Keeping the Faith
Take a few minutes, if you like, to view my spring training photo collection. Each game or event (I did a few other things besides games) has its own album. Those who wish can add comments, but keep them benign or they'll be deleted.
By the way, this album is hosted by MyPhotoAlbum.com, which I discovered while searching for an alternative to Yahoo Photos. I spent three days trying to figure out why I couldn't rearrange my photos on Yahoo, and when even customer support couldn't help me, I decided it was time to leave. So far, so good with MPA. It's more customizable than Yahoo, and I do like the comment feature.
Nice blog, Kelly! Just thought I'd drop by and say "PLAY BALL!"
GO RED SOX!
Geoff ( formerly "boodasbud")
The Red Sox have traded right-handed pitcher Bronson Arroyo and cash to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Wily Mo Peña.
In the past four seasons, Pena batted .248 with 51 HR and 134 RBI with 494 strikeouts and 107 walks with the Reds.
As I just said to some of my Red Sox girlfriends, that's a very Nomar-esque strikeout-to-walk ratio without Nomar's average or power. I can think of no standard by which this is a good trade.
Besides, it renders obsolete the autographed baseball I just brought home for my boss' kid and neutralizes any brownie points I might have received.
Pena's strikeout to walk ratio isn't "Nomar-esque". Garciaparra never struck out 100 times in a season. He has 444 career strikeouts and 307 career walks. Nomar also has a .367 career OBP. Pena is a stiff, who hits like Dave Kingman and is worse than Manny defensively. Playing him in Fenway's large RF is a huge mistake. I hate this trade!
Bronson Arroyo may have been a great guy, but let's face it: his pitching was mediocre and has been declining in quality since 2003. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy and what he contributed to that 2004 team, but I think it was time for a change. It sucks since he made it clear that he wanted to stay in Boston, but things happen. As for Pena, the guy isn't THAT bad. Some might even say that this trade was somewhat of a steal. I say we watch and guy the guy a chnace. But then again... why the hell do we need another outfielder???
Sorry for the bi-polarity of this comment :p
Both the above comments are good points. "Nomar-esque" probably isn't the right term - "Bellhorn-esque" would be more like it - but I was thinking of Nomar's tendency to swing when he shouldn't (especially on first pitches). As for the Bronson/Pena comments - Bronson is what he is, and a top pitcher he isn't. But he is valuable in his flexibility, and on many other teams he'd be a 2 or 3 starter. In Cincy he might be 1 or 2. We should get in return value commensurate with what the other team is getting, not what we're giving up, if that makes sense. Meanwhile, since writing this entry, I have learned more about Pena that gives me reason to feel much better about this trade.
Greetings from warm and sunny Fort Myers, Florida, spring training home of our beloved Boston Red Sox. I've been here since last Thursday but am just finding time to post an update. I'm here for another two days, but here is what's happened so far:
Baseball Lots of it. I saw games Friday, Sunday, Monday, and yesterday, and I have a ticket for tomorrow's game as well. As unhappy as I am about the team being 3-10 in Grapefruit League games so far, it's good to get a look at some of the younger guys and evaluate the new acquisitions. Coco Crisp rocks. Not only has he hit .333 in games I have attended, but he sure does know how to play the outfield. Johnny who? More on baseball to follow.
Friends old and new For the first five nights I was here, I stayed with Brenda, the daughter of my Red Sox friend Susan and a terrific hostess. Also staying there was Lynn from Minnesota, with whom I hit the beach on Saturday afternoon and got burned to a crisp. I also had my obligatory annual Swim in the Gulf, where the water is warmer in March than it gets on the Cape in the height of summer. Other Red Sox friends who flew in were Dale, Steve, Diane, Guy, Donna, Janet, Renee, Peggy, and Ken. I'm certain I forgot someone.
Good causes Saturday night was the third annual Springing for a Cure dinner to benefit the ALS Association. This event was started by a group of fans from the Red Sox message board, and Curt Schilling has now made an appearance at every one. He signed autographs and posed for pictures. Also in attendance were the recently retired catcher John Flaherty and keynote speaker Joe Castiglione, radio voice of the Red Sox. I bought John a beer... Susan and I attended the annual dinner for the Ted Williams Museum last night and got several more autographs. Details are forthcoming.
'Gators Guy and I headed south to take an airboat ride through the Everglades. We saw a nice sampling of the flora and fauna, including several alligators. It's hard to believe that it took me four trips to southwest Florida before I finally did something besides baseball and the beach.
Special thanks to Cliff for lending me his Canon digital SLR camera and 70-300mm zoom lens. You'll see the benefits of such a fine camera when I post pictures this weekend.
P.S. Check me out again tomorrow morning at 7:30am on WORC Oldies 98.9 FM for the second and final installment of Kelly's Spring Training Report with Adam Webster.
Big Papi is slammin' homers for the Dominican team in the World Baseball Classic. Mike Timlin got the win yesterday for Team USA. New Red Sox shortstop Alex Gonzales is back in training camp, having been unceremoniously booted off the Venezuelan team. Manny is already hitting, a lot. And in the wider world of baseball, absolutely no one is shocked by the big Sports Illustrated exposé about Barry Bonds' steroid use.
But the really big news at the moment is my impending departure for spring training. At this time tomorrow, I'll be on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again. Actually, I do know, but I'm trying not to think about that yet. Instead, I am preparing for my triumphant return to radio as an unofficial spring training correspondent for Oldies 98.9 FM in Worcester, Massachusetts. Listen for me on Monday, March 13 at about 7:30am with my good friend, DJ Adam Webster. If you aren't in the Worcester area, go to the station's web site and click the Listen Live Online icon.
Obviously, the optimistic post earlier today about the possible recovery of Kirby Puckett was unrealistic. The Hall of Fame outfielder died this afternoon after surgery following a massive stroke.
Puckett's weight, which had increased substantially in recent years, may have contributed to the stroke. But as is often the case, there may have been a number of causal factors. All I know is that 45 is awfully young to die.
If we didn't know that Manny Ramirez doesn't drink, we might be forgiven for thinking that the slugger had gone on a bender with southpaw David Wells and shared some of his talking points. "Repeat after me," we might have imagined Ramirez saying to Wells, "I demand a trade! No, I want to stay! I want to go to the west coast! Wait, I want to stay!" That might explain why Wells, after months of saying he would rather retire than play the second year of his contract in Boston, has reportedly told GM Theo Epstein, "Never mind."
[T]he lefthander approached general manager Theo Epstein Saturday morning at City of Palms Park.
Wells: "You busy?"
Epstein: "As a matter of fact I'm not."
Wells: "Listen, plan on me going north, dude. I want to stay. I think it will be fine."
Added Wells, "And that was that."
Except that wasn't that; there was much more that led up to it. It seems that while Epstein/Cherington/Hoyer were trying to honor Wells' request to head westward, players were doing their best to bring the rotund starter around.
"Just the way 'Tek looked at me," Wells said. "He said, 'We need to talk.' We never really got a chance to talk. Knowing 'Tek, I kind of had an idea what was going through his mind. As he walked away the other day [to go to the World Baseball Classic] he asked me, 'Do you want to stay?'
"He just gave me that look. It was something, like, wow. There was something behind that look. That vibe I got was deep, without even talking to him. Something heavy."
His other teammates, too, were wearing him out.
"Having to fight City Hall, you get tired of it," he said. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?"
Beckett, apparently, was the mayor of City Hall.
"That [expletive] over there," Wells said, "bugging the [expletive] out of me every day."
That exchange says something important about the 2006 Red Sox. They like and respect each other. The veterans and the newcomer recognize the importance of the guy who wants out, who in turn takes their opinions into account. That bodes well for the cohesiveness of the team. Now all we need to do is figure out how we're going to juggle seven starting pitchers.
News of former Twins superstar Kirby Puckett's stroke yesterday morning evokes memories of the September 1995 game in which Puckett was beaned by Cleveland's Dennis Martinez. It turned out to be the future Hall of Famer's last at-bat; he subsequently retired because of vision problems caused by glaucoma.
Could the stroke at such a young age (Puckett will turn 45 next week) be a long-term result of being beaned? Red Sox fans might think so when we recall the stroke that killed Tony Conigliaro at the age of 55, 23 years after his beaning at the hands of California's Jack Hamilton. Unlike Puckett, Tony C. returned to baseball but was never the same, in part because of poor vision but also because he lost the aggressive at the plate that made him such a fearsome hitter. He was disabled by a massive heart attack several years before his death, and reports widely blamed the heart attack for the subsequent fatal stroke. But I always wondered if the trauma from that beanball did damage that was invisible until it finally let go years later.
The good news is that Puckett is alive, albeit in critical condition following surgery. The Triumphant Red Sox Fan joins baseball fans everywhere in offering prayers for Puckett's full recovery.
According to the Boston Globe's Gordon Edes, Manny has arrived, "on time" as promised. I'm sure all his teammates, who really arrived on time, are underwhelmed by his punctuality.
Whereas I am sure most of them could give a flying f*$% since he'll put up the same amazing numbers as always and he was working on a routine to strengthen his hammies. But hey, you know, I'm not them.