Pink Hats, The Youk Fu, Picture Day and a Changeup

There’s a lot to cover today, and since Spring training has officially started, we finally have news! On a funny note, Manny rejected another massively huge offer from the Dodgers. That’s his fourth offer he’s declined due to either: not enough money or not enough years. Really, at this point, Boras should be telling him to take anything because no one is going to pay as much as he wants for as many years as he wants because we know that Manny doesn’t play unless its a contract year. Enough said.

Next on the list, the now-infamous and controversial pink hats. I’ve actually had several emails/comments/etc about the pink hats, either for or against. So here’s the new plan: a poll. Its at the end of the article, so select your answer and we will get a clear picture of how Red Sox Nation (or any baseball fans, really) feel about the pink hats.

Moving on.

A few days ago was Red Sox Photo Day. Probably one of the most ridiculous things in all of baseball, photo day never ceases to produce a few funny pictures.While we haven’t seen all the pictures yet, here’s the first few. We get a glimpse at the “Youk Fu” (to be explained later), we realize that the team as a whole is not particularly photogenic, and we see that Terry Francona looks a little like Ben Kinglsley. Click on the photos to seem them larger.

ellsburypd.jpgbowdenpdjpg.jpgbigpapipd.jpgbaypd.jpgbeckett.jpg

kotsaypd.jpgjddrewpd.jpglesterpd.jpglowellpd.jpglugopd.jpg

pedroia1pd.jpg
smoltz.jpgpenny.jpgpapelbonpd.jpgokajimapd.jpg

tazawa.jpgvaritek2.jpgwakepd.jpgyouk2pd.jpg
titopd.jpg


Here they are, from left to right, top to bottom:
Row 1: OF Jacoby Ellsbury, RHP Michael Bowden, 1B/DH David Ortiz, OF Jason Bay, RHP 
           Josh Beckett
Row 2: U Mark Kotsay, OF J.D. Drew, LHP Jon Lester, 3B Mike Lowell, SS Julio Lugo
Row 3: 2B Dustin Pedroia, RHP John Smoltz, RHP Brad Penny, RHP Jonathan Papelbon,
           LHP Hideki Okajima
Row 4: RHP Junichi Tazawa, C Jason Varitek, RHP Tim Wakefield, 1B Kevin Youkilis,
           Skipper Terry Francona
Along with being picture day, it also seemed to be father’s day, with Little Papi and Little Lugo hanging out. Here are some super cute pics that made me go “awwwwwww”

lilandbigpapi.jpglilandbigpapi1.jpg

8__1235332516_2521.jpg

Aren’t they just too cute?
A few final things to address: The Youk Fu. I would try to explain, but I’ll just let Kevin Youkilis do it for me.

http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/x8hxiv
The Youk Fu
by beisbolct

Guess the goatee is out…

Finally, lets take a look at the pitching staff. While Wake was a little rusty in his start, Beckett, Saito, Lester…they’ve all be sharp. Lester has even worked on his changeup a little more and if he continues to progress it through Spring training, he’ll have a very dangerous pitch added to his already ace-like repertiore.

One thing you can’t argue is that the Red Sox have massive depth with pitching. They have several guys who could start but will likely be in the bull pen because they don’t need to start. So that makes the good bull pen even better. Then we have the consistent capstone himself in Papelbon, and I think with a pen this strong, he won’t have to come in for any 5-out saves or even 4-out saves, which will keep him full of gas just a little bit longer.

What can I say, I’m excited about this season. I think they have great chemistry in the clubhouse with guys like Papi, Pedroia, Papelbon, Tek, Lowell, and Youk. They all relax and goof off in the clubhouse, but when the game is on, so are they. And I don’t think we’ve seen the last of “Large Father” and “Pedroia Productions”. I’m sure Pap’s mom has a lot more embarrassing movies of her son that will make their way into the clubhouse this year.

A few final questions facing the Sox this year:
1. Will Jacoby steal his way back into America’s heart by winning another free taco?
2. How much Double Bubble will Tito go through on average a game?
3. Will Pedroia attack the next person who calls him a “little guy” “jockey”, etc?
4. Will the Youk Fu catch on as a national craze?

Finally, and, most importantly:

5. Will Pedroia ever beat Tito at Cribbage?

Here’s the poll:

Your Pink Hat Opinion

I have no opinion. I’m neutral.
They aren’t called the “Pink Sox” so why wear a pink hat
Real fans wear pink hats!
Only for special events, like cancer awareness days
They’re okay if your a girl
Other opinion.


View Results
Free Myspace Poll

 

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Baseballs Best* Fans, Then And Now

*sort of. Not an all-inclusive list, just a few of the best, then and now.

This is a list of a few of the most loyal, most interesting fans in the
Majors. It covers over 100 years of history, betrayal, and rivalries
that make baseball the dramatic, interesting sport that it is off the
field. Since today kicks off the first official game of Spring training
(yay!) it’s time we salute you, the fans, for being there every season.

The Royal Rooters

rooters.jpg

The Royal Rooters, led by Third Base Saloon owner Mike “Nuf Ced” McGreevey, were a rowdy group of Irish fans who cheered on the Red Sox from 1903, where they were instrumental in distracting the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series, until 1918. They would clank glasses and sing songs, most notably “Tessie”, and change the words to further torment opposing teams and inspire the Red Sox to victory.
The Rooters are a fascinating bunch, check them out if you get a chance.

Bleacher Creatures

bleachercreatures.jpgKnown for their “Roll-call” after the first pitch and their always amusing “(enter name here) sucks” chants, the Bleacher Creatures of Yankee stadium exemplify the essence of being a fan no matter how where your seats are.
They are loyal Yankees fans, and they will let you know it. The Bleacher Creatures are also master hecklers, and a staple at Yankees games for years.
In the Old Yankee Stadium, they occupied sections 39 & 37, and will move to their new home in section 203 when the new Yankee Stadium opens in April.


Damon’s Disciples

disciples.jpg
Now disbanded, Damon’s Disciples formed in 2004 when Johnny Damon, then a member of the Boston Red Sox, made the descision to not cut his hair or shave until the Red Sox had won it all. The leader of the “Idiots” of 2004, Damon’s antics kept the clubhouse loose and his teammates laughing. It also endeared him to the Red Sox rabid fan-base, and created a fan group known as Damon’s Disciples. Because the hair and beard made him look like Jesus, his followers donned wigs and beards and called themselves “disciples”.
While Red Sox Nation will always realize that Damon was a huge reason for ending the championship drought, he will unfortunately also be remembered like this:  “looked like Jesus, threw like Mary, betrayed like Judas”.

Cubs Fans

cubsguide.jpg
While this isn’t a specific “group” like the previous three, we take a moment to salute baseballs most loveable losers. Most teams fans would jump ship after a century of no rings. Or at least after their team has lost 9 straight post-season games, most likely due to the pressure of said 100-year drought. Now, whether you believe in the curse of the goat or not, you have to respect the fans who come out, year after year, disappointment after dissapointment, and cheer on their team.

Cardinals Fans

cards.jpg
Since we just talked about the Cubbies, might as well mention their arch-rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. Cards fans are present and loud, St. Louis, like Boston, is a baseball town. Even when the Rams were the “Greatest Show on Turf”, St. Louis maintained their love for the Cardinals.
So Cards fans, we salute you.

Giants Fans

giantsfans.jpg
Giants fans make this list because of their loyalty. As a Giants fan about Barry Bonds and you would get a defense better than the one at OJ Simpson’s trial. These guys are fiercely loyal, and really into their team. I have to respect that, and admire them for sticking by their guys no matter what.

Phillies Phans

phils.jpg
The Phils Phans make the list because of the sheer meaness and rowdiness of the fan base. I mean, their old stadium had a prison in it just for disorderly conduct arrests.
We give them props for have the guts to boo Santa, and generally make life miserable for visiting fans and teams. 

Red Sox Nation

RedSoxNation.jpg
We end our show with one of the most knowledgeable, and one of the best traveling fan bases in all of baseball: Red Sox Nation. The Nation is massive, though many are bandwagon fans who jumped on in 2004 or 2007. However, much of Red Sox Nation is made up of true fans. Even when the Patriots were having their dynastic run, they couldn’t replace the Sox in the hearts of Boston fans everywhere. There is no doubt about it, Boston is, and always has been, a baseball town.
Red Sox Nation gets props here because of their loyalty and their presence at away games. Its actually cheaper for most fans to fly somewhere and see the Red Sox then take in a game at Fenway, though those tickets are always coveted. When the Sox play the Orioles at Camden, I go, and Red Sox Nation far out numbers the birds fans there. They are always vocal, and always supportive of the team, no matter what.

That’s All Folks!

Like I said, this was not an inclusive list, and I’m sure I missed quite a few great fans, and I’d love to hear about them. Fans are the lifeblood of baseball, and the crazier they are, the more I love them. So to all the baseball fans out there who are counting down the days until April, I salute you. 🙂

So You Wanna Be A Red Sox Fan? Part 2

Here’s part two of your guide to being a Red Sox Fan.

As one of my lovely commentators pointed out, there are a few aspects of Fenway that I forgot to mention. So here’s a brief guide to Fenway:

 -It was built for the 1912 season, and the Red Sox owner at that time, John I. Taylor, decided to call it “Fenway
Park” because it was located in a section of Boston called “the Fens”.
(If you were wondering, Taylor was also the guy who changed the club’s
name to the Red Sox in 1907)

 -Duffy’s Cliff: Around from 1912-1933, Duffy’s Cliff was a 10′ high mound that ran from the left-field foul pole to center field, and because of this, any left-fielder playing at Fenway
had to play the entire game running uphill. Duffy Lewis, a star left
fielder for Boston, had playing this way so down pat, they named it
after him.

 -The Red Seat:
There’s a seat in the right field bleachers painted red. It marks the
spot of the longest measurable homer hit inside Fenway.
Ted Williams hit it on June 9, 1946, and it was measured at 502 feet.
According to legend, the ball crashed through the straw hat of a man
sitting in that seat, Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21.

 -The
Pesky Pole: The right field foul pole is named after Johnny Pesky. He’s
been a virtual fixture at Fenway since 1942. While he moved around a
bit, Pesky has been nicknamed “Mr. Red Sox” and his number, number 6,
was retired last year. The pole was officially named “Pesky’s Pole” on
September 27, 2006, Pesky’s 87th birthday.

 -Did you know that Fenway Park cost $650,000 to build in 1912?

 -The largest crowd ever at Fenway was 47,627, for a doubleheader against, you guessed it, the Yankees in 1935.

 -Behind the manual scoreboard (one of the last remaining) in left field is a room where the walls are covered with signatures of players who have played left field over the years. Maybe that’s where Manny always disappeared to…

 -No one has ever hit a ball over the right field roof.

 -The screen behind home plate that protects spectators from wild pitches/fouls/etc was the first of its kind in the majors

 -9 Red Sox players have pitched no-hitters at Fenway: George Foster (6/21/1916), Dutch Leonard (08/30/1916), Ernie Shore (06/23/1917), Mel Parnell (07/14/1956), Dave Morehead (09/16/1965), Derek Lowe (04/27/2002), Clay Buchholz (09/01/2007) and Jon Lester (05/19/2008)

 -The
Sox have currently sold out 469 consecutive games, and with the team as
talented as it is this year, look for it to increase.

Now a few more clarifications/rules/tips:

 -There is no curse of the Babe, we were not cursed and we don’t believe in it. Some people did/do but its best, if you want to hide your  newbie status, not to mention the “Curse of the Bambino“.

 -Before you go to a game, familiarize yourself with the roster and the starter’s numbers. This will help you, trust me.

 -The
“Yankees Suck” chant. I know I already mentioned it, but I think I need
to clarify. If you are a new fan, its best to avoid starting these
chants simply because of your in-experience. Some fans believe it is
applicable any time, any where. Others think there is a time and place.
Save yourself the trouble and join in, but don’t start.

 -Don’t
ask stupid questions. What is a stupid question? Here’s one: “I thought
Manny Ramirez played left…who is that Jason Bay guy?” or “Why does
that guy have the ‘C’ on his chest?” These will get you glares/looks of shock and will guarantee that everyone thinks you are a bandwagon jumper.

 -if
someone calls you a “bandwagon jumper” don’t get defensive and start
spouting off this whole sob story about how you’ve been a Sox fan since
the ’86 season (I’ll give you a hint, ball rolling through Bill
Buckner’s legs…). Just say “you’re crazy” or “okay” and brush it off.
Unless you have asked one of the above questions, then just admit to it
and say something nice about the fans/team/etc and all will be
forgiven. Most of the time.

 –Fenway is old.
It has lots of bad seats, but lots of character as well. Just don’t ask
why they built it like that, because its been that way since 1912, as
you’ve just learned, and its just the way it is.

Now, for a few pronunciations.This isn’t all-inclusive, so if you run into a problem, go with their first name or just point.

David Ortiz = (or-teez)

Jason Varitek = (Ver-a-tech)

Jacoby Ellsubury = (jucO-bee)

Dustin Pedroia = (Pedroy-ya)

Kevin Youkilis = (You-kill-is) just call him “Youk

Daisuke Matsuzaka = (Dice-K Mat-sue-za-ka) just call him “Dice-K”

Hideki Okajima = (Hide-e-key O-ka-G-ma) just call him “Oki

That’s
it for part 2. If I hear of anything else, there will be a part three,
if not, look forward to my next article which actually will be on the
MLB’s best fans.

So You Wanna Be A Red Sox Fan: Guide to 2009

So, its February, and its cold, and you’ve started thinking about springtime and baseball and you’ve decided to jump on the Red Sox bandwagon. While I, personally, feel like you need to cheer for your home-town team unless you are or have been raised (like me) by a transplanted fan. If, however, you choose not to do this, its all good. Red Sox Nation is always willing to welcome one more.

So, if this is the case, here are a few rules/tips/etc. to get you through 2009 without being called a bandwagon jumper.

First, the rules.
1. No pink hats. Unless there’s some breast cancer day, pink hats are big no-nos.
2. When Kevin Youkilis is up to bat, he is not being booed, everyone is yelling “Yooouuukkk”
3. Never, EVER mention Bucky Dent or Aaron Boone without some sort of negative or
expletive.
4. If someone brings up Yaz during game, they are not talking about birth control, they are
talking about Carl Yastrzemski.
5. 99.9% of the time we will never root for the Yankees to win. The only exception to this rule
is if a Yankees win can secure the Red Sox the Wildcard or the AL East.
6. You cannot like both the Red Sox and the Yankees. Not possible, don’t even try.
7. Starting the “Yankees Suck” chant when we are not playing the Yankees is a bad plan. It
either makes everyone think you are drunk or a brand new fan.
8. If someone brings up Williams, Fisk, Lynn, Yaz, Pesky, etc, and you don’t actually know
anything about them, shhh!
9. You must know something about baseball, be sure to know what a sac-fly is, a hit-and-run,
what is and is not a save, drop third strike, fair and foul, and have a little idea what the
batting average means.
10. If you are surrounded by fans who start the whole “that’s it, we’re done” nonsense, they
are old fans, they’ve been around for a while, and they don’t actually mean “we’re done”,
they still have hope, but its a lingering knee-jerk reaction, and the longer they’ve been a
Sox fan, the longer they will have said reaction.

Now, the traditions:

We’ll start with songs. Songs at a baseball game are important. They take up the time in the middle of innings when we’re switching sides, get the fans back into the game, and entertain everyone. The Red Sox have several which are played at almost every single home game.

First, is Sweet Caroline.
Sweet Caroline is played at every game in the middle of the eighth inning. The lyrics can be found here or on the big screen at Fenway.

Next, we have Tessie.
Tessie has some history. It was originally from a Broadway play and utilized by the Royal Rooters in the early 1900s to inspire the Red Sox and taunt opposing teams. In 2004, if was re-recorded by the Dropkick Murphys and several members of the Red Sox organization, and it tells the story of the Royal Rooters. It is the second of three songs played after every Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

This is from the CD Warriors Code, by the Dropkick Murphys, explaining Tessie:

“We recorded this song in June 2004 and after giving it to the Red Sox told anyone that would listen that this song would guarantee a World Series victory. Obviously no one listened to us or took us seriously. We were three outs away from elimination in game 4 at the hands of the Yankees and receiving death threats from friends, family, & strangers telling us to stay away from the Red Sox and any other Boston sports team and get out of town. Luckily for us things turned around for the Red Sox and the rest is history.”

Then there’s Dirty Water
Dirty Water was recorded by the Standells and debuted on the radio in 1966. It is the first song played after every home victory by the Red Sox and is a tribute to Boston. Lyrics can be found here.

Finally, Joy To The World
Joy to The World is a song by Three Dog Night, it is the last of the three songs played at home Red Sox victories. Check out the lyrics here.

Finally, here are some random 2009 tid-bits you might need to know.

-Dustin Pedroia’s listed height and his apparent actually height are different. Say nothing, he’s a beastly player.
-Kevin Youkilis is Mr. Intensity. He’s not really called that. One of his nick-names is “The Greek God of Walks”. He is also not generally called that. Mostly, we call him “Youk”
-Jason Varitek is one of 4 (3?) Captains in Major League Baseball. So the “C” on his chest is a big deal.
-Wakefield pitches knuckleballs.
-Terry Francona is also referred to as “Tito”. He doesn’t chew tobacco, but he does go through tons of double-bubble every game.
-“PawSox” refers to “Pawtucket Red Sox” the AAA team for the Red Sox organization.
-The mascot is “Wally the Green Monster”, this is because the thirty-seven-foot, two-inch left field wall at Fenway, the tallest of such walls in the majors, is called “The Green Monster”. It was not actually painted green until 1947.
-When they call Jon Lester a “southpaw” this means “lefty”
-The AL East is the division the Red Sox play in. It is a tough division, because the Yankees spend so much money and the Rays have had first-round draft picks for years, so they have a lot of young talent. The Orioles and the Bluejays are also in the division.
-The bull-pen band is a term for when the bull pen gets bored or wants to distract the other team and they bang on the fence and shake things to create music. They are actually quite good.
-A Fenway Frank is a hot dog.
-Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo are the NESN announcers for the Boston Red Sox
Fever Pitch was not that good of a movie.

That’s about all I can think of for now, so if you’re just joining us, welcome to Red Sox Nation, you’ll love it here.

So You Wanna Be A Red Sox Fan: Guide to 2009

So, its February, and its cold, and you’ve started thinking about springtime and baseball and you’ve decided to jump on the Red Sox bandwagon. While I, personally, feel like you need to cheer for your home-town team unless you are or have been raised (like me) by a transplanted fan. If, however, you choose not to do this, its all good. Red Sox Nation is always willing to welcome one more.

So, if this is the case, here are a few rules/tips/etc. to get you through 2009 without being called a bandwagon jumper.

First, the rules.
1. No pink hats. Unless there’s some breast cancer day, pink hats are big no-nos.
2. When Kevin Youkilis is up to bat, he is not being booed, everyone is yelling “Yooouuukkk”
3. Never, EVER mention Bucky Dent or Aaron Boone without some sort of negative or  
    expletive.
4. If someone brings up Yaz during game, they are not talking about birth control, they are
    talking about Carl Yastrzemski.
5. 99.9% of the time we will never root for the Yankees to win. The only exception to this rule
    is if a Yankees win can secure the Red Sox the Wildcard or the AL East.
6. You cannot like both the Red Sox and the Yankees. Not possible, don’t even try.
7. Starting the “Yankees Suck” chant when we are not playing the Yankees is a bad plan. It
    either makes everyone think you are drunk or a brand new fan.
8. If someone brings up Williams, Fisk, Lynn, Yaz, Pesky, etc, and you don’t actually know
    anything about them, shhh!
9. You must know something about baseball, be sure to know what a sac-fly is, a hit-and-run,
    what is and is not a save, drop third strike, fair and foul, and have a little idea what the
    batting average means.
10. If you are surrounded by fans who start the whole “that’s it, we’re done” nonsense, they
     are old fans, they’ve been around for a while, and they don’t actually mean “we’re done”,
     they still have hope, but its a lingering knee-jerk reaction, and the longer they’ve been a
     Sox fan, the longer they will have said reaction. 

Now, the traditions:

We’ll start with songs. Songs at a baseball game are important. They take up the time in the middle of innings when we’re switching sides, get the fans back into the game, and entertain everyone. The Red Sox have several which are played at almost every single home game.

First, is Sweet Caroline.
Sweet Caroline is played at every game in the middle of the eighth inning. The lyrics can be found here or on the big screen at Fenway.

Next, we have Tessie.
Tessie has some history. It was originally from a Broadway play and utilized by the Royal Rooters in the early 1900s to inspire the Red Sox and taunt opposing teams. In 2004, if was re-recorded by the Dropkick Murphys and several members of the Red Sox orginiazation, and it tells the story of the Royal Rooters. It is the second of three songs played after every Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

This is from the CD Warriors Code, by the Dropkick Murphys, explaining Tessie:

“We recorded this song in June 2004 and after giving it to the Red
Sox told anyone that would listen that this song would guarantee a
World Series victory. Obviously no one listened to us or took us
seriously. We were three outs away from elimination in game 4 at the
hands of the Yankees and receiving death threats from friends, family,
& strangers telling us to stay away from the Red Sox and any other
Boston sports team and get out of town. Luckily for us things turned
around for the Red Sox and the rest is history.”

Then there’s Dirty Water
Dirty Water was recorded by the Standells and debuted on the radio in 1966. It is the first song played after every home victory by the Red Sox and is a tribute to Boston. Lyrics can be found here.

Finally, Joy To The World
Joy to The World is a song by Three Dog Night, it is the last of the three songs played at home Red Sox victories. Check out the lyrics here.

Finally, here are some random 2009 tid-bits you might need to know.

-Dustin Pedroia’s listed height and his apparent actually height are different. Say nothing, he’s a beastly player.
-Kevin Youkilis is Mr. Intensity. He’s not really called that. One of his nick-names is “The Greek God of Walks”. He is also not generally called that. Mostly, we call him “Youk”
-Jason Varitek is one of 4 (3?) Captains in Major League Baseball. So the “C” on his chest is a big deal.
-Wakefield pitches knuckleballs.
-Terry Francona is also refferred to as “Tito”. He doesn’t chew tobacco, but he does go through tons of double-bubble every game.
-“PawSox” refers to “Pawtucket Red Sox” the AAA team for the Red Sox organization.
-The mascot is “Wally the Green Monster”, this is because the thirty-seven-foot, two-inch left field wall at Fenway, the tallest of such walls in the majors, is called “The Green Monster”. It was not actually painted green until 1947.
-When they call Jon Lester a “southpaw” this means “lefty”
-The AL East is the division the Red Sox play in. It is a tough division, because the Yankees spend so much money and the Rays have had first-round draft picks for years, so they have a lot of young talent. The Orioles and the Bluejays are also in the division.
-The bull-pen band is a term for when the bull pen gets bored or wants to distract the other team and they bang on the fence and shake things to create music. They are actually quite good.
-A Fenway Frank is a hotdog.
-Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo are the NESN announcers for the Boston Red Sox
Fever Pitch was not that good of a movie.

That’s about all I can think of for now, so if you’re just joining us, welcome to Red Sox Nation, you’ll love it here.

Some Sox Beat the "Spring Training Rush"

Yesterday, the Red Sox minor league facility in Fort Myers was packed with veterans and newbies getting their workouts in.

Rocco Baldelli, Brad Penny, John Smoltz and Takashi Saito all arrived two days before pitchers and catchers were supossed to report to get their feet wet with a new team.

Co-aces Josh Beckett and Jon Lester were there as well, along with Kevin Youkilis. Lester and Beckett weren’t scheduled to report until tomorrow (thursday) and Youk wasn’t supposed to be in until Sunday, there they all were, the proverbial early birds just trying to get the worm.

Of course, this goes right along with Youk’s reputation as “Mr. Intensity”, and for me, means that baseball is back. And this is a good thing, because if I have to hear one more thing about Miss October (A-Rod) having juiced, I might scream.

There seem to be certain teams, certain locker room cultures across the league that seemed to condone the use of steroids at one time or another. And if you are in that culture, you’re probably going to do it. I’m not defending A-Rod, seriously, would I actually do that? But if he’s stopped, he’s stopped, and you don’t have to add an asterisk to any of his stats from those years because we will all do it in our minds, our own mental asterisks.

But with Spring Training officially starting tomorrow, we can move past the ugly and into what might be baseball’s most optimistic time. At this juncture, everyone thinks 2009 is going to be a great year, and for some teams, it will.

The Yankees made all the flashy moves this off-season, landing CC, Burnett, and Texiera. So that gives them a one-two-three punch of Sabathia, Burnett, and Wang. But who is their fourth starter? And their fifth? Joba made a splash last year, but he could turn into a Buchholz, he’s got fast stuff, real rocket arm, but how many innings deep can he go? His technique makes him very injury prone, so the Yanks would be smart to keep his pitch count low. And now that everyone has seen Joba, they are going to start figuring him out. And who’s the other starter? Pettite?

And the Rays? The Rays are sort of the dark horse of the AL East. Either they caught lightening in a bottle last year and will be bottom of the barrel again this year, or they’ll still be competitive in the increasingly tough AL East.

As for the Sox, I’m liking the rotation and the ‘pen. We’ve got Beckett, Lester, Dice-K, Smoltz, Penny, Wake…I’m not too sure what the rotation is going to look like, because you can never count out Masterson and Buchholz.

And while the Sox will miss quite possibly the greatest right-handed hitter of our time at Spring training, the Sox can make up for missing Manny with a meaty bunch of hitters. Pedroia, Youkilis, Drew, Ortiz, Bay, and Lowell, if they are healthy, make for a frightening batting order.

The focus this year, though, for the first time since 2000, will not be on “when will Manny show up”. The focus will be on the team, and their goal to win another World Series, and with the team we’ve got now, its a plausible goal.

Some Sox Beat the “Spring Training Rush”

Yesterday, the Red Sox minor league facility in Fort Myers was packed with veterans and newbies getting their workouts in.

Rocco Baldelli, Brad Penny, John Smoltz and Takashi Saito all arrived two days before pitchers and catchers were supossed to report to get their feet wet with a new team.

Co-aces Josh Beckett and Jon Lester were there as well, along with Kevin Youkilis. Lester and Beckett weren’t scheduled to report until tomorrow (thursday) and Youk wasn’t supposed to be in until Sunday, there they all were, the proverbial early birds just trying to get the worm.

Of course, this goes right along with Youk’s reputation as “Mr. Intensity”, and for me, means that baseball is back. And this is a good thing, because if I have to hear one more thing about Miss October (A-Rod) having juiced, I might scream.

There seem to be certain teams, certain locker room cultures across the league that seemed to condone the use of steroids at one time or another. And if you are in that culture, you’re probably going to do it. I’m not defending A-Rod, seriously, would I actually do that? But if he’s stopped, he’s stopped, and you don’t have to add an asterisk to any of his stats from those years because we will all do it in our minds, our own mental asterisks.

But with Spring Training officially starting tomorrow, we can move past the ugly and into what might be baseball’s most optimistic time. At this juncture, everyone thinks 2009 is going to be a great year, and for some teams, it will.

The Yankees made all the flashy moves this off-season, landing CC, Burnett, and Texiera. So that gives them a one-two-three punch of Sabathia, Burnett, and Wang. But who is their fourth starter? And their fifth? Joba made a splash last year, but he could turn into a Buchholz, he’s got fast stuff,  real rocket arm, but how many innings deep can he go? His technique makes him very injury prone, so the Yanks would be smart to keep his pitch count low. And now that everyone has seen Joba, they are going to start figuring him out. And who’s the other starter? Pettite?

And the Rays? The Rays are sort of the dark horse of the AL East. Either they caught lightening in a bottle last year and will be bottom of the barrel again this year, or they’ll still be competitive in the increasingly tough AL East. 

As for the Sox, I’m liking the rotation and the ‘pen. We’ve got Beckett, Lester, Dice-K, Smoltz, Penny, Wake…I’m not too sure what the rotation is going to look like, because you can never count out Masterson and Buchholz.

And while the Sox will miss quite possibly the greatest right-handed hitter of our time at Spring training, the Sox can make up for missing Manny with a meaty bunch of hitters. Pedroia, Youkilis, Drew, Ortiz, Bay, and Lowell, if they are healthy, make for a frightening batting order.

The focus this year, though, for the first time since 2000, will not be on “when will Manny show up”. The focus will be on the team, and their goal to win another World Series, and with the team we’ve got now, its a plausible goal.  

A Hairy Situation: Boston’s Best (Facial*) Hair

*may include some non-facial hair

While we wait anxiously for baseball season to start, recover from last night’s buzzer loss to the Lakers, and wonder about Matt Cassel now that he’s been tagged, I’ve decided to lighten the mood and take a look at some of the best hair around Beantown. These are in no particular order, because I had a hard time judging soul patch against stash against scruff.

So, without Further Ado, here are some hair-raising examples.

dustinbeard.jpg

And so here we have Dustin Pedroia’s scruff/goatee. This changes throughout the season, sometimes he’s clean-shaven, sometimes he’s just got scruff, sometimes he’s got scruff and goatee, sometimes just the goatee. We applaud Dustin for his artistic shaving, and it is our opinion that the ever-changing hair is somehow tied to Tito…but we have no proof.

Next…

josh.jpeg
kesoulpatch.jpg

Josh Beckett for the Red Sox and KG for the Celtics representing the “Soul Patch”

Now, many of the C’s rock this look from week to week, but Josh is the main member of the Red Sox who so effortlessly rocks the soul patch. Again, we have no explanation for the tuft of hair these gentlemen prefer, but the way they play the game, we don’t question it.

oline.jpgThe New England Patriots O-Line, AKA “The Mountain Men”. Their signature beards are grown throughout the season until they look like this. Its either an intimidation tactic, a bonding experience, or both, but either way, I feel sorry for some of their wives. They make our list for the sheer lumberjack-ness of their hair.

papshair.jpgJonathan Papelbon’s Hair. While it doesn’t count as facial hair, its too much fun not to mention here. On one side, we have the mohawk. The entire Rays team had those last year, and they weren’t intimidating, especially on Joe Madden, but on Paps, we like it. On the other side we have the signature spiked look, which was rocked for most of the 2007 World Series run. So while its not on his face, we love it and him, so he makes the list.

tombeard.jpg

Tom Brady may have the world’s most famous stubble, but he has been known to rock a bit more of a beard, which we suspect is in support of his mountainous o-line. The stubble is, however, much more attractive, and on Brady’s already handsome face, makes him look rugged and manly. The beard…not so much. While we appreciate the bonding, we think Tom should stick to the stubble.

welker.jpgThen we have everyone’s favorite slot machine, Wes Welker. He, like Pedroia, likes to shake things up, but his most famous (or infamous) cut is the mustache. Now, we secretly called it the “porn star ‘stache”, but when he rocks it with a beard, its much less creepy. All in all, we’re in favor of the light scruff, its less creepy, or clean-shaven, which is also good.

And finally…

youkbeards.jpg
Youk. Kevin Youkilis has been clean-shaven, but lately, he’s been rocking the goatee. We much prefer the goatee. We have a theory that its an intimidation technique, and goes well with the intense, scary, persona he has when he plays (we also think that Youk doesn’t shower to help with that persona, or at least, lets people think he doesn’t). Its the most famous goatee on the Red Sox roster, and gives us all hope that Youk will always play with intensity, grit, and consistency. Funny how a little bit of hair can say so much. Maybe the goatee is why Joba Chamberlain is out to get him?

That’s all the hair I have today. If I missed anyone or you think someone should not be on this list, let me know, maybe I’ll add them in.

We’ll be doing the “Best Of” for the next few weeks. Anything to get us through until opening day. Next up: “Best Fans”, we’ll look at Damon’s Disciples, the Bleacher Creatures, and the Royal Rooters, to name just a few.

A Hairy Situation: Boston’s Best (Facial*) Hair

*may include some non-facial hair

While we wait anxiously for baseball season to start, recover from last night’s buzzer loss to the Lakers, and wonder about Matt Cassel now that he’s  been tagged, I’ve decided to lighten the mood and take a look at some of the best hair around Beantown. These are in no particular order, because I had a hard time judging soul patch against stash against scruff. 

So, without Further Ado, here are some hair-raising examples.

dustinbeard.jpg

And so here we have Dustin Pedroia’s scruff/goatee. This changes throughout the season, sometimes he’s clean-shaven, sometimes he’s just got scruff, sometimes he’s got scruff and goatee, sometimes just the goatee. We applaud Dustin for his artistic shaving, and it is our opinion that the ever-changing hair is somehow tied to Tito…but we have no proof.

Next…

josh.jpeg
kesoulpatch.jpg

Josh Beckett for the Red Sox and KG for the Celtics representing the “Soul Patch”

Now, many of the C’s rock this look from week to week, but Josh is the main member of the Red Sox who so effortlessly rocks the soul patch. Again, we have no explanation for the tuft of hair these gentlemen prefer, but the way they play the game, we don’t question it.

oline.jpgThe New England Patriots O-Line, AKA “The Mountain Men”. Their signature beards are grown throughout the season until they look like this. Its either an intimidation tactic, a bonding experience, or both, but either way, I feel sorry for some of their wives. They make our list for the sheer lumberjack-ness of their hair.

papshair.jpgJonathan Papelbon’s Hair. While it doesn’t count as facial hair, its too much fun not to mention here. On one side, we have the mohawk. The entire Rays team had those last year, and they weren’t intimidating, especially on Joe Madden, but on Paps, we like it. On the other side we have the signature spiked look, which was rocked for most of the 2007 World Series run. So while its not on his face, we love it and him, so he makes the list.

tombeard.jpg

Tom Brady may have the world’s most famous stubble, but he has been known to rock a bit more of a beard, which we suspect is in support of his mountainous o-line. The stubble is, however, much more attractive, and on Brady’s already handsome face, makes him look rugged and manly. The beard…not so much. While we appreciate the bonding, we think Tom should stick to the stubble.

welker.jpgThen we have everyone’s favorite slot machine, Wes Welker. He, like Pedroia, likes to shake things up, but his most famous (or infamous) cut is the mustache. Now, we secretly called it the “porn star ‘stache”, but when he rocks it with a beard, its much less creepy. All in all, we’re in favor of the light scruff, its less creepy, or clean-shaven, which is also good.

And finally…

youkbeards.jpg
Youk. Kevin Youkilis has been clean-shaven, but lately, he’s been rocking the goatee. We much prefer the goatee. We have a theory that its an intimidation technique, and goes well with the intense, scary, persona he has when he plays (we also think that Youk doesn’t shower to help with that persona, or at least, lets people think he doesn’t). Its the most famous goatee on the Red Sox roster, and gives us all hope that Youk will always play with intensity, grit, and consistency. Funny how a little bit of hair can say so much. Maybe the goatee is why Joba Chamberlain is out to get him?

That’s all the hair I have today. If I missed anyone or you think someone should not be on this list, let me know, maybe I’ll add them in.

We’ll be doing the “Best Of” for the next few weeks. Anything to get us through until opening day. Next up: “Best Fans”, we’ll look at Damon’s Diciples, the Bleacher Creatures, and the Royal Rooters, to name just a few.