5.19.03: Just for the record:

I do not have a degree in medicine. I don't understand why some rotator cuffs tear and other don't or why some longitudinal tendons split 18 months after the original injury. I'm also confused as to why guys like Steve Karsay and Matt Mantei throw harder after arm surgery - and where can we get this surgery for every member of our bullpen?

But I do know that for many years there was some discontent in our perpetually discontented Red Sox Nation about Dr. Arthur Pappas and his role as the team physician. Back when this was an issue, I wrote a rant on this topic called The Butcher of Worcester that pilloried Pappas, and though I am too lazy to go to the archive to check, I suspect I cited Al Nipper's anger at being driven to Worcester after being spiked at home plate when there are so many hospitals around Kenmore Square; Marty Barrett's successful lawsuit; and Nomar's clubhouse cry, "Our doctors are killing us." When I vent my spleen, I try to be fair, but mostly I just vent.

I didn't know that Dr. Pappas was a hero to many people in New England who owe him huge debts of gratitude for his skilled orthopedic surgery. While I wish he had enjoyed the same success with the Red Sox, I'm sorry to have belittled his entire body of work when knowing only of his biggest failures. It wouldn't have changed my feelings about his tenure with the team - or the tone of my Pappas smear - but, instead of suggesting he stop practicing medicine, I may well have concluded that he go back to what he always did best, providing extraordinary help to ordinary people.


I know I crack on 'em pretty good, but bullpen implosions and statues playing first and second base notwithstanding, I like this ownership-GM-senior advisor (Bill James) team. They have money, ambition and a fundamental understanding of what makes winning baseball. As our 5-8 record against teams that will finish above .500 suggests - sorry, K.C. -- we still need to get better, primarily at the end of the pen and on the right side. But if you think of all the balls the Sox have crushed to the track during this interminably chilly spring that will leave the yard once it warms up, it should be a fun summer. September and October are another matter.


As for tonight's debacle, when Jeter's bloop landed on the chalk, well, you just knew we had to chalk up a loss. Would have been nice to get one clutch hit and make it interesting, but sometimes it might be better to get all the bad mojo out of our system in one loss. Great to see Rick Reed and Tim Tschida working together at home and first, respectively. Too bad Larry Barnett couldn't have been there.

Great revelatory moment when Todd Walker couldn't get to Matsui's potential double-play ball that was hit a step and a half to his left.

Jerry Remy was certain that Walker must have been moving to the bag on the hit and run to not be able to get to that ball and was surprised to see on the replay that no, in fact, Walker was playing straight up at his position and is simply a lamp post at second base. Jerry said, "Oh, my mistake, he was not covering on the play." Remy didn't elaborate on why he was sure that Walker must have been covering the bag, but it's obvious that he -- like us -- is simply perplexed by Walker's remarkable immobility. How many more runs is Walker going to have to produce offensively than Rey Sanchez to make up for the floodgates he opens with his wooden legs and stone hands? (Some may look at Matsui's ball and think that very few second basemen would convert a DP on that ball, but keep in mind that a second baseman with decent range would be playing much farther from the bag than Walker has to in order to cover second. When he remembers to, that is.)