Results tagged ‘ Nomar Garciaparra ’

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. 
Casey Kelly.jpg
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. 
Mark Buehrle.jpg
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. 
Rice and Henderson.jpg
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. 
Henderson.jpg
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. 

My Perspective, A Broadcaster’s Perspective, and a Project’s Perspective

They say that all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, that tends to happen a bit too often to me over the summer. My stay in Boston has come to an end, but the one bright spot is that I finally get to share some of my baseball adventures with you. 

I had quite a lot of adventures this time around in Boston, and the vast majority of them were related to baseball. I’ll give you a quick summary of what I did over the week, but I have two things that I want to focus on tonight. 
Dan Hoard.JPG
I had the opportunity to meet Dan Hoard, the radio broadcaster for the Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple AAA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox in case you were wondering). He was kind enough to let me interview him. 
Bowden.JPG
At that same game, I spent the entire time talking to one of my projects, Michael Bowden. He is a huge prospect in the Red Sox organization. He pitched last year against the White Sox and he pitched this year against the Yankees: the game that Jacoby Ellsbury stole home. It was a once  in a lifetime opportunity to hear his perspective on baseball. 
Hyder.JPG
The next night, Steve Hyder, the radio broadcaster for the PawSox (he and Mr. Hoard are partners) let me interview him in the press box! He was a Rhode Island native, so of course he grew up a fan of the Red Sox. More on that tomorrow. 
On Wednesday, I met one of our fellow MLBloggers, Julia. I can’t put a picture of her up though– this was all explained to me. We went to the famous Bleacher Bar at Fenway Park (don’t worry, it’s a restaurant), and I went through “Boston initiation” (more on that later). 
rain.JPG
For those of you who tuned in to the Yankees vs Red Sox game on Thursday night, you know that it was not only the most exciting game of the series, but of the year as well. It rained all night long, which made the temperature even colder. By the end of the night I could see my breath, and I was only in a light, black cardigan. I wasn’t going to move though. 
jerry remy.JPG
Leaving my favorite city is never an easy task, but the situation was lightened thanks to Jerry Remy’s restaurant. There was a bit of a problem with the dining situation though, and I thought I could bring it to the attention of baseball fans everywhere. 
My Perspective
In June 2008, Rem-Dawg’s Nation voted on their “All-Time Nine”: the nine best position players in Red Sox history. Some of them are fairly obvious, others get into some ‘dirty water’ (this has a negative connotation though), and one of them is just a disgrace. 
Boggs.JPG
I’ll begin with the recipient of the third base honor: Wade Boggs. Just looking at numbers, Boggs deserves to be on this wall. Yet his baseball career had a little bit of scandal, and he pulled what I like to call a ‘Johnny Damon’ (even though Johnny Damon was just a kid when Boggs was playing). I think that Mike Lowell is a definite runner up for this category considering that he embodies what baseball is all about and the fact that he has the best fielding percentage of third basemen in history. Not to mention he was the MVP of the ’07 World Series. Anyway, my argument for Boggs would be that he really is the best of all time even if he did pull a Johnny Damon. Johnny Damon wouldn’t even come close in the voting not because of the amount of hearts he broke in New England, but because he isn’t even comparable with Fred Lynn. 
Nomar.JPG
The other man that stumbled into a bit of dirty water when I was looking at the recipients was Nomar Garciaparra. Sure Nomar was a “plague” in the clubhouse and his departure has seemingly cursed the subsequent shortstops, but his numbers from 1997-2000 are unbelievable. Nobody gets the MVP and the Rookie of the Year award in one season. The only other Red Sox shortstop that is even comparable is Johnny Pesky. 
The disgrace is Manny Ramirez. His name has become synonymous with “disgrace” and “bum” ever since his rude departure almost a year ago. I don’t need to go into detail with him. We all know the disrespectful words he has issued towards the Red Sox organization, and the reasons behind his temporary ban. Granted, there is no denying the fact that he is probably the most impressive hitter since Ted Williams, but I would be willing to bet that many Red Sox fans have changed their mind about who they want representing their “All-Time 9″ players. 
The other two fielders were, quite sensibly, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. The only problem I have with this is that they are both left fielders. If we are to represent our “All-Time 9″ properly, than shouldn’t we represent each position? I know that in the All-Star voting that it is just classified as “outfielders”, but I still think that we should represent our best center fielder of all-time: Fred Lynn, and our best right fielder of all-time: Dwight Evans. What do you think? 
Broadcaster’s Perspective
Dan Hoard grew up as a fan of the New York Mets, which was appropriate because he grew up in New York. He is currently the radio broadcaster for the Pawtucket Red Sox, but his professional goal is to broadcast Major League Baseball. He has experience doing that, as he has also worked with the Reds, and he has called games for the Mets,
and Blue Jays. I wasn’t able to write down everything that he said, but I do have a fairly good memory. 
interview.JPG
1. When did you realize that sports broadcasting was something you were interested in pursuing? What/who was your motivation? 

Mr. Hoard said that he knew since the very beginning that he wanted to be a sports broadcaster. His favorite broadcaster wasn’t even who many consider to be baseball’s greatest voice, Vin Scully, he enjoyed listening to a Buffalo, NY sports broadcaster. 
2. How does broadcasting in the minors differ from broadcasting in the majors? 

Hoard responded, “Everything is bigger in the majors”, which may seemed obvious at first, but with that there are a few other things that we may not notice. The fact that there is not a huge spotlight on minor league baseball contributes to what he followed up with, “It’s easier to get to know the players”. I can actually notice this myself in Spring Training because it’s the minor league players who may come over for a chat, not the big name major league players. 
3. You grew up in New York, and you’ve worked with a few different teams. Do you have a preference for any teams? 

He said that growing up in New York, he was a Mets fan: “as obsessed with the Mets as [I] seem to be with the Red Sox”. He thought that he could never change his favorite team. But when he worked for the Reds he started rooting for them, and now that he’s with the Red Sox organization, he half roots for the Reds, half for the Red Sox and doesn’t even keep up with the Mets anymore. It is hard for me to imagine changing my favorite team considering my current level of admiration for them. 
4. Which players do you think are going to be a significant part of the Red Sox in the future, and in what ways? 

Hoard said that he can see Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden contributing to the starting pitching staff, and he said that guys like Jeff Bailey or Chris Carter could also have a significant impact. 
5. You are also a football broadcaster (and basketball) which do you prefer broadcasting, and why? 

He responded with baseball, and I loved his reasoning behind it. He talked about how in basketball and football, broadcasters follow the ball for their commentary. In baseball, it’s an entirely different scene. Once a play resulting in an out is made, it could be several minutes before the next one is made. So what do you do during that time, during the many times in which there is a pause in action? You fill it up with the history of the game, statistics, etc. 
6. As a fan of the Reds, what do you think about Pete Rose and his inability to get into the Hall of Fame, and what are your opinions on the players of the steroids era getting into the Hall of Fame? 

I really liked what Mr. Hoard had to say about this issue, and it was great hearing this opinion from a broadcaster. He basically supports the asterisk method for both situations. While I am really adamant about players who have used steroids not being allowed into the Hall, their numbers are worthy of getting in to the Hall of Fame. Every era has it’s mark, and every era needs to be remembered. 
7. What advice could you give to an aspiring sportswriter/broadcaster? 

“Do everything you can to get in” was his main response. Whether it be sweeping the floors at the local radio station, or working for free somewhere else, it gets your name out. He told me to join my school newspaper and write about the school baseball team (they all hate the Red Sox, by the way). 
Mr. Hoard was also kind enough to give us seats– right behind home plate! I even talked to some scouts before the game. Not only was I able to have a different perspective for myself on the game, I was able to hear someone else’s perspective on the game. 
Project’s Perspective
interview with Bowden.JPG
For those of you who don’t know him, Michael Bowden is the highest ranked pitching prospect in the Red Sox organization, and a project of mine. Most of you who read this blog know about my projects and how special they are to me. So you must be able to imagine what it was like to spend an entire baseball game talking to one of my projects. The night after you pitch in Pawtucket, you have to do the radar gun and score the game the next day.
Bowden, or “Bowdie-Miller” as Jacoby Ellsbury calls him is a Chicago native who always knew that he wanted to be a baseball player. In fact, he wrote about it when he was in third grade. His family was always supportive of him, and he had a pretty cool draft party. He threw a perfect game in high school, and struck out 19 of 21 in the process. I didn’t do a formal interview with him, so it was more of a mutually engaging conversation. 
I learned so much about pitching from him, it made me see a lot of things differently. For example, I never realized how important that guy on first base can be to a pitcher. It’s almost “half the game” for Bowden. If that guy gets to second, it eliminates the opportunity of the double play, and it puts the runner into scoring position. I never would have imagined that could be so important. 
He also told me that Angel Chavez has the “best glove that [he has] ever seen”. That’s a pretty strong statement, especially coming from a guy that has been around baseball his whole life. He said that he feels really comfortable when he has Chavez at third and Gil Velazquez at shortstop. A strong defense always helps a pitcher relax. 
I had always wanted to know if the catcher makes a difference, and according to Michael, it does. It’s a matter of comfort for them. He loves throwing to Jason Varitek because not only is he a great def
ender, he is so knowledgeable and intelligent. All of us in Red Sox Nation should breathe a sigh of relief that Jason Varitek was re-signed not only because of his abilities, but because of what could have been lost. Had he not signed, Theo Epstein would have been in the market for a catcher. Who would we have traded? Probably our biggest prospects: Bowden and Buchholz. That could have been a big mistake. 
As I was telling him about my dreams to become a sportswriter/broadcaster, I also happened to mention that I can’t tell the difference between a breaking ball, a changeup, and a slider for the life of me. He suggested that I learn the difference if I want to go into broadcasting. 
I asked him if I tried to emulate the style of any pitchers, and he said ‘no’ right away. He has his own style, and quite the arsenal of pitches as well. He said that sometimes younger pitchers try to copy a style, but that goes away quickly. He doesn’t have a Papelbon stare either, and he doesn’t even have a song to enter to yet. 
He doesn’t know this yet, but I am resolved to find a song for him. He told me that he wants to learn how to play the piano, so if he ever does, I think his song should be Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’. 
Bowden also told me that his record, as well as his teammates, is not always indicative of how he is actually pitching. Offensively, the PawSox have struggled a lot this season, so Bowden has been getting a slim amount of run support. Some of his losses should have been wins (he can tell you the exact game too) and he’s had a few no decisions too. 
I could tell just by talking to Bowden how much he loves the game and how much he loves playing in the Red Sox organization. When I asked him if it was his dream to pitch in October baseball, he looked at me like I was crazy. He loves playing with a team that will give him this opportunity. He cannot wait to come back to Fenway, and I hope that it is sooner rather than later, and I hope that he plays in the “Futures at Fenway” game. 
At the end of the night, we both wished each other luck. I’d like to think that we both have a future in the Red Sox organization. I know for a fact he does. 

Beginning of the Season Blues

As fans, I think that we tend to expect the best from our teams, especially at the beginning of the season–it’s only natural. There have been so many predictions that I think they eventually go to our heads, and we get ahead of ourselves because we focus on the end result rather than each and every game. 

This doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with starting out at 2-5 at all, the Red Sox worst start to the season since 1996. In fact, I barely shut up about it today. I guess that’s just a mix of me being tired from staying up late to watch all the West Coast games, and trying to figure out why we can’t score runs. 
Speaking of West Coast games, it seems like the Red Sox are getting a nice early dosage of those. That doesn’t really help me get my sleeping pattern back in order after Spring Break, but the games are obviously more important to me. 
The Almost-Brawl 
brawl.jpg
It did not take long for this game to get exciting. In fact, it started in the bottom of the first. Chone Figgins has just hit a double (I think) and Bobby Abreu was at-bat. I really dislike Bobby Abreu, but not for the reason you think. In 2004, I wanted Juan Pierre to go to the All-Star game, and it was between him and Abreu (who was on the Phillies at this time). I spent an hour voting for Pierre over and over again, but Abreu was the one who went. I never forgave him, and going to the Yankees didn’t really help his case. 
Anyway, Beckett was taking forever to make the pitch because he kept looking back at Figgins. I was expecting Abreu to call time any second now, and I bet Beckett was waiting for Abreu to call time too– maybe even provoking him with the long wait. 
But Abreu decided to wait until the last possible second to make the call, and by last possible second I mean that Beckett was already in his windup. I hate it when batters do that. Beckett ended up throwing in the vicinity of Bobby Abreu’s head, even though Varitek called for the pitch low and away. 
First of all, I think that Abreu has been in the league long enough to know that Beckett isn’t the calmest guy in the world. He’s got a temper. It’s just not wise to call time on a guy like Beckett. 
Second, anything can happen when you call time in the middle of someone’s windup. It’s not like he can stop in the middle of his windup, I cannot have this man injured for the sake of my own personal health. When a pitcher’s concentration is broken, the ball can go anywhere. 
Abreu started mouthing off at Beckett first, and you don’t want to get Beckett angry by any means. Luckily, no punches were thrown but both sides were out on the field. A few Angels got tossed including Torii Hunter, Spier, and Sciosia. And according to Torii Hunter, what upset him wasn’t something said by the Red Sox. 
Beckett was not as dominating as his first start, but I wasn’t too disappointed with the outing itself. The Sox continued to frustrate me when they could not do anything about the runners that they had on base. I wasn’t able to see the last couple of innings though, I had to go out to dinner. But luckily, my dad found Gameday on his phone, so I was able to read that JD Drew struck out looking to end the ninth. Apparently, it was outside… but I did not watch so I can’t go on a rant. 
Late West Coast Games
coffee.jpg
Baseball games aren’t really convenient when they start at 10:05 pm. I’ve figured out my whole ‘how-to-stay-awake’ routine. Two cups of coffee and keeping the light on normally works. Plus, tweeting away my woes helps out too. 
I think I’ve figured out that Jon Lester really isn’t an April guy. I remember not being very impressed with him at the beginning of last year, but then in May… well, you know the rest. It’s not like Jon Lester isn’t talented… it’s just one bad inning that kind of takes away from the rest of the night. 
Nomahh.jpg
The worst was Nomar’s home run. The best way to describe my feelings towards Nomar is “emotional attachment”. It’s hard to let it all go, especially after everything he did with the Red Sox. His first career home run in September of 1996 happened to be against the Oakland A’s. And now, his first time playing against the Red Sox he hits a home run as a member of the A’s. 
And as Ian Browne pointed out in his blog, it was a bit eerie seeing him and Orlando Cabrera playing on the same side of the field. For those of you who don’t know the story, Orlando Cabrera was the shortstop that replaced took over for Nomar. And the Red Sox have never had a solid shortstop since. 

The Morning After
I probably came to school today with the most desolate look that I have had since the Red Sox lost the ALCS. Kathleen, the only Red Sox fan friend I have at my school, and I raved and raved about being 2-5. We wrote a haiku, and created our own lineups during classes. 
First period math today, I was forced to talk about the poor start to the season. I reported the scores to my teacher, and told him about Nick Swisher pitching (which I find hilarious, by the way). 
“How did the Red Sox do?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
Another person in the class offers to look it up on his phone, but it’s not like I need him reciting the grim box score out loud. 
My teacher claims he is going to look it up anyway: “Fine. It was 8-2″ I conceded
“Oh, I see why you didn’t want to talk about it. Nomar hit the home–” 
I sighed… Nomar, Nomar, Nomar. I am sorry. 
Suspensions
I found out after school today that Beckett got suspended for six games, for throwing at Abreu’s head. I don’t remember Joba Chamberlain getting suspended for six games after throwing at Kevin Youkilis’ head. In fact, I don’t even remember Youkilis charging the mound. And I don’t remember Terry Francona being difficult and refusing to go back to the dugout the way that Mike Sciosia did. 
Two cups of coffee again for me tonight, but hopefully I’ll be able to report happier news to my first period class tomorrow. 

#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. 

Nomar Garciaparra 2.jpg
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. 
Nomar Garciaparra 4.jpg
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. 
Nomar Garciaparra 5.jpg
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. 
Josh Beckett.jpg
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. 
Tim Wakefield.jpg
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
Mike Lowell 2.jpg
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

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! 

Orlando Cabrera.jpg
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! 
Sean Casey 2.jpg
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. 
Joe Crede.jpg
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.
Adam Dunn.jpg
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.
Nomar Garciaparra.jpg
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!!!). 
Ken Griffey Jr. .jpg
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. 
 

Pedro Martinez.jpg

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. 
Kevin Millar 3.jpg
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. 
Andy Petite 2.jpg
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…
Manny Ramirez 5.jpg
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. 
Ivan Rodriguez 2.jpg
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. 
Curt Schilling 3.jpg
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*
Ben Sheets.jpg
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. 
Jason Varitek 5.jpg
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. 

Best Red Sox Players in History-Your Opinion?

So for the other site that I write for on a weekly basis, MLB Center, as the Red Sox Correspondent, I finally finished the “rough draft” of the article: The Top 10 Red Sox Players of All Time. Not only is it the Top 10 of all Time, but there are some honorable mentions, and some “future stars” as well. I’m sure a lot of you already know some stories about most of these players, but if you have any personal stories (or opinions) that you’d like to share, I think that’d really add to the story. You will of course be quoted in the final story. 

Top 10
Boston Red Sox Players

Elizabeth Dreeson-Red Sox Corespondent

10. Joe Cronin

            Cronin
played for the Red Sox from 1935-1945 with a career .301 batting average, and
2,285 career hits, and the Red Sox retired his number 6. He was an All-Star
seven times, he batted .300 or higher and drove in 100 or more runs eight
times. He was also a manager and general manager for the Red Sox in the ’40′s.
In a memorable fight in 1938, he intercepted Jake Powell when he tried to
charge the mound after being hit in the stomach by Red Sox pitcher Archie
McKain.

9. Tris Speaker

            Tris
Speaker played for the Red Sox from 1907-1914 with a career average of .345.
Speaker got the starting center fielder job in 1909 and was part of the
“Million Dollar Outfield” in 1910 along with Duffy Lewis (LF) and Harry Hooper
(RF). Speaker’s best season was 1912, when Fenway Park opened and when the Sox
won the World Series for the second time. He had 222 hits that season and
scored 136 runs. He set a major league record when he had three batting streaks
of twenty or more games (30, 23, and 22).

 

8. Johnny Pesky

            In
Fenway Park, the foul ball pole in right field is called “Pesky’s Pole”.
According to Pesky, pitcher Mel Parnell coined the nickname because of Pesky’s
legendary, controversial home run in 1948 over the fence near the pole; in
fact, it may have even hit the pole. That home run was one of only six home
runs Pesky ever hit at Fenway Park. He was the first American League player to
score six runs in a nine-inning game. He led the American League in base hits
three times. His career average was .307 and he has been a valuable member of
the Red Sox organization serving as a first base coach in the 70′s (including
the amazing 1975 World Series) and a batting coach to Jim Rice

 

 

 

7. Jimmie
Foxx

            Jimmie
Foxx played for the Red Sox from 1936-1942 with an astounding .325 career
batting average, 534 home runs, and 2,646 hits. He was nicknamed Double X and
The Beast, and he is the second youngest player of all time to reach 500 home
runs at only age 32, and he was the second player to reach that mark. He had a
spectacular 1938 season with the Sox hitting 50 home runs, driving in 175 runs,
batting .349, and winning his third MVP award. He served as the Red Sox team
captain as well.

6. Wade Boggs

            Boggs
played with the Red Sox from 1982-1992 with a career .328 batting average, and
3,010 hits. He played third base, and appeared in 12 consecutive All-Star
games. His best season was 1987 with a .363 batting average and 89 RBIs. He won
five batting titles throughout his career and batted .349 as a rookie. From
1982-1988 he hit below .349 only once, in 1984 when he batted .325. From
1983-1989 Boggs had 200 hits consecutively each year. He also had six seasons
200 or more hits, 100 or more home runs, and 40 or more doubles.

5.  Bobby Doerr

            Bobby
Doerr spent his entire career with Boston; from 1937-1941. He batted .288 with
2,042 career hits. The Red Sox retired his number 1. He led American League
second basemen in double plays five times, he led in put outs and fielding
percentage four times each, and in assists three times. He has an amazing
career fielding percentage of .980. He set Red Sox records for career games
(1,865), at bats (7,093), hits (2,042), doubles (381), total bases (3,270), and
runs batted in. However, these were all later broken by arguably the best
hitter of all time, Ted Williams. Doerr hit for the cycle twice in his career,
and he set a second base record in 1948 by handling 414 chances over 73 games
without an error.

4. Cy Young

            Cy
Young pitched with the Red Sox from 1901-1908 and is revered as one of the best
pitchers, if not the best pitcher, in the history of the game. He holds the all
time records for wins with 511, 7,355 innings pitched, 2,803 strikeouts, and
749 complete games. His career ERA is 2.38, and his lowest ERA of his career
was 1.26. He has 76 career shutouts, which is fourth all time, and he won at
least 30 games in a season five times, with ten other seasons with 20 or more
wins. He pitched three no hitters, and the first perfect game of baseball’s
“modern era”. He earned the AL Triple Crown for pitchers in his first year in
the American League. Baseball honored Cy Young by naming the award given
annually to the best pitcher of each league.

3. Carlton Fisk

            Carlton
Fisk played for the Red Sox from 1969-1980 as a catcher. He had a career
batting average of .269, and recorded 2,356 hits over his career. In 1972, his
first full year with the Red Sox, he won the AL Gold Glove at catcher, and the
AL Rookie of the Year award. He caught 2,226 career games, more than any other
catcher in history, and was an 11 time All-Star. The most memorable moment of
his career came in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series in the 12th
inning against the Cincinnati Reds. He hit a home run that appeared to be going
foul down the left field line so he started jumping and waving his hands,
willing the ball to be fair. The ball struck the foul ball pole, and the walk
off home run carried the Sox to Game 7. Another memorable Fisk moment was his
fight with Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees. On August 1, 1973 at Fenway
Park, the game was tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth. Thurman attempted to score
by barreling into Fisk, which triggered a ten-minute, bench clearing brawl, and
heightening the tension between the classic rivalry. The left field pole is
called the Fisk Foul Pole, in honor of the 1975 game. Ken Burns, who created a
beautiful series on the decades of baseball, considers that game to have
re-triggered interest in baseball.

2. Carl Yastrzemski

            “Yaz”
played for the Red Sox his entire career, 1961-1983, and was part of the
“Impossible Dream Team” of 1967. He played outfield primarily, and was known
for his ability to track down flies, but he also played first base and
designated hitter. He batted .285, with 3,419 hits,  and 1,844 RBI’s. He also served as a Red Sox captain, and is
the last player in baseball to win the Triple Crown (1967). He was an 18 time
All-Star, a seven time Gold Glover, and was the first American League member of
the 3,000 hit club to hit 400 home runs. He shares the record with Brooks
Robinson of the Orioles for longest career with one team, 23 seasons.

1.                
Ted Williams

Ted
Williams also known as the “Splendid Splinter” or “Teddy Ballgame” is arguably
the greatest hitter of all time. He also played his entire career in Boston,
from 1939-1960 in which he batted .344, batted in 1,839, collected 2,654 hits,
and hit 524 home runs. He played left field for the Red Sox, won the AL MVP
twice, lead the league in batting six times, and won the Triple Crown twice
(1942 and 1947). He is the last player in Major League Baseball to bat over
.400 in one season (.406 in 1941). In fact, his career year was 1941 where he
batted .406, hit 37 home runs, batted in 120 runs and scored 135 runs. He holds
the highest career batting average of anyone with more than 500 home runs. In
the 1946 All-Star game he went 4-4 with two home runs and five RBI’s. In his
last at-bat on September 23, 1960, he hit a home run. The Red Sox retired his
number 9. One of Teddy’s final and most memorable public appearances was at the
1999 All-Star game, when he was brought out to the mound in a golf cart.
“Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out
of ten and be considered a good performer”.

 

Honorable
Mentions:

·     
Babe Ruth: Every
baseball fan knows the story about Babe Ruth. How in 1918 he was traded to the
New York Yankees for cash to fund the corrupt Red Sox owner’s Broadway show,
and after that year the Sox entered into an 86 year drought in which they came
agonizingly close to a World Series win several time, but never won it. This
became known as the Curse of the Bambino. Babe Ruth was both a pitcher and a
first baseman. He batted a career .342, held the record of 714 home runs for some
time (before it was broken by Hank Aaron) and had 2,873 career hits. As a
pitcher, he had a career 2.28 ERA, with 107 complete games out of only 163
games pitched. Even though he spent the majority of his career with the
Yankees, he is regarded as the greatest player of all time.

·     
Jim Rice:
Jim Rice played for the Red Sox for his entire career, from 1974-1989, with a
career .298 batting average, 2,452 career hits, and 382 home runs. He was a
captain for the Red Sox,
he topped 20 homers 11 times, 100 RBIs eight times,
was an All-Star eight times, hit .300 in seven seasons and he finished in the
top five in the AL MVP voting six times. Also, Rice hit 39-plus homers four
times. During this time most of his stats were leading in the AL. He’s been on
the top ten list in various categories numerous times. This past year he came
sixteen votes away from eternal enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, and he’s on
the ballot for his fifteenth and final at-bat this year.

·     
Tony Conigliaro: Nicknamed Tony C. he played from 1964-1975 with a career batting average
of .264. In his 1964 Rookie season batted .290 with 24 home runs, and in his
1965 he led the league in home runs with 32. On August 18, 1967, in a game
against the California Angels, he was hit by a pitch on his left cheekbone, and
knocked unconscious. He missed the rest of that season; however, in the next
season, he was named Comeback Player of the Year. He was forced to retire
earlier than expected because his eyesight had been permanently damanged.

·     
Jim Lonborg: Jim Lonborg pitched with the Red Sox from 1965-1971. He had a career ERA
of 3.86 with 368 complete games of 425. In 1967, as a part of the Impossible
Dream Team, he led American League pitchers in wins, games started, and
strikeouts. 

·     
Freddy Lynn: Fred Lynn played for the Red Sox from 1974-1979 as a centerfielder. He
batted .283 with 1,960 hits and 306 home runs. He had an amazing 1975 season in
which he won the Rookie of the Year award as well as the AL MVP award. He was
the first player ever to win both in one season. Lynn and Rice were dubbed as
the “Gold Dust Twins”. In 1975 Lynn also led the league in doubles, runs
scored, and slugging percentage, and finished second in batting average at
.331. On top of that he won a Gold Glove Award. When he was with the Red Sox,
he was elected to the All-Star team every year.

·     
Mike Greenwell: Mike Greenwell played his entire career with the Red Sox, from
1985-1996. He batted .303 with 1,400 hits, and played left field. He was
nicknamed “The Gator” because he wrestled with alligators during the offseason.
In 1988, Greenwell hit .325 with 22 HR, and 119 RBIs, and finished second in
MVP voting.

·     
Dwight Evans: Dwight Evans spent his entire career with the Red Sox, from 1972-1991.
He played right field with a batting average of .272. However, Evans was mostly
known for his amazing fielding. He won eight gold gloves and his throwing arm
was among the best in baseball of his time. From 1980-1989, Evans hit more home
runs (256) than any other player in the American League.

·     
Mo Vaughn: Mo
Vaughn also played his entire career with Boston, from 1991-2003. He batted
.293 with 328 home runs and 1,620 hits. He was nicknamed the “Hit Dog” and
played first base for the Red Sox, selected as an All-Star three times, and won
the AL MVP in 1995. In 1995 he established himself the reputation of one of the
most feared hitters in the AL when he hit 39 home runs with 126 RBIs and a .300
batting average. However, his best season with the Red Sox was 1996 when he
batted .326 with 44 home runs and 143 RBIs. From 1996-1998 Vaughn batted .315
or higher, and averaged 40 home runs and 118 RBIs.

Recent Honorable Mentions

·     
Pedro Martinez: In 1999 Pedro finished with a 23-4 record with a 2.07 ERA and 313
strikeouts, which earned him the Pitchers Triple Crown, and the Cy Young Award.
Between August 1999 and April 2000, Martinez had ten consecutive starts with
ten strikeouts. In the 1999 All-Star Game, he became the first pitcher to
strike out the side at an All-Star game. In 2000, he posted a 1.74 ERA, and won
his third Cy Young Award. He finished his career with the Red Sox with a 117-37
record,the highest winning percentage a pitcher has ever had with one team.

·     
Nomar Garciaparra: In 1997 “No-mah” was named Rookie of the Year when he hit 30 home runs
and rove in 98 (which set a new record for RBIs by a leadoff hitter). In 1999
Nomar batted .357, and in 2000 he batted .372. He is one of the few
right-handed batters to win consecutive batting titles. Everyone knows the
tragic ending to this story. We’re sorry Nomar.

·     
Curt Schilling: Schilling was an integral part of the Red Sox 2004 World Series victory.
The most memorable game being Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS where Curt pitched
through seven laborious innings, and blood was visibly seeping into his sock.
He has 3,116 career strikeouts and a career 3.46 ERA.

·     
Jason Varitek: Jason Varitek has played with the Red Sox since 1997, and has been their
starting catcher since 1999. Most importantly he’s been their captain since
2005. He’s one of the best defensive catchers in the game, and he has always
been an important part of the team, and in helping pitchers.

·     
Manny Ramirez: Manny Ramirez had an amazing career with the Red Sox. He’s always had
the reputation of just “being Manny”. His career batting average is .314 and he
hit number 500 at the end of May 2008. He was an important part of both 2004
and 2007 Red Sox victories (he was the MVP in 2004).

·     
David Ortiz: David Ortiz has been Boston’s “Big Papi” since he’s been with them. He
has a career batting average of .287. He also played a major role in leading
the Red Sox to their first World Series in 86 years. From 2003-2005, 20 of his
home runs were clutch–either tying or giving Boston the lead. He hit .400 in
the 2004 playoffs, and hit a memorable walk-off home run in Game 4 of the
ALCS–the definition of clutch. In 2006 he set a new Red Sox record by belting
54 home runs, three of which were walk off.

·     
Dustin Pedroia: This small second baseman of the Boston Red Sox is in the process of
making a huge name for him. He has won the Rookie of the Year Award, a Gold
Glove, a Silver Slugger Award, the AL MVP, and has had a six year contract
extension all within two years.

-Elizabeth

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.