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Three out of the-injured-three ain't bad... well, jury still out on Pedro and Jason.

   2002 Schedule, Scores, Boxes  

Myers Rumblings

3.30: Working through the weekend.  Took a stroll around the old ballpark this morning. Lots of hubbub going on both inside and outside the park.

There's something about the Fenway area that just can't be replicated on the waterfront. I'm torn on tearing it down.

The "90th Anniversary" of Fenway Park banners were being hoisted up, replacing last year's 100 seasons flags. The pizza slice windows were being power washed. The Citizen's bank special banner was being lifted over the left-field billboard, watch for something to happen up there in the second inning on Monday.

Inside the park was equally as active. The new food and drinks were being delivered. Concourse carts were being shuffled around. Construction in the new Diamond bar and the new WEEI studio was still in progress.

When I asked one of my favorite old-timer gatekeepers about all the changes going on he said "I don't know anything about that, I'm just here to watch this gate."

Glad to see not everything is changing.

3.29: Rooting for Offerman.  I'll be rooting for Jose Offerman on Monday when the new DH steps to the plate in the two hole.

Why? Why not?

Since Samuel Jackson made the first crack about signing Jose at the ESPYs nearly four years ago, we've all had a field day with Jose. With Carl gone, he's now the black sheep of the family. The final, and most glaring, leftover piece of the Dan Duquette Error. It's easy to take a whack at Offey.Too easy. But do we really hate Jose? Or do we just hate the fact that Duquette overpaid and gave him the fourth year, with the obnoxious buyout, when no one else offered more than three? I think it's more of the latter. Oh and Jose's OPS against Chris Carpenter is great by the way. So you know Grady's grinding the numbers too.

He will put on the uniform of the Boston Red Sox on Monday, and I'll be cheering. It's time to move on.

Speaking of Mo Vaughn: It's over for the out of shape, loud of mouth DH. Just praise the Lord we have Tony. It's a good Friday.

3.28: Cause for concern.  All eyes on Pedro again today. Outside of the six hits, it looked good on paper, but my gut tells me something is wrong. Maybe it's the Red Sox fan in me. Fatalist.

Fossum could replace Pedro in the order if Pedro goes south. He looked great again striking out three in the seventh, including Griffey. Remember when Junior was the Michael Jordan of baseball? Not any more.

Nice to see Nixon get the key long ball to start the winning come-from-behind 7th inning rally.

Been caught stealin' once, twice, three, four times. So much for the running Red Sox. Time to revisit station-to-station baseball? Play the park and just wait for the three run homer?

Trip over. Time to get ready for the Opener.

3.27: It was just seventeen.  Hits that is, Sox gold, Texas tea. Well the first thing you know... Carl Everett looks fat in his new dress (and clumsy on Nomar's triple).

The other golden boy John Rocker, got into a nice beef with his pitching coach that continued off the field.

Not that you want to hear this back in Boston, but it was so hot (low 90s) that Baerga got leg cramps on his home run trot and the trainer had to help him around the bags.

The Shea Hey Kid was at it again going 3-3. He's working hard, and playing hard.

No sign of Offerman in the outfield, they must have traded him when we weren't looking.

3.26: Panic button.  Not ready to push it yet, but the blush may be coming off the Florida rose. Last night's game was just plain ugly. Lowe looked lousy, Fossum wasn't much better, and the defense was indefensible -- balls dropping, no one covering bases. It was the Bad News Boston Bears vs. Sean Casey.

So now Burkett is out of the rotation and Pedro still ain't right. Will the pitching be the achilles heel of this club? Days after I said we had "too much pitching" (surely the kiss of death statement), it becomes the sore spot.

And I think we've only seen one decent offensive rally since we've been here. What's up with the silence of the bats?

Looking forward to bumping heads with Carl today.

3.25: Smoking gun.  Tony Armas Jr. made you wonder if the Sox made a mistake trading him away as he was popping fastballs in the mid-90s right off the bat. But Manny was able to connect early and then some wildness set in. Hermanson was able to get into the 91-93 mph range with his heat throughout his five inning stint.

Rey Sanchez wins Opening start at second with another stellar performance. He beat out an infield single, scored a run using more hustle, and drove one in later on.

Rickey and Jim Rice were laughing it up, mocking Jose Canseco's swing while he was in the batter's box. Canseco K'd.

Manny, wearing an El Guapo shirt, took extra work shagging fly balls in left. Look for him to start there on Opening Day.

Sat next to Lee Thomas, a real gentleman, who has been traveling of late, watching various pro teams. He seems happy in his undefined role and will be working out of his home in St. Louis to start the season.

We were ready to get on Cool Breeze Coleman when he was tagged out after not sliding into home. Cooler heads prevailed when we realized he pulled up lame.

3.24: The envelope please.  And the Oscar goes to...

Best Supporting Starter: Derek Lowe in Spring Training Day, also starring in The All Star Team, coming to theatres this summer.

Best Actor: Lou Merloni in Don't Cry for Me Pawtucket. Lou plays a man not worried about making the team or not.

Best Foreign Film: 9 1/2 Hits. Rey Sanchez surprises in his debut. Carlos Baerga a close second in A Beautiful Job.

Best Costume: Rickey Henderson, as a 43 year old playing a 27 year old in Speed 3.

Best Make Up: Trot Nixon, Tim Wakefield and Ugueth Urbina in Trains, Planes, and Automobiles II - The Sound of Music.

Best Song: "Do you know the way to can Jose?", apologies to the Herald's Jeff Horrigan.

Best Director: Grady Little, In the War Room (Director's cut coming soon).

Best Screenplay: "Offerman on the Outs" (original score by Dan Duquette) beats out Lord of the Rings, produced by Georgie-Porgy Films in New York.

Best Pitcher: Twist of Fate starring Darren Oliver, a rags to riches tale.

3.23: Clearwater collapse.  The Red Sox five game winning streak was snapped yesterday. It's only spring, and there weren't many players in there beyond AA by the 10th, but we were hoping for a perfect record trip.

Castillo locked up the five spot with a near perfect performance yesterday as I'm officially giving up on the 'Juan Pena wins 20' dream for now. He pitched tough after the home run, but also looks like he could use the starts in Pawtucket.

Long after the regulars were done for the day, with the game going into extra innings, one starter remained on the bench to watch his young teammates take the lead in the 10th, Trot Nixon.

I met Trot's high school coach and pitching coach yesterday. Great guys. Easy to see where Trot gets his attitude.

Extra innings: Daubach works late on hitting, Varitek stays overtime to practice throws to second. Big Thunder Juan Diaz is quickly becoming a fan favorite and left us in the dust yesterday after his heavy slide into home. With his thunder thigh pointed straight at the plate, Juan scored the go ahead run all the way from first in the 10th.  Speaking of ten, Rey Sanchez goes for his 10th hit in a row today at Lee County Stadium against the Twins. We'll give him a high 5 if he gets it.

3.21: A playoff atmosphere.  The record crowd at City of Palms park was fired up from the start. For a spring training game, this one had a true playoff atmosphere. The Sox were playing potential World Series opponent St. Louis, absolutely stacked with talent. Perfect day, and Pedro pitching. Did the questions get answered? Yes and no.

Yes his velocity was right up there in the mid-90s by the end of his stint. No, it wasn't the same old Pedro as he was hit HARD by the Midwest bombers. His windup was slow and deliberate at the start, but from our vantage point, seven rows straight behind the plate, it looked like he was slipping into a sidearm delivery as the innings progressed.

Play of the day: Sanchez on second, Rickey on first, Damon lays down a picture perfect bunt to move them over and almost beats out the sac. Nomar drives them both in with a hard single. Textbook national league baseball. Nice to see around here.

Derek Lowe is expected to be named the number two starter. Here, here.

I always wondered why St. Louis was often compared to Boston as one of the best baseball towns in the country. I thought it was a lot of hype, but after sitting in the midst of the Midwest fandom for several innings, I believe it to be true. They came out in big numbers, flashing their red tops, cheering on Bud Smith, and knowing everything there is to know about the game. They are passionate, insightful, and deserve their reputation as the second best baseball city in America. Oh and they're annoyingly friendly.

Is Peter Gammons trying to sandbag the other writers, lobbying to be exclusive ear for Henry and Lucchino? That's what we hear.

3.20: What a day for a ballgame.  No hitches, no glitches. Leave a cold, snowy Boston and land in 85 degree picture perfect St. Pete sun with an ice-cold Bud in hand, all in under 4 hours. Not bad.

As the box score indicates D. Lowe was the story today. Breezing through the Troy O'Leary Devil Rays for four very strong innings. Rickey looks more and more comfortable in a Red Sox uniform every day.

Tough to tell Prime Time, Big Thunder, and Cecil Fielder apart these days, but Coleman's clutch blast should bump Buford out of the outfield mix.

Red Sox fans are like cockroaches in a Louisiana flat down here, they're everywhere you look. Young and old, from Maine to Providence, they're here and having a good time. Sat next to FODs (Friends of Daubach) and Brian came up into the stands to greet them in the late innings. He hit the ball hard again today, but the trade rumors persist.

I'll be watching Pedro's "velocity" (wink to projo) closely tomorrow when all questions regarding the Mound Dog's opening should be answered.

3.18: Thirteen days.  And it's time for the rhetorical question "What's wrong with Pedro?" Yeah, it's only spring, he says "Don't Panic," and Petey's not back on the DL yet, but the red flag went up on Saturday. It is not yet certain that Martinez will be the Opening Day starter, next start will tell.

So goes Pedro, so go the Red Sox in 2002. Fingers officially crossed.

Thirteen days and lots of big decisions to make for Little. And Merloni is making some big noise at second. The Olde Towne is not big enough for Lou and Baerga. Buford or Coleman (does it really matter?). And what to do about Daubach?

Rickey leading off, getting on, is a lock now. But what about Juan? Pena was less than impressive on Saturday and looked like he could pack on a few pounds.

Decisions to be made this week. We'll be down there on Tuesday.

3.15: Sox not ready for home opener. April fool?   It all looks so good on paper, but what happens when the rubber meets the road in 16 days? Yes, spring training games don't count but what happens when they do? Can Nomar go every day? He says he's "getting ready for April 1st, not the middle of March," and will play back-to-back games this weekend. Varitek will too, but how will he feel on Monday? And how long will Pedro be held back, until mid-April? Maybe.

Sox will be on TV the next three games giving most fans their first look at the new Olde Towne team. And tomorrow's game with Pedro going against the Yankees looms large, even in March. Can Martinez go 4-innings and/or 60 pitches?

Something tells me the days of Sox starters going 6-innings and out are over. Old School Cloninger is going to get some complete games out of this bunch yet.

3.12: Time to make the lineups. So now that the GM team, amateur and foreign scouting positions, and Manager decision are set, and only one more coaching change is expected, it's time to turn the spotlight back on the players.

The new questions of the day are: Who will make the team? Who will start? Who will sit? Will it be Coleman or Rickey as the extra outfielder? Will Baerga start (no way he can be cut now) at second or third? Does Daubach get traded now that Tony Clark is slugging his way to an everyday job? Is Jose finished at second? Is Rey the answer? And what about Juan Pena? Can Jason catch everyday? Is there another good catch out there to be signed? How does Arrojo fit in? Will Urbina hold up? Nineteen days until the opener. Manager decision made just in time.

3.11: Monday musings.  Is it me, or is Mike Port sounding more and more like Dan Duquette every day? But I agree with him when he asks why we can't hire the next Joe Torre or Tony LaRussa (instead of the retirement retreads)? The Red Sox clearly have too much starting pitching. Hey, how are Manny's hammys doing? Hopefully no news is good news and he can be a full-time three-tool player from hereon out. How many ladders does it take to get Felipe Alou up on his high horse? What exactly did he win again? Carlos Baerga and Tony Clark have been huge spring standouts so far and will be tough to keep out of the everyday lineup. Thank God Tom Kelly declined. The Red Sox ticket guide says we can "look forward to healthy comebacks by Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, and Jason Varitek," so I guess you can get your money back if they go on the DL. Is Juan Pena the number two or three starter? The ticket guide also says "Trot Nixon will continue as a team leader both on and off the field" ...we knew it all along.

3.08: Could be a short run for Little. Eddie Kasko came running out of the dugout to scream at the ump about a close call at second. He was the Manager of the Boston Red Sox. At the time (I was nine), I thought it was like a Supreme Court judge, a job for life.

Thirty years and now 13 managers later, I've learned that this job turns over more than John Henry on South Beach without an umbrella.

So now the Nation turns it's lonely eyes to Little (who will be the 43rd manager of the Olde Towne Team). What does Grady bring to the table (besides Manny handling experience)? And will this game of musical manager chairs finally stop? The man described as the best of the Joe Morgan/Jimy Williams types is only 52 years young, which means he could conceivably manage the team for the next 20 years. Anyone wanna bet he's gone under five? Counting The Cubbage Era, the last 30 years has produced an average manager stint of 2.3 years per man.

Hey Grady, don't file that resume away after your handshake today.  List of Sox managers

3.05: Decision day. How long can the new Red Sox go before naming a manager? At what point does the state of limbo become a police state? Today?

Johnny 'the human quote machine' Damon has already come out and said that the players want to know now, and they want to keep Joe. Nomar, Nixon, Lowe, and Urbina have all fallen in Kerrigan's camp. Pedro and Manny won't comment, but they want him gone, as is the veteran who said last year "I'd rather sell my house than let him visit me in the offseason."

Has the decision been made? Has it really been a flip-flop between Macha and Little? Edesdropping: According to Gordon, it looks like Little, as early as Wednesday.

3.03: Twist of fate? If they're not going to fire Joe, just say it ain't so. Otherwise waiting a week is weak. It looks like Lucchino is the lone holdout on Kerrigan's fate, wondering if it's worth giving Joe a fresh start or if it's best to start fresh all around. Henry and Port are reported not to be in Kerrigan's corner, while Werner is a Bill Cosby guy.

Is the question in with the old, Alou or Showalter, verses start with the new, Macha or Little? Are they still working on the selection, or just solidifying the contract?

The good news yesterday (besides first day ticket sales doubling over last year for the owners) was that Varitek, Nomar, Burkett, and Trot looked great. But when will the 0-2 Spring Sox win a game against a major league opponent?

It could come today, or it could take a week.

3.02: "Manager's Decision."  Tick, tick, tick. It's just a matter of time before Joe goes. So who's out there to replace him? Felipe Alou? I left him off the poll by mistake, but after second thought, he doesn't have a shot. Lucchino already questioned his "fire in the belly", he manages a terrible game, and his players have shown little plate discipline. Sure Pedro, Manny, and Offy would be happy, for now. Buck Showalter? If he's so good, why do his ESPN jobs last longer than his manager stints?

Grady Little? No big league experience, and no one has called him yet. Ken Macha? The sleeper, but he supposedly "doesn't like his players to show emotion," hard to see how that works with Lucchino. Could Jim Fregosi be the second coming of the third reincarnation of Joe Torre?

Everyone would love to see Jerry Remy pull a booth to the dugout move like World Series winner Bob Brenley, but Rem wants no part of it for now... having too much fun being a cult celebrity. Rico would kick some ass, but I'm not sure his head's in the game. Is Tommy Harper the right guy? Maybe. Wrong time and town? Definitely. Leyland or Kelly? Keep them retired in Uggie's recliner. Can you Wedge Eric in? The Kerrigan countdown should end Sunday.

3.01: The Crying Game, part II. Just as I wiped the last tear after wondering how Dan will survive on $3 million over the next two years, I got all choked up again.

How on earth could the NewRedSox drop their first game to the split-squad, almost-contracted Twins 6-0 last night?

Not one extra base hit? Will they get the ball out of the infield against BC tonight? Dewey may be next up on the chopping block, Arrojo on the trading block.

So will Lucchino Buck up and get a high profile manager or go long-term and give the job to Ken Macha? Either way, Joe will go and the final decision may have already been made. Sunday Bloody Sunday?

Let the Mike Port era begin. And let's hope they give it the old college try tonight.

2.28: It's a whole new ballgame. Welcome to the Hen House as the new owners finally get their champagne toast. Now the Duke is toast too, and you can stick a fork in Kerrigan, he's just about done.

On last night's West Wing, the President asked the Vice President to resign and the Chief of Staff was asked to accept a lesser role as press secretary... hmm.

Oh, and there's the little matter of the first Grapefruit League game against the Twins tonight. Is anyone even paying attention (yes, Rickey batting third as DH)? Rey Sanchez also picked the wrong day to be signed as all eyes will be on Larry Lucchino Thursday as he formally addresses the Nation for the first time without the "incoming" tag.

Manny and Joe, love on the rocks? Ain't no big surprise, ask Manny what he thinks, and he'll tell you some lies. Play ball!

2.27: It was a beautiful day. What started in October 2000 finally finishes today. The Yawkeys will be thrust out of Fenway. Finally. And now the focus shifts from Duquette to Kerrigan, whose 'short leash' turned into a choke chain almost overnight. Players continue to subtly sandbag him. Was his request to go on "Sports Final" last Sunday enough to save his job? No.

How quickly will the changes come? Not soon enough for the Nation who want to hear announcements on firings and hirings as soon as the ink is dry. But Termination Thursday could quickly turn into "I'm in a firing mood" Friday. Grady Little for manager?

Angels in the outfield: 13 kids were allowed to shag flies in Fort Myers yesterday. By and large, this was Duquette's idea, yeah right.

Sox sick of Pats' talk: Hillenbrand, talking to a couple of fans, was goofing on those who say (Shea using a high girly-voice here), "Did you learn anything from the Patriots?"

U2 sweeps Grammys tonight.

2.26: Bashers up! Something new: The Media has been invited to take batting practice with the Red Sox players and new brass in Fort Myers on Thursday. They will play a game immediately after fielding and running drills.

It will be The Boston Globe House Organs vs. the Boston Herald Bitter Batters. Will Pedro "I want to drill Dan Shaughnessy in the ass" pitch?

The winning team will take on the ownership for the newly coined 'Hen-house' championship, named after newly crowned Sox owner John Henry.

Something old: Tim Wakefield comments on the Red Sox off-season search for pitching and his annual role as everyman.

Something for dinner: Last night John Henry and Larry Lucchino dined with Joe and Abby Kerrigan. Last supper?

2.25: Deep six Babe piano talk. It's all washed up. Recent reports surfaced this weekend of a group that wants to bring Babe's piano up from the bottom of a Sudbury pond in an effort to break the when-will-they-stop-saying-'curse.'  "Once we bring this up, the Red Sox will win," Sudbury historian Lee Swanson said. Ugh! I can see Tom Werner with his flippers and snorkel on now.

Otherwise the story from Florida is all "good health." Rey Sanchez may throw his hat into the crowded second base ring. Juan gone-too-long Pena is back to his old form and will get a shot at the rotation. With closing talk and Duke's final days, our man Trot is finally out of the hot seat. His controversial "let's be a team" statements were much adieu about nothing. Hopefully Trot won't step into the background now because of a few radio and internet blowhards. He's the real Captain of the team whether you like it or not.

Edes says he has seen a swing to "dump Kerrigan" (70% chance he goes) in the last 96 hours.

2.24: Trot talk gets Olde Town talking. "How you feelin' (about) Trot, Trot, Trot?" From 6:00am to 6:00pm on Friday the talk on sports radio in Boston was all about Trot vs. Manny. Everyone had an opinion, and everyone chose a side. Forget about the resurgent Bruins or the resilient Celtics, or even post-Super Bowl speak, Red Sox Soap Operas will always own the airwaves. But it looks like things have settled down and Fort Myers will be camp tranquility for a few more days... then camp changeover begins. So is it going to be Wield-the-axe-Wednesday or Termination Thursday when the heads roll this week? The only big question is can they really can Kerrigan? Oh, and will Duke's new lawyers sue to keep his GM status? Otherwise, as long as Rickey's number is the only outstanding item to be settled, it's all good. "Do you believe in millionaires? Yes!" Go USA hockey, Canada doesn't have a chance.

2.23: Owner Otten's batting practice has fans concerned. I say Les needs more batting practice. Dewey's got him going the other way nicely right now, one hand on the bat and all. It's Henry that really needs a lot of time in the cage. Tries to pull everything. Never takes a pitch. Although he did walk with the bases jacked scoring Katie with the game winner yesterday. Werner was surprisingly, for his size, hitting some long flies into the left-center gap. But Ben Cammarata looked horrible, popping out to catcher Larry Rasky three times. Ed Eskandarian, who was all over the plate, may have plunked Shaughnessy intentionally when Marty Trust tried to steal third for the second time. But the real story was Lucchino, 5-5, cycle plus a double, George strike-three-looking-Mitchell kept calling him "Line-Drive-Larry." Lucchino, with plenty of energy left after practice, went on to smoke Derek Lowe in a game of H-O-R-S-E (H-O). A visibly "wiped-out" Henry just stayed in the clubhouse and played three-card-monty with Rickey Henderson. They'll play two tomorrow.

2.22: Duke drops an F-bomb. Frustrated by tough questions about his running of the Red Sox and a follow-up column calling him "John Harrington's food-taster", Duke finally snapped yesterday. WEEI's Dennis & Callahan actually asked follow-up questions when Duquette did the oh-so-tired Dan Dance again this week. When spotted at the training facility yesterday, Duke told Gerry Callahan "that's the last f***ing time I'm going on your show." No kidding. Nomar is touchy about "Brady, Brady, Brady,"  wants Sox back in the limelight. Me too. Forget Brady, the talk of the town is going to be "Baerga, Baerga, Baerga."

2.21: Planet Manny lands at 8:42am. Play Ball! Late answers from the mouth of the Iron one: "Are you anxious to get started? Not really. Are you uncomfortable in the clubhouse? I never complained about the clubhouse being too small, I don't care about that. Do you miss Carl? Carl was the best player on the team, we're gonna miss him so we're gonna move on. Do you have a problem with us, the media? I don't care about the media, you guys treat me nice, I don't have a problem with that. I've got the same attitude, I just came here to have fun. Were you in Baltimore on Cal Ripken's last day, did you go home early? Oh yeah, I was there. Did you and Joe Kerrigan meet at your house over the winter? He went to my house. He came in for a while. Did you talk baseball? No, we didn't talk about anything. New players? Good players, good team. Position? I don't care if I'm in left field or DH, wherever they put me, that will be fine. Did you run on the beach and swing the bat alot in the off-season? I didn't run on the beach or swing the bat, I didn't do nothing."

2.20: MIA is not a city in Florida. Manny had a "Doctor's appointment for revised insurance policy physical." No notice? Kerrigan says "it's not an issue." Or was Manny down at Stella's on Edison getting a new pair of earrings as he lost one of the earring backs in his band-aid? He also had an appointment for a coloring and perm at 3:30 which got bumped up to noon because Abby Kerrigan was scheduled to get her bangs trimmed at the same time. All the Blaine hair school girls in Fort Myers were wondering where he's been. They hadn't seen him since the heat of the pennant race last summer. He may be in tomorrow assuming he and Terry Glenn finish their 18 holes by noon. Lucchino on changes: "Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day" (Harrington won't let them in the door yet), "the business starts when the tickets are sold" (big changes -- park open for batting practice). Damon speaks up on "chemistry." No word from Manny yet. Hillenbrand to be more patient at plate, but still misses his man Everett. Most Sox employees to get two-year severance in John-Gone golden parachute.

2.19: Mike Port will be interim GM when Duke is dumped. Garciaparra in great shape, no pain but some gain. Manny is in town, will talk to the dreaded media today. Henry brings the house down with GM joke. Urbina reports. No Captains for Kerrigan. Duquette is not interested in any other Sox job besides the GM.

2.18: Duke days done.  Dan tells close friend "I'm telling everyone I'm the GM... they can fire me if they want to."  Lucchino surprised Duke said new owners were "looking forward to working with him."  Sale could close this week.  Transition GM team ready.  The Kid shows up in public. Kerrigan will start season. Shaughnessy called Manny "12-year-old."

2.17: Kerrigan having fun.  Garces is slim. Pedro has pop. Varitek hits one out. Castillo surprised to be fighting for job. Stanley settles into new role.

2.16: Fort Myers madness, day one.  Crawford out with shoulder surgery. DeSarcina signs minor league deal. Pedro looks big. Camp Kerrigan kicks off as Patriots' act tough one to follow.

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