record (.510), but Francona had a managerial record of .440 when he came over to the Red Sox.

The thing that really corroborated my confidence in Valentine was his attitude towards spring training. There are more PFPs, he has already added two B games (my favorite thing–I prefer them over A games), and players will now ride the bus to away games rather than driving themselves. Baseball is a team sport, and the Red Sox did not play like a team last year. Valentine doesn’t even think, like many of his colleagues, that spring training is too short. You all know that I wish spring training lasted loner, too.

I don’t think that I am the only person that notices the tension that pervades the atmosphere of this year’s spring training. Josh Beckett won’t name the players he had issues with last season, and it’s not hard to tell that Crawford was disappointed with Red Sox owner John Henry’s remarks that he did not support the signing.

It was always clear to me when I attended spring training that Josh Beckett is the ring-leader. He has an enormous influence over the younger players, and this concerns me because I don’t think he is the greatest example. I think he’s a great pitcher, but I have issues with his attitude.

There is no doubt in my mind that Carl Crawford will bounce back this season. He is the quintessential five-tool player and an incredible athlete. I’m not trying to make excuses for Crawford, but I can understand why he struggled. Transitioning to a big market team is difficult enough, but Crawford also lacked the permanence with his spot in the lineup when he was with the Rays. For some guys that matters, others it doesn’t. I’ve gotten different responses when I have asked minor league players their opinions about this, and that is what makes baseball so interesting to me: it’s all relative.

I can tell that Red Sox players are sick of discussing the collapse, which is fair. But the success of the 2012 Red Sox relies heavily on the players learning from their mistakes, which I think they have. It’s also important to leave the past in the past, and focus on the future. That being said, before I discuss the minor leagues, I’d like to go through a couple of the (major) off-season additions, and how they impact the roster.

Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney

The Red Sox sent Josh Reddick, Miles Head, and Raul Alcantara to Oakland for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney. I really like this trade, and I think the Red Sox got the better end of the deal. It was tough for the Red Sox to lose Jonathan Papelbon, but we all saw this coming. He kept signing one-year deals, and it was obvious that he wanted to test free-agent waters unlike Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and Clay Buchholz who signed multi-year deals before reaching free agency for the first time.

Trading for Bailey, who is still under arbitration, was the perfect way to avoid spending a lot of money on closers like Ryan Madson or Heath Bell of similar caliber. Not to mention the fact that Bailey is fantastic when he is healthy. There’s a reason that he was voted 2009 AL Rookie of the Year.

Ryan Sweeney is the perfect guy to platoon in right field with Cody Ross until Ryan Kalish returns to form. I think that trading Josh Reddick shows the confidence the organization has in Kalish. I think that Kalish is Fenway’s future right fielder if he can maintain his health.

Miles Head had an incredible campaign with Single-A Greenville the first half of the season. He hit .338 with 15 home runs and 53 RBIs in 66 games. He struggled, however, when he advanced to High-A Salem where he hit .254, and suffered significant drops in his on-base and slugging percentages. Obviously the pitching becomes a lot more sophisticated in High-A, but if Head tweaks his mechanics a little bit, I think he has the potential for success.

Raul Alcantara is still extremely raw with his mechanics, and the highest level he has pitched in is Short-Season A. It is unclear to me at this point how effective he can be, but he certainly intrigued me when I watched him at extended spring training as well as the Gulf Coast League.

Mark Melancon

The Red Sox traded Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland to the Astros for relief pitcher Mark Melancon. Melancon had a terrific 2011 campaign with the Astros, and he is the perfect set up man. This trade obviously had personal repercussions for me since Jed Lowrie was my first “project,” and Kyle Weiland was my favorite pitching prospect, thus marking the second year in a row that the Red Sox traded my favorite pitching prospect.

Lowrie was always a health liability, and even though Weiland didn’t have success when he was in Boston, he showed a lot of promise in the minor leagues, and I think he will have more opportunity to succeed in a small market like Houson.

The Marco Scutaro trade

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m a huge Marco Scutaro apologist. I think he was completely under appreciated during his time with the Red Sox. He didn’t choose the right time to commit his errors. He quietly batted nearly .300 last season, and he has always had a great eye. The Red Sox traded him to the Rockies for the irrelevant Clay Mortenson (though he is a former first round pick). I think the Red Sox could have gotten more for Scutaro, but they got what they really wanted, which was a salary dump, so I digress.

Mike Aviles and Nick Punto will platoon at shortstop. Jose Iglesias is not ready yet after struggling so much at the plate in 2011. No one expects Iglesias to put up numbers like Hanley Ramirez (ignoring 2011) or Troy Tulowitzki. He is heralded for his glove, not his bat. I think that the Red Sox were a little too aggressive in throwing him into Double-A his first professional season. Iglesias undoubtedly needs to see more pitching at the Triple-A level. His glove alone will not keep him in the majors. 

I’m not going to beat around the bush: I do not like Nick Punto. For those of you that wanted Scutaro gone, I’m telling you right now that you are not going to like Punto. He is overrated, and I will NOT be a happy camper if I ever see him facing a left-handed pitcher.

Free Agent Additions:

The biggest free agent additions were probably Cody Ross, Kelly Shoppach, Nick Punto (whom I have already discussed), Vincente Padilla, and Aaron Cook. Ross had a down year last season, but his swing suits Fenway Park, so that will benefit him. He and Sweeney are perfect guys for platoon roles.

Kelly Shoppach is an alright addition for a catcher (he was actually initially drafted by the Red Sox). There won’t be much there with his offense, but he is superb behind the plate. Just wait for Ryan Lavarnway to come up, it won’t be long (I’m assuming he will start the season in Triple-A). It looks like Saltalamacchia will be the leader of the catching staff. I thought he improved A LOT last year–especially in the middle of the season when he actually started to throw out runners.

Vincente Padilla and Aaron Cook figure to be in the battle for the last two spots of the rotation. Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves, Ross Ohlendorf, and Andrew Miller also figure to be in those talks.

I don’t know if I can see Bard in the rotation. Bard consistently throws 97-100, and relies on the speed of his fastball to get hitters out. He is not going to be able to throw 97-100 for seven (ideally) innings. That being said, his changeup is typically 87-90 mph, so if he has to tone down his fastball for the sake of longevity, he’s going to have to adjust his changeup accordingly. He’s also going to have to use his secondary pitches more. He has a fantastic slider, but he lost confidence in that pitch in his abysmal September. If he can bring back the cutter, I think there’s potential for success. What bothers me, though, is that Bard resembles Aroldis Chapman and Neftali Feliz (both known for their speed), and neither have had success in the starting rotation. (Why the Rangers are trying Feliz there again, I do not know). C.J. Wilson had success in his transition because he didn’t rely as much on his speed as those pitchers do. It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out, but I have my doubts.

Aceves belongs in the bullpen, in my opinion. His long-term relief is invaluable, and he was so effective out of the ‘pen last year. He can be a spot starter as we saw, but I think his spot is in the ‘pen.

If Bard is successful in his endeavors, then Beckett, Lester, Buchholz, and Bard would be an incredible rotation. If it doesn’t work out though, I’ll be nervous. I can’t say much about Aaron Cook and Vincente Padilla until I see them pitch in spring training, and I have no idea why the Red Sox re-signed Andrew Miller. I know he is a tall lefty with a high ceiling, but after a certain point (and a certain WHIP), you just have to let it go.I also cannot explain to you the logic behind the Ross Ohlendorf signing.

This offseason was extremely different from last year’s. There were no high-profile signings, just a lot of low-risk high reward type signings. It reminds me a lot of the offseason going into the 2008 season with the John Smoltz and Brad Penny experiments. Those did not work out. I’m confident in the offense, I feel pretty good about the bullpen, and Daniel Bard is pretty much the determining factor when it comes to my feelings about the starting rotation.

 

 

The World Baseball Classic produces a Classic

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I cannot tell you how happy I am that baseball is back. I woke up at 9 am today (I don’t know why) and watched four editions of ’30 Clubs in 30 Days’ (yes, I am addicted). I have to say, I really enjoy watching that show, but my favorite part of the show isn’t the analysis. 

Towards the end of the show, they do a little segment on the history of the club. It’s short, but I swear, every time it gives me goosebumps! The clubs that were analyzed were the Blue Jays, the Reds, the Braves, and the Rays. 
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I loved seeing familiar faces in the form of Kevin Millar (Blue Jays), 
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Bronson Arroyo (Reds),
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 and Derek Lowe (Braves). I had not known that Millar had signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays. That’s crazy– a minor league deal!! I can see him being similar to the Sean Casey of last year. What a great guy to have coming off the bench. 
Mark called this a long time ago, but I’m starting to agree with him– the Reds are looking great this year! I don’t think that they can win the division, but after watching that show, I can see them getting third place! I think they have one more year to go until they become like the Rays of 2008. 
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Bronson Arroyo is such a great guy to have on their staff too. He has made so many starts for the Reds– more than anyone else around the Majors! He may not be the best pitcher in the world, but he still eats up innings, and that’s important. 
Plus, he is pretty serious about his music!! 
Baseball References of this week
I’ve wondered why I feel so strongly about the past of baseball, even though I never live through it. It’s painful for me to watch highlights from the 1986 World Series, I feel so happy when I see clips of Carlton Fisk’s 1975 home run, and I feel so strongly about Pete Rose even though I haven’t seen him play. So why do I care so much?
Well, in my math class, we ended up talking about the String Theory one day. I don’t completely understand it, but from what I do understand, somehow, I could have been at those games– in a different dimension. So instead of just experiencing them vicariously, perhaps I really was there. That’s a bit of a stretch I know. 
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In my history class, we were talking about World War II, and the battles of Okinawa and Iwo Jima. So what do I write in my notes? The battle of Okajima. So this is what I’m thinking about 24/7. Even as I was writing this entry, I put Iwamura instead of Iwo Jima initially. 
In chemistry, we were learning about The Shield Effect. I had no idea what it was (and I barely understand it now), and when my teacher asked someone to explain it, I thought to myself:
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‘Well, I can’t explain the Shield Effect, but I would love to talk about the Schilling Effect’. Curt is pretty aware of his effect as well. He wants to help a team get to the World Series. In fact, he specifically mentioned the Cubs and the Rays. What about helping the Pirates to a winning season? 
World Baseball Classic 
Well, after the three episodes of ’30 Clubs in 30 Days’ that I watched, I turned to ESPN (for the first time in months) to watch Team USA play Team Canada. That was one hell of a game if you guys didn’t get to see it. 
The starting lineup for Team USA was loaded:
1. Dustin Pedroia (2B)
2. Derek Jeter (SS)
3. Chipper Jones (DH)
4. David Wright (3B)
5. Kevin Youkilis (1B)
6. Adam Dunn (RF)
7. Ryan Braun (LF)
8. Brian McCann (C)
9. Shane Victorino (CF-RF)
Starting pitcher: Jake Peavy
The starting lineup for Canada had some familiar faces as well:
1. Barnwell (SS)
2. Russell Martin (C)
3. Joey Votto (DH)
4. Justin Morneau (1b)
5. Jason Bay (CF)
6. Stairs (RF)
7. Teahen (3B)
8. Weglarz (LF)
9. Orr (2B)
Starting pitcher: Johnson
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Jake Peavy had a bit of a rough first inning– I’m pretty sure that he loaded the bases. He settled down the second inning and had a great 1-2-3 inning, but gave up a home run to Joey Votto in the third inning. 
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Let me tell you guys something, Joey Votto looks really good. I can see him having a really nice season for the Reds. 
It was really interesting for me though, to be rooting against Jason Bay. Kevin Youkilis scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Brian McCann to Jason Bay. I bet they’ll be laughing about that later. 
Youkilis produced the second home run of the game by hitting a home run to right-center field. Not to mention the fact that his beard is coming back. I love seeing the Youk-Fu in the pictures though. 
Brian McCann and Adam Dunn also hit home runs to make the score 6-4. In the bottom of the ninth, Joey Votto struck again with a double over the head of Shane Victorino to score Russell Martin. 
Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Joey Votto was on second with Jason Bay at the plate. There were two outs, and the co
unt was 3-2… talk about a conflict! Don’t worry though, I ended up rooting for my country. That’s the beauty of baseball right there. Jason Bay represented the tying run of the game. Had he hit a ball into deep right, the game would have been tied, the entire tournament could have been different! That is one of the many things that I love about baseball. 
-Elizabeth

An Ode to the Unsigned

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

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

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

Future Blog of the Red Sox Jumps to Number 13!

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

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

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

MLB Network Request and Tim Lincecum

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

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

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