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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Daubach vs. Abad
As a frequent and serious minor league fan, on this blog you will often read me writing in favor of giving some of the talent I've seen a shot at The Show. In this case, I am hoping the Sox will give a serious look at Andy Abad as a backup at first behind Millar, instead of the recently re-signed, fan favorite Brian Daubach. Yes, Brian is a solid first base defensive choice, and, has some pop in his bat. But, Brian is very, very streaky - and when he is cold, well, for me anyway it is torture to watch him reaching for low and away stuff for his third strike.
Abad, who had a cup of coffee with Boston at the end of the season after a big year at Pawtucket, is also a lefthand bat.
While stats comparing AAA and MLB performance can be deceptive of course (Abad has only 20 MLB ABs for analysis), here is a quick look anyway:
- with 515 Ks in 1925 MLB ABs, Daubach strikes out every 3.7 at bats. Ugh! (And looks bad doing it - Sorry Brian)
- Abad, a AAA All-Star and Pawtucket Player of the Year, had 68 Ks in 509 AAA ABs, striking out every 7.47 at bats.
- Abad batted .305 at AAA, with 94 RBIs, a .462 slugging pct., and a .375 OBP in '03 - nd a and a decent .974 fielding pct in MLB (1 error) chances.
- Daubach's career average is .262, a .480 slugging pct., and a .342 OBP; and a nice .990 fielding pct.
Abad was a key part of the PawSox drive into the Governor's cup Finals last season, anchoring the teams offense and playing most every day.
While Daubach has the big advantage of having proved he can play in The Show, here's hoping Francona and Theo give Andy a close look.
[Abad has spent the fall in the Dominican Winter League.]

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Minor League Dominos
Our condolences go out to the fans of the Berkshire Black Bears, the Northeast League team which played its inaugural season last summer at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, as the team has apparently decided to relocate to New Haven, CT. New Haven, of course, recently lost its AA Eastern League Ravens (Blue Jays) to Manchester NH (now the New Hampshire Fisher Cats - see link on this page.) Both New Haven and Berkshire finished last in attendance in their respective leagues (according to league sources):
- the New Haven Ravens (79-63) drew 140,922 in 62 home dates, for an average of 2,273, while winning their division and contending in the Eastern League Finals.
- The Berkshire Black Bears (20-26) drew a total of only 43,846 in 45 openings, or just 974 fans per game average. Contrast that to the Brockton Rox, drawing an average of over 3,500 per game, though in a new stadium and in a bigger population pool.

Pittsfield has had so many teams come and go in the last several decades that you wonder if Wahconah Park, built in 1892, is still viable as a professional baseball site. According to the team site (which has not commented on the move, though the league site has), the teams in Pittsfield have been:
- New York League -- 1894
- Hudson River League -- 1905
- Eastern Association -- 1913-14
- Eastern League -- 1919-30, 1965-76, 1985-88
- Canadian-American League -- 1941-42, 1946-51
- New York-Penn League -- 1989-2001
- Northern League -- 2002
- Northeast League -- 2003-present
Anyway, we wish the Black Bears and their new fans well, whatever their new name is, in New Haven. If we get a chance, we will get down there for a game in 2004.

As for Wahconah Park, this site should be bought by Major League Baseball and converted into a historic landmark, with occasional visits by various minor league teams for charity benefit exhibitions or Old Timer Games. It should be saved, and, celebrated - not abandoned.

Friday, December 26, 2003

The Sox officially announced the signing of Pokey Reese today, with the supporting rationale that defense on the right side is important - as the team gave up more base hits on the right side than any AL team last year. So, RSN citizens, a couple of simple questions for you (and Theo too!):
- Which player - Pokey Reese or the departed Todd Walker - has a better lifetime fielding percentage?
- Which player - Pokey Reese or the departed Todd Walker - has more lifetime errors?
- Which player - Pokey Reese or the departed Todd Walker - has more Total lifetime Fielding Chances, Put Outs, and Assists?
- Which player - Pokey Reese or the departed Todd Walker - has turned more Double Plays?
Answers my friends: Walker for all of these questions - except the DP question; on this one stat they are tied at 428. He has also played more games.
Now, do you want me to ask questions about which player has better offensive stats? (Hint: see the answers to the above questions also.)

NO, I didn't enjoy watching Walker twisting in the defensive wind last year but Pokey better carry his weight with his glove in sterling fashion or you will be remembering these stats when the Sox are down three with the bases loaded and Pokey on deck. Can you say PH?

Friday, December 19, 2003

Okay, now think about this:
When did Nomar "whine"? Asking to be told about what was happening is not whining; it's a request for common courtesy. I repeat: who out there would want to be in the same position, whether an over-the-road truck driver or CEO of HP?
No one said Nomah was innocent. The money game has changed since even last spring. He took a chance and lost. No one now knows what he will accept, but I think Pedro's statement understanding the market has changed should reflect an overall realization. That said: what are the O's thinking paying Tejada $72M?
Theo understands Nomah: he did not trash the relationships publicly like John Henry, Mr. Autocrat, The Big Boy. He has an inferiority complex vis-a-vis athletes.
Nomah has never whined. Observing that he is not happy with the behind-the-back stuff, and feels like the management should have been upfront is fair.
Tim

Mac here: Tim and I disagree on this one about JH, as follows:
1. Nomar is a Big Boy and, slimy as it seems, this is Life in the Big City or The Show;
2. It was "innocent" (but never greedy......No! Not Nomah!) Nomah who turned down a 4 year @ $15M Per - or a total of $60M - contract offer from Theo because he wanted $17M?
3. This considered, Nomah has No Case for Whining when it comes to Theo and JH deciding to do whatever, whenever was necessary because it was clear they were not (and should not in this Down market) pay Nomah $17M. I wouldn't, would you?
4. When you turn down a fair offer, no whining allowed. Besides, as Schilling (who settled for less BTW) notes: He already has more money than he can ever spend.
How about you Nomah?

On Further Review: Tim has a point I never considered - Maybe Manny is in exactly the right town anyway. Only someone who is completely oblivious to the Sports Writer/Radio/Blogging and Whining Din should really be here. Manny will hit regardless of what is being said. Maybe he does Fit. Baseball Zeitgeist

FROM TIM-NOT-JOHN:
The more I read, hear, and think about him, the more I am beginning to dislike John Henry. Too quick with the nuke, needs a calmer hand on that button.
Okay, so Nomar is upset that you talked to Alex and his wife while Nomar was on his honeymoon with his new wife? Now turn that around, JH, and ask yourself if you'd feel okay about it? Now it has been a long time -- maybe never? -- since you worked for someone other than yourself so maybe this falls on inexperienced ears, but employers should not be sneaking around talking to a replacement employee while the existing employee is on his honeymoon. That's low.
Now to the people who say that all that money Nomar makes should have bought him a suit of armor when it comes to this kind of thing: Would it buy your feelings or your right to have them? Not mine. And especially if I am someone like Garciaparra who takes his job so seriously year-round -- and no one, I repeat, no one can fault him for his work ethic or his intensity.
Personally, I'd like to see Nomar back here, Manny, too since he seems oblivious to this entire affair and just says he'll play hard and hit well and be good in Texas or Boston or wherever. It would be fun to see JH eating that 40-pound crow.
Tim

Thursday, December 18, 2003

While we wait out the Drip, Drip, Drip of the A-Rod Soap Opera Saga consider the following: while Theo has done a commendable job in general, the new regime came in promising to build up a depleted farm system. It looks now like the A-Rod deal will include a pitching prospect for the Rangers; sigh. Last season, Theo traded a top-flite prospect we could seriously use right now at the hole at Second Base - Freddy Sanchez - for Jeff Suppan. How'd that work out for you, Theo? Sanchez will be a major league infielder with big batting numbers for the Pirates this year, sez Me. And, for short money - BTW! Yes, I do like Theo, but No, he is not God, and he hasn't won it........ Yet.Baseball Zeitgeist

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

FROM TIM-NOT-JOHN:

No-MAH
No-MAH
No No No-Mah!
Another Bagwell, Brady Anderson -- and probably Antoine Walker!
Come back to bite 'em, No-MAH!
This is hyster/historical. Two All-Stars/probable HOFers for one BONAFIDE HOFer, just to dump a big kid and his salary.
The Red Sox will still win and perhaps win in it all, but for me, getting Schilling and Foulke is different from dumping Manny and No-MAH, just because the acquisitions were made with the head while the dumpings were made with the heart(burn) of Henry, who is more and more sounding and acting like a hotheaded megalomaniac (hey, he does!) a la Georgie Porgie. What next -- dumping Derek Lowe because he gets blisters? Zapping Wakefield because he throws too slow?
Winning it all is important, but so is doing it right. I think Henry has lost sight of the latter in his pursuit of the former.
Tim

Monday, December 15, 2003

Tim here:
Stop now, John Henry, before you let your emotions about Manny's money and weird behavior, and about Nomar's agent's mouthing off, drive you to do something you don't need to. Right now, without any more moves, other than filling the hole at second, you have the team you need to get into the ALCS. You also have the chemistry, and if you don't think chemistry matters, look at 2003 Patriots, 2002 Angels, 2003 Marlins -- and 2003 Red Sox.
Just because you can doesn't mean you should exact revenge on Manny and Nomar for whatever it is they have done to piss you off. One of the cool things about power is that you don't have to use it to remain powerful; just the threat of using it should be enough for Manny.
And what's with the attitude about Nomar? When has he ever said he wants to leave? He plays and plays hard, and that's about what you should expect from a future HOF shortstop.


Sunday, December 14, 2003

Mac here:
The Sox got Foulke, so it seems that the only "hole" left is at second. While the acquisition of a serious CLoser is happily greeted, the fallout from the Foulke singing looks like this:
- What to do with Kim? Good question. He wants to start anyway but suddenly the Sox are pretty flush in terms of starters: Pedro, Lowe, Schilling, Wakefield, and........Mr. X.
- Mr. X could be Kim, but we would really like to see Arroyo get a shot at this spot. He's a good one we think, and showed enough both at Pawtucket and in his late season call-up to merit a full fledged shot at the fifth starting slot.
- When's the last time we had to "worry" about a serious contest for a starting slot with the Red Sox? I can't remember it.
- In any event, the BL (Bottom Line for this Blog) is that either Kim or Arroyo are available if any of the Big Four go down with an injury this season. Nice situation to be in, eh Boss?
- My Take: I would guess that either Kim or Arroyo will end up in long relief (whoever loses the starter slot) but for my $100M (and it is not mine - talk is cheap, however) I would use whoever loses the starter slot as the Fill-In Start Guy in a planned "Pedro Gets Extra Rest," schedule for '04. He got extra rest in '03 but by missing starts. Give those starts to the Long Man - Kim or Arroyo.
Next: Who's on Second?

Friday, December 12, 2003

Mac here:
On a tour of Florida, the Pope took a couple of days off to visit the coast
for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the beach in the Popemobile
when there was a frantic commotion just off shore.

A helpless man, wearing a New York Yankees jersey, was struggling
frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 25-foot shark. As the Pope
watched, horrified, a speedboat came racing up with three men wearing
Boston Red Sox jerseys aboard.

One quickly fired a harpoon into the shark's side. The other two reached
out and pulled the bleeding, semiconscious Yankee fan from the water. Then
using baseball bats, the three heroes in red beat the shark to death and
hauled it into the boat also.

Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to the beach. "I give you my
blessing for your brave actions," he told them. "I heard that there was
some bitter hatred between Red Sox and Yankee fans, but now I have seen
with my own eyes that this is not the truth."

As the Pope drove off, the harpooner asked his buddies "Who was that?"

"It was the Pope," one replied. "He's in direct contact with God and has
access to all of God's wisdom."

"Well," the harpooner said, "he may have access to God's wisdom, but he
doesn't know much about shark fishing... how's the bait holding up?"

While the Yankees are chasing Kevin Brown (he's 39 and brittle!) and the red Sox are playing Chicken with the Rangers over A-Rod, the new New Hampshire AA Eastern League Franchise has settled on the "New Hampshire Fisher Cats,' as a name. This name was voted by the fans, after the franchise encountered a wave of protest after initially selecting the "New Hampshire Primaries," moniker.
Q: Can you say New Hampshire Fisher Cats five times real fast?
Q: I'm just drooling in anticipation of the on-field Fisher Cat mascot's antics. Aren't you?
The Eastern League (AA) now has the New Britain Rock Cats and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Go figure.