And Thank You for visiting Sonoma Dave's Giant Red Sox Blog! This blog is an archive of most of my posts on Fenway West. Effective immediately, I will be be including posts about the San Francisco Giants, MLB, and on occasion, stuff that has nothing to do with baseball at all.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fenway Park made of Legos

I found this while pokin' around Google images and thought I would share this with all of you.

Fenway West 12.29.10

UPDATE: The nominees for the New England Sports Blog Awards were announced last night and Fenway West was nominated for "Best Red Sox Blog." Voting takes place from February 2nd to February 14th and fans can vote once each day. Please take a moment and show your support for Fenway West by following the link below and casting your vote. Thank you for helping make this nomination possible and for your continued support.

Separated at birth: Selig and Fagen?

Bud Selig and Donald Fagen?

Donald Fagen and Ray Charles?!

Ray Charles and Bud Selig?!!

Dustin and Andre's Excellent Adventure

Rob Bradford of WEEI had Pedey on The Big Show and heard him tell this story. Pedroia and his family were vacationing with Dodgers OF Andre Ethier when Pedroia had to sprint across an airport terminal in order to make a flight. Here's what he told WEEI - Boston about the situation:

“They wanted me, who just got cleared to jog, to sprint to the gate, which is on the other side of the airport, to hold the plane up. So I’m sprinting, testing out my foot with my shoelaces untied, holding my 30-pound son — by the way, my foot felt phenomenal — sprinting through the airport, and I get to the gate, and I’m like, ‘Ma’am, did the flight leave?’ She said, ‘I’m going to give you three minutes.’ I’m like, ‘There’s no way.’ Andre’s kid is a little bigger than [Pedroia's son] Dylan and he’s running everywhere. Two seconds later, the pilot comes off the plane and goes, ‘We’ve got a situation.’ I thought, ‘Jeez, now we’re definitely staying here.’

“She pulls off this couple. Some woman was beating the [expletive] out of her husband on the plane. They pull those two off. This guy has a bloody face. He must have smarted off or something. The flight was delayed 30 minutes, and we got to get on the flight. I almost high-fived everybody. It was awesome.”

“It was out of control. We ended up getting on. I was more pumped my foot felt good from sprinting with a 30-pound kid on me. We got on the flight. I was pumped. It was a good day.”

You can't make this stuff up.

UPDATE: The nominees for the New England Sports Blog Awards were announced last night and Fenway West was nominated for "Best Red Sox Blog." Voting takes place from February 2nd to February 14th and fans can vote once each day. Please take a moment and show your support for Fenway West by following the link below and casting your vote. Thank you for helping make this nomination possible and for your continued support.

Separated at birth: Damon, Werth and Geico?

Distant cousin?

Box score from the past (09.16.65)

Dave Morehead spent 6 mediocre seasons with the Red Sox before being shipped off to Kansas City for 2 more of the same. His only claim to fame was in a game on September 16, 1965 at Fenway Park in which, if not for 1 pitch, he might have had a perfect game. He walked Rocky Colavitio in the top of the 2nd inning and shut down the Indians the rest of the way, striking out 8 of them in the process.

It was a true pitcher's duel that day, as the opposing pitcher, who would later join the Red Sox, was Luis Tiant, who allowed only 6 hits and 2 runs, striking out 11 Red Sox and recording a complete game himself.

Keith Olberman, Fox News and the Boston Red Sox

Scott Lauber wrote a piece that appears in Sunday’s Boston Herald recapping Theo’s moves in a 25 day span. In comparing the left-handed heaviness of the batting line-up to the right-handed domination of the bullpen, Lauber drew an interesting comparison:

“If the lineup leans more to the left than Keith Olbermann, the pitching staff is as right-handed as Fox News.”

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The long lost Jerry Garcia Night at AT&T Park post

What a long, strange trip it’s been…

Monday, August 9, 2010 was Jerry Garcia Night at AT&T Park when the Chicago Cubs played the San Francisco Giants. Jerry was born and raised in San Francisco, and was one of the founding members of The Grateful Dead. The National Anthem was sung by founding members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, as well as current member Jeff Pehrson, (not a typo.)

Contrary to rumor, it didn’t last for 30 minutes, Bobby did not forget the words, they didn’t have “Space” or “Drums” in the middle, there were no interruptions with “Bobby, I love you!” by a fan, and there were no altered lyrics, but the bobblehead did look like the photo.

Deadheads who jumped at the chance to buy tickets in the special Deadhead section out in left field were rewarded by receiving a Jerry Garcia bobblehead doll. The evening’s pre-show festivities was a benefit for The Rex Foundation. Founding members Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart,  along with major Deadhead Bill Walton were part of a kazoo trio who led a kazoo ensemble of over 7,000 in playing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." The Giants distributed over 7,000 kazoos at the game in an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. (In the ‘Only in San Francisco’ Department, they were about 28,000 kazoos short.) Bill Walton also spent an inning with the announcers in the booth. Mickey was like, totally stoked, dude, about the project, as the song is considered by some to be the second national anthem.

In preparation for this playing/conducting performance, scholar Hart turned to the Library of Congress to do some research on the song, the music for which was written in 1908 by Albert von Tilzer. The lyrics, written by Jack Norworth, prove that "TMOTTBG" is really a love song, part of a mating ritual, says Hart. In each of two versions, one from 1908 and one from 1927, a woman (Katie Casey in 1908; Nelly Kelly in 1927) is asked out on a date (to a show in 1908; to Coney Island in 1927) by some guy named Joe.She's a baseball fanatic - "would root just like any man, told the umpire he was wrong," says a lyric - and tells Joe she'll go with him only if he first takes her out to a ballgame. "I'm a historian," says Hart, relishing the role. "It's really interesting - it says a lot about baseball. This is about the soul of baseball."

The vending area in the parking lot at a Dead show is familiarly known as Shakedown Street, and the vending area behind the Deadhead section surely looked like its counterpart.

The Jerry bobblehead doll proved to be a fan favorite spawning posts on local internet boards like this:

I am bummed to have missed the jerry day giants game earlier this week, because I was in telluride seeing Phish. Ok, I’m really not bummed, but I would have definitely gone if I were here. That being said, I am looking to track down a bobblehead that was given out at the game. I am willing to pay cash, or I can offer trades. LOTS to trade including other collectibles like POSTERS - phish prints, and many other bands... I have an extra "Leo" Bobblehead - it is page from phish playing the keytar. Pretty cool. I have tons of collectibles so name what you want - and let’s make this happen!!!


Long and strange, indeed. Now, if you’ll excuse me, the pizza delivery dude is here, I have to twist up a tip for him, and I don’t want to miss the Teletubbies.

Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Jenks

Nick Cafardo in today's Boston.com:
“I feel 100 percent right now,’’ said the 6-foot-4-inch, 275-pounder, who used to be summoned to the mound by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen by Guillen spreading his hands apart, indicating, “Bring in the wide guy.’’

Manny Delcarmen is still giving back to West Roxbury

One of Boston's favorites sons, Manny Delcarmen of West Roxbury, is still giving back to his home town despite being traded from the Red Sox to the CO Rox last summer. Manny was a key part of the 2007 World Series winning Red Sox team when he pitched 44 innings, allowing only 28 hits and 10 earned runs which gave him a 2.05 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Unfortunately, his performances since then continued on a downward spiral and earned him a trade to the Rockies at the end of August last season. The Rockies non-tendered Manny earlier this month, but are still interested in him.

Manny donated $15,000 that was raised at the “Bowlin’ Strikes for Schools presented by New Balance” bowling tournament. This is the 4th year that Manny has donated proceeds from the bowling tournament to Boston Public Schools.

Fenway West 12.22.10

UPDATE: The nominees for the New England Sports Blog Awards were announced last night and Fenway West was nominated for "Best Red Sox Blog." Voting takes place from February 2nd to February 14th and fans can vote once each day. Please take a moment and show your support for Fenway West by following the link below and casting your vote. Thank you for helping make this nomination possible and for your continued support.

Abbott & Costello- Who's on First?

Since George Carlin's video was well received, I thought I'd pull up another youtube gem. Enjoy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

George Carlin- Baseball vs Football

I stumbled across this gem from George Carlin today. Brilliant!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Serenading Derek Jeter

Spending too much time on youtube, I found some music that could be played whenever Jeter comes to bat at Fenway; just playfully teasing of course.

Money, Pink Floyd

Money, O'Jays

Money Can't Buy Me Love, Beatles

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Box Scores from the past (05.28.05 & 07.15.05)

Last week I returned to 2 Red Sox horror shows from the past, The Dent & Boone games, to remind us of being on the short end of The Rivalry in the past. This week, I return to 2 games in 2005 that represent the future of The Rivalry. In less than 2 months apart, the Sox thrashed the Yankees by identical scores, 17-1, the 1st game at Yankee Stadium and the 2nd game at Fenway Park.

This winter Theo has proven to be a brilliant GM by signing Gonzalez, Crawford, Jenks and Wheeler, among others, while making bids on Yankee icons Jeter and Rivera, as well as Cliff Lee, thus driving up their prices and years for the Yankees to meet.

2004 could be looked as the year that the Red Sox cracked the dam of Yankee superiority, but 2011 will be the year that truly marks the beginning of a new era of The Rivalry. (Buster Olney of ESPN actually has a different view in his book "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty.")

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Box scores from the past (10.02.78 & 10.16.03)

This week I give you not 1, but 2 of the biggest heartbreakers in the history of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry: the Bucky F. Dent game in 1978, and the Aaron F. Boone game of 2003. Why, you ask, do I bring up these 2 nightmares? The page has been turned on this rivalry. The Yankees are old and gettting older, while the Red Sox just got younger and better. The new owners, Heckle and Jeckle Steinbrenner, will only foul things up now that ol' King George is gone. These 2 games are reminders of the way things were. Painful memories, yes, I know, but that's all in the past now.

Mo pulls a fast one on the Steinbrenners

Rob Bradford of WEEI is reporting that Mariano Rivera's agents were the ones who reached out to the Red Sox, and not the other way around as it may have appeared. His agents were able to elicit a 2 year, $30 million dollar offer from the Red Sox, which forced the Steinbrenners hands to match that offer. Mo had no intention of signing with the Sox, and the Sox had no intention of non-tendering Jonathan Papelbon had Mo accepted the Red Sox offer. Theo wants those draft picks when Papelbon follows the money train.

Theo is really pummeling the Yankees this winter. First it was signing Adrian Gonzalez. Then 2 days later came the blockbuster Carl Crawford signing at the end of the Winter Meetings, scuttling the Yankees' plan B were they not able to land Lee. Crawford's signing and a Red Sox 7 year offer to Cliff Lee forced the Yankees to go outside of their comfort zone to extend their own contract offer to Lee to 7 years. Can't forget all the media hoopla over Jeter's negotiations, while the Sox quietly reached an agreement with their own Captain, Jason Varitek. Finally, the Red Sox dangle a 2 year contract in front of Mo forcing the Yankees to up their offer to the venerable closer.

I think we're gonna have a lot of fun during the 2011 campaign!

Red Sox projected 2011 line-up

UPDATE: The nominees for the New England Sports Blog Awards were announced last night and Fenway West was nominated for "Best Red Sox Blog." Voting takes place from February 2nd to February 14th and fans can vote once each day. Please take a moment and show your support for Fenway West by following the link below and casting your vote. Thank you for helping make this nomination possible and for your continued support.

WAKE UP!! Crawford's coming to Boston!!

Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe reports that Carl Crawford has agreed to a seven-year, $142 million deal with the Red Sox. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has confirmed it, and NESN and AP are already posting the news of the Red Sox landing Crawford. After the Sox inked Adrian Gonzalez, it was presumed that they would not be pursuing Crawford as hard.

The balance of power in the AL East has tipped about as far east as it can go! Bring on Season 2011!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kevin Millar has a scary proposition for LF- Johnny Damon

Former 2004 Red Sox Cowboy and Idiot Kevin Millar, now current MLB Network analyst, was asked if the Red Sox need to go after Carl Crawford. He immediately discounted that Crawford is a necessity for the Red Sox, and then goes right on to suggest that Johnny Damon would be a great fit.


Would Red Sox fans welcome him back? And what number would he wear? (Number 18 now belongs to Dice-K.) Would he grow his hair back and get rid of that ridiculous mohawk?

Millar states definitively that Damon would return to the Red Sox, and that they could get him at a discount. How ironic that would be for Damon, considering that he zoomed right on over to the Yankees the minute ol' King George unzipped his wallet. Damon now says that he turned down the possibility to play for the Red Sox last year because he thought that the Red Sox were not going to make it to the playoffs and he didn't want to move his family to play for a team that was not in contention. Last year he said he turned down the Red Sox last year because he wanted to help the Tigers reach the playoffs despite being 12 games out.

Well, I guess what goes around comes around.

Joe Maddon is dreaming

The Tampa Bay Rays are losing left fielder Carl Crawford, 1st baseman Carlos Pena, closer Rafael Soriano and set-up man Grant Balfour, and they have already lost set-up man Joaquin Benoit.

Yeah, right Joe.

Maddon believes that if the Rays can land some serious bullpen help, that his talented starters will be able to win 90 games in 2011. Apparently Joe hasn't checked out the thin availability of relievers out there, and the ones who are available will be commanding top dollar, including much of his 2010 bullpen crew, something that the Rays are financially unable to do.

Monday, December 13, 2010

More Tito-speak

Rob Bradford of WEEI caught up with Terry Francona who spoke about sitting David Ortiz against left-handers in 2011.

“I actually spoke to David a little bit about that. The idea is not to sit him against lefties. I think the idea is to get David to understand if we do want to sit him against a lefty, it’s not that we don’t believe he can play. You know, I think that was more the last April was miserable. You can talk, you can spin it any way you want to, it was miserable. It was hard on David, it was hard on me, it was hard on our team, it was hard on everybody. I think there are times when, like J.D., you give him a break against a tough lefty, and you’re doing him a favor. Some of it depends on how he swings the bat. If he swings the bat like he can swing it, you don’t want to sit him. I also believe for him to swing the bat like he needs to, he has to face some lefties. I think that’s important. But I think you’ve got to be able to get to a place where whatever is best for the team, you end up doing, and that’s what we always try to do, but you also want players to understand.”

Uh, Tito, what was that again?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Since I mentioned Manny and a Gold Glove in the same sentence...

Here's a story from Papi about Manny from his book “Big Papi~ My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits” by David Ortiz with Tony Massarotti:

I remember once in 2004, we were playing the Los Angeles Dodgers in a game at Fenway. We had a 1-0 lead going into the top of the 9th inning and the fans were really into the game. It felt like a playoff game. Keith Foulke came in to close out the game for us and got the first two guys out, then gave up a single to Alex Cora. (Cora and I became teammates in 2005, when he got traded to Boston from Cleveland.) Then Olmedo Saenz came up and hit a pop fly to left field that looked like an easy out, and we all couldn’t believe what happened next.

Manny dropped the ball.

Because there were two outs, Cora was running hard all the way; he was a good player like that. He always knew the situation, played hard, knew the game. So when Manny dropped the ball, Cora was already on the way home and the Dodgers tied the game, 1-1, and now we had to fight. Saenz ran hard, too, and he was on second base, so a single would have scored him and given the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. The Dodgers sent in a pinch runner- it was Jayson Werth- but Foulke got the last guy out to keep the game tied, and we had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth.

Fenway got pretty quiet when Manny made the error, but let me tell you: It didn’t stay that way for long. Manny came back to the dugout and put down his glove, and nobody said much at first. Then Manny started walking along the dugout and started talking out loud, and I’ll never forget what he said.

None of us.

“Well, there goes my Gold Glove.”

We all started laughing, bro.

It was hilarious.

I guess you had to be there?

Moorad (who?), Ramirez, Gonzalez, Youkilis

Alex Speier of WEEI notes that Jeff Moorad was Manny Ramirez's agent at the time he was traded from Cleveland to Boston, and he is now the owner of the club who traded Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. Moorad says that Gonzalez will have the same impact in the Red Sox line up now as Ramirez did 10 years ago, and that the Red Sox get a Gold Glove to go with his bat, something that Ramirez never won or will win.

So, will it be a L/R combination of Gonzalez and Youkilis in the line-up in 2011? With Ortiz to follow Youk?

Where will Manny end up in 2011? It will have to be in the junior circuit as a DH. His hammy's would never survive as a 1st baseman. Right field? He might just be left out.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jeter to the Red Sox for $100 million?!

This is what landed in my inbox a short while ago:

Weekly World News (satire)

By Frank Lake NEW YORK – An anonymous donor offered Derek Jeter $100 million to ditch his new Yankee deal and join the Boston Red Sox. Jeter agreed to it. ...

See all stories on this topic »
I thought, 'Huh?, WT?... (I missed 'satire' the 1st time around.) As soon as I started reading it though, I realized it had an Onion-esque tone to it, and a few seconds later, I knew it was satire and not true, but it is kind of funny considering how the media blew up over the Jeter-signing-with-the-Red-Sox brouhaha the past week or so. It was pretty funny reading some of those posts from all sorts of baseball news outlets trying to get one up on another.

Steinbrenner v. Jeter mud wrestling ends- contract agreement reached

Buster Olney of ESPN has reported that the 'messy' contract negotiations (per Hal S.) between the Yankees' Steinbrenners and shortstop Derek Jeter have ended. Derek Jeter will be a New York Yankee for 3 more years and an option for 2014 for a total of approximately $51 million.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Adrian Gonzalez might be wearing a Red Sox uniform in 2011

Gordon Edes of ESPN.com is reporting that the talks between Jed Hoyer, GM of the San Diego Padres, and Theo Epstein, Jed's mentor during his time in Boston, over Adrian Gonzalez are making headway. The trade would not involve any of the current Boston Red Sox players, only prospects. Pitcher Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Ryan Kalish, Jose Iglesias, Josh Reddick, Reymond Fuentes,  Stolmy Pimentel, and Ryan Lavarnway are names mentioned so far.

Prefer Books to Movies?

A couple of days ago, I posted Ball Park Bob's Top 50 Baseball movies of all time. Shortly after that, I read a post on yahoo! entitled 'My top 10 baseball books.'

  1. Ball Four by Jim Bouton
  2. Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris
  3. Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof
  4. The New Bills James Historical Abstract by Bill James
  5. Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball by George F. Will
  6. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
  7. As They See 'Em by Bruce Weber
  8. Living on the Black by John Feinstein
  9. Sixty Feet, Six Inches: by Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson
10. Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball by Bill Madden

Here are some more that I have read not on the list above:

The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, by Buster Olney
Tony C, by David Cataneo
Faithful, by Stephen King & Stuart O'Nan
Feeding the Monster, by Seth Mnookin
Summer of ’49, by David Halberstam
Ball Five, by Jim Bouton (an update to Ball Four)
What Time Is It? You Mean Now?, by Yogi Berra & Dave Kaplan
Big Papi, by David Ortiz & Tony Massarotti
Confessions of a Baseball Purist, by Jon Miller
Curse of the Bambino, by Dan O’Shaugnessy
Fair Ball, by Bob Costas
Fifty-nine in '84, by Edward Achorn
Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life, by Richard Ben Cramer
Odd Man Out, by Matt McCarthy
Theology, by John Frascella

Umm.... that they are my list does not mean they are all good. There were a couple of clunkers on that list, and I'm sure many could guess at least 1 of them. In any event, there are some good stocking dtuffers between these 2 lists.

Holiday Gift Idea for the Discerning Red Sox Fan

This is something Jimmy Fallon might have in his apartment, in the movie, anyhow.

I found this ad on Facebook and decided to take a look. A little rich for my blood, better have deep pockets if you're interested in this, real deep.

Bored and need something to do during the off-season?

Ball Park Bob compiled a list of the 50 best baseball movies of all time:

1. Field of Dreams
2. Bull Durham
3. A League of Their Own
4. The Natural
5. Bad News Bears
6. Major League
7. Summer Catch
8. Eight Men Out
9. The Rookie
10. For the Love of the Game
11. The Babe
12. Baseball: A Film by KenBurns
13. 61*
14. Cobb
15. Life and Times of Hank Greenberg
16. The Sandlot
17. Fever Pitch
18. Bang the Drum Slowly
19. Hustle
20. Angels in the Outfield
21. The Pride of the Yankees
22. When it Was a Game
23. Mr. Baseball
24. The Bronx is Burning
25. Bingo Long’s Traveling All Stars & Motor King
26. The Jackie Robinson Story
27. The Fan
28. Mr. 3000
29. The Babe Ruth Story
30. Fear Strikes Out
31. Damn Yankees
32. Stealing Home
33. Hardball
34. The Final Season
35. Benchwarmers
36. Little Big League
37. The Scout
38. Rookie of the Year
39. Still We Believe: The Boston Red Sox Movie
40. Don’t Look Back: The Life of Satchel Paige
41. Pride and Prejudice
42. Tiger Town
43. Talent for the Game
44. Soul of the Game
45. A Winner Never Quits
46. Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch
47. Pitcher and the Pinup
48. Little Big League
49. Headin’ Home
50. Ed

Due out in 2011 is Moneyball. My guess is that this movie will break into the top 20 of most baseball fans.

There is also a movie being planned for Edward Achorn's book "Fifty-nine in '84.

Bull Durham

Manny Delcarmen to be non-tendered by Rockies

Former Red Sox hometown favorite will be non-tendered by the Colorado Rockies according to Troy Renck, Rockies writer for the Denver Post.

Manny 1st came up with the Red Sox in 2005, but for only 8 innings. In 2006, he pitched 53+ innings, but had a dismal 5.06 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. It was the 2007 World Series winning year in which he looked like he would become a top shelf reliever. In 44 innings, he allowed batters to a .183 BA, and had 2.05 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Unfortunately, his numbers rose and rose and rose into 2010, so much that the Sox deemed him unnecessary and gave him a chance to start fresh with a change of scenery by sending him off to the Rockies at the end of August. Maybe it was homesickness, maybe it was the altitude, but MDC just couldn't get it together in CO, with his numbers still rising.

According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, "It would be a surprise if the Red Sox wanted him back unless it was on some type of minor-league deal. Even then, it seems unlikely."

The West Roxbury native holds the annual "Manny Delcarmen's Bowlin' Strikes for Schools" event benefiting the Boston Public Schools. Manny Delcarmen received the Jimmy Fund Council of Greater Boston Man of the Year Award in 2009.

Former Red Sox pitcher Manny Delcarmen and a Jimmy Fund Clinic patient bowl to strike out cancer at the 2007 New Stars for Young Stars, II.

Manny has proven to be a great humanitarian by giving generously back to his community. Here's hoping he finds his way back to an MLB mound in 2011.

Start 'em out young I always say

Well, no, I don't really always say that, but it'll do for this post.

Earlier this month, I had the luxury of taking my 2nd trip of 2010 to RI. I was on my way to my nephew's wedding in Marblehead. One of my niece's from TN came up with her family in tow. East Tennessee sports fans tend to be UT football fans, and I think there's a pro football team in Tennessee these days. (After following the Sox and MLB hard for 6 months, I give sports a break for a bit, except for an occasional Fenway West post.) The nearest MLB team would be the Atlanta Braves, a club which started out as the Boston Braves, (where Babe Ruth ended his career.)

My niece told me they were going to Boston for some sightseeing with her kids, but never mentioned Fenway Park as a destination, only the museum. Imagine my surprise when I saw these 2 photos!

Like I said, start 'em out young! It was a great wedding and a great trip back east!

Enough with the Jeter bull-talk already!

It seems as if every baseball reporter from major media outlets down to the blogs with 1 hit per day is speculating about the possibility of Derek Jeter landing in Boston in 2011. Some entrepreneurial soul has even gone so far as to photoshop Jeter into a Sox uniform.

It's NOT going to happen. Period. End of discussion.

THAT being said, about the only good thing that will come of this is to delay talks with the Lee camp. Both sides of the Steinbrenner/Jeter negotiations know that they need each other more than they are willing to admit. (Although, y'know, Jeter wouldn't be the 1st iconic Yankee to be let go at the later stages of his career- Ruth, Maris, and Berra come to mind.)

Getting back to reality- It's NOT going to happen. Period. End of discussion.

THAT being said, it is kind of fun trying to get the notion of Jeter in a Sox uni into the Yankees (Steinbrenners' and fans') heads. Chad Finn of Boston.com said it best:

All semi-serious snark aside, you know what the best-case scenario is for Red Sox fans? What's happening right now.

Getting back to reality- It's NOT going to happen. Period. End of discussion. Really. I mean it this time.

Red Sox box score from the past (05.28.00)

Last Monday I posted a Red Sox line score from the past, and since there isn't a whole lot to report on (outside of speculating on what Theo 'might' do), I might just make this a weekly off season post.

I was reading this from a post on another blog:

One of the most vivid memories I have as a fan is Trot Nixon‘s Memorial Day Weekend 2000, national television 9th inning home run off of Roger Clemens in one of the best regular season games you could ever hope to see. Pedro Martinez and Clemens both went the distance, the former with 9 K’s and a Game Score of 87, the Rocket with 13 K’s and a Game Score of 82. That it was the 9th inning added to the drama, that it gave the Red Sox the lead against their biggest rival at their ballpark made it awesome, but what put Nixon’s bomb over the top was that it was off of arguably the greatest pitcher ever while that pitcher was at his very best.

So I decided to look that game up. Click here for the full box score.

Martinez, Saltalamacchia, Varitek

So the Sox did not match the Tigers’ offer. Another $8 million over 4 years. Martinez had been insisting that he is a catcher, a catcher who is able to play 1B and DH. Now that he has signed with the Tigers, reports come out that he will be playing a lot of 1B and DH besides catcher. Statistics indicate that catchers on the north end of 30 years of age start to go on a serious decline. He already has a low percentage of throwing out stolen base runners. Given his insistence that he is a catcher at the earliest reports of his negotiations with the Red Sox, it doesn’t surprise me a whole lot that the Sox did take a pass on him. I find it very interesting and odd that he will be getting a fair amount of time at 1B and DH in Detroit. Would the Sox have matched the Tigers’ offer had he not insisted that he is a catcher above all else? No one doubts his conditioning, work ethic, and positive club house presence. Estimates give Martinez 2 more good years at catching before he goes on a decline and becomes an overpaid 1st baseman and designated hitter at the amount the Tigers’ lavished upon him. While his positive attributes and current production will be missed by many, including myself, Theo decided that it wouldn’t be worth it (Werth it?) to keep him as a catcher for 2 years before moving him over to his other positions. Let’s not forget that Theo has a hell of a lot more resources available to him than 99% of those criticizing this non-move.

This leads to a discussion on the vacancy at the starting catcher position as a result of Martinez’s departure. Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been on Theo’s radar for some time now, and he finally landed him. Many criticize the possibility of Salty becoming the starting catcher. They say he doesn’t have enough experience, he’s injury prone, he’s too young, he didn’t hit worth a crap before he went on the DL again, yadda… Salty was the Opening Day catcher for the Texas Rangers in 2009 and 2010, the American League pennant winning Texas Rangers. That’s how highly that organization thought of him. He did have a series of unfortunate injuries, but so did Jed Lowrie and he got past them. Lowrie was on fire after he returned to Boston from the DL! His numbers after his return to the line-up projected over a whole season makes him out to be a solid middle of the line-up batter. But back to Salty. Yes, Salty had lousy batting numbers in this past season, but the sample size was very small. Again, Theo has all those resources that we don’t have, including Tito, and Gary Tuck (bullpen coach.) They can see things in him we don’t. When Salty heard the news that Martinez had signed with the Tigers, he realized that he had a serious shot at becoming the starting catcher for the 2011 Boston Red Sox. He will be working very hard with Tuck very soon in preparation for Spring Training auditions.

Now there have been reports of the Sox kicking tires on other catchers, and it is possible that they may sign one of them still left on the market. But if they don’t, the logical choice would be Jason Varitek. ‘Tek seemed to thrive in his role as mentor to Martinez, and he can do the same for Salty, too. Many simply look at his statistics and yell to get rid of the 39 yo dead weight, but there is so much more to ‘Tek than simply his statistics. He studies opposing batters and his own team’s pitchers like no other catcher. He retains so much information about him in what must be a minimum of 2T memory in that hard drive above his shoulders. He calls games so well, that he has caught 4 no-hitters in his career. He has commanded much respect from all of his teammates, hence the ‘C’ on his jersey. And his batting statistics improved in a part time role. Before his injury that landed him on the DL back at the beginning of July, he was sporting a BA/OBP/SLG/OPS line of .263/.324/.547/.871 in 95 ABs, which overall is slightly better than his career averages, and a definite improvement over his lines of the past 5 years. Part time duty seems to do him well.

Salty will be closely watched during his work outs with Tuck this winter. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sox do not make any catching trades or signings this winter. Varitek is to the Red Sox as Jeter is to the Yankees, 14 years MLB service with only 1 team compared to Jeter’s 16 years, to date. It would serve both well the Sox and ‘Tek to remain together for 1 more year. If Salty was good enough to start for the Rangers last season and proves himself worthy over the course of his winter training, and if ‘Tek thrives at the plate in a part time role, why not retain their services in the same roles for the 2011 Boston Red Sox?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

More Holiday Music

Steely Dan classic "Buy Nothing Day" "Black Friday"

Fenway West 11.26.10

Happy Thanksgiving from Fenway West!

Happy Thanksgiving from Fenway West! Time to be thankful for what we do have and not to worry about what we don't have. (Things. Stuff.) Please enjoy Arlo Guthrie performing a Thanksgiving staple, "Alice's Restaurant."

Fenway West 11.25.10

Jason Varitek compared to other Hall of Fame catchers

In a sense, catchers can be compared to quarterbacks. The position of catcher comes with great responsibility as they are the only ones who can see the whole defense at one time as the pitch is thrown, as well as any offensive players who may be on base. The relationship between pitcher and catcher is of utmost importance. The catcher needs to know what each batter is capable of, his likes and dislikes; and also needs to what pitch is best to retire the batter, and what the pitcher’s best choice of pitches in thousands of different situations. It’s no wonder that catchers go on to be great managers. Think Joe Torre.

In a previous post, after questioning why catchers are always judged by their offensive stats before their defensive stats, I speculated on Jason Varitek’s chances of entering the Hall of Fame some day. ‘Guest’ replied with this comment:


sorry but i completely disagre, Tek is not a HOFer. you say other stats besides batting avg (which DOES matter to some extent and he's never hit .300) but what else is there?... yes he's caught 4 no-hitters which is awesome but thats like saying DoN Larsen should be in the HoF just for his perfect game. Its one accomplishment. Teks meant a lot to the Red Sox organization and we appreciate everything he does on AND off the field, but you cannot make a case that he belongs in the hall of fame. no way, no how.

That comment prompted me into comparing Varitek’s numbers, both offensive and defensive, against 8 other catchers who are in the Hall of Fame.

I never said Batting Average does not matter. I said , “I hope that those voting come the time that ‘Tek is knocking on that vaulted door, that they will consider all of his stats equally, and not just his batting average.” Only 2 of them, Cochrane and Dickey, had lifetime batting averages over .300, while Bench, Carter and Fisk were all in the .260’s. I also consider catching 4 no-hitters 4 separate events, not 1 as the commenter did. I would think it is more comparable to a pitcher throwing 4 no-hitters in his entire career.

I took a look at the offensive and defensive lifetime season statistics of HoF catchers Bench, Berra, Campanella, Carter, Cochrane, Dickey, Fisk, Hartnett and compared them to those of Varitek. While his averages could fluctuate up or down (BA, OBP, SLG, OPS and FLD, etc.), his quantifiable stats (games, at bats, hits, runs, doubles, home runs, total chances, put outs, etc.) can only go up. Most of the catchers in the HoF have 17-24 years of MLB action, while 2 of them have fewer years than the 14 of ‘Teks.

Click on the table to make larger

Jason Varitek’s offensive numbers to date compare favorably to the lowest of the 8 HoF’ers, while his defensive numbers place him in the top 3 in 6 of 10 categories.

I know these numbers can be inspected, detected, infected, neglected, selected, bisected, and dissected in 11teen bazillion different ways, but I will leave that to the Jamesian statisticians and simply say, he’s got a shot. Check his numbers when·his career finally does come to an end, factor in his game calling skills and that 'C' on his jersey, then he has an even bigger shot. Carlton Fisk played in 2499 games in 24 seasons, and only 273 were not in the catcher position. ‘Tek won’t play another 10 years, but he’s got a lot of game left in him before he hangs up his cleats.

Note~ I started this post before it was announced that Victor Martinez was signed to a contract with the Detroit Tigers. This suggests to me, that the Red Sox FO may be looking at Varitek mentoring or even possibly platooning with Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty is chomping at the bit, Varitek isn’t ready to call it quits, and Salty is really looking forward to the possibility of working with ‘Tek.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Red Sox box score from the past (07.24.04)

It's the off-season and most of the posts in bloggerland from the major media outlets to the smallest of blogs seem to be focused on what Theo 'might' do this winter. In a break from speculation, I offer something that 'did happen', as opposed to what 'might happen.'

In my post about catcher's being rated first on their offensive skills and Jason Varitek's possibility of making into the Hall of Fame, I included a photo that every Red Sox fan will recognize- 'Tek feeding A-Rod a leather sandwhich in 2004. That is the game that turned the Red Sox season around and led to them making the playoffs that historic year.

So I will start off with the box score from July 24th, 2004.

Click on box score to make larger

The Lees, Rangers CEO and Yankee fans

I don’t remember where exactly I read this, but it appears that that the Rangers CEO and Cliff Lee’s wife share a common bond- their dislike of Yankee fans.

Not as outspoken as his late father George was during his 37 years in control of the Yankees, Steinbrenner was moved to the airwaves in response to comments made Monday by Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg. Greenberg said in a Dallas radio interview that "Yankees fans, frankly, were awful" during the ALCS games at Yankee Stadium, a remark he later apologized for by saying he had "unfairly and inaccurately disparaged" Yankees fans. The Yankees learned of Greenberg's comments during their meetings, and Steinbrenner said the team informed Major League Baseball that they intended to aggressively respond but agreed to wait a day in deference to the World Series. Steinbrenner said that he spoke with Greenberg later on Monday and believed his tone of apology to be sincere. "He absolutely would be the first one to admit that they were stupid comments and inappropriate," Steinbrenner told 1050 ESPN. "He very much wanted to give a sincere apology. I said, 'That's good that you're apologizing to us, but you need to apologize to our fans. They're the ones you've wronged here.' And he did in that statement."

ESPN also had a post about Greenberg and Yankee fans.

Lee’s wife was reportedly not happy with the behavior of Yankees fans, who threw taunted her, spit at her and threw beer at her.

If you put all that together with the fact that Arlington, TX is only 40 minutes from the Lee’s home in Arkansas, my guess is that Lee will be staying put in Texas.

More on Jason Varitek

The Boston Red Sox FO should take a long hard look at the ongoing negotiations between Hal Steinbrenner (is he the dumb one, or the dumber one?) and Derek Jeter and his agent. ESPN opined that “messy” negotiations, as suggested by Steinbrenner, “It's akin to putting the Rolling Stones together without Mick Jagger. You can't do it.”

The Red Sox have already eliminated any such messiness with David Ortiz, but negotiating still remains with Jason Varitek, who is just as important to the Red Sox as Jeter is to the Yankees.

On the surface, it may appear that the Red Sox are not pursuing Victor Martinez as much as they had declared, especially in light of the attention that he is getting from other teams. Does this mean that 'Tek will be back and mentoring Jarrod Saltalamcchia? Many think Salty is not quite ready for the big leagues, but that the Sox have not cemented a deal with V-Mart as of yet certainly suggests it is a possibility.

Why are catchers always first rated upon their batting statistics?

Why are catchers always first rated upon their batting statistics? I read this post on Bleacher Report a while back about V-Mart, and the author immediately recited his batting statistics, but made did not mention his defensive skills, nullifying stolen base attempts and game calling skills until much later in his post. To the author’s credit, he finally did later mention Martinez’s loyalty to his employer, clubhouse acceptance and respect.

Martinez is making an on-the-field case for why he should get a new contract from the Sox. After a thumb injury sidelined him for almost a month, an offensive surge over the last two months has shown why he's so valuable. In August, Martinez hit .298 with 4 HR and 15 RBI. In September, his numbers have been even better: a .324 average, 6 HR, 23 RBI, and a .941 OPS.

He makes no mention of his other assets until halfway through his post.

Jason Varitek may not be bound for the Hall of Fame, but he should. The first thing that will be looked at will be his batting statistics. Any other position player with a similar set of stats would never be elected in. Factors such as his quiet but strong clubhouse leadership and his game calling skills carry much less weight. ‘Tek prepares himself for a game unlike any other catcher. He does his homework, and knows what pitch to call for every batter in every situation. He has at least 2T of memory.

He’s also called and caught 4 no-hitters, more than any other catcher in baseball history. ‘Tek probably won’t make it to the HoF, but he should. I hope that those voting come the time that ‘Tek is knocking on that vaulted door, that they will consider all of his stats equally, and not just his batting average.

Let's not forget the 2004 season's turning point.

2010 Red Sox Highlights

I could probably list 162 highlights of the 2010 season, but will have to settle with these for now:

Jed Lowrie 4/4 against the Yankees in NY

Clay Buchholz & Jon Lester- no Cy Young’s but MLB’s best top 2 starters
Adrian Beltre monster season
Victor Martinez has a great season