Things Didn't Go Clay's Way, So He's Probably Going Away
"Because you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride" -- Daniel Powter
...But Sox Rally Back Against AL Champs: Boston 8, Tampa 7 'Tek Turns Up the Power with 3-Run HR Old Friend Gabe Kapler Is Good for a Double Buch Tagged for 6 Runs, 9 Hits, 5 1-3 Innings Clay's ERA Jumps from 0.46 to 2.52
"If Penny's ready to go, they're going to give him the ball and I'll start in Pawtucket. And if not, I'm the next guy in line. So, I'm just going to keep coming out every day and doing work and hopefully something good'll happen. Something'll come out of it." -- Clay Buchholz is probably getting on that bus
Penny for Your Thoughts? Put Your Two Cents In ...
"Luckily today, going up against Kenshin-san on the other side gave me a change to get revved up. When I'm going up against any Japanese player, whether pitcher or position player, I'm always keeping an eye out on what kind of game they're going to pitch or how they're doing in the batter's box." -- Matsuzaka through an interpreter
Teixeira was asked specifically if the public nature of the Red Sox negotiations last winter bothered him. "It did, it did," replied Teixeira. "And I think in the end, it probably worked against them a little bit, because everyone thought the Red Sox were [my] No. 1, but in reality, the Yankees were gonna be the team, like I said all along, if all things were equal, the Yankees were the place that I wanted to go.
Pitchers' Duel Turns to Blowout in Tampa Wake Keeps Pace with Burnett for Five Plus By George, I Think He's Got It! Kottaras Is Eye Catching Ramon Ramirez Doesn't Blow Up, But MDC and Hansack Do Get Used to It: Leigh Teixeira's Husband Goes 0-for-3 Wilkerson (.119), Baldelli (.179) Aren't Going to Be Filling Manny's Shoes Austin Power: Jackson Was the Straw That Stirred the Drink Tonight By the Way, the Final: NYY 7, BOS 1
"I'm very comfortable throwing to Georgie. He's got unbelievable hands. I know he's doing a lot of work with Gary Tuck as far as catching knuckleballs on the machine twice a day. Just getting his comfort level there. But as far as I'm concerned, I'm very comfortable throwing to him. I thought he did an outstanding job last night." -- 3.25.09, Tim Wakefield on WEEI's Dale and Holley
"The Schilling Hall debate could rage for five, 10, or even 20 years. Today is a day to cut through the blogs, blurbs, blabs, and political agendas and remember that Curt Schilling was one heck of a major league pitcher, a guy who wanted the ball when it mattered most. His last appearance in the majors was a 2-1 victory over Colorado at Fenway in the second game of the 2007 World Series. He gave up one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings. He went out on top." -- 3.24.09, Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe
Curt Schilling Won't Be Stepping on That Mound No More Thanks for the Memories, and the Trophies
Blogging, Radio Co-Hosting, Gaming Company Stewardship, Facebook Updating, and Family Vacations Not Enough to Get Schill in Major League Shape ... So He Calls It Quits
"This party has officially ended. After being blessed to experience 23 years of playing professional baseball in front of the world's best fans in so many different places, it is with zero regrets that I am making my retirement official." -- Big Schill on his blog
Where Are The Tears and the Three Hour Press Conference? Sincerely, Brett Favre Wish He Had Posted This On His Blog After the 2007 Season. Sincerely, Theo Epstein A Little Lidocaine and B-12 and He'd Still Be Pitching. Sincerely, Roger Clemens
USA Has Their Backs to the Wall... Oh Wait, They're Going Home... Or Back to Florida Japan Wins WBC... Wait... Oh, There's Another Game Tonight
Japan 9, A Few Guys Left That Have Some Country Pride 4 | Box Seems Like August, Tito: Dice-K Throws His Usual 4 Innings, 100 Pitches Jimmy Rollins Can't Do It All; Roberts, DeRosa Can Fill In for Pedroia, Youk Roy Oswalt Pitched Like It Was Spring Training... Hey, Wait a Minute Good Thing USA Lost, Papelbon Was Ready to Jump on a Plane to Grab a Save Tonight Meanwhile, Beckett Pitched Like He Could Have Beaten Japan Last Night Sox 3, The Real World Baseball Champs 0
"I'm very, very disappointed. We had high hopes. This is the second time we were supposed to win. We taught these people the game." -- The eloquent ambassador Tommy Lasorda congratulating Japan
"No big news flash here. It’s been a bit of problem.”
So began a thread on the Sons of Sam Horn message board this past October titled “Red Sox and developing power hitters.” Not a historical problem, of course. Boston’s storied past is flush with homegrown sluggers, from Ted Williams to Carl Yastrzemski to Jim Ed Rice to Mo Vaughn. And Boston’s Fenway Park has long held a reputation as a hitter’s haven, which served as a potential obstacle in the famed Thanksgiving negotiations with Curt Schilling, and probably contributed to Rice’s long wait for the Hall of Fame.
What people were getting at in the thread is that it’s been some time since a bona fide power hitter made his way through the system. Since 1990, only three players drafted by the Sox have hit more than 25 home runs in a major league season: Trot Nixon, Nomar Garciaparra, and Kevin Youkilis. You can add Hanley Ramirez when international signings are included. That’s a total of four “power hitters” in just shy of 20 years of amateur drafts and international signing periods, and only three total seasons of over 30 home runs (one by Ramirez, two by Garciaparra).
Given that Boston’s current general manager, Theo Epstein, has all but finished construction on his “$100 million player-development machine,” you have to wonder if this is not an accident, as plenty of observers do. His minor league staff has done an incredible job of producing top-level, homegrown talent, but, stars that they are, you’re not going to see Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, or Jon Lester hitting cleanup very often.
And when, in this past year’s draft, Boston gave out their highest draft bonus ever to a legitimate two-way high school player, Casey Kelly, who they coveted much more as a pitcher, and also offered what would have been their second-highest bonus ever to towering, young hurler Alex Meyer (who turned it down), you have to start wondering about it your-self. Add in recent big-ticket picks that the Red Sox have not signed, such as mashers Pedro Alvarez, Matt LaPorta, and Hunter Morris, and you can see where this theory might have some legs to it.
No one in the Red Sox organization will say there is an overt strategy to draft and develop pitching, and to find power via free agency and trade. When it comes to amateur talent, they’ll say they’re looking for the best players avail-able, just like any other organization.
But even with the obvious lack of middle-of-the-order, farm-fed bats at the Fens, and regardless of Boston’s recent draft history, and despite the fact that Director of Amateur Scouting Jason McLeod himself will admit, if pressed, that he thinks pitching may ultimately be a more valuable equity than hitting—that “the value of pitching in baseball right now is incredibly high”—it’s very difficult to say, when you look a bit deeper, that the Red Sox have intentionally shied away from amateur power hitters.
Sound bites like “can’t have enough pitching” and “best player available” may come across as company lines, but there is a lot of evidence to support that Boston’s recent homegrown power outage really has been, by and large, dictated by circumstances, not strategy. When you start looking into each draft under Epstein, one by one, and hone in on the indi-vidual context of every high-level pick, scrutinize who the Sox could have selected instead (admittedly, a slippery slope), and try to understand why certain kids weren’t signed, it becomes difficult to substantiate the argument that Boston deval-ues amateur power hitters in favor of pitching.
Make Room in the 'Pen for Penny... Or Give Wake a Break Because Clay Is Pitching His Way Into the Starting Rotation
0.66 ERA for Clay Can Papelbon Keep Shouldering the Load? Sincerely, Minneapolis Star Trib Sox Mop the Deck with Pirates, 11-4 Welcome Back Dustin Pedroia, Now Hop on a Plane to LA, Sincerely Bud Selig We're Not Letting Lowrie's Booming Bat Go Unnoticed This Just In: Kottaras Can Hit a Little Bit, Too Gotta Hand It to Him: At the End of the Day, J.D.'s OK More Good News: Youk Sheds His Boot Today
"Again, a big step in the right. I thought he was throwing the ball real well. And his demeanor, his tempo on the mound have all been improving this whole spring. And it's sure nice to see." -- Brad Mills, the next manager of the Red Sox, on Buchholz's performance
Manny Ramirez's tight hamstring is keeping him out of the Dodgers lineup this week but the former Red Sox outfielder faced live pitching today... from a cricket bowler... as part of a promotion for DirecTV. Ramirez was swinging at googlies and grubbers instead of split-finger fast balls in his debut as a cricket batsman. Manny hit five of eight pitches from the bowler, including a rocket shot that dispersed a crowd standing behind the bowler.
"I have faced some tough pitchers before, but we don't have to ever swing at a bouncing ball that is rising as it passes us," said Ramirez, who was coached at the event by Australian cricketer Shaun Marsh. "Shaun is a great hitter and he gave me some great pointers. I hadn't watched much cricket in the past, but the game is a lot like baseball. Shaun said I definitely have a future in the game."
After signing a two-year, $45-million contract and reporting late to spring training, Manny developed the tightness in running drills in Arizona last week. He aggravated the sore hamstring on Sunday while running down a double playing left field for the first time this spring. The Dodgers then decided to rest Ramirez, at least through this week.
"We're just going to lay low till we get rid of this," Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Monday. "We're just going to keep him out. I can't give you a time because I don't know the time, but it's certainly going to be through the weekend and probably beyond that."
"Maybe age is catching up on me," Ramirez said after exiting the game on Sunday.
3.17.09 New York Post: "Details writer Jason Gay noted that A-Rod frantically reached out to him after the interview to retract the revelation of his favorite Madonna song. The meltdown seemed like an odd concern of A-Rod's, according to Gay, considering that the Bomber's chat with Details came after Sports Illustrated reported he had used banned substances, and days before he faced teammates and media in Tampa. A-Rod told the writer he didn't want that particular Madonna song blaring at rival American League parks at every road game."... just play 'em all Mr. DJ... Borderline... Vogue...
Somebody Buy This Man Some Sheets
(Details magazine photo by Steven Klein)
And Once Again, We'd Like to Thank Don Fehr and the Glorious Players Association for Keeping This Crazy Cat Out of Boston
Julio Lugo: "I'm worried. Every time you have something hurt, you're worried because I know I'm the type, when something bothers me, when I say something, I'm in pain. Otherwise I'm not going to complain to pain. If you see me coming out, I'm hurting."
"... And for him not to be on the same page as the rest of the team was a killer, man! It just takes one guy to bring an entire team down, and that’s exactly what was happening. Once we saw that, we weren’t afraid to get rid of him. It’s like cancer. That’s what he was. Cancer. He had to go. It sucked, but that was the only scenario that was going to work. That was it for us. And after, you could feel it in the air in the clubhouse. We got Jason Bay — Johnny Ballgame, plays the game right, plays through broken knees, runs out every ground ball — and it was like a breath of fresh air, man! Awesome! No question." -- Jonathan Papelbon goes off on LA Ram
Peter Gammons on Papelbon: “Jonathan’s very emotional. He’s not Abraham Lincoln. But there’s a lot of hard feelings. It was very telling in Colleen Dominguez’s interview with Manny that he doesn’t talk to anybody on the Red Sox. She said David Ortiz? He said no. … and it’s kind of too bad but Manny became obsessed with the money and there were things that happened like stiffing all the clubhouse kids, and stuff like that that left very bad tastes in his teammates mouths. And also the fact that Manny made it very clear. Winning is not important, my contract is. That’s the way he left. And that’s the way the players felt… I find it really distasteful for anyone to use the word “cancer” in relationship to a human being because it just, it doesn’t fit. Jonathan did not use his words well." -- 3.12.09, Peter Gammons on ESPN radio
And Steven A. Smith may have a point... Papelbon said today that while some players tried to talk to Ramirez about his behavior, he was not among them. "Well, I think some guys on our team that maybe could talk to him," Papelbon said. "Guys like me I can't talk no sense into him. I think there's other guys on this team that had a better opportunity at that than me."
I Have No Problem Calling Out Someone 3,000 Miles Away. Sincerely, Joe Torre Umm, I Don't Think Manny's a Cancer. Sincerely, Jon Lester Not Sure I Like the Nickname "Chemo Treatment" Paps. Sincerely, Jason Bay Gimme Back That Filet-O-Fish! Give Me That Fish! Sincerely, Manny Ramirez
Meanwhile, Manny Just Wants to Ride His Tricycle...
Youk Calls for USA to Step It Up: "Hopefully we get a crowd that roots for us in the United States. It’s going to be tough. I think our fans need to step it up. The people of the United States need to step it up and cheer us on.” -- Kevin Youkilis on the weak fan support for Team USA
"Little roller up along first, BEHIND THE BAG! It gets through Aybar! Here comes Kingsale and the Netherlands win it!" -- Sincerely, Vin Scully
Netherlands Advances 2-1 | Box | Video: Wild Finish for Dutch DR Must Be Missin' an Angel, Missin' One Angel Guy... Sincerely, Angel Presinal Stuifbergen a Sharp Starter for Dutch in 4 Innings of Work Smit, Cordemas, Neuman, Markwell, and Boyd Go 7 Strong in Relief It's the Pedro of Old Again for 3 Innings Ortiz Forced to Play First, Goes 1-for-4
"Nothing is final. Nothing is written on paper or written in stone. Like I said, I just show up and do what I'm told and go where I'm told to go. That all I worry about." -- 3.10.09, Jon Lester sounding really excited about his alleged deal with Sox
"I’m in a happy place, where I wanted to be, so . . . I don’t think . . . actually, I won. I won getting out of there [Boston] because I’m in a great place. I’m in a place that I want to play. I’m in a place that I’m gonna be happy.
"My teammates, they love me. The fans love me, the way I play. Hey, sometimes it’s better off to have a two-year deal in a place that you’re gonna be happy, than have an eight-year deal in a place that you’re gonna, you know, suffer." -- 3.5.09, Manny puts a Hollywood spin on his presser
"There you go, Sox fans. Manny was suffering while you were cheering for him. He was suffering when the Sox paid him $160 million. It must have been hell, making all that cake, hearing the applause, and seeing little kids and big dads wearing his No. 24 Sox jersey. I guess we'll never know how hard it was to win two World Series, playing in front of baseball's best fans in baseball's best ballpark. It must have been tough to face zero sanctions or team exposure when he repeatedly quit on his team." ---- 3.5.09, Shaughnessy on Manny and A-Rod
Is Brady Getting Fat and Happy Now That He's Settled?
Names: Brady Looks Soft on the Balcony More Non-Football Activity: Brady Will Star in New Episode of 'Entourage' I Don't Think He Looks Flabby At All. Sincerely, Glen "Big Baby" Davis Tommy Looks Just Fine to Me (... burp...). Sincerely, Phil Mickelson YES HE IS FLABBY! HE'S A BIG FAT JERK, TOO! Sincerely, Bridget Moynahan Meanwhile, Far Away From Hollywood, Matt Cassel Is Throwing and Lifting
Manny Ramirez to T.J. Simers: "No, gas isn't up any more, but the price of milk is the same... Two years is fine with me... the economy is making me adjust. That's just the way it is." -- 3.4.09, Los Angeles Times
"Does that make any sense? A guy with a herniated disk flies three hours in the teeth of a snowstorm to get a shot that could be administered in the training room at City of Palms Park. Who does that? And we are supposed to believe this is no big deal?" -- 3.4.09, Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe
Justin Masterson in waiting: "I do watch to see how he's doing just because I like the guy," Masterson said. "He's a really nice guy and I hope the best for him. I wouldn't say it's more along the lines of whether or not I'll be a starter if he can't make it, or anyone else. I'm " -- 3.2.09, ProJo.com