Results tagged ‘ Papelbon ’

“Baseball Bubble”

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Today, I realized something– I can tell you more about baseball than I can about global issues– way more. I honestly did not know the name of the North Korean dictator until this afternoon. Is this bad? I remember Jane mentioning a story similar to this in her book. She was reading the newspaper and some kind of headline like ‘The Tribe is Suffering’ came up, and she thought it was about the Cleveland Indians. I’m not going to lie to you, upon reading it, I thought she was referencing the Cleveland Indians as well. I live in my own little baseball bubble as well. 

For example, in math today, when my teacher asked me the scores of the World Baseball Classic from Sunday, I was perfectly able to recite that. When he asked me to find the external arc of a circle, I was clueless. 

During my Life Skills class, we began learning about drugs; so we were each assigned a drug to research and present to the class. I kindly forced asked the student next to me to switch topics with me so I could write about steroids. Don’t get me wrong, I will talk about steroids in my project, but I think I’m going to go on a long tangent about steroids in baseball, and then go on to talk about Pete Rose and how it’s ridiculous that he is not in the Hall of Fame. 
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I had heard about the rumored Jon Lester deal yesterday, but it wasn’t until I was watching Team USA beat up on Team Venezuela that I heard that the deal was finalized. It was a five year deal worth $30 million, with a $14 million option for 2014! This is what the Red Sox have been doing all offseason: locking up their proven young players! We all know that Jon Lester had a breakout year last year. I don’t need to re-emphasize his no-hitter and that great comeback story of his. The bottom line is: he is a good pitcher. He has great command of his fastball, and is even working on a changeup! At this pace, he is on the track to becoming one of the most feared left handed pitchers of the game. 
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A-Rod is officially having surgery, though, not the same surgery that Mike Lowell had on his torn labrum. I think this is “arthroscopic surgery” and they few medical terms that I know are the ones that I have heard of on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. This is not one of them. However, from what I have gathered, this surgery will allow A-Rod to return in 6-9 weeks rather than 12-16 weeks. This was the right decision.
Like I’ve said before, it was painful for me to watch Mike Lowell play last season, and it was painful for him. If it’s already painful for Alex, it was only going to get worse. This surgery will minimize the damage, and he will have the rest of the surgery after the season. Plus, this gives A-Rod some down time. With this steroid scandal, and his inability to keep a straight story, and all Torre’s blows to him– he needs some time off. 
So what are the Yankees to do in the meantime without their cleanup batter? Alright so they have Cody Ransom to fill the void at third base, but that does not fill the offensive void. The Yankees are going to have to totally re-work their lineup. Sure Mark Teixeira has a bat, but other than him, the offense is a tad on the mediocre side. Luckily they have some serious pitching to balance that. 
World Baseball Classic 
The USA is redeeming itself after the 2006 tournament as it did not falter after its first win. They beat Team Venezuela 15-6 thanks to some key hits off of the shaky Venezuelan bullpen, and some strong relief pitching. 
Roy Oswalt had a decent outing, but definitely not the best. The problem is, these games actually matter (in a sense). This is still Spring Training to some of these guys. The guys on international teams have been playing Winter Ball. These guys? This is just the start of stuff for them. 
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The US broke it open in the sixth inning by scoring eight runs. Mark DeRosa hit a triple and batted in a total of four runs. Chris Iannetta had a great bases clearing double and also had four RBIs. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with Ianetta. Kevin Youkilis and Adam Dunn hit their second home runs of the classic, and Ryan Braun hit his first. Dustin Pedroia had a great play at second base if you guys didn’t get to see it. It was one of those plays that NO ONE should make. 
The bullpen was backed by some great run support so Ziegler’s two earned runs and Bell’s one were not that significant. Matt Lindstrom of the Florida Marlins picked up the win. 
Red Sox Spring Training
On Sunday I had to go to school for an American History catch up day– didn’t mind too much because I love that class. Anyway, the class started at one, and there was a Red Sox vs Rays game at one. Luckily, my friend lent me his iPhone so I was periodically refreshing the play-by-play throughout the whole class. 
Julio Lugo had a great day as he went 3-3 with two RBIs and two doubles. My project, Nick Green, hit a home run, as did Zach Daeges (despite his weird batting stance) and Jonathan Van Every. 
Justin Masterson pitched three beautiful innings of one hit ball and was followed by Jonathan Papelbon, who threw a scoreless inning but allowed two runs. Did I mention that he is working on a slider? Yet another pitch to vanquish victims. Daniel Bard (potential project) struck out the side, and Junichi Tazawa and Michael Bowden each allowed one run. 
I have now set a goal for Michael Bowden: one outing without any earned runs! 
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The Red Sox played an exciting game today against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which the Red Sox won on an RBI double by Josh Reddick in the bottom of the tenth. I watched the first two innings during my Life Skills class while “researching” steroids. I wasn’t just going to pass up that opportunity.
One of my projects, Jeff Bailey, went 3-4 with a double and an RBI. Project Nick Green hit another home run as did Dusty Brown. I remember Dusty Brown from last year’s Spring Training and from a Pawtucket game. I like him, but I need to see a bit more of him to decide his project potential. 
Josh Bard continued to
make his presence known by hitting another home run today and collecting three RBIs. I’m thinking that this whole competition thing is making Lowrie a little nervous. I just want him to be himself, because I know he can do well either starting on off the bench. 

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

Someone give Jason a Sign!!

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Tomorrow is Friday, which means that we will finally know whether Jason Varitek will be returning. My endless crusade for his return for the past three months will finally come to an end. You have heard from me countless times about his intangible impact on the pitching staff and what not, but this weekend be prepared to hear something new. I hope that tomorrow evening [presumably], I will be posting a celebratory entry, with tears of joy rolling down my cheeks, and Jason Varitek brownies will be cooking in the oven. 

I will be waiting for that fateful text message from my father all day, and I don’t think my peers will be surprised if I let out a scream during class when I find out the news. My phone will probably be taken away and I will be issued a detention, but it is well worth it to know the news immediately and be relieved for the next year (or two). 
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When this situation is finally figured out, I think the future of Clay Buchholz will be more clear as well. Julia commented yesterday that she thinks that Clay will be traded to the Texas Rangers for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Like I said before, I would be a bit concerned if this happened because Smoltz and Penny are only one year deals, but seeing that we have a whole year with them, Michael Bowden could be developed in the minor leagues. 
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If you haven’t already heard, Mike Lowell will not be playing in the World Baseball Classic. The fact of the matter is that he is coming off an offseason full of rehab and we don’t want to inhibit his potential to start on Opening Day. I want him to play during Spring Training and I want him to be perfectly healthy for the 2009 season. I’m pretty sure he was injured throughout the 2005 season when he was with the Marlins and he really bounced back from that. He’s only 34, there’s no reason that he can’t bounce back again. Chase Utley had a hip problem and he’s ready to go as he said in an interview on the Hot Stove Report. Maybe Mike Lowell should be up there as well. 
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I’m I am (learning from the J-Blog school) wondering if the Red Sox still have the chance to lock up some key players to some long term deals. I would like to get one done with Jason Bay. As far as I know, the free agent market for left fielders isn’t going to be too great next year and I’ve really come to like Jason Bay. As of right now, I don’t think that Papelbon will get locked up long term because even he hinted that “they don’t see eye to eye on that”. I would not mind waiting until next year to lock Papelbon up. 
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I also think that depending on how Jacoby Ellsbury does in 2009 that the Red Sox should look long term to him as well. By trading Coco Crisp to the Royals as one of the first moves of the offseason, it was implied that Ellsbury is the future center fielder of the Red Sox. 
Once again, I had a conversation with the dedicated Cubs fan and asked him about Jake Peavy. 
William [Cubs fan]: I would love to acquire Jake Peavy if the Cubs don’t have to give up too much talent. 
(I don’t even need to interview Kaybee for this one). 
Me: You said yesterday that you liked Ricketts over Steinbrenner. I thought you liked the Yankees. 
William: Well, I have a lot of respect for the Yankees, but the Cubs are truly my favorite team. 
William also plans on reading Torre’s book. I’m going to tell him to pick up Jane’s while he added. 
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I was scrolling through the impressive World Baseball Classic roster and not only did I notice the Red Sox names, but I noticed the abundance of star players on the Dominican Republic’s team. Looks like they’re going to be unstoppable. Seeing that a few games are being played in Miami at the Marlins’ stadium (sadly called Dolphin Stadium), I will be trying to attend. 
I outlined the games that I am planning on attending in Florida for the upcoming season because I don’t know when I will be making my pilgrimage to Fenway. Spring Training games are obviously up there as well as a few Rays vs Red Sox series and a couple of Marlins games. I am wondering if any of you will be making the trip down to Florida for Spring Training. Let me know, I look forward to seeing you there.
-Elizabeth

A Review of the Red Sox Offseason

Now that there are less than three weeks until pitchers and catchers report, it seems like an evaluation of our teams’ offseason actions would be in tact. The interesting thing about the Red Sox’s offseason, is that it took a while to get started. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. 

It’s not like we had a disappointing 2008 season, not advancing to the World Series “isn’t the end of the world” as Manny Ramirez would say. On the other hand, the Yankees had a bit more of a disappointing 2008 season– let’s just say it wasn’t up to their expectations. So they went out and blew spent $20 million more than they should’ve on CC Sabathia. They made a risky investment on AJ Burnett, and they signed Mark Teixeira (this is probably their wisest investment) to an eight year deal. 
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With all of these investments, the Yankees have spent roughly $422.5 million dollars. As far as I know, none of these contracts involved “incentives”. Personally, I think incentives are the best type of contracts because you set specific goals for the players to achieve, and if they don’t achieve this goal, then you don’t have to pay them. 
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When the Red Sox signed Pedroia and Youkilis, I really didn’t see much of a need to put incentives in those contracts. First of all, they both finished within the top three for MVP voting, and the last time that happened was 1986. A wise investment? I think so. Plus, both players are products of the Red Sox farm system, and both have mentioned that they love playing in Boston. The Red Sox signed Pedroia for six years, $40 million dollars, and the Yankees signed Sabathia for the same amount of years, but $100 more million dollars than that. Pedroia won the MVP and Sabathia wasn’t even in the top three in the National League.
We all know that Mark Teixeira is good, but I feel like with Kevin Youkilis, I’m not even “settling”. Since I’ve established the legality of comparing Youkilis and Teixeira in one of my recent posts, it is needless to say that we are getting Youkilis for one hell of a bargain. 
I know our starting rotation isn’t the best in the majors, but it’s definitely up there. A lot depends on the durability of Dice-K, if Beckett can bounce back, if Lester can stay consistent, the dancing ability of Wakefield’s knuckleball, and new veterans like Smoltz and Penny.
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At first, I was all for signing Derek Lowe (after AJ went to the Yankees), but what I wasn’t thinking about was the future (ironic right?). If we had gotten Derek Lowe, that would have seriously displaced the abundance of our young pitching talent. Lowe would’ve been an overpriced (14-11 with an ERA over 3.00 is not worth $14 mil or whatever he was demanding) three year investment, where as people like Smoltz and Penny are low risks with potentially high rewards. Plus, they have incentive contracts, my favorite!! 
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This gives our young pitchers even more time to develop and fine tune everything in the minors, and since both Penny and Smoltz’s contracts are one year deals, it will give our young stars the opportunity to start full time next year. 
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Then there’s the bullpen. In 2008 our bullpen had one of the highest ERAs in the majors, we went out and signed Ramon Ramirez and Takashi Saito. Their statistics speak for themselves, but I have a feeling that the addition of the both of them, plus having Justin Masterson full time, will really solidify our bullpen. Plus, we signed Papelbon to a well deserved deal. 
There is still a possibility for that deal to go long term, but I don’t think it necessarily needs to (and neither does Papelbon). The Red Sox could potentially wait until after the 2009 season to sign him to a long term contract, but there is no one else in the Majors I would rather have right now. 
Not to mention the signings of Josh Bard and Rocco Baldelli. It’s nice that Bard is getting a second chance, but the front office is essentially getting a second chance as well seeing that Theo classified the trade as a “short sighted mistake”. Having a player like Baldelli coming off the bench? Need I say more than that? 
Once you look at all of these signings up close, it seems like it all kind of crept up on you. Just the other day, my math teacher asked me: “Since when did the Red Sox bullpen become so good?”. 
It has been reported that the Red Sox have included a deadline with Varitek’s latest offer. Deadline or no deadline, it doesn’t make a difference. Varitek needs to take this deal if he wants to have a job in 2009. That’s how scary the market is, if he doesn’t take this offer, he might not have a place to play. Yeah, it will be a pretty big pay cut, but a lot of players have taken some major league pay cuts. Jason Varitek, it’s up to you. 
-Elizabeth

Even the players want Varitek back!

It appalls me that some Red Sox fans don’t want Jason Varitek back. Perhaps they are those lowly bandwagon fans who only look at the statistics and don’t realize that there are certain players whose impact goes much beyond the box score. 

It goes beyond hardcore fans who want Jason Varitek back on the Red Sox. Even fans of opposing teams know that Jason Varitek belongs on the Red Sox. I have said before how much of an impact Jason Varitek is on the pitchers, and I’m not just making that up. 
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Upon signing with the Red Sox, Jonathan Papelbon said, “There are certain players in Major League Baseball that you take a gamble on, whether it’s age or whether it’s money… Varitek is, no question about it, in that category… Whether it’s a money issue, or whether it’s an age issue, there’s not question in my mind, you make a gamble with a person like that. It’s that simple to me.”
Papelbon has spent his entire career with the Red Sox, so he has only known one catcher, Jason Varitek. 
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If that’s not enough for you, Curt Schilling, who joined Boston in 2004, had some stuff to say. Curt has been around a little bit longer than Papelbon, so he’s definitely speaking some words of wisdom. Schilling speculated that the Sox have invested roughly $45 million dollars in its pitching staff for next year and “if your catcher doesn’t work with your pitching staff, it’s not one player that has a down year, an off season,  it’s potentially the entire staff”. He then said that he’s “very comfortable in saying that there is very little chance that every guy on that staff won’t be better if he’s back next year. He’s the kind of guy that makes you as good as you can be in each start”. 
The most significant quote though was, “Jason knows us as good, if not better, than we know ourselves” 
I don’t remember the exact quote, but I do remember Kevin Youkilis saying that it would be a huge blow not to see Varitek back at Spring Training. 
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It seems like Theo and the front office have finally listened to the pleas of fans, and the pleas of the players themselves. As we know a contract offer has [finally] been made. That took a while after the whole arbitration mistake. Varitek wants two years, and he could finally be getting his wish. The contract could guarantee two years, or Varitek could attain two years by having a certain number of at-bats. It’s like those incentive contracts that we gave John Smoltz and Brad Penny. Those are the best type of contracts. Instead of just throwing the money at people and potentially getting disappointed (like the Dodgers and Andruw Jones), that money should certainly be attainable, but only by certain means. 
Hopefully Varitek would be willing to accept a lower payroll. His hopes for something around $10 million dollars were diminished upon declining arbitration. I really find it interesting that apparently he didn’t know that by declining arbitration that the receiving teams would have to relinquish two draft picks. Does that sound like the captain of the Red Sox? Are players really that blind to the business side of baseball.
I blame Scott Boras. I have no warrant for that, but I blame him. 
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Another player announced his retirement. This time it was Sean Casey. Great, our new team just lost it’s first baseman (just kidding). 
He only played 12 major league seasons, the majority of which he spent with the Reds. This doesn’t mean he’s done with baseball by any means. He signed on for some kind of job with the MLB Network. Could he be another analyst? I could definitely see him up there. 
Did you realize that with the abundance of unsigned free agents out there that you could form a pretty good team? If you didn’t see the entry, all you have to do is scroll down. If you could name it, what would you name it, and which city would it be in? 
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I found out yesterday that my friend’s Dad used to be a partner in owning the Savannah Sandgnats. Unfortunately, she did not realize the significance in owning an autographed John Smoltz ball (I’m the one with the Jacoby picture in the back),or sitting on his lap for that matter, or owning a signed World Series ball. Regardless, her father has agreed to let me interview him for this blog.
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So, if you could ask a former minor league baseball owner any question(s), what would you ask?

A Cornucopia of Dumb Baseball Questions

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As writers, we have to realize when we make mistakes. That was one of the lessons in Mark’s J-Blog School. In my last post, I posted a MLBlog definition that you guys all helped me with. Even though it was a great definition, I think we were just defining the fan blogs that we read. Julia and Bigpapi72 recommended that I send it to Mark, and I did. It was within his response that I realized our mistake. “MLBlogs are whatever people want them to be… Do not try and define the indefinable”. 

The thing is, we weren’t looking outside our realm of fan blogs. We forgot about Alyssa Milano’s blog, we forgot about the baseball cleat advertisements that keep beating us out on the rankings list (I feel your pain COB), and so many more! Anyway, Jen was partially right in attempting to define MLBlogs as a community. At least there seems to be “one constant” (there are endless ways to use this pun) throughout any type of blog on here: baseball!
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I feel like this week I’ve been bombarded with stupid baseball questions. You guys will be appalled when you read some of the questions I heard this week. To these people’s credit, they do not know anything about baseball, but still… 
I was in my history class talking about the MLB Network and how I have the Red Sox 2007 post season run on DVD and how I’m always watching it when I hear the question:
Haven’t you seen these games already though?
Me: Well, yes but..
.
[We'll use the alias Bob]: So what’s the point in watching them again if you already know what’s going to happen
Me: Well, first off I haven’t memorized the score so I don’t know EXACTLY what’s going to happen. And I can focus on certain players. I can see the look in JD Drew’s eyes when he’s about to slam a 3-1 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the first into dead center field. Something in his eyes that is different from the rest of the season.
Bob: Okay, okay… So on this MLB Network do they show the Bill Buckner play
Me: *shudders*. Yes, they play it quite often actually. Did you know that Dwight Evans has never watched the replays of that play? 
Bob: Wow. [This was actually a sincere wow, and yes, I explained to him who Dewey is].
Then, in my Life Skills class, we’re learning about setting goals, and we get this handout, and on the top of the sheet it says: Yogi Berra. Sure he played for the Yankees, but still, it’s baseball! We’ll use the alias Steve for this one.
Steve: Wait, who’s Yogi Bera?
Me: *slaps hand to forehead*. Steve– Yogi Berra played for the Yankees in the 1950′s. He caught Don Larsen’s perfect Game 5 of the 1956 World [I'm cut off]
Steve: OH! Is this where Yogi Bear came from? This sounds like something he would say
Me: NO! Yogi Bear and Yogi BerrA are two totally different people! 
Finally, today in math, my math teacher was telling me how he has been watching Ken Burns’ baseball series on the MLB Network. Bob once again asks why I’m watching baseball when it’s not even baseball season. 
Aside from these appalling baseball crimes, Jonathan Papelbon signed a one year, $6.25 million dollar deal! He is now the richest, first-year arbitration player ever. Papelbon brings more than just his pitching stats to the table. 
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He has this ridiculously intimidating stare. He takes a deep breath, and then faces Varitek, and narrows his eyes and puts his mouth in an ‘O’ shape. He’ll either nod or shake-off pitches. Then, he hurls the ball 90 something mph and blows it right by some of the best hitters in baseball! 
Then there’s the dancing. After winning Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS, Jonathan Papelbon came out in his boxers and did this… Irish step dance to ‘Shipping Up to Boston’ by the Dropkick Murphys. 
He is also part of the notorious Bullpen Band (called the Black Pearl right?). He has an unparalleled intensity on the field, but is a humorous guy to hang around with in the clubhouse. 
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Papelbon also had some very nice words for the only catcher he has ever known. His captain, the one and only Jason Varitek. 
There’s certain players in Major League baseball . . . that you take a gamble on, whether it’s age or whether it’s money… Varitek is, no question about it, in that category. Whether it’s a money issue or whether it’s an age issue, there’s no question in my mind whatsoever. You make that gamble with a person like that. It’s that simple to me.”

So, it’s not just me, and JULIA and BIG PAPI who are willing Varitek to come back, he means A LOT to his players as well. 

I had an RSBS moment today! During my history quiz, on the bonus question (which I honestly cannot remember), among the choices were:
b. Jeffery
c. Allen
Too bad I was the only one LOLing at this. 

-Elizabeth

How Would You Define a MLBlog?

Blog: (As defined by the dictionary on my computer’s dashboard) A website on which an individual or group of users produces an ongoing narrative.

Blog: (As defined by the trashy URBAN DICTIONARY): A meandering, blatantly, uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic, life. 
Okay, maybe some blogs are like that, but I think we do it a little differently over here at MLBlogs. There may be the occasional paragraph dedicated to our personal lives (which I honestly find interesting), but for the most part, our blogs center on how our personal lives are affected. 
Then, I looked up ‘MLBlog’ on urban dictionary, and they didn’t have a definition… yet. So, I was about to add a definition when I decided to ask you guys to help me define it. So, how would you define a ‘MLBlog’?
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As you all know, the one thing that I’ve wanted throughout this entire offseason is for the Red Sox to re-sign Jason Varitek. Theo got a little distracted when he decided to make our bullpen one of the best in baseball (if not the best), but that’s alright, it’s for the good of the team after all. 
Then again, so is Varitek. Apparently he and John Henry met one-on-one for an hour and a half. I’m pretty sure they weren’t looking to negotiate a contract, but maybe to start talking about next year.
There’s some pretty good news coming out of this meeting. 
1. Jason Varitek wants to come back to play for the Red Sox, and Theo and the Red Sox want to bring Jason Varitek back. Too bad Varitek’s agent is the epitome of all evil, Scott Boars.
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2. Scott Boras wasn’t at the meeting! John Henry doesn’t like Scott Boras very much, with good reason of course. 
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In ‘The Matrix’, we are taught to avoid agents, and run away from them. If I saw Scott Boras, I would probably run in the opposite direction. Agent Smith was defeated in ‘The Matrix’, so metaphorically speaking, maybe Scott Boras will be defeated. Neo rhymes with Theo right?
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Papelbon filed for arbitration recently. We were getting him at SUCH a discount, I’m sure he’ll be making more money next year. I’d love to sign him for a long term contract though. 
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Speaking of long term contracts, wouldn’t it be nice to lock up Jason Bay for a few more years as well? The free agent market for left fielders isn’t that great (Manny does not count since the chances he’s returning to Boston are basically zero).
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In one of my recent posts, I mentioned that I really like Tim Lincecum. Another National League pitcher that I really like is Cole Hamels. Hamels just signed a three year deal with the Philles. I’m sure Phillies fans are happy about that, after all, he was their World Series MVP. I’m sure he’ll be a candidate for a Cy Young Award in the near future.
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And he’s cute too :)
In my American Lit class, we learned a little about Ernest Hemingway. One of the most interesting things about him, in my opinion, was that it was his life’s goal to write one true sentence. So besides defining a MLBlog, if you could write one true sentence… what would it be? 
-Elizabeth

Ringing in the New Year in Canada

Well I hope everyone had a fabulous New Year’s Eve, and that you ringed (rung?) it in well. I was actually in an elevator when the clock struck midnight. I can’t say that I had a “white” Christmas like some of you up north and out west, but I did have a “white” New Years. Nope, it didn’t snow in Miami… come on, the weather NEVER changes there. I’m in Canada with one of my friends, Christina (who is playing the really amusing game, Bubble Trouble), right now. I don’t think we’re anywhere near Homer.. we’re in Mont Tremblent, skiing. Surprisingly enough, I’m not as bad as I thought I’d be. It’s not like I can do those crazy tricks, or go down Black trails yet.. but I’m going down the blues :).

Well, I hope MLB Network had a successful launch… we don’t get it up in Canada, much to my dismay. As soon as I get back though, I’ll be able to watch baseball 24/7/365. Mark has written numerous articles about it, and it sounds phenomenal. He was even kind enough to quote me in one of his articles. 
The New Year seems seems to be all about New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve never really kept any before, so I’ve decided to make a few that will be within my power to keep. 
1. Try and blog everyday. There might be a few shortages… when it comes to the AP US History exam in particular. Also, for a month during in the summer, there’s a possibility that there will be no blogs because I’ll be at camp. Regardless, the moral of this resolution is: blog as much as possible.
2. This is probably the most important one. Get an internship with a sports writer, or maybe just any kind of writer… but sports would be good seeing that the only thing I know anything about extensively is baseball. Any kind of internship would be wonderful though 
3. When I read Julia’s blog the other day, about her resolution, it got be thinking. It was kind of like a ‘Pay it Forward’ type thing. One person can’t change the world, but a bunch of people can by helping those around us.
4. Get a 4 or higher on my first AP exam. AP US History scares the living crap out of me… there’s so much information. But I’d love to get at least a four on the exam. Besides that just do well in school of course :)
5. Alright guys, for this one you’ve got to e-mail me if you want to know what it is. I don’t want to put it up here. elizabethxsanti@aol.com
6. Be the number one blogger of the week just once this year. Maybe it’ll happen, if I can get past people like JeffJaneJimmy, etc. 
7. Go to as many Spring Training games as humanly possible. Regardless of how expensive gas is (even though it’s gone down A LOT).
8. Go to at least three Red Sox vs Rays games this year. 
Now that I have some of my own resolutions down, I have some for the Red Sox too. I know I can’t control anything that happens in the organization, but I’m glad that I have faith in something that I can’t control.
1. Re-sign Jason Varitek for two years. I don’t know if he’ll be finished in two years, but I do want him to retire with the Red Sox. 
2. Sign some of our promising star players to longer contracts. This means Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon, Jason Bay, and JD Drew. 
3. Keep the team morale and spirit up. I hope that there are no fights or harsh spirits between the players (like Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramirez). I think that in order to do well, that everyone on the team has to be working together. Sure players can have special games sometimes, but there’s no way that you can get to the postseason if you don’t work together.
Now that I’ve been on this site for a couple of months… I want to thank absolutely everyone who reads my blog. It really means the world to me when I get those nice comments and what not. It’s such a great community that even fans of rival teams can coexist. I’m glad I’m part of the best blog community on the internet (in my opinion at least). I wish everyone hear a healthy and prosperous New Year!
**By the way, my next entry will be about the new Red Sox acquisitions Josh Bard and Brad Penny, and I will also answer levelboss’ question about what I would do about our catching situation.
-Elizabeth

Red Sox Awards, Burnett, Mussina.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is going to be pitching in the World Classic this year, with Japan of course. He was their MVP in 2006, and wants to help Japan defend its title. In ’06 he went 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA, and a year later was signed to the Red Sox for six years. 

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The Red Sox have announced some “team” awards that they are going to be giving at the Boston Baseball Writer’s Dinner. The Red Sox named Pedroia as their team MVP, which is not surprising at all. It was definitely a hard choice between Kevin Youkilis and Pedroia, just like it was for the AL MVP.  Kevin Youkilis will be presented the Jackie Jensen award, which is given for spirit and determination (this award was named after the Red Sox outfielder who played with them from 1954-1959, and 1961). 
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Youkilis also won this award two years ago, the only other player to win this award twice is Johnny Damon (’04-’05). Hopefully, Youk won’t follow the same path that he did. Jon Lester will be recognized as Boston’s pitcher of the year, 

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Jacoby Ellsbury was named Red Sox Rookie of the Year, Jonathan Paplebon is the Red Sox Fireman of the Year, Sean Casey with the Good Guy Award, and Jeff Bailey with the Red Sox Minor Leaguer Award. I’m sure we’ll be seeing Bailey a lot in Spring Training. Jason McLeoad, the amateur Red Sox scouting director, will receive the Unsung Hero Award, seeing that Youkilis, Pedroia and Lester are all “homegrown products”. 
On another note, AJ Burnett’s agent wants to have Burnett signed to a five year contract, which apparently, might keep the Yankees out of contention for Burnett. Plus, they might be a little apprehensive about his injuries, I mean, look what happened with Carl Pavano. How many games did that guy pitch? 
Also, with Mike Mussina retiring, there is a lot of talk about him eventually being voted into the Hall of Fame. His numbers match up with some of the guys who are already in there… and he’s had some great seasons. I think that one day, he’ll be in there. 

Looks like the Sox bullpen can get the job done…

Game 6 isn’t going to be remembered for some spectacular, unbelievable feat like Curt Schilling’s bloody sock of 2004, or Pedro’s six innings of hitless relief in 1999. Josh Beckett pitched through five laborious innings, but with his lack of perfection, it was pretty damn good for what it’s worth. Everyone is so proud of him, or everyone should be. After starting out rough for the Sox this post season, he really turned it around for this start giving up only four hits (two of them home runs: one to BJ Upton, and one to Jason Bartlett). Stupid TBS decided to have a power problem that forced me to endure 15 minutes of ‘The Steve Harvey Show’. Watching it on gameday just isn’t the same, no matter how fancy they try and make it.I’m hoping that TBS is forbidden from further broadcasting crucial MLB games. The early deficit was no problem for the Red Sox. The RBI machine, Kevin Youkilis belted a solo home run in the top of the second inning to even it up. Barlett’s throwing error proved crucial once again when it allowed Dustin Pedroia to get on base in the next inning. Big Papi then hit a double putting runners on second and third for Kevin Youkilis. Kevin Youkilis grounded into a fielder’s choice, but it did score Dustin Pedroia. Youk always does his job doesn’t he? Now, after going 0-for-14 in this ALCS, I knew it was time for Jason Varitek. When he got up to the plate in the sixth inning (was it?) I knew. I don’t even know how, but I knew. I didn’t have a single doubt in my mind. I called his shot, placement and everything. And it was our captain that broke the tie. It was then an RBI single by David Ortiz that gave us a much needed insurance run. Not that any lead was at all comfortable.

I knew that Terry Francona would do some kind of combination with Okajima, Masterson and Papelbon. It would either be M.O.P. (mop ‘em up!) or O.M.P (Oh my Papelbon!!!). Okajima, once again, came through for us as that “hero in the dark” and with eight outs to go, it seemed like the Rays were in a similar situation that the Sox were in only two nights ago, with a much smaller deficit. But it was the Red Sox bullpen that was able to hold onto it. I swear, Terry Francona loves Justin Masterson, but who wouldn’t? He was in AA early this year and now he’s our eighth inning man? Even though he got two men on quickly, John Farrell came out and calmed him down, and Masterson was all strikes from there! Jonathan Papelbon came in and pitched a solid ninth, but you could tell he didn’t have his normal stuff when his fastball peaked at 93 mph. It worked though! And now, once again, it’s time for game 7.
I’m happy that Terry Francona is going to be giving Jon Lester the ball. We’ve got to ignore what happened in Game 3 and just focus on Game 7. I think that it was the fact that everyone was so confident in Lester, the fact that everyone had already chalked up a win for him, I think it just got to his head. He’s still a young guy, and the key here, is to not let his emotions get the best of him. As for Matt Garza, the key for him is to get him really pissed off. Start fouling off on purpose, start bunting, stealing, whatever. If we can get a run or two in the first inning, Garza will go sooner. I think Garza gets over confident too. In Game 5 at Fenway he was joking around and shushing the crowd, as if he had already opened the bottles of champagne. But boy was he in for a surprise. I think the Rays are still going to have that ‘deer caught in headlights look’. Pena thinks that they’re due for a turn around, but they already had their peak. The Red Sox are still riding their turn around, and they’re not stopping yet. I believe in Jon Lester. I don’t care about his last start, and he said that last year is irrelevant too (although he has pitched in a clinching game). And he’s absolutely right. He just needs to focus on this game. I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again. It’s time for Game 7, it’s not time to say: oh we’re making that same comeback like we did in ’04 and ’07. No. If you focus on the past, then you definitely will never progress. It’s nice to think about, and it still leaves me a little bleary eyed, but you’ve got to focus on the present. You can’t even think about the future for that matter. If you focus on advancing to the World Series, then you’re not gonna win Game 7. You’ve got to build the bridge before you cross it. We’ve got to focus not only on making Matt Garza royally pissed off, we’ve got to focus on winning every inning, and concentrate on winning every pitch, and for Jon Lester, he’s got to focus on executing every pitch. This is not going to be easy, it never is. The Sox have a lot of momentum going into this game, but that does not mean that it’s over. 
This just in (5:21pm) Terry Francona has announced the lineup:
1. Coco Crisp (CF)
2. Dustin Pedroia (2B)
3. David Ortiz (DH)
4. Kevin Youkilis (3B)
5. JD Drew (RF)
6. Jason Bay (LF)
7. Mark Kotsay (1B)
8. Jason Varitek (C)
9. Alex Cora (SS)
Jon Lester (SP)
I’m fine with everyone in this lineup, except for Alex Cora. But, I trust Terry Francona, so I’m not gonna question his decisions. Jed didn’t help us produce last night, or the night before, so it’s time to give someone else a chance. I have a good feeling about Jason Bay tonight!
I believe in everyone in this lineup, I believe in Terry Francona’s decision. 
It’s going to be crazy, it’s going to be epic. I believe that the Red Sox can win this game!
-Elizabeth
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