Another Tough Day for Clay

Another Tough Day for Clay

Clay Buchholz and Bartolo Colon

(Reuters and Getty Images Photo/Lisa Blumenfeld)

But Bartolo Looks Good to Go

Sunday, Dodgers 8, Sox 0: Another Tough Day for Clay and His 10.03 ERA
Saturday, Sox 7, Dodgers 4: Youk, Cash Hit Cheap Homers in Coliseum Win
Friday, Dodgers 3, Sox 1: Colon Solid for Four Innings; 'Tek Woes at Plate Continue
J.D. Who? Is Tito Getting Frustrated with Drew?

C'est LA Vie

C'est LA Vie

Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz rests as he waits his turn in the batting cage during a baseball workout at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 27, 2008. The Red Sox play three exhibition games against the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend. The Red Sox's arrived from Japan late Wednesday after their season opener against the Oakland Athletics.

(AP Photo)

Weary Sox Rest in Los Angeles

MLB.com: Sox Shake Off Cobwebs with LA Workout
Colon Throws in a Practice Game Tonight
USA Today: Frank McCourt on the Sox and LA Coliseum
60 Minutes Preview: Bill James and the Numbers Game
Eric Wilbur: The Feat of the Repeat

It's Not a League of Their Own

It's Not a League of Their Own

BDD - The Tigers, Yankees, Blue Jays, Indians, and Angels will give the World Champs a run for their money this season

(Wire Photos)

The Sox Face Some Stiff Competition in Their Quest to Repeat

BDD's exclusive excerpt of the Maple Street Press 2008 Red Sox Annual
Sizing up the Competition: A Look Around the 2008 American League, by Jeff Kuhn

Maple Street Press 2008 Red Sox Annual

For the second time in four years, the Boston Red Sox are World Series champions. Like 2004, the Sox won while sweeping the Angels in the AL Divisional Series, coming back from the brink of elimination in the AL Championship Series to win the pennant, and then sweeping a National League opponent. Unlike 2004, however, this Red Sox team led the AL East essentially wire to wire during the regular season and tied for the best record in baseball. For the first time since 1915, the Red Sox can boast that they thoroughly vanquished the league.

In 2008, the AL is still violently divided between the haves and the have-nots, with only the previous playoff teams and the Tigers serious contenders for the 2008 World Series from the Junior Circuit. Most of the separation is centered around the dearth of talent moving this past offseason, with only the Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis trade in, and the Johan Santana Oakland trades out even causing a blip serious enough to overthrow the balance of power. The story of 2008 in the second tier of the league will be how these teams build from within, to prime themselves to take the reins from the current Red Sox/Yankees/Angels triumvirate that have dominated the league over the last six years. The Indians and Tigers have elbowed into the AL’s elite class, but eventually the current power will be old and grey. The spoils will go to those who aggressively improve over the next few seasons, starting with the AL’s 107th season.

A LOOK AT THE SOX COMPETITION IN THE AL EAST

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

"Don't matter how many times you get burnt, you just keep doin' the same." – Preston “Bodie” Broadus

With the Ravens finishing their latest campaign with five wins, and coachless, no NBA or NHL team to speak of, and the Orioles starting their second decade of irrelevancy, Baltimore’s only real contribution to the entertainment realm is The Wire, HBO’s critically-acclaimed police drama that focuses on institutional dysfunction. In The Wire, a broken system actually prefers to stay broken than to work to fix itself. Charm City looks extremely bleak through this lens. This dovetails nicely with the state of Baltimore’s baseball franchise. Since the O’s had their run of divisional success after the advent of the wild card, the Orioles have shown no ability to dig themselves out of the hole created by being a member of the American League East. The Orioles have been unable to execute a rebuilding plan over the last decade, and after a year where their major accomplishment was keeping the Rays in last place, the best that can be said for this dilapidated franchise is that it can’t get much worse.

The only problem with that is the bottom is still to come. New honcho Andy MacPhail traded the declining Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard and is actively shopping Brian Roberts, which leaves Nick Markakis to carry the offense. There is a plan in place, however, with MacPhail signing the Orioles’ first two Scott Boras-represented draftees in the Peter Angelos era, by throwing cash at Matt Weiters and Jake Arrieta. Troy Patton was nice haul for Miguel Tejada too. MacPhail is tearing down the core of the Orioles with an eye towards 2010, and it makes it look like it’s morning in Baltimore. It has just been too long since the new boss has been different from the old.

NEW YORK YANKEES

After the Yankees bowed out to Cleveland in the playoffs last year the Bombers had what one can only describe as a “crisis of confidence.” Gone was George Steinbrenner, stepping aside for his sons, with Hank Steinbrenner overseeing the day-to-day operations of the team, and Joe Torre for Joe Girardi, which means the on-field team is under new stewardship for the first time since 1995. There were drawn-out negotiations with Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera, including Hank doing a good impression of his father’s feisty period by doing his best to make A-Rod cry during the negotiation process.

For all the hysterics that followed the Yankees around this offseason, they didn’t improve the team very much on the field, which puts a huge burden on young players like Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Philip Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain to keep the Yankees a playoff-caliber team. Which is why they made overtures to the Twins for Johan Santana, since the Yankees pitching wasn’t at all that consistent last year. Brian Cashman did a good job of staying the course and not overpaying for Santana by just blowing any rumored Red Sox proposals out of the water and sending Cabrera, Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Jeff Marquez over to the Twin Cities. The Yankees need pitching badly enough that there was pressure (internal or external) to overpay for Santana, but Cashman stood his ground. Likewise, in an effort to save Chamberlain’s arm, the pre-season signs are pointing to a return to the bullpen for Joba, though he would probably have more value to the Yankees in the rotation, where Chein-Ming Wang leads a crew of pitchers, who are either in the death throes of their careers (Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina) or in their beginning (Philip Hughes).

For the first time since Bill Clinton was impeached, the Yankees are going into a season without the AL East banner, and they’ve been denied entry into the ALCS every year since 2004. The two biggest weaknesses in 2008 are age and rotation quality, and the only way to fight one is to sacrifice the other. Cashman has seemingly chosen youth, which is more risky, but will have the higher reward. It just won’t come in 2008.

TAMPA BAY RAYS

My economics are rusty, but when you have an inferior product in a saturated, inelastic market, one strategy is to re-brand the product. Therefore, exit the Devil, and their aqua uniforms, to be replaced by the San Diego Padres kits with blue replacing sand brown.

The ironic thing is that the newly-branded Tampa Bay Rays are no longer an inferior product. The players they have are developing quite nicely and the farm system is still ripening some pretty tasty fruits, with top prospect Evan Longoria taking a break from Desperate Housewives to take over third base, joining a team already featuring under-27ers Dioner Navarro, Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Rocco Baldelli, Scott Kazmir, Edwin Jackson, Jason Shields, and Matt Garza, among others. Garza, in fact, came over in General Manager Andrew Friedman’s shrewdest trade, dealing Delmon Young from the outfield surplus and Brendan Harris to Minnesota for the young hurler and projected starting shortstop Jason Bartlett. This never would have happened under Chuck LaMar, who preferred to stand pat rather than improve the team. Friedman actually even went ahead and found some capable vets to fill the roster and buy the kids their beer. Cliff Floyd can cover the inevitable Rocco Baldelli injury, and Willy Aybar is a nice backup in case anyone in the infield gets hurt. They even extended Carlos Pena for three years, which might be the first time an effective, young (he’s the gray beard in the starting lineup at 30) player decided to stay with the Rays.

St. Pete’s isn’t desolate anymore. Though the Rays aren’t quite competitors yet (or even good), they are most certainly taking the right steps towards creating a credible franchise. Now all they need is fans to pay attention.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Now entering the seventh year of the J.P. Ricciardi Save Our Team Reclamation Project, the Jays are at an interesting crossroads. When Ricciardi took over the reigns of the Jays, they had four straight third-place finishes, averaging almost 84 wins a year. Since then, he has navigated Good Ship Blue Jay to five third-place finishes and has the indignity of being the only team ever to finish lower in the standings than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Throwing out that last place finish in 2004, the Jays have averaged 83 wins a year. So despite the free pass Ricciardi gets vis-à-vis the “numbers GMs”, the Toronto squad has at best run in place during his regime, and at worst, wasted a lot of Rogers Communications money.

This trend continued this offseason, with the bizarre Troy Glaus-for-Scott Rolen trade. Without considering injuries, the Jays effectively traded their second or third best hitter to the Cardinals for Scott Rolen, who is a year older, and has hit 35 home runs over the last three seasons combined. Rolen is also due $37 million over the next three seasons (with the Cards picking up $4 million of that in 2010), while Glaus’s obligation is $12.75 million for one more year, which can turn into $24 million over two if Glaus picks up his player option. “No matter”, Ricciardi seemingly said, “I’ll throw in $1.8 million with Glaus!”

Even if you stipulate that Glaus is an injury risk, due to the nerve problem in his foot and the alleged steroid issue, the chances are that Rolen being on artificial turf can only hurt a back that has kept him out of the lineup quite frequently the last few seasons. This is not the Scott Rolen of 2002, which is something that Blue Jays fans will learn quickly.

The Blue Jays were a team starving for offense last year in the bat-rich American League. Ricciardi then traded Glaus for Rolen, and signed light-hitting shortstop David Eckstein. That’s a lot to wager on the continued development of Alex Rios and a prayer that Vernon Wells somehow justifies the $126 million that Ricciardi gave him.

A-Roid?

A-Roid?

BDD - Vindicated

(BDD and Wire Photo)

Canseco Won't Stop Needling A-Rod About Steroids

ABC News: Canseco Says Rodriguez Asked About 'Roids
NY Times: Rodriguez Won’t Comment on Contents of Book

3.27.08, New York Times: Canseco said that Rodriguez asked him about steroids in the late 1990s during their winter workouts at Canseco’s home gym. Canseco said that he introduced Rodriguez to a steroids supplier, and noticed that Rodriguez had bulked up when he saw him weeks later.

“I’m confident it was the ’roids,” Canseco wrote. “I believed it then, and I believe it now.

“I’ve been down this road too many times with too many guys.”

Canseco made no secret of his personal disdain for Rodriguez. The book portrayed Rodriguez as curious about steroids and infatuated with Canseco’s former wife.

Jim Ed Being Jim Ed Blog...
Rice: Schilling's Not Fat, Just Has Bad Body
Beckett Throws in Florida | McNamee Speaks in Everett
Shipping Down to Pawtucket: Moss Optioned to PawSox

It's a Cover Up

It's a Cover Up

BDD - SI baseball preview cover

(SI Cover Photo - LARGE VERSION HERE)

Ellsbury, Buchholz Get Star Treatment on SI

But the 2008 Baseball Preview Picks the Yanks to Win the AL East

Sayonara

Sayonara

David Ortiz watches his foul fly in the third inning of the 2008 MLB Japan Series season's opening game against Oakland Athletics at the Tokyo Dome on March 26, 2008.

(Getty Images Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)

Breakfast of Champions Is Over Easy This Morning
Sox Bats Hit the Snooze Button in Tokyo

A's 5, Sox 1: Sox Whiff 13 Times as Oakland Takes Game 2
Emil Brown Makes No Mistake on Bases with 3-Run Homer
Lester Finishes Strong, But Is Gone After 4
The Harden Way: Rich Is Finally Paying Off for Oakland
Bright Side: Aardsma Looked Aa-OK, Lopez Stops Bleeding
Too Little, Too Late? Manny Solo Shot Gets Sox Off the Schnide
Even Johnny From Burger King Was Impressed ...
Keith Foulke Takes Care of Papi and Manny in 8th
Game 2 Box Score | Game Log | Photos

Les Do It!

Starting Trouble

BDD - Jon Lester makes his 2008 debut, and gives up a 3-run bomb to Emil Brown

(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Barry Chin)

Now It's Two Shaky Tokyo Outings for Sox Starters
Lester Line: 4 Innings, 4 Runs, 5 Hits, 3 Walks

Check It Out

Check It Out

Outfielder Manny Ramirez #24 of Boston Red Sox holds up the MVP award for the first game of the MLB Opening Series against Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 25, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan. Boston Red Sox defeated Oakland Athletics by 6-5.

(Getty Images Photo / Junko Kimura)

Manny's the Opening Day MVP

This Just In: Manny Just Finished Watching His Game-Winning Double

"It's OK, I got some speed to get there." -- Manny on having to hustle into second in the 10th

Edes: Sox Bats Wake Up Just in Time | Video: Manny Loves to Talk in Tokyo
Report: Canseco Book Calls Out A-Rod, Clemens, Magglio
Radio Star: With Geffner Gone, Dale Arnold Sounds Like Vin Scully
Wilbur: TV Outage at the Wost Time

BDD - Illustration by Frank Galasso

(BDD / Frank Galasso Illustration)

Play Ball!

Sox Win Tokyo-yo Opener

Manny Ramirez reacts after hitting a double for two RBIs against the Oakland Athletics in the 10th inning of their season opening MLB American League baseball game in Tokyo March 25, 2008.

(Getty Images Photo / Junko Kimura)

He's Still Standing at the Plate Watching the Ball
But Manny's Double Trouble for A's

Final in 10, Sox 6, A's 5: Manny Double Puts Sox Up in 10th
Moss Homer Ties It Up in 9th
| Opening Game Log | Game 1 Box Score

Shipping Up to Mosston

Outfielder Brandon Moss of Boston Red Sox celebrates his home run in the 9th inning during the MLB Opening Series between the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 25 in Tokyo, Japan.

(Getty Images Photo / Junko Kimura)

Who's the Moss? Brandon. Clutch Homer Ties It in 9th
Emil Brown, the Clown on the Bases, Saves Papelbon

Play Ball! Throw More Strikes

Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka talks to teammates in the second innings during the MLB Opening Series between Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 25, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan.

(Getty Images Photo / Junko Kimura)

Dome Not-So-Sweet Dome for Dice-K

Matsuzaka Comes Unglued in 1st; Settles Down After 2nd
Sox Finally Get to Blanton in the 6th as Manny, Moss Come Through
Dead End Street: Old Friends Embree, Foulke and DiNardo to the Rescue
Is Scott Williamson Hiding Out in the Oakland Bullpen, Too?
Snyder Gives It Up: Hannawho? Homer Put A's Back on Top
Did You See That Catch Jacoby Made?

Did You Know?
If the Sox Go 162-0, and Throw 4 No-Hitters in the World Series,
Jordan's Will Give You a Free End Table? What a Deal...

The Son Also Rises

The Son Also Rises

BDD - Photo Illustration courtesy of SoxNation.net

(BDD / Photo Illustration courtesy of SoxNation.net)

It's Time for Dice-K to Get Rolling in Tokyo

Eric Wilbur: Foreign Concept
Stark: Red Sox Radically Shift Baseball's Culture
Beckett to DL | Shaughnessy: Title Defense Begins
Today's Photos from Japan | Dice-K the Main Event
Boston Globe 2008 Baseball Issue
Curt's Pitch Goes Global, Too

J.D. Slam!

J.D. Slam!

Boston Red Sox J.D. Drew is congratulated by team mates after he blast a grand slam home run during the sixth inning of their exhibition baseball game against the Yomiuri Giants in Tokyo March 23, 2008.

(Reuters Photo)

J.D.'s Having a Grand Old Time in Japan
2nd Homer in 2 Days

While You Were Sleeping Saturday Night:
Sox Hammer Yomiuri Giants, 9-2
Wake Goes 5 2/3, Big Hand for Okajima

Smackdown

Smackdown

BDD - Big Hit for Big Papi

(BDD Photo Illustration / Steve Garberg)

Papi Pounds One: 514 Foot Blast for the Big Man in Tokyo

Red Sox 6, Hanshin Tigers 5: Ortiz Homers in Sox Win | Photos
Drew Blasts 3-Run Shot | Buchholz Struggles, Again
Meet the 2008 Red Sox

"Overall, I thought it went pretty well. I left a couple of pitches up over the plate, and that hurt. I thought I was able to keep the ball down most of the time. The Tigers hitters stayed back on the ball better than I thought they might." -- 3.22.08, Clay Buchholz on his tough day

Good Friday in Japan

Good Friday in Japan

BDD - Red Sox in Japan, Day 1

(Boston Globe and Wire Photos)

While You Were Sleeping Last Night, The Sox Had a Full Day

The Latest from Japan: Timlin Injured, DL Unlikely
Friday's Red Sox Photos from Japan
Shaughnessy: Happy Landing

This Just In ...

BDD - Statue of Manny

(BDD Photo Illustration / Steve Garberg)

They Like Manny So Much in Japan,
They've Already Built a Statue

Today in Japan... Or Was It Yesterday?
Shaughnessy: No Jet Lag | Dice-K Mania
Schill on the Visit to Camp Zuma

King of Japan

King of Japan

 Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez from Dominican Republic puts his hands together to greet journalists upon his arrival at Tokyo's Hanada International airport on March 21, 2008. The Red Sox will play their baseball season's opening game against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 25 and 26.

(Getty Images Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)

Manny Arrives, Sox Too

Photo Gallery: Red Sox Arrive in Japan
Selig Likely Won't Punish Sox | Schill: No One is Blameless
Sox in Japan: A Look at the Road Ahead
Here's Looking at You Kid:
Hopefully Dice-K Wasn't Headed for the Buffet

Death, Taxes, and Nomar Getting Injured

It's Beating a Dead Horse But ...

BDD - Nomar beating horse 8.23.04

(BDD Photo Illustration)

You Can Count on Death, Taxes, and Nomar Getting Injured

LA Times: It's Deja Vu All Over Again as
Garciaparra Has Microfracture in Right Wrist
Maybe He Should Have Signed More Autographs in Vero Beach After All

Tracking the Sox in the Air

BDD - Sox in the Air

(Flight Aware Screenshot)

If the Sox Are Flying on Japan Air Lines Flight No. 8807,
They Have Arrived

Yesterday's News: Colon Assigned to Minors
Jays 4, Red Sox 3: Okajima Struggles in Loss
A Minor Change of Plan for Dice-K

Manny Distraught Over Dispute

Manny Distraught Over Dispute

Outfielder Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox holds a sign during the delay of the Grapefruit League Spring Training game against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 19, 2008 at City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers, Florida. The Red Sox players unanimously voted to not play their last Spring Training game in Florida and not get on the plane to Japan in a dispute over whether coaches and staff are paid a $40,000 stipend for the trip to Japan.

(Getty Images Photo / J. Meric)

That's Just Manny Being Mama's Boy

Clearly Caught Up in the Coachgate Crisis,
Manny Sends a Message to Mom
And the Cardboard Face Has a Frown

 Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, left, works out on his own as teammates stretch during a Spring Training baseball practice in Fort Myers, Fla., Wednesday March 19, 2008. The Red Sox break camp in Florida after facing the Toronto Blue Jays, then start the season in Japan.

(AP Photo)

Resolution Reached; Japan Boycott Averted
Dice-K to Pitch in Minor League Game

Sox Voted to Boycott Today's Game and Plane:

Earlier today: Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell confirmed to the Boston Globe's Jackie MacMullan that the team voted unanimously this morning not to make the scheduled trip to Japan or play its final exhibition game against the Blue Jays this afternoon unless the coaches, training staff, and equipment staff were going to be compensated for making the trip to Japan.

Boy, Oh Boycott?

Boy, Oh Boycott?

Will the Sox get on the plane today?

Da Plane, Da Plane... Will the Sox Get On It Today?

Bradford Report: If Sox Coaches Aren't Paid for Japan Trip,
The Players May Not Get On the Plane Today

"According to multiple clubhouse sources, the Red Sox will be holding a players-only meeting later this morning concerning the issue regarding the coaches potentially not being paid the $40,000 allocated the players. The sources indicated that the players will be issuing a mandate to Major League Baseball that if the coaches aren’t paid, then the team will not be getting on the plane later today for Japan." -- 3.19.08, The Bradford Files

Francona Irked About Coaches Not Getting Cash for Japan
Sox Announce Travel Roster for Japan
Feds Want to Meet with Canseco About Clemens

Bartolocation Off

Bartolocation Off, Velocity On ...

Pitcher Bartolo Colon #40 of the Boston Red Sox starts against the New York Yankees March 17, 2008 at Legends Field in Tampa, Florida. The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 8-4.

(Getty Images Photo / Al Messerschmidt)

... And a Rivalry is in Hibernation

Eric Wilbur: Another Meaningless Sox-Yankees Game

"In case you haven’t noticed, we’re a long way from 2004, when this rivalry hit its apex. Between the Jason Varitek-Alex Rodriguez dustup and the remarkable ALCS comeback, the storied antagonism between the two teams was at an all-time high. It wasn’t fueled in the front offices (although the offseason A-Rod chase might have initiated things), but on the field, where a certain distaste between the teams festered. Since then, it’s stayed afloat, with moments like Johnny Damon’s jumping ship at the forefront. But it’s never been as good. It’s difficult to imagine how it possibly can be." -- 3.18.08, Eric Wilbur, Boston.com

Coco, Kielty, and Curt Are Heading to Japan
Colon Blows Up: Big Man Was Wild Facing Bombers
Rolling the Dice: Matsuzaka Will Kick Off the '08' Campaign

Hansen Still Not Ready

Still Not Ready for Prime Time

The Hanson Brothers from Slapshot

(BDD Photo Illustration)

Now in the Final Year of His Red Sox Contract,
Craig Hansen Will Start the Season in Pawtucket, Again

Papelbon Apparently Should Have Signed with Boras, Too

Scott Boras picked Theo's pocket on this one: Hansen signed 4-year deal worth $4 million through 2008 on 7/25/05. He received a $1.325 million signing bonus and salaries of $575K in 2005 and then $700K each year in 2006, 2007 and 2008, plus a signing bonus is paid in installments of $441,667 within 15 days of the contract being approved, $441,667 on Jan. 15, 2006 and $441,666 on Aug. 15, 2006. -- Hansen contract, MLB4U

Tough Luck

Tough Luck

BDD - Steve Garberg Illustration

(BDD Photo Illustration / Steve Garberg)

Beckett Is Staying Back in the States

Worst Kept Secret in Town: Josh Won't Be Going to Japan

Happy St. Patrick's Day!...
Here’s to a long life and a merry one
A quick death and an easy one
A pretty girl and an honest one
A cold beer – and another one!

Weekend Headlines:
Cash Only: Wake Perfect in Minor League Game
Don't Poke the Mouse: Thanks to Hank for Stirring It Up
Nice and Early Does It: Dice-K's Wife Has Baby
Pirates 6, Sox 3 | Sox 16, Reds 6 | Sox 7, Orioles 4
Dice-K Goes 4, 'Secret' Weapon Manny Goes Deep, Drew Homers
38Pitches: Schill Salutes Dougie

Diggin' Doug

Diggin' Doug

05/15/2007: Red Sox catcher Doug Mirabelli made a nice play on a fifth inning foul ball off the bat of Detroit's Gary Sheffield, as he battled the fans (A), had the ball pop out of his mitt, but he caught it barehanded after it came out (B), and he held it up foir the umpire (and the astonished fans) to see (C).

(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)

Mirabelli Made His Mark in Boston

2.17.08, Jason Varitek on Doug Mirabelli: "Doug's been an instrumental part with me and my career. He's got great eyes . . . and understanding from the bench. Great awareness of what guys are going through, hitting-wise and catching-wise, a great sounding board. He always knows what's going on, and that is such a big part of people who don't play every day."

“He’s done a lot for this franchise over the years. He probably had an impact that exceeded the role. ...The timing, in part, was out of respect for Doug. This was a debate early in camp. It reached a point where defensively, especially, we thought Cash was the backup that would give our team the best chance to win.” -- 3.13.08, Theo on Dougie, Boston Herald

Martone: For 6 1/2 Years, Mirabelli Caught a Great Ride

"... He’s been the Red Sox’ version of Zelig or Forrest Gump. He may not have been front and center, but he’s been in the picture for some awfully memorable moments.

The Aaron Boone game? Mirabelli was actually behind the plate when the ball left the park.

The comeback for the ages against the Yankees in 2004? Check.

The two World Series championships in four years? Mirabelli is one of only eight players who was on hand for both of them.

That’s why we’ll always remember him." -- 3.14.08, Art Martone, Providence Journal

He's No Billy Crystal But Mazz Tries Out for Job Opening
More Lessons Manny Learned from Reading 'The Secret':
The Backup Catchers Locker Is Bigger, So Grab It Fast
Discuss: Will You Miss Having Doug Around?

"I'm fine with releasing Doug, but I appreciate the fact he was a part of 2 world titles. Never say never, but I doubt we'll see Doug come riding in another time. Those that abuse back-up catchers are really clueless. Their roles are to come in and be a good defensive catcher as a reserve. Talking about how they can't hit a lick is missing the point." -- softlaw on Boston.com's Sox forum

Friday in Fort Myers: A Few Morning Things
The Philosopher King Is Back, Again:
Manny Talks About Life and 'The Secret'
Red Sox 3, Rays 3: Colon Blows 94 MPH Fastball By Rays
Not a Bad Day for the Big Man

Red Sox starter Bartolo Colon, top, delivers to Tampa Bay Rays batter Carlos Pena during the first inning of a Spring Training baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla., Thursday March 13, 2008.

(AP Photo)

More Good News: Josh is Getting 'Closer' | Coco Works Out

You Look Hideous

You Look Hideous

Actor and comedian Billy Crystal strikes out in his only at bat as designated hitter during the New York Yankees spring training baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Legends Field in Tampa, Fla.,Thursday, March 13, 2008. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(AP Photo)

One Thing Is Crystal Clear, We're All Glad Billy Ball Is Over

Crystal Strikes Out in New Career

"As long as the fans enjoy it, it's great. He has a real love for the Yankees. He's going to help us in the opening of the new stadium and all that." -- 3.13.08, Our Man Hank Steinbrenner

BDD - SoxNation.net photo illustration

(BDD - photo illustration courtesy of SoxNation.net)

'Belli Up? No, 'Belli OUT!

'Belli Up? No, 'Belli OUT!

Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, left, and catcher Doug Mirabelli, right, wait in the dugout to be introduced as the makeovers for five Red Sox players were unveilled after a game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers, Fla., Wednesday March 16, 2005. Five Red Sox players took part in the show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

(3.16.05: AP Photo)

Dougie Will Be Going Deep in a Beer League in '08
As Sox Cash In and Release Wakefield's Binky

This Just In... Florida Highway Patrol Are On Their Way
to Escort Mirabelli to the Fort Myers Airport

As Bartolo Gets Set to Go, Schill Moves to the 60-Day DL
Manny Opens Up on Exercise, Diet, and Reading
Is Erica the Secret to Clay's Success?
Survey Gallery: Projecting the 2008 Red Sox

Look Alive Coco!

Look Alive, Coco!

BDD-- Coco Crisp needs to look alive

(BDD Photo Illustration / Meir Weinberg)

Otherwise the Trade Market for You is Dead

Tito and Theo Chat with Coco

"If Coco Crisp wants an exit out of Boston, teams want to see that he's healthy and playing before trying to swing a deal. The Chicago Cubs have had some interest in Crisp, but won't do anything until they see him play.

"That wasn't the purpose of Terry Francona and Theo Epstein's conversation with Crisp this morning. It was more to gauge where he was with his groin problems. Crisp is making progress, taking a few swings. It's also getting down to the last six days before the team leaves for Japan and the Sox wanted to make him aware of the timetable so he understands the season starts soon." -- 3.13.08, Nick Cafardo, Extra Bases

This Just In ...

BDD - New Charity Wines Available

(AP Photo)

Manny Merlot Is Long Gone and Hard to Find
But There Are Three New Red Sox Charity Wines

The Cup Stops Here

The Cup Stops Here

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz delivers in the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers, Fla., Wednesday March 12, 2008.

(AP Photo)

Buchholz Gets Back on Track as Sox Retain Mayor's Cup

In 2004 and 2007, The Sox Won the Mayor's Cup...
And Another Trophy, Too. Today Could Be a Harbinger of Fall, Again:
Offense Comes Alive as Sox Top Twins, 12-7

"Overall, it went real well for me. I feel good about it." -- 3.11.08, Clay Had a Big Day

No Country for Real Men

No Country for Real Men

Former Boston Red Sox left fielder Mike Greenwell, left, shakes hands with former teammate Jim Rice after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Red Sox-New York Mets spring training baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla., Tuesday March 11, 2008.

(AP Photo)

Back in the Days When Men Were Men,
Greenie and Jim Ed Got the Job Done, Naturally
Today, It's a Whole New Ballgame

Greenwell Resents '80s Steroid Users
(Yes, Bud, Ballplayers Were Using Steroids in the '80s ... But You Knew That)

"I get a little miffed at people when someone makes the argument, 'Well, does it make the player?' Of course it doesn't make the player, but I promise you as a guy that could hit like I could hit, if the ball would have traveled 20 more feet for me, what kind of player am I then? If I get healthier faster because of that, what kind of player am I then?" -- 3.10.08, Mike Greenwell, telling it like it is

In Other Old News: A Look Back at the Greatest Game in 1978

This Just In ...

Former First Lady Barbara Bush threw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to the game, as Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who had escorted her to the mound looks on from behind.

(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)

Barbara Bush Will Try Out for Beckett's Spot in the Rotation in Response to Billy Crystal Suiting Up for the Yankees
(At Least the Former First Lady Showed Up in Decent Shape)

Losing Streak Over! Sox Hang on for 4-3 Win Over Mets

On the Back Burner

On the Back Burner

Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett watches his teammates during a morning Spring Training baseball practice in Fort Myers, Fla., Tuesday March 11, 2008. Beckett injured his back while warming up for an outing on Saturday and is not expected to make his next start in the rotation.

(AP Photo)

Beckett's Bad Back Could Get Sox Off on the Wrong Foot

ESPN: Beckett Likely to Miss Red Sox Opener in Japan

"...We're certainly not going to rush him back to pitch a game March 24 if he's not ready." -- 3.11.08, Terry Francona to ESPN's Jayson Stark

Too Little, Too Late: Beckett's Feeling Better

Just a Gut Feeling

Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett throws while working out in the bullpen at the teams baseball spring training facility, in Fort Myers, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008.

(AP Photo)

Beckett's Core Muscles Might Be in Better Shape
If He Spent Some Time at API Over the Winter

Men's Health: 6 Reasons You Need Abs

"Since most back pain is related to weak muscles in your trunk, maintaining a strong midsection can help resolve many back issues. The muscles that crisscross your midsection don't function in isolation; they weave through your torso like a spider web, even attaching to your spine.

"When your abdominal muscles are weak, the muscles in your butt (your glutes) and along the backs of your legs (your hamstrings) have to compensate for the work your abs should be doing. The effect, besides promoting bad company morale for the muscles picking up the slack, is that it destabilizes the spine and eventually leads to back pain and strain-or even more serious back problems." -- Men's Health, 6 Reasons You Need Abs

Lesterrific for 4

Lesterrific for 4

Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester sets to deliver his pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets during their spring training baseball game in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Monday, March 10, 2008.

(AP Photo)

Jon's No Second Banana to Johan Santana

Tie One On: The Sox Don't Lose, But Can't Win in 10
Box: Sox 1, Mets 1 | Sorry Hank, Red Sox Nation Is a Tradition

"We're going to do what's in the best interest of our ballclub." -- 3.10.08, Terry Francona, not tipping his hand on Josh Beckett going to Japan

Bad Case of the Mondays: Beckett's Back Gets Worse

All's Well in Sox Camp

All's Well in Sox Camp ...

BDD -- All's Well in Sox Camp

(Getty Images and Wire Photo)

... Except for the Complete Lack of Hitting and Pitching

Trouble in Paradise: Beckett Backing Out of Japan Trip?
Dice-K Labors Again | Buchholz ERA: 12.60, Lester ERA: 11.25
Sox Starters Have Surrendered 24 hits and 17 runs (16 ER) in 29 Innings
'Pen Yielded 32 Runs (22 ER) in 35.1 Innings in Last 5 Games
Sox Have Scored in Just 4 of 36 Innings Over the Last 4 Games
Boston Has Plated Just 6 Runs in the Last 4 Games,
Team Is Batting .237 (41-173) Over the Last 5

Ace in the Hole

Red Sox pitcher Bartolo Colon throws a pitch to a batter during a live batting practice session at baseball spring training workouts at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla., Sunday, March 9, 2008. Colon is scheduled to see his first game action of the spring on Thursday.

(AP Photo)

The Season Suddenly Rests on the Heavy Arm of
Bartolo Colon

Let's Lose Two!

Let's Lose Two!

 Pitcher Clay Buchholz #61 of the Boston Red Sox makes a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the Grapefruit League Spring Training game on March 7, 2008 at City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers, Florida

(J. Meric / Getty Images)

They're Toast-to-Toast from Coast-to-Coast
Reeling Red Sox Have Lost 6 of Last 7

Buchholz, Papelbon, Tavarez, Snyder All Hit Hard in Florida Today
Orioles 12, Sox 2 | Twins 7, Sox 2
And Papelbon's Happy About Setting a Standard

It's a Dirty Business, Baseball Is:
MLB Sticks Its Greedy Paws Into Cape Cod League
Sox Snub StubHub for Ticket Resales; Partner with Ace
Clemens Investigators Look at Houston Clinic
Hall of Fame Will Eventually Have a Steroids Exhibit

Lost and Found Out

Lost and Found Out

BDD - Lost March 6, 2008

(BDD / Lost - ABC Screenshot)

In a Longer 'Lost' Episode from Last Night,
Ben Had Another Tape Hidden in the Safe,
And This One Wasn't Taped Over ...

Eric Wilbur: Sox 'Lost' for Good

Manny's Got a Secret ...

BDD - Manny's Got a Secret

(BDD Photo)

He's Thinks 'The Secret' Will Eventually Reveal...
'Victoria's Secret'

Herald: Manny Being Reading

"One of the more intriguing sights in the clubhouse was Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez reading the self-motivational bestseller 'The Secret' with a highlight marker." -- 3.7.08, Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

This Just In ...

Waitress, the Movie

(Fox Searchlight Photo)

Ashley Papelbon Won't Have to Waitress in Southie
Anymore... Jonathan Got a Raise

D-Lowe Gets Hammered, Again

D-Lowe Gets Hammered, Again

Los Angeles Dodgers starter Derek Lowe throws from the mound during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers

(Reuters Photo)

But Dodgers Rally to Top Sox, 9-6

Wake Sharp for Three Innings; Ellsbury Finally Gets a Hit
Sox-Dodgers Box

Cancel the Weekend Bake-Sale Fundraiser for the Closer ...
Pap Will Scrape By on $775K Plus Endorsements

Now, That's the Ticket

Now, That's the Ticket

BDD - Chris Speakman - www.sportspropaganda.com

(BDD / Chris Speakman -- www.sportspropaganda.com )

For the First Time in a Long Time, The Celtics
are Front and Center, and In It for the Long Haul

Garnett Leads the Way at the Garden
Celtics 90, Pistons 78: The Green Are the Beasts of the East

"We know that the Eastern Conference is going to be won by [one of] three teams, and this is one of them. Statement? You can say that. But it was an important game for us. I can't even put anything really on it. But it was a huge game for us and we knew that from Day One. This is not an easy matchup." -- 3.5.08, KG on taking on the Pistons

Remember Old Friend Curt Schilling?
He's Looking Forward to Playing Catch, Eventually
In the Meantime, Bartolo Is Ready to Go
The Weiner Line: Clemens Has Suffered Enough! (Yeah, Right)

Papelbon: For Crying Out Loud

For Crying Out Loud

BDD -- Jonathan Papelbon Gets a Pacifier

(MyPacifier.com Photo / BDD Illustration)

Baby Jonathan Has a Temper Tantrum in Florida

Sox Forced to Buy a Pacifier for the First Time Since Pedro Left Town
Pap Rants About Mariano, Money, The Game, and So-Called Standards
Cry Baby Decides to Bitch About His Contract Two Years Too Soon

"That situation, man, it's a tough situation for me right now because basically I'm at a point to where I feel like the position I'm in, there's a certain standard that needs to be put in place here. I feel like with me being at the top of my position I feel like that standard needs to be set and I'm the one to set that standard. And I don't think that the Red Sox are really necessarily seeing eye-to-eye with me on that subject right now. Hopefully we can get somewhere.

"We're chugging away at this thing and we want to get it done, believe me, and we can move on. At the same time, I feel a certain obligation to not only to myself and my family to make the money that I deserve, but for the game of baseball. Mariano Rivera has been doing it for the past 10 years. With me coming up behind him, I feel a certain obligation to do the same." -- 3.4.08, Papelbon whines on about the money

Discuss: Papelbon's Messin' with the Mojo
Survey: Should Papelbon Have Spoken Out About the Money?

In This Week's Sports Illustrated ...

Another Interview with Ted Will... err... Jacoby Ellsbury:

On being a starting centerfielder in the World Series, just 16 weeks after his big league debut, and batting .438

There was pressure, but I figured this is uncharted territory for a lot of guys. Even if you're a five-time All-Star, if you've never been to the postseason, it's new. I told myself there was no reason to back down. I didn't want it to be over and think, Oh, man, I could've gone harder.

On the post-Series parade held in his honor in his hometown, Madras, Ore.

The coolest thing was that it seemed like I knew everybody by first name, my old teachers, my former teammates, my old classmates. Only 5,000 people live in our town, and at least that many were at the parade. A lot of people talked about seeing me on TV running in to celebrate after the last out. They were saying, "You should have seen your face. It was priceless."

On Boston's Coco Crisp, whom he replaced in center during the ALCS

We talk, we joke, but the centerfield job hasn't come up. We know what's going on. He's been great. The day I got called up, Coco took me out to centerfield at Fenway and started telling me, "O.K., if the ball hits [the wall] here, this is what it will do and where you need to be." He spent an hour with me.

On the off-season regimen that helped him gain 15 pounds and improve his considerable speed

I do something called SPARQ. It stands for speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness, and it's about focusing on muscle groups that relate to what I do on the field. One thing I do is swing a [61⁄2-pound] medicine ball like a bat—it generates explosiveness through your hips, abs, legs, upper body. I've never felt more prepared for a season. I've never been this powerful, this explosive. -- 3.10.08, Sports Illustrated

More Trouble in Florida:
Red Sox Scout Faces Lewd, Lascivious Felony Charges
Sox 5, Pirates 3 Box: Dice, 47 pitches (28 strikes) in 3
The New Coke ... Seats | Big Photo

Now That's Just Nomar Being Nomar:
Garciaparra's True Colors Come Shining Through in Dodgertown

More Appeal at Fenway

Was It That Appealing?

NESN's Sox Appeal -- Garrett the figure skater

(BDD Photo / NESN Screenshot)

'Honey, Why Isn't TC Wearing His Glasses?'
'Ummm, That's Not TC... It's Season Two of Sox Appeal'

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to
Tune into NESN for Some Baseball ...

It's all about Sox Appeal

(BDD Photo / NESN screenshot)

Sox Appeal Is Back to Punish Us Some More

No Farewell to Arms

No Farewell to Arms

Big Day for Bartolo, Beckett, and Snydes

(AP Photos)

Bartolo, Beckett, and Snydes Put End to
Sox Nation Rotation 2-Day Frustration

Josh's Fastball Was an Early Riser But
At the End of the Day: 5K's, Ace's Offspeed Was On
Colon Weighs In at 42, Near 90 in 'Pen Session
Over In Jupiter, Snydes Pleads the Fifth Spot with Strong Outing
Marlins' Andrew Miller "Felt Like He Was in Boston"
Sox-Marlins Box Score

"He's definitely motivated, no doubt about that. He's been outstanding when it comes to following our lead and directions. He's been very compliant. We had a chance to sit down and talk about the throwing program, what those progressive steps would be, and he sees no reason, at this point, to shortchange those or speed that up." -- 3.3.08, John Farrell on Bartolo Colon

More Dance, Dance, Dance: See the Individual Sox Dance Routines Here
In Case You Missed It: 3rd Annual Cookie-Off on WBZ
Also: Manny Was Meditating While Sox Went to Walter Reed

“I was doing meditation in my house, so I feel more important. That’s what I do now. In my time off, I read books and I meditate. That’s what I do.” -- Manny Ramirez, 3.1.08, Boston Herald

Howdy, Partner!

Howdy, Partner!

New York Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner, left, watches a spring training baseball game against the University of South Florida with his son Hank Steinbrenner Friday, Feb. 29, 2008 in Tampa, Fla.

(BDD Photo Illustration)

Hank Says He Won't Join Red Sox Nation
But the Sox and Yanks May Be Able to Partner Up!

"The Yankees ownership and Red Sox ownership have a lot in common and have a lot of common interests. God, I hate to scare Red Sox or Yankee fans, but you never know we might end up being partners in the future outside of baseball. We have a lot in common. We have a lot in common. In baseball and outside of baseball. Even though the rivalry will always be the greatest rivalry in American sports, you can say that the Yankees and Red sox ownerships are definitely friends. No question." -- 3.2.08, Hank Steinbrenner


So It Is a Puppet Régime As Suspected ...
When the Going Gets Tough for 'Regular' Fan Rob Crawford
Big Daddy John Henry Has to Step In
to Exploit Hanky-Panky and Market Sox Membership Card Scam

Leather and Lace

In this photo released by the Boston Red Sox, from left, Boston Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon dances the merengue with dance partner Teresa Kasler during the Dancing with the All-Stars benefit for the Mike Lowell Foundation and Red Sox Foundation in Fort Myers

(AP Photo)

Papelbon on Hanky Panky:
'He Needs to Just Stick to Pencil-Pushing'

But Pap's Stare Doesn't Have Same Glare Now That
AL Batters Will Picture Him Wearing His Lace Top on the Mound

Big Daddy ...

Dustin Pedroia is shown dancing at Mike Lowell's fund raising event Dancing With The All Sta

(AP Photo)

Needs a Black Lace Bodysuit, Too ...
And Some Directions to a Gym in the Offseason

Pedroia Loses Dance Contest ...
But Wins Worst Body Competition By a Mile
Inside Track: The Jig Is Up

“Pedroia is a moron. You can write that - he is a moron,” manager Terry Francona told the Herald’s Michael Silverman after the event. “He was dancing, he looked like a puppet on a string. It’s funny because he’s such a little gamer but he’s looking over at us knowing we’re just crushing him. He’s drinking Red Bull, he’s exhausted, he’s trying to do these things with this girl, which he’s not strong enough to do. It was hilarious. I’m glad I went.” -- 3.3.08, Boston Herald, Inside Track

Meanwhile, Back in the Grapefruit League: Buchholz Stopped Here:
Sox Can't Clinch Mayor's Cup as Minnesota Stays Alive
He's Not Right Either: Lester Struggles vs. Twins
But Matsuzaka Was On the Money in His Grapefruit Debut

BDD is a feature of Boston.com. The site is not produced by the Boston Globe sports dept.

Boston Globe:

Red Sox agree to deal with Pierzynski > Sox non-tender Bailey, Kalish > Sox face arbitration decisions

Boston Herald:

Sox set Bailey, Kalish free > Doug Fister dealt to Nats > White Sox agree to 1-year contract with C Flowers

ProJo:

Pierzynski reaches deal with Red Sox > Kalish, Bailey non-tendered > Mike Napoli still ideal at first base > Middlebrooks, Red Sox both looking for improvement

NY Post:

Cashman pessimistic on Yankees re-signing Cano > Report: A-Rod called PEDs 'Food'

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