Alright, maybe it’s not fair for me to pick on Jack Edwards since he is toiling away in lockout-land BUT the Wall Street Journal recently did a small study to see who gets the title of ‘Biggest Homer in Baseball’ and his name was the first to come to mind when I heard the term homer.
The WSJ based their study on usage of the words ‘we’ ‘us’ and ‘our’ to describe the team (something I’m very guilty of), as well as using pet-names to describe players and very blatant pro-team outbursts.
The results were almost exactly what one would expect: Ken ‘The Hawk’ Harrelson is TERRIBLE and is named the most biased announcer in baseball. I was first introduced to his unique style of broadcasting when I lived in Arkansas and the only games I could watch were the White Sox on WGN. It didn’t take long before I became a proponent of the ‘Heave The Hawk‘ movement.
There was another non-shocking result: big market teams have less biased announcing. The Yankees, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mets, and Red Sox all put a 0 on the scoreboard when it came to instances of blatant homerism. This is something I and a lot of Sox fans are very appreciative of. Nothing takes an observer out of the moment like the color guy using an inside-joke between himself and the player as fodder to create an unfunny nickname. Am I right, Muddy Chicken?
I salute you Remy and Don. Thanks for making a bad season fun to watch.
I, like many other Sox fans, was thrilled to see the team get out from the albatross deals given to Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez. Beckett’s dipping velocity and Gonzo’s disappearing power were enough to give worry to the nation and quell any anger over shipping out a World Series champ and a premiere first-baseman.
That is all fine and well, baseball is a business and we all understand this; however, the city of Boston lost two giant members of the charity community when this trade went down. Josh Beckett has a yearly bowling event that raises a ton of money (check out our experience at the 2011 Beckett Bowl) while Adrian Gonzalez spends most of his free time helping out the underprivileged.
This is where Jon Lester and NVRQT step in. If you’re new to the nation or have been living under a rock for the last decade then you may not know that Lester was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2006 after a car accident. He’s got some first hand experience when it comes to the crappiness of cancer so it made sense that NVRQT decided to host an annual fundraiser.
Bigwigs that attended: Mike O’Malley (G-G-G-GUTS, DO YA HAVE IT?), Shawn Thornton, Kevin Faulk, Will Middlebrooks, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and a handful of other Sox players*
If you couldn’t make it last night, I recommend you keep the event on your ‘to-do list’ for next year as all the celebs played a rousing game of Hollywood Squares. Of course, if you don’t have the financial means or free time to go, the NVRQT foundation is always accepting donations and you can get some pretty cool swag from them.
Lester was rewarded for his charitable work by being named the Red Sox nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. Congrats to Lester and I’m thrilled to see that Red Sox charity never stops, even in the midst of a dismal season.
* – Rich Hill, Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard, Ryan Lavarnway, John Lackey, Aaron Cook, Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow. You can talk about team chemistry all you want but it seems like the pitchers are pretty solidified in their support of each other.
Boy oh boy. Over the weekend we hit our 85th loss of the season and there are still another two weeks to go but at this point, why bother? All hope is lost. Hope for the playoffs. Hope for a .500 season. Hope for a winter without intense binge drinking.
Well, maybe not ALL hope. There are still 3 games remaining versus the Orioles and 3 against the Yankees. This brings up an intriguing possibility.. we could potentially lose another series against the Orioles (and who amongst us wouldn’t be shocked if that happened?) and bury the Yankees. This would put the Sox in the position of playing spoiler for the AL East.
It also brings up a bit of a conundrum for most fans: do you hope your team loses if it damns your rivals? ESPN did a poll last week and the results aren’t entirely surprising:
Yes, we’re apparently the only place in the country where our burning intense hatred of our rivals can outweigh the love we hold for the hometown boys.
I’m not one of those people. There have been times in my life where rooting against Boston would produce a favorable matchup and I still couldn’t get myself to do it so hoping for a loss just to damn the Yankees is out of the picture. That’s not to say that I would be opposed to the Sox going winless for the next week in order to grab a higher draft pick!
No mish-mash of words can do Johnny Pesky‘s wonderous life justice but this is my attempt..
The Boston Red Sox were founded in 1901 as an original franchise of the American League. That is 111 years of ballplayers, coaches, and managers. Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Wade Boggs. Premiere hitters, dominant pitchers, and mastermind managers but only one Johnny Pesky.
Non-Sox fans might wonder what made Pesky so special and question why he will always have a spot in our hearts. I don’t know what to tell them because it’s impossible to narrow it down to just one reason.
We put to rest a man that lived and breathed for others. This is a lifetime .307 hitter that pushed his baseball career aside to fight for his country in World War II. A player that was so important to his team that he worked for them for 61 years but no matter how busy he was, he always had time for the three F’s: his fans, friends, and family.
His importance was never as evident as it was in 2004 when the Red Sox ended their 86 year championship drought. There was no question as to who would help raise the championship banner and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Pesky received his championship ring.
He is and forever will be the epitome of Boston Red Sox baseball, and Fenway Park won’t ever be the same without him. At 92 years old, we say goodbye. You’ll be missed Johnny.
The trade deadline usually splits teams into two groups: buyers and sellers. The buyers are teams that are still in contention and need that final piece to solidify their roster down the stretch (think Yankees and Dodgers.) The sellers thought their season would turn out differently but eventually have to cope with the reality that they won’t make the playoffs so they try to shed themselves of players/money while building for the future (Phillies and Marlins.)
Every year there are a few teams stuck in the middle of these two designations and you’ll be able to read hundreds of articles from “baseball experts” and sports betting websites explaining how staying put is not the best strategy for a team at the deadline.
For example, the Nationals are looking at an innings pitched limit for Stephen Strasburg and the offensive output available from Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse is not where it should be. The Nats could have (and probably should have) made a trade to take care of these needs.
On the other side of the coin lies the Cincinnati Reds. They have very few holes and just added a minor piece by acquiring Jonathan Broxton. Their relief corps is already phenomenal so they made a minor deal to add an extra arm.
Where does this leave the Boston Red Sox? By most accounts, even with an extra wild card spot available, a .500 team at the trade deadline will be preparing to dismantle their team 99 times out of 100. The Sox spit in the face of statistics by refusing to wave the white flag and by keeping all of their big-name superstars despite rumors flying about Josh Beckett and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Case for Dismantlement/Rebuilding:
PRO: Rebuilding for the future by getting younger guys in return.
CON: Unfortunately the market was a bit over-saturated at the deadline (Hunter Pence and Zack Greinke are much better pieces than Beckett or Salty) so there would be diminished returns.
PRO: Shipping away some of the top-heavy deals would save the team money in the long run.
CON: Management would like to continue their sellout streak and it would be tough to do so with a starting lineup of Nick Punto, Drake Britton, and Mauro Gomez. These names don’t pack in the crowds like David Ortiz or Jon Lester do.
CON: Ortiz and Beckett have 10/5 protection. This means that since they have been in the league for 10 years and with their current team for 5 years, they can veto any trade they want.
Case for a Late Push:
PRO: Anything is possible when it comes to baseball. We had a first row seat last year as the Red Sox unraveled in September and we all remember the Rockies 2009 playoff push when they became unbeatable for the last month of the year.
CON: When the season is over, the team will have to confront the same situation with Ortiz that they did last year (it wasn’t fun.) This year the only real power hitter he will have to contest with in free agency is Josh Hamilton and their deals won’t even come close to comparing. Someone will overpay for Ortiz and it could very well be us (again.)
PRO: The team will probably continue selling out games with a mediocre product as long as guys like Jacoby Ellsbury and Big Papi are on the roster. This means $$$.
CON: Our farm system is struggling to produce big league talent. They have three players listed in Baseball America’s top 50 midseason prospects list and none are projected to make an impact until 2014 at the earliest. Restocking is definitely in order.
Did the Sox make the right move?
As you can see with our poorly written PRO/CON list, any move you make is going to have downsides. My personal opinion is that the team should have been dismantled. Next year doesn’t look like it has a big turnaround lurking so we have to prepare for a 2014 team that will likely be without a starting CF and DH. A team that will be counting on John Lackey (2 years removed from Tommy John surgery), Carl Crawford (1 year removed from Tommy John surgery), and Adrian Gonzalez (don’t be shocked if he has some shoulder surgery because this drop in power is insanity) to provide wins.
Trading Lars Anderson to Cleveland made perfect sense. Lars was trapped behind Gonzo (maybe even Lavarnway) and his blue chip potential never really panned out. Getting knuckleballer Steven Wright was mostly just an added bonus as Anderson needed to go.
I’m still scratching my head a bit over the team trading Matt Albers/Scott Podsednik for Craig Breslow. Breslow made a pretty good case to the Sox in 2008 and they decided to DFA him anyway. Since then he has had a pretty solid career as a reliever while Albers and Podsednik are both having great years with pretty high trade value. There is solid reasoning behind adding another lefty arm in the pen but it seems silly to trade for someone that the team released a few years ago especially when they could have just signed him in the offseason to a free agent deal.
These are both minor moves that won’t have much of an effect on the team’s performance in 2012 and won’t help much for 2013 either. Keep in mind that we’re just speculating and there could have been zero market out there for Salty/Shoppach/Ortiz/Beckett/Lester/Ellsbury/Crawford but in this case, I agree with the “experts” in that standing still was the not the right move to make.
We all had a little chuckle when Wally The Green Monster disappeared earlier today. Fortunately our lovable (and sometimes terrifying) mascot was found and returned to his home but this doesn’t mean that all is well in Boston. There are still a number of things missing from Fenway Park this year so we did a little bit of investigating as to where we think they went:
MISSING: Josh Beckett’s fastball velocity
THEORY: Beckett’s average fastball is 1.5 MPH slower this season than it was last year. The only possible reasoning is that he spent the entire offseason screaming “snitch!” at photographs of Kevin Youkilis while simultaneously punching the wall. The constant flurry of fists provided a new level of fatigue that Josh’s arm just wasn’t ready for.
MISSING: Adrian Gonzalez’s plate patience and power
THEORY: Sure, Gonzo was just named ‘AL Player of the Week’ but his walk rate dipped to 6% (career low) at the break and his SLG is resting at its lowest point since his rookie year. Our theory is that he spent a few days prior to the start of the season at the Burlington Mall hugging babies and re-injuring his right shoulder in the process.
MISSING: Ben Cherington’s confidence
THEORY: Since filling the hole left by Theo Epstein, Cherington has made very few moves, mostly dealt with his former mentor, and refuses to wave the white flag on a poor season. We’re pretty sure we know where Ben’s confidence went, Theo took half of it with him to Chicago and Larry Lucchino is holding the rest hostage for the extent of Cherington’s GM career in Boston.
Honorable Mentions: Jacoby Ellsbury’s power, Jon Lester’s ability to get guys out, and Heidi Watney. Yep, I still miss Heidi.