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Monday, August 28, 2006

A Guide to Baseball in New England

When Father's Day rolls around, it's time to do something special for that paternal Rock of Gibraltar in your life. Forget the loud ties. Forget the socks. New England is a great place to take Dad out to the ball game. Here's a guide to New England's major and minor league baseball teams that will help you to plan a special outing for your father or any special man or baseball fan in your life.

BOSTON RED SOX (American League)

New England's major league baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, plays at Fenway Park, home of The Green Monster. Scoring tickets to the game can be tricky.

For ticket information, call toll free, 877-REDSOX9. Tickets can also be purchased online and printed at home.

Going to the Game:

Red Sox tickets for Father's Day giving are just a few clicks away. Check the online game schedule to pick a great date to whisk Dad away to the ballpark, then purchase your tickets online. Tickets may also be ordered by phone or purchased at the Red Sox Ticket Office. Want to know where you'll be sitting? A Fenway Park seating chart is available at the Red Sox' official site, too. Directions to Fenway are also available online.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Manny Ramirez wiped his nose on his sweatband!

That should keep the sports reporters and crisis stalkers busy for the next two or three days.

"Was wiping his nose on his Red Sox sweatband symbolic of Manny's attitude toward the team?"
"Does wiping his nose on his Red Sox sweatband mean he is not going to play hard this year?"
"Why did he wipe his nose on his left-arm sweatband instead of his right? Is it a signal to Mannyists everywhere to launch email and phone call attacks on his attackers?"
"When will he wipe his nose again? Does it mean he is sick? Will he be asking for days off because he is sick?"
"Where is Pedro?"
"Does Enrique Wilson know why Manny wiped his nose on his left-arm sweatband?"

Was ever more radio and TV air time - and just plain time - or newprint wasted on a non-event than was devoted to Manny's reporting to camp?

Boston, get a life or a gambling habit or a soap opera. Anything to keep you occupied till opening day.

To think, some high-paid reporters actually spent time thinking about this non-event. They even note his one-minute late appearance at training camp as if it carried some weight.

Tim

Monday, February 27, 2006

Two months ago

The 2006 Red Sox were no more than some ideas wrapped up in an enigma (Theo Esptein) and more questions were being asked, and more hours among fans and the media, spent flogging the entire Theo-gate issue than, it seems in retrospect, were justified.
From my perspective, the following things do not matter:
  • who was responsible for what signings or non-signings or trades. That is for the Red Sox history (consipiracy) buffs.
  • whose starting pitchers are better, Red Sox or Yankees. The on-paper arguments are fun for the scribes and some rabid Yankees fans, but what really matters is how spring training goes for both bunches. (I read that Pavano may start the year late.)
  • Mike Lowell's hitting. The man had a bad year, for various reasons. He is too young to have hit the wall and fallen down. He will hit .300 or better.
  • Josh Beckett's arm. I have heard him described as damaged, injured, suspect, etc. Let the man throw one pitch or two in anger before the negatives start flowing.
  • JT Snow. He is a better first basemen than anyone on the Sox for years. Let Kevin Youkilis learn the postion from an All-Star first baseman; if that turns out to be the only value Snow brings (and it will not be), that is still great value.
  • Manny Ramirez' status. He is going to play and play for the Sox; there is simply no deal out there worthy of his being traded. One may develop but I am sure the Sox will not let him go once the season starts and the numbers pile up for him and Papi.
  • Alex Gonzales' batting average. This may be going too far back for many people, but many teams in history managed to win and win the World Series with very low-average hitters (e.g., Mark Belanger, Ed Brinkman, Dal Maxvill, Bud Harrelson). Gonzales will benefit from not having to worry about his offense on this team and may actually improve his average as a result of being in this lineup.
  • Curt Schilling's personality. He pitches, he makes no excuses, he has strong opinions. Let him speak and pitch, in reverse order. Who cares what he says? He is a baseball player not a politician.

Tim

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

And introducing your 2006 Boston Red Sox

at 1B: Kevin Youkilis? David Ortiz? (Not John Olerud)
at 2B: Tony Graffinino? Joey Cora?
at SS: ? (Not Hanley Ramirez, Not Orlando Cabrera)
at 3B: Mike Lowell
playing left field: ?
playing center field: ? (Coco Crisp? Jeremy Reed?)
playing right field: Trot Nixon (I guess)
catching: Jason Varitek (not Doug Mirabelli)
and pitching for the Red Sox, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Curt Schilling, Bronson Arroyo,
So, Theo doesn't matter, huh? Co-GMs work okay, right? Coco Crisp? Juan Encarnacion? Preston Wilson?
These guys really lack any clue about how to build a team. The sheer absence of Johnny Damon in center field changes the way I think about this team. To me, Damon was the team icon: played hard, played hurt, played with the skills he had and somehow minimized the impact of his very weak arm, consistently outperformed every other leadoff hitter in the AL, was critical to putting pressure on the other team from the very first at-bat, loved Boston, had fun, and was beloved by fans - and FU to those assholes who will now show up on the radio and in print to denigrate him and to say how little he mattered, blah, blah, blah.
Hey, Larry, get ready for the Matt Millen parade around Fenway. You and your team have colossally screwed up by letting Damon go to the YANKEES! Why don't you see if you can swing a Manny for __________________ trade with the Yankees.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mike Adams gets a JOB!

Real radio happened last night at WEEI, the self-proclaimed number-one sports radio station in the country, when Mike Adams, forever the part-time fill-in with great sports knowledge and real comedic talent, barricaded himself in the studio until he heard from station manager Jason Wolfe. This, folks, just does not happen in the media, where except on the far-right and far-left talk shows no one actually behaves in anger or disappointment or honesty.
I was listening when Adams locked himself in the studio between The Big Show and his night-time gig and refused to play the replays for an hour and for a bit, refused to play commercials. He seems to have pissed off both Glenn Ordway, Big Show host, and sports flash bulk, Pete Sheppard, who both left to go to the company Christmas party. The engineers were openly worried about being implicated in the take over, but Adams calmed them and played the commercials - and generated hundreds of supporting calls from lots of long-time listeners/first-time callers, and potential and actual advertisers. Adams has a lot of fans, including me, but few if any times do the listeners actually influence hiring decisions.
Adams has been strung along for a couple of months while Wolfe tried out dopey and lame sports talk show candidates, but Adams knows and loves Boston sports, has an encylopedic knowledge of all things Red Sox. He is a pleasure to listen to and great fun.
You hung it out there, Adams, took a huge chance, and it seems to have paid off. Congratulations!
And, Jason Wolfe, expect a tidal wave of spam emails, phone calls, etc., if you back down on this one.
Tim

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Survey says . . .

Not a real survey, statistically valid, etc., but listening yesterday to the WEEI opinionators and call-ins, the sense that a two-headed GM is just a stopgap measure that looks ridiculous is widespread.
Lucchino's citing Baltimore and Tampa Bay as examples of other clubs that have a two-headed GM was particularly galling to some callers, for the obvious reasons: their teams suck and the organizations are in disarray. You really want to copy those guys? was the question.
Ben and Jed are, I'm certain, capable, qualified to do what they do, etc., but GM of the Boston Red Sox is not a managerial position - it is a CEO-level, PR-heavy assignment that Theo fit into so well, it seemed as if he were born to it. Few, if any, public missteps. Great relationships with the carnivores in the press and with the players. The only one who had a problem with him, I guess, was Lucchino, and I still attribute that to the estrangement that happens when your child becomes an adult and no longer needs you.
The most annoying aspect, to me, of the entire debacle that is the GM Scramble at Yawkey Way is the sudden appearance of callers and even some press who now question just how much Theo really accomplished as GM. Hey, folks, it does not matter: They won the World Series on his watch, he was instrumental in getting and helping to hold together the team of characters for the stretch run, he traded ICON Nomah, shopped ICON Manny, helped bring in ICON Schilling (who may actually have had almost as much to do with the Series win because of his locker room presence and bulldog approach). No one that I heard make these remarks has any knowledge of just how much everyone on the staff, from Lucchino down, contributed, so these complaints and criticisms are - however typical of Boston's so-called sophisticated sports intelligentsia - simply a reflection of the cynicism that festers in pockets of the fan base and of the character of the people making the comments. Long way to say, "Hey, assholes, shut up!"
More later on what the team actually looks like now . . .
Tim

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Doing the right things

Well, it is inevitable that some people might begin to wonder how important Theo was, given the trades and acquisitions so far.
There is little to dislike at this point, other than the evident lack of a shortstop; I have to assume they - the multiheaded team now constituting the GM - have a plan for this. As important as pitching is, the Sox leaders in the last two years have made it clear they think defense is a close second, so I cannot imagine they are going to go with a second-team shortstop. There is still time, I think to fix this, but I am clueless about who it might be.
Renteria will thrive in Atlanta, with the lack of public fervor and scrutiny there. It was a weird year, wasn't it, for the Gold Glove shortstop? Too many errors, no real long streaks at the plate that mattered. I think there must have been something physical with Edgar, his back most likely, and we will probably find this out later.
Too bad about Mirabelli, mostly for Wakefield, but he's a pro, and he will groom another catcher to take Doug's place. He will also get a chance to play as many as 100 games in SD, which is also good for him.
Loretta and Lowell will perform, my prediction.
Right now, they have a great 3rd baseman (at least defensively), great 2nd baseman, a terrific new pitcher.
I think they are in good shape - on December 8, 2005. We have a long way to go, don't we?
The stove is stoked.
And finally, what's with the Theo rumor?