Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What’s really frustrating is…

It shouldn’t be this hard. Clearly the 2010 Red Sox set up as a dominant team. They’ve been missing their leadoff hitter all season. Their number 2 and three hitters have joined him on the sidelines since the all-star break. Even with that, they’d be within two games of every division leader except their own. Missing those three guys, they’ve basically stayed status quo in their division for the last couple months. Add in those three? I don’t even want to know. Instead of working for a playoff spot, it certainly would be easier. Add in those three guys to last weekend’s Tampa series? Or any of the previous series? With Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Youkilis, do the Red Sox get four more wins in the last two months? One more win every two weeks? Four more wins would put them a mere three games back, even in the AL East. Instead, they head into the last month with a much smaller margin of error. If a couple of those four had been against the co-leaders, it’s even closer. So, the Sox have their work cut out for them. It just should have been easier.

The soon to come bombardment of “I told you so” is also frustrating. “I told you they were done in April.” “I told you they fell too far back.” “I told you!” They’ll ignore that the Sox were a half game back at the break (or so). They’ll ignore that the insurmountable April deficit was, in fact, erased. It’ll be easy for them.

And it’s frustrating.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wantlist: 1997

19 John Valentin
43 Mike Stanley
105 Brian Rose
219 Chris Reitsma RC
417 Cole Liniak RC
422 John Barnes RC

1997 Bowman Chrome RED SOX
15 John Valentin
93 Mo Vaughn
125 Brian Rose
148 Donnie Sadler
159 Carl Pavano
196 Chris Reitsma
208 Jeff Suppan
268 Josh Garrett
277 Cole Liniak
282 John Barnes

7 Mo Vaughn
37 John Valentin
120 Carl Pavano
144 Brian Rose
159 Jeff Suppan
193 Donnie Sadler

101 Jose Canseco - Silver
134 Mike Stanley - Silver
153 Mo Vaughn - Gold
228 Heathcliff Slocumb - Bronze
251 John Valentin - Bronze
267 Tim Naehring - Bronze
302 John Wasdin - Silver
311 Mo Vaughn - Silver

1997 Stadium Club RED SOX
63 Mike Greenwell
165 Mike Stanley
168 Troy O'Leary
177 Aaron Sele
188 N.Garciaparra 2000 SP

1997 Topps Chrome RED SOX
51 John Valentin
126 Roger Clemens
159 Mo Vaughn

1997 Topps GalleryRED SOX
6 Mike Stanley
8 Jose Canseco
41 Roger Clemens
128 John Valentin
151 Nomar Garciaparra

27 Mo Vaughn
93 Nomar Garciaparra
109 Carl Pavano

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Red Sox A-Z: T (not S) is for…

Ted Williams.

Obviously, Ted had to be mentioned in this list somewhere, right? As the greatest player in Red Sox history, he comes to mind whenever you talk about the Sox.

As you might have guessed, my personal memories of Ted Williams are fairly limited. I’m much too young to have ever seen him play the game. By the time I noticed him, he was an elder statesman of the game. There were articles of him advising young players in Red Sox camp, or talking hitting with Wade Boggs or Tony Gwynn. The one time I was in the same park as Williams was the 1999 All Star game.
Before the game, I was sitting in my seats watching the pregame activity when someone told me to grab my camera. He said the area under the centerfield bleachers was “full” of legends. I didn’t realize it at the time, but MLB was planning on unveiling the All-Century Players during the pregame ceremony. Apparently, some of the stars came into view every once in a while. So, I grabbed my camera and joined the throng at the fence under the stands. When I got there, Reggie Jackson was wandering around a bit. At that point, there were mumblings that Ted Williams would be arriving shortly. I wasn’t about to miss that. So, I hung around in the middle of the crowd for a bit. Finally, they brought Ted in from his car. He was in the golf cart he would later use during his entrance to the ceremony. My contact with Ted was limited to watching him zoom by as I reached my camera up to try and catch a picture. Thankfully, the white cap he wore that night makes it easier to spot him.

I shouldn’t need to mention the rest of the ceremony. The greatest collection of talent ever assembled lined the baselines as they were introduced one by one. Finally, they brought out Ted Williams to a monster ovation. It was chilling. We just stood applauding until our hands hurt. Simply amazing!

T is for Ted Williams.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

He Scored: August 12, 2010

Not long ago, Jim of The Phillies Room posted a scorecard he kept while at a Phillies game. I thought it would be a great opportunity to look at how other people keep score. Don’t worry…I already commented on his biggest mistake: not using the correct scorecard. Here’s his card:

Naturally, Jim keeps score a bit differently than I do. But, that’s great. I didn’t see this game. (Why would I watch a Phillies-Dodgers game?) So, there’s only one thing I need from the scorecard. Can I figure out what happened during the game? Do I know what all the markings mean? Let’s try the first inning. Rollins lead off by popping up to the first baseman. Ibanez lined out to the center fielder. (I’ve always wondered where the cutoff was between L8 and F8) Polanco singled, and went to third when Sweeney also singled. A little first to third baserunning by Polanco. Jayson Werth then ended the inning by lining out to center. The diagonal slash, meaning the inning was over. So, it looks like a good system to me. I like the way Jim signals a run by putting the batting position of the guy who drove in the runner in the diamond. It made it easy to see that the #7 guy (Ruiz) had a big game. (I don’t like that the scorecard didn’t number the batting positions. It took me a little too long to figure out that the number seven guy was Ruiz.) I also notice that Jim has more experience scoring an NL game than I do. In the pitcher’s spot, he left all the scores in the first row. The only two times I’ve scored in an NL park, I had the score in the row of the batter. It made the scoring look a little choppy as player after player was inserted the line-up without stepping to the plate.

What in the world happened in the ninth inning? The Phillies apparently won the game by scoring four runs on a hit batter, walk, walk, error, and double. Are you kidding me?

After looking over the scorecard, I can only find a couple questions. I’m not sure what the “22” is next to the first inning. Also a few batters, Polanco especially, seem to have a “54” or “S4” in their box. Ruiz looks to have a “74” in the eighth. I can’t decide what those are for. Are they pitching changes? (A little help Jim?) Overall, a great scorecard. I thank Jim for sharing it with us. I'd invite anyone else who has a completed scorecard to scan it and send it along to me. It would be fun to check out and compare. And don't worry, I don't have to have seen the game. After all...

The scorecard shows how it happened.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Did the Red Sox Just Sacrifice Tim Wakefield?

I was pretty excited going into last night. Despite the rainout, the marquee match-up had been preserved. Jon Lester was squaring off against Felix Hernandez. So, I was on my computer, and just checked in to see how the game had started. I see it’s Tim Wakefield on the mound, and my heart sank. This could not be good news. Had Lester already been shelled? Again? Was he a late scratch? I couldn’t decide which was worse. I scoured around looking for the answer, and was immediately puzzled. Lester was fine. It was Dice-K that was hurt. So, they had moved Lester into Dice’s spot, and pitched Wakefield in Lester’s place. Why do all that shuffling? Why not leave Lester in the spot he expected to be in, and let Wake go Friday? My guess is Felix Hernandez was the reason.

Some people point to the thought of saving Lester for the Rays. After all, the Rays game is more important that the Mariners. That’s not really true. If Lester won last night, and Wake loses Friday, it would have been no different in the standings. After all, Tampa had already lost yesterday. So, saving Lester for Tampa didn’t do anything. Daisuke was bypassed, and that might be a good thing, I admit. Going into Tampa, I’m more excited with Lester-Buchholz-Lackey than I was with Matsuzaka leading the charge. But, replacing Dice directly with Wake wouldn’t have changed things. And, Wake wouldn’t have been rushed into a start. I think the Red Sox were conceding last night’s game to King Felix. I’m sure they didn’t feel like wasting a Lester start on a game they weren’t going to win anyway. Even Lester needs a run or two to win a game. That actually makes sense. It’s a move I always wondered why teams didn’t do more.

I always thought of it during playoff series when the Sox had Pedro. Take 1999, for instance. The Sox were in the playoffs thanks to a rotation of Pedro…and four other guys. If I’m the Indians, and my rotation is Bartolo Colon and four other guys…is there merit in not pitching Colon in game 1? He’s not going to win anyway, so why waste him? Save him, and pitch him in game two against Saberhagen? (I know. Not the best example since Pedro was hurt in that game 1, but you get the idea.) So, if you’re Francona last night, you know the Rays lost. The damage is controlled. The worst that can happen is you only pick up half a game. So, why waste Lester? Throw Wakefield to the wolves, and hope you get lucky. In this case, it also lines up your best going down to Tampa. Pretty much a win-win. Hopefully the Sox score more than two runs on Friday, and make the move work out.

After all, the Sox need wins in the Tampa series.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wantlist: 1996

8 Mike Stanley
21 Mo Vaughn
23 Jose Canseco
89 Roger Clemens
118 Shawn Senior
167 Rafael Orellano
211 Trot Nixon
236 Jeff Suppan
240 Brian Barkley RC
259 Carl Pavano RC
291 Peter Munro
322 Lou Merloni RC
376 Donnie Sadler

1996 Bowman Best RED SOX
16 Mo Vaughn
33 Roger Clemens
57 Jose Canseco
88 John Valentin
92 Nomar Garciaparra
153 Jeff Suppan
165 Donnie Sadler
173 Bill Selby

B19 Tim Naehring B
S46 Roger Clemens S
G64 Mo Vaughn G
S91 John Valentin S
B101 Tim Wakefield B
G117 Jose Canseco G
S151 Mo Vaughn S
B221 Jose Canseco B
S293 Kevin Mitchell S
B318 Heathcliff Slocumb B

1996 Stadium Club
223 Jose Canseco
249 Tim Wakefield
342 Jose Canseco

1996 Topps
211 Nomar Garciaparra FS
428 Bartolo Colon Indians \ Doug Million Rockies \ Ray Ricken Yankees \ Rafael Orellano Red Sox

1996 Topps Chrome
46 John Valentin
65 Roger Clemens
73 Nomar Garciaparra
110 Mo Vaughn
139 Jeff Suppan
146 Jose Canseco

1996 Topps Gallery
12 John Valentin
13 Heathcliff Slocumb
33 Jose Canseco
54 Mike Greenwell
82 Mike Stanely
174 Roger Clemens

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

List of 36: Players who have hit over .323 in a Season for the Sox

1. Ted Williams (‘39, ‘40, ‘41, ‘42, ‘46, ‘47, ‘48, ‘49, ‘54, ‘56, ‘57, ’58)
2. Joe Harris (1923)
3. David Ortiz (2007)
4. Jimmy Collins (1901, 1902)
5. Johnny Peskey (1942, 1946, 1947)
6. Wade Boggs (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991)
7. George Burns (1923)
8. Fred Lynn (1975, 1979)
9. Bill Mueller (2003)
10. Billy Goodman (1950)
11. Carl Yastrzemski (1967, 1970)
12. Ben Chapman (1938)
13. Dustin Pedroia (2008)
14. Tris Speaker (1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914)
15. Pete Runnels (1962)
16. Earl Webb (1930, 1931)
17. Manny Ramirez (2002, 2003)
18. Mike Greenwell (1988)
19. Jimmie Foxx (1936, 1938, 1939)
20. Al Zarilla (1950)
21. Patsy Dougherty (1902, 1903)
22. Bobby Doerr (1944)
23. Ike Boone (1924, 1925)
24. Jim Rice (1979, 1986)
25. Nomar Garciaparra (1998, 1999, 2000)
26. Joe Cronin (1938)
27. Carney Lansford (1981)
28. Buck Freeman (1901)
29. Del Pratt (1921)
30. Mike Lowell (2007)
31. Dale Alexander (1932)
32. Bob Johnson (1944)
33. Joe Vosmik (1938)
34. Mo Vaughn (1996, 1998)
35. Chick Stahl (1902)
36. Dom DiMaggio (1950)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy 36th Birthday Mark Bellhorn!


Today we wish a very happy 36th birthday to World Series hero Mark Bellhorn!


Like many people, I have no trouble in recalling my favorite Mark Bellhorn memory. It was Game 1 of the 2004 World Series. I was sitting in the bleachers trying to stay warm. The Red Sox had jumped out to an early lead, and I was hopefully of an easy victory. But, the Cardinals came back, twice, to tie the game. By the time Bellhorn strode to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, I was worried of an extra innings game in the cold rain. The wind was the worst point. It was whipping out to right, as it cut through you like a knife. Bellhord tried to pop a ball down the rightfield line, but the gale blew it well foul. I joked that the only chance was to hit the ball to center, and hope it was past the pole before it blew foul. I was almost correct. Bellhorn lofted another ball to right. We all held our breath. Pitcher Julian Tavarez tried the anti-Fisk, trying to push the ball foul. It didn’t work. The home crowd heard that glorious sound.


The ball bounced off Pesky’s pole, and the Sox had the lead again. It was, of course, a lead they would never give up…for the rest of the series.

Bellhorn, of course, had many great games for the Sox. He had several great playoff games for the Sox. But, this cold, wet, tired Red Sox fan will always remember one more than the rest.


Happy 36th Birthday Mark Bellhorn!

Visitor's Views

It’s once again time to inject some opposing viewpoints into this blog. This is a slightly unique case. Not only are the Seattle Mariners visiting Fenway this evening, but the author of the fine Mariners blog Emerald City Diamond Gems is as well. What better person, then, to offer true visitor’s views? I asked him the same questions I asked all my visiting fans. I wonder how the answers compare. Here’s what he had to say:

When did you start blogging?I just started the blog back in late February, early March after reading many blogs for a long time. I decided to give myself a try at it.

What is the theme/goal of your blog?It is mostly Seattle Mariner based, but at times I will venture off to things that catch my interest. I hope to make friends and trade partners with fellow collectors.

Which member/group of the Mariners are you most confident in?
Really, right now there is not much of this team that I am very confident in. I would like to see how good Michael Saunders and Adam Moore can be, and September may bring us many kids with promising futures to watch. This team has fallen on hard times in the last 10 years.

Which member/group of the Mariners concerns you the most?
One of my biggest concerns is the bullpen. They cannot hold leads and can't close games out. The offense is not much better. Felix Hernandez should have a much better record this year, but you can't win when your team is consistently giving you no run support. I wish we would have been able to keep Cliff Lee, that guy is down right awesome.

Which member of the Red Sox scares you the most? (Yes, you have to pick one)One of the guys that scares me most is Dustin Pedroia. He knows how to do the little things that can help a team win. I also have a soft spot in my heart for David Ortiz. How can you not love Big Papi.

Which member of the Red Sox do you like the least?
I would have to say either John Lackey because we was an Angel before coming to Boston, or possibly Dice-K because he is so slow in keeping the game moving along.

What’s your prediction for the upcoming Red Sox/Mariners series?
I think the Sox will take two of three, possibly a sweep. I really hope the Mariners can win the first game on Monday, since my family will be at that game in Fenway for my son's birthday present.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say the number “36”?
The first thing I think of is Gaylord Perry pitching for the M's and getting his 300th win in the Kingdome. I had just became a Mariners fan in 1981, and that was the first real big thing of fame the Mariners had had in their brief history.

I hope these questions offer some insight into the Visitor’s Section. Thanks again to Emerald City Diamond Gems for helping me out. I wish the Mariners luck the rest of the season.

Especially against Tampa.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wantlist: 1995

1995 Bowman
59 Steve Rodriguez
63 Bill Selby RC
65 Jeff Suppan
89 Rafael Orellano RC
98 Glenn Murray
106 Jose Malave
126 Frank Rodriguez
152 Trot Nixon
169 Shawn Senior RC
208 Peter Munro RC
249 Nomar Garciaparra FOIL
293 Roger Clemens
306 Mark Whiten
314 Aaron Sele
388 Mike Greenwell

1995 Bowman's Best
B29 Nomar Garciaparra
B39 Trot Nixon
B60 Jeff Suppan
R23 Roger Clemens
R29 Jose Canseco
R42 Mo Vaughn
R76 Vaughn Eshelman
X8 Corey Jenkins Red Sox / Mo Vaughn Red Sox

145 Scott Cooper
185 Roger Clemens
201 Aaron Sele
254 Vaughn Eshelman
265 Mark Whiten
289 Lee Tinsley

1995 Stadium Club RED SOX
10 Roger Clemens
97 Nomar Garciaparra DP
262 Otis Nixon
347 Jose Canseco
511 Mo Vaughn - Extreme Corps
630 Jose Canseco - TransAction

5 Roger Clemens
38 John Valentin
75 Andre Dawson
130 Otis Nixon
183 Jose Canseco
248 Wes Chamberlain
253 Aaron Sele

36 John Valentin
119 Tony Fossas
360 Roger Clemens
237 Brian Hunter Astros – Jose Malave Red Sox – Karim Garcia Dodgers – Shane Pullen Phillies

1995 Topps Traded - RED SOX
9T Mo Vaughn AB
37T Mike MacFarlane
55T Zane Smith
72T Jose Canseco
106T Corey Jenkins

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Collecting the Sox: Pins

I’ve mentioned before that when I was growing up I collected pins. Every time the family went somewhere, I grabbed a pin to remember the occasion. This was great for several reasons. First, they were petty cheap. If you spent more than a couple bucks, you were extravagant. Second, they didn’t wear out. T-shirts got faded, or too small. Pins were always the right size. Pins were also absolutely everywhere. Museum shops, rest areas, sidewalk carts, you name it. They all had pins available. It made a great way to remember trips.

I carried those fine qualities onto my Red Sox collecting. Pins were great. The sold them all over Fenway, inside and out. They had some that were just about the team. Others celebrated special events. Still more focused on specific players. The variety was almost endless.

I’ve turned away form pins lately though. They started to get pretty expensive. Instead of being pocket change, they were as much as a baseball or hat. I also could never figure out what to do with them. I tried ways to store and display them, but never came up with something I liked. I tried sticking them into a corkboard for a while. That worked pretty well. They were contained, and could be hung on a wall. The only real problem was buying an attractive corkboard. I also didn’t know what to do with the pins that had backs. What did I do with the backs? I needed to keep them in case I ever wanted to wear the pin. But, that was just a pain. I tried pinning them to a piece of material. That worked pretty well, although the material never wanted to stay flat. I tried putting the material in an embroidery hoop. But, I never really liked the look. I think I’ve settled on using a replica Red Sox jersey. I can stick the pins on the front, and hang it from a coat hanger. That actually works pretty well. I also have some of the larger, less important, ones in a glass vase. It makes for an interesting little display. In the end, any sort of variety in a collection has to be a good thing. So, I appreciate the role that pins play. Does anyone else out there have a pin collection?

How do you display them?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Visitor's Views

It’s once again time to inject some opposing viewpoints into this blog. Since the Toronto Blue Jays will be visiting Friendly Fenway tonight, I contacted The Blue Jay Hunter. I asked him to answer a few questions for me since he writes a great Blue Jays blog. He, thankfully, agreed. I asked him the same questions I asked all my visiting fans. I wonder how the answers compare. Here’s what he had to say:

When did you start blogging?
I started blogging on August 9th, 2007. My very first entry was inspired by a brawl that almost broke out after tensions boiled over between the Blue Jays and the Yankees. Surprise surprise, it was started by Alex Rodriguez.

What is the theme/goal of your blog?

The overall goal of my blog is simply to entertain folks. While I do post some serious articles from time to time, I try not to take things too seriously. After all, the baseball season is very long and once in a while it's good to take a break from all the seriousness that comes with the MLB schedule.

Which member/group of the Blue Jays are you most confident in?

At this point, I'd say the group of players I'm most confident in is the Blue Jays starting rotation . They're all under 30 years old, controllable for many seasons, and have all shown they have what it takes to pitch successfully in the big leagues.

Which member/group of the Blue Jays concerns you the most?
I would say that Aaron Hill and Adam Lind have me worried the most. They both put up career seasons last year, but have struggled to find themselves this year. I don't know if I set expectations for 2010 way too high, but it seems like both have struggled to regain their form from last year.

Which member of the Red Sox scares you the most? (Yes, you have to pick one)
Two names come to mind: Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester. It seems like every time the Blue Jays face them (especially in Toronto), Buchholz and Lester handle the Jays with ease. Lester is a career 6-3 with a 2.74 ERA against the Blue Jays, and Buchholz is a career 5-3 with a 2.79 ERA.

Which member of the Red Sox do you like the least?
I'll be honest, I can't stand Kevin Youkilis. The last time I saw the Red Sox at the Rogers Centre, there was an incident where Youkilis thought he was hit by a pitch, then started trotting down to first base when the home plate ump called him back. Then Youkilis freaked out and Terry Francona got into it and it was a huge ordeal.
What’s your prediction for the upcoming Red Sox/Blue Jays series?
The Blue Jays have had some trouble at Fenway Park these past few seasons, so I think it would be ambitious to say the Blue Jays might win 1 or 2 games out of the series. With Jon Lester scheduled to pitch Friday's game, I'm even more prone to say that number might be lower ... but anything can happen!

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say the number “36”?
(this might change by week's end) When I think of the number 36, right now I think of Jose Bautista's 36 home runs to lead the major leagues. Every time I see him hit another home run, I just can't believe the kind of season he's having. Initially I thought he'd have trouble clearing 30 home runs, but now it's almost inevitable he'll hit 40. Bautista could even break the Blue Jays club record of 47 home runs.

I hope these questions offer some insight into the Visitor’s Section. Thanks again to The Blue Jay Hunter for helping me out. I wish the Blue Jays luck.

Especially against Tampa and NY.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Big Win

Last night’s victory was about as big as it gets. After blowing a fantastic Lackey start last time out, he wasn’t so sharp last night. Thankfully, the offense covered for him this time.

The game had all the makings of a crushing defeat. The Sox had ample opportunities against Kazmir. They were hitting the ball all over the place, but just couldn’t deliver the crushing blow. When the Angels kept creeping ahead, it looks like it would be a bad night. You just knew you’d look back at the game, and curse all the missed opportunities along the way. As you watched the scoreboard, you could see the Rays won, and the Yankees were on their way. It was going to be a bad night.

But then, the sort of thing that happens to all good teams happened. How many times have you watched a Yankees highlight, and screamed, “That’s how they won?” For the Red Sox last night, they tied the game late on a wild pitch. They scored the eventual winning run on a bases loaded HBP. If there’s a more pathetic way to score two runs, I’d love to hear it. But, in the end the Sox won a game they needed to win. Lackey ended up hanging on for the win. He’s starting to remind me of Mark Buehrle. Announcers were always praising the guy because he always worked deep into games. They just ignored the fact that he was always giving up six runs in those seven innings. Lackey often keeps plugging along going deep into games, even when he’s not on top of his game. Last night, that might have made all the difference.

The other recent news concerns the Red Sox centerfielder. It appears that young Jacoby has yet another broken rib. It is claimed to have occurred following a collision the other night. I didn’t actually see the collision, but the news certainly leaves some unanswered questions…especially considering the season Ellsbury has had. Not a lot of people break their ribs in a collision with a pitcher. Did this injury have anything to do with his other slow to be diagnosed broken ribs? Did he come back too soon, before the other ribs were ready to hold their own? Does Jacoby Ellsbury have ribs made out of styrofoam? It’s just too many coincidences there. At least maybe this will make a definitive decision for the Sox. Ellsbury is most likely done. So, they can make a move of some sort knowing that. They don’t need to wonder how much he’ll be playing. That should make it easier. It will also stop the moronic reporters from asking every member of the Sox if they think Ellsbury is taking too long to recover. They don’t need distractions.

They need victories.


Today marks the beginning of the annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. I shouldn’t have to mention what a worthy cause this is. This event raises millions of dollars for cancer research. I highly recommend you consider donating, either by following the Jimmy Fund link on my sidebar or visiting the NESN website.

Go Sox!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dynasty By: Tony Massarotti

This book is the self-described “inside story of how the Red Sox
became a baseball powerhouse.” It looks behind the scenes at the Sox over the last several years, starting with the Dan Duquette era. It explores the path a team takes from barely mediocre to a perennial playoff contender. How is the entire organization built to achieve sustained excellence? This looks at exactly that.

I’ve read three books now written, or co-written, by Tony Massarotti. In all three, the editing was horrendous. I have no idea what kind of control Massarotti has over this, but it’s interesting nonetheless. The worst ones are the baseball mistakes. He obviously needs an editor that knows that David Ortiz can’t possibly be batting in the bottom of the ninth in a game in Detroit. That’s beside the point. Even I make some typos and grammatical errors once in a while. This was a great book. It was nice to see a book finally giving Dan Duquette a little credit for his part in building the 2004 championship team. It was also interesting to remember how past seasons were handled. Since I was reading this book as the 2010 trading deadline came and went, the parts of the book on deadline deals were especially interesting. To see how past deadlines were handled, and Theo’s impressions during those seasons were eye opening. The fact that this book went back to the Duquette era was great. Not many books lately have gone back to that point in Sox history. It really was where the Dynasty started, though. This book does a great job of moving from year to year with each new piece added to the organization along the way. It really is a must-read book.

Rating: 4 bases

Monday, August 16, 2010

If You Can’t Stand the Heat…

Fly back to Boston.

That was a pretty sickening weekend, starting with the debacle in Toronto Thursday afternoon. I’m not going to dwell on any of those games since, well, it might make me throw up. But, a couple thoughts.

Lost in the bullpen collapse was a pretty good start by John Lackey. I don’t think I could ask for much more from a starting pitcher. That’s a great sign going forward. The start by Jon Lester was also just what the Sox needed. A few more of those from each of them would go a long way. Obviously, the bullpen needs help. Whether one of the budding stars pulls a Masterson, and becomes a light-out set-up guy while he develops, or the Sox acquire a player, they need more bodies. If they keep using Bard and Papelbon every game, bad things will keep happening.

So, where do we go from here? The Sox stand six games out of the division, with 43 games to play. They’re five games behind in the wild card. So, this is where all the people start with their, “If the Sox play .600 ball, and the Rays play .500 ball…” calculations. And, since I’m not that creative, I’m going to do that too. But, in this case, it’s actually still completely up in the air. It all comes down to the head-to-head match-ups. When people toss out the final records, the qualifier is usually something like, “Of course, that’s assuming the Rays play .540 ball the rest of the way.” The reason for the qualifier is that it’s crazy to expect that. The Rays have been playing .607 ball all season. Why would they “only” be a .540 team? The head-to-head. The Sox have seven more games with the Rays this season. That in itself is enough to do some damage.

Even more pivotal, the Rays have seven more games with the Yankees. So, if the Rays do play .600 ball against the Yanks, the Yanks will have to play .400 ball. One of them has to lose every one of those seven games. So, take the September 13th series. The Yanks are playing the Rays, while the Sox are in Seattle. The next week? The Yanks are playing the Rays while the Sox are hosting Baltimore. Bingo. The Sox don’t need to hope for the people ahead of them to play poorly. One of them has to.

Of course, the real interesting thing is the Sox final week. Their last 10 games are against the Yankees and the White Sox. Will the Yankees be resting guys at that point? Will Chicago be trying? Those are pretty much toss-ups. Six or seven wins out of those ten games certainly seem reasonable.

The best part is the Sox strength. The rotation. They don’t need to “set it up” like other teams might. Other teams have taken huge hits because they had to fight down to the wire. If your ace needs to pitch the last game of the season, he can’t pitch in a game 1. The Sox don’t have that problem. I see no issue if Lester has to pitch game 162, leaving “only” Beckett to pitch game 1. Or Lackey. Or Clay. I wouldn’t dread tossing Dice out there if I had to (3-1 career postseason record). So, having to fight to the end isn’t an “is it really worth the effort” dilemma for the Sox. Getting in really is all that matters.

And, that’s still a very real option.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wantlist: 1994

1994 Bowman RED SOX
35 Frank Viola
63 Tim Vanegmond RC
91 Otis Nixon
175 Jeff McNeely
203 Scott Cooper
231 Gar Finnvold RC
287 Joel Bennett RC
315 Mo Vaughn
368 Frankie Rodriguez FOIL
447 Cory Bailey RC
531 Andre Dawson
559 Ryan McGuire RC
587 Shayne Bennett RC
643 Aaron Sele

B22 Jose Malave
B30 Frankie Rodriguez
R37 Roger Clemens
R44 Aaron Sele
R80 Mo Vaughn

6 Aaron Sele
50 Andre Dawson
58 Danny Darwin
90 Jeff Russell
128 John Valentin
168 Scott Cooper
181 Scott Fletcher
217 Roger Clemens
274 Otis Nixon
303 Greg Harris
322 Mike Greenwell
378 Dave Valle
402 Greg Blosser
406 Frank Viola

1994 Stadium Club - RED SOX
597 Otis Nixon
650 Roger Clemens
710 Jeff Russell

1994 Stadium Club Golden Rainbow - RED SOX
26 Tony Fossas
48 Jeff McNeely
71 Tony Pena
131 Tim Naehring
139 Rob Deer
172 Greg Blosser DEB
179 Aaron Sele DEB
198 Scott Fletcher
251 Danny Darwin
290 Carlos Quintana
371 Andre Dawson
386 Mike Greenwell
396 Scott Cooper
404 Ken Ryan
407 Greg Harris
455 Joe Hesketh
483 John Valentin
534 Roger Clemens
569 Frank Viola
650 Roger Clemens
710 Jeff Russell
525 Tim Raines White Sox / Andre Dawson Red Sox

1994 Stadium Club Draft Picks
35 Brian Rose

1994 Topps Traded RED SOX
11T Damon Berryhill

26 Billy Hatcher
112 Frank Rodriguez
140 Frank Viola
235 Scott Cooper
264 Ken Ryan
378 Tony Fossas
417 Paul Quantrill
445 Aaron Sele
474 Tim Naehring
502 Mike Greenwell
595 Andre Dawson
633 Scott Bankhead
661 Bob Zupcic
720 Roger Clemens
738 Greg Harris
746 Ryan McGuire
369 Luis Ortiz Red sox - David Bell Indians - jason Giambi A's - George Arias Angels

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Team Set: 1988 Score

Players Included: Marty Barrett, Don Baylor, Todd Benzinger, Wade Boggs, Dennis Boyd, Ellis Burks, Roger Clemens, Steve Crawford, Pat Dodson, Dwight Evans, Rich Gedman, Mike Greenwell, Dave Henderson, Sam Horn, Bruce Hurst, John Marzano, Al Nipper, Spike Owen, Jody Reed, Jim Rice, Ed Romero, Kevin Romine, Joe Sambito, Calvin Schiraldi, Jeff Sellers, Bob Stanley, Marc Sullivan, Rob Woodward

Best Picture: Wade Boggs. It seems that there are lots of cards that feature Boggs with a ball in flight. Here’s a picture of something Boggs was well known for. He clearly looks to be fouling off yet another tough pitch. He’s brought his hands in to make contact. It’s a master at work.

Hall of Famers: Wade Boggs, Jim Rice

Future Hall of Famers: Roger Clemens

Reason to Buy the Set: Once again, the three stars lead the way. Add in Oil Can, Dewey, Steamer, Gator, and Hendu, and you have a great collection of Sox favorites. It’s also another team set that, back in the day, was stacked with rookies of the future stars of the team. It just doesn’t always work out that way.

Overall Reaction: This was Score’s first entry into the baseball card market. The colors certainly make a bold statement. If you’re going to use strong colors, it’s nice that they mix it up a bit. It prevents the set from looking stall in a binder. It’s a great player selection, on an attractive design. It’s a great set.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy 36th Matt Clement!

Matt Clement played for the Red Sox during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. He was a desperation signing following the World Championship 2004 season. Following that season, the Sox lost two starters in Derek Lowe and Pedro Martinez. They needed bodies to fill out the rotation, and Clement was one that fell into their hands. It actually started out pretty good for the Sox, as Clement made the All-Star team in 2005 after a great first half. It looked like Theo may have lucked out with the signing. Unfortunately, Clement was hit in the head by a line drive, and never regained the all-star form with the Sox. Whether it was coincidence, or the liner shook his confidence, Clement wasn’t the same.

I flipped through my scorebook, and could not find any games pitched by Matt Clement. That’s too bad, since it would have been nice to have seen another all-star pitcher. (I do have a lot of Wakefield starts in those years, for some reason) Perhaps the defining moment for Clement as a Sox (other than the line drive) was him blowing up in game one of the 2005 ALDS. Clement went 3.1 innings, giving up 8 earned runs as the Sox lost the game en route to a series sweep. Those aren’t exactly two quality memories for a player.

But, Clement was an all-star from a team that made the playoffs. That has to count for something in the hearts and minds of Red Sox fans. And for that, he deserves warm birthday wishes.

Happy 36th Birthday Matt Clement!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Scored: April 10, 2004

Sometimes it’s such a waste. Look at that run total. 14 runs! What an offensive outing. Then you look at the pitcher. Pedro Martinez. Shoot. The Sox could have gotten by with just three. Why can’t they score 14 runs when the starting pitcher isn’t the best that ever lived? Why not save those runs for a Jeff Fassero start? But, they got the runs in a Pedro Start. I guess he needs run support too.

One of the most interesting parts of the scorecard, to me at least, is Trot Nixon’s at-bat in the first inning. He bunted Offerman to second. What’s that? A Red Sox player sacrificing in the first inning? Even back when the Sox sacrificed, that was pretty crazy. Why did they do that? The opposing pitcher was Tim Hudson. The Red Sox coaching staff wouldn’t have been alone if they though one run might be all that was scored that day. So, they went for the run right off the bat. It worked, sort of. The next batter drove the runner home, with a double. Of course, Offerman might have scored from first on a double anyway. Nixon himself scored from first on a double the very next inning. And, if Offerman didn’t score on the double, the single by Nomar would have done it. By the time the second inning was over, it was a moot point. The Sox had chased Hudson, andwere cruising on to victory. The only question became how long we’d be able to enjoy seeing Pedro on the mound. As it turns out, Pedro went seven innings. He gave up seven baserunners in those seven innings. Tim Hudson? He gave up seven runs. Quite the contrast, and not exactly the pitchers duel we were expecting.

I’m going to give the hitter of the day award to Carl Everett. Crazy Carl went 3-4, and drove in four runs. Every Red Sox starter scored a run in the game. The worst hitter on the day? I’m giving it to Troy O’leary and his o-fer. Nixon went hitless as well, but at least he walked a couple times, and contributed with that sac bunt.

There was plenty of talent in that game. Offerman, Nomar, Everett, Varitek, Pedro, and Wakefield all had been, or will have been to All-Star games. (On the other side, Hudson, and Miguel Tejada can make the same claim for the A’s.) There was both hitting and pitching. The stars shone in a great game.

And the scorecard shows how it happened.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wantlist: 1993

199 Greg Blosser
362 Frankie Rodriguez FOIL
383 Scott Fletcher
467 Scott Cooper
536 Mo Vaughn
551 Joe Ciccarella RC
635 Roger Clemens

7 Scott Cooper
33 Frank Viola
55 Ivan Calderon
84 Andre Dawson AS
104 Roger Clemens AS
165 Mo Vaughn
197 Mike Greenwell

1993 Stadium Club - RED SOX
87 Jose Melendez
112 Scott Fletcher
161 Jeff Reardon
281 Jeff Huson

1993 Topps Bos
409 Roger Clemens-Red Sox & Greg Maddux-Braves,
786 Mike Christopher Indians - Ken Ryan Red Sox - Aaron Taylor Cubs - Gus Gandarillas Twins

1993 Topps Gold Boston Red Sox
4 Roger Clemens
24 Tim Naehring
78 Greg Harris
162 Joe Hesketh
187 John Dopson
214 Danny Darwin
270 Frank Viola
296 Luis Rivera
351 Ellis Burks
377 Herm Winningham
390 Wade Boggs
424 John Valentin
456 Scott Taylor
528 Paul Quantrill
532 Tom Brunansky
562 Bob Zupcic
592 Phil Plantier
655 Scott Cooper
687 Tony Sheffield
725 Billy Hatcher
781 Jack Clark
409 Roger Clemens-Red Sox & Greg Maddux-Braves,
502 Butch Hobson-Red Sox & Jim Lefebvre-Cubs,
786 Mike Christopher Indians - Ken Ryan Red Sox - Aaron Taylor Cubs - Gus Gandarillas Twins

1993 Topps Traded - RED SOX
3 Aaron Sele
25 Jeff Russell
81 Jeff Richardson
92 Andre Dawson
103 Ken Ryan

Monday, August 9, 2010

Delgado Decision

Another interesting move by young Theo. The signing of Carlos Delgado certainly poses some questions.

Not that I don’t agree with the move. It just opens a can of worms, is all. The Sox needed a first baseman after Youkilis went down. Theo went and got a first baseman. Case closed. But, why this particular first baseman? The Sox have three guys currently on their roster than can play first base. Mike Lowell, Victor Martinez, and David Ortiz. Theo could have easily decided that the three-headed monster those players create would be just fine for another month. Once the roster expands in September, he could bring up a youngster to help out even more. That would be a perfectly reasonable plan for a team that was simply playing out the string. The Sox would have an adequate rotation at first, which could get them through the schedule. After all the injuries, that could have been what happened.

But, it wasn’t. Theo went outside the organization to find a first baseman. I’m certainly not suggesting that he went out and got Albert Pujols or anything. But, Delgado has the potential to be the best first base option on the roster. Does this mean Theo thinks the Sox have a chance? Is he adding weapons for a push to the playoffs? That would be a welcome revelation. Is this the beginning of even more moves towards this goal? Did that depend on what happened with today’s game? This weekend’s series? I don’t know. We’ll just have to see.

Personally, I can’t wait. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

More Trading

I recently got an e-mail form Tim from Red Sox Baseball Cards telling me that he had several cards from my wantlist, and wondered if we could work out a trade. He sent along his needs, and I was able to do a very poor job of finding cards he needed. I hesitate calling it a trade, since that would imply an even exchange of cards. Instead, for my pittance, Tim provided approximately 400 cards from my wantlist. Unbelievable! Here is a pathetically small sample of the goodies Tim sent along.

The Derek Lowe highlights card is great for me. I was at that no-hitter, and have been looking for this card ever since. The ’96 Clemens is great because, for some reason, I had no cards from that set. With this package, my team set is on its way to completion. The ’99 TSC is a great card. I love the photography the Stadium Club sets provide. The Eric Hetzel is a fun little sneaky set that Topps put out for a few years. It celebrates all the players who make their major league debuts during the season. I have practically none of the early Topps finest sets. Well, I had practically none. I now have a nice dent my needs for the shiny high-quality sets. Carl Pavano is always fun to see, since he meant so much to the Red Sox. After all, without him, Pedro might not have thrilled Sox fans for so many years. Tim Wakefield’s first Red Sox card was from the 1995 Topps Traded set. I wonder if even he would have thought that he’s still be having Red Sox cards in 2010. The shipment did a great job in filling my wantlists for the early sets. The 1980 Hobson, and the ’83 Gedman are great examples.

I usually try to only show a single grouping of cards in a trade post. After all, it can get pretty dull looking at picture after picture of cards. But, I had to make an exception in this case. With so many incredible cards included in the package, I had to include a second scan. In addition to the huge chunk of cards from my wantlist, Tim included a collection of cards I never knew I always wanted. From the 100 or so he sent, check out this sampling:

The Burger King card is a fun one. I don’t know much about this set. OK. All I know is that they look like regular Topps cards, but have a Burger King logo on them. I have no idea how you got them. I do know that I’ve seen them pop up on other blogs, and thought they were neat. I was thrilled when several of them found themselves in the package. The same can be said for the Coke cards that were included. The ones that look like 1981 Topps have the Coke logo in the corner. Again, I have no idea how you got them, but always thought they were a neat little variation. In addition to the Coke logo, the 1982 version includes the Brighams logo. So, I can only assume they were involved somehow in the distribution. Sounds like I need to do some research, eh? The MLB showdown cards are ones I always thought I should get. I love card games. What could be better than a baseball card game? But, I never really collected these sets. That’s what makes it so great to get a stack of them. The Bill Werle only looks like a 1953 Topps card. It is, of course, from the Topps Archive set. I forget which year this archive set was produced, but it doesn’t much matter. It’s a great way to add some older looking cards into your collection without spending a small fortune. I love Classic cards like the Rob Woodard. I can remember scouring toy stores for the sets when they would come out. The green borders are from the initial set, when it was still actually a game. The card has trivia questions of the back. As you got the questions correct, you moved around the bases to score runs. This set was a full-size board game. In later sets, the gameboard was hardly worth having, and only there so the company could produce cards under the “game” license. Pacific found a different way to sneak into a MLB license. They produced bilingual cards like the Otis Nixon. The card backs are in both Spanish and English, adding a unique twist. Of course, what collection would be complete without a sampling of boxed sets? The Toys R Us set was one of the millions you could find cluttering the shelves of stores everywhere. The designs are usually pretty fun, and add a nice change of pace to a collection. One of my favorite cards in the package is the Mo Vaughn card. I have no recollection of this set. But, for some reason, Pinnacle decided it would be fun to mount a “gold” coin into their baseball cards. So, they made up a coin of Mo to insert into his card. It’s a little strange since the coin is thicker than the card, making the coin stick out of the back. It makes the card a little cumbersome, but it’s a conversation starter…if nothing else.

So, there the quick sampling of the grouping of cards Tim sent over. I can’t thank him enough.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wantlist: 1992

306 Luis Ortiz RC

1992 TOPPS Gold Winner
3 Jeff Reardon RB
10 Wade Boggs
59 Mo Vaughn
127 Carlos Quintana
163 Dana Kiecker
182 Jeff Reardon
207 Jack Clark
249 Tony Fossas
296 Tom Brunansky
349 Steve Lyons
377 Bob Zupcic
399 Wade Boggs AS
416 Ellis Burks
468 Greg Harris
488 Scott Cooper
521 Joe Hesketh
598 Jody Reed
639 Wayne Housie
653 Dennis Lamp
677 John Marzano
694 Mike Gardiner
708 Tom Bolton
724 Kevin Morton
734 Scott Hatteberg
758 Tim Naehring
782 Phil Plantier
1992 Topps KIDS
69 Mike Greenwell
70 Ellis Burks
1992 TSC Dome
18 Wade Boggs AS
26 Joe Caruso
29 Roger Clemens AS
80 Scott Hatteberg
87 Terry Horn
149 Jeff Reardon
166 Chad Schoenvogel
168 Aaron Sele
1992 Topps Stadium Club Members Only
Wade Boggs
Roger Clemens - Matt Young

1992 Topps Traded - RED SOX
32T John Flaherty
52T Butch Hobson
125T Frank Viola
131T Herm Winningham

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ellsbury, Youkilis, and Some Randomness

Kevin Youkilis went on the DL yesterday. Really, there has to be some sort of rule against that, right? Once a team loses 5 or 6 all-stars to the DL in one season, they should be able to select a player from another team to fill his spot. Like an expansion draft. Start with the teams in the basement, and start going up until you find a good player. But, really, has any team ever dealt with this kind of talent being lost in a year? Check out this all-DL team for the 2010 Red Sox.

Pitchers: Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Manny Delcarmen (yeah, I know)
Catcher: Jason Varitek
First Base: Kevin Youkilis
Second Base: Dustin Pedroia
Third Base: Mike Lowell
Shortstop: Wait…nobody? If I were Marco Scutaro, I’d watch out
Outfield: Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron, Jeremy Hermida
DH: Victor Martinez

Let’s see, that’s eight former all-stars and a former MVP? Any other team able to match that? It’s even worse to think that they’ve practically all overlapped. In fact, other than Youk, I think there may have been a point where everyone else was on the DL at the same time. Yikes!

I finally figured out the Ellsbury hubbub. I finally realized why he’s been slammed constantly in the paper and on the radio for healing. Theo wants to trade him. That’s basically Theo’s MO when he wants to trade a popular and talented player. Get the media to say he’s soft and doesn’t want to play. Nomar? You can’t trade him. He’s a Boston icon. So, the media went to work saying he actually threatened not to play. The team owned TV station was sure to zoom in on him every time he was on the bench when the Sox were losing. Therefore, it was easier to trade him. Manny? Same thing. He was too talented to trade. (Even John Henry thought so.) So, you have to slander him first. Start leaking every time there’s a minor incident. Have the team owned TV station zoom in on the dugout during a scuffle. Have the radio stations claim that he, too, threatened not to play. That made it easier to trade him. So, now we have Ellsbury. He’s talented, and a fan favorite. (Remember the uproar over including him in a Santana deal?) So, Theo got to work. Get the radio stations to say he’s soft, and taking too long to play. Have the team owned TV station show him in the dugout as the Sox are losing a game he’s not playing it. It’s like they have the script printed and ready whenever Theo wants to do something stupid.

The difference this time? Two things really. First, a lot of Jacoby’s fans are women who think he’s cute. They don’t care if he plays hard, or not. (And, no, not all his women fans are only fans because he’s cute) So, the usual slander won’t work. Second? Unlike the other two moves, trading Ellsbury makes sense. How’s this for an off-season? Call San Diego. Give them the Ellsbury and Buchholz package they wanted for Adrian Gonzalez. (Obviously, try to get them to take Casey Kelly or Daisuke Matsuzaka instead of Clay. Seriously…Dice-K in Petco could work.) Let Victor Martinez and Beltre walk. They’ll want more money than Theo will want to give. Sign Ortiz to a contract just like he has now. Use the money they saved not paying Beltre, Lowell, and Martinez to make the hard push for Carl Crawford. Not just hard. Blow him away. Can’t refuse, kind of offer. Then sit back with this line-up:


And a rotation of:


Not a bad idea, if you ask me. See? Theo doesn’t need to slander players.

He just needs to make sense when he trades them away.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Injury Bug

I’m not sure which is more frustrating for me as a Red Sox fan: that every day there seems to be a new injury to a key member of the team, or the morons complaining about the speed with which the players recover from the injury. At the moment, I’m leaning towards the latter.

Players get hurt. It’s annoying. It happens to every team. But why, oh why, do fans seem to think players can mentally change the healing process? Why do they think you can will a broken bone or pulled muscle away? Why do they think playing with pain is so noble, when taking time to heal a character flaw?

Jacoby Ellsbury broke his ribs. I’ve never broken a rib, but I’m guessing it hurts a lot. I’ve broken a collarbone, which is a similar thing. They can’t cast a collarbone, so I was simply trying to keep it still. Every time I moved just wrong, it sent a jolting pain up and down my body. Fun, it wasn’t. And, I wasn’t even trying to swing a bat. Who am I to say how long it takes before a player can stop that jabbing pain? I’ve heard Lou Moron-i spout over and over on EEI that Ellsbury needs to learn how much pain he should be playing with. Huh? I’m guessing that Ellsbury knows how much pain he is in. He knows when he can play. He’ll come back when he can play the game the way he needs to play it.

Ellsbury is currently on a rehab assignment, working his way back. More EEIdiots have actually suggested he should be playing for the Sox, instead of rehabbing in the minors. They seem to ignore the fact that coming back form a rib injury, it might not be the best idea to get out there and start playing every game right away. He should probably take it easy for a bit. Take a game off here and there. So, he could play for the big club, and sit out once every few games. The Sox tried that with a player once. Nomar played with the big club. He just took a “scheduled” day off every once in a while. The media ran him out of town for it. Didn’t David Wells once want to skip a rehab assignment? He was slammed by the media for being more concerned about reaching personal incentives than helping the team. So, Ellsbury goes on a rehab, gets slammed. Nomar and Wells don’t, and get slammed. Which is it?

The other option open for Ellsbury? To have come back a while ago, and play through severe pain. Yeah, he could have done that. People point to the fact that Mike Cameron did. (Cameron is now back on the DL.) Of course, when Cameron was in there playing with pain, he couldn’t get to flyballs. He couldn’t generate the same bat speed. He was a fraction of himself. That was helpful? Didn’t Bill Buckner try to play through painful ankle injuries once? Didn’t he keep playing, despite the fact that those sore ankles limited his range and mobility? Did that help the Sox out? Didn’t Curt Schilling once try to pitch through an ankle injury? It was a big game, the first game of the ALCS even. Didn’t he grit it out for the “good” of the team, and play through? Didn’t he show his guts and play his heart out for the team? Well, he did for the first three innings anyway. That’s when he was knocked out of the game, having given up six runs and digging a series hole for the Sox that they were just barely able to dig out of. It’s really good that he played, instead of giving the ankle more time to heal so that he could pitch, you know, effectively.

Yes. There are players who help their team just by having their name on a roster or line-up card. Manny Ramirez sitting in the dugout terrified Joe Torre. Even if the report stated that Manny was not available, just having him in the dugout changed the way Torre managed. Pedro Martinez changed a game just by being there. When he trotted out of the bullpen in game 5 of the ’99 ALDS, the Cleveland crowd went silent. They were scared to death of the sight of him jogging in. The Indians line-up had itself beat before he threw a pitch. Ellsbury isn’t Manny or Pedro. (Neither is Pedroia, by the way, but that’s another story)

Why can’t we trust that players know when they can play? Why can’t we assume that Ellsbury would want nothing more than to play the centerfield position left open by Cameron’s injuries? Why do fans keep assuming that “75% of so-and-so is better than a sub”? It’s usually not.

It hardly ever is.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Boy Wonder

It’s appropriate that some people referred to young Theo Epstein as “Boy Wonder” when he took over control of the Sox. Boy, does he make me Wonder.

The trade deadline passed this weekend. The Sox had a lot to do in order to make a run at the playoffs. They needed bullpen help more than just about anything. The Sox needed an outfielder. With Ellsbury out for a bit more, and Cameron apparently needing lots of extra rest, a quality back-up outfielder would be huge. They had Mike Lowell tearing up his rehab starts. Since the Sox were apparently in no hurry to add him to their roster, he needed to be sent away. Luckily, there was a lot of good going on with the team. Injuries to stars were starting to go away. Ellsbury is on rehab assignment. Pedroia can start ramping up the rehab again. Victor Martinez just returned, allowing the Sox to stop using their third string catcher. So, how did the Boy Wonder improve his team? Anyone?

He traded for a back-up catcher. What? He traded away a bullpen arm. Huh? He designated his back-up outfielder for assignment. What’s that now? So, he filled a hole that was no longer there, and made two other holes worse? Umm…Ok.

He couldn’t have traded for a decent catcher a month ago? Why did he wait until now? He didn’t have the cash/PTBNL that would have gotten Austin Kearns? Like I said, the Sox have their stars returning. I didn’t need a big splash. I needed some improvement to get the best offense in baseball back up and running.

I’ll cut Theo a little slack in the lack of movement in the relief corps. Grabbing other team’s closers is an expensive way to go about it. If he wants another team’s set-up guy, he can probably get it through a waiver trade without having to settle for a mediocre closer like the Yankees did. He just needs to actually make a move for a middle reliever, and fast. Theo still has options. Honestly, he can probably even still get a not-so-bad bat. (the lone advantage of being in third place) He just has to improve this team so it doesn’t look like he’s given up on the season. He better not be saving everything for next year.

That sure looks like what he’s doing.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Thoughts

Once again, I opened the mailbox and found an unexpected bubble mailer inside. It’s always quite exciting to see what wonders lie within. Just like last time, this surprise package was from Adam of Thoughts and Sox. It seems that as I post my wantlists, he’s been finding more and more cards that I need. It’s been fantastic to knock of chunks of my wants like that. What did he send over this time? Here’s a quick sample.

The Boggs and Rice are from commemorative all-star sets inserted into rack packs. The Boggs is from the 1987 set, and the Rice ’86. Since I didn’t buy many of these types of packs, my collection is limited. It’s always nice to add new ones. The Quinones is from the 1986 Topps Traded set. Despite the name of the set, Quinones hadn’t been traded. But, the set also included players making their ML debuts after the main set had hit the printers. That’s where Rey comes in. After three seasons in the Sox system, he got the call in 1986. The rest of the cards are from the 1985 Topps set. This is one of the first sets I remember having any quantity of. I remember buying a lot of “old” packs of 1985 Topps chasing the selecting of rookie cards including Roger Clemens, Dwight Gooden, and Mark McGwire. For some reason, though, not many of the ’85 Red Sox remain in my collection…and I never got the Clemens (or McGwire). But, this is a selection of some of the cards from that set. A young Oil Can looks out from behind some great spec’s. Bruce Hurst would have many fine years with the Sox. Jerry Remy looks to be having a pretty good time, years before he would begin his second career. The man who took Remy’s position, Marty Barrett, looks thrilled to be here. Mike Easler came off a fine year for the Sox in 1984, and was looking to do it once again. The Tony Armas is from the All-Star subset of cards. In addition to his regular issue, he appears on this card with special recognition. In the 1984 season, Armas slugged 43 home runs, and drove in 123 runs. That was a monster season. He was well deserving of the all-star nod.

As I mentioned, this was a small look at the selection Adam sent over. The rest are just as wonderful. As always, it was much appreciated.

I love surprises.

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