Friday, February 29, 2008

Video at the White House

Okay, last thing I'm posting about the White House visit. Here's the AP's video from YouTube.

And in the "From the Ridiculous to the Sublime" Department, the team left the White House and went on a visit to the Walter Read Army Medical Center. There, the greeted injured vets just recently returned from Iraq and the Gulf. The Herald and have good accounts of the visit, and the Globe has some photos.

I think it was awesome that they do that. Not only because those brave men and women are deserving of any attention they get for what they've sacrificed for our country. But I also think it's a real reality check, especially for the younger players. They've all been caught up in seeing themselves as American heroes, and I think meeting some true heroes can only have a positive impact on them.

And now, it's almost time to put 2007 behind us. We still have Opening Day (April 8th!) ahead, but tonight is the first game of Spring Training - being broadcast live on NESN! Yeah, time for Don "Donny O" Orsillo and Jerry "RemDawg" Remy. I can't wait!! I only hope there's some pizzer tossing in the stands!!

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

More from the White House

Scout Tufankjian/Polaris Images

A little different angle on the Evita shot. I love Kyle Snyder's reaction!

Lifted from SoSH (RSN Diaspora)

Is there anyone other than Kyle in this photo?? Oh, yeah, Beckett, Wake, and Manny D look pretty sharp, too. I love MDC's pocket square. How elegant. And Kyle with his overcoat. Aww.

Lifted from SoSH (educatedcheese)
This is the most fantastic part of the DC adventure. According to Amalie, David Ortiz rode in a policeman's sidecar from the White House over to Walter Read. He was following in the footsteps of Terry Francona, who had hopped into it at the airport and rode over to the White House that way. And Kyle Snyder then rode in it from Walter Read back to the airport. Said Ortiz:
"It was fun, but it was too cold, man," Ortiz said. "It wasn't a good idea but Tito forced me to do it. He said he did it, so I didn't want to look like a [coward]. So I did it.
Kyle said his ride was twice as long as the other two, but he didn't feel he could ask the police officer to pull over and let him get back on the team bus. This is quite the mental image:
With his face frozen, and his knees squeezed into the tiny sidecar, Snyder said he was going about 40-45 mph on the sidecar.
At 6'8", that was quite a tight squeeze, I bet!

In real baseball news, the Sox won their first exhibition game today against Boston College, 24-0. Beckett pitched 2 innings, 4 strikeouts. And Kyle pitched 2 innings, too. The second game is against Northeastern, and it's due to start at 6pm

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The White House Visit

All images from the AP
So, the 2007 World Series Champions paid a visit to President Bush today at the White House. They were honored in a ceremony on the South Lawn - the photo above captures the whole crowd. David Ortiz led them out of the White House, carrying the trophy - and then he had to hold it for the 10 minute speech by the Prez. I have to admit, Bushie made me chuckle several times - his references to Papelbon's riverdancing and Daisuke's media contingent, in particular. The guys looked fantastic in their Sunday best - actually, some looked even better than in their uniforms. Check out Cora in the powder blue number - or Kielty in the white jacket! And I love how Kyle Snyder and Dustin Pedrioa ended up standing next to each other!
Big Papi looks like a natural here on the balcony - hmm, he isn't a native born American, so he can't be President. Maybe he could be VP to---

Not sure if Josh is doing an imitation of Evita or the "King of the World" scene in Titanic. Actually, now that I consider it, I'm sure it's the latter. He is on top of the world these days!

Two days until I can watch some live baseball on NESN!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wednesday at the White House

The Red Sox are headed tomorrow to Washington. They've got a 2:30 meeting with President Bush in the Rose Garden when, according to ESPN, they'll present him with a special RS jersey:
The white Red Sox jersey with the name "Bush" and the number "07" on the back traveled around the clubhouse. One by one, the World Series champions signed it with a blue Sharpie.

It's a gift from Boston's players to President Bush, who will preside at the annual White House ceremony honoring baseball's best on Wednesday.

Following the ceremony, they'll go to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and visit with injured vets. I remember seeing pictures from a similar visit they made after the '04 series, and read some of the moving accounts from the players. According to that article, said Francona:

"You're looking at kids that have lost limbs but it was humbling. It was an honor to be there.

"Everybody wanted to stay and talk. I've heard a lot of the veteran guys telling the younger guys, this is what you'll remember about this trip," he said.

What a fantastic experience for them all.

Oh, and fantastic article in today's Globe by Gordon Edes. He follows Tim Wakefield's recent flight with the Blue Angels, and the parallel story of one of the Angels who got to see the Sox clinch the '04 championship. A beautifully written story, one that could have been maudlin or manipulative. It's neither. Have a kleenex handy.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Photo Day

Getty Images photo - Nick Laham
Yesterday was Photo Day in Fort Myers - all the players wear their home whites and get their official photo snapped.

The above photo is some of those posted on Getty Images. I'm hoping more come thru as the week progresses. But this one of the Captain, Jason Veritek, just screams "Mount Rushmore" to me.

In other news: last night the 80th annual Academy Awards were held. I got 12 out of the 24 categories - the "lesser" awards did me in! I was shocked that Marion Cottillard beat out Julie Christie for Best Actress - both were fantastic, but I thought Christie might ride the sentimental vote into the win. Cottillard was fantastic as Piaf - totally unrecognizable if you saw her in "A Good Year." No shock that Daniel Day-Lewis won. He is such a fantastic actor - even though his "method" is pretty frickin' weird. I'm so glad the song from "Once" won best song - the whole story behind that film is so cool.

Never say Atonement. Never say No Country for Old Men. Too much like a homework assignment.

Favorite dress: Katherine Heigl in red. Amy Adams' great dark green dress - which won my vote because I think it would look great on me!

First live game is Friday, 7pm on NESN!

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Low and Fro

Two great photos from yesterday in Fort Myers:

Globe Photo by Jim Davis
Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedrioa and Kevin Youkilis played an intense round round ping pong tournament yesterday for Comcast Sports Net. I guess Youk claimed he could beat anyone, if someone would just set up a table. So CSNE did. And apparently, Mikey whomped them both. Here he is, accepted the "golden paddle" - don't you love the batting gloves?!

Herald Photo by Matt Stone
I'm not sure how Coco is going to get his baseball cap to stay on if he continues to eschew the cornrows!

The first game of Spring Training is only one week away!

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

There's a war coming

There's a war coming - a border war. No, not between the US and Mexico. This battle is going to take place here in the Scenic City. It seems that Georgia is trying to claim that a chunk of Tennessee actually should be in Georgia. From the AP:
The Republican-controlled state House and Senate approved a resolution Wednesday asserting that a flawed 1818 survey mistakenly placed Georgia's northern line just short of the river. The measure also calls for the governor to establish a commission to sort out the dispute.
Of course, their motives are obvious to all. Atlanta has exhausted its reservoirs and rather than trying to take tough measures to overcome the well-publicized drought of last summer, they've decided it's easier to steal the Tennessee River. To bolster their claim they're reaching back almost 200 years, to an old border dispute:
The dispute traces back to a 19th century survey that misplaced the 35th parallel. If Tennessee's southern border stretched along the parallel, as Congress designated in 1796, Georgia would have a share of the Tennessee — a river with about 15 times greater flow than the one Atlanta depends on for water.
At least my local rep is seeing this for what it is (even though I didn't vote for him!)
"It's the silliest thing I've ever seen any group of Republicans do. I'm embarrassed that they would embarrass the party like that," said Tennessee Rep. Gerald McCormick, a Republican from Chattanooga, a Tennessee town just north of the state line. "They're idiots."
This is personal for me - because if these idiots get their way, I'll be living in Georgia and working in Tennessee. Personal, because we have no personal income tax in Tennessee and, if the boundaries move, I'll be filling the coffers in Atlanta.

When they call for the Militia, I'm signin' on!

The new Manny

Globe photo by Jim Davis

So even when he arrives at Spring Training "in a timely manner," Manny Ramirez makes news. Look at all the members of the press waiting to question him. And to his credit, Manny seems to be "making nice" with the media. He sat and answered the same question about his contract over and over again, so patiently. (Manny's contract is up at the end of this year, but the club has the option of renewing it for one or two more years.) Quoth he:

Are you going to approach the Red Sox for an extension this spring?

"No, I'm not going to ask nobody for an extension. I'm going to come, play the game. I know my situation. That's it. I'm going to come and play and let them make the decision."

Are you happy here?

"I'm happy, yeah."

And, you know, he's right. It really is up to the Front Office to decide if they want to pick up his option. All he can do is what he did today - make it clear that he likes playing in Boston, that he wants to finish his career there. He can go out in the post-season and get himself into good shape. He can report to camp on time and good-naturedly deal with the press. And then he can go out and have a great year.

I think he's taken the first steps on that road. If the FO wanted him to turn over a new leaf, I think he's shown that he can. As he said today:
"Well, I think you start growing up, and mature also. Now I'm here and I want to stay here. "
My favorite thing is this note:
After standing up, out of the huge group of reporters and cameras, Ramirez went over to Bob Ryan, shook his hand, and stood talking to him for a few moments.
He many be goofy at times, but there is not doubt that Manny Ramirez has a kind heart. Ryan recently lost his son, and I'm sure Manny had some kind words to share with him.

Let the games begin!!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Can't get enough

Herald photo by Matt Stone
After the long, long off-season, I can 't get enough of David Ortiz. He's lookin' really good!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ortiz is here, all's right with the world

Herald photo by Matt Stone

Word that Big Papi has arrived at the Red Sox Spring Training HQ makes me smile - makes me happy! - because it means it almost time to get this season cranked back up. The AP reports David Ortiz took some swings in the batting cages, and says his surgically repaired knee is nearly ready for action. Just seeing the photo above made me realize how much I've missed these guys.

Also arriving late this afternoon:

Screen cap from Surviving Grady

It's strange, but when I heard the news this morning that Fidel Castro was resigning as President of Cuba, my first thought was of Mike - and the many, many Cuban exiles living here in the US. I'm sure today is a very happy one for them.

And happy for me - because Mikey's back in the Red Sox family, where he belongs!

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Jacoby is Voguing

(Richard Phibbs for Men's Vogue)

So little Jacoby Ellsbury is appearing in the new issue of Men's Vogue (on newstands today). The Globe has a good article - and you can read the full text of Vogue's article here. Unfortunately, no pictures with the online article - but the Globe gave us a sneak peak with the above photo. Yum.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

AP Photo
Yes, it's Valentine's Day. But, more importantly, it's reporting day for the Red Sox pitchers and catchers!! Yah! And here's lil' Jonathan Papelbon meeting the press, ready for another year of closing out victory after victory.

It's like the Thin Lizzy sang on my iPod this morning:

The nights are getting warmer, it won't be long
Won't be long till summer comes
Now that the boys are here again

The boys are back in town

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So close!

Herald Photo by Matt Stone
Okay, so maybe Daisuke Matsuzaka looks a little dorky with the mullet and the dye job. But you have to admit, he looks pretty relaxed and trim. Unlike last year, when everyone was saying he looked a bit "heavy."

I've got high hopes for him this year. No, I don't think he'll ever challenge Josh Beckett to be the number one starter. But I predict a good, solid year for him. I'd like to see him settle in and be our good old #2!

NESN's first ST show airs tomorrow night at 6:30. And then a daily broadcast of their workouts, every day at 10 am. Got the video tapes stacked up and ready to go!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Groban & Bocelli

I had to include this. At last night's Grammy Awards, Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli performed this duet as a tribute to the late Luciano Pavarotti. A spine-tingling performance!

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Youk signs

So, the Sox late yesterday announced that they had offered a one-year contract to Kevin Youkilis. Last year, he earned $450,000 - and for that paltry sum, the Red Sox got a Gold-Glove, nearly errorless first baseman - and one who came through BIG TIME offensively during the post-season .

This year, Youk gets a nice raise - $3 million. I think he was hoping for more - he'd asked for $3.75 in his arbitration filing - but that's still a very nice merit increase!

It's so great that we're going to have another year of these three infielders!

Oh, and my Red Sox tickets for the July series vs. the Angels arrived today!! WooHoo!!

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Happy Truck Day!

Boston Globe photo
Yes, it's the surest sign that spring is on its way. It's Truck Day in Boston. Even as I write this, the semis are headed down Route 95, headed south toward the land of spring baseball, warm sun, and snow birds.

It looks like they pack like I do - not an inch of available space! The long boxes on the bottom are VERY important - they contain all the bats our boys are going to use to launch baseball rockets into the Florida sky.

Less than a week until ST! Yeah!

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Kyle & Paps

I went looking for this video today - not too easy to find! It's one of Jonathan Papelbon's "Friendly's Scoop" segments from July. It's interview with Kyle Snyder, and it's hysterical for several reasons. Watching these two seriously debating who is the sexiest man on the team (Kyle picks Ortiz)! And be sure and watch Paps' wandering hands!

Baseball soon!

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Thursday, February 07, 2008


//Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling will not be ready for the start of spring training because of shoulder issues, and is engaged in a dispute with the club over whether he needs surgery, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter. Furthermore, the sources said the Red Sox attempted to void his $8 million contract for 2008.

Schilling's shoulder woes are more serious than the ones that caused the club to shut him down for seven weeks last season. His availability for the start of the season is in question, and surgery would call into question whether he will pitch in 2008.//

From the Globe.

Not good news. I know Schill is aging, and isn't the #1 starter he once was, but we were relying upon him to be one of our starters. Now, news that he may be finished.

What's sad to me is the backlash on some of the RS boards. Like, Schill, just quit. Here is a man who basically sacrificed his health to secure our victory in game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. Who was an important cog in the machine last year.

Yes, if his injury is career-ending, he should step aside. But, he is our warrior!

And in the meantime - ewww. Brian McNamee saved Clemens' DNA and used needles. So gross - but I must admit, I'm grateful

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Truck Day

Okay, I know it's strange that we Red Sox fans get so fired up about a moving van. But it's not just any moving van, it's the big rig that transports all the baseball equipment from Fenway Park to Fort Myers. It's the surest sign that the dreaded off-season is nearly over and that Spring Training is so close you can almost smell it.

And it's happening Saturday! I wonder if NESN will do any live shots?! It usually happens on a Monday, so I'm stuck at work, relying on random shots via ESPN. Having it on a Saturday is fantastic - almost sounds like something Dr. Charles would have orchestrated, if he hadn't headed over to Dodgertown.

Other key dates:
Feb. 14 -- Pitchers and catchers are due to report to Fort Myers.
Feb. 16 -- First workout for pitchers and catchers.
Feb. 20 -- Reporting day for Sox position players.
Feb. 22 -- First Red Sox full squad workout.
Feb. 28 -- First Red Sox spring training game.


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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Hello Sean!

AP Photo by Charles Krupa
The Sox introduced their latest signing today. Sean Casey - he'll be backup infielder so that Mikey and Youks can get a day off every now and then.

The Red Sox site says Jon Lester is already in Ft. Myers, getting ready. And the latest rumor is that Truck Day is Saturday!

It's almost time for baseball!! And only 113 days until I can see the boys live!


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Review: There Will Be Blood

So as a way to kill time before the Super Bowl, I saw "There Will Be Blood," the newest feature from Paul Thomas Anderson, and the darling of the awards season.

The story: we first meet aspiring oil man Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he's trying to scratch out a living mining for silver or gold. Instead, he discovers oil, and that sets him on his life's path. He goes about leasing oil-rich property, fixing deals with the property owners for his own benefit. He hears about a potential bonanza in California, and sets out with his adoptive son, HW, to search for his fortune.

One critic described this as the story of a thoroughly evil man, but I think Day-Lewis' genius is showing us the gray areas. The scene of Plainview with his adoptive son as a baby - it is so touching because of the actor's ability to show the burgeoning love on the father's face. The scenes between Daniel and HW are so moving!

Daniel Day-Lewis is so head-and-shoulders ahead of every other actor in this generation. Maybe his character choices aren't always the most accessible, but he totally inhabits each part. This character has anger simmering below the surface, as well as love and hate. And it all plays out in his face. How many actors could carry out the first ten minutes of this film, where this is NO dialogue?!

Okay, so I won't say this is my favorite film of the year. I'm actually not sure if I really liked it. Yes, it felt like "homework" at times - like, I've been told to see the film. I do know that Daniel Day-Lewis delivers one of the most incredible performances of the year. And - I loved the music, each piece seems picked for the scene. Also: Dillon Freasier as HW: can't wait to see what else he does. He was incredible! Paul Dano - last seen as the silent brother in "Little Miss Sunshine" - shows incredible range and potential - anyone who can match Day-Lewis when he gets into a scenery-chewing mood is worth keeping an eye on.

An interesting film. Glad I saw it - won't see it again, and won't add it to my DVD collection.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Manny! And Politics!

Herald photo by Matt Stone
Rob Bradford has a great article about Manny Ramirez' off season training at API in Arizona. He looks and sounds pumped to return to Boston and get playing some baseball! And we are definitely pumped for it, too.

And this political note....

It's Super Tuesday this week here in Tennessee. (Hey, Hillary just called and asked for my vote!) Sometimes it sucks to be in a conservative enclave such as the Scenic City. To wit: here's an excerpt from today's editorial page:
When Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama appeared in their Democratic presidential candidate debate in California on Thursday night, both of them predicted that one of them would be the next president of the United States.

Now, that is an extremely scary prediction - unless you want higher taxes, socialized medicine, inaction about the 12 million (or 20 million?) illegal invaders of our country, plus US surrender to Islamic jihadists in Iraq.

Those things are among many dire results promised if either Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama is elected...
(Chattanooga Times Free Press, February 2, 2008)

Wow. Talk about scare tactics. And some of these crazy, conservative, backwater conservatives will actually believe this, be scared, and vote for someone like Fred Thompson. It's so embarrassing...

And congratulations to Andre Tippett - newly elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Now THERE'S some momentum for tomorrow!

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In honor of the hunkiest q.b./Michigan alum in the Super Bowl, let's revisit this classic clip:

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Countdown: 12 days

Only 12 days until Pitchers & Catchers report to Ft Myers. Yeah!

And baseball news is starting to show up in the news: Sox sign Sean Casey. The good guy former first baseman for Detroit and the White Sox signed a one year deal with the Red Sox. He'll be back-up for Youk, Lowell and Ortiz - looks to be a good bat off the bench. Plus, he was recently voted the nicest guy in the AL - a great clubhouse guy to have on our team. So that plugs the last hole in our 40 man roster....looks like we're set for the Fort!!

A harbinger of spring. Today I went down to the indoor track to do my daily walk (2-3 miles, depending on my mood). As got down to the gym, I popped in my iPod - the first song to play was "Centerfield" by Jon Fogarty. As I approached the gym, I heard a noise that sounded surprisingly familiar. As I got into the gym, I saw the origin of the sound. The Middle School baseball coach had his team down there, tossing long ball. The sound of the ball hitting the leather was like a hymn.

Soon, soon, soon.

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