Several bows and a handshake

More zaniness at City of Palms Park today where the Yankees and Hideki Matsui came to town. Because the Red Sox had their annual union meeting and didn’t have regular scheduled batting practice, there was no casual greeting between Hideki Matsui and Daisuke Matsuzaka. In lieu of that, one was organized.

The dead give-away came when the large throng of Japanese photographers walked down the third base line at about 6:30, almost as if in a parade. In actuality, they were getting in position for the money shot of Matsui, Matsuzaka and Okajima meeting each other behind home plate.

It’s been a long time since Dice-K and Matsui have been on the same field. It was 2001 in the Japan Series. Matsui was 0-for-3 against Matsuzaka, but his team swept the series. Could Matsuzaka earn some good, old-fashioned revenge in this year’s ALCS?

One of the treats with a Red Sox-Yankee game is getting the opportunity to ask Joe Torre questions. This guy is one of the most quotable people I’ve ever seen in my years of covering sports. Ask him a question, and, invariably, he gives you a great answer.

Torre seemed delighted that Papelbon is no longer closing for the Sox. Here was his quote on the Red Sox closing situation:

“it’s a huge question mark. You play in that ballpark, no
lead is safe in that ballpark. Where other ballparks, three runs is save, five
or six should be a save in that ballpark. Leads disappear very quickly. That
kid, what a job he did. Papelbon did a spectacular job. He was intimidating,
sort of really the opposite of what Foulke brought to the mound. With Foulke, it was more finesse and knowhow. This
kid has great stuff and seemed pretty polished too. But yeah, closer is like a
regular player.”

It was also funny to hear Torre’s impression on rabid Red Sox fans. He was asked if he’s surprised the rivalry hasn’t toned down any since the Sox actually did win the World Series in 2004.

"I thought some of the anger would subside. Sometimes you
have to remind the Red Sox fans they did win the world series. They still
maintain that personality. I mean, I love Boston, but the anger that has been built up there over the years is still the same.
There’s still a lot of resentment to the Yankeess and stuff like that. That’s
what fuels the whole rivlary. It’s a great rivalry. I thought the Dodgers and
Giants, which I grew up with, was pretty special. But I wasn’t on the field for
those so I really couldn’t give you the true flavor of it. This is something special."

Just an FYI to all you faithful readers, I’m getting on a plane to Boston in the morning and going home to spend six days with my family. Redsox.com will be in the fine hands of Maureen Mullen, who does a very nice job. As long as she doesn’t Wally Pipp me, all will be right in the world!

But feel free to keep chiming in on the blog and all check the comments section on occasion. I’ll be back in the saddle on March 20.

Until then, peace out and sayonara!

Ian.

51 Comments

Funny the little, useless things I notice when I watch a ballgame. Saw the Sox/Yanks game on YES last night, and a couple of thoughts came to mind:

1) Someone needs to give Manny a razor and make him use it. That patchy thing he calls a beard looks terrible. In the words of Crash Davis (the movie character, not the actual major leaguer who played for the Athletics): “Think classy, you’ll be classy.”

2) How much does Julio Lugo weigh, 83 pounds? Can’t be more than 85.

On a more performance-oriented note, I also noticed:

1) Doug Mirabelli looks much more relaxed and quiet at the plate. He still waves the bat a bit while he waits for the pitch, but it’s not as jerky and the bat doesn’t move back and forth as far.

2) Javier Lopez made Matsui look kind of silly, waving at two pitches away before watching strike three. After that, Lopez looked pretty average against the string of right handers. I realize he probably would have only stayed in for Matsui if it was the regular season, but it would have been nice to see him do a little better.

3) Craig Hansen handled himself pretty well. After giving up a hit on his first pitch, followed by three straight balls to the next batter, he got himself out of the inning with no damage. His pitching motion looks a little funny to me, mainly his arm. He never seems to extend it, looking like he’s pushing the ball. Not that I know anything about pitching, but it’s surprising to me that he can generate as much velocity as he does with that motion.

Have a nice vay-kay with the family, Ian.

Enjoy the time with the family now, because soon you will be faced with the looong season. As for being Pipped, not a chance buddy.

Who is going to close on April 2? I don’t feel like we are any closer to an answer now than we were on Feb. 15. I think Theo is going to make a trade.

Ellsbury or Murphy and Julian Tavarez to Washington for Chad Cordero. Is it enough ?

Please don’t throw garbage at me, you have to give quality to get quality. (By quality i mean the kids, not Tavarez !) And Cordero’s still young.

Or maybe that Taylor Tankersley in Florida. Is he real good ? I don’t know him very well.

As far as Tankersley, all the radio shows down here are very hot about him. I haven’t seen him pitch yet. I was listening to the Marlins game off and on today and every time you turned around, they were talking about him. I don’t think that the local media would be talking him up like this if there wasn’t something there to back it up. But please think about drafting my mother before making Tavarez our closer,or at least give her a try out!!

I choose your mother. She can’t do worse. And she probably has better temper.

Man ! I’m mean !

The Sox look like a force to be reckoned with this year, but obviously this closer situation is a huge question mark casting its shadow on the otherwise sunny forecast for the season. Sure would love to see something happen as far as a trade for a tried and true closer. It’s gonna tear my heart out if I have to watch two and three-run leads evaporate under the lights of Fenway because there was no one out there to do the job. I read somewhere that a closer was being looked at but that money might be an issue as far as picking him up. Well, Theo, you gotta pay to play. Dig deep, bite the bullet, dish out the cash, and serve up another World Series for Red Sox nation! On another note, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see Matsuzaka and Okajima on the staff. I live in Hiroshima, Japan, expatriated from Vermont, and I have suffered through the immense popularity of the Yankees Matsui’s affect on the people here for years: Yankees caps, jackets, t-shirts everywhere, not to mention NHK-TV tended to solely broadcast Yanks and Mariners games. Only got to see the Sox when they went up against those two or when satellite parced out a Sox game seven or eight times a month. But I think that will all change this year. Looking forward to a bunch more Sox games on NHK on top of the games I get to see through the satellite SkyPerfecTV MLB package I buy every year. And with the Gameday Audio (best deal on the internet, $14.95 for every radio broadcast of every game for every team –home and away feeds) I am gonna be able to catch each and every game one way or another. Already seeing tons of Red Sox caps and shirts springing up amongst the Japanese here! Matsuzaka is truly a national hero; Red Sox nation has just grown exponentially. I love that there seems to be a good balance to the once dominant Yankees logo. But I will still get a kick out of looking a Japanese guy wearing a Yankees cap in the eye, smiling, and saying brightly,”HEY!!! YANKEES ****!!!” Since the slang word *****’ is lost on them here, they usually think I am saying ‘Go Yankees’ or the like and smile back and say,”Yeah!!!” It never gets old, man. Lovin’ this Sox Yanks rivalry more than ever as a displaced Sox fan and sixteen-year resident of Japan. Can’t wait. LET THE (real) GAMES BEGIN!

I like the idea of Taylor Tankersley. He would likely only cost the Sox someone like Murphy. The Marlins expressed interest in Murphy during the off-season and are as desperate to find a center fielder as the Sox are to find a closer. No way should Theo deal Ellsbury. He’s a star in the making. I’d rather deal Hansen than Ellsbury.

Jeff

Sox and Pinstripes

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Tavarez as the closer, huh?

Sounds…strangely interesting. In the games he started last season (I think it was 5 or 6 of them), he wasn’t great, but then again he wasn’t a complete failure either.

I remember, last season, Big Papi saying how he loved how Tavarez brought a fire-like enthusiasm with each start and with every groundball he got with runners on base, he’d get all fired up in directing the traffic on where the ball would/should go.

If he can bring that type of enthusiasm and fired up enthusiasm to 1-2 innings and not be complete ****, it might just work. Call me crazy if you’d like, but at the moment it seems to be the case.

IF he is the closer (barring another Timlin setback), then as Red Sox Nation, we should rally behind him with all our support. We know that a player’s psyche goes into at least some of what/how a player performs out on the field. So lets not boo him until he starts giving up 3 runs every opportunity.

Although, I’m all up for a trade as long as it doesn’t gut our farm system. :)

Side comment: Where else besides Jeff’s blog did I hear about Snyder being considered a closer candidate?

Makes some sense considering he’s done well in Spring Training and he’s been always pretty good in less than 4-5 innings.

Is everyone enjoying the latest A-Rod positioning? He’s laying the groundwork now to cash in on the out-clause in his contract by setting up the fans. “If the fans don’t love me this year, than I’m leaving and its their fault…” Instead, he should be saying… “I’m leaving because I’m a goat that can’t take the heat and want more, and easier, money somewhere else… but don’t want to admit it.”.

Not to mention that “Derek’s not my pal anymore we don’t even have sleepovers, and the more years I’m here without a ring the worse it looks on my resume”.

Better yet, ARod should be saying: I thought that when they bought me, they’d make me their ss and I haven’t been game enough to make the transition to 3rd, or I didn’t WANT to make that transition. When you’re making that kind of paycheck and you don’t live up to expectations and the fans get down on you…. DON’T BLAME IT ON THE FANS, they aren’t the ones who didn’t get the job done. just a PS for AR, leave that pretty “slapping glove” at home when you go to the next team…. but remember your lip gloss.

LOL!!
Arod makes himself such a great target. My advice to him: don’t talk to anyone, ever.

Don’t get us started on the lip gloss! Too funny!

On to baseball. Does it seem to anyone else that the Sox aren’t hitting worth a dang? Or is this normal?

And look! JB’s era is 3.10. Not bad.

2.79 now!

Have no fear, Arnie. With the line-up the Sox have, there will be lots of hitting. Spring training is just that, training. And since we are still two weeks from the season, I wouldn’t panic just yet.

What I would worry about is the daily deaths of American soldiers in Iraq that the ‘news’ doesn’t even deem newsworthy any more. The article about Ortiz and his relationship to the soldier who was killed in action brought tears to my eyes. What a sad waste of life. That he died for Bush’s lies and Cheney’s oil makes me sick. I can tell you flat out as an American living in Japan for 16 years, the rest of the world is really wondering what’s wrong with America these days. I spend time with people from all over the world here in the international community in Hiroshima, and the attitude toward America is pretty much the same from all them:”Bush is a criminal, Cheney is a liar, how the **** could you Americans elect those guys TWICE?!” Frankly, I don’t have a good answer for them, except maybe that Bush wasn’t legally elected the first time. And frankly, as an American, I am increasingly embarrassed by America’s belligerence. Baseball is one thing we can still be proud of, but there is a dwindling number of things to be proud of these days.

Love America,

Loathe Bush

Support the Troops,

Tell the Truth

Well, how did we get to this on a baseball blog? Oh yea, Ortiz’ friend. I was against the war when it started, but if we leave now we will make it even worse. If Americans can have the fortitude to stay and make sure a real, stable, democracy is in place then those soldiers will not have died in vain. So many of the troops come back and say that Iraq is improving greatly and the people appreciate it and us. You don’t hear abt that too often.
Bush has been a terrible president in a lot of ways; a social conservative and a fiscal…well, democrat, no even worse, he spends tax money like water. But I don’t think the USA should take into account the opinion of other countries to make policy. Do you ask your neighbors if they like you before you make a decision?

Don’t loathe anyone. My advice for the day!

Don’t you find it the slightest bit distressing that America’s once great reputation around the world has been dragged through the mud and discarded into the sewer? Our power in the past was not our military, it was our ‘goodness’, our reputation as a country that fought for what is right. And your contention that troops are coming back saying that Iraq has improved greatly is absurd. Iraq has deteriorated on a consistent basis since the day Bush claimed that the war was over and we had won. That was, what, three years ago on that aircraft carrier? How many thousands have died since then? The news I see tells me that Iraq is on the brink of chaos and our very presence there is making things worse rather than better.

I think we agree that Bush is the worst president in the history of the U.S. But your contention that Bush spends like a democrat is a joke. What was the state of the budget when bush took office? A SURPLUS!!! A surpuls created by a democrat who had himself inherited a deficit from yet another ‘fiscally conservative’ republican president. This notion that republicans are fiscally conservative and democrats are not is pure BUNK, as is the notion that democrats are weak on defense and republicans are strong. Being strong on defense does not mean preemptive attacks on weakened nations like Iraq (still no wmd found yet, by the way). Bush said Hussein wouldn’t allow the weapons inspectors in, yet the truth is they were there on the ground and they were told to leave by Bush.

Gyaa!!!! This makes me crazy. I know this is the wrong forum for this and I will say no more after I finish this last rant, no matter what responses spring up. I apologize, but in my defense, it was the Ortiz article that got me started. But before I fulfill my promise to leave politics off the sports blogs, I have this to say. I DO loathe Bush. I hate him with every fiber of my being. I have watched as America has sunk to new lows month after month during this villain’s term in office. Americans overseas were once proud to say American when asked where we were from. That is no longer the case. And yes, it is important to be respected by your neighbors. Do you think your neighbors would like it if you burned tires in your backyard and threw all-night keggers every night? Or would you say,”Screw ‘em. I’ll do what I want ’cause that’s what being American is all about.” Somehow I doubt it very much. The notion that we shouldn’t care what our neighbors think is so blatantly antisocial and frankly pathological that it scares me to think that many Americans espouse this notion.

I will say no more. I promise. Can’t wait to read the responses. But I will bite my tongue from here on in. Looking forward to an awesome season of baseball and a world where peace may one day reign.

Thou shalt not kill.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Simple, huh?

Now back to our regular scheduled programming…

So where’s our closer? ;-)

And as for A-Rod, like Ellen and Arnie said, it’s not the fans, it’s him. I think it was on ESPN Radio where it was said that A-Rod should just keep his mouth shut and not open it. Perhaps he should take a cue from Manny and not talk to the media.

(Not to put any of the current discussion in a bad light or ignore it but it’s tough to read as I’ve had 3 acquaintances from college get hurt in the war. Let’s just say rehab is VERY VERY painful. So it’s a bit depressing to read all this at times).

Sorry.

As for A-Rod, I was always confident that he could do for the Yankees what he did for Texas. Keep up the good work, Alex!

I won’t continue this politics, this is not the place. I’m more of a free market capitalist and lean toward the libertarian, so it is unlikely we’d agree anyway. But you only hurt yourself when you are full of hatred, I stick by that. One last thing; the US IS rebuilding infrastructure in Iraq, it is not all negative(it never is).

Arod is like a charicature. A parody of himself maybe. Just enjoy the ride Alex!!! You are doing what so many people dream of and you are not happy!

Do you suppose Francona named Tavarez the closer to motivate Theo to trade for a REAL closer? Are baseball managers that devious?

My tongue is shredded and bleeding, but I will bite it, as promised.

On the proper topic, I agree that A-Rod is just a whiny little child. God, that I were able to make millions for playing my guitar and singing for throngs of adoring fans, I’d be happy as a clam with the world as my oyster. Buck up, A-Rod. You’d do yourself more justice by laughing all the way to the bank.

On the subject that we’re not going to talk about… GOD BLESS YOU, YOURS AND OURS… (but why aren’t GW’s daughters serving???) ooops, sorry!!

Prince Harry is serving in a tank brigade. The twins are just getting tanked.

Couldn’t resist.

I think its a really high possibility that the Yanks will let A-Rod go… especially if they consider these stats:

A’Rod’s last year in Seattle (2000) – # of Wins: 91

Seattle’s first year without A-Rod (2001) – # of Wins: 116 = Jump of 25 wins.

A’Rod’s last year in Texas (2003) – # of Wins: 71

Texas first year without A-Rod (2004) – # of Wins: 89 = Jump of 18 wins.

If the Yanks would like 21.5 more wins than the 92 they’ll get this year, they should dump A-Rod.

Wow, isn’t it amazing how politics can bring out the raving lunacy in people. JK
Interesting #’s rayman, maybe Jeff’s “curse of Arod” has some validity!

Any word on a closer who is NOT Armando Benitez? And why would Theo pass up a healthy Gagne and go for AB?

No doubt, Arnie. Bush is in politics and he is undoubtedly a raving lunatic.

Be careful there, Arnie. Expressing one’s opinion is a far cry from raving and/or lunacy. And as I recall, you were the one who made the reply that kept the politics going beyond my one comment regarding the Ortiz article.

Ignorance is treason.

But if you want raving lunacy, track down and talk to the (supposed) 50% of Americans who don’t believe in evolution. Or you might want to have a beer with the folks who think Iraq had something to do with 9/11. Better yet, have a little sit down with the ‘good Americans’ who are willing to give up the rights of privacy and allow the CIA and FBI to read your mail, email, enter your house, data-base your credit card info, etc. because, in their words,”I have nothing to hide.” But maybe it just isn’t important to have a lawyer if you are arrested, and ****, who needs to even know WHY you were arrested? Those guys are trustworthy, right? No need for courts even. If Bush says I am a criminal, well then I guess I should just be thrown in jail for the rest of my life without access to a lawyer, a trial, or family…in fact no need to even tell my family because I am a hopeless criminal, right?*******! I broke my promise! Oh, well. People must be used to that, what with the current administration’s inability to live up to the oath they took to uphold the Constitution; not to mention the promises made to the injured troops who were interred at Walter Reed.

GOD, I LOVE BASEBALL!!!

Come on guys, we all know there are a million political blogs out there. This is not the place for such fodder. This is a place for the less serious issues of baseball. Go take the politics somewhere else. Any further instances of political rants will be deleted on the spot. Let’s keep it to baseball, or at least sports in general, as we all know i’ve been known to go off on a tangent about the Pats or Celts from time to time.

Sorry, Ian. I will stick to sports. I really DO love baseball.

Ooops..sorry. Must have missed the JK in my post.

Yup. Missed it, Arnie. Didn’t register that it meant ‘Just kidding.’ It may be helpful not to speak in ‘net code’ in the future. Just a thought. Anyway, I think I’ve got it out of my system now. Looks like Ian was kinda bummed. I will leave it at this: I was touched deeply by the Ortiz article.

Truly can’t wait for opening day. High hopes for the Sox this year. And as a resident of Japan, I will bet the rice paddy that Matsuzaka is gonna kick butt this year. Okajima can also be expected to pull his weight. I have seen and been continually impressed by the incredible work ethic of Japanese pitchers over the course of my 16 years here. Nomo is my hero, being such a pioneer and all, but Daisuke will surely live up to his billing.

All the best from Hiroshima.

Well, I coulda said “Look how excited we get…” but raving lunacy has a more poetic ring, dontcha think?

Looks like I am the only one awake. Good. The adrenaline is still flowin’ after a KB friday night. Busy one!
Quick primer for some abbreviations you may find here:

OMG–Oh My God!, or,as we said in New England; Oh My Gawd!

BTW–By The Way

LOL–Laugh Out Loud

IMO, IMHO–In My Opinion, or, In My Humble Opinion

ABT–About

KB–Kick But t

EMS–English Market Select-refers to the color of cigar wrapper, a shade darker than Natural…..whoops, this is a baseball blog.

I’m sure you know the baseball terms, ERA, RBI, BA, OBP and so on.

There are others, FOD, ****, but this is a family blog after all.

Hmm…didn’t like s t f u.

‘Raving lunacy’ is by far more catchy, no doubt.

The Sox need a raving lunatic in the closer role, wouldn’t you say? Papelbon had that quality with his glaring stare, and it seems that most good closers do have that raving lunatic quality to them. In that respect, Tavarez just might be the man to rave lunacy as a closer. He certainly looks like the kind of guy who might just bean ya in the head for chewing gum. Whadda ya think? (Actually, from what I’ve read, Tavarez is a really nice guy with a great sense of humor, but appearances can be everything in the heat of battle.)

Peace out.

Arnie, I’m not ‘still up’ as you may think. It’s 3:00 in the afternoon here. Thanks for the glossary of abbreviations, but I’m completely oblivious. I just didn’t catch the JK as being part of the previous comment. For some reason I thought you were referring to someone’s initials on first read.

But I still don’t see the need to use abbreviations at all, except of course for baseball stats. Are we trying to save space? Why not just say,”Just kidding.” when you’re just kidding? Avoids any and all confusion.

Anyway,

cya, gn, sw, tla, wbs,

Mark in Hiroshima

brb 1 min.

ooops. Meant to say I’m NOT completely oblivious. Gonna take some for that I’m sure. Laughing right out loud and rolling on the floor while doing it. He he.

Maureen,( since Ian is on vac )we need a new post.
Something, anything. This one’s worn out, and it’s getting weird.

Any topic will do.

BASEBALL TOPIC, should i say.

Hoping to see baseball talks on Sunday.

Ian, are there any concerns about pedroia in general not performing? Especially after last season’s call up. Do you think there is a backup plan in place just in case Pedroia is struggling come June?

Sorry guys, but I couldn’t help but burst out laughing when I saw Ian just “lay down the law” on the political entries. It was quite amusing.

Since we’re all back on topic, that whole “raving lunatic theory” about Tavarez might just work. He’s got that crazy enthusiasm. Heck, if it take him a month after the season starts to complete adjust but is very good afterwards, I’ll take that.

As for Eric Gagne…yeah I wish Theo had taken the chance on him. But such is life.

As for Pedroia, the backup/backup plan from what’s been said is Alex Cora. He’s an average/above average player and Tito’s got faith in him.

Vince,
I think the Sox got Super Joe in case Pedroia doesn’t work out.

As for Tavarez, he has the attitude, but I think there is something wrong with his skills. Either mechanics or control. He gives up too many walks and gopherballs.

My apologies to all for any part I may have had, however small, in the politicizing of Ian’s fine blog.

Nice stint by Kason Gabbard today. 3 scoreless innings against the O’s as a starter and they had their A team. He and a healthy Jon Lester will provide good depth out of Pawtucket barring an injury to one of our studs. Good “lefty depth”, should i say.

And we also have good depth in the bullpen, too. Delcarmen, Lopez, Hansack ( assuming they’re all be cut ). Now that’s good pitching.

Well, yeah… except for the closer spot. Here we are again!!

About that closer’s role…

Tim Brown on Yahoo! Sports reported this from Phoenix, AZ:

“Keep an eye on the Boston Red Sox, who suddenly are getting very active in their search for a closer.

Al Nipper on Friday afternoon scouted Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Derrick Turnbow, who pitched well against the Los Angeles Angels, and on Friday night scouted Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Jorge Julio, who was so-so against the Oakland A’s.

The San Francisco Giants would love to dress up Armando Benitez over the next week or so, making him attractive to the Red Sox. Benitez touched 93 mph on Saturday against the Colorado Rockies, and the Giants believe he’ll be at 95 by next week.”

My personal take, I’m semi sold on Turnbow but not on Benitez unless he’s COMPLETELY injury-free. I know the Giants want to shop him and there might be more than just an economic reason.

Good call on Turnbow but let’s not forget that the Brewers felt the need to go get Coco Cordero even with a healthy Turnbow in their lineup last year. You choose the right words : semi sold.

As for Julio and Benitez, i’d prefer by far Craig Hansen. Let’s get the kid a chance.

I meant : let’s GIVE the kid a chance.

I think Hansen will get his chance. But until he shows more confidence in how he’s pitching and starts to do what he did back in college, he won’t be the closer.

The good news with that is Hansen is progressing there and that I’ll take that. Here’s to hoping he can do it (and I think he can).

As for today, Gabbard did quite well and Tavarez threw 3 scoreless innings. Which now has me thinking; somebody, what’s the ERA and IP of everybody that’s eligible for the closer’s role (that being, Piniero, Donnelly, Timlin, Tavarez, Hansen). Heck, lets even look at others (Hansack, Delcarmen).

I’ll wager a guess that Tavarez has the best numbers so far, which is a possible reason why he’s being mentioned as the closer. Then again, it could be like somebody said above; Tito could be doing this to shake up Red Sox brass and that would be ingenious and devious =)

You can get all the stats on RedSox.com/stats but here’re the ones you’re looking for by IP-ERA-BB-K

Pineiro : 8.2/4.15/4/6

Donnelly :6.2/6.75/3/7

Hansen :3.0/9.00/1/1

Tavarez :12.2/3.55/7/5

Snyder :8.1/2.16/4/9

As you can see, nothing to right home about. The best numbers are Snyder’s and the best stuff is Hansen’s.

Timlin has no stats since he’s hurt. I also like Delcarmen and Romero.

Nice headache !

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