Manny Being Manny

MANNY BEING MANNY

Manny Being Manny

(AP Photo)

He's a Big Hit at Fenway
Sox Rally for 4-3 Win on Manny's RBI Single

"Forget about the trade man. This is the place I want to be man. It's great man. They love me here man. This is the place to be. 'Manny being Manny,' he's great man... we've been through a lot, this is the place for me, I'm just happy to be here... I'm back!" -- 7.31, Manny on Manny

Big Pap Makes Strong Debut
Olerud, Big Papi Go Back-to-Back
Don't-Trade-Bill-Mueller Throws One Away
Quite a Catch: Kapler Saves the Day
Stop the Presses: Rent Got a Big Hit
Schilling Nails it Down

He's Our Manny; No Sox Trades

Sox, Twins talked Romero-for-Youk

Got trades?

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration)

"I think it was the ultimate seller's market, and if you are a buyer and in the ultimate seller's market, it's hard to make a fair deal. It's hard to make a deal that doesn't hurt you more than it helps you. If you need a carton of milk and you put $5 in your pocket and you go to store to get some milk, and you go there and all of a sudden milk is $100, you might walk out of the store without some milk." -- 7.31, Theo Epstein on the trade market

Hall of Fame is Rated PG

Hall of Fame Rated PG

Gammons Goes to the Hall

(Sean Walsh Photo / Cape Cod Baseball League 2001)

Peter Gammons Induction Speech

"Throughout my career I have tried to be guided by one principle, that because I am human I have the right to like people. But because I am professional, I have no right to dislike anyone. People ask me, as a New England, what was it like walking out there in the field when Aaron Boone hit a home run. To be honest, my first reaction was, I was ecstatic. I have known Aaron Boone since he was 13 years old and that's my privilege. My second reaction, I saw Tim Wakefield, head down, and I felt despondent. He's one man who did not deserve that. As I walked out on the field to try to get introduced, I turned to my producer, Charlie Moynihan, and said, 'look around here, you know what? I just got paid to cover the greatest game ever played in the greatest sporting venue in the world. I think I'm the luckiest man on earth.'" -- 7.31, Peter Gammons, Cooperstown

'With Gammons, Hall Makes the Write Call'

Jerry Remy on Peter Gammons
Classic Gammons: Game 6, 1975
Voices on Gammons

"The bottom line is, in a sea of people looking for controversy and negativity, he continually tries to find the positive story. He continually wants to find players he likes. He wants to find good stories. In a way, I don't view him as a writer or a member of the media. I view him as an ambassador for the game." -- Mark Shapiro, Indians GM

He's Got It Wade

The Original OBP Machine Goes to The Hall
But Will His Number Be Retired at Fenway?

Wade Boggs in the Hall

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration / David Visnick)

Wade Boggs Induction Speech

"I have a message for the young kids. Life is about obstacles, endeavors in life are not to be overlooked. Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but how we react to what happens, not by what life brings us but the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results." -- 7.31, Wade Boggs, Cooperstown

Wade Boggs: 2005 Hall of Fame Inductee

Pinotito

The Ramirez Controversy

(Boston Dirt Dogs Illustration / J.Reilly / Southcoast247.com)

Manny Says He Wants to Stay

Manny on NESN

(NESN screengrab)

'I'm glad Tito gave me those two days off'

Positive Spin City

Manny Talked to Reporters in Francona's Office Before Today's Game

'I'm just here to play and win. I'm a gangster' -- 7.31, Manny Ramirez

Sunday 7.31, Steve Buckley on WEEI’s The Baseball Show: “This is just for the print guys (today's pre-game meeting in Terry Francona’s office today)… Terry was talking about Papelbon (then) Kevin Millar burst in to the room lugging with him Manny Ramirez, said that Manny wanted to talk to the media, Kevin Millar acting as his spokesman of sorts, and then Terry interrupted Millar and Manny to say this was planned. Terry didn’t get a chance to broach the subject with Manny first but they had planned that Manny was going to come in to this room and talk to these writers and clear the air and that Terry didn’t want people to think that Manny was being dragged in here, they all agreed that this would be the thing to do… Manny said he wants to play for the Red Sox through the 2005 season, and I’m not suggesting that he doesn’t want to play here beyond. He says he’s happy here. He says that as far as the day off goes, he says that he was hurt, that he needed the day and so forth and there was some miscommunication and so forth. He made it abundantly clear, and Terry Francona said this, that he gets along with Francona, they have a working relationship. He said that he did not pull himself out of the lineup last night. This is counter affecting some of the things that had been said and written about Manny the last couple of days. Manny said that he is happy playing for the Red Sox, he wants to play with the team; he wants the team to go to the World Series. He says he’s not bothered by the booing from a couple of days ago. He says he has a good working relationship with Terry Francona. It’s as if a cloud has been lifted over Fenway Park."

Pinotito

Pinotito

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration)

Francona's Nose is Growing Again

"I visited with him and told him that I think it's not just his best interest but our ballclub's best interest, that he sit and clear his head, take a few breaths. We'll go (Saturday night, tonight) and have an off-day Monday, and he agreed."

''I went to him today. I thought that was the best way to do it. He's got some things flying around. I've got an obligation to everyone in the ballclub to communicate, set things straight, and in some situations reassure people. I thought it was very successful." -- 7.30, Terry Francona's postgame comments

"Francona, who originally had Ramirez batting cleanup and playing left field on the lineup card posted in the clubhouse, denied that Ramirez had come to him a half-hour before the game and asked to be taken out of the lineup, then 15 minutes later said he wanted to play, a version of events provided by a source who had spoken to high-ranking club officials." -- 7.31, Boston Globe

"According to sources familiar with the situation, Ramirez told manager Terry Francona 30 minutes before gametime that he wasn't going to play, only to return 20 minutes later with a change of heart, offering to once again be put in the lineup. By then, however, the Red Sox manager wasn't about to accommodate him and stuck with a lineup that was without Ramirez." -- 7.30, Providence Journal

"'They don't talk, they haven't spoken since the first day Ramirez came,' the source said of Francona and Ramirez. 'He's had it for Manny for a while. The friction's been there for a while. Manny's not his kind of player - Francona has one way of thinking and there's one type of player he wants on his team and that's not Manny.'" -- 7.31, Boston Herald

Manny Costs Sox $116,000 Per Game to Sit Out
Wells: 'It's Selfish for Him Not to Step Up'

Wells on NESN

(NESN screengrab)

"The guy's messing with my cake. I want to try to get a ring, man. If he's not out there, that creates a problem. And I don't know the situation. Whatever it is, he better have a great excuse because we need Manny Ramirez in the lineup. I don't care what's going on. This team needs him. If he's going to come out and say he needs another day off, that's not going to sit well with a lot of guys. There's no question... It's selfish for him not to step up. Listen, we've got a couple guys hurt. We need you in there. His impact in that is tremendous. The (opposing) pitchers are going, 'Oh boy. What do we throw this guy?' He's hitting everything. For Manny not to step up, I think that was selfish on his part. If I'm getting paid $20 million, I want to play every day to show this organization and these fans that I'm worth every dime. -- 7.30 David Wells on Manny Ramirez sitting out again

Wells Says 'Cameratown' and Autograph Hounds Don't Give Sox Players Space
(Can the Fanboys and Girls Please Back Off the Guys in Town?)

"Can the Fanboys and Girls Please Back Off the Guys in Town? Uhh, sorry... When guys are making $20 million a year (and significantly less for the other players but still in the millions for most) fans can take pictures and ask for autographs all they want. In comes with the territory and is part of the deal when you sign on the dotted line." -- 7.31, CJAS

Johnny Has His Say on Mannygate

Steve Kurth Illustration

(Boston Dirt Dogs Illustration / Steve Kurth, Illustrator Answers)

Large and in charge

Large and in Charge

Wells wins again

(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Barry Chin)

David Does the Dealing at Fenway

No Manny, No Problem. Olerud Delivers 3 RBIs in 6-2 Win.
Sign of the Times: Manny's Best Friend Draws Four Walks
The Specialists: Bradford and Myers Seal the Deal

''We go out and play, whatever our lineup is. Nobody is going to take that away from us. Period. I'll tell you that right now." -- 7.29 Captain Jason Varitek

WELCOME BACK KAPLER

Sox clinch pennant

(Getty Images Photo)

To the Sound of Welcome Back Kotter, by John Sebastian

Welcome back,
Japan dreams were your ticket out.

Welcome back,
To that same old place that you cared about.

Well the names have all changed since you left our town.
But those dreams have remained since we won the crown.

Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (Who'd have thought they'd lead ya)
Back here where we need ya (Back here where we need ya)

Yeah we’ll tease you a lot 'cause Payton misplayed your spot, Welcome back,
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.


Tito scratches Manny to 'clear his head'
Papelbon to get start today
Sox pick up D-Backs DFA Jose Cruz Jr.

It's Tito's Time

20-20-commentary.jpg

It's Tito's Time

I present myself as a sporting resident of New England about to figuratively place my neck directly onto the guillotine of public opinion, fully expecting someone out there to pull the switch and behead me for daring to speak what could be the single most controversial issue anyone could possibly even consider putting to the printed word.

Terry Francona should be signed to a new contract. Immediately, if not sooner. If there is one member of the Boston Red Sox that has proven to be worthy of a greater commitment at more dinero, I for one cannot think of who that person might be.

Francona is the manager who kept enough Gelusil handy to deal with Pedro Martinez in his final and "diva" Red Sox season. Francona managed to coax and cajole a clubhouse full of disparate attitudes into a cohesive winner. Francona made all the right moves and, to be sure, a few questionable ones, in winning that elusive World Series.

Fast forward to this season. Curt Schilling slipping into an injury-aided mediocrity, a bullpen that at times should simply be considered a rotation of bull, Kevin Millar hitting at times more like a grandmother and Mark Bellhorn fielding like one, and a shortstop who couldn't find his groove much less his hitting stroke. Let us not forget another season of hearing everything short of dismemberment threats tossed his way by fans whipped into a homicidal frenzy by airbag talk show hosts. Oh yeah, there's also the matter of a guy named Manny pulling an "el foldo" on his teammates at a time when they needed him most. Despite all this, as of this writing, the Red Sox are still in first place with the August chase just about to kick into full speed.

There's the evidence. I stand firm and fast in my resolve, and dare anyone...yes, this means you...to argue the contrary and find fault with any of this logical reasoning to award Terry Francona that new contract. Right. Now.

As long as you put that guillotine in the garage first.

-- Ed Berliner, host of CN8's Sports Pulse

20/20 Archives

The Rumblin' Red Sox

Ready to Rumble

Getting Curt with Manny

(2004 Boston Globe Photo / Jim Davis)

Reports: Soxers Curt 'Max Schilling' and 'Cinderella Manny' Ramirez Have to Be Separated by Referee David Ortiz After Curt Confronts Manny About Bailing Out on the Team in Time of Need

"The source said that before that game, which was started by Tampa Bay's Seth McClung, David Ortiz said aloud to Schilling, 'Man, that guy's got some nasty stuff,' to which Schilling supposedly responded, 'Yeah, that's why Manny took the day off.' Ramirez then supposedly said to Schilling, 'Screw you, I can hit anyone in baseball, including your ass.' Then, the source said, Ramirez went up to Schilling and, before the confrontation escalated, Ortiz had to separate the two." -- 7.31 Michael Silverman, Boston Herald

"Ramirez's insistence that he be given a day off Wednesday as promised, sources indicate, infuriated some teammates and resulted in an angry confrontation between Curt Schilling and Ramirez. Schilling got into a heated argument with Ramirez and David Ortiz had to step in and separate them." -- 7.30 Sean McAdam, Providence Journal

The Big Trade?

Larry Bigbie

(AP Photo)

Bigbie-to-Boston deal appears to be off

An Olerud Awakening

An Olerud Awakening

John Olerud Grand Slam

(AP Photo)

Arroyo Steps Up; Olerud Slams One Out
Sox Hang on for 8-5 Win Over Twins

Burger King Johnny Boos Home Run King Manny
Ortiz Doesn't Know That Fans Were Upset Over Lack of Hustle, Day Off
Wade Miller Throws Sox a Curve; Bronson Finds His
Forget That Mueller for JC Romero Deal
Damon Slams Bizarro Three-Run 'Homer'
Schilling Shuts the Door

Ortiz upset

(NESN screen frame)

"Terrible. They should never boo Manny here. The crowd cannot be hard on Manny yet because nothing happened with Manny yet. What about if they don't trade Manny? They've got to stick with Manny all year long. Are they going to keep booing him?" -- 7.29 David Ortiz on his friend Manny

"The Sox, we thrive on controversy. So Manny is really turning this around on everybody else. This man is going to be OK. I believe he'll be a Red Sox. I believe that we're going to go off and have a chance to repeat this year. We're going to get hot here. You know how it goes here. The three years I've been here, this stuff pushes the team. We traded Nomar Garciaparra, the closest thing to Ted Williams. It was like, `Oh my God!" We got hot and won a World Series." -- 7.29 Kevin Millar on controversy

Foulke Gets Some Work In

Have it Keith's way

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration / Derek Hixon)

Keith is on the Comeback Trail

Good news for Sox hitters: Yanks sign Embree

Get Burnett

Get Burnett

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration / Nick Merrill)

Edes Chat Wrap: Latest Trade Rumor Talk

giants56: Q: Is the Burnett trade officially DOA?

Gordon_Edes: No, it's not. Remember, there were people saying that the Nomar deal was 90 percent dead 24 hours before it happened. There are growing indications that the Marlins have decided to keep him, but things have a funny way of changing at the last moment. I know the sides are still talking.

Manny Goes to Summer School

Department of Manny Security

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration / Peter Stasiowski)


Manny Goes to Summer School

Nomar the teacher

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration / Meir Weinberg)

Teacher's Pet Gets All A's

NYT's Chass: 'Despite All the Baggage, the Mets Need Ramirez'

'Whether Slugging or Sluggish, Nobody Can Stop Him'

"So where are the leaders of this team when Manny stands down? Where's the clubhouse outrage over Manny's abject indifference? Where's captain Jason Varitek or know-it-all Curt Schilling? Where's nail-spitting Trot Nixon? Where's Kevin Millar, who has an opinion on everything? Where's David Ortiz, a fellow slugger who can communicate with Manny in the language of their homeland?" -- 7.29 Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe

Photo Gallery: 'Manny Being Manny'

'If people started booing Manny he'd probably wonder when they resigned Lou Merloni...' -- Wharf Rat


Meanwhile in the Bronx...

Yankees arms

(Illustration courtesy of Frankie Galasso, Sports Cartoonist)

Yankees 'Has Been' Staff Comes Together

Brown on DL Again; Chacon on Board

What Will Johnny Do?

What Will Johnny Do?

7.29_MRBK_BDD.jpg

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration / Don D.)

Will Manny Hear the Burger King Boo Birds at Fenway Friday Night?

Lucchino confirms Manny trade request

Lucchino Confirms Manny Trade Request

Larry Lucchino

Sox Will Entertain Offers. Privacy Issue Explained.

Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino speaks with WEEI's Dennis and Callahan: "Manny has issues with Boston and privacy, from the week before... actually our first meeting with him about being traded was the week before we took over the team in 2002, but the short answer to the question is yes he did (ask for a trade). We certainly have some perspective on it. It has happened annually,and our general response was 'it's that time of year' and we'll explore it as we explore other trades."

As best you can, can you explain what the privacy issue is, because this is the guy I think invited the Globe in to take photographs of his son and his bedroom?

"Yeah, that’s not really the issue, I know you guys have focused on that as have others, that he did that. I think the privacy issue is the ability to kind of leave your apartment and go to the park with your kid. Leave your apartment and go out to dinner with your wife without sort of being surrounded by well-wishers and autograph seekers, things like that. My sense from that issue and how he’s articulated it is that it comes down to that daily sense of personal privacy not the idea that every once in a while you might invite someone in to your house to do a photo shoot."

And what major league city would he be able to enjoy those freedoms Larry?

"Well I think that you would acknowledge that Boston is probably one of the two or three most intense baseball towns in America where the team occupies a central place in the day-to-day life in the community and the people who live here, so there have got to be several other teams where there’s less focus on baseball. I’ve heard Derek Lowe quoted as saying he misses that central focus on baseball, the kind of day-to-day recognition that he experienced here in Boston that he doesn’t have in, and see it in Los Angeles for example."

It seemed to me that Manny of late was relishing it, was enjoying it. We were under the impression that this was a new Manny, a happy Manny. Were you under that same impression and were you taken by surprise when you found out he was so uncomfortable that he wanted out?

"The answer is yes and no. I think everyone feels that Manny is comfortable at Fenway Park with his teammates, with the organization, he made that point quite clearly that he was appreciative of all that had been done in terms of changing the physical set-up of the ballpark, in terms of our organization’s approach to him and to the team, but that his concern was more with the city and the focus on baseball and the lack of some freedom of movement that comes with that obsession with baseball. So that’s the answer to the first part of it. As to were we surprised by a request, I don’t think it would be intelligent of us to be surprised because as I’ve said this is our fourth season and in each of those seasons, beginning the week before we took over, we were well aware that Manny had issues. In each of those years there has been a request for a trade."

Does ownership and management feel more inclined or compelled to trade him today than you did a week ago when he asked to be traded based on the events of the last two days?

"That’s a very hard question to answer publicly. I try to respond to your questions as best I can but it’s hard to know if the events of the last couple of days are the result of sort of psychological and physical needs for a sustained period of rest or it’s some calculation or some move to encourage us to trade him. It’s hard to know which that is and we’ll try to focus on it in the next couple of days to make an intelligent assessment. It is the time of year when you consider all manner of trades. You know that we are not sentimental people, we try not to be, as much as we like and admire our veterans, you’ve got to be prepared to trade them if it’s in the best interest of the club. Theo is certainly willing to be bold and make moves that other GMs might shy away from, so this is the time for us to think about trades and certainly Manny’s name will come up from time-to-time I’m sure in the next 72 hours. We have until 4:00 on Sunday afternoon. I think that it’s hard (to try to trade Manny) because of the size of his contract obviously, it’s hard. There aren’t a lot of clubs that are going to be interested, but it depends how little you’re willing to take in return with respect to trades. I’m not talking about Manny specifically, although it certainly applies to him. If you’re willing to take a broken bat and a couple of baseballs and a player to be named later, I supposed that makes it more possible but there’s just a certain set of clubs that will never be interested because of the dollars involved, but then again that club may say ‘hey if he’s got a $18-20 million contract this year, and you pay 95% of it, you know, we’ll trade with you,’ but that’s not a particularly intelligent thing for us to do."

Either this is a brilliant plot by Manny to Jay Payton his way out of Boston and as you indicated maybe force a trade and force management’s hand, or the other side of that is he’s a complete and total moron and does not realize that what he did the last two nights disrespects his team, the uniform, the game, and the organization all at once. It’s kind of either/or isn’t it?

"There’s another alternative that Manny would offer and I don’t mean to be an apologist for him because I’m not taking that position today but I would simply say to you that those are not the only two alternatives, the third alternative is that he very much needed either physically and psychologically a couple of consecutive days off. He postponed it from the promised possibility of last weekend ‘till yesterday and his point of view was ‘listen I was tired and I was not going to help this team being out there in this mental and physical condition.’ I don’t know if that’s the case, and I don’t mean to be an apologist for Manny. I just think that you guys have got to consider all the possibilities."

Do you think he notices what Damon does and Renteria and Varitek and Bill Mueller and Schilling and Clement. Do you think he notices how they put their heart and soul into this and they take on the obligation of playing every day and playing hurt?

"Yes. Yes, it’s impossible not to notice that when you’re in a small clubhouse and you see that so I’m sure he does."

Then he is sticking them in the back. He’s saying ‘you guys can play everyday, you can play in pain, not me.’

"Well, those are your words Callahan. I think his attitude is ‘I’ve got to take care of me in the best way that I can in order to make the contribution that I think I can make.’"

What empowers him more to do this and get away with it? The 40 home runs and the 140 RBI? The $20 million contract that is virtually untradeable?Oor the fear that if somebody actually calls Manny on this, whether it would be management, ownership, or the captain, that you could lose Manny to a hamstring/DL appearance for the next 15 days?

"You’re asking me to put myself in Manny’s shoes, that’s a very hard thing to do, it’s probably all of those things. I think all of those things probably contribute to his sense of that but there is one thing that you do have to remember in sports and it’s true in any business. There are times when some differentiation among employees, I know that Jack Welch has written books about it, where you’ve got to differentiate between and among employees. You cannot expect to treat everyone exactly the same. We’ve all been part of a team, or growing up members of a team, when we recognize that there are different people and personalities within the team who were treated differently. I know there’s an old bromide that says ‘this is a team, we’re all treated the same, we all act the same’ well that’s not the way life is. That’s not the way human nature is. The best managers are those, and I mean managers in the broadest sense of the word, those who are able to accommodate different personalities and different perspectives and treat them with respect to those differences."

Do you see any of that support (fans who applaud him, teammates who look the other way) eroding, in particular in the clubhouse where teammates are saying ‘hey, when we needed this guy the most, when one of our own almost lost his life, when another one got seriously injured, and he was asked to help out the team and he just turned his back,’ do you think that continued empowerment by his teammates is as solid as it was two days ago?

“I obviously don’t know. The teams been on the road. I haven’t been in the clubhouse nor have I heard anything that suggests that. My guess is that there would be some reaction to it on the part of his teammates because there are some guys who take that the obligation of constant effort quite seriously and so I suspect there will be some. What’s more obvious to me is the media position. The media which has frequently written about ‘Manny being Manny’ over the years has certainly leaped into this issue with both feet if you read the papers today and listen to you guys on talk radio. There’s hardly an averting of the media’s eyes from this issue. They’ve focused on it intensely." -- 7.28 Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan (Listen to the interview here)

Manny's Day Off

Ferris Ramirez

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration / Dan Goldberg)

The Anti-Captain

The anti-captain

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration / Nicholas Brown)

Manny Gets a New Uniform

'Give a Rest to Giving Ramirez a Free Pass'

"One Sox veteran blamed the media. 'You guys never hold him accountable,' he said. 'I've never seen a guy get such a free pass. You all think it's a joke, 'Manny being Manny.' What is 'Manny being Manny?' Him disrespecting the game?'" -- 7.28, from Gordon Edes' story on Manny

Time to Be Curt with Manny?

Being Curt with Manny Again?

(Boston Globe Photo / Jim Davis)

Or Is It Time for Manny to Just Walk the Walk Out of Town?

Juliana Ramirez Says They 'Love Living Here'

The Bench Player

Manny on the bench

(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)

He Likes to Watch

Working Class Wake

Working Class

Wake gets the job done

(AP Photo)

Wake Gets the Job Done, 4-1

Sox Work Like Dogs While Manny's Dog Tired
Cora Shows His Power with Game Winning Homer
No Rest for the Weary Bullpen
Schill Nails Down Another Save


Feeling All Right

Matt Clement Comes Home

(NESN screen image)

Clement speaks: 'It was a serious hit'

Clement Released from Hospital
Trot Goes on Disabled List; DiNardo Called Up


The Sox claimed RHP Luis Mendoza off waivers from the San Diego Padres.
He has been assigned to Single-A Wilmington.

Manny Quits on Team

MANNY BAILS ON SOX
IN TIME OF NEED

Manny Quits

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration)

MANNY TEAMIREZ

Francona Asks Manny to Play Today, Manny Says No

"Manny was going to have a day off in Chicago the other day, we talked him out of it, at the time I said 'to me Wednesday would be a better day.' And then after last night's game we did go to him and say 'Hey look, we're in a little bit of a bind now' and he goes 'I still need it.' So we're gonna sit Manny so he'll have tonight and tomorrow..."
-- 7.27 Red Sox "manager" Terry Francona

"We'll examine it, then we'll see what we can do."
-- 7.27 Larry Lucchino to CBS4's Bob Lobel

Sox Address Manny's Privacy

Sox Address Manny's Privacy Issues

Port-O-Manny

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration / Don D.)

Introducing the Port-O-Manny

No escape for Manny: Trade request just part of sideshow

"As for the Red Sox, they won with Ramirez before and they can win with him now. Ramirez has been a distraction since the day he arrived in Boston, but the beauty of the current Sox is they are anarchists. They thrive on chaos. Francona, general manager Theo Epstein and owner John Henry seemingly cannot log on to the Internet without reading a stupid, controversial or tactless remark made by one of their players, who seem to thrive on lawlessness, answer to no one and insist on policing themselves." -- 7.27.05 Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald

Emotional Rescue

Emotional Rescue

Sign Johnny Damon

(AP Photo)

The 2005 Red Sox are Born in St. Petersburg

Sox Win the Game of the Year 10-9
Damon Taketh Away, Then Giveth
'Tek, Mueller Step Up with Big Bats
Clement Gets Hit by Line Drive
Trot Goes Down with Oblique Strain
Is Delcarmen the Closer of the Near Future?
Should Dale Sveum Take a Seat on the Bench?
Graffanino, Olerud Flash the Leather Too
Manny Homers, and Loafs Going Up Line in 10th
Schilling Gets Shaky Win in Relief

"I definitely had to get there. I had to take my eye off the ball but I timed it perfectly. It gave us some momentum going into the next inning." -- 7.26 Johnny Damon on his game saving catch

WEEI Audio: Schilling Not Happy with 'Wanting to Start' Report
Tom Verducci on 'Manny Wants Out' Report

Clement struck by line drive

CLEMENT STRUCK IN HEAD BY LINE DRIVE

Sox Doc Reports CT Scan Negative. Clement Never Lost Consciousness and is in Good Spirits.

Red Sox Medical Director Dr. Thomas Gill tonight issued the following statement regarding the condition of Red Sox pitcher Matt Clement.

“I have spoken with Matt and his doctors in Florida,” said Gill. “Matt himself never lost consciousness and is in good spirits. The results of his CAT scan were negative. He appears to be doing well, but will stay in the hospital overnight for precautionary purposes, and will be re-evaluated in the morning.”

Matt Clement struck

(AP Photos)

Sox Star 'Conscious and Alert' as
He Was Taken to Hospital

The Nation's Prayers are with Matt Tonight

Petagine in a Bottle

Petagine in a Bottle

Roberto Petagine

(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)

Is It Time to Bring Roberto to Boston?

"Triple-A Pawtucket's Roberto Petagine hit a three-run homer and walked twice yesterday. The Red Sox need to turn John Olerud's job over to Petagine. He's hitting .331/.458/.644 in 65 games since returning from knee surgery." -- 7.26 Rotoworld

From Gordon Edes Boston.com chat:

"Jackie_Boy: Q: Gordo, Seriously, what are the Sox going to do about Petagine? The man deserves a shot. He has close to an 1.100 OPS!!! Can Olerud be traded?"

"Gordon Edes: Jackie...Boy: Ask yourself this: If the Sox thought Petagine could jhelp, wouldn't he be here by now? I think they see him as a 4-A player, outstanding Triple-A hitter, not quite good enough for the big leagues. That's why he went to Japan for years."

Halama Designated for Assignment. Delcarmen Activated.

Does Manny Want Out of Boston Again?

Does Manny Want Out of Boston Again?

Manny

(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Matthew Lee)

Report: Manny Wants Out

According to Tom Verducci in the August 1 issue of Sports Illustrated, Manny Ramirez has asked to be traded from the Red Sox. Verducci writes "Manny Ramirez wants out of Boston. Again. The Red Sox leftfielder has asked to be traded for at least the third time in the past four seasons. He told team officials he is unhappy in Boston, particularly with his lack of privacy off the field. The Red Sox have no intention of trading Ramirez (.277, 27 homers, 90 RBIs) -- not during the season, anyway. They could field offers in the off-season for Ramirez, who is due $57 million over the next three years.

"Boston has learned to live with Ramirez's moods in order to keep his bat. He asked to be traded in spring training 2002, and again after the '03 season. However, when Boston agreed in principle to trade Ramirez to Texas as part of the ill-fated Alex Rodriguez deal, Ramirez telephoned owner John Henry late one night pleading to stay."

According to the Providence Journal's Sean McAdam on WEEI, Manny walked up to him in Baltimore on July 8 and said "I gotta get out of here, I gotta get my life back." Manny then turned and walked away (it was not known whether he was joking or not).

An Imperfect 10

An Imperfect 10

Tampa Bay wins in extra innings

(AP Photo)

Sox Flop in the Trop, 4-3 in Extra Schilling

Double Trouble: Nixon Can't Catch Up with Huff's Hit
Bad Break a Leg: Trot Can't Avoid Olerud Grounder
No Ninth Life: Stern Gets Caught Off Third
Breaking News: Timlin Lets Inherited Runner Score
Johnny Drama's Two-Run Pole Shot Wasted
Did You Know? Renteria Helped the Marlins Win the World Series in 1997

"If it's in front of you, you're conservative. Once it's over him, if he pulls up and that ball caroms like it did... I'd rather him go after it." -- 7.25 Terry Francona on the game-ending play

Work is a Four-Letter Word

Yesterday's News: Read more daily headlines here


20-20-commentary.jpg

Work is a Four-Letter Word

Although they say the only sure things in life are death and taxes, 'work' comes pretty close. Is being independently wealthy everything it's cracked up to be? I'll never know.

Two things that I've never heard are "I have too much money," and someone on their deathbed saying "I wish I spent more time at the office." The conflict between the desire for more and the wish for more time off remains immutable.

People line up pretty quickly against Manny Ramirez because "he makes so much money." That's a relatively weak argument in comparison with helping out your business because another employee (Trot Nixon) is unavailable for whatever reason. Responsibility to the team counts, too.

There isn't a business in America where corporate executive types receive exactly the same treatment as the men and women on the line. Doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs don't punch the clock. Well, maybe lawyers do, so they can get billable hours. As a colleague reminds me, "remember the Golden Rule, he who has the gold makes the rules."

Concerning the height of hypocrisy, I'd ask the following questions. "Do you ever not want to go to work in the morning?" "Have you ever called in sick or taken a personal day for a marginal reason?" "Have you given your employer and your job one-hundred percent attention, determination, and focus every minute, every day of your life?" "Have you ever been late for work?" "Have you ever left work a few minutes early?"

I've worked pretty hard for over the last thirty years from college, medical school, internship and training, and in medical practice. Have I ever struck out (yes), been overtired (all the time), disenchanted (certainly), disenfranchised (absolutely), or wished I were somewhere else doing something else (regularly)? I make a good living, but nowhere close to the major league minimum salary. My guess is that applies to practically everyone, because work is a four-letter word.

Was Manny Ramirez 'right' to insist on a day off because he had been promised one? Is Manny self-absorbed and immature at times? Does trading him for spite provide addition through subtraction?

Manny's a flawed athlete and professional, who's made mistakes and will continue to do so, here or elsewhere. We can get twenty-five choir boys and finish 0 and 162, or try to work with talented athletes to maximize performance. Which do you want?

-- Ron Sen, MD, Boston Dirt Dogs contributor (Check out Ron's blog, Red Sox Reality Check)

Manny Being Manny or Manny-Handled?

20/20 Archives

Sox Can't Take the Heat

Can't Take the Heat

Tough day for Manny

(AP Photo)

Sox Strand 11 Runners in 6-4 Loss

Why Can't We Get Players Like Tadahito Iguchi?
The 40-Year-Old Contreras Beats Sox Again
Arroyo Pitching Like He's Leaving Town
'Tek, 'Tiz Homer But Millar Baserunning Gaffe Costly
And Why Can't We Get a Scrap Heap Closer Like Dustin Hermanson?

"It seemed like every time we came up with guys in scoring position and they called to the bullpen, they got the job done. This series we left a lot of guys on base." -- 7.24 Johnny Damon

Sox sign Craig Hansen

Sox Sign Hansen

Jonathan Blazon Illustration

(Boston Dirt Dogs Illustration by Jonathan Blazon)

Future Closer is On Board

The City of Big Shutouts

The City of Big Shutouts

Wade Miller

(AP Photo)

Wade's Crusade: Miller Recaptures Magic; Sox Win 3-0

Manny Hits Another Game Winner ... in the First Inning
'Tek Adds Insurance Shot in the Ninth
Myers to Timlin to Schilling Holds the Line in Relief

"I haven't won for quite a while, so it's a real good boost for my morale. It was about time, I've been waiting for this one for a long time. It couldn't have been against a better team the way they are playing." -- 7.23 Wade Miller

Wake up and smell the rotation

Wake Up and Smell the Rotation

Tim Wakefield

(AP Photo)

Another Sox Starter Stumbles.
Trading Deadline Eight Days and Counting.

Six-Run Sixth Deep Sixes Sox as Wake Loses Sixth Straight to Chicago
Pitchers' Duel Turns to Blowout on a Dime
Garland Gets 15th Win; Stern Hits First Homer

"The wheels just fell off for me in the sixth." -- 7.22 Tim Wakefield (who dropped to 8-9)

Shocker: Schilling Wasn't Sharp Against Yanks After Landing From Red Eye 14 Hours Before First Relief Appearance
(Someone Tell Tito About All-Night Jet Lag So He Understands It Next Time)

The Second Chance City

The Second-Chance City

Manny Hits Game Winner

(AP Photos)

Tinkle Toes Takes One Deep After Foul Pop Drop for 6-5 Win

Manny Saves the Day After Schilling Blown Save
Johnny Be Good on the Basepaths While Papi and Trot Were Not
Battle of All-Starters: Clement Knocked Three Times,
Buehrle Stopped Before Finishing 7

"You just knew once Crede dropped that ball that Manny was going to do something special." -- 7.21 Johnny Damon

Remember Bellhorn's Past

Millar Simply Not Producing

"In those 170 at bats on the road this season — no insignificant sample — Millar has posted a .288 slugging percentage. Slugging percentage! That's total bases divided by at bats. Keep in mind he can't run at all and he is a mediocre defensive player. Determining how much a slow first baseman with a so-so glove and a .288 slugging percentage hurts your team is a calculation that pushes the envelope of sabermetrics." -- Kevin Hench continued at FOXSports.com

Remember Bellhorn's Past

They say people who win the lottery usually end up more unhappy than they were before they scored the big dough.

Really? You were happier living in the double-wide without HBO?

I never believed it.

Until now.

Now that I've seen the behavior of my Red Sox Nation this summer, I understand how expecting too much from life makes some people miserable.

Apparently, winning the World Series — like winning the lottery — makes you expect too much from life. This explains how Yankee fans came to boo Derek Jeter during his April slump last year. And you would think if there's one thing a Red Sox fan would never want to emulate, it's a jaded Yankee fan... -- Kevin Hench continued at FOXSports.com

Sox Illustrated

SI Players Poll

Would you rather play for the Red Sox or for the Yankees?

Red Sox - 47%
Yankees - 40%
Neither - 8%
Don’t know - 5%

Based on a survey of 450 MLB players

Fast facts: Among players with 10 or more years experience, 54% chose the Yankees, just 30% picked the Sox.... Starting pitchers went for Boston 55% to 36%.... After taking three of four last weekend (page 54), the Yanks are 1,075–896 alltime against the Sox.... Ten active players have been on both clubs: Tony Clark, Roger Clemens, John Flaherty, Tom Gordon, Chris Hammond, John Olerud, Paul Quantrill, Rey Sanchez, Mike Stanton and David Wells (left and right).

For an expanded version of the poll go to SI.com/scorecard.


A Turn for the Worse

Tom Verducci's column in the July 25 Sports Illustrated (reprinted with SI's permission)

July 25 Sports Illustrated

Even Interim closer Curt Schilling could not cure Boston’s sickly bullpen as the Red Sox lost three of four to the Yankees, who overcame pitching woes of their own

Erstwhile Boston Red Sox ace Curt Schilling, having hobbled and talked his way into bullpen duty, broke out the starter kit for closers last week. Schilling has the de rigueur macho facial hair (mustache and goatee), the personalized in-game routine (he stretches and watches the game on TV in the clubhouse until the sixth inning, then tromps dramatically across the outfield to the bullpen) and the tools to get the job done (power fastball and biting splitter). The obligatory theme music, however, needs some work.

Schilling made his Boston bullpen debut last Thursday in a 6–6 game against the New York Yankees to the strains of Welcome to the Jungle, whereupon he quickly served up a deciding two-run homer to Alex Rodriguez. Two days later, with neither a tie nor a lead to protect, his ninth-inning accompaniment was less inspiring but more appropriate. The band Creed, seemingly on behalf of a suddenly anxious Red Sox Nation, asked, Are You Ready?

Great question. One year after Schilling made good on his mission to help pitch Boston to a world championship, he is trying to rescue what at week’s end was the second-worst bullpen in the American League (5.51 ERA) while injured closer Keith Foulke misses up to six weeks after July 7 arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Schilling’s conversion, however, is complicated by his wobbly, surgically repaired right ankle—he admits that he cannot push off the pitching rubber properly, which curtails his ­velocity—and the uncertainty of whether he’ll be able to retake his rightful place atop the rotation later this season.

“The one thing I’m worried about,” Red Sox pitching coach Dave Wallace says, “is how we’ll be able to get [his arm] stretched out so he can start again this year. We won’t use him like a traditional one-­inning closer. We’ll have to pick spots to leave him out there for a couple of innings.”

Says teammate Johnny Damon of the bullpen’s new, $14.5 million member, “He’s paid to be an ace, and ultimately that’s where we need him. And Curt knows that. He said it himself.”

It was Damon who caused a stir over Schilling’s move to closer when he told The Boston Globe in comments published on July 7, “You’ve got a lot of upset people in here.... I don’t think he’s ready to be our closer.... Mike Timlin deserves to be it.... The whole team wants Timlin, and if not Timlin, [Bronson] Arroyo.”

Before the game on Thursday, Schilling and Damon spoke briefly for the first time since the centerfielder made his comments to the Globe. Said Schilling afterward, “There is no issue between us. I know Johnny. He would never say anything derogatory about a teammate. It’s just sometimes the more he talks, the more he tries to go out of his way not to [say something derogatory], the more it sounds like he is.”

Manager Terry Francona says the 39-year-old Timlin, a setup man who last closed in 2000, will get occasional save opportunities depending on matchups or Schilling’s availability. After yielding the game-tying run in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game, Timlin reacted brusquely when asked what he expected his role to be. “You’re going to have to ask Francona,” he snarled. “We’re not here to guess. We’re here to get outs.”

Earlier that day an annoyed Damon denied a Boston Herald gossip item that his wife, Michelle, and Schilling’s wife, Shonda, nearly had to be separated after ALCS Game 3 last October during a quarrel over good-luck scarves that Shonda had handed out to the players’ wives and girlfriends earlier in the postseason. The Herald claimed the incident influenced Damon’s nonsupport for Schilling as a closer. Damon, who at week’s end was riding a 29-game hitting streak, is eligible for free agency after the season. A source close to him said the Red Sox have floated the idea of a three-year, $25-million extension, but that Damon wants at least four years and a higher salary. “I don’t know where they come up with this stuff,” Damon said about the scarves incident. “It’s a bunch of stuff people made up.”

Welcome to July, when the oppressive heat and humidity is compounded by trade rumors and percolating pennant races. “July is a tense month,” Boston general manager Theo Epstein says, “but I expect we’ll come out of July focused, stronger and playing our best baseball, as we did last year.”

After the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline last year—the day the Red Sox dealt gloomy shortstop Nomar Garciaparra—Boston played at a .716 clip (53–21), includ­ing its unprecedented eight-game winning streak to close out the postseason. In those eight games Schilling, Foulke, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe were a combined 6–0 with a 2.11 ERA. None occupy the same roles with the Red Sox today. (Martinez and Lowe departed as free agents to the Mets and the Dodg­ers, ­respectively.)

Epstein says he does not expect to make a major trade this year—he regards the asking prices for closers Billy Wagner of Phil­a­delphia and Eddie Guardado of Seattle as too high—but can supplement his bullpen with three hard-­throwing minor leaguers: righthanders Manny Delcarmen and Jon Papelbon and lefty Jon Lester.

Boston’s series last weekend against the Yankees showed why the AL East, for the first time in five years, might be won with fewer than 95 victories—and for the first time in 17 seasons might be a three-team race, with the Baltimore Orioles in the hunt. The Red Sox, with their troublesome bullpen and aceless rotation, and the Yankees, who should have Simon Cowell as their pitching coach the way they audition starters, blasted each other for 51 runs in four games. So desperate were the Yankees that they gave starts to the newly ­acquired Tim Redding, who was 0–5 with a 9.10 ERA for San Diego through June 29 (Boston first baseman Kevin Millar ­referred to him on Saturday as “that Redding guy”), and 39-year-old Al Leiter, whom the Marlins dumped along with his 6.64 ERA on Saturday. Leiter, who broke in with the Yankees in 1987 and allowed just three hits and one run in 61¼3 innings to win Sunday’s game, was the 22nd pitcher and the 11th starter used by New York this year; the records for a playoff team are, respectively, 26 and 15. By taking three of four at Fenway Park, the Yankees pulled to within a half-game of the first-place Red Sox.

“One team will get hot before it’s all said and done,” Epstein says, “and get into the mid-90s [in wins].”

Says Damon, who at week’s end was second in the league in hitting at .342, “No way one team is going to run away with it.”

Pronouncements from the Boston clubhouse were much more robust as recently as June 25, when, one day after moving into first place, the Red Sox beat the Phillies 7–1 for their 11th victory during a 12–1 run. Crowed Millar then, according to Globe, “We’re going to the Series, boys!... We’re back. The [expletive] Sox are on a roll!”

From the end of that 13-game tear through Sunday, the [expletive] Sox went 6–11 and won only one of five series. Along the way Boston’s plans for Schilling changed. On July 4 Foulke, who had been pitching poorly with a sore left knee, blew a save against Texas. In a private meeting that night Francona and an exasperated Foulke agreed that the righthander should get the cartilage in the knee repaired. The next day Schilling, who had made one relief appearance since 1992, told Francona, “If there’s a bullpen job you want me to do, I’ll do it.”

Said Francona on Friday, “It was something I had been kicking around in my head.”

Schilling had undergone surgery in Novem­ber to repair his famously injured ankle tendon, the one held together by an innovative suturing technique, developed on a cadaver, that caused blood to ooze through his sock during his ALCS Game 6 and World Series Game 2 starts. Doctors told him that he would need 18 months to return to full strength. Instead the 38-year-old righthander made three starts in April, with little success, before instability in the ankle put him on the disabled list. When he pitched in five minor league games this month as part of a rehabilitation assignment, Schilling still did not have enough stability in the ankle to ­repeat his delivery for the 100 or so pitches expected from a starter. Bullpen work, he decided, would allow him to continue to build strength in his ankle and his arm while contributing to the team. “If I’m not going to be throwing 94 or 93 [mph] consistently, I have to pitch with what I’ve got, not with what I want,” Schilling says.

In his two appearances against New York, Schilling did throw one fastball 94 mph but otherwise topped out between 90 and 92. He lost on Thursday on two consecutive toothless splitters: Gary Shef­field drilled the first off the famed leftfield wall, and Rodriguez whacked the second. Schilling did retire the next three batters, plus the three he faced on Saturday. “This is not a perfect world right now,” Francona says. “I’d love to have Curt Schil­ling for eight innings and 120 pitches, but I don’t have that Curt Schilling. We took two ­negatives—Foulkie going down and Schill not having stability in the ankle—and tried to make a positive.”

Without Schilling, though, the Red Sox’ rotation is not dominant. Arroyo, who was hit hard in an 8–6 loss last Thursday, is a career 26–28 pitcher. David Wells is 41, and while he pitched efficiently in a 17–1 rout on Friday, he still had an ERA (4.73) worse than the league average. Matt Clement started the season 9–1 but has a 79–78 career record and was 1–2 with a 9.53 ERA in July after Saturday’s 7–4 loss. Tim Wakefield (8–8, 4.12), who gave up five runs in nine innings in Sunday’s 5–3 loss, has been serviceable but, as always, is susceptible to the unpredictable behav­ior of his knuckleball. Wade Miller had won twice in 12 starts with a 5.03 ERA.

Boston’s plan is that by September, a healthy Foulke will again be closing games, at least one of its top prospects will reinforce the bullpen and Schilling will get his arm and ankle strong enough to be an ace again. For now, though, it’s a jungle out there.

Carl's Talk was Cheap

Carl's Talk Was Cheap

Carl Everett in Boston

(Boston Globe File Photo / Jim Davis)

Carl Everett, Wrong Again

"They will never win as long as the media and the fans are the way they are. Boston will never win. They will never bring a championship here until the fans and the media change."
-- 5.13.03, Carl Everett

More Everett Wisdom ...

"The people that are here, they know how they treated me. I've never had to answer that question directly. They know how they treated me. They know how they treat most people here. Boston is Boston. Boston I don't think will ever change. Boston has been this way for their players as far as media and fans. They always form an opinion from wherever it supposedly comes from and stick with it no matter what. That's why the teams here never win, because players get tired of it and they quit."

"They will never win as long as the media and the fans are the way they are. Boston will never win. They will never bring a championship here until the fans and the media change, and the media is not gonna change because it sells. It sells more than a world championship. That's the only reason why the fans keep coming out, because of that."

"I don't like this town. Boston is not a fun town for a person like me. That's why I asked out. They didn't get rid of me, I wanted to leave. I asked out and I got out." -- 5.13.03, Carl Everett to CBS4's Steve Burton

Boston Media and Sox Fans Will Meet Up with Carl in Chicago Tonight


On the Wall

On the wall

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration / Don Daily)

A Model Victory

A Model Victory

Christie Brinkley

Christie Brinkley was on hand for yesterday's win a Fenway. (Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)

Red Sox score early, often in rout of Rays

Closing Time

Closing Time

Curt Schilling

(AP Photo)

Schilling Shuts Door For First Save Since 1992

But How Long Will Curt Close?

"This means at some point we'll be able to stretch him out and get him back into the starting rotation," -- 7.19 Theo Epstein

Sox Finally Snap Out of It, Top Rays
Arroyo Bounces Back; Manny Goes Deep
(But What was He Thinking the Night Before?)

Boston Back in First After Yankees, Orioles Lose

Sox Do the Smart Thing By Dropping Embree
Team Also Adds Graffanino, Hyzdu

Kazmir Sweater

Kazmir Sweater

Kazmir

(AP Photo)

Sox bats cold on a hot night at Fenway in 3-1 loss

Sox Can't Get it Right Against Lefties Again
Kazzz Continues to Put Sox Bats to Sleep
Too Little and Way Too Late for Cora's Hits
Wade Miller Tough-Luck Loser Again

''I could care less. We have two months of baseball left. Are we going to get a prize if we're in first place tomorrow?" -- 7.18 Trot Nixon

Damon Streak Over

Boston Dirt Dogs

Johnny's Stopped at 29

No Olerud Awakening for Fenway Francoma

Bellhorn Placed on 15-Day DL, Youkilis Called Up from Pawtucket

'I really wanted to see Alex hit'

7.18.05, Terry Francona spoke to the media today regarding the Mark Bellhorn situation: "We're gonna use Alex Cora tonight. I have spoken to Billy Mueller about using him in, I don't want to say emergency situation, probably a stop-gap is better. Kevin Youkilis took some ground balls there (at second) when he was here. He played one or two innings. Again it could happen, I don't know that that's the fairest option to him. We'll see what happens. I misspoke a little bit (regarding using Bill Mueller last night at second base). I really wanted to see Alex hit. He's had good years. He's had a tough time here a little bit. This is kind of a long term thing. We got Alex. I really wanted to see him hit.... It's not always perfect. (We think) having 12 pitchers gives us an advantage. Dustin (Pedroia) got hit pretty hard on his wrist. He's not 100%."


No Olerud Awakening
for Fenway Francoma

Steve Kurth Illustration

(Steve Kurth / IllustratorAnswers.com)

Hold Everything ... Including Tito's Extension

Second Thoughts: You Can't Play Mueller at Second
for an Inning to Take a Shot at Beating the Yankees?
You Can't Go Down Fighting with Millar at Third?
Better to Wave the White Flag and Lose in Nine Innings?
And Good Thing We Have 12 Pitchers and No Youk.
Sox Lose Safely in the 9th, 5-3

Ump Was a Chump: Of Course Cora Was Safe at First
You Can Call Him Al: Leiter Was On Fire
More Good News: Damon Extends Hitting Streak

"Who would take his (Alex Cora's) place at second [if the game went extra innings]? If you have a guy I'll listen ... We've talked to Billy. We're not going to put Bill Mueller at second anymore." -- 7.16 Terry Francona's excuse for giving up on the game

Another Sox Star Gets Rocked
Yanks Hit Three Bombs off Guitar Tim

Wake plays too

(Reuters Photo)

Wake Plays a Country Tune for Nation:

"When My Knuckle Don't Make 'Em Buckle
It's Just Batting Practice from Me."

Did Sveum Lose the Geum?

Did Sveum Lose the Geum?

Doug Mirabelli Mistake

(AP Photo)

Or Was it a Belli Flop?
Sveum Old Song and Dance, Sox Come Up Short 4-7

Another Mulligan for Matt, While RJ Was Just OK
More Boos for Bellhorn,
But MarKK Makes Some Noise with Rare Roundtripper
Four K's for Noma...Edgar, 3 LOBs
Jeremi Did Just Fine in Relief

"I thought Millar would score easily, and I put my head down. I picked my head up too late." -- 7.16 Doug Mirabelli on baserunning blunder

A Farewell to Arms for NY

Demolition Derby

Boston Massacre

(AP Photo)

It's a Farewell to Arms for Yankees' Mound Dogs
Another Boston Massacre, 17-1

Long Run for Trot: Nixon Pulls Easy Inside Job
Grand Papi: David's Slam Makes it a Rout
Not Redding for Prime Time: On Inning Tim Was Terrible
While David Did Very Well Against Old Team

"It was like a tractor pull out there from second to home. I felt like passing the baton onto Dale (third base coach Sveum)." -- 7.15 Home run Trot

melky.jpg

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration / Robert Fallon / AP Photo)

Special delivery

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Special Delivery

Boston fans are among the most passionate and most knowledgeable fans out there, so I want to make sure that Red Sox Nation doesn't make the same mistake that the Athletics did for years. Chad Bradford is not a submariner.

You're probably looking askance at your monitor, wondering if I'm powered by a surplus of grain alcohol and a kick to the head today. "You moron," you're probably saying now, as if I could hear you through the monitor, "I saw that new guy that Theo got us on the mound against the Yankees and the guy's clearly a submariner. I was worried his knuckles were going to drag the Fenway dirt before he got the ball out of his hand every pitch." Certainly, you'd be right, but only to an extent.

Bradford has one of the most original and deceptive deliveries in baseball history. Its genesis is detailed in "Moneyball". Bradford compensated for a lack of velocity by dropping his delivery until further drops would necessitate a new Big Dig. If you missed his appearance, look at the picture. Bradford drop

This delivery is one that made my wife -- who at best tolerates baseball and my sick obsession -- jump from the couch and say "That can't be legal!" The righthanded batters that have put up a .546 OPS against him the last three years would like the league to pass a rule or perhaps Congress will come in with a law. Bradford's delivery, for all its deception and simple "oh my god" effect upon first seeing it is actually -- conventional. There's just one twist, literally.

Most pitchers toe the rubber, drive forward, bring their arm over the top, and end up facing the batter. Bradford doesn't. He gets the ball and kind of dips, lurching sideways, and bending at the waist as if a limbo pole has suddenly been placed on the infield. His arm skids across the dirt with the ball just inches away from the ground and certain disaster. He has hit the dirt with his knuckles on several occasions and once, in an interview, said that bloody knuckles were a good indication that his delivery was "a bit off."

Still, it took a long time for me to look past the sidewinding chicanery and notice that Bradford was nearly -- gasp -- a conventional pitcher. Bradford's legs, you'll notice, are roughly normal through the first portion of the delivery, until the weight of his torso and its momentum pull him to the ball side. Where the illusion comes in is in the waist. It's the twist that does it. Bradford is throwing the ball overhand; he just bends sideways to do it.

Bradford mechanics

The next picture -- hardly a perfect rendition, but not bad (Thanks, Mike!) -- shows that Bradford's upper body and arm is in a good mechanical position for throwing a baseball.

Cut virtually in half, Bradford is doing what almost every pitcher does. The mechanical stresses, called kinetics and kinematics, are nearly the same. Bradford does put a great deal of stress on his back and abdomen, which played no small part in his spending most of the first half of 2005 on the DL. A healthy Bradford dominates righthanded batters in no small way, prompting one Baseball Prospectus staffer to say that it would be easier if Bradford just handed the ball to the third baseman to throw out the batter, cutting out the middle man in the inevitable result of his pitches.

So enjoy your new righty-killer, Sox fans. Just don't call him a submariner. He's just how I like my gin -- a pitcher with a twist.

Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus is one of the team of writers that has produced "Mind Game", a serious look at how the Red Sox won the World Series. His other books, "Saving the Pitcher" and "The Juice" aren't quite as popular in Boston. He's one of few guys you'll see in Indianapolis wearing a Dirt Dogs t-shirt.

20/20 Archives

Welcome to the Bungle

Welcome to the Bungle

The closer

(AP Photo)

Curtis Interruptus

Arroyo, Tito, Schilling Chip in for Ugly 8-6 Loss

Arroyo Hits Sour Note: Yanks Rock and Roll Early Over Lethargic Starter
3 K's for Johnny; 2K Bellhorn Down to .218, Nixon, Papi Efforts Wasted
Little Pink Houses: More Fan Obstruction in Right
Deep 6th: Tito Won't Pinch for Bellhorn, Millar's no Olerud at First
Chad Hangs Around for a Couple of Batters
Why? Tito Leaves Embree in to Face Posada in the 8th
The Closer Foulkes Up Game; Hit Hard By Sheff, A-Rod
Is A-Rod a True Yankee Now?
Are The Sox Still in Rivera's Head?

Erratic Schilling Pitched Yucky

"You know he's not real proud of his cheese when you throw that many split fingers." -- Eck on Schilling's relief appearance

Eric Wilbur's Game Blog

It's All Good

It's All Good

BDD_RedSox_Yankee.jpg

(Getty Images / Jim McIsaac)

Johnny Damon and Curt Schilling Share a Laugh Before the Game

Yankees Starter Chien-Ming Wang Goes on the DL

Bring on the Bombers!

Bring on the Bombers!

Bellhorn is ready

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo / Chris Pomerleau and Michael Knapp)

Bellhorn is Ready to Make Some Noise Tonight

Not so secret weapon returns

Not-So-Secret Weapon Returns

The Gladiator

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration)

He's Baaaaack

And So Are These Guys

Juice Guys

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration)

Just Another Average Team Comes to Town

Yankees Getting Nervous

Yanks Nervous About Fenway Return

Mariano Rivera

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo / Brian Kelley)

"Hey Mariano, that's not your leg..."

The Real Rock Star takes center stage

The Real Rock Star Takes Center Stage Tonight... and Tomorrow Night

Bronson at Avalon

(Getty Images / Darren McCollester)

Bronson Arroyo Talks to Sid and Joe on WFAN About His Avalon Concert Tonight
(He Just Better Be in Tune Tomorrow Night)

"We got a bunch of blue collar guys, Kevin Millar, we got a bunch of just guys that just hang out like we’re college frat boys and we’re definitely a little dirtier than the Yankees..." -- 7.12 Bronson Arroyo on WFAN

WFAN's Sid and Joe: “But that’s the beauty (the hard rock) because Yankees are professionalism and class, and there’s Bernie playing the classical guitar, you guys, to quote your own teammate Johnny Damon are ‘the idiots,’ you’re world champions, you’re going out partying and stuff, and you’re playing rock and roll, it is actually perfect, the difference between the Red Sox and the Yankees, isn’t it?”

Arroyo: “Yeah, without question man. We got a bunch of blue collar guys, Kevin Millar, we got a bunch of just guys that just hang out like we’re college frat boys and we’re definitely a little dirtier than the Yankees so we got David Wells over now which is a perfect fit for the clubhouse and rock and roll’s the thing.”

Sid and Joe: “Did you actually have to live the lifestyle of a Scott Wieland or an Eddie Vedder to pull this thing off? Curt Cobain?”

Arroyo: “I tell you what, if I had to that and try to pull it off man the Yankees are gonna score 15 on me tomorrow night.”

Sid and Joe: “We got the news up here last week Bronson that Curt Schilling was gonna come back, possibly as the closer and the story we got had a couple of guys pretty upset about it in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse, one was Johnny Damon and one was you. Are you really upset if Curt comes back as a closer? I mean if he can come back early to go a couple of innings until he works himself back as a starter, isn’t it better having Curt than not having Curt at all?”

Arroyo: “Yeah, I mean I wasn’t the guy who was upset, I think you got me confused… it was Johnny and Mike Timlin who said some quotes, and maybe even Wakefield. I thought it was a great idea. It keeps me in the rotation if Curt’s in the bullpen for one. And second of all I think any No. 1 starter in the game like him I think you go down and be a great closer so I’m all for it, I think the guy can go down there and pitch for us, help us out until we either get another closer or get Keith Foulke back or he builds up his stamina to the point where he can start for us. You know it wasn’t so much the guys in the clubhouse were completely opposed to it. I think it was thrown on them kind of quick, they were just stating their opinion, they thought he’d be better in the rotation, but that’s Boston man, the media likes to twist things a little bit.”

Sid and Joe: “Yeah, no question about that.”

Sid and Joe: “Has the worm turned (with the Yankees)? After what you guys did last year, after 86 years of Yankee domination, and not winning a championship, to come back from 3-0 last year to beat them in the ALCS, you go on and sweep the World Series, are the Yankees now kind of chasing you? Are you now, the Red Sox, in the heads of the Yankees? You think you got the whammy over them now?

Arroyo: “I’m not sure, we’re kind of neck and neck in this division, the East is so tough. We’ve been playing better obviously than the Yankees for the good part of the year or we wouldn’t be in first place but at any time they got such a great ballclub man, if they get their pitching on track at all man like they should be, they’re gonna be tough. The lineup is probably the toughest lineup in the league to pitch to, and guys like Gary Sheffield and Alex Rodriguez, they just bang the ball around the park year after year so I’m not sure that anybody has the advantage, and Baltimore’s playing great this year as well.”

Sid and Joe: “Bronson, we gotta hear this now, c’mon before we let him go, let’s hear him do a couple of numbers. Whaddya say? Can we pick a song? You got your guitar there Bronson?”

Arroyo: “No I don’t man, I’m actually… I’m trying to save my voice man, I got a… (Bro you’re on radio in New York, you’re in New York here, c’mon! We’re trying to sell the CD, I know Boston is okay, but this is the media capital of the world!) I’m already in a big enough predicament trying to sing a two-hour show tomorrow night (tonight) and having to pitch against the Yankees on Thursday man I don’t that’s ever been done in the history of the game so…”

Sid and Joe: “What are you doing now? You’re doing a show tomorrow? You got a show tomorrow…”

Arroyo: “I got a show tomorrow night for an hour and a half at the Avalon next to the stadium and then we’re gonna try and beat the Yankees on Thursday.”

Sid and Joe: “Now Francona can’t be happy with that. Has Francona said something to you about that or what?”

Arroyo: “Well they told me I was throwing day one, it was supposed to be Clement but what happened was he made the All-Star team so now it’s my call and they’ve known about the concert for a long time so we’ll just have to get ‘er done.”

Sid and Joe: “It’s very simple, if you pitch well on Thursday you can work whenever you want in concerts, if you get blasted, then you’re in trouble.”

Arroyo: “That’s right.”

Schilling Activated Off Disabled List, Youk Sent Down
Sox Get RHP Chad Bradford for Jay Payton
Sox Sign Top Draft Choice Jacob Ellsbury

ESPY Awards: Sox Win Best Team, Sox-Yanks 5 Wins Best Game,
Schilling Wins Best Championship Performance

Home Sweet Home Field Advantage

Home Sweet Home
Field Advantage

David Ortiz and Miguel Tejada

(AP Photo)

Tejada, Rivera Help Sox Lock Up Home Field
Bad News: World Series May Be Won on the Road Again

Sox Shine in AL All-Stars' 7-5 Win
(No-Show Pedro Could Have Helped NL Pitching Woes)

Gammons: Theo Won't Trade the Farm

"Although some players disagreed with Curt Schilling's closing, that was the team's only alternative without Keith Foulke. If Schilling works, and once they've added Chad Bradford, they won't need to trade prospects for the likes of David Weathers or Ricky Bottalico or even Eddie Guardado. They could eventually move Jon Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen (and perhaps Craig Hansen) into the alignment in front of Schilling and Mike Timlin. "We're simply not trading certain prospects, period," says Epstein. "Eventually what we want to build is an organization where we have a couple of players coming to the big leagues every year, players who have come through our system as teammates, who are Red Sox. There's a culture that has to be developed to make that work and make the organization healthy and vibrant for a long period of time, and I'm not going to alter and make a dumb move."

"Keith Foulke now admits that he refused to have his knee scoped at the beginning of spring training. And still gets paid in full, despite what it did to the Red Sox." -- 7.12 ESPN's Peter Gammons Insider Column (Now subscription only)

'Shocked' Schilling was 'Stunned' by Damon's Comments

'Shocked' Schill 'Stunned' by Damon's Comments

Foxborough Friends

(Getty Images Photo / Ezra Shaw)

Curt Opens Up on Closer Comments

Curt Schilling addresses his new role and some untimely comments in his weekly appearance on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show

On who came up with the idea to move him to the bullpen:

“I know it was discussed amongst a group of people before I offered and that kind of followed itself to a conclusion of ‘great, let’s do it.’ …They had been discussing it briefly then I threw in Pawtucket then flew back the day Keith (Foulke) had been hurt and was headed out for his MRI and I brought it up to Chris Correnti who mentioned in passing that they had discussed it. They were, I guess, hesitant to approach me and I thought that was kind of nonsense, there’s no reason… Tito (Francona) knows me, but I still think out of respect for me he was biding his time, I don’t know, I’m not real sure but when we talked it didn’t take long. (Bullpen role defined?) No it’s not, It isn’t. I don’t know. I’m sure the games will define it. The untalked about here is if I go out there and suck at it. Obviously I want to go out and I want to dominate. It makes for a really cool story, I guess, from your end but at the same time it’s a job that’s tough to do. It’s something that whatever I end up doing out in the pen and to have success for this to be something plausible… I don’t have any limits. I can be ready as quickly as I need to be ready. I can come in with bases loaded. I can come in any inning with runners on. I can start an inning. It doesn’t matter.”

Why do it at this point in your career?

“I guess in my mind it’s the absolute best possible thing the team could do right now given where we’re at and what’s going on. My ankle was my ankle in 3 or 4 starts into my rehab and with everything that happened. It felt like it kinda had plateaued. I believe it’s going to get stronger. I believe it’s gonna get better. That might be two rehab starts from now, that might be December. I don’t know. In the meantime, I think being active, no matter where I’m pitching, is something that’s gonna benefit the club… I’ll continue to do the work I need to do to get my foot stronger. I’m doing that here. Craig Friedman from API is hanging out in Disney with the family right now to do what I need to do. If something comes up and tomorrow we get Billy Wagner or we get so-and-so to close games, then I go, in my mind, in the rotation with some pitch count starts, and take the reins off.”

“One of the bonuses that I can bring to the bullpen is the ability to throw five pitches. And being in the bullpen, I’ll have a very, very good idea of who I’m going to face and when I’m gonna face them, so if it’s all lefthanders I can make sure I bring my curveball with me, if it’s gonna be all righthanders I can make sure I bring my slider. The fastball and splitter are always gonna be my staples, but I got a chance to do some different things… Very quickly hitters are going to be coming into a seventh-, eighth-, ninth-inning situation against me with a real good idea of how I’ve done things. It’s a lot easier to do that when you’re facing a guy that’s a two-pitch pitcher. You can eliminate one. Sit on the other. But like I said if I think I’m gonna face lefties, I can come out and bring my back-door slider, my split, my fastball, and my curveball if I need it and I feel like I have enough stuff, control wise, that that can change on a nightly basis for me and I think that presents problems.”

“My desire is to be in the rotation and be pitching every fifth day and to do what I do. To do what they pay me to do. But that’s just not possible right now. It might be next week. It might be next month but if it is possible and it happens that I can do that, that’s what I want to do.”

On Johnny Damon and other players’ comments and some that might view this as him trying to steal the spotlight:

“That probably burns my ass more than anything, to even mention something like that. (The) spotlight thing is such a crock. From a lot of different angles it’s crap. That whole spotlight angle is one that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’ll take the spotlight if that’s what is there when on the mound and I succeed and that’s part of it, that’s fine. But as far as the spotlight thing and the media thing, I can promise you, you guys are nice guys, I’d much rather be sleeping right now than talking to you guys. I want to do whatever I can do to help put another ring on my finger, whatever the team needs me to do. I’ve never told my manager no when I’ve been asked to do something. I’ve never put myself and my interests ahead of the team. I’ve always felt like if I can take the ball and I can get on the mound, I’m gonna be better than anybody that’s out there. Whether that’s true or not is not really relevant to me, that’s how I have to operate, and that’s how I think I’ve always been at my best is with that belief and that frame of mind.”

Why would any teammate have a problem with you in the bullpen if it is what’s best for the team?

“I’m absolutely the wrong guy to answer that question.”

Is there some form of resentment in there for all that you accomplished and everything the team accomplished last year?

“I can’t answer that. I don’t know. I sure hope not. Just because last October, the things that happened and the things that I did, regardless of the perceptions, the thing that I held onto was that the 24 guys that I did them with, and did them for, saw what happened, what I went through, and I made it very clear on a lot of different occasions, the reasons why. First and foremost because of those 24 guys. And what we had gone through. And what we endured. That was the reason, No. 1 in my mind, why I did what I did. Lot of other reasons plus that one but bottom line was we all had the same thing in mind and we all wanted the same thing so badly but there wasn’t anything I don’t believe any of us wouldn’t have done.”

Were you surprised when you read what Damon had to say?

“I guess you could… surprise would be mild I guess, I was pretty shocked, sure.”

Does he have a personal problem with you?

“I don’t think so. I really doubt that. Johnny knows how much respect I have for him as a player. He’s a gamer. He plays every night. He plays hurt. He plays the game the right way when he’s on the field. That’s really for the most part that’s the only evaluation you can ever give a teammate. There’s certain guys you get close to. There are certain guys you get to know better than others. But the bottom line is you don’t know a ton about each other beyond the player-type stuff. We hang out with each other, we’re always in a clubhouse atmosphere. It’s a very different place. And I was really… I was stunned, yes. It’s come out since then that a lot of guys commented basically because they weren’t sure how it happened or what came to be and regardless of whether that’s true or not, I was a little taken a back by it yeah but that’s… what are you going to do. It didn’t change what I’m doing to get ready to do this to try and help. I would imagine we’ll chat at some point, sure. Whether we’ll talk about this, I don’t know. Thursday’s gonna be the first game of a big series and the first game of the second half and this is not something that I’m going to need to talk about to help me get ready to pitch if I have to pitch Thursday night… I think part of it had to do with Mike Timlin, our feelings for Mike as a team. Coming off the fact that the league screwed him out of being on the All-Star team. I think a lot of guys are still defensive about him, how well he’s done. From my perspective, not having come to a quick conclusion but actually having looked into the situation in depth, in my mind if you move Mike to the back of the bullpen, our bullpen got thinner. A lot of bad things happened and that’s what happens when you lose a pitcher who does what Keith did, the domino effect can be devastating if you don’t have depth and that’s something that I felt like I was able to offer them was some depth.”

All-Star crossings

Alter Ego

Johnny Rocks

(AP Photo)

I Guess He Really Is a Rock Star

All-Star Crossings

As a Home Run Derby Pitcher, Sveum Makes a Great Third Base Coach
No-Media-Show Manny Expected to Play Tonight
Too-Cool-to-Show-Up Pedro is Waterskiing in the Dominican
Pop the cork: Abreu Wins Superball Hitting Demonstration

Calling Chris House

Back page

'Another Feud Set for Fenway'
(Yawn)

"We're going to bring our gold, our jewel in there, which is A-Rod. We're going to see how the chips fall this time. That's our man and we know he's our man. We're going to look out for him when he's in a situation like that. When he's in a hostile environment, we've got to make sure he's comfortable because it helps our team. (And if something like the Varitek incident happens again?) That's why I say it's going to be different. We're going to make sure that Alex is taken care of." -- 7.12 Gary Sheffield to Kevin Kernan, NY Post

Clement, Damon, Ortiz have helped save Sox

Clement, Damon, Ortiz have helped save Sox

There are a whole slew of burning questions from baseball's first half, but none more perplexing than "How the heck are the Red Sox in first place?"

"The starting pitching has been shaky, the relief pitching has sunk to D-Ray levels, the middle infield duo could win dubious error and strikeout crowns and the team chemistry — so harmonious last year — has gone south. So naturally, the team is in much better shape than it was this time last year. How is this possible?..." -- Kevin Hench on FOXSports.com

Boston fans are more than just blind 'passion'

"With New England and Philadelphia set to square off in the Super Bowl, my editors have asked me to write a column on why Boston sports fans are better than Philly sports fans.

I thought they must be kidding. Did they also want a column on why Larry Bird was better than Marc Iavaroni?..." -- Kevin Hench on FOXSports.com

Gotta get away guys?

Gotta Get Away Guys?

Now boarding

Sox Fly Through O's Pitching in 2 Hours, 5 Minutes
Stumble Into Break with 4-1 Loss; Drop 3 of 4 in Baltimore

Orioles and Yankees Get Right Back in the Race
Unlike Yanks, Sox Still Can't Hit Rodrigo Lopez
Nixon Homer Not Enough as 1 is the Loneliest Number Again

"We knew it was going to be a dogfight with a bunch of teams and it's still that way, but we all know our most difficult months are ahead of us.'' -- 7.10 Trot Nixon on the second half

"''I think 90 percent of America knows who I am and probably 75 percent of the world knows me. It's pretty much a global thing." -- 7.11 Johnny Goes Global

Schilling: Stronger Showing
The Firing of Dr. Bill Morgan

Gordon Edes Second Half Thoughts
Eric Wilbur's Short Hops

Sox take one on the Chen

Sox Take One on the Chen

Bruce Chen

(AP Photo)

A Birds Blowout at Fenway South, 9-1

Miller Pitches Just Well Enough to Lose Again
Halama in the 7th, Cassidy in the 8th ... No Thanks
Damon Keeps Streaking Along with 2 Hits
Rentererror Gets No. 17, and RBI No. 31
Tejada They Fall: Miggy Gets 5 Hits, Raffy 6 RBIs
MatoSOS: O's CF Flashes the Leather, Robs Papi of HR
Here Come the Yankees

Payton's Place in Oakland?

Jay's Agent Says Bags Aren't Packed for Oakland Yet

Gammons on the Defending Champs' Problems

"There are problems here, not related to the bullpen. First, Damon and others may not mean it, but their tirades have indicated that they believe that because they brought Red Sox Nation their World Series, they are forever entitled, which means that if they do not win, it is management's fault and not the players. That, as Showalter points out, is beyond dangerous. 'It is insidious,' Showalter said."

"Damon and Millar are free agents and they have personal issues, and in a team concept, ME is inoperable, insubordinate and unacceptable if one wants to have a team. The mirror cannot be optional."

"Epstein is bringing Gabe Kapler, a superstar teammate, back from Japan. And maybe, where they had a starter-dominated team in 2004, they will have a team that wins enough 5-4 games in October to win another world championship."

"But the storms of this week had perilously too many first-person pronouns, too many references to last October. Francona knows that he has players like Damon, Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, Trot Nixon, Bill Mueller, et al that would maim to win." -- 7.9 ESPN's Peter Gammons Insider Column (Now subscription only)

Must See TV Sunday

"Just letting you know we just finished a pretty cool feature on the 'Top 10 Moments' of the first half of the Sox season. Lots of good stuff in there, like Mariano getting shelled and all the grand slams. The whole thing is set to music and came out pretty nice. It will air on Red Sox This Week, Sunday night at 10pm on UPN 38." -- 7.9 Brian Fox, CBS4-UPN38 (Also on Sunday night at 11pm, See the Top-10 Sox games of the first half of the season on NECN's on Sports Late Night.)

Clement named to All-Star team

AL All-Star: Clement Time Comes

Clement named All-Star

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo / Derek Hixon)

Matt Clement Named to All-Star Team

Kid Rocks

Kid Rocks

Bronson Arroyo Gets the Win

(AP Photo)

Arroyo, Sox Roll Over O's 7-2

Bronson Gets First Win Over Baltimore
Johnny Drama Leads Entourage's 15-Hit Attack
Well-Rested Manny Returns to the Lineup, Gets RBI No. 80
(Could've Used a Couple of RBI on Thursday Night)
Papi and Professional Mueller Chip with Two RBI Too
Average Edgar is Above Average on Defense

Soap Soup:

Lobel: 'Francona to Get Extension Over All-Star Break'
Welcome Back Kapler? Gabe on Waivers, Could Be Back July 16
Wells 'Glad' Rogers Attacked Cameraman Doing His Job
Nomar Payton Expected to Go to Oakland for Chad Bradford

"I'm saying how great he (Schilling) is as a pitcher. If your ace is going to be your backup closer, guys will roll with it, support it and play hard... of course I regret saying it (Schilling comments to Globe) now after what happened... just don't want guys looking over their shoulder. I want togetherness. I want us together. We're a close-knit team... I like to know what's going on and not have news pop up on us. I like to hang out by the pool and get to the park later, maybe I need to get to the ballpark earlier... I haven't had any signs (that the Sox want to re-sign him). I'm sure they want me. (My comments) might affect it. I've made it clear I want to remain a Red Sox. Hopefully this doesn't hurt me." -- 7.8 Johnny Damon on ESPN's PTI

"I talked to Johnny the night before about it (Schilling)" -- 7.8 Terry Francona on ESPN's Sports Center

WEEI: A Kinder, Gentler Keith Foulke

Ruth Pesky Has Died at 82. Rest in Peace.

B-Team Can't Get W vs. O's

Francoma's B-Team
Can't Get W vs. O's

Trot not thinking

(AP Photo)

"I was probably cheating a little too much. That was a great opportunity for Olerud. I cost us the game there. There's not much I can say -- it's my fault." -- 7.7 Trot Nixon on getting picked off second

Rainmanager Gives Away Game in Baltimore

Tito's Triple-A's Can't Sing in the Rain
Makeshift Lineup is All Wet vs. Cabrera
Plenty of Rest for Weary Rent, 'Tek, and Manny Tejada
Nixon Caught Napping; Bellhorn, Millar Can't Deliver in Clutch
Wells Runs Wet but Orioles 3, Rest Sox 1 is the Bottom Line
(No Truth to the Rumor That Sox Media Coordinator
Peter Chase Was in the On-Deck Circle Before Rain Delay)

Report: Scarfgate Behind Clubhouse Turmoil?

Comings and Goings

Has Millar Gone Too Far?

"The whole entitlement thing, it’s tiresome. Obviously Millar has a lot to do with this because he’s so outraged that John Olerud is here, he’s in the manager’s office, now he’s asked to be traded and all that. Now, c’mon… drama. Grow up and move on. He (Millar) was upset and asked Terry Francona to have him traded. They looked, and it’s not happening. Houston I guess is interested a little bit, but they wouldn’t give anything and now they don’t want him because Berkman’s going to play first base. It’s not gonna happen. If you get tired enough… I personally think Francona makes a mistake anytime he doesn’t defense for him. I think until he starts to hit, and a .362 slugging percentage or whatever it is, is pretty pathetic for a first baseman. I don’t see why winning isn’t more important than Kevin Millar’s need to be in the lineup. John Olerud, someone said to me, he’s the 2001 John Olerud, not the 2004 John Olerud. He’s played well for them... if this is gonna be such a huge issue it wouldn't surprise me at all that come August 1st, if they jettison (Millar). But I don't think it will happen, I think he'll start to hit... The one thing, and I thought about this a lot, and I saw Howard Bryant's (Boston Herald) column with Kevin Millar ripping the manager (about not selecting Clement and Timlin as All-Stars), we all know who it was, so, which I thought was uncalled for considering what the manager's done for him." -- 7.7 Peter Gammons, WEEI's The Big Show


Comings and Goings

Alex Cora and Jay Payton

Alex Cora

"He is to this team now, not the same energy, not the same range, but they've now gotten
their Pokey Reese back, the really great
defensive infielder in the middle."
-- 7.7 Peter Gammons, WEEI

Jay Payton

"Payton had a couple of disagreements with Francona last night. There's a rumor in the clubhouse he's already been traded for a player who's on the DL right now."
-- 7.7 Jerry Remy, NESN

Red Sox All Shook Up

Alex Cora Playing Shortstop and Batting Leadoff Tonight,
Adam Stern in Center Field Batting 8th
Jay Payton Designated for Assignment; Adam Stern Called Up
Sox Acquire Alex Cora from the Indians

in Exchange for Ramon Vazquez
Foulke Surgery Went Well; 6-Week Recovery Expected
DiNardo Sent Back to Pawtucket

"They're (Red Sox) not gonna take a lot of stuff, if Payton's outbursts last night... pffft, 'you're not going on the flight, goodbye.' He was upset about something, so he gets traded. He'll go to Oakland and that will all work out after the All-Star break... Is winning more important than money? I was a little surprised that he got so concerned about his playing time, and what he’s doing, he seems so worried. I know he thinks he should be playing every day and I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think this was the perfect situation. I think he’s going to Oakland and they may already have a deal in place that may be announced in a week or so. I don’t see him playing every day there. I mean they may move Eric Byrnes. I would guess they’d probably get a pitcher of some kind (in return), the A’s have a lot of relief pitchers now, I have no idea who it would be. I know the Dodgers are interested. I think, somebody said to me today that the Cardinals would be, but I know Billy Beane had called on him over the weekend so now that this thing has happened quickly. I don’t know how long it’s going to be, I do know that all along they’ve expected that Gabe Kapler is coming back, one way or another." -- 7.7 Peter Gammons, WEEI's Big Show

Alex Cora to Play Shortstop and Bat Leadoff
Adam Stern Playing Center Batting 8th
Manny Gets Another Night Off; Mirabelli Catching

Mutiny on the Bounty

Boston Dirt Dogs

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration)

Damon Talks About Dissension

"You've got a lot of upset people in here."

"I don't think he's ready to be our closer."

''I think Bronson [Arroyo] or Timlin are the choice as the closer. Mike Timlin deserves to be it. All his years in the big leagues -- the fact that he came into [Tuesday] night's game, threw six pitches, and we were done. That's pretty good. He's going to throw strikes, he's going to make the plays. I think Mike Timlin definitely deserves that spot. It would be perfect for Timlin. He's going into a free agent year, too. Teams know he can be a setup man, closer. I hope that's the case for us."

"The whole team wants Timlin, and if not Timlin, Arroyo. I don't know where it came up. It's just the kind of thing our team doesn't know yet. You guys [the media] know before us."

"He's (Schilling) never done it. He throws 60 pitches to get loose for a game. He needs to get loose. Two outs in the eighth, a home run is hit. Get ready, 10 pitches. He can't do it. Timlin could, Bronson could. I don't think it's a good move for us. We've always talked about all year he'd come back and be a starter, and be a good starter. He can't just walk in and be a good closer. He's not ready yet. He's not ready."

"I don't think his body is going to be able to bounce back and accomplish that feat. Schilling's a little too old and it takes too long to get loose to be in that closer role." -- 7.7 Globe Notebook: Damon makes a strong pitch for Timlin

"Let's get beyond being college freshmen and move on." -- 7.7 Peter Gammons, WEEI's Big Show

From Unity to Mutiny?

Timlin, Clement Worry About Being Named to All-Star Team
Herald Reports Team Upset with Francona Over Snubs
Foulke Has Surgery 9 Months After Sox Request
MP3 Manny Mad at Sveum for Holding Up Ortiz Last Night
Gammons on Baseball Tonight: 'Millar Asked to Be Traded'

All-Star Effort in Lone Star State

All-Star Effort in
Lone Star State

clement_texas_gem.jpg

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo / Derek Hixon)

Clement Tosses a Gem

Clement Gives Rangers Star Treatment with His 10th Win
Big Night for Big Papi with HR and Shift Slap
Remember Millar Gets a Big Hit
Embree Gets Save Du Jour
Sox Take Two of Three with 7-4 Win

Schilling is Willing

It's Curt in the Pen

Foulke to Go Under the Knife

Closer Goes on DL to Get Left Knee Right

Cheers! Damon Extends Hit Streak to 22

Cheering Johnny

(Boston Dirt Dogs / Hope-Valarie Pashos Photo)

Centerfield Centerfold

Rick Reilly's column in the July 11 Sports Illustrated (reprinted with SI's permission)

THE HAIR. Johnny Damon almost cut his hair. Happened just the other day. The Boston Red Sox’ All-Star beefcake centerfielder was getting his long, luxurious L’Oreál locks trimmed when the stylist pulled them completely back. “I saw someone I hadn’t seen in a long time,” Damon says. “Me. And I almost did it. But I thought, Nah, I better consult my teammates first.” They might have hanged him. After all, a lot of people think Damon’s hair won the last World Series.

“Bottom line,” says Sox first baseman Kevin Millar, “we’d been cursed for 86 years. Mel Gibson makes The Passion of the Christ, and he’s taking all kinds of heat for it. Next thing you know Johnny comes in looking like Jesus, and we break the curse.”

Worse than that, he’d have been pummeled by the purses of millions of American women, who’d give anything to help him work up a lather. “That’s the line I get the most from women—‘I’d just like to pull on your hair all night long,’” Damon says. “Sometimes they hit on me right in front of my wife! I mean, women are relentless, man, relentless.”

You poor, poor bastard.

THE BEARD. Actual e-mail:

Dear The Red Sox,

I kind of promised this girl I would get her a sack of Johnny Damon’s face hair. And, well, she’s starting to wonder where that sack of face hair’s at. I really like this girl (Suzanne, btw). Appreciate the help.

Can you blame the guy? What relationship isn’t immensely enhanced by a bag of another man’s whiskers?

This season a man in Oakland asked if Damon would help him propose to his girlfriend. Damon did it. The guy pretended he and his girlfriend had won an onfield picture with Damon, except the ring happened to be in Damon’s glove. She said yes, though rumor is she was looking at Damon when she said it.

THE HEART. Damon, 31, leads the American League in hits, is third in average and has become arguably the best leadoff hitter since Rickey Henderson. “You just wind this kid up and let him go,” says Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He plays hurt. He knocks in runs. He sacrifices himself. What manager wouldn’t love this guy?”

Exactly. That’s why there’s talk the Yankees might try to sign Damon when he becomes a free agent this off-season. Would he go clean-cut for Furious George?

“Absolutely,” Damon says. “I’d definitely abide by his rules.”

You know the stylist will be named Delilah.

THE ARM. “He throws like a girl,” says Millar. Some experts think he has the worst arm among major league centerfielders.

One time, Boston leftfielder Manny Ramirez dived to cut off a Damon throw so he could wing it himself—the rare 8-7-4-2 relay.

O.K., so nobody’s perfect.

THE FEET. If you are driving in Boston, you may be surprised to see Johnny Damon, on foot, in your rearview mirror, and gaining. Damon does it not to catch the cars but to work on his speed. If he were a dog, he’d be a hairier, of course.

“I think I can run about 25 miles per hour, top speed,” he says. “Sometimes I actually pass cars on Boylston [Street].” And their reaction? “They realize they’re in the company of either a great athlete, or a criminal running from something.”

Born to a Thai mother and a Vietnam-vet sergeant, he’s always been a speed racer, challenging himself to run home through a one-mile wood in Tennessee that was fraught with wild boars.

“They’re mean little f-----s,” he says. “You better outrun ’em.”

THE MOUTH. As a kid Damon stuttered something awful. That was one reason he took to sports: no talking necessary.

“[The stutter] made me real shy,” he says. “I didn’t say much. Now you can’t get me to shut up.”

THE BUTT. Damon’s gluteus seems to be of maximum interest to female connoisseurs of same.

“That’s the line I hear second most from women,” he says. “‘I want to see that ass everybody’s talking about.’”

The Sox see it more than they need—Damon lying on the couch naked, Damon doing his famous naked pull-ups, Damon chowing naked. “The guy is always naked,” says Francona. “And then, 15 minutes later, I’ll see him standing on second base.”

Even Damon’s dad brings it up. “He tells me, ‘When you’re done, you retire with all that money and tell the rest of the world to kiss your ass,’” Damon says.

O.K., ladies, there’s no need to form a line. That was a figure of speech. ±

(In the “SI Players” section, Terry Francona is interviewed for the Pop Culture Grid – along with All-Stars Miguel Tejada, Jon Garland and Mike Piazza. The MLB folks were asked the following questions: Did they watch Entourage? Can they recognize David Beckham? Did they know that Lindsay Lohan is in Herbie? Do they own an SUV? and Do they prefer Toby Keith, Mariah Carey or the Foo Fighters? Francona’s answers: prefers Toby Keith; yes to owning an SUV; and NO to everything else.)

Grand Slamirez

Grand Slamirez

Slammy Ramirez

(AP Photo)

Sox Go Deep in the Heart of Texas
Iron Manny Gets 20th Slam
Another Hit, Great Catch for Johnny
Wake Steps Up; Timlin Gets Save
Foulke Isn't ... Wait, Now He Is Injured
Shocker: 'E' Renteria Gets 3 Singles
Sox Hang on in Arlington 7-4

Happy Foulke of July

Happy Foulke of July

Keith Goes Back to Work

(Steve Kurth Illustration)

Closer Opens Himself Up Again

Another Foulke Implosion; Rangers Rally for 6-5 Win
Manny 8th Inning Would-Be Winner Wasted
Miller Struggles Early Again

"People see blood." -- 7.4 Jason Varitek on Keith Foulke

Schilling Shaky in PawSox Outing

Long Halladay Weekend

Long Halladay Weekend

Halladay in

(AP Photo)

Halladay in, Sox out 5-2
Oh Roy, Jays Now 8-3 vs. Defending Champs
Tired Timlin Lets Two More Inherited Runners Score
Yikes: Bellhorn K's 3 Times, Strands 5
Ninth-Inning Rally Falls Short

Captain Crunch

Dive Captain Dive

(Boston Dirt Dogs / Hope-Valarie Pashos Photo)

Manny on Fire Works

Manny on Fire Works

Manny puts Sox over the top

(AP Photo)

Sox Toss Toronto; Manny Hits 20th HR of Season, 45th Against Jays
Mueller Double is Trouble with Bases Loaded
Wells Explodes, Gets Ejected; Tito Too
All-Starter Johnny's Hitting Streak at 18
Another Shaky Save for Foulke
Mantei Goes on the DL
Comeback Kids 6, Blue Jays 4

A Fallen Star

A Fallen Star

Matt Clement kicks home plate after single in 6th

(Boston Globe Photo / Barry Chin)

Clement Falls Apart in Star Search Final
Reed All About It: Johnson Slams Sox Again
Mantei to Say Bye-Bye?
Jays Continue to Own Sox 15-2

Another All-Starter?

Another All-Starter?

Boston Dirt Dogs

(Getty Images Photo / Jim McIsaac)

Matt Clement tries to improve to 10-1...
and possibly earn a start for the American League in Detroit.

Johnny Cash vs. Johnny from Burger King

Dunce Captain

Boston Dirt Dogs

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo Illustration)

It's Johnny Cash vs. 'Johnny from Burger King'

Foulke's WEEI Interview Transcript Excerpts From Today

Michael Holley: “Keith after the game, you were interviewed by reporters, you made a comment about ‘Johnny from Burger King,’ first of all that comment has really resonated with a lot of people, some people took it tongue-in-cheek, other people were truly offended by it, there’s a counter point, counter point in today’s Boston Herald with two writers, one taking one position, the other going against you about the Burger King comment. First of all, what did you mean by that?”

Keith Foulke: “You know, the whole point of the comment was the fact that you know… ahh… you know what it, and the funny thing is there’s an ESPN commercial out there now where it has like Alex and Vladimir and a couple of other soccer players, they’re sitting there watching the guy do his job. You see that one? It’s not very exciting is it? No but it’s one of those deals where you know what? It’s hey, you’re gonna come to boo me at my work, maybe I should come boo you at your work. You know, if you do a bad job. But you know what, there’s no harm meant in that and you know what the media is gonna do what they do. They’re gonna go out there and they’re gonna write about it and make it into a big deal. You know but, they can’t do my job and I probably couldn’t do their job so I accept, boo me, and move on.”

Michael Holley: “So, just to be clear, you weren’t attacking Burger King employees or belittling what Burger King employees do?”

Keith Foulke: “You know what? Maybe I should apologize to Burger King but that was the first thing that popped into my head, I don’t know why. But the first part of the whole comment was, where it started the joke is the fact that I’m not inviting them to my World Series party.”

Mike Reiss: “Was that something Keith, after you said it you almost wish you had taken back? Did you realize…

Keith Foulke: “No, what’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with the comment? Who did I offend?”

MH: “Let me give you a counterpoint here from the Boston Herald, this is in Howard Bryant’s column…”

KF: “I don’t really need to hear this but…”

MH: “Well I was gonna say I’m gonna answer your question, (KF: “Go ahead”) because he felt like the Burger King quip was an unfair shot, his point is, you make $312, 500 per week (KF: “I don’t”) and a guy at Burger King is making $6.75 an hour and it’s almost rubbing it in that you’re in this position, you’re in an elite position, and Johnny from Burger King, this fictional character, is not.”

KF: “So what am I supposed to do?… I’m supposed to… I don’t make that much money either, by the way, I’ll show you my pay stub.”

MH: “(laughs) You asked the question, ‘who did you offend?’ some people were offended by it.”

KF: “Yeah, I apologize to those people. You know what, the whole, like I said, the whole part. It was part of a joke and once again the media goes out there. They don’t print the first part of the joke where it puts people in the funny mood. It started off with ‘I’m not inviting him, I’m not inviting the people that are booing me, I’m not inviting them to my World Series party.’… That’s where the joke starts. And the last line is kind of a follow-up line. If you don’t hear the first part, yeah you may not understand the second part. You gotta take the whole thing and evaluate the whole sentence. Not just part of it.”

MR: “Keith, just want to ask you a little about just general arm strength, can you just talk about your arm strength this year compared to last year? Do you feel stronger than last year?

KF: “You know what, it’s one of those deals, on the show a few weeks ago, a month ago, we talked about what we don’t talk about mechanics and baseball stuff, this is you know what it doesn’t matter about my health you know. I’ve had a pretty good streak where I was going out getting the job done for a few weeks and I had a bad day the other day. Things didn’t work out. But I don’t really come on this show to talk about my personal health and stuff so…”

MH: “Is there any similarity Keith between your tough year in Chicago, and I believe it was in 2002, and this year?”

KF: “Uhh no. There’s a lot of things going on in my life that people don’t know and they don’t need to know. But you know there’s… I don’t know. That was five years ago. I barely remember last October much less five years ago, so that’s one of those things I don’t know.”

MH: “You talk about some tough things going on in your life, would you care to talk about any of those things, even in general terms?”

KF: “(laughs) No, not really. It’s one of those things that you guys should know by now, I don’t talk about my personal life. I go out there and play baseball and that’s where my, that’s where it stops you know. I play baseball when I’m at the field and when I’m off the field, I’m Keith Foulke, or as most people refer to me, I’m Kevin.”

MH: “They call you Kevin Foulke instead of Keith?”

KF: “Everybody calls me Kevin. (sarcastically) ‘Hey Kevin, I’m a big fan.’ Sure. Come on over.

MH: “I’ll say this then. ‘Cause you’re not going to talk about your personal life. Is you personal life completely separate from your professional life? What I’m saying is, is there anything in your personal life that you take to the field?”

KF: “Obviously it’s a lot easier to take my personal life to the field because that’s my life. That’s why I’m here on the face of the earth, is to have a family, raise a family. It’s one of those deals that, there’s a lot of times where if things don’t work out you know you just go to the field, things just don’t work out you know. I don’t know. Everybody has their own problems.”

MR: “And Keith, not to get into the personal things you mention are, but are you finding it more challenging this season to separate that personal side, than past seasons?”

KF: “You know pretty much this season in a nut shell is umm, you know, people go out there and you know what I’m not a real different pitcher than what I was last year. The problem this year, I’ve made too many mistakes with fastballs. I’ve left too many balls over the plate. If I have let’s say 10 balls that were popped up, grounded out, missed, it’s a completely different year. But the thing is, there’s streaks in baseball. Some people are going to go out and have great seasons all the time. Apparently I’m not one of them. I’ll go through struggles every once in a while but it’s one of those deals that it’s, that’s the game of baseball. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t. And without struggles, you’d never have any glory. Everybody has to struggle, and it’s my time to struggle. I didn’t struggle very much last year, especially late in the year. Maybe the baseball gods are just making sure I’m still in check. But I still respect the game. I still play the game the right way. They’re just testing me.” (Listen to the rest of the WEEI interview with Keith "I never wanted to be a closer. I wanted to be a catcher and a starter" Foulke here)

---

"People should show up tonight wearing those paper hats that folks working in fast food restaurants wear. You just can't get away with saying stuff like that, I don't care if you're in Boston or Oakland. Foulke should know better. ...But he has a tendency to be very patronizing in almost all of his dealings with the media. And he was just as condescending to the fans. But don't hold your breath waiting for an apology; I may be wrong, but he doesn't strike me as that kind of guy." -- 7.1 Gordon Edes, Boston.com chat

"Keith Foulke makes life tough on himself by insulting fans as 'Johnny from Burger King booing me,' and talking about granting interviews only to those who pay him. This is a man who makes his living playing baseball, while making it obvious that he doesn't like baseball." -- 7.1 Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe

"Well, before Foulke does something so stupid as run off at the mouth again about 'Johnny from Burger King' booing him, he might want to understand a few things about all those people who are paying his $7 million-a-year salary...

"Many of them have something else in common. The $45 grandstand ticket and the $75 box seat is probably more money than they can realistically afford. Yet they pay it anyway, scrimping and saving or loading it on an already-groaning credit card because the singular pleasure of seeing the world championship team in the best park in baseball is more than they can let pass by. For that, they are decidedly unashamed." -- 7.1 Brian McGrory, Boston Globe

"For the record, the minimum wage in Massachusetts is $6.75 per hour, which is what the Burger King on the corner of Boylston Street and Kilmanrock Street by Fenway Park pays. A person working a full, 37.5-hour work week at minimum wage earns $253.12. Two face-value tickets to last year's World Series games at Fenway Park last year cost $290." -- 7.1 Howard Bryant, Boston Herald

"Foulke likely will come to regret his remarks. That much is probable. Criticizing the fans in Boston is essentially a declaration of war, and you can bet that Burger King Johnny will be ready to pounce when Foulke slips up again. You screw up a few times, the fans will boo you. You fire back, they will likely boo louder. And in a place like Boston, especially, that is likely to continue so long as Keith Foulke keeps serving up home runs as if they were flame-broiled patties." -- 7.1 Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald

"Maybe he should make fun of himself and go to Burger King and
get behind the counter for an hour." -- 7.1 WEEI's Larry Johnson

Have it Your Way, Keith


Millar Makes SI's Tom Verducci's All-Bust Team

BDD is a feature of Boston.com. All posts are by Steve Silva unless otherwise indicated.

Boston Globe:

Red Sox end losing streak > Shaughnessy: Debunking myths about the 2014 Red Sox > Cherington: Everyone needs to get better

Boston Herald:

Ortiz, Red Sox bats break out to end losing streak > Buchholz still bewildered > Memory loss haunting Red Sox

ProJo:

Lester was once a good hitter, now heading toward dubious record > Travis Shaw brings hot bat to Pawtucket > Ranaudo shines > Betts not a candidate for Boston, yet

NY Post:

St. Louis lets Ozzie Smith bid Jeter goodbye > Yanks prevail in extras again > Nonsense leads off in MLB broadcasts > Beltran elbow on mend

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