Friday, February 27, 2004

Well, looks like Kerry Wood won't be an option to replace Derek Lowe or Pedro if they leave the Red Sox via free agency after this season. The Cubbies signed him through 2006, with an option for '07.

I was just saying to a co-worker the other day that I didn't think there was any way the Cubs would let Wood get away. They certainly have the cash to keep him, and I think they like the 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation with Mark Prior.

Speaking of Chicago's North Siders, Harry Carry's restaurant bought the Steve Bartman ball for over $100,000 and blew it up amid a storm of publicity. Even Katie Couric and the Today show were there. The curious thing is that Katie was wearing a Cubs hat - isn't she Sox chairman Tom Werner's significant other?

It's been quite a busy week and I haven't had much time to post. A. is having surgery on Monday to repair a shoulder injury, so I'll be home playing "Mr. Mom" for a week. I'm far from thrilled about the reason I'm going to be home, but I am looking forward to spending the time with the kids.

More later...

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Which one of the following Red Sox players doesn't belong?

A. Ted Williams
B. Tony Conigliaro
C. Jim Rice
D. Nomar Garciaparra
E. Brian Daubach

If you guessed Brian Daubach, well, that's who I would have picked, too. The other four are all-time Red Sox greats. Ted Williams was The Greatest Hitter of All Time ™; Tony C was the youngest player to hit 100 home runs and was headed for a Hall of Fame career before injury struck him down; Jim Rice was one of the most feared hitters of his generation and Nomar wins the title of best shortstop in baseball, since the former title-holder is now playing 3rd base.

Daubach, of course, is a journeyman first baseman who spent nine years in the minors before sticking with the Sox in 1999. However, believe it or not, he does have something in common with those other four players. The members of that group are the only players to hit 20 home runs for the Red Sox in their first four years with the team. Not Yaz, not Fred Lynn, not Mo Vaughn. Pretty select company old Dauber is in, isn't he?

One non-baseball note: I can't believe that Ralph Nader is thinking of running for President again. Is this guy on Bush's payroll, or what? Although Nader only got about 3% of the popular vote in the 2000 election, his presence in the race turned out to be critical in Florida. Gore lost to Bush by about 500 votes. Nader got about 97,000 votes in Florida (no figures on how many hanging chads). If Nader hadn't run, you've got to think that the vast majority of those votes would have gone to Gore, and he wins the election. So, Ralph, unless your intention is to help out the Bush campaign, how about staying home this time?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

I re-read last night's blog entry. Kind of dry, eh? Oh, well, they can't all be winners.

I found out yesterday that a Krispy Kreme is scheduled to open in the Prudential Center, which is where I work. This is a Good Thing, because I love Krispy Kreme donuts. It's also a Bad Thing because, well, I love Krispy Kreme donuts.

They've always been kind of a special treat because I don't get them that often. I've been to the Cranston location a couple of times during trips to Rhode Island. There's one on Route 192 near Disney World that I've checked out. That's about it. I'm working on a plan so that they'll become a sometimes treat and I won't go overboard on eating them now that the tasty rings of dough and sugar will be readily available. We'll see how it works out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Here's the quote of the day from Boston Globe cartoonist Larry Johnson on the Big Show on WEEI, responding to a point from the Herald's Tony Mazerotti, who was saying that Red Sox fans shouldn't feel persecuted by the A-Rod deal:

"Don't act like Red Sox fans are paranoid for no reason; that's well earned."

Damn straight it's well earned. I have all the psychic battle scars to prove it.

Here's a different, yet still baseball related topic for today. Did you know that nearly 2.4 million people went to see the 11 minor league baseball teams in New England last year? That's pretty amazing. All but one of the teams, the North Shore Spirit in Lynn, MA, drew more fans than the Pawsox drew in the first year of Ben Mondor's management. In 1977, the Pawsox drew about 77,000 people for the whole season. In 2003, the team drew 550,157 fans, 11th best among 176 teams in Organized Baseball (i.e., the minor leagues affiliated with Major League Baseball). The other affiliated teams had the following attendance figures for 2003 (courtesy of

Portland Sea Dogs - 405,021
New Britain Rock Cats - 271,143
Lowell Spinners - 175,000 - selling out all 35 of their home dates
Norwich Navigators - 158,620
New Haven Ravens - 141,366 - moved to Manchester, NH for the 2004 season
Vermont Expos - 101,431

In addition, New England has four entries in the independent Atlantic and Northeast leagues. Those teams had the following attendance figures:

Bridgeport Bluefish - 231,407
Brockton Rox - 149,738
Nashua Hawks - 132,278
North Shore Spirit - 76,016

Add that to the Red Sox 2003 attendance of 2,724,165 and over 5 million paid attenances were tallied by the region's professional baseball teams.

Sunday, February 15, 2004


A-Rod to the Yankees? A-Rod to the Yankees!?!?!?

I heard about the trade on the way to pick up Chinese food last night (that's what people with small kids do on Valentine's Day). I turned on WEEI and they were talking about it, although it took a few minutes before I got all the details. I started getting more and more nauseous as I drove along.

This just goes to show what's wrong with baseball. The Yankees are the ONLY team that could have made this trade. It's through an accident of geography and revenue that they are able to take on Alex Rodriguez's massive contract, not through any particular cleverness on the part of Boss Steinbrenner or Brian Cashman. The NFL and NBA structures give teams from small markets like Green Bay and San Antonio the opportunity to compete. In Major League Baseball, it's much more difficult for small markets to compete, although it can be done for short periods of time.

This is, of course, another blow to Sox fans in the ongoing war with the Evil Empire. The Sox appeared to finally pull ahead of the Yanks on paper with the acquisitions of Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke over the winter. Those additions added to the Yankees losses of Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte over the winter, plus the aging of Bernie Williams made the boys from the Bronx look vulnerable for a change.

Of course, it's not all bad news. Unless the Yanks make another move, Alfonso Soriano's move to the Rangers weakens them offensively at 2nd base. Manny's drinking buddy Enrique Wilson is something of an upgrade with the glove, however.

A-Rod must be desperate to get out of Texas. During the trade talks with the Sox it was widely reported that he wouldn't move from shortstop and wouldn't go to New York. I guess the prospect of another year in Arlington with that pitching staff (5.67 ERA last year) can do strange things to a man. If you ask me, though, Jeter ought to be the one moving to 3rd base, not Rodriguez.

All is not lost, however. The Red Sox still have a great offense, great starting pitching and an upgraded bullpen. The addition of Pokey Reese should be a huge defensive upgrade on the right side of the infield. The Yankees starting pitching is vulnerable. Kevin Brown is still great when he's healthy, but he could go down at any time. Jon Lieber is coming off elbow surgery. Jose Contreras has yet to prove he can be a good starter on a consistent basis. And we have no idea how Javier Vazquez will react to the pressure of being under the microscope in Yankee Stadium instead of the relative quiet of Montreal/San Juan.

There is, however, one good thing to come out of this. The A-Rod deal knocked the acrimonious gay marriage debate off the front page...

Monday, February 09, 2004

I just watched an abbreviated version of Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship Series on ESPN Classic. What memories; the two-run homers in the 9th by Don Baylor and Dave Henderson; the throw by Dewey Evans that didn't quite nail the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the 9th for the Angels; the great catch in the bottom of the 10th by Jim Rice to kill a California rally and finally the sacrifice fly by Henderson that brought the winning run home.

Of course, the Sox went on to win games 6 and 7 back at Fenway to set up the World Series with the Mets. And we all remember what happened there...

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Had a fun afternoon with the kids. We went to the Ecotarium in Worcester. The Ecotarium is a science museum that focuses on, as you might guess, the environment and our connection to it. The kids, especially R., love going there and we've had a membership for the past couple of years. Unfortunately, many of the live animals are outside and the cold weather prevented us from checking them out. In any event, a good time was had by all.

I'm liking the Red Sox signing of Ellis Burks. Burks came up with that unfortunate tag of having "Willie Mays-like potential." While Burks never quite hit those heights (who has, except Wille Mays?), he's had a very solid career. He's just coming off elbow surgery, which limited him last year. If healthy, he can certainly help the Sox as a right-handed DH and pinch hitter. Welcome back, Ellis!

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Thoughts on a Super Bowl Championship...

The game itself was one of the most exciting I've ever witnessed, particularly the 4th quarter. It was truly awe inspiring seeing Delhomme and Brady drive their teams down the field time after time and keep coming up with the clutch pass until there was no time left on the clock.

After the Pats scored to make it 29-22, I said to the friends I was with, "Watch this; the Panthers are going to tie the game and it's going to come down to Vinatieri." Sure enough, a few minutes later the world's greatest clutch placekicker was lining up another Super Bowl winning field goal.

There was an article in the Globe today about how Brady is poised to join the list of the four greatest Boston athletes ever; Ted Williams, Bobby Orr, Bill Russell and Larry Bird. I think it's hard to crown him as part of that company after only three seasons as a starter, but talk to me again in four or five years.

I had a terrific time watching the game at the Castle Cinema in Providence. It's fun to watch a big game like that with a big crowd.

I actually missed the unveiling of Janet Jackson. I had long since lost interest in the half-time show before that happened and was out stretching my legs at the time. That said, it was obviously inappropriate and ill-advised. And I'm certainly not buying these lame excuses about a "wardrobe malfunction".

Of course, after this year's half-time debacle, the NFL will no doubt get Barry Manilow and the Osmonds for next year's Super Bowl.

Speaking of all-time lists in Boston sports, is there anyone besides Red Auerbach ahead of Bill Belichick on the best coaches list? No names are leaping to mind here.

H&R Block didn't have the best commercial of the Super Bowl, but it did have my favorite commercial moment. Don Zimmer consulting his Willie Nelson doll about what to do during a baseball brawl was priceless. Glad to see the Gerbil can both laugh about the unfortunate ALCS incident and make a few bucks off it, too.

I stood out on Boylston Street in front of the Boston Public Library for the parade today. Despite the fact that it started about 1/2 hour late, it was well worth it to salute the Pats as they rode by in Duck Boats. The energy of the crowd along the street was completely electric, and there wasn't any bad behavior that I noted (and if there was, a contingent of Boston's Finest was there to discourage it). I actually enjoyed it more than going to City Hall Plaza after Super Bowl XXXVI, since I could really see the players and BOTH Lombardi trophies as they made their way down the street.

I make it a point to go to these parades. It was 16 years between the Celtics '86 championship and the Patriots first Super Bowl win. You never know when there might be another one.

16 days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training!

Monday, February 02, 2004

OK, so I was a little off on the score. But I got the result right, and that's what counts.

It's a bit later than I'd like, so this will be short. The game was one of the most amazing football contests I've ever seen. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest during the last two or three minutes.

Lots more tomorrow, along with comments about the parade. Those championship parades never get old, do they? I'll leave you with this link, though:


Sunday, February 01, 2004

Well, today's the big game. Super Bowl XXXVIII. Patriots vs. Panthers in Houston, TX.

I'm off to the Castle Cinema in Providence to watch the game with some friends in just a few minutes. I just wanted to get my official prediction on (virtual) paper before I leave.

Patriots 20, Panthers 7.

My reasoning? I just have a hard time believing the Panthers are going to score more than 10 points against the Patriots offense. Everyone talks about the Panthers running game, but the Pats have only given up one 100+ yards game to a running back all season. I feel pretty confident that Brady can get the Pats into the end zone at least once, and otherwise will get Vinatieri within field goal range a couple of more times. Add another touchdown from the defense (or at least a forced turnover that gets the Pats offense in really good field position) and you have 20 points.

Enjoy the game! I'll have my thoughts on the Super Bowl (and hopefully a Patriots World Championship) tomorrow night.

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