Sunday, January 30, 2011

Red Sox A-Z: Y is for…

Youkilis, as in Kevin.

The Red Sox have had a surprisingly large number of players with a last name starting with “Y”, including a couple Hall of Famers. But, Youkilis gets the nod in this case because he is on just about everyone’s mind at the moment. The Red Sox have had an enormous off-season this year. Everyone is beyond excited about the additions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. Of course, a very important part of the signings is Kevin Youkilis.

Youkilis is a gold-glove first baseman. Youkilis is a two-time all-star at first base. He is the heart of the Boston Red Sox batting order. How could the Red Sox trade for another superstar first baseman with Youkilis on the roster? Because Youkilis can also play third base. That versatility is a huge asset for the Sox. Hopefully it doesn’t become a detriment to Youkilis’s career. That’s really what happened to Tim Wakefield. Because he could start or relieve, the Sox had him to both. So, he never really stuck at one position. He was never able to add up the stats the way he could at a dedicated position. It wasn’t his fault he was so good at starting that they stopped having him close. It wasn’t his fault that because he could come out of the pen they made other people starters. So, Wakefield has neither impressive career starter or reliever numbers. The same could happen to Youkilis. While it certainly looks like he’ll be at third from here on out, I’m sure they’ll flip him if they need to. So, he’ll miss the chance at being an all-time great first baseman, and third baseman. He’ll just have to shoot for great player.

To be honest, I’m not really a Youkilis fan. It’s nothing against him. He’s a great player. He’s a wonderful addition to the Red Sox (or any) line-up. But, he just doesn’t do anything for me. He doesn’t have Jacoby’s amazing speed. He doesn’t have the imposing fear of Manny. He reminds me of Tim Duncan. When you just do everything very well, without flair, it hurts your image. Sometimes I’d be at a Red Sox game, and wait an inning before going under the stands because Nomar was coming up. Or Manny was due. I don’t do that with Youkilis. He’s just another fine player on the team.

The first time I saw Youkilis play was on June 18, 2005. He was a pinch-hitter, interestingly enough, for Manny Ramirez. Manny had been hit by a pitch in his previous at-bat, so I wonder if that had something to do with it. Youkilis struck out in his only two at-bats that game. It got better from there.

So, as we start the 2011 season for the Red Sox, they have a new old first baseman. Hopefully the switch across the diamond will go as smoothly as it did the first time for Youkilis and the Red Sox. After all, if Youk is the Sox third baseman for the next six years, the Red Sox will be quite the team.

Y is for Youkilis, Kevin.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Card of the Week: 1978 Topps #345

What a great looking card. The card design is very understated, which wasn’t exactly typical for the seventies. But, the simple frame leaves it up to the picture to supply the pizzazz. This is a great “action” shot of Tiant making at least one fan very happy.

I always wonder when looking at older cards how the printing companies worked. Look at the “P” in the baseball in the upper right corner. It’s off-center. Why? Was the printing company unable to print it in the center of the ball? Was it a case of the different color plates not lining up properly from one printing to the next? Did Topps decide it wasn’t worth the effort to get it to print properly? The kids collecting cards weren’t going to notice a slight imperfection like that. Is it like that on all the Tiant cards? With this kind of sloppiness so widespread during the older sets, how did card collecting take off in the first place?

The offset P aside, I still think this is a wonderful card. Love the red hat. Love the face of Tiant. Love the simple glimpse into his day. Nicely dine.

Except for the P.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Show Me Your Underwear

Yes, there’s only two weeks left! One single fortnight is left to find all the items from the 2010 Section 36 Scavenger Hunt, including Red Sox underwear. (No, you don’t need to be wearing it in the picture…unless you realy want to.)

To find the list of items, click the link above, or the link on the sidebar. Remember, all the pictures are due before 12:36 on February 9, 2011. There’s still plenty of time, but it’s getting shorter by the day.

Keep looking, and keep taking pictures!

Monday, January 24, 2011

List of 36: Best Players I’ve Seen Play In Person

1. Roberto Alomar (Hall of Famer)
2. Josh Beckett (LCS MVP, WS MVP)
3. Wade Boggs (HOF)
4. Barry Bonds (7-time MVP)
5. Jose Canseco (MVP)
6. Roger Clemens (7-time Cy Young)
7. Bartolo Colon (Cy Young)
8. Dennis Eckersley (HOF)
9. Eric Gagne (Cy Young)
10. Nomar Garciaparra (2-time batting champ)
11. Jason Giambi (MVP)
12. Tom Glavine (300-wins)
13. Juan Gonzalez (MVP)
14. Ken Griffey Jr (All-Century Team)
15. Vladimir Guerrero (MVP)
16. Roy Halladay (2-time Cy Young)
17. Josh Hamilton (MVP)
18. Todd Helton (Batting Champ)
19. Rickey Henderson (HOF)
20. Randy Johnson (300 wins)
21. Chipper Jones (MVP)
22. Cliff Lee (Cy Young)
23. Greg Maddux (300 wins)
24. Pedro Martinez (3-time Cy Young)
25. Dustin Pedroia (MVP)
26. Mike Piazza (Catcher HR leader)
27. Cal Ripken (HOF)
28. Alex Rodriguez (3-time MVP)
29. Ivan Rodriguez (MVP)
30. CC Sabathia (Cy Young)
31. Bret Saberhagen (2-time Cy Young)
32. John Smoltz (Cy Young)
33. Ichiro Suzuki (MVP)
34. Miguel Tejada (MVP)
35. Frank Thomas (2-time MVP)
36. Mo Vaughn (MVP)

Who’s on your list?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

How do Baseball Card Photographers take their pictures?

When you look through a stack of baseball cards, the variety of the shots always strikes me. You have shots in the dugout. Shots in the field. Shots at the plate. Action shots, and posed shots. I always wondered how they decided to take a picture of the third baseman backing up a throw, as opposed to the fielder making the throw, or the runner that caused the throw. Is it random? Luck? Skill? Do they just instinctively know which shot will make the best picture? How many pictures do they take each game? Do they have a system?

Being who I am, I suppose, I would have a system for myself to make sure I get a nice selection of shots of everyone. Say I went to a three-game series to take pictures. The first game, I’d focus on the home team. Every inning, I’d pick a position. In the top of that inning, I’d focus on that position in the field, taking as many shots as I could. So, if I picked left field in the first inning, I’d take shots of the left fielder all inning. If he’s standing in his ready position, click away. If he’s chasing down a flyball, click away. If he’s backing up a throw to third, click away. If he’s midair, making a diving grab, keep clicking. That would give me a nice selection of fielding shots of that player. In the bottom of the inning, take pictures of the batters. Swinging, stepping, checking, looking, shaking, whatever. So, now I have shots at the plate, and shots in the field. I’ve got every position player. Perfect.

The second game, I do the opposite. The same routine, but with the visiting team. Again, that gives me the chance to get a nice variety of shots of all the starters as they do the various things during the game. The third game of the series, I’d try to get everything else. Maybe that’s when I take some dugout shots. Or, shots of someone on-deck. Or, anyone who happens to be on base. Or, if I didn’t get many useable shots of a player before, I’d try to focus on him. Then, I’d have both teams covered, and have a great collection of shots.

Of course, I’d need a little flexibility when it came to the bench players. If a guy comes into the game late, I’d need to take advantage of the chance. Otherwise, I’d be stuck with bench/bullpen shots of the non-starters. Then, it would be off to another city to repeat the whole process over again.

I wonder if that’s how they do it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Card of the Week: 1976 Topps #340

This card is a perfect example of why I am a Red Sox team collector. It illustrates clearly why I am a much happier collector since I decided to focus on the seven-time World Champions.

I acquired this card during the ’85-86 off-season. I just had to have it. I didn’t have many “old” cards like this one. I loved the photo showing the red caps, and pullover uniform top. I also didn’t have any cards displaying the Topps All-Star rookie cup. What a great element. (Of course, I just had to wait a couple months to get some more since Topps included them on their 1987 set) The card was so perfect that I was willing to overlook the small pinhole at the top of Rice’s cap. I didn’t care. What did I need to give up to add this beauty to my collection? A1984 Fleer rookie card of some youngster named Darryl Strawberry. Sure, he was an up and coming star. Sure he just beat my Sox in the World Series. It was still well worth parting with his rookie in order to grab this Rice.

Of course, in the coming years, I wouldn’t be so positive about that. I watched Strawberry have monster year after monster year. The value of his rookie cards shot through the roof. Rice on the other hand started limping to the end of his career. But, I was still glad I had the Rice card, even if it meant taking it on the chin with Strawberry. Then, of course, things reversed themselves. The value of the Strawberry card went in the toilet along with his career. Suddenly, the Rice card was the better of the two again.

Which, I suppose, is the moral of the story. If you collect what you like, you’ll always be pleased with it. If you try to collect all the hot young stars, you’re going to be burned along the way. Sure, I might have been able to get more for my Strawberry if I had dumped him at his absolute peak. But, I still love the Rice.

And that’s really all that matters.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Which Ted Williams Card Should I Get?

I realized recently, that I had a gaping hole in my Red Sox collection. I did not have a single vintage card of the greatest player ever to put on a Red Sox uniform. I didn’t have a single card from Ted Williams’s playing days. How could that be? Well, I know how it could be. His cards are friggin expensive. But, what with places like ebay around, I should have tried to get a low-grade version of one of his cards to meet my collecting needs. I’ve decided that I need to do this. But, that leaves one very important question. Which card should I go after?

I decided pretty quickly which ones not to go after. As much as I’d love to have a copy of his 1939-41 Playball cards, those are off the list. In order to fit into my collection budget, those cards would need to be torn in half, and glued together backwards. That’s not the type of card I’d like to add. Same goes for the 1954 Bowman. I don’t need a card that looks like a dog chewed it, just so I can afford it. That really leaves me just where I’d like to be left. Since I am (basically) a Topps collector, it would make sense to have an early Topps Williams. But which one?
A quick look through an old Beckett gives me six choices. I want to stick to base cards. No All-star cards or any other type of specialty card. That leaves me with two choices in 1954, and one each in 1955, 1956, 1957, and 1958. I don’t think I want the 1958. The idea of his last Topps card is appealing. But, Ted played a few more years after this, so it’s not like it would have his career stats on the back. Plus, I think Ted just looks old on this card. It’s sort of an “old Elvis” or “young Elvis” choice. I also don’t think I want the 1957. I’ve said before that I don’t really care for the design. Old cards can either look “classic” or “old.” I think this design just looks old. The same cannot be said for the 1956 version. I think this is a sharp card. It definitely is up for consideration. The 1955 is almost an exact match of the 1956 card. I think the ’56 has a few more bells and whistles in the design though. So, I’ll eliminate the 1955. In 1954, we were treated to two different Ted Williams cards. I have no idea why. I assume Topps was just excited to have signed such a mega-star to be on their cards. So, they put him as the first card, and the last card in the set. I don’t know if one version is considered his “regular” card more than the other. Card #250 uses the same headshot that is found on the 1955 and 1956 cards, along with a smaller action shot, both on a yellow background. It doesn’t really do much for me. Card #1, though, has a fuller body shot along with an action shot on an orange background. For some reason, it just appeals to me more.

So, I have a decision. The 1954 #1, or the 1956? Or, was I too harsh in eliminating one of the other choices?

What does everyone else think?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Case Against Mariano Rivera

I keep telling Adam_The_Yankees_Fan that one day I’ll put into a post the reasons I discount Mariano Rivera as a Hall-of-Famer. Well, today is the lucky day! Since the Red Sox apparently actually made a run at Rivera this off-season, it’s also not a bad idea to point out the reasons it’s a good thing he returned to the Bronx. It’s actually a fairly easy case to make.

Simply put, for every game an American League manager selects the best player he has available at ten positions. He lists those players as his “starters.” Last year, how many times did Mariano Rivera make that list? Zero. The year before? Zero. The last ten years? Zero. In his career? Ten. That’s it. Ten. If he’s not the best on his team, how is he one of the best all-time? 

But, you’ll tell me. Rivera isn’t a starter. He’s a closer. That makes him just as important as a starter. Bunk. Closers are closers because they aren’t good enough to be starters. Don’t believe me? Look at Joba Chamberlain. He was a very good reliever. Probably could have been the closer of the future. But, the Yankees knew he would be more valuable as a starter, if he could pull it off. So, Rivera’s very own manager made the choice to make his best pitchers starters. Clearly, Rivera is not one of those pitchers. 

But, you’ll complain, closer has become a new position. Just because it is only used at the end of the game, you’ll say, doesn’t mean he wasn’t selected to be the best at this new position. I’d have to remind you, though, that there are still only the ten positions. All a closer really is is a specific substitution. Does Dave Roberts belong in the hall of fame because he was an elite pinch runner? What about Dave Stapleton for his top notch performance as a defensive replacement? Bobby Kielty was a pretty good pinch hitter. Are they now deserving to be an all-time great? Why is this substitution suddenly so important?

But, OK. Just to get on with the post, I’ll let you call closer a new position. Let’s see how Rivera compares to other pitchers. How many times has Rivera led the league in wins? Zero. How many times has Rivera led his league in ERA? Zero. He’s never pitched enough innings to qualify. How many times has Rivera led his league in Strikeouts? WHIP? Any stat of substance? Zero. But, you’re thinking, he’s a closer. He’s the best closer ever. They invented a stat just to let closers earn more money. What about saves? In Rivera’s seventeen seasons how many times has he led the league in saves? Three. Yup. Three. Derek Lowe led the league once. So did Tom Gordon. I’m just saying.

OK. So, maybe Rivera hasn’t had the best season ever. Maybe he’s like Dave Stewart. A top pitcher every year, but always seems to have another person have a better year. What about Rivera’s career numbers? If Rivera’s the best closer ever, he must have the most of that closer stat all-time. Nope. He’s not the career saves leader. Last season, he wasn’t even the active career leader. OK. What about career numbers in other categories? He’s amassed enough career innings that he might qualify for career rankings. And, you’d be right. In his career, Rivera is the active ERA leader, ranking 13th all-time. He’s also the active career leader in Walks per nine innings, and WHIP. Isn’t that impressive? 

Well, not exactly. 

Remember, Rivera’s a closer. As such, there’s a cap as to how poorly he can perform. Let’s say a starting pitcher shows up to a game completely off. Maybe he’s distracted by a family matter, or injured, or drunk. He could go out and have a terrible start. Carl Pavano once gave up six runs to the Red Sox before recording an out. That will land a big hit to your numbers, and skew them a bit. Just from one bad outing. But, say Rivera comes to a game completely off. He enters the game in the bottom of the ninth with a one-run lead to “save” and gives up a hit to every batter he faces. He’ll probably only give up two runs. Five at the most if he gives up a grand slam. So, Rivera’s poor performances are capped by the fact that he only pitches the ends of games. He can’t give up seven runs in four innings. He’s never out there that long. That’s why relievers always have great numbers. They aren’t in games long enough to let bad days affect them. So, all their numbers are incomparable.

Ok. So, Rivera is hardly ever the best pitcher on his team. Never the best in the league in any one year. He’s near the top in some career stats, once you allow his stats to be skewed. Sound like a Hall-of-Famer yet? Not to me. Ahh. But, the postseason. That’s where Rivera makes his case. Right? The best closer in the history of the postseason, they say. OK. Let’s look at that closer stat again. In his career, Rivera has 42 saves, and he’s blown 4 (or maybe 5). That’s an amazing 91.3% success rate. That’s unheard of. Really? Let’s see. In the 2009 season, Jonathan Papelbon saved 38 of 41 chances for a 92.9% rate. In 2007, Pap converted 92.5% of his chances. In 2007, JJ Putz converted 95.2%. In 2007, Jason Isringhausen converted 94.1% of his chances. And, in 2008 Brad Lidge went 41/41. What’s the point, other than the fact that stats for blown saves are hard to find? Rivera’s postseason career save percentage is about what you’d expect a closer to achieve if you give him 46 chances. Whoop-de-doo. It’s just that other closers don’t get 46 postseason chances.

One last thing about Rivera. Although, this is less about Rivera and more about the perception of him. More about the way people talk and think about the Yankees, as opposed to other teams. I saw a blog once discussing Jeff Bagwell’s Hall of Fame chances. A comment was left by someone saying that he didn’t think Bagwell belonged in the hall because he was a teammate of Ken Caminiti. He wouldn’t consider any of the Astros of that era because he didn’t trust their numbers not to be artificially inflated. That’s fine. That’s his opinion. He’s not the only person I’ve heard express a similar opinion. How can so-and-so be clean if they were teammates with so-and-so? It’s interesting, then, that Rivera has shared a locker room with Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Roger Clemens, and Jose Canseco.

So, how can I possibly think Rivera belongs in the Hall of Fame?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Diary of a Red Sox Season By: Johnny Pesky with Maureen Mullen

This book is a glimpse into the personal diary of Red Sox great
Johnny Pesky. It follows the magical 2007 season from the signing of the new ace, Daisuke Matsuzaka, through the hoisting of the World Championship trophy. Along the way Pesky gives his unique insight into the goings on with the Red Sox. He relates the events of the day with events from his own career. He tells stories from the point of view of someone with more than 65 years in baseball. It is a combination of the old with the new. It brings the season to life in a whole new way.

The fact that this book involves the 2007 season raises a question. I have already talked about Faithful, which is a chronicle of the 2004 season. So, that’s two diaries of two World Championship seasons. Are there diaries of the 2006 season out there that the authors scrapped after the team didn’t make the playoffs? Or is it just luck that they both started this project at the start of championship runs. In this case, since it suggests it is from Pesky’s personal diary, it’s possible that he’s been doing this all his life. Maybe he just copied the pages from this season because someone felt it was the most interesting. It’s not a day-by-day account. It does have frequent entries, though. So, you can still follow the season along just by reading the entries. If I had a complaint, it is that the entries are too short. It does, though, give the feel that these really are journal entries. In comparison to Faithful, it feels less like these entries were written with a book in mind. It reads like someone just jotting down some thoughts he happened to have. It gives it it’s own special quality. There are multiple references to Pesky’s career, and his teammates. This, again, adds to the feeling that you’re just sitting and talking to Pesky. I can just imagine him seeing Ellsbury steal a base, and think about himself running the bases with Dom DiMaggio. There aren’t many people who would be able to add the type of insight that Pesky does. It’s a wonderful read.

Rating: 3 bases

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Scored! July 31, 1999

Here’s another game from the great 1999 season. Looking at the top of the card, I can see that this was a great game. A walk-off win against the Yankees. Is there a better type of game? I doubt it.

Starting the game, the Red Sox appeared to be in a hole. It doesn’t show, but the Yankees starter was Roger Clemens. The Red Sox countered with Brian Rose. Not exactly the match-up Red Sox fans would have hoped for. As it turned out, we were half right. A look at the pitchers box shows that Rose got lit up. Five runs and eleven hits in four innings are not usually going to get it done against Clemens. Luckily for the Sox, in this case, it was just barely enough. Clemens wasn’t much better, giving up four runs of his own over five innings. That’s what set up the late-inning heroics.

Is it any surprise that the first Red Sox run was a Trot Nixon homer? Was there a more notorious Clemens killer than Nixon? His homer in the third allowed the Sox to sneak back into the game after an early hole.

I’d be tempted to give Trot the “player of the game” honors, but I can’t. Look at the day Jose Offerman had. He reached base all five times he came to the plate. He scored three runs, and drew three walks. His leadoff triple in the bottom of the ninth was enormous. If you can get a runner at third in a situation like that, it changes the whole dynamic of the inning. It made it easy for Valentin to knock home the game winner.

The goat of the day? Other than Rose? Has to be Brian Daubach. Something about Brians that day. Dauber went hitless in four at-bats on the day, striking out twice. Not exactly what you need from the third hitter in your line-up. (Wow. Daubach was hitting third!) Thankfully the Sox were able to overcome that performance.

So, the Sox won in exciting fashion. They stole a game that they lost easily on paper. They allowed their fans to go home happy, which is always the goal.

And the scorecard shows how it happened.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where, oh where, is Mike Cameron?

Yes, there’s only a month left! One single month is left to find all the items from the 2010 Section 36 Scavenger Hunt, including a Mike Cameron baseball card.

To find the list of items, click the link above, or the link on the sidebar. and, please note that I have added to the prize. the winner will also recieve 200 cards of their favorite MLB team! Yahoo! Remember, all the pictures are due before 12:36 on February 9, 2011. There’s still plenty of time, but it’s getting shorter by the day.

Keep looking, and keep taking pictures!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A New Hall of Famer

This week the Baseball Hall of Fame released the results of the 2011 voting. There weren’t really any surprises in the results. In my eyes, the only player on the ballot worthy of election was Roberto Alomar, and he was elected. I honestly don’t know why I don’t consider Barry Larkin to be the same lock. But, I don’t. Maybe it’s just an AL bias on my part. Bert Blyleven did most of his pitching before I was really watching baseball. So, I’m willing to defer to others when it comes to his enshrinement. It’s still weird to me, though, whenever someone gets elected after so long on the ballot. Did he get better since he stopped pitching? How come so few people thought he was a Hall-of-Famer right after he retired? The only reason I could see someone being elected after so long is if something they did, that was thought to be commonplace, was actually pretty hard. Hitting .400, for example. When Ted Williams did it, I wouldn’t say it was common…but it happened. Eight players had topped the mark in the last 20 years. So, I could see it being slightly ho-hum at the time. But, now that it hasn’t been done in the last 70 years, it’s a much bigger deal. But, that didn’t really happen with Blyleven. If anything, a few more pitchers have topped many of his career numbers since he retired. My assumption is that he got the same support Rice got. The voters were pretty sure Rice and Blyleven were clean. They’re not sure if anyone who played after them was. So, they’d hate to not elect either of them and find out in five years that every player who played from 1992 to 2010 was cheating. So, they had to elect them before they lost the chance. But, that’s not the most important part about this year’s results. What is? I’m glad you asked.

Roberto Alomar’s election gives me one more Hall-of-Famer on my list of players I’ve seen live. By my count, that gives me five HOFers on my list: Alomar, Boggs, Eckersley, Henderson, and Ripken. That’s not a bad list. Plus, that’s a bit conservative. I don’t count players that I only saw live at the 1999 All-Star game. Somehow, that just doesn’t seem right. And, I saw a Royals game in 1989, and a Red Sox game in 1983. George Brett, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jim Rice probably played in those games. But, since I can’t prove it I don’t count them. (Although, I probably have the ticket stubs somewhere…I should look up the box scores.)

I saw Alomar play live five times. Two of those appearances were in the classic Pedro-Colon pitching match-ups in 1999 and 2000. The most memorable time, though, was the “sixth” time I saw him. That 1999 All-Star game. Alomar, of course, made an error on a groundball hit by Matt Williams in the second inning. That prevented Pedro from having a perfect outing. It also allowed the inning ending strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play. What a memory.

Congratulations to Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 Calendar

So, I finally got my hands on the 2011 Red Sox team calendar. Always better to grab calendars after the new year, right? I was struck by the player selection. Here is who they decided to feature.

Mike Cameron
Daniel Bard
Jacoby Ellsbury
Tim Wakefield
Kevin Youkilis
Jon Lester
Jonathan Papelbon
Josh Beckett
Marco Scutaro
John Lackey
JD Drew
Dustin Pedroia

There were a couple interesting things. First, all twelve players are still members of the Red Sox. I can only assume this wasn’t luck. I wonder if they had mock-ups of Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre ready to go just in case they came back to the team. Obviously, they don’t have the two biggest additions. They couldn’t have gotten pictures of them in a Sox uniform in time anyway.

But, I assume that these calendars are made by some central office. I assume that all major league teams are made by the same group of people. They just add the pictures and logos of whichever team they need. So, the selection of two bullpen pitchers not named Papelbon is an interesting move. Tim Wakefield was the Red Sox long relief guy last season, and looks to fill the same role this year. You mean to tell me the guy at corporate headquarters knew that Red Sox fans would want that particular mop up guy included? Wouldn’t you think a standard inclusion of the starting rotation would be the way to go? Do other teams have long relievers included? Maybe they make the assumption that most teams don’t have four starters worth featuring? Not every team would be excluding Clay Buchholz. I mean, he finished sixth in the Cy Young voting last year, and can’t get a month? Daniel bard is another interesting inclusion. I’m guessing there isn’t a standard “The set up guy will be in February” rule that the designers were following. So, it’s great to see.

It’s also interesting that both Ellsbury and Cameron are listed as centerfielders. So, either they couldn’t make up their minds, or knew they were including a back-up and just went with it anyway. In that case, though, wouldn’t you pick Clay over a guy on the bench?

So, how did they make the selections? A poll of Red Sox fans? A look at poplar google searches? How did they select which players to feature?

Because, they did quite a good job.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Blogs from Other Teams

Every once in a while, it happens. I want to read a blog from a fan of another team. Maybe I want to see what a Tampa fan’s reaction was to losing Carl Crawford. Or does a Padres blogger think Adrian Gonzalez will handle playing in Boston? Sometimes, it’s easy to find blogs of other teams, sometimes not. There are several blogs out there with rather extensive blogrolls linking to sites from all over. And, those are helpful. But, I still can’t find all the teams. And, many of the links I stumble upon are for blogs that are inactive, or just not very good. (No offense)

So, I turn to all of you for help. If you write, or know of, a good blog that focuses on a specific MLB team, leave a link in a comment so I can check it out. I’m not looking for the professional bloggers out there. I can find the Minnesota newspaper fairly easily to find a sportswriter’s blog. Plus, I may want to write and ask a specific question I have. I imagine I’d have a better chance of a response if I stuck to amateurs. (Although, if you are a professional, and want to hear from me you can certainly leave your own link)

So, who out there has a great baseball team blog? Which ones do I want to check out regularly?

Is there a blog by a Pirates fan?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 36th Birthday Jeff Suppan

Jeff Suppan had two stints with the Red Sox. He came up with the Sox in 1995, and hung around until 1997. He picked up nine wins for the Sox in this stint before beginning to bounce from team to team. One of those bounces landed him back in Boston at the 2003 trading deadline. It was a pretty big pick up at the time. He was supposed to be the key to getting the Sox over the top. He wasn’t. Looking back, it was the classic case of “best available” becoming “best.” Just because he was the best pitcher on the trading block, he became everyone’s must-have. But, it still didn’t make him a difference maker. His half season in Boston was less than memorable. The only memorable thing about it, really, was the set of trades he was involved in. The Red Sox and Pirates swapped a couple players back and forth in a couple deals just before the deadline. It was a weird series of events. But, it was the role that Suppan played the following year that was the most help to the Sox.

In 2004 Suppan was a top starter for the Cardinals. As such, he found himself starting game 3 of the World Series against Pedro Martinez. Since the game was in St Louis, things were looking up for the Cardinals, despite being down 0-2. They played very well at home that year. Because of the NL park, the pitcher would bat and Suppan was more used to doing that then Pedro was. It also meant the Sox sat Kevin Millar in order to get David Ortiz’s bat in the line-up at first base. As it turned out, those advantages weren’t all they were cracked up to be. We all know the story. Representing the tying run, on third base in the third inning, Suppan was ready to score on a groundball. But the NL pitcher used to running the bases got turned around. He stopped, started, spun, danced, and didn’t score. Not only that, but the Sox’s poor first baseman gunned him down for a double play. The Cardinals didn’t score off Pedro that inning, or any inning. As often happens with an ace, you have to get them early. Pedro settled into a groove after that. The Sox never looked back.

So, while Suppan couldn’t bring the Sox a title while he was wearing the uniform, he was a big help from the visitor’s dugout. For that, he has the thanks of Red Sox nation.

Happy 36th Birthday Jeff Suppan!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

This certainly looks to be a great year for Red Sox fans. As a matter of fact, this looks to be a great year for all Boston sports fans. Could four parades in 2010 be possible?

Since January first is the usual time for making resolutions, I’ve come up with a few of my own. Since its easier to keep any resolution if other people know what it is, I thought I’d share them here. Yeah, I know. You could probably care less.

First, I resolve to watch the Red Sox win the final game of the 2011 World Series. That one should be easy to keep, with limited effort on my part.

I’m going to steal my second one from Nachos Grande. Last year, he resolved to be a larger presence in the blogosphere. (That’s such an odd word) I think that’s a great idea. I hope to leave more comments, and otherwise be involved in the blogs around me. The more ways I can share my wisdom, the better. Right?

The third one is to try to continue focusing on both quality and quantity when it comes to posts. Sure, it would be easy to pump out posts every day, just to make sure I’m at the top of everyone’s blogroll. But, I’d like to make sure that when you click on that link, it’s actually worth your time as often as not. Of course there will still be occasional posts just to get a quick thought out to the masses. But, I want to remember to keep posting things worth reading.

The fourth one is another one borrowed from NG. I want to keep filling up my wantlists through trades. Of course, I’ll need all your help for that one. But, I love getting trade packages in the mail, so I’d love to continue that.

The last one is to simply make this blog the best it can be.

Hopefully, I’m already on my way.

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