Thursday, March 30, 2006

Still playing catch up

It's tough trying to get back into your normal routine after nearly two weeks off! I'm still trying to clear out my email in-box and clear my desk of debris. And trying to sneak in a little Game Day Audio of the last Sox ST game... Some leftovers

1. Oh, Bronson, we'll miss you. But considering he's struck out 9 today vs. the Sox, I may be glad he's gone to the National League. Ooo - they just interviewed him, and he's wearing those funky "perfomance-enhancing" contacts.

2. The guys at the Onion strike more gold: "Steinbrenner names Johnny Damon as new Yankee scapegoat"

3. Today's Globe has an interesting interview with stats guru Bill James. One of my favorites parts of the article is the inclusion of the email owner John Henry initially sent to James, inviting him to be a part of the organization. I love this part:
We're engaged in this epic, long-term battle/saga with the New York Yankees. We are determined to achieve what no long-suffering, die-hard Red Sox fan believes can actually happen. Wherever we go across the nation, Red Sox fans come out in large numbers. They're all waiting to be delivered. It's not an exaggeration. Short of war, there has not been a bigger quest since King Arthur's days. We've joined together, we're having a lot of fun and it's just beginning here.
Awesome stuff!

4. Selig finally makes a move about the steroids issue. What will come of it, is anyone's guess.

5. Schilling to open the season next Monday at Texas. I think baseball opening day should be a national holiday - why should we have to be stuck at work??

6. You know that I love any article that bashes the Yanks. Here's a great one on Sports Illustrated's site today! This is classic:
Sure, Red Sox fans miss Johnny Damon now, but by 2008, when his throwing arm has gotten so bad that he's forced to run up and hand the ball to the cutoff man, they'll be glad someone else is signing his checks. By the last year of the deal he'll need a bike, a slingshot and some sort of light rail to get the ball into the infield, possibly clearing the way for a David Ortiz inside-the-park home run, which would surely be baseball's first ever nine-minute play
7. Finally, I'm so psyched for tonight's NESN special, Rem Dawg Unleashed. Thirty minutes of the hilarity that is Jerry Remy - I've got the vcr set!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The cursed ball

Last summer, I spent a week in Boston - and went to six Red Sox games. I toted with me from Tennessee a brand new baseball, all ready for signatures. And I managed to nab a few, which was very exciting to this fan-girl. I've had the Ball proudly displayed in my home since.

However, I've come to think it's cursed. Why? Because everyone who signed it is now gone:
  • Bill Mueller - gone to the LA Dodgers
  • Bronson Arroyo - dealt to the Cincinnati Reds
  • Manny DelCarmen - sent down to Pawtucket
  • Johnny Pesky - got hit by a line drive last week and got a broken leg
  • Stewart O'Nan (co-author of Faithful) - traded to ESPN for Bill Simmons

Okay, so the last is still kicking around. But I'm beginning to wonder if Globe beat reporter Chris Snow was smart to not sign it!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Oh, the places I've been

Some details to follow - but had a great 10 days in Italy!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Pat's - and welcome back Tek!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope you're having some kind of celebration. I am - and also celebrating the fact that Tek is on his way back to Fort Myers where he belongs. Yes, I'm sorry the USA didn't manage to make the semi-finals of the WBC - although part of me reveled in watching yet another "disappointed" face from A-Rod! But the best news is the Jason Varitek can now get back to Spring Training and start whipping those pitchers into shape. The Sox don't seem to be taking ST very seriously this year - although that seems to be epidemic. Jason Stark was on Mike & Mike yesterday, talking about how he attended a Yankee's ST game the other day where the average player number was like 75 (for those of you who don't follow baseball as rabidly as I, the high numbers are traditionally given to minor leaguers and non-roster invitees - so this wasn't the A-team!)

I won't be blogging for the next week or so - I'll give details later! - but it's nice to think that when I'm back on-line, it'll only be a week until opening day! In the meantime, here is the Weight Watchers' version of the traditional Irish Blessing:

May your fruits be sweet and tasty.
May your veggies be fresh and crisp.
May your vitamin go down easy.
And your walks pleasant and brisk.

And until we meet again…
Let your weight loss be steady
And your steps be light.
And may good choices find you
Each morning and night.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

South Korean motivation

According to Murray Chass in yesterday's New York Times (registration required), the South Koreans have a big motivator at work. If they make the semi-finals, the government will waive the players' required 26 months of military service. The older players - who already received waivers for winning the 2002 Olympic bronze medal - are "trying their best to help the younger players so they can have a longer baseball life," according to their press liason.

This was also a great quote from Chass:

While the pitching is populated by major leaguers, the other part of the roster is filled with players named Lee. All three outfielders are named Lee, and the first baseman and third baseman are, too. How is the home run hitter, the first baseman, distinguished from the other Lees?

"He's the most handsome," Seo said, and both players immediately broke up laughing.

I have to say, they have looked pretty impressive so far. They beat Japan last night, eliminating their rivals and allowing the USA to control their own destiny. The USA-Mexico game is on tonight on ESPN at 7:30 pm

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tito's Contract & the WBC

So, the Sox and Francona worked out a new contract, extended through 2008. I know some of his managerial moves drive the fans crazy - some question his ability to manage "in-game" - but let's look at the bottom line: two years, two playoffs, one World Series championship... Plus the players seem to love him - probably because he stands by his players. Look how long he stuck by Millar - long after he should have been using Olerud or Youkilis more. And he did give Bellhorn plenty of chances to bounce back.

Here's my favorite quote about the contract negotiations - from

The contract was signed at about 12:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday at City of Palms Park, before the team's game against the Cincinnati Reds.

"I was going to the bathroom," Francona said. "Theo walked it in. That's when you got a pretty good relationship. When your general manager can come and hand it to you while you're on the toilet, you got a pretty good relationship."

Yeah, I'd say that's a close relationship...

And check out the Dugout - aawww.

One of my favorite blogs to read is Jose Melendez. Like him, I'm having a real hard time rooting for the US team in the World Baseball Classic. It's not that I'm not patriotic, but the make up of the team makes me ill. Here's Jose's take:

That’s why this is so hard. Tomorrow, the American baseball team will battle Mexico, perhaps with a trip to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic on the line. And for all of his love of country, Jose cannot get behind this team knowing that Roger Clemens will be getting the ball, that Alex Rodriguez will be playing third, that Derek Jeter will be at short and that Judas Damon will be sitting on the bench icing his ouchy shoulder like a total pansy.

Of course, it could all be a moot point. I'm not sure of the weird math behind it, but if Japan wins tonight, there's the possibility that the USA is out. So, I guess we'll wait and see.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A belated Monday post

By the time I settled down to blog last night, I couldn't get in to Blogger. Now I realize that it was during the maintenance outage last night. Ooops. So some of these are holdovers from yesterday. And I didn't think there'd be any pictures, because Photobucket ws down the morning. Computers, computers, computers...

At the risk of using up all my cliches before the season even starts, I'm becoming coocoo for Coco. There are all kinds of reports out of Ft Myers, about how he signs autographs for ages, really works the crowd. And his showing some pretty balletic moves - dare I say, almost "Damon-esque"? Here's Francona:
''The one thing I really have been excited with is when he hits the ball he runs like his pants are on fire," said Francona. ''I love that. He hits it and he runs." (Globe)
We like that, too. And speaking of Damon, I found this interesting piece thanks to the Soxaholix - it's from the Stamford newspaper:
Damon's left shoulder ailed him enough last year that he received a cortisone shot in September. It apparently factored into the Red Sox's refusal to match the Yankees' four-year, $52-million offer to Damon in December. Nevertheless, Damon has never gone on the disabled list in 11 major-league seasons.
So maybe it wasn't so much "disrespect"!

How's this for a beautiful sight?

I'm glad to see Big Papi is getting into regular season form! Is he actually from this planet?

Last summer, I got a lot of amusement from seeing Dustin Pedrioa playing down at Pawtucket. He was so tiny! We joked that it looked like they had to find a batboy's uniform for him to wear. So I loved this in this morning's Globe:

Growing into it

Dustin Pedroia measured 5 feet 8 inches at his physical last spring. This year, he measured 5-9 1/4. Could he really have grown? ''Yeah," said the 22-year-old prospect. ''They said I did." Told the adjustment would be noted in print, Pedroia said, ''Thank you."

Maybe they can find him a full-sized uni now!

The rumor mill has it that the Sox are looking to reacquire Doug Mirabelli from the Padres. I was sorry to see Doug go - but one reason I accepted the trade was because I thought he'd finally have a chance to be an every day player. Although I loved watching him work with Wake, it must be frustrating to have the talent to play on that level, yet be pigeon-holed into a once-every-six days format. But then the Padres signed Mike Piazza, and it looks like they're going to give the star catcher most of the work. I'm sure Doug will still start more than he did, but...So maybe it might be good to get him back - although I think they can find someone to catch Wakefield.

I'm growing fond of that cute little Adam Stern. He seemed to spend most of last season with that deer-in-the-headlights look when he played, but I think his Team Canada experience may take that edge off. I loved this in the Herald:
The experience only fortified the 26-year-old’s immense national pride. Stern, who played for Canada in the 2004 Athens Olympics, has a tattoo of the Canadian maple leaf intertwined with the Olympic rings above his heart
I want to see a photo of that! And how did the Canadians relax before they broke camp for the WBC? Playing street hockey, of course, with the winners buying the beer. However, according to the Globe:

The only downer: the boys couldn't get the beer they wanted, which would have been either Labatt Blue (made in Stern's hometown of London, Ontario) or Molson.

''We couldn't get it shipped in, coming across the border," Stern said. ''We had Busch Light, Coors Light. For us that's like water. Pretty much we were hydrating with that stuff.

I love it - hydrating with American beer. Oh, Canada, indeed!

Sunday, March 12, 2006


This from SI :
A classic battle is shaping up at second base between Bellhorn, 31, and Barfield, the 23-year-old son of former big leaguer Jesse Barfield. The buzz is that the front office would like to see the exciting Barfield on Opening Day but that Bochy leans toward the veteran....

And this from Kelly:
Ohhh, the curls.. I can't wait until April 15th - when I can see them in person!

Papelbon v. Twin

In my own Spring Training tune-up, I pulled out the old scorebook this weekend, and tried to brush up on my scoring skills.

And you can see - a total mess! I guess that's why they call them Spring Training games...

Speaking of which, Schilling showed up on the SoSH board yesterday after his appearance in the Pirates game. Among his comments, I was struck by this:

"I felt pretty damn good today, command, velocity, and at the plate.......
The 2006 AL East race, to me anyway, is about health of the pitching staffs, period"

I agree!

Today's game offered a chance to see Papelbon on the mound. Like Schilling yesterday, he looked really strong - at first! Pitched two great innings. Unfortunately, he was on the mound for three... The NESN guys keep talking about Pap's previous start vs. the Twins - which was July 31st. A game I was at! That was the very dramatic game in which Manny drove in the game-winning run.

And, while waiting impatiently for more shots from Kelly's trip to Arizona, here's a sneak:

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Schilling v. Pirates

Our first real look at Curt Schilling today, in a spring training game vs. Pittsburgh at Bradenton. He looked pretty awesome for the first three innings - no hits, 3 strikeouts, only 26 pitches.

Then came the fourth. He hit a batter, threw a wild pitch, and threw 31 pitches. And gave up 4 runs.

Still, 41 of his 57 pitches have been strikes.

Offensively - JT Snow is 2-for-3 with 2 RBIS. Dustin Mohr hit a homer (and had an RBI single in the first).

And of course, great to hear Jerry & Don!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

How Un-Sweet

You Are Diet Coke

You are energy in its purest form. No need to complicate things with sweetness.
And while people may hate your aftertaste, you are seen as a necessary evil.

Your best soda match: 7 Up

Stay away from: Coke

WBC - Wednesday

There's been a lot in the American press about how Americans just aren't embracing the World Baseball Classic. (By contrast, there seems to be a huge amount of interest in the Latin American countries.) This photo above of some of the crowd at the US-Canada game about sums it up.

But I think probably part of the problem is that the MEDIA hasn't really embraced it. Yesterday's game is the perfect example. Team Canada pulled off a huge upset of the US team, beating them 8-6 is an electrifying game. Sox reserve outfielder Adam Stern was the big hero - three huge hits including an inside-the-park homer. Several fantastic defensive plays in center field, too (or should I say, centre field?) I turn on ESPN this morning to see the recap - and it's buried in their broadcast, highlights not coming until after the first commercial break. My local newspaper had it on page five, next to trivial notes from the Braves ST camp.

Why? I know there's a real danger of the US being embarrassed. Being beaten by the Canadians yesterday was a shocker for some of them. Manager Buck Martinez talked about how quiet the locker room was after the game. By contrast, the Canadians apparently cued up a tape of Stern's home run and kept it running in a loop. It's interesting that the entire Canadian team - which is made up mostly of minor leaguers - earns a combined salary of $6.6 million. Compare that to the USA's Ken Griffey Jr, who this year will earn $12 million.

In the meantime, I hope Francona is watching our boy Stern in action. I think this could be our fourth outfielder - if he can stay healthy this year. Looks like he has definite "dirt dog" potential!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

World Baseball Classic

The game between the Domincan Republic and Venezuala just started. David Ortiz led off the second with a HUGE homerun to deep center. He looks like he's ready to play!

The New York Times was all over Steinbrenner this morning, about that sign hung at Legends Field apologizing for lack of stars at ST. They point out the incredible hypocrisy. Here's George, who trots out the Irish Tenor to sing "God Bless America" at every game, who can't support the efforts of the US team! And as Murray Chass points out in his article:
Last spring, for example, the Yankees played 30 exhibition games, but Rodriguez played 23, Jeter 21 and Williams 16. Yet Steinbrenner made no apologies to the fans who showed up for games and didn't get to see one or more of those players.

I wish the Sox-Orioles game was on today...

Tuesday morning quarterbacking

1. I was 13/24 on the Oscar pool. I got killed on all those "obscure" categories, and I reversed Best Director and Best Picture. Initially, I was surprised by the victory for Crash - thought for sure Oscar voters would make a statement and choose Brokeback Mountain. But, on reflection, I think I agree. Certainly, when I finished viewing Crash, I wanted to sit down immediately with someone else and talk about it. There are so many levels and little observations, that it is quite compelling viewing. Brokeback left me wanting to sit quietly, alone, and reflect on its message. It was much more personal, I thought.

The shocker to me was the Pimp song winning best song. I'm sorry, but that was NOT the best song in a film this year. Surely, there had to be SOMETHING better!!

2. So, David Wells has decided to stay in Boston, and I for one am glad. He's a great veteran player, a big-game pitcher, and he is just plain fun to watch. He only went off the deep end a few times last year, so I'm hoping for some fireworks this year, especially since he's made it clear he's retiring at the end of the year. Why not tempt the wrath of Selig a few more times? Chris Snow's article above has got some hilarious stuff with Wells and Josh Beckett cutting up - this could be a dangerous twosome! Said Wells of Beckett's role is his staying:
"That [expletive] over there," Wells said, ''bugging the [expletive] out of me every day."
You can do the Mad Libs thing yourself and fill in the blanks!

3. Every week during the off-season, the Remy Report has been giving away 10 t-shirts. And every week, I have dutifully entered and not won. But, this week, I won!! Yeah!

4. The marquee in front of the Longhorn Steakhouse this morning had lost a few letters. It now reads "TEK Lovers eat here." Sign me up!!

5. Red Sox vs. Orioles today at ST - hope the game's on Gameday Audio. A little sneaky listening at work???

Sunday, March 05, 2006

10:00 update

I like the Oscar show set. Kind of looks like a theater lobby, with a large marquee over the stage which flasses the presenters' names and what category they're presenting. Then it flashes the winners' names. Nice.

OT - The Red Sox are now 0-3 in their league games. They've only won twice - and that was against two college teams...

Tom Cruise won a Razzie award last night - for being most over-exposed. I am so sick of hearing about his romance with katie Holmes. The award said that he had gone from being so very private to all of a sudden jumping on Oprah's couch. It IS a strange transformation

Oh, man, ANOTHER montage! Glad to see Jon Stewart is noticing it

Meryl Streep has been nominated 13 times! The most of any actor in Academy history.

Tribute to Robert Altman....

Am setting the vcr and heading to bed...

9:40 update

Don't know if I'll make it to the end!

Scorecard: 5/11 These obscure categories are killing me!

Yet another long montage/salute. Padding the broadcast again...If I ran the show - only the major awards during the broadcast. I'm sure the doumentarians and animators and art directors would pitch a fit, but I bet the ratings would skyrocket.

Also, let the President of the Academy address the audience before going on the air... "State of the Heart technology" -

Salma Hyack - great dress and great color - a rich blue.


OMG - that anti-Judy Dench ad had me crying! "Dame Judy took my eye out..."

Scorecard: 6/9

Oh those penguins squeezed out the disabled basketball players. And those cute stuffed penguins!

J-Lo - not wild about dress, but do love the color

9:00 update

Morgan Freeman - way underdressed! It's the Academy Awards - wear a tie!

Rachel Weisz: why do the Brits always come across so dignified at these things? They never sound rehearsed, yet never sound like they don't know what to say.

Lauren Bacall (shaky) - was that a salute to coming attractions? lame. This is why the show lasts 10 hours

8:45 update

I'm 3 for 4 - missed Wallace & Gromit

They're doing a pretty good job at using the presenters. They've been fairly amusing. Stiller in his green unitard = funny. And I'm so fond of those Wilson boys

Jennifer Aniston's necklace is too long for that dress

Are they going to play that annoying music underneath every speech?

Jon Stewart

Opening of the show: loved the past hosts all turning down the gig. Funny
Jon Stewart ROCKS!

I love George Clooney. Well deserved win - and a great speech. He's right - Hollywood has often led the fight on social issues

Visual Effects: King Kong

2 for 2 on my ballot

Early Oscar blog

LOVED Reese Witherspoon's dress. Silvery.
Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams are SSOO cute together. On the red carpet, he was fixing her dress and stepping back so she could be the central part of any photos.
George Clooney = hot
Not wild about Michelle William's dress, though
Sandra Bullock - take your hands out of the pockets!
Will Smith and Jada - good!
William Hurt - join Weight Watchers
Jessica Alba - gorgeous dress
Naomi Watts - yuck
Jennifer Aniston looked like deer in the headlights - clearly very uncomfortable
Felicity Huffman - showing off her real boobs
Perhaps more later

Sunday Sox Notes

1. Tough first outing for Bronson Arroyo yesterday. Only 1 2/3 innings - although you can't scrutinize it too closely. It's only the first time he's thrown "live" this year - he even admitted in the post-game presser that he was pretty tired by the time he was removed. And I love his always positive attitude:
"I'm not disappointed at all. It's the first outing, man. If I were to give up 100 runs I'd go home and get a good night's sleep and come back tomorrow."

2. Great line on BDD this morning - it's a link to yet another article on Johnny Demon:
"Damon Breaks Silence on Leaving Red Sox" 8-)

3. CHB offers this:
Johnny Damon T-shirt seen in Florida: ''Looks like Jesus, acts like Judas, throws like Mary."
I want one of those!! (And I refuse to provide a link to that man's writings)

4. According the AP, this sign is displayed at Legends Field (Yanks' ST site):

''Thank you for expressing your concerns," the sign stated. ''We are sorry that certain players will not be present for portions of spring training. These players have elected to participate in the World Baseball Classic. The World Baseball Classic is an event sanctioned by the commissioner of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.

''The New York Yankess," the sign went on, misspelling the team's name, ''did not vote to support this event. Any comments you have regarding the World Baseball Classic should be directed to the commissioner of Major League Baseball or the Major League Baseball Players Association."

5. It was really great to hear Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo doing yesterday's broadcast on NESN. They were appropriately silly: Jerry waxing poetic on the Olympic Ice Dancing and Dick "Buttons"; discussing the pitchers who were "running" in the outfield; and wondering why Orsillo wasn't a part of the Italian WBC team!

6. How did Lenny DiNardo qualify for the Italian WBC team?
"The Miami-born 26-year-old...qualified because his great grandfather emigrated from Pogenza, Italy, in 1915...

DiNardo may be playing for Italy but his national pride is colored red, white and blue. Not only has he never been to Italy, no member of his family has been back since a great uncle serving in the U.S. military in 1942. When he tried on his Italy uniform for the first time last weekend, however, the significance of his heritage sunk in.
“It kind of caught me off guard,” said DiNardo, who also has maternal great grandparents from Ireland. “I’m proud to be an American
and I’ve never set foot in Italy but it got me thinking about the importance of this.”
7. Academy Award tonight. My predictions:
Best Picture: Brokeback Mountain
Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
Best Supporting Actor: George Clooney, Syriana
Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain**
Best Director: Paul Haggis, Crash

**Actually, Rachel Weisz will probably win - but I thought Michelle Williams was better!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Happy Saturday

Now this was a welcome sight on this morning! (Globe photo by Barry Chin) And this from Nick Cafardo:

Curt Schilling was thrilled with his outing against BC today: four innings, one hit, no walks, three strikeouts.

"If I thought about how I felt last year in my best start and ranked it, today was in a different stratosphere from a physical standpoint as far as how I felt compared to any time, at any point last year," said Schilling after the game.

And we're thrilled too! He goes on to say:

"I think I can be better than I was in 2004 simply because I have 2004 to use as an experience," he said. ''I'm a year smarter on the hitters in this league, a year smarter on the rigors of pitching in the American League as opposed to the National League, so I don't go into any situation looking to duplicate something I've already done. I'm trying to do something I've never done before."

Now that's news to gladden my heart.

And this is even better: Saturday. 1 pm. NESN. Red Sox Baseball. Remy. I'm soaring!

And Alligator Button has the broadcast schedules for the rest of ST...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

It is on!


Tonight's lineup:
1. Coco Crisp -- CF
2. Tony Graffanino -- 2B
3. Kevin Youkilis -- 1B
4. Dustan Mohr -- RF
5. John Flaherty -- C
6. Ron Calloway -- DH
7. Alejandro Machado -- SS
8. David Murphy -- LF
9. Enrique Wilson -- 3B
Jonathan Papelbon -- P

And it's on my Direct TV!! Yah!!

Photo Fun

Talk about mailing it in - Pirates fans just use billboards... (Al Behrman photo)

Somehow, the Mark Teixera watch doesn't seem nearly as exciting as the Manny watch... (Charlie Reicel photo)

"You know I tried to warn Johnny that they were the first thing to go over here..." (Audrey C. Tiernan photo)

"So I'm warnin' ya, Jorge, mess with me and I'm going to grab you by the..." (Robert F. Bukaty photo)

"Always picked last, always picked last, always..." (Nam Y. Hun photo)

It's the all-cereal team: Coco Crisp and Fruit Loops.... (Jim Mone photo)

The cast of "Grumpy Old Men 3" relaxes between takes. (Photo by Richard Drew)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A peek into Yankee Camp

Fantastic entry today on the Soxaholix. The photo of Giambi with his hands down his pants is the funniest thing I've seen in a while!

I love Big Papi

I think the reports of the death of the Red Sox crazy streak are premature! First the cookie-off...and now some milk for our Coco Crisps!

(photo for SI by Gary Bogdon)

Last one into camp...

AP Photo/Jim Mone