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Friday, May 27, 2005

How to Fix Social Security? The Answer was Baseball Cards

According to Beckett Media, "...the value of the baseball cards found in a typical shoebox in the late '50s would equal thousands of dollars today....Today, in good condition, it would go for about $6,500 -- a 74,900-percent increase. "
So, if every Baby Boomer from the 50s saved their old baseball cards, there would be no need to fix the Social Secutity System.

Go tell Mom a big "I Told You So."

Broadcasters and Baseball

Nice article today by Joseph A. Reaves in The Arizona Republic looking at how broadcasters are increasingly under the magnifying glass these days for everything they say - taking hits from both the fans and the players. Sometimes, both fans and players are wrong - and bloggers for that matter.
We have some of the best baseball broadcasters here in Boston, we should be grateful.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Seeing Red

According to a story in Sports Illustrated, red is the color you want to select for your uniform if you want to win your next sporting event. [Maybe this only works every 86 years?] Sure didn't help the old New England Patriots - who wore red jerseys for decades before switching to blue, and then winning championships. But, Tiger Woods wears a red shirt on Sunday, doesn't he?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sluggish Sluggers

As Memorial Day looms, I'm guessing Red Sox management is getting uneasy with the batting slumps a number of its big (and little) stars are in. Except for a few names (Damon, Varitek, Nixon), the World Champions are hitting like Charlie Brown's All-Stars. While warmer weather is likely to loosen a few of these folks up, these guys have a ways to go:

- Kevin Millar: Career Average; .289 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .243
- sit him for Youkilis most of the time. This one is simple.
- Manny Ramirez: Career Average; .314 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .229
- Manny will be OK, and probably has the most productive .229 on the planet, with 36 RBIs
- Edgar Renteria: Career Average; .288 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .245
- again, patience is the order. Sox have few options here after spending $40M.
- David Ortiz: Career Average; .278 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .280 (2004: .301)
- near his average. Last year was a career year. Accept it.
- Mark Bellhorn: Career Average; .240 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .226 (2004: .264)
- on a 200+ strikeout pace with 50 RBIs and maybe 10 HRs. Options available at Pawtucket (Machado), can't wait too much longer on this guy.
- Bill Mueller: Career Average; .291 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .267
- bad wheels means this former AL Batting Champ has seen better days. Platoon with Youkilis
- Jay Payton: Career Average; .282 - 2005 YTD Avg.; .200
- Options available at Pawtucket, but give him more playing time before pushing that button.

- Red Sox 2004 Season BA: .282; 2005 YTD Avg.; .275
but lead MLB in OBP, rank 1st in total walks, rank 3rd in slugging. Thanks Nixon, Damon, Varitek.

As long as the Red Sox stay within striking distance of first place before the break, no dramatic action will come from Theo. But, winning the East is more important this year as the Wild Card may not be an automatic pass for the No. 2 team in the East, and is more likely to go to the Twins or White Sox. Some of these moribund players may force Theo's hand sooner rather than later.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Boom(er) and Bust: Rosebud II?

I am still a supporter of David (Boomer) Wells and the deal to bring him here. He will be an important pitching resource for the Sox this year.
But so far, he has been not at all convincing - and his arrogance and goofiness is showing. In spring training, he said he could wait until the end of the spring cycle to get in shape and pitch because he was a veteran and "knew his own body."
That turned out to be completely false as his first couple of BoSox starts were a waste. Then he got hurt. In coming back off the DL, he spurned a rehab start at McCoy, again claiming he was a veteran and knew his own body. He was also supported in this assertion by the likes of the usually reliable Jerry Remy.
Well, Boomer was wrong again.
Let's hope Boomer gets back on track. Lately he has looked more like His Rotundship, the late Orson Welles, not David.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Washington Nationals, circa 1863

Interesting AP piece on the Virginian-Pilot online site, looking at how baseball served as a balm for Union troops, including at the Battle of Chancellorsville. From the article: "The Civil War helped fuel a boom in the popularity of baseball evidenced by the fact that a ball club called the Washington Nationals was born in 1860 - 145 years before a Major League Baseball team was given the same name in D.C. this season.
Box scores from games played by New York soldiers were published in newspapers in places like Rochester.
They didn't look much like baseball box scores today. One game was 49-31."
If you like baseball history, this is worth the click:

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Phillies Sojurn

Had my first chance to visit the new ballpark in Philadelphia this week - saw the Phillies vs. the Reds. I had been to the now-departed Vet several years ago: lousy ambiance but good sightlines, and faux turf of course.
The new park has a lot of nice touches - the best being a completely open concourse surrounding the park on the main entrance level and a great blending of brick, green, and other earthen colors as a scheme. This concourse has a view to the field at almost every location, allowing the fan to watch the action while walking around and an opportunity to see the field from many angles.
The Phillies lost, beaten by a barrage of HRs by Cincinnati. John Lieber started for the Phils and had a one hitter going into the fifth, but then collapsed. My first time in a long while seeing Griffey, Jr. play; he homered.
More on the Philadelphia park later; have to go to Norwich right now.
BTW: Did you know that the Phillies were originally a professional baseball team from Worcester, MA that relocated to Philadelphia?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Next Year, World Series Champions are not World Champs?

See this piece from Murray Chass of the New York Times on the coming World Cup-like baseball tournament in 2006 - the World Baseball Classic, played among the countries invited. Pros and amateurs, playing for their homeland teams. The Classic will be held next March with 16 teams competing for the world championship of baseball.
"On Baseball: Coming in '06, a world series with meaning."

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Twig, 5,000 Games, and Satchel Paige

Check Out this story on an 80-year old manager in the minors; played with or against practically everybody. "Baseball's oldest manager soldiers on," by Rod Walker of the Clarion Ledger.


Monday, May 09, 2005

The Vultures are Circling the Stadium

Great NYDaily News analysis by Joel Sherman on the operations, recent foibles, and state of the Yankees. The column closes with this..."The dynastic Yankees won many games by just showing up. They actually maintained their aura in losing the 2001 World Series because it was hard to fathom how they nearly won while being badly outplayed by Arizona. But starting in 2002, when the Angels smoked the Yankee rotation in the Division Series, the Yanks have lost a layer of invincibility annually. No longer are teams intimidated when the Yanks are in the opposing dugout.

The strongest mystique of all, The Curse, is even dead, and so it appears are the days of the Yankees as a super team."

Fisher Cats in Winter

I went to a New Hampshire Fisher Cats game yesterday, Mother's Day, and yes my wife likes baseball.
As my son said, "This would be fun if I weren't freezing." Game time temp: 46/wind chill @38.
This was my first trip to the new ballpark, and it is very nice - not quite the same authentic feel as LaLacheur in Lowell - a bit too much "metal" for my tastes on the facade of the suites - but nevertheless a great venue for good baseball. The Fisher Cats won in a short game of 7 innings over the New Britain Rock Cats, 4-0. Good pitching really by both sides; Fisher Cats starter Cam Reimers scattered 7 hits, but loser Colby Miller, who had a nice curve ball, had one bad inning, giving up 3 runs in the third.
The Fisher Cats swept the double-header with another 4-0, 7-inning game that lasted only 1:35 - these guys had to be cold. (I'll be honest here - we only stayed for game 1. Took about a half hour for my fingertips to stop tingling on the way home.)
Well worth the trip. Easy parking, nice site along the Merrimack River, and, as is the custom at minor league games, good free stuff - a t-shirt and a seat cushion that, yesterday, was worth the price of admission - $10 for good seats along the third base line just outside the screen.
There is nothing as much fund for as little money as minor league baseball. If only it were May - oh, yeah, it IS May - just not in New Hampshire yet.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Guilty Pleasures?.....Be Honest Now

I was brought up to not take joy or pleasure in the failures or sufferings of others.....that attitude was the mark of a mean and cruel personality.
The Yankees lost to Tampa last night, again.
The Empire now has their worst W-L record in a decade.
They are coming apart at the Pinstripes.
Why am I enjoying this Yankee misery so much? Why is watching this collapse so much fun?

Be honest now - which did you enjoy more last night: The Red Sox win at Detroit, or the Yankees loss at Tampa?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Round the Bases

- as said here before; Doug Mirabelli, the best backup catcher in MLB - period. Couldn't you see Doug's Grand Slam coming when Maroth went 2-1 on Mirabelli with the bases loaded? He was sitting on Maroth, and didn't miss it.
- The Yankees? The crowd, for once, is right. They do _ _ck. They are old and brittle. And, they seemingly don't care. Not even Joe Torre can make them care. It is a delight watching The Boss and the entire Yankee Nation squirm, as badly as they squirmed last October. How sweet it is. Is Kevin Brown a "Real Yankee," BTW?
- Pedro and Doug M. got their rings from Tom Werner in the Mets clubhouse. Thanks guys.
- WEEI's Dale and Holley show? One word: Boring. Bring back Neumy.
- Do any of the Boston sports writers (except Steve Buckley) ever go to Pawtucket, Portland, Manchester, Norwich, or New Britain? Or is that beneath them?
- The Worcester Tornadoes are busy rennovating Holy Cross' Fritton Field in time for their end of May opening date. The team hasn't done much local promotion yet so it will be interesting to see what initial season attendance will be like.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Clement "battles"

Clement said he had pretty good control but he walked 4, hit one, had two wild pitches. I guess it really is a bottom-line game - he only gave up two runs.
Now Foulke is another matter . . . only it is hard to tell what that matter is. Seems like it comes down to location, location, NO location, location, location, location, NO location . . . not a good pattern.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Now, about that suspension

The "suspeneded" Bronson Arroyo pitched well again last night, finally put a stop to the run scoring blitz by all of the Sox recent opponents. Isn't the appeal process nice? Means maybe Arroyo will not face the Tigers or Seattle, rather than Texas, although the Tigers are, right now, about as potent at the Rangers, so maybe that's not a good thing. But the Sox needed a stopper and, last night, it was Arroyo.
Look for Clement to pitch better today. He's on the road, and maybe that is what he needs.