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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Box score from the past (10.03.10)

For the last 'Box score from the past' for this off season, I thought I'd take a look at where the Sox left off last season. Lo and behold it was the Red Sox thumping the Yankees. They had already denied the Yanks the possibility of winning the AL East and were playing for pride. The Sox sent mostly reserves up against mostly Yankee starters. Jed Lowrie hit 2 home runs, and John Lackey pitched 7+ innings, allowing 6 hits and only 2 earned runs, while striking out 10 of those nasty little Yankee buggers. Let's hope they start up right where they left off!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quote of the day

Someone suggested to Terry Francona that Aceves sometimes seems possessed.

"That's a good word,'' he said. "Enthusiastic. Certainly full of energy.''

A little like the irrepressible Julian Tavarez, perhaps?

"No, no, no,'' Francona said. "Scratch 'possessed.'''

Thanks, and a tip of the cap to Gordon Edes.

Box Score from the past (04.17.64)

April 17, 1964 was the home opener that year. Tony Conigliaro was stepping up to the plate for the 1st time in Fenway Park. Batting seventh in the order and facing Joe Horlen of the White Sox, he sent at his first pitch over the Green Monster in left field, and even over the net that hung above the Wall. The ball reportedly landed in New Hampshire, and a Red Sox star was born.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Box score from the past (04.08.69)

April 8, 1969 marked the date of Tony Conigliaro's 1st game back after recuperating from a horrific beaning from Jack Hamilton of the Angels on August 18, 1967 in Boston. He  had suffered from a broken cheekbone and severe damage to his left retina. He won the Comeback Player of the Year that year, hitting 20 homers with 82 RBI in 141 games, but on this day in 1969, Tony C. stepped up to the plate in his 1st game back, and proceeded to hit a HR on the 1st pitch he saw.

April 8, 1969: After a long recovery following a August 1967 beaning, Tony Conigliaro starts his first game for Boston. His dramatic 2-run 10th-inning home run gives the Red Sox a brief lead, and his 12th-inning run wins it, 5–4 over the O's at Baltimore.

Stay away from Timmy with that axe!

Ever since CHB posted his mother-of-all-fish-wrapper post last week about his interview with Tim Wakefield, there has been no shortage of writers chiming in on this topic:

Luke Adams of MLB Trade Rumors
NBC Hardball TalkLuke Adams (again)
Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors
Boston Herald

Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com

Gordon Edes of ESPN wrote: "Veteran Tim Wakefield is on the bubble, according to the source, and might be available for left-handed relief help."

One Red Sox official has called the ESPNBoston story "false." According to Edes his source was describing scenarios he'd been told by another Sox official. GM Theo Epstein also disputed the report, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald.

Edes was forced to revisit his post and do some explaining:
"I'm not suggesting the Red Sox are trying to peddle off any of these guys," Edes said, "but of course they're going to listen on any of these guys."

Apparently, the Red Sox official wasn't saying that Wakefield is on the trading block, just that he is one of several players that the Red Sox could make available were there any teams to make an inquiry. To date, no other team has been found to make an inquiry.

Wakefield's future could well depend on whether the Red Sox keep one or two left-handers in the bullpen. Manager Terry Francona has always expressed a preference for two, but usually qualifies that by saying it's not essential if he has a righty who is effective in getting lefties out.

Club sources told Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com that Wakefield’s spot in the bullpen is safe.

Let's get this over for once and all. Yes, Baseball is a business, sentiment all but thrown off the top of the Green Monster left to crash like a homer hit over the wall that landed in the window of an unsuspecting vehicle parked behind it. It's unfortunate that in lean times payroll is the 1st account that gets attacked in order to stay afloat. Yet many 'businesses' donate money to charities, work pro bono, strive to be one of the 'Top 100 companies to work for', and become involved in their communities in order to become a respected model of a well run company and an asset to the community. All of these work related scenarios cost the company money on a spreadsheet, but they also raise the value of the company in ways that aren't measured in the trial balance. I'm not suggesting that Wakefield is a charity, far from it. What I am suggesting is that some expenses that cost money in the short term may reap awards in the future not seen in the expense that is incurred today. The money that the Red Sox don't pay him can be used to pay other desired players. (If the Cardinals blink and pay Pujols the $300 bazillion dollars he wants, they will not have any money left for the rest of the team. I doubt Pujols could play all 9 positions at the same time.)

Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan all pitched successfully in MLB after reaching 45 years of age. Tim Wakefield is only 44 years old. I don't write this to suggest that Wakefield is a similar pitcher, he is not. While those fireballers were throwing 100 or more pitches a game at over 90 mph, Wake has been throwing the same number of pitches but at 69 mph. That's a lot less wear and tear he's been putting on that arm. Wakefield stands in the company of Hoyt Wilhelm (49), Phil Niekro (48), and Charlie Hough (46), all long lasting, slow pitch, low wear and tear, knuckleballers.

Wakefield will never pitch for any other MLB team. The Red Sox and all of MLB knows this. Why that Red Sox official chose to include his name in that list is beyond me. I am left wondering why Edes even took the comment at face value without prying more. No other team will have him (which is no slight to Wakefield), as they would have to find a catcher who could catch him. 

Wakefield is not chewing up a slot on the roster. In his 16 seasons with the Red Sox, he has passed 140 IP in all but 1 season. He has averaged 177 innings of work over those 16 seasons. Any time you have a pitcher who is capable of throwing more than 200 innings a season (5 times) and earn less than $2 million (and only $4 million for several years before), you've got a keeper there. 

Some may point to his sub-par numbers from last season. Just as other players have distractions that affect their game (divorce, family illness, injuries, natural disasters, etc.) so did Wake experience a distraction last year. He went into Spring Training last year expecting to be in the starting rotation. After several seasons as a solid starter, being sent to the bullpen was indeed a big distraction for him and affected his performance accordingly. Spring Training 2011 sees Wake arriving knowing ahead what his role this year will be.

Some will point to the fact that Francona has not named the relievers yet is a sign that the end is nigh for him. When asked about the final spots on the bullpen roster, he made it clear why he's not naming them. It's not because Wake is at risk of losing his job, it's to spare the misery to the rest of the guys trying for one of those final spots.'' Francona said:
"I wouldn't do that to these guys. They have a stressful couple of weeks ahead of them. I'm not going to make it worse."
The knuckleball is a fickle pitch. A knuckleballer can get into a groove and pitch 5 solid games and all of a sudden throw a stinker with no apparent reason. The knuckleball can throw batters off for the whole of a 3 or 4 game series. But there will be occasional days when there is no keeping the ball in the park. Then there is the recurring mystery of Wake pitching a gem and still losing too many times due to lack of run support.

Lastly, there is the fact that the Red Sox are close to thin ice in the rotation department. Aceves and Doubront have been named as possible 6th starters if AND when one of the 1st 5 sustain an injury. The safe route this early in the season is to send Aceves and Doubront in Pawtucket for now.One of those 5 starters will need an unexpected day off or will sustain an injury sending him to the DL, you can bank on that. Wakefield provides that safety cushion. Besides the spot starter role, he also will pitch long relief and mop-up duty saving the other arms for another day. And should Wake falter, he'll know better than any of us when to call it quits,

Quote of the day (03.17.11)

Victor Martinez on Gerald Saltalamacchia:

"He definitely has the ability, and he's going to do good," Martinez said of the man who essentially replaces him in the lineup. "He's a hard worker, a smart guy. He's going to do good. I really believe that at this point in his career he has really matured and he's going to be good."

 And the abridged version:

"… he's going to do good… He's going to do good … he's going to be good."

I think Salty will do just fine.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Quote of the day (03.16.11)

Terry Francona on Dice-K and the rotation:

“If I took Daisuke out of the rotation tomorrow, “I wouldn’t want to play for me.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shaughnessy and Edes: Wakefield could be moved

Huh? WHAT?!

Dan Shaughnessy is just farting, but Edes reported it, too. These guys know, they know, that Wake never play for any other MLB team. They KNOW this. Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors picked up Shaughnessy's fluff and ran with it, (not knowing who CHB is, I'm sure.) Red Sox officials including Theo Epstein denied the report of Tim Wakefield being on the trading block, as well as Dice-K, Mike Cameron, Darnell McDonald and Marco Scutaro not being on the trading block.

Could somebody please make Shaughnessy go away? This is his brief interview with Wake (not brief enough):

Q: Is it guaranteed that you are on the team? Has it ever occurred to you that you might not be on the team this year?
A: It hasn’t occurred to me.
Q: Well, you looked really good today, but your value is as a starter.
A: Right. In my opinion, that’s what my value is.
Q: So if you’re not going to start . . .
A: What are you getting at? If I’m not a starter, I don’t make the team?
Q: Not my call. I’m just wondering what else they would do. I like you as a starter.
A: Well, I like me as a starter, too, but right now it can’t happen.

Box score from the past (4th of July, 2003)

Johnny Damon was hitting lead off and had a BA of .251 more than half way through the season. Walker, Garciaparra, Manny and Millar followed and all were batting over .300, as was Ortiz, who was in the 6 hole. Kapler, Mueller and Varitek filled the bottom 3 of the line-up, and both Mueller and Varitek had .300+ batting averages. Derek Lowe and David Wells were the starting pitchers and both had 10-3 W-L records after this game. Except for Damon, every Red Sox player had a BA of .287 or better.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Don Orsillo is Too Sexy For His Shirt

Ian at Sox & Dawgs has an eye-burning yet hilarious video of Don Orsillo singing 'Too Sexy For This Shirt.'

Click here to check it out.

Sweet Caroline?

So I was surfing the youtubes again. This time I was looking for alternative versions of 'Sweet Caroline' when I found 2 country-ish versions by The Railbenders. The oddest thing about their choice of covers is that this is a band from Denver. Yes, the same Denver, home of the 2007 wind-swept-out-of-the-World-Series Colorado Rockies. The studio version was released in 2003, but the live version was recorded a mere 4 months after the Rockies were leveled by the Red Sox. The crowd even knows the requisite sing-a-long lines of "Bahn-bahn-bahn" and "So good! So good!! So good!!!" Unclear on the concept? Blissfully unaware? All alone in the end zone? Comfortably numb? Whatever, it was still odd watching Coloradans playing and singing that song.

I really felt bad that 'Sweet Caroline' wasn't played at last year's Rock & Sox. (There's a reason for that, but it's in the past now. Musicians, yeesh.) So I decided to look for alternative versions for this year's event and this is what I found:

Which version do you like better? Are there other notable versions out there?

Bleacher Report- OOPS!

I saw the link and the title, so I clicked on it. I cruised through the slide show and saw a huge glaring mistake when I got to the last slide. Eric Ball has a photo of Mel Parnell where a photo of Cy Young should be. The title of his post reads "Ranking the Top Ten Pitchers in Yankees v. Red Sox History," when it should have read, "Ranking the Top Ten Pitchers in Yankees History." Three pitchers on his list played for both teams, but 2 of the 3 had considerably more success with the Yankees. While the 3rd had a good run with the Red Sox, he went on to the Yankees and continued to play well. Of the remaining 7 pitchers on Ball's list, 5 were Yankees and only 2 were Red Sox. I guess that's why his BR profile says he's "trying" to make a living in sports journalism.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dirty Water by The Cancer Sucks Band

The Cancer Sucks Band performed at "The Rock & Sox Benefit for The Jimmy Fund and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute" last summer at The Connecticut Yankee when the Red Sox were here to play the Giants  in San Francisco for the 1st time in 6 years. Over $1200 was raised for those 2 fine organizations and we're hoping to match that this summer when we expect to stage "The 2nd Annual Rock & Sox Benefit" in late August during the WEEI Telethon. Check back here at Fenway West for more details. In the meantime, if you'd like to make a donation, you can do that on our Rally Against Cancer donation page.

Here's The Cancer Sucks Band performing Dirty Water last summer:

City of Boston and Red Sox slides are folllowed by band shots and credits.

Where are they now: Brian Daubach

Daubach with Tommy Harper

Brian Daubach spent almost 9 seasons in the minor leagues before getting a crack at the bigs. He played for the Red Sox for 5 seasons (1999-2002, 2004) in a career that spanned 8 years. In 1999 he finished 4th in Rookie of the Year voting with a BA/OBP/SLG/OPS line of .294/.360/.562/.921. He was booted from the MLB Players’ Association for crossing the lines to play as a replacement player during the 1994-95 strike. In 2009 and 2010 he served as a part-time host on a sports-talk radio station and as an analyst during Red Sox telecasts. During those 2 seasons he was also a manager in Nashua, NH and Pittsfield, MA in the indepenndent Canadian-American league.

The Washington Nationals have chosen Daubach to be the manager of their low Class A minor league team in Hagerstown, MD, and should be managing the Nats' 18 yo phenom prospect Bryce Harper (no relation to Tommy) who is expected to start the year there.

To read the complete story, click here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Runnin' With the Devil~ Hard Times for Boras?

Evil incarnate baseball agent Scott Boras seems to be falling upon hard times. He hasn't gotten anywhere near his desired salaries for Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. He couldn't get anywhere near what he wanted for Adrian Beltre. Same thing happened when he was negotiating for Jason Varitek a couple of years ago. And now, Mark Teixeira just dropped him. Yes, it is true. Bleacher Report has a good time with the 2011 shortcomings of Mr. Boras(shole.)

Box score from the past (09.07.1923)

I dug deep to find the oldest box score from a game in which the Red Sox starting pitcher tosssed a no-hitter. Howard Ehmke did it for the Sox on September 7, 1923 in Philadelphia against the Athletics. These were the post-Babe years, the Red Sox glory days of the early 1900's had come and gone already. There was only 1 name in the entire box score that I recognized- HP umpire Bill Dinneen.

Buchholz tosses 3 eggs at Yanks, Sox win

Clay Buchholz tossed 3 scoreless innings against the New York Yankees in a Grapefruit League game Friday night. Shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias flashed leather as he was in on 2 double plays, and also went 2/3, drew a walk and scored a run. In desperation, the Yankees' Bureau of Reclamation picked Bartolo Colon up from the scrap heap after getting stiffed by Cliff Lee, (Yeah, go Lee!) But wait! What's this? Colon is actually pitching well? Ooh, in Colon's 2nd start of Spring Training, he threw 3 shutout innings striking out 5 Red Sox. I guess if he's pitching well, he must have lost his appetite, y'think?

Red Sox 5 Yankees 3

Click here for box score and videos of Buchholz, Iglesias and Reddick

Show me the chalupas!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Box score from the past (04.04.01)

They don't call him the Captain for nuthin'! Jason Varitek has caught 4 no-hitters in his career, a record among all MLB catchers past and present. On April 4th, 2001, he caught his first- Hideo Nomo v. the Baltimore Orioles. The Baltimore line-up included Melvin Mora and Cal Ripken, while Sydney Ponson was the starting pitcher for the O's.

We only have 4 Mondays left before the Season starts, so for these last 4 'Box scores from the past,' I am soliciting suggestions from our readers. If you have a favorite game you would like to see show up here, send an e-mail to r e d s o x s o n o m a ( a t ) y a h o o ( d o t ) c o m . If you don't know the exact date, just tell me as much information you have about the game and I will research it and post it here.

A-Rod says, "I love that dirty leather."

Beckett hit in head by ball

ESPN is reporting that Josh Beckett was hit in the side of his head today with a ball that was hit by a Red Sox staffer with a fungo bat. He was standing in the outfield when he was struck. Although he was visibly shaken, he did not need to go to a hospital.

Quote of the day

Dustin Pedroia showing Jose Iglesias how Boston shortstops take cutoffs on balls in right-center field:
"Listen to me, you're with the Red Sox now, and here, I'm Fidel Castro."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Quote of the day

Mike Scandura brought down the Carl Crawford press conference today when he nonchalantly asked Crawford, "Do you think your stolen bases might go down because you won't be running against the Red Sox?" The thought provoking question is at the 1:16 mark.