Bloody Sox

Red Sox Rants — and other random opinions about sports

Archive for the month “November, 2008”

What I am thankful for

With tomorrow being Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S., I thought I’d write a post listing the things I’m thankful for, Red Sox edition.

  1. I am thankful Jason Bay is now playing left field for the Sox;
  2. I am thankful for Jon Lester’s heart,
  3. Dustin Pedroia’s attitude,
  4. and Kevin Youkilis’s eyes;
  5. I am thankful that I was able to listen to Ned Martin and Ken Coleman call Red Sox games on the radio,
  6. and that Jerry Trupiano is no longer calling Red Sox games;
  7. I am thankful the NY Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008;
  8. I am thankful Amalie Benjamin is reporting on the Sox for the Boston Globe;
  9. I am thankful for all the Boston fans who faithfully support the Red Sox each year and allow the team to have a high payroll;
  10. and I am thankful I was able to watch these players have their best years in baseball in Red Sox uniforms: Nomar Garciaparra, Dwight Evans; Jim Rice; Carlton Fisk, Fred Lynn, Wade Boggs, Rick Burleson, Rico Petrocelli, Luis Tiant, Bill Lee, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jason Varitek.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


The luke warm stove

This is the time of year baseball fans call the hot stove league, because we stand around the wood stove warming our hands and talking about what moves our favorite teams might make in the off season to improve for the coming year. Of course, there is a lot more talk than actual action. So far this off season the Sox have made just one significant move, trading Coco Crisp to Kansas City for a decent relief pitcher. We expected Crisp to be traded 12 months ago, so this isn’t exactly thrilling.

This year, most of the talk centers around top free agents, primarily Mark Teixeira. But old friend Derek Lowe is also in the mix, as is the ever fragile A.J. Burnett. I wouldn’t have expected the Sox to have interest in Burnett, but they inexplicably gave the equally injury-prone J.D. Drew a big contract two years ago, so anything is possible. (Do you think there is a connection with the fact that these guys don’t have first names, just initials and their susceptibility to injury?) There is also the suspense over just how the Sox will address their hole at the catching position — resign Varitek or go after someone younger, like Jarrod Saltalamachia.

I must confess I check several times a day to see if there is any real news. Mostly all I read is blathering speculation, a lot like this post. Well, rather than continue to add to the noise, I guess I’ll end this meaningless entry… besides, I’ve got to check for news; something meaningful might have happened while I was writing this.

Congratulations to Dustin Pedroia — AL MVP!

Well, when the final vote was done it wasn’t even really that close. Dustin Pedroia is the MVP of the American League, garnering 317 points and 16 first place votes to Justin Morneau’s 257 points and 7 first place votes. Kevin Youkilis was third with 201 points.

Congratulations, Dustin!

Who’s the MVP? Pedroia or Youkilis?

Tony Massarotti writes today about the two strong Red Sox candidates for AL MVP: Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

As Tony says, you can make a strong case for either. Take either out of the lineup for any length of time and the Sox do not make the playoffs. Pedroia was steadiest, and he won the Gold Glove at second base this year. But I have to give the nod to Youk. After the Sox traded Whatshisname to the Dodgers, Youk filled in pretty damn well in the cleanup spot. And when Mike Lowell was injured, Youk almost flawlessly switched from first to third base.

Essentially, Kevin Youkilis simultaneously substituted for the last two Red Sox World Series MVPs. How do you get more valuable than that?

Yankees out of the Teixeira bidding?

According to Sean McAdams of the Boston Herald, the Yankees are not interested in signing Mark Teixeira, settling for Nick Swisher as a cheaper alternative at first base, and they will be focusing their free agent money on pitchers Sabathia, Burnett and Lowe. I don’t believe this for a minute. Yes, they want to sign Sabathia and probably one other front line pitcher, but the Yankees are not going to just let Teixeira sign with their arch rivals. Ain’t gonna happen.

The Sox may well win the bidding to sign Teixeira, but it won’t be without a fight and without a lot of bucks. But my money is still with the Yankees.

A Texas catch?

There is a lot of chatter about the Sox pursuing one of the Texas Rangers’ excess catchers. While this makes some sense, I also know that Theo Epstein rarely does what is expected. If I were to make a wager, it would be that he resigns Jason Varitek, and that ‘tek and Kevin Cash remain the Sox catching tandem in ’09. Here are my reasons for this belief:

  1. Despite Scott Boras’ pipe dreams, no one is going to give Varitek $50 million for four years. The Sox will offer $12 million per for two years and Varitek will take it.
  2. The Rangers are going to ask for more than Theo is willing to give for Saltalamacchia or Laird.
  3. Theo likes to use a little mis-direction in these matters, so the rumors about Texas can be useful in other negotiations.

This isn’t to say that if the Rangers are a bit more reasonable in their demands Theo will not take advantage… he is, more than anything, an opportunist. I also believe that it is very likely Varitek will have a better offensive year in ’09 than he just did. This year he suffered two debilitating illnesses, from which, I believe, he never fully regained his strength. And then add in the distraction of his messy divorce. It’s easy to imagine that Jason will be stronger and in a better frame of mind next season. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not predicting 30 home runs and a .300 batting average, but I’d be willing to bet he can put up 20 homers and a .260 average wherever he plays next year.

We’ll just have to wait and see if that is in Boston or some other city.

Time for a little Cowboys rant

I watched the first quarter of yesterday’s Cowboys-Giants game and it was all I needed to confirm my opinion of Wade Phillips as a head coach. What a stark contrast between his Cowboys and the Tom Coughlin’s Giants. Teams reflect the personality of their coaches. Coughlin’s Giants are tough and disciplined. Phillips’ Cowboys are undisciplined and can’t handle adversity. I could see it all reflected on one play, in fact. On the Giants’ second possession, the Cowboys defense had held and the Giants had to punt from deep in their own territory. The Giants’ punter, Jeff Feagles, shanked his kick and the Cowboys were poised to get the ball on the Giants’ 40. However, one of the Cowboys had lined up off-side, giving the Giants five yards and a fresh kick. The result is the Cowboys got the ball near their own 40. When the camera turned to Wade Phillips’ for his reaction, all you could see on his face was frustration and a look of helplessness. A real coach would have found the offending player and chewed him out, but Phillips likes to be the players’ friend. And that is why his team makes idiotic mistakes like LINING UP OFFSIDE ON A KICK!

There is a reason Wade Phillips’ teams have never won a playoff game.

On top of this, Phillips is supposed to be a defensive specialist, but his team — despite several pro bowlers — is mediocre on defense. Truly, this man brings nothing to the sideline, except a pliability, which is why Jerry Jones hired him in the first place. 

I’m not that impressed by the heir apparent either. I liked Jason Garrett as a player. But he isn’t much of an offensive coordinator. Last year in the playoffs, he didn’t appear to make any adjustments during the Giants’ game to reduce the pressure from the Giants’ defense on Tony Romo. By the end of the game, Romo was harried and frustrated and couldn’t make the clutch plays. Maybe a little of that is on Romo, but most of it is on the offensive coordinator. This year, the Cowboys offense continues to look inept, despite the fact that they have a terrific group of skilled players. Yes Romo is out, but even before losing him this offense didn’t look very prolific. Part of it is that the offensive line stinks. It really does. It can’t run block and it can’t pass block. For this I blame the man who assembled this group of blivets. They are big, but they can’t move.

So that gets us to the ultimate culprit in all this: Jerry Jones. The Cowboys will never win another playoff game until someone who actually understands football is running the show in Dallas. Like most rich men, Jerry Jones thinks that his ability to make lots of money in one area makes him a genius. The only reason the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in the 1990s is because Jimmy Johnson was there — even though Barry Switzer coached the third win, the team still reflected Jimmy’s talent. Either Jerry Jones needs to sell this team, or he needs to turn over operations to someone else — and not his idiotic son, either.

Until that time, Cowboy fans are destined to be frustrated.

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