Saturday, July 26, 2014

In The Media Guide

In my collection, I currently have every Red Sox Media Guide dating back to 1998. I love flipping through them to see what tidbits they contain. I figured that if I liked it, you might enjoy taking a look along with me. So, I had a random number generator select a page from the 2011 edition to talk about today.  The random number generator selected pg 229.

Page 229 concluded the entry for Dennys Reyes, and starts the entry for non-roster invitee Jason Rice. I generally find the first and last pages to be the most interesting. The first page has all the vital information, while the last page usually has all the “personal” information. Unfortunately, the Reyes entry is too cut off to be all that exciting. Although, the fact that he has never been ejected is interesting. Not quite as interesting, though, as the fact that the Sox found that important enough to include “ejections” as a standard entry in everyone’s chart. I also like how it’s in a “single-game highs” chart, as if you could be ejected more than once in a single game.

What about Rice? We can see that he’s a 25-year old right handed pitcher. He hasn’t played in the major leagues. One of my favorite sections of any entry is the “acquired” information. It’s almost as exciting as the “transactions” portion. In this case, we see that Jason was a Rule 5 selection from the White Sox. That was back in 2008. So, he had been hanging around the minor leagues for a while. His career highlights actually look pretty good. Which, I suppose, is why they’re highlights. But, 11.42 Ks per nine innings is pretty good.
I wonder how you get to be the Sea Dogs Citizen of the Year.

With numbers like that, I have to wonder why he wasn’t able to move higher up the ladder. As a middle innings guy, he would seem to be a nice fit. But, he only made it to Pawtucket with the Sox. But there were certainly some good tidbits on his first page.

Just like every page.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why Wasn’t Liverpool Playing the Revolution?

During the World Cup, someone wondered what it would take to get America excited about soccer. One response was the common opinion that America likes watching the best. As long as they considered their national league, MLS, to be so inferior, their interest in soccer would lag behind. How to get MLS up to snuff? One way was using the AFL-NFL theory that once MLS can prove their mettle against the real teams, it would go a long way.

Naturally, I immediately thought of Liverpool and the Revolution. From all accounts, all the owners in Boston get along pretty well. This would seem to be the perfect opportunity to help each other a bit. The Revolution could use an EPL team to match up against to try to show their worth. I imagine that John Henry wouldn’t mind expanding his LFC fan base in New England. Why not have a “home” and home series with the Revolution? They can each get some additional ticket sales in their building. What would be the downside?

The only thing I could come up with was embarrassment. Maybe LFC would be afraid of losing to a lowly MLS team. But, couldn’t they just slough it off as a training exercise? Like when a college team sometimes beats a MLB team in spring training. Sure, they beat them when the MLB team wasn’t trying and wasn’t playing their best players. It doesn’t mean anything. Just like last night, when Liverpool was resting anyone good. Or, maybe the Revolution would be afraid of being embarrassed. Losing 15-0 to the LFC back-ups wouldn’t exactly scream “level playing field.” I decided that MLS wouldn’t let that happen.

Then I noticed that last night, a few MLS teams played EPL teams. They lost, but the world didn’t end. And, I bet none of those match-ups had the same mutual benefit that LFC-NER would have produced. None of the EPL owners had their own location in the States trying to sell their merchandise. No other MLS owner had an owner from across the Pond that they had such a great working relationship with.

You know me, I love cross-pollination. I love it when different industries user their assets to complement each other. I don’t know why it didn’t happen here.

Why weren’t the Revolution at Fenway last night?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Who’s a Seller Now?

After all, if they’re no longer in the cellar, they shouldn’t be sellers…right?

This was really my point when I wondered why people were so eager to define this team. Why did we need to decide their fate on July first? Why did they need to decide if they were buyers or sellers a month before the deadline? Who knows what will happen by then?

And, we still don’t. We’re less than two weeks from the deadline, but I don’t know if a five game winning streak should change any plans. At least, it shouldn’t if they had the right plans to start with.

I’ve been saying for quite some time that the Sox should be buyers and sellers. Their farm system allows them to do exactly that. Does a NL team really want Jake Peavy? He can be moved, and the Sox have the prospects to fill in for him. Even during a pennant race. So, sell. But, does Giancarlo Stanton finally become available? The Sox can certainly part with some prospects to get that deal done. So, buy.

Frankly, there’s only one problem with the combined approach. The teams who want to buy what you’re selling are very likely the people you’ll be competing with the rest of the season. It would be tricky to make a trade sending Peavy to Baltimore, for instance, even though they might be in the market for a veteran starter. Baltimore is a team you’re hoping to pass on the way to the division. Even an NL team, like the Dodgers, could end up haunting you. Usually when you’re a seller, the other teams don’t concern you as much.

But, they can still make it work. They can find destinations for their spare parts. There might even be upgrades available at positions where they need them. Frankly, they have so many prospects that they need to do something. They can’t fit Victorino, Nava, Gomes, Bradley, Holt, Carp, and Betts in their outfield. They have two young catching prospects, and five infielders. They need to package them to get something back. Even if it’s just an all-star, instead of a legend. They need to pick prospects to keep, and trade the rest to get some quality.

Quality would be helpful during a playoff hunt.

Monday, July 14, 2014

From the Pedro Binder

2000 Impact

There’s a lot to like about this card. Of course, there’s a lot not to like as well.

You probably guessed that I like the way the picture was handled. It was able to extend all the way to the end of the card. There’s no border to confine it. No limiting graphics. Everything is placed so that the picture can surround it.

The “Impact” logo is at the top, but still manages to float in the picture. Pedro’s name, position, and Red Sox logo are similarly allowed to be included in the picture, as opposed to being a hindrance to it. Even the brightly colored border doesn’t trim the picture away. The opaque quality allows your eye to follow the picture as far as it needs to go. Simple white lines give design, without being distracting. There’s no foil anywhere, so you can read the entire card without giving yourself carpal tunnel from all the twits and tilts to catch the light.

The picture is pretty standard. Pedro maki8ng a face as he prepares to embarrass a batter. Nothing too exciting about it, but nothing wrong with it either. I do like how you can clearly see his cut sleeve flapping in the breeze.

But, that border color? Really?

A sort of salmon reddish pinkish thing? Not quite the shade I would have gone with. But, that’s just me.

Or maybe it’s not. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

In the Media Guide

In my collection, I currently have every Red Sox Media Guide dating back to 1998. I love flipping through them to see what tidbits they contain. I figured that if I liked it, you might enjoy taking a look along with me. So, I had a random number generator select a page from the 2009 edition to talk about today.

It went with pg 100

Page 100 is the second page of the entry for Angel Chavez.

Yup. Angel Chavez. He was a 27 year old infielder for the 2009 Red Sox organization. He never reached Boston, and was released after the season.

What tid-bits might we find on his page?

We see that in 1999 he made his pro debut in the Venezualan Summer League. He led that league in HR, H, 2B, and RBI. Not a bad debut.

We see that his only major league action came with the 2005 Giants.

The Phillies claimed him off waivers from the Giants, but then traded him to the Orioles.

He had 74 minor league homers when the Red Sox signed him as a minor league free agent. That;s not a bad total.

Of course, there's more great stuff on that page.

Just like every other page.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Red Sox 1-36: 35 is for…

35 outfield assists by Tris Speaker 1910 and 1912

Yup. That’s another team record.

Yup. It’s another team record that won’t be broken.

Even crazier? He had 30 assists in 1913,and 29 in 1914. That’s just insane. I’ve mentioned before that I always wondered why people didn’t just stop running on him. I mean. Usually the best outfielders have low assists because runners don’t even try. So, I wondered if Speaker had the kind of arm that people kept trying. But, after 30 of them? I think it’d be time to change the plan. Then I found out the real reason. He got lots of those assists on double plays. As the pivot man.

His speed (and the dead ball era) allowed him to play so close, that he could be the pivot man on a 6-8-3 double play. I don’t care how fast you are, or what era you’re in. That’s pretty close.

I know that many things about Fenway have changed since Tris Speaker roamed the outfield. But, the dimensions are the same. Sometimes when I’m sitting in the stands and looking out at the field, I wonder just how close he would need to play in order to make the pivot. I assume he wasn’t on the infield dirt. Five steps back? Ten? Did he get assists on a lot of 8-3 groundouts?

Which always leads to another question. If people didn’t hit the ball far enough to make Speaker play more than 5-10 steps behind the infield, why is the centerfield fence 420 feet away? Why would they waste all that space? If the left field wall was 310 feet away and people, wrongly, assumed nobody would ever reach it, why was center so deep?

Was it because people did hit it out there? Was Speaker just that good? Were hits out that far just that rare? Speaker was part of the golden outfield at that point. Could the other two outfielder cover for him on the rare instance that one went to deep center? Could the Red Sox do that today? I wonder how shallow someone like Mookie Betts play in center if Bradley was covering for him in right? How many balls really go out there? Would it be worth the trade-off of cutting down every ball up the middle?

Of course, Brock Holt isn’t a baseball legend.

35 is for the 35 assists by Tris Speaker in 1910 and 1912.

Friday, July 4, 2014

From the Pedro Binder

2000 Skybox Dominion Strikeouts League Leader

This seemed like a good one for today.

I've discussed league leader cards in this segment plenty. There's a great way for card companies to get as many star players as they can in a card set. Why take up two cards when you can get both Pedro and Randy on a single card.

I will admit, though, that I'd prefer they spend at least a little time thinking about the design.

Look at this thing. How long did it take to think up? Let's put the player in front of the league logos, on a white background. We'll throw their names in the middle somewhere. Done!

They even put the names in foil, to make them hard to read. But, no team names. No team logos. No strikeout totals to see how well they did. Just slapped a picture on the card, and called it a day.

Pretty darn lazy.