Hate to Rub It In ...

(BDD / Dr. Striper)

... But The Patriots Can Just Relax Going Into the Playoffs
While Rex Is Just Happy to Get His Foot in the Door

Unfortunately for the Jets, the Road to Dallas Goes Through Foxborough

BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Nation,
Sox fans were still stirring from the Gonzo-Crawford celebration;
Red Stockings were hung in third place just last year,
Now the hope is the Yankees have a view from the rear

Our GM was nestled all smug in his bed,
While visions of a bullpen plum danced in his head;
And Werner in his ascot, and John taking a nap,
They're both so run-down from all this Liverpool crap

When over at Fenway there arose such a clatter,
Did Jacoby get traded? Is there a tweet on the matter?
Away to Yawkey I flew like a flash,
Snuck under a gate and paid an usher with cash;
The Citgo sign on the breast of the 4-day-old snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below

When, what to our wondering eyes should appear
But New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys must be near
With a little plump maestro, so lively with knack,
I knew in a moment, Charles Steinberg was back

More rapid than eagles new relievers they came,
Tito whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Wheeler! now, Miller! now, Albers, Atchison!
On, Doubront! on Bobby! on, Bardsy, Papelbon!
Will Pap last as the closer? A committee the call?
Is Jon going away? He wants more pay! Say goodbye in the fall!"

No more bridge for your Red Sox, limit is the sky
Store-bought team full of All-Stars, Lester might win the Cy;
With a stud at first base, Youk on the corner at third
Laser Show back at second, injuries cured for this herd

And then, in a twinkling, he strolled to the mound,
The prancing and pawing of this hard-throwing hound,
Laying his fingers aside of the seam,
No more blisters... Stan�s Rodeo Cream
He threw out his hand, tight belly twisting around,
Down toward home plate, the ball took off with a bound;

He spoke not a word, just continued to work,
He went into his windup; didn't act like a jerk,
His eyes�how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

He threw like the old Rocket, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment, Beckett had the old kick;
His heater�s mid-nineties, the curve ball has bite,
Let�s mark him down for a win every fifth night!

And nice to see Dice-K, looking so fit and trim
Japan's National Treasure found his way to a gym
Lackey showed up real early, Marco's ready to play
Even Lowry is healthy, well, for now anyway

Living up to the hype, A-Gon hit the ball high,
'Tek grinded away, Youk slugged hard line drives;
Cam's the rare righty, Carl Crawford! in left,
Catching could be a problem, unless Salty is deft;
Papi had the old stroke back, when he hit �em they flew,
They all batted around, even J.D. Drew!

The crowd sprang to their feet, to the team gave a whistle,
Jacoby circled the bases, Clay threw another missile;
A new year is upon us and our Olde Towne ballclub,
"We've got Crawford and A-Gon! PENNANT FEVER GRIPS HUB!"

...with apologies as always to Clement Clarke Moore and Henry Livingston, Jr.
Merry Christmas, Boston Dirt Dogs

Pressure's On Papelbon
Papelbon is back to close for now
(Globe and Wire Photos

They'll Be No Closer Controversy in Boston Just Yet

Theo Bails on The Bold Bard Move, Just Happy to Have Jenks, and
Names the No-Longer-Dominant Jonathan Papelbon as The Closer
If the Blackberry Don't Ring, That's Jonathan Papelbon Returning
His General Manager's Phone Calls on the Other End
Coming This Summer After Pocket Change and Before Best of NESN Daily:
'Theo Epstein Builds a Solid Top-to-Bottom Bullpen... Take 12'
Wish I Had Known You Were Getting Jenks, Too. Sincerely, Mariano Rivera
Most Anticipated Ft. Myers Arrival? Crawford? Gonzo? ... Mr. Papelbon
Closer-by-Committee, Anyone?

"Pap I'm sure is fine with this. Who wouldn't want guys like this pitching alongside of them in the bullpen? Pap kind of disappears in the offseason and does his own thing and shows up ready to go in spring training and in great shape like always." -- Theo Epstein, absolutely, positively sure that everything is just hunky-dory with his closer

BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

"It was just a bad year. Things didn't fall into place. Seemed like every broken bat hit just fell into the right spot. ... It was really frustrating Really, the ball just didn't go my way sometimes." -- Jonathan Papelbon? Could be, but no, Bobby Jenks, 12.21.10

London Calling

Liverpool's principal owner John Henry and Chairman Tom Werner talk Liverpool all night
(LFC TV Online screen image)

LFC Chairman Tom Werner Checks in From Across the Pond
Happy to Have Blown Up the Bridge; Thanks Philly for the Help

Liverpool Football Club Chairman Tom Werner calls into WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show this morning: "Nobody was happy about the season last year although I do think injuries had a lot to do with our results but we were determined this year to come out, we obviously, I couldn't have said that we were definitely going to sign Adrian [Gonzalez] or Carl Crawford but we were determined to improve the team and I think Theo had a game plan and this year he executed it. I think we're just delighted. I know that there's a great sense of anticipation for the year. I'm really looking forward to the beginning of spring training... Some years you have a game plan and you don't execute it. I think the Phillies [by signing Cliff Lee] helped us with our game plan this year, didn't they? ...To joke about it for a minute, we were determined to blow up that bridge from last year. ... I thought Christmas came early [on what happened to the Yankees]... Some years they [Yankees] execute their game plan. This year we executed ours... "

WEEI's Gerry Callahan: "Well the Liverpool Reds fans are pissed Tom, they think you're just spending all your money here, and just neglecting them..."

Werner: "[laughs] Well, you know each business stands alone, but I just want to finish back on, and you guys were kind enough to invite us on today, and this run [2011 Run to Home Base], I'm really excited about it, and excited to see if Gerry can beat me..."

Roy, Oh Roy

Liverpool's manager Roy Grady Little Hodgson watches from the touchline during their Europa League Group K soccer match against FC Utrecht at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, December 15, 2010.

Meanwhile, Back in the Complaint Department ...
While Disaster Looms in the Sox Bullpen, Henry & Werner
Went Back to Europe to Deal With Hodgson's Head

Adrian Gonzalez Wasn't Even Done Speaking About The Splendid Splinter When
John Henry Was Back on the Plane to Join Chairman Tom in England
Oh, And the Catching Situation Still Doesn't Sit Well in Boston
...The Starting Rotation Has 3 Big Question Marks
So Let's Watch the Made-for-TV Owners Address LFC Fans' Concerns:

LFC Now Video Part 1: Tom Werner Clearly Uncomfortable with the Giant
Responsibility of Being Chairman of Liverpool Soccer;
Henry Jet Lagged as They Break Down 3-1 Loss to Newcastle

LFC Video: Part 2: John and Tom Talk About Antiquated Anfield and
Roy 'Just Waiting to Be Fired Like Grady Little' Hodgson

LFC Video Part 3: John Is Still Awake; Tom Still Dazed About How Much They
Had to Spend on Two Red Sox Players to Take the Focus Off Liverpool

LFC Video: Part 4: Werner Quoting Oscar Wilde Now;
Henry Can't Stop Thinking About the 2-1 Defeat at Tottenham

Telegraph Sports: Low Points of the Season Under Hodgson
It's Just as Exciting as the NFL: Liverpool Nil, Utrecht Nil
Empire of the Kop: Why Hodgson Has to Go

"We understand... We saw Roy [Hodgson] today. And we saw the tape on Roy, and we do expect immediate improvement. Our intention is to add to the squad and to improve the quality of the match... [but] we have to attack this with our reasoned judgment and not do anything precipitous, not based on any one result." -- Werner to LFC fans on Grady Hodgson, who in 82 away fixtures in the Barclays Premier League, has only been on the winning side on 13 occasions

"I think we were making significant progress, and then, even in Tottenham, I thought we should have won that game, and if we played like that the rest of the year that we would have won. ... There's no doubt about it. The play that has gone on this year has been unacceptable. The results are unacceptable. And it's up to us to take responsibility going forward. My understanding is that players want to come here. I've heard from agents and various people throughout the league that Liverpool is a very, and from players this is a very attractive place for players to come to." -- John Henry on LFC TV Monday night

Grady Didn't Think He Was Going to Get Fired Either ...

Lee Doesn't Fit New York
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee

Yankees Spit the Bit Again, Horse Signs with Phillies

Lupica: Yankees Lose Out on Lee | NY Post: Cliff Stiff Yanks
Yankee Fans Note to Self: Don't Spit on Opposing Players' Wives

"He didn't want to pitch in New York" -- Yankee official on Cliff Lee

BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

A Stick in Their Craw

Football fan at Everton's Goodison Park screams during a Liverpool- Everton Merseyside derby
(Stan Grossfeld / Boston Globe)

Carl Crawford Signing Sending
Shockwaves Through Liverpool
(And the Yankee Universe, Too)

Wall Street Journal: The Battle for John Henry's Millions

"I wouldn't know Carl Crawford from Cindy Crawford so it doesn't mean anything to me, but I'd be happy if they gave [Liverpool manager Roy] Hodgson $42 million to spend, never mind $142 million." -- LFC fan to WSJ

"It's all very well spending all that money on a shortstop or whatever, but we haven't had a decent left-back for 12 years." -- LFC fan to WSJ... shortstop... left field... whatever... they'll learn soon enough

Shock & Craw
Carl Crawford will be playing outfield for the Boston Red Sox
(BDD Photo Illustration)

The Red Sox Rock the Sports World by Signing
Almost-Superstar Outfielder Carl Crawford

SI.com: Rare Photos of Carl Crawford
Sox Sign Up Four-Time All-Star for 7 Years, $142 Million
Fan Pressure from Liverpool Fallout Forces Ownership to Improve Local Team
Mazz: Sox Speak Loudly, Carry Big Sticks | What's the Fascination with Crawford?
Hey John Henry, Fans Still Upset with You... So Can We Have Have Cliff Lee, Too?
Crawman's 2010 Digits: .307/.356/.495, 19 Homers, 90 RBIs, 47 Stolen Bases
Crazed Liverpool Fans on the Warpath Already: 'Where's Our �224 Striker?'
Nice Deal Carl, But Not as Good as Mine Was. Sincerely, Manny Ramirez
Wilbur: Crawford's Numbers are Dubious at Best, But Fans Happy
Photos: Craw Whacked Coco... and Matt Clement, Too
Don't Look Now, But They're the Boston Yankees
Brian Cashman: 'Boston's Got the Money'
What's Left to Do? Trade Ells or Drew

11.10.2010: Good to know Mazz hates Crawford: "What is the fascination with Carl Crawford? Just wondering: are we playing fantasy baseball or the real thing? Crawford puts up nice numbers and, as any stat geek will tell you, he runs! Five-category player, dude: hits, runs, homers, RBI and steals. Top five pick. Yes, Crawford is a good player in the real game, too, but is he really a lineup centerpiece that is worthy of contract akin to that of, say, Matt Holliday?

"If your answer is yes, we have irreconcilable philosophical differences.

"Now, if you want to talk about the value of speed, particularly on defense, we can talk. The value of good baserunning? We can talk. But as for stolen bases, the San Francisco Giants finished last in the majors this year and last in steal efficiency, too, which should tell you plenty. You don't need it. And if you start paying out the nose for speed, you're a dope.

"A request: take away Crawford's steal total and look at his average numbers over the last three years. Is that really worth somewhere around $18 million a year? Hell no."

Bridge? What Bridge?

 caption info
(WatchYourDirt.com Photo)

Good Morning Brian Cashman

ctpost.com screen image

Merry Christmas New York! Brian Cashman Meets the Grinch
NY Daily News: Sox Snag Crawford, and Give Cliff Lee More Leverage
NY Post: Cashman Feels Like 'Hannibal Lecter in a Straitjacket'
Yankees Drove Up the Price ... Of a Dinner Tab at Some Fridays
Lupica: Yanks Offer Lee the World, But Make Jeter Beg

BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

This Just In ...

(Former Liverpool home jerseys)

Chairman Tom Werner wants to know if Red Sox fans would be willing to purchase thousands of old 'Carlsberg' Liverpool home jerseys in wake of the Carl Crawford signing. Send him a text in London if interested.
Also, Obstructed View, Single Seats, and Standing Room Tix On Sale Saturday

In Other News ...

BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

Gon and Back Again

Hello Gonzo
(Joanne Rathe / Boston Globe Staff)

John Henry Comes to Fenway for Lunch
Spendid: Gonzo Says All the Right Stuff at Fenway Intro

BDD Photo Illustration
(BDD Photo Illustration)

Hold the Pitchforks and Torches on Yawkey Way ...
Adrian Gonzalez Is Coming to Boston After All

Heyman: Red Sox Get A-Gon; No Extension Announced Now
Not Werth It: Jayson to the Washington Nationals in $126M Deal
That Was Easy

BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

Dead and Gon

Dead and Gon?

Is the Adrian Gonzalez Era Already Ova?

Sports Illustrated: Red Sox Unable to Complete Deal for A-Gon
This Will Be a Disaster of Epic Proportions for Theo Epstein & NESV
Sox Owners Are Ready to Spend in the January Transfer to Improve Liverpool
Sources Say Leigh Teixeira Had Something To Do With This
Also Sounds Like Greed Was Bad for Gonzo
@pgammo: 'AG leaves Boston @ 4:30'
Welcome Back Adrian Jackpot Beltre?
John Henry's On It... LFC That Is

"All I can say is, it was very disappointing it could not work out. We're very busy at this point." -- A-Gon's agent John Boggs to AOL Fanhouse

Gonzo Says He Needs to Set the Market for the Young Guys
a.k.a. He's Greedy and Will Hold Out for Every Last Dime

"(My contract) affects every single young (first baseman), Ike Davis and Joey Votto and every guy behind me that's going to sign a contract, and I (will) set the market for them. Ryan Howard and those names that are being thrown out there, they set the market for when I become a free agent. So when those guys behind us are free agents, I'm going to be the one setting the market for them. In essence, if I take what you call a San Diego discount, I'm affecting their market, I'm affecting what they're going to make." -- Gonzalez to San Diego radio station XX1090 in November

BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

Gon Baby Gon
Yo! Adrian Gonzalez is on the verge of joining the Red Sox
(BDD Photo Illustration / Globe Photo: Bill Greene)

Adrian Gonzalez Is Coming to Town
And the Red Sox Are Relevant Again

Olney: Yo! Adrian Gonzalez Gets Set to Join the Red Sox in Deal with Padres
Future Hall of Famers Casey 'Clemens' Kelly, Anthony 'Pujols' Rizzo,
and Sugar Reymond Fuentes Shipped to San Diego for Sox New Slugger
What Can We Expect from Adrian at Fenway? | A-Gon's Career | Photos
And They'll Be a Little Something Extra in Jed Hoyer's Stocking on Dec. 25
LFC Owner Henry and Chairman Werner to Be Notified Any Day Now
And Just in Time to Avoid a Complete Christmas at Fenway Bust
But They Really, Really, Really Need a New Righthanded Bat Now

Gon Star

BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

Red Sox Get Back on the Boston Sports Radar

Boston Sports Radar
(BDD Photo Illustration)

'Teknically Speaking, He's Not Finished Yet

Discovery Cove played host to the Red Sox No. 1 catcher and team captain, Jason Varitek in 2008.
(SeaWorld Discovery Cove)

Meet the New Captain. Same as the Old Captain.

Here's the Catch: Varitek Back for One More Year
In Other News: Sox Looking at Bob Stanley to Shore Up the Bullpen

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

Boston Globe:

Rodriguez looks like the steal deal > Despite effort by Rodriguez, Red So fall > Tazawa has come a long way, on and off field

Boston Herald:

Lauber: Eduardo Rodriguez showing Red Sox he's special > PawSox start looms large for Masterson


Rodriguez gem wasted > Chili Davis doesn't want to turn Red Sox into free-swingers > Red Sox draft catcher in third round

NY Post:

How Mariano Rivera has influenced Yankees' top pick > Why starting rotation could be a big Yankees' strength

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