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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Luke Scott (Who?) Calls Out Red Sox Fans!

Most of Red Sox Nation will probably have to search google to become familiar with Luke Scott. That didnt stop him from making some harsh comments today.

Scott, who signed a one year deal with the Rays earlier in the offseason, said that he and his teammates in Baltimore were pulling for the Rays last year in the AL wildcard race. When asked why, he said he really disliked Red Sox fans and offered this explanation.

"Just their arrogance," Scott said. "The fans come in and they take over the city. They're ruthless. They're vulgar. They cause trouble. They talk about your family. Swear at you. Who likes that? When people do that, it just gives you more incentive to beat them. Then when things like [the last game of last season] happen, you celebrate even more. You go to St. Louis -- classiest fans in the game. You do well, there's no vulgarity. You know what? You don't wish them bad."

These comments really strike a nerve with this Red Sox fan as Im sure they will with many others as well. First, I think Scott lacks the credibility to make comments like this. As I said earlier, most Sox fans probably dont know who he plays for. Which just happens to be the Rays after signing his one year deal in the offseason. Convenient right? Yeah I thought so too.

Now to say that Sox fans are a tad ruthless would be understandable. In that case I would probably agree with him. Arrogant and vulgar though? I cant agree with that. Passionate, yes. Arrogant and Vulgar, no. Red Sox fans care about winning. What would Luke Scott know about that? He played for the Orioles in 2011. Enough said.

Who Will Step Up As Red Sox Fifth Starter?

The biggest question for the Red Sox going into Spring Training is, who will emerge as the fifth starter? Over the Winter new General Manager Ben Cherington went the route of quantity over quality, signing several veteran starters with recent injury problems and ineffectiveness. The Red Sox are banking on one of these guys stepping up.

The group includes veterans Aaron Cook, Carlos Silva and Vicente Padilla, Minor League talent Felix Doubront, Junichi Tazawa, and Alex Wilson among others. Alfredo Aceves is another option. So, as we can see there is no shortage of options for Bobby Valentine to choose from. The problem is, Alfredo Aceves is the only one of this group with recent success, which came in a swingman role in 2011. He also made a handful of spot starts, in which he was effective but less so than in the bullpen. With Daniel Bard already slotted into the rotation, replacing Aceves could be a tough task.

If healthy, Vicente Padilla could be a likely candidate for the spot. Padilla was the Dodgers Opening Day starter as recently as 2009, before being shelved due to problems. I read a piece today in which Felix Doubront says that he thinks his footwork could be the key to staying healthy. If, and its a big if, this is the case then he could be a good choice for the fifth slot. He will be looking to get his career back on track after a 2011 season disrupted by injuries. Maybe the motivation will be enough to spark his effectiveness.

I recently read a piece about Alex Wilson stocking shelves in a Lowes Hardware Store during the offseason. I came away with the impression that this kid will do what it takes to get where he wants to be. It should be interesting to see how he progresses or if hes able to crack the rotation in the coming months.

The real point of this wasnt to point out stats or compare the options. Every media source out there has examined this issue closely, to the point where its a little redundant honestly. Weve all heard what Bobby Valentine thinks, we have heard from the GM and the owners. I wanna hear from some Sox fans like myself. Thats what this page is aimed at. I want my readers to be as vocal as I am, so please feel free to comment.

Top Red Sox News 2/29/12

Not the most exciting day in Red Sox Nation, but heres a few interesting articles you may have missed.

Felix Doubront Hoping Footwork Key to Staying Healthy

Red Sox Pitching Plans Set in Motion

Red Sox Trio Displays Hall of Fame Traits

Big Papi, Dustin Pedroia Need to Assume Leadership Role

This offseason has seen the Red Sox two longest tenured players leave for retirement. Thus making David Ortiz the longest tenured member of the Red Sox. Dustin Pedroia is a little further down on that list, but nonetheless needs to help Big Papi turn the Red Sox clubhouse around.

Its no secret that the Red Sox clubhouse is in shambles. Ever since The Boston Globe published the story "Inside the Collapse" in October of 2011, things have spiraled. Its hard to ignore that this group is lacking chemistry. WEEI released an interview with Josh Beckett earlier this week, in which Beckett blasted the unnamed "snitches" in the Red Sox clubhouse. This interview has me concerned. Problems like this one wont just dissipate overnight. How will the clubhouse function in 2012 with Beckett obviously so disgruntled? His interview put a spotlight on the problem, and Bobby Valentine seems to be trying his hardest to make the chemistry needed for a winning ballclub. He wont be able to do it by himself. The players need to be the driving force.

Big Papi and Pedey have the best chance to change this ballclub. Ortiz has an attractive personality, hes the type of guy that young players especially, will follow. Papi was with the Sox for both of their World Series victories in '04 and '07. He knows what its like to win, and Im sure he knows that the chemistry isnt there with this group. If I can see it, Papi must be able to see it. Lets see what he will do about it.

Dustin Pedroia has a few guys in front of him in terms of tenure, but not too many are ahead of him in self esteem. The "muddy chicken" thinks highly of himself and takes alot of pride in his work,on and off the field. I could think of a few Red Sox players that should take a page out of his book. Dustin may be small in stature but his personality is that of a much larger calibur. If I were a young player coming up from the Minor Leagues, Dustin Pedroia would be the guy that I would want to be like. Pedey should use his personality traits to unite the Red Sox clubhouse, something thats looking increasingly difficult these days.

The point of this post is not to say that Papi and Pedey didnt do what they could last year. Maybe they did, but it wasnt enough. Resting the fate of the Sox clubhouse on the shoulders of these two individuals alone would be unfair, but they need to be the ones that get things started. With Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield a thing of the past, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are the best candidates for this job.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ryan Lavarnway, Red Sox Catcher of The Future?

The announcement of Jason Variteks retirement from baseball forced me to ask myself a question. That question was, can Ryan Lavarnway relish the opportunity like Tek did? Many consider him to be the Red Sox catcher of the future, but is he up for the job?

I dont think anybody will deny that this kid has tremendous upside on the offensive side of the game. Since being drafted in 2008 by the Red Sox, he has produced at every level of the Red Sox Minor League system. In 2011 Lavarnway had 30 Home Runs in the minors before the All Star break. Theres no doubt this played a part in Jason Varitek's retirement. The Red Sox consider Lavarnway the catcher of the future, and they think his time could come as soon as 2012. Freeing up the spot would keep him from being blocked and not getting the amount of playing time that he should. The question I have here is this, will Lavarnway be able to develop the skills that are required to be a Major League Catcher?

Last year was a year of large improvements for Ryan, according to many in the Red Sox organization. Mike Hazen, director of the Sox farmsystem said last year that “The defense is steadily improving,”. “It’s the hardest position to play, and every day, every week, and every month, Ryan gets better and better."

This seems to be the norm for Ryan Lavarnway. Hes just one of those players that doesnt care what anybody thinks, or who doubts his ability. He is always honing his skills and looking to get better. His first three years in Pro Ball have shown us that much. His defense could still use some work, but he has come a long way. 2012 could be the year that he is given a chance to play everyday. When given the chance I am positive that he will have success. Will he be able to fill the void left by Jason Varitek? Expecting him to would be foolish. Will he lessen the blow? Most definitly.

Im in the group of people that are overly optimistic and excited for Lavarnway. I think that even with the below average defense, he will providr a boost for the Red Sox. Breakout seasons from Rookies have a way of electrifying a fanbase, think Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonathon Papelbon. The list goes on, but Im sure you get the point. The fact is, Lavarnway will get his chance in 2012, and he will not disappoint. Maybe someday he will even get to Jason Variteks level.

Bobby Valentine Throws First Punches at Yankees

On Tuesday, New Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine made comments about Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. The comments he made will probably add some fuel to the long burning fire, that is the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

Valentine said that Jeters play in the 2001 ALDS wasnt necessary. Specifically he says this.

We'll never practice that,” Valentine said. “And I think (Jeter) was out of position and I think the ball gets (Giambi) out if he doesn't touch it, personally.”

When speaking about Jason Varitek retiring, Valentine said this..

“He was a big hitter when needed. He was a leader of the pitching staff. He was able to beat up Alex. All that stuff is good stuff. He was exactly what he was supposed to be.”

Thats two punches thrown today. Im starting to like the way Bobby does things. Renewing the passion in this rivalry can only be good for the Red Sox. After all, passion seemed to be one of the things that so many Red Sox were missing in 2011.

The Globe and Mail was my source for this story. You can visit the story Here...

Top Red Sox News For 2/28/12

Here are some of the top stories in Red Sox Nation right now. Click on the links to read the stories.

Jason Varitek Set to Retire

Gonzo's Swing Looking Good

Healthy Junichi Tazawa Could Crack Rotation

The Influence One Pitcher Had.. A Trip Down Memory Lane

Since the Regular Season hasnt started yet, and most of the news surrounding the Red Sox is media hype, beer and fried chicken, It gives me a chance to reflect on the past. Which you should be able to tell by now, I really like to reflect. It makes for an interesting story and in my own case, it allows me to take myself out of the present and bring me back to a better time, even if just for a moment. With that being said, here it goes.

Thinking back on the career of Jason Varitek, I started to think about the Glory Days of another vital part of the Red Sox in the late '90s and early 2000s. A player that fans adored and probably my favorite pitcher to ever watch throw the ball. Most Red Sox fans will know already who Im talking about. If you dont, read on and find out.

The passion and excitement that Pedro Martinez brought to the mound was unmatched by very few. These were the days where offense was at its peak in the history of the game. Yet Pedro Martinez was dominant in his days with the Red Sox. As a young fan at the time, I couldnt get enough of him. I wasnt much of a baseball player, but I wanted to be just like Pedro.

Pedro was a fan favorite in his first season. Rightly so with a 19-7 record and a second place finish in ERA, K's, and the Cy Young Award. I can remember watching the games he pitched and wondering how such a small guy could produce such devastating pitches. As a teenager that was small in stature myself, Pedro provided somebody I could look up to. One of my favorite Pedro Martinez memories is his performance at the 1999 All Star Game at Fenway. Pedro always seemed to have a knack for coming up big in Clutch situations.

The best part about Pedro was his ability to make people mad. Especially Yankees fans. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing Yankees fans jealous of something the Red Sox have. He was known for stirring up trouble in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. His tenure with the Red Sox was one of the highest points for the Best Rivalry in baseball.

Pedro's worst full season in a Red Sox uniform came in 2004, in which he still posted a respectable 3.91 ERA. The Postseason of 2004 made up for that though. Pedro pitched solidly in the 2004 playoffs, helping lead the Red Sox to a huge comeback over the Yankees and an eventual World Series Championship. This would be the highest point in Pedro's career as he had one more good season with the Mets followed by a series of trips to the DL that derailed his career at a relatively young age.

I believe the influence of Pedro Martinez's greatness played a big role in turning the Red Sox into yearly contendors. The optimism that he brought to Fenway Park, forever changed Red Sox Nation. For that, this fan is eternally grateful.

Farewell Tek, Thanks For The Memories

In this day and age of baseball, there is something to be said for a player who starts and end his career with the same team. Loyalty in baseball is becoming something of the past, with most players going wherever the money takes them. Jason Varitek was of the minority. He remained loyal to the Red Sox from his first at bat to his last, leading the team through good and bad.

Jason's first at bat in the big leagues came in 1997. He singled in his only plate appearance that year. 1998 was his first taste of real playing time. 1999 was when he made himself the Red Sox Starting Catcher. He hit 20 HR with 76 RBI, and never really looked back. Sure he had ups and downs. 2000 and 2001 were tough seasons for Varitek, he only played in 55 games in 2001 after injuring his elbow. 2002 was another year which 'Tek struggled at the plate. 2003 was a different story for Jason, as it was with other members of the Sox. Varitek established himself as a leader and had his best offensive season in '03. He made his first All-Star appearance, and finished the season hitting .273 with 25 HR and 85 RBI.

In 2004 Varitek had the best year of his career to date, and helped lead the Sox to their first World Series win in86 years. Maybe you remember him mushing Alex Rodriguez in the face with his glove? This was when the rivalry was intense, and Varitek led his team to greatness. Do the Red Sox win the World Series without him? Who knows. Ill say this though, things would have been much different without his leadership.

His offensive production hasnt been the same in recent years, and its obvious hes beaten up and tired. A career at Catcher will do that to you. I think its the right time for him to wave goodbye to baseball, even though he will be missed. He doesnt have the same fire that he had in those glory days for the Red Sox. He was unable to lead the team in 2011 the way that he had in years past. Maybe that played a part in his decision to retire.

Red Sox Nation will miss Varitek in the 2012 season. The way things are shaping up already, they need somebody to step up and assume the leadership role. Lets hope whoever that is can follow in Jason Variteks footsteps.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Shouldnt We Just Play Baseball?

Maybe Im the only one that thinks the Media Firefight going on today and recently in Red Sox Nation is quite unproductive to the baseball season. After the way the 2011 season ended, you would think Players and Management alike would be more focused on winning on the field then in the newspapers. Sorry it just seems crazy that guys like Josh Beckett, the supposed ace of the Red Sox, Carl Crawford, John Henry, and even manager Bobby Valentine are all over the news pointing fingers in different directions. Shouldnt Beckett be focused on rebounding from a september ERA of 5.48? Shouldnt Crawford be trying to have a comeback season after his horrible start in Beantown?

All of this negative media attention will almost surely affect this town going forward. Think the Red Sox were dysfunctional last year? What do you think will happen in 2012 if this doesnt end? Judging by Becketts comments today to WEEI's Rob Bradford, he has a beef with somebody in the clubhouse. The problem is he doesnt even know who he has the beef with. What kind of chemistry problems will this cause?

Bobby Valentine and Terry Francona seemed to be exchanging punches today. Francona questioning Valentines ban on alcohol and Valentine saying "Remember you get paid over there for saying stuff. You get paid over here for doing stuff."

These kind of things just seem to be counterproductive, especially coming so close to the season. I could think of some more important things they could focus on. Pitching comes to mind, getting Carl Crawford back, making sure Youks healthy.. You get the point.

Josh Beckett Upset About Snitches In Sox Clubhouse

After a Winter of silence from Josh Beckett, he seems to have alot to say lately. Beckett spoke to Rob Bradforf from WEEI today, and apparently somebody struck a nerve.

Beckett said he was upset that unnamed sources leaked stories about alcohol being consumed in the clubhouse, eating fried chicken and playing video games during games. He also expressed his distate for the rumors that were spread about Terry Francona, the main one being his supposed abuse of prescription medication. You can tell that he was upset by reading quotes from the interview such as "Somebody made that stuff up, just like somebody made up that we were doing stuff … This is stupid," he said. "I don't understand what the big deal is. Somebody was trying to save their own ass, and it probably cost a lot of people their asses. The snitching [expletive], that's [expletive]. It's not good.

This comes on the heels of Terry Francona saying he doubts Bobby Valentines new rules on alcohol in the clubhouse will work. Seems everybodys vocal on this issue lately but i wouldnt expect any remorse from Beckett. Seems it just not his style.

Francona Skeptic of Valentines Rule on Alcohol in Sox Clubhouse

Apparently old friend Terry Francona is skeptic of the rule implemented by Bobby Valentine, banning alcohol from the Red Sox clubhouse and on the last flight on road trips. Francona, who now works as an analyst for ESPN, says he thinks the move was likely a PR move. He was quoted as saying "It's probably more of a PR move just because, you know, the Red Sox (took) such a beating at the end of the year." Francona also said he doesnt think the rules will work. He said "I think if a guy wants a beer, he can probably get one. You know, it's kind of the old rule ... If your coach in football says no hard liquor on the plane -- I mean, you serve beer and wine -- somebody's going to sneak liquor on the plane," he said. "If you furnish a little bit, it almost keeps it to a minimum."

I agree that this probably had alot to do with satisfying the public, but i also think it was a good move on the baseball side of things. Chances are Francona had his own motivation for these comments. He was the manager of this team last year and assumed alot of the responsibility for not taking charge in the clubhouse. Maybe it was a PR move, but I think it was the appropriate action to take on this. I dont see guys seeing liquor in the clubhouse, and if they do, it would be quite pathetic and the Red Sox Front Office would have to act quickly to keep this from becoming a huge problem. Cant a guy that makes millions of dollars a year wait a few hours to pop that bottle open?

Looking Back at 2004 Magical Run

Its been over 7 years since that magical postseason of 2004. The 2004 Postseason set off a craze in Red Sox Nation. And rightly so considering the 86 years since the last Red Sox Championship. Lets mesmerize for a minute, all the while hoping that 2012 can bring the magic back to Red Sox Nation.

The Red Sox went into the 2004 Postseason as the AL Wild Card team, the 4th Seed in the American League. It didnt stop them from endearing to fans immediately with a sweep of the Angels in the Division Series. The Angels looked sadly overmatched while being outscored 25-12. The Sox scored 8 runs twice and 9 once. Two overwhelming performances from Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez sealed the Angels fate. This was just the beginning of a magical run that would captivate fans from all over the country. Lets take a look at the ALCS, where the magic really happened.

After the 2003 ALCS loss in Game 7 for The Red Sox ( Yes the Boone homer), The country and especiall the Red Sox wanted a rematch. They had a point to prove. In the end they proved it.

After the first three games, the Red Sox looked to be down and out. They looked down and out, physically and emotionally. A rout in game 3 had writers throughout the game writing the Red Sox off. Coming back from a 3-0 deficit had never been accomplished in baseball. It was a seemingly impossible task. Most fans including myself were already looking to "next year". None of us envisioning what would come next.

Game 4 seemed like the nail inthe coffin. All the way until the ninth inning, when the Yankees led 4-3 with Mariano Rivera coming on for a second inning to try to put the game away and put the Red Sox away. Then came the single from Kevin Millar, whom Dave Roberts pinch ran for. Roberts stole second on the first pitch after three throws over to first by Rivera. This was the shift in momentum that the Sox needed. Bill Mueller singled, scoring Roberts and tying the game. The game ended with a David Ortiz walk off 2 Run Homer in the 11th. This game would be the start of something special.

Game 5 was decided by David Ortiz as well. Again in extra innings. This time it was the bottom of the fourteenth. Ortiz came up with Manny Ramirez on first and Johnny Damon on second. Ortiz singled into center, scoring Damon and completing another extra inning win. The series was now 3-2 and the momentum had completely shifted at this point.

Game 6 was the famous "bloody sock" game. Curt Schilling was pitching with sutures in his ankle from a procedure he had done that would allow him to pitch. By the end of the game, Schillings sock was soaked in blood, prompting people to call it the "bloody sock" game. Even with the injury, Schilling was impressive. Pitching seven solid innings before giving the ball to Bronson Arroyo. At that point the Red Sox led the game 4-1. Arroyo allowed a run to make it 4-2. There was the contorversial slap of the glove by Alex Rodriguez that caused a run to be overturned and riot police to be on the field, but ultimately it stayed 4-2 allowing Keith Foulke to come on for the save in the Ninth. Foulke got into some trouble before striking out Tony Clark to end the game. Series now tied at three games a piece. Another Game 7. It couldnt get any better, the memory of 2003 was still fresh, but it only served as a motivator for revenge. The chance to erase 86 years of heartbreak. Could the Red Sox embrace it and use it to their advsntage?

In Game 7 the Red Sox scored early and often. Ortiz hit a 2 run HR in the first inning, Johnny Damon hit a Grand Slam in the second. The Red Sox looked poised for a trip to the World Series, riding the momentum of an amazing comeback. Derek Lowe pitched 6 innings only allowing a run, followed by Pedro who allowed two, but the score was still 10-3 and Pedro recovered and got out of trouble. The game was closed out by Alan Embree and Mike Timlin. The Red Sox had completed the comeback of the century. They would head to the World Series riding on the back of their sweet defeat of the rival Yankees.

The Red Sox would play the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. The Cardinals had the best record in the National League in 2004, making winning a tough feat for the Red Sox. Once again they embraced being the underdog.

The World Series in 2004 was highlighted by Big Papis four RBI in the first game, Curt Schillings Six inning performance in Game 2 even with his ankle still stitched. He wasnt even sure on the morning of Game 2 if he would be able to pitch. Game 3 featured a dominant pitching performance by Pedro Martinez, a spectacular catch and assist from Manny Ramirez in Left Field, as well as a Home Run. Game 4, the final game of the World Series was the Red Sox the whole way. Derek Lowe started and didnt allow a run. Johnny Damon homered in the first at bat of the game, providing the winning run. The Sox scored 3 in all but only needed one, as the Cardinals never put up a run in the game. The Red Sox had finally won the World Series.

2004 replaced all of the heartbreak that Red Sox fans had endured over the previous 86 years. The Curse was finally forgotten, and we could finally bask in the glory that comes with a World Series win. It was a great time to be a Red Sox fan. Never have I experienced such a lift from a sports team, before or since the 2004 Season.

The point of this post is to reflect on the fact that being underdogs isnt always bad. Being the underdogs in 2012 could turn out to be a great motivation for a team that has the talent, just needs motivation. Lets hope 2012 brings the magic back to Boston.

"Back to Foulke, Red Sox fans have longed to hear it: The Boston Red Sox are World Champions!" This quote by Joe Buck still gives me goosebumps when i hear it.

David Ortiz Says "This Aint No Bar"

David Ortiz seems to be OK with the rule implemented by Bobby Valentine, banning alcohol from Bostons clubhouse on game days. The rule will also apply to the last flight on Road Trips. Ortiz was quoted over the weekend saying “We’re not here to drink,” said David Ortiz. “We’re here to play baseball. You know what I’m saying? This ain’t no bar. This is an organization, a place that needs a lot of athleticism. Alcohol has nothing to do with that. People have alcohol in their houses. If you want to drink it, drink at home.” Now if only Big Papi was as vocal last season during the epic collapse. Being the leader that Ortiz is, maybe he could have stopped the Red Sox clubhouse from becoming a "Bar". Its not likely though. After all these are grown men that will, in the end, do what they want.

Saying this, I am on board with this. Its not like Boston is the outcast here. 19 other MLB teams already have this rule in place and others will likely follow suit. It just makes sense more times than not. Why should baseball players that earn more in a month then most of us do in a year be allowed to drink while on the job? The majority of Red Sox fans probably have jobs that require Substance Testing. Why should these players that are largely fan supported be any different? Im with Papi on this one, booze doesnt belong in the Sox clubhouse, or in the game period. Just ask Josh Beckett what beer can do to you. He was looking quite out of shape at the end of 2011. 12 oz. of Budweiser contains 145 calories. Who really thinks they only had one? Doesnt seem optimal for guys getting paid millions of dollars to stay in shape and perform athletic activities at a high level.

If The Sox make the playoffs in 2012, by all means break out the champagne. If they win The World Series break it out again. Otherwise leave the booze at home on gameday. Give us fans some peace of mind and atleast let us believe that you guys want another ring as badly as we do.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Trying to Sign Josh Hamilton a Good Idea?

I just read a report that Josh Hamilton expects to become a free agent following the 2012 season. Will the Red Sox pursue him?

Adding Hamilton to an Outfield already consisting of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford would put them in the Top 3 Outfields in all of baseball, but would it be worth it? You have to consider that signing Hamilton would probably make it hard to sign Ellsbury after the 2013 season.

There are others factors that have to be considered here, Jacoby Ellsburys 2012 performance will probably be the biggest one. If he is to miss significant playing time or underperform will The Sox try to sign Hamilton under the assumption that Jacobys '11 season was an abberation? Im not saying this will be the case, but its a possibility right?

The other factor will be whether or not Carl Crawford can live up to expectations. If he underperforms again will Boston look to trade him? Not that it would be likely with his salary, but it would be worth pursuing should he underwhelm in 2012. If the Soz were able to trade him in this scenario then maybe they would look to Josh Hamilton for help. No one can deny his talent, even with his off the field issues lingering. As long as he can perform on the field, there will be plenty of teams bidding for his services. Maybe the Sox will be one of them. We'll have to see how the Dominos fall in 2012.

Red Sox Fun Facts Updated Daily


Pedro Martinez was the first Red Sox Pitcher to strikeout 300 or more in a single season. In 2001 Pedro Martinez struckout 313 batters, went 23-4 and won the American League Cy Young Award.


In 1997 Nomar Garciaparra was Rookie of the Year for the Boston Red Sox. He hit 30 HR and drove in 98 Runs, setting records for RBI by a leadoff hitter and for HR from a rookie shortstop.


In 1957, Ted Williams set a new record for consecutive plate appearances reaching base, with 16. He had four homeruns, two singles, nine walks and a HBP.

Are You Buying Into The Sox Being Underdogs?

It seems that alot of people consider the Red Sox underdogs going into the 2012 season. I guess i sorta understand it with the September collapse of 2011, and the Red Sox not making alot of improvements over the winter, but frankly im not sold on The Sox being underdogs.

Last Summer Boston media outlets all over were proclaiming the Sox the "best team ever" and all but guaranteeing them a spot in the World Series. The problem with this was The Red Sox hadnt even played a Regular Season game yet. Perhaps the pressure was too great to perform, maybe the beer and fried chicken really did play a role. Or the most likely, yet seemingly least covered cause was probably Pitching. We all witnessed it. The carousel of inadequate pitchers that trotted to the mound three out of five games. The unrelentless offense of the Red Sox couldnt overcome this one problem. The Pitchers couldnt allow less runs than the AL Leader in Runs Scored.

While this could still be a problem in 2012, im optimistic that Clay Buccholz will regain form now that hes healthy, and Daniel Bard will prove to be an adequate fifth starter. This wouldnt be the first time a team has succeeded without a bonified fifth starter. Even with the move of Bard and losing Jonathon Papelbon to Free Agency, I think the bullpen will also prove that it can be effective enough to compete in the AL East. Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey were solid aquisitions, and Alfredo Aceves proved his value out of the pen last year. I think that even without a fifth starter penciled in at this point, this team can compete with the pitching it has and the potent offense that it will surely bring to the table again this year.

Maybe the Sox are underdogs, but i dont think it should be as clear cut as most are making it out to be. This team has as much talent 1-25 as any other in baseball. Getting back to the fundamentals could be the make or break factor this season. Let me know what you think in the comments section.

What do you Think of Red Sox Prospects?

Im not going to say a whole lot here. I want to see what kind of feedback i can get from readers. (Im still in the process of building Readership) So your interaction here would be helpful.

What do you think of The Red Sox farm system? How do you think it measures up in the AL East? With the Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays all having quality prospects at the higher levels, how do you think the Future of The Red Sox stack up against their rivals? A few notable prospects are Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Lavarnway, Felix Doubront,and guys like Xander Bogaerts, Bryce Brentz and Matt Barnes (Lower levels). Do you see a breakout season from any of the guys mentioned here? Or somebody I left out? Lets get into this, its always fun talking about the future of the Red Sox.

Derek Lowe Back in Boston In 2013?

I just read an article from reporting that Derek Lowe says he would like to return to Boston when his contract expires after the 2012 season. I respect Derek Lowe for the years that he spent here and the things he accomplished here, but do the Red Sox really need another pitcher with alcohol problems? Not to mention his ERA of over 5.00 in 2011. I dont think the Sox need the headache.

Listen D. Lowe its nothing personal but Beckett, Lackey and Lester are the beer drinkers around here. I dont think theres room for you. Unless you feel like buying KFC for the team, then maybe they can fit you in.

Take a look at the story yourself Here

Funny Picture I Found That Sox Fans Will Like!

This photo was found via Google Images. I started cracking up when i found it. Very good photo! Check it out.

I dont claim to own this photo. It was found in Google Images Keywords Red Sox Yankees.

Lets Examine The Rivals

This article serves to take a look at the Red Sox biggest rivals. Yup the damn Yankees. Everywhere I look im seeing that the Yankees are the team to beat in the AL East. Is that really the case? Lets have a look.

We'll start with the Infield and make our way around much of the team. Lets start with the most questionable out of this group. A-Rod and Derek Jeter. While I will admit that you cant count out either of these two, they are a year older then last year. Last year both of these guys had their share of troubles. For much of the first half we didnt know if Jeter would ever show up. Alex Rodriguez meanwhile was bit by the injury bug on a couple of not so sure that these two will be largely productive this year. Im thinking a large decline in both of their stats could be inevitable. Not comforting to the Yankees considering the money still owed to Rodriguez.

The right side of the Infield is where I think the Sox have a large advantage over the Yankees. Cano and Teixeira versus Pedroia and Gonzo. I will admit that this argument could go either way, but my opinion is the Sox take the cake here. Pedroia and Cano each have their own strengths that make them valuable, while Gonzalez has many more than Tex. Teixeira hits Home Runs, and provides Gold Glove calibur defense at first. His BA was just .258 last season. Gonzalez meanwhile batted .338 with a .410 OBP in 2011. Gonzos OPS trumps Teixeiras by over .100 in 2011. I find myself thankful we held out and got beat by the Yankees in the Teixeira contest a few years back.

Now lets take a look at the Outfield for both teams. This is how it will look from Left to Right for both teams. The Sox will feature Crawford, Ellsbury, and a combination of Sweeney and Ross in Right. The Yankees will have Gardner, Granderson and Swisher. Crawford had a horrendous first season in Boston and it seems things can only get better in 2012 (hopefully). His .255 BA and .289 OBP was not what we expected when signing him for huge money. If he can increase his BA by 20 points and his OBP by even 40 Bobby Valentine would be pleased. Gardner on the other hand isnt considered a big Offensive impact. Yes he stole 49 bags in 2011 but thats really all he did. He hit at a .259 clip with a respectable OBP of .341 but his OPS was .713 with his slugging just .369. If Crawford can regain form in 2012 then the Sox have a clear edge here.

Next is Ellsbury versus Granderson. Both guys had MVP calibur seasons in 2011 but which had the edge? This one I consider being very close with both having their respectable strengths. Their OPS was very close with Ells at .928 and Granderson at .916. Granderson had more HR and RBI's with 41 and 119 compared to Jacobys 32 and 110. Ellsbury had 212 hits to Grandersons 153 which made for a .321 Avg for Ells compared to .262 for Granderson. This ones tough to call but i think Ellsbury is a more complete player then Granderson. We also have to factor in that both of these two had coming out seasons in 2011. Can they both repeat? Maybe just one of them will?

In Right im gonna look at Swisher vs Ross/Sweeney. Neither of the newly aquired Boston Outfielders had much success offensively in 2011 but I see them as servicable for the near future. They have good Lefty/Righty splits which should make for a decent platoon. Swisher was more than adequate in Right for New York for 2011. He finished with 23 HR and 85 RBI's. While carrying a .260 BA and .374 OBP. Ive decided not to spend a ton of time looking at RF because i want to get to the Pitching, which I think will be the biggest factor for 2012.

Here it goes, The Starting Pitching. Over the Winter the Yankees aquired the young fireballer Michael Pineda from the Mariners and 37 year old Hiroki Kuroda from the Dodgers. These two moves seem to have catapaulted them in the projections for 2012. They went from an uncertain Starting 5 to perhaps the best in the AL East. Thats according to much of the Media anyways. I just dont see it, and maybe its the Sox fan in me, but adding a 22 year old with a half season of success under his belt and a 37 year old whos never pitched in the AL wouldnt excite me all that much. Although they had respectable stats for '11, Im not convinced either of them can carry it over to 2012. Behind CC Sabathia all I see is alot of uncertainty. It worked out well last year so who knows.

The Sox have the same sorta situation going on. Behind Jon Lester there is alot of uncertainty. Beckett seems to tank in even numbered years, for whatever reason. Clay Buccholz is coming off of a stress fracture in his back that sidelined him for much of the season. Then you have Daniel Bard. Reliever turned Starter. You really never know how this will work out. Some have success, look to Alexei Ogando last year, and some can never make the adjustments. Bard started his career as a starter in the Minors only to be converted after posting an ERA above 7. We all know the kind of pure stuff that he has. Whether he will be able to utilize it in the rotation remains to be seen.

Both teams pitching staffs could really go either way in 2012. The one strength I see for the Yankees is depth, especially at the Triple A level. Spring Training will show us some of the strengths and flaws of both teams, but it wont be until Opening Day that we really see what these teams possess. Take the ride with me at Red Sox News on The Daily. Let your opinion be heard!

Can Crawford be the Game Changer he Was?

Here im going to explore whether or not Carl Crawford can get back to being the Game Changer he was in Tampa Bay. The Red Sox know all too well what kind of player he was while in Tampa. He stole six bases in a game against them a couple years ago..

I think its very possible that Crawford will rebound but i remain a bit skeptical. Not to knock him as a player, I think that its his personality that may end up being the largest factor here. He just seems like a guy more suited for the few thousand fans attending out in Tampa then the sold out crowds of Fenway Park.

In Tampa the spotlight resembles more of a flashlight. The Rays never get the kind of National audience that the Sox get year in and year out. Although this trend seems like it could change over the coming years, as Tampa Bay contends on a regular basis. As a player that spent his whole career in this atmosphere coming over to a fan crazed, media rich, highly scrutinized team, it has to be a little uncomfortable. Especially if you are the laid back type of guy that CC is.

With all of this being said, I dont think that Crawfords deal can be considered a bust just yet. Another season like 2011 and I could change my tune, but i have some degree of confidence that Carl can adapt to the pressure cooker that we call home. If he cant then this could go down as one of the worst deals of the modern era. Keep an eye on 2012 to see what happens with this. I will be watching closely, hopefully you will too.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Behind Enemy Lines

As a Red Sox fan living in Upstate Ny i constantly seem to be defending myself. When the Sox win its sweet but not so much when they lose! This makes it fun though. The opinions are broad and some even well thought out. (I know it seems impossible for Yankees fans). I really enjoy throwing stats at some of these self proclaimed Yankees fans, only to watch their heads spin as they try to figure out what im talking about. That seems to be the biggest thing i have noticed with "yankees fans". Not too many of them really know what they are talking about. They are largely passionate but in a much more obnoxious, pushy way. If you know any Yankees fans then im sure you can agree with me.

I find that these type of fans are the ones that make it fun for me. This artice doesnt have alot of purpose. The main purpose is just to alienate Yankees fans. After all thats what Red Sox Nation lives for.

Bobby Valentine Bans the Booze

Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has reportedly decided not to all alcohol in the clubhouse or on flights during the 2012 season.

This is a move that had to be made. Had it not been made there probably would have been severe fallout from the fans. Although I believe this issue was less severe then some have made it out to be, I do think it could have an impact. After the epic collapse of 2011 things had to change drastically. To the public atleast, this was the biggest of all. Should the players really be eating KFC and drinking Budweiser during gametime? I dont think its healthy for the team, and it kinda takes you back to Little League. There are things that make baseball such a great sport and this isnt one of them. Props to Bobby V for taking the right action on this one.

What Should We Expect From Clay Buccholz?

Probably the biggest factor in the Sox rotation this year is going to be Clay Buccholz. Will he revert back to 2010 form? Can he prove that he is able to stay healthy?

My thoughts are that he very well could. When hes healthy and throwing the ball well I personally love to watch him pitch. Theres something about the seemingly endless repoirtoire. The kids talents really appeal to me. I wish that he could finally prove to RSN that he can stay healthy for a whole season and transform into the Cy Young candidate he looked like 2 years ago.

Another thing im excited about is Daniel Bards transition into the rotation. Everybody has their own opinion on Bard and mine is this. Kids got the best pure stuff on the team, whether he can translate it into success starting. Who knows? I think we should be excited about him in the rotation. Much moreso then closing, where im convinced he wont succeed.

Theres alot to be optimistic about with these 2012 Sox. They have the talent to be a serious competitor this year.

David Ortiz Will Reward With All Star Production

Im sure there are skeptics out there reading this post and writing it off. I really believe that the Sox will get All Star production for one more year. At the very least we will get top 5 production at the DH spot. Better then the Yankees and probably the rest of the AL East. In the end thats all that matters right? Beating the Yankees.. Im kidding.

His production wont be the only upside for the Sox. Ortiz has been a strong presence for this team since he arrived in 2003. Hes one of those guys that are hard to replace from all aspects. We can either have him in the clubhouse or old friend Johnny Damon was an option. Although he was one of the "cowboys" of the 2004 World Series team, he is also now a former yankee which in my book disqualifies him for the job. Im excited to see what Big Papi can do this year. Can he match his production from last year? Will he surpass last years stats? Stranger things have happened. The 2012 season will begin soon and all of these questions will be answered. For now, let me know what you think in the comments section.

Top News For 2/25/12

Here are a few articles you might like! Just a few light articles to entertain for the day. Cant wait for the season! You wont wanna miss an article when things get rolling for the 2012 Sox!

Theo Epstein Compensation

Daisuke Wants to Pitch Until Hes 40?

Valentine Bans Alcohol in Sox Clubhouse

Crawford Gets Apology From John Henry

Make sure you check out the article on Bobby Valentine Banning Alcohol in Sox Clubhouse. 

Bobby V deserves an Oscar!

I understand that part of a managers job is to calm fans nerves, and One way to do so is downplay problems. So this isnt a knock on our new manager, maybe even a compliment.. I just read this article and I had to admit to myself that we may have an Oscar worthy manager here. World Series worthy? We shall see. But definitly Oscar worthy.Take a look at this Link...Im pretty sure you will see what im talking about. I would say that this articles purpose is to calm down Red Sox Nation. There is concern over the fifth spot in the rotation. I would even bet Bobby V is losing some sleep over it. I would be after the september collapse that centered on starting pitching. Without establishing a fifth starter the Sox will have trouble avoiding the same problem this year. Keep up the act Bobby and we might see you at the Oscars! Keep in mind that hos profession last year was an ESPN analyst. Plenty of acting involved. Lets hope he can manage the way he acts..

Pay big money for Jorge Soler?

Im not really sure what to make of this. Should the Red Sox pay the near 30 million dollar deal that is expected? For an unproven MLB player coming from Cuba. I dont think they should. I also think its possible they could be driving up the price for the Yanks and Theo Epstein and his cubs who are both reportedly interested in signing him.

The idea of signing a player from a country where the talent level is around Double-A ball here in the US isnt a terrible idea. Paying him close to 30 Million dollars is. To put this into perspective, he would be making close to the amount that Clay Buccholz and Dustin Pedroia make. Two proven All-Stars in the MLB. Call me crazy but i think the risk is too high here. Not to mention these types of deals are increasing the bar for unproven international players. Should teams really be sinking this kind of money into unproven players? Especially when the team in question could really use another starter. Why sink money into an outfielder? A majority of the blame for the 2011 collapse falls on the Starting Pitching. Common sense 101.. Spend 30 Mil on a Starter!

As much as i think that Daniel Bard will be a capable fourth starter, i also see a gaping hole that needs to be filled before the Sox can contend again. The competitions only getting tougher and wasting this kind of money seems pretty crazy. I have to believe that the only reasonable motive for making this move would be to replace Jacoby Ellsbury in the event that he walks via free agency. Its a decent idea but if it were me i would save my 30 Mil and use it toward signing Jacoby when the time comes. What about you?

The Red Sox Shortstop Solution Left a Couple Years Ago

A big deal has been made out of the Sox starting shortstop arrangements. Nick Punto is a veteran who you know what you will get from. Mike Aviles, On the other hand hasnt really been proven on an everyday basis. Although a high .280's hitter when on the field, the concern is whether he will stay on the field. And if he does then what can be expected of him? Lets reflect on a shortstop that i think they should have kept. Even if just to give Iggy some more time. (Assuming his bat is ever big league ready.)

Alex Gonzalez. Now hold on before you point out his flaws. Lets look at his assets first. The guy can flat out play Shortstop. Although his bat is suspect, the sox could easily trade a little offense for a guy thats going to save some base hits from poking through the infield. I think the pitching staff would agree as well.

When looking at his offensive stats nothing spectacular jumps off the page. Should that really matter though on a team that led the league in runs last year? The days of Nomar at Short are long gone and no one of real significance has followed, and its not looking like Jose Iglesias is winning any batting titles in the near future. It seems as though Shortstop is fading as an offensive position, so would it really have been a bad idea to keep Alex Gonzalez around until Iggy is ready? Let me know what you think.

Can Kevin Youkilis stay healthy?

This issue has been well observed by many media outlets but lets look at it from a fans standpoint. Can Youk contribute to the 2012 Red Sox? Or will his presence in the lineup and at Third hurt the Sox?

I think before forming an opinion based on the stats such as games played, batting average, and other major stats, you would have to have witnessed some of the games in '11. Lets face it guys. The Greek God of Walks had trouble at times walking.. Literally.

To watch the way that he hobbled on and off the field most of the year was startling, to say the least. Less startling though when you look at Youks aging body. Hes never looked like a star athlete as much as he played like one in past years, but last year it came into plain view. Could we really expect his body to hold up for a long period of time as he got older? He looks more like a biker then a baseball player these days.

This is not meant to be an article bashing the man. As a fan I love to watch his all out style of play and the passion that he brings to the field. But also as a Red Sox fan that likes to see them win, i have to ask the question. Should the Sox trade him while he still has some value as a DH/ Part time third baseman? Or should they milk every ounce of production before letting him walk via free agency? Maybe they could keep him around to replace Big Papi after '12.

What kind of return could be expected for a player of Youks calibur? Ask the A's they might be interested in him if the price was right. The teams involved in such a deal would probably be mostly AL teams considering he will probably be a DH sooner rather than later. That seems to lessen his trade value but there should still be some suitors. Im interested in seeing how Ben handles this one in the coming year. It could be our first real indication of how he will run our beloved Red Sox.

Leave me your thought in the comment section. Your opinions as good as mine.

Ryan Braun's Outcome.. You be the judge.

This is my first attempt at blogging so im going to give it a go. Feedback would be greatly appreciated! You dont know your flaws until theyre pointed out for ya. The first topic i wanna cover today really has no impact on the Sox, but its a hot topic and rightly so.. Ryan Braun gets away with the ultimate baseball crime! Winning an appeal for PED (performance enhancing drugs) use based solely on the argument that the sample was "mishandled" seems ludicrous to me. Although i agree that it would be a clear violation of the "rules" to allow the ruling to be upheld, i also feel that something should be done. Does anyone really believe that the sample was tampered with? I just cant bring myself to believe it. What motive would the outside acency that conducts these tests have for sabotaging Brauns sample? Here are a few of the facts involved. You be the judge.. Brauns urine sample was tested for a testosterone imbalance, which was detected. (According to some sources Brauns levels were 20 times the normal, where 4 times will cause a positive.) Brauns sample was then tested for synthetic testosterone, which shockingly was also detected. Apparently the man responsible for submitting the sample had a lapse in judgement when he waited close to two days to submit a sample thats required to be submitted in less than one. Whats wrong with this picture. Shouldnt these guys know the rules? This mishandling of the sample in question was the main argument of Brauns legal team. (Are they suggesting that testerone grows at a rate of 10 times per day? Call me a skeptic if you want but i just cant accept this as innocence. Although i will admit that is probably more to the story then we know, im still inclined to believe that Ryan Braun used PED's during an MVP season. The verdict in my opinion should have been this.. Give Matt Kemp the MVP and let Braun play his 50 games. He probably wont have a season like last season anyhow. Be sure to leave your comments. I wanna know your thoughts, after all thats what this is about.. Passion for Baseball!!