Marathon Morning: Red Sox Sweep The Orioles With A Twelve Run Rout


Its a good morning when you have a
baseball game at 11 and you have nothing to do. Its even better when
you get to see a young guy pull off a show-stopping performance on Patriots Day of all days. All while thousands of people ran in the 113th Boston Marathon.

Masterson, usually the long reliever/all around lights
out pitcher from the bull pen, got his first start of 2009. In 5
innings he struck out 3, walked 2, and allowed 1 earned run on 4 hits. Not a bad outing, considering he did all that
on just 84 pitches. And thanks to the Red Sox very strong bull pen,
that one run was the only one allowed all game.

The bats got going in the first, when Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double. A single from Dustin Pedroia scored the speedy Ellsbury, and a ground out from Baldelli brought in Dustin, putting the Sox up by two.

In the second, Jason Varitek continued with his seemingly rejuvenated
swing (its only a few weeks into the season, but I remain optimistic)
and launched a solo shot into the monster seats, where fans were
alternating between watching the game, and watching the marathon
runners make their way through Kenmore Square.

The Orioles scored in the third, and it remained close until the bottom of the sixth. Another RBI single for Pedroia and a triple from David Ortiz made it 6-1, Red Sox.

The bull pen held the Orioles to a scoreless top half of the seventh,
and then the Red Sox really got started. The Orioles faced 12 Red Sox
batters, Mike Lowell had an RBI double and an RBI single in the inning.
Also with RBI singles in the seventh were Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Youkilis.

best part of today? With the exception of Ortiz, who’s average is up to
.196, the rest of the team is now hitting above .220. Pedroia got
moving, so did Ellsbury, and Ortiz had a good day with two hits, two
RBI, and a run scored.

Lefty pitcher Hunter Jones made his major league debut, and pitched a scoreless 9th for the Red Sox, while Rocco Baldelli left the game in the fourth with a mild hamstring strain, and Orioles third-basemen Ryan Freel left the game in the third after being hit by a pick-off attempt from Masterson. He went to the hospital as a precaution, but there is no news yet on when he will return to the Orioles line up.

Sox now have a five game winning streak, are back over .500, and have
now won their 66th Patriot’s Day game, which started with a 21-gun
salute from the Minutemen, and ended with a 12-run salute from the Red

Red Sox Spring Training Analysis (Part 1)

It’s time for a little baseball prognosticating.

I admit to being a stats addict, and as such, I’m going to look at
the stats from spring training in 2008, compare them to the stats from
the 2008 regular season, and then see what conclusions can be drawn for
this season based on this year’s spring training numbers.

Whew. Good thing I’m a stats freak…’cause that’s a lot of numbers.

We’ll start by looking at the captain, and see if his 2009 will be better than 2008.

‘Tek hit .320 in 2008 Spring training, with three homers and seven RBI.

In 2008, he hit .220 with 13 home runs and an astounding 122 strikeouts in 131 games.

So far this spring, Varitek has hit .206 with 3 homers and 12 RBI.
Maybe the lower spring training batting average bodes well for ‘Tek;
his 2007 spring training batting average was .108, and he ended up
hitting .255 with 17 home runs in 2007.

Prediction: ‘Tek will hit somewhere between .229 and .245 for 2009. We’ll see.


Next, we’ll take a look at Jacoby Ellsbury.

In 2008 spring training, Jacoby hit .209 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored.

During the regular season, despite slumps, Jacoby finished with .280, 47 RBI, 98 runs scored and 50 stolen bases.

This spring, Jacoby has hit .250 with 8 runs scored, 5 RBI, and one steal.

Look for him to hit around .300 this season, with more runs scored
and more stolen bases if he can avoid the slumps. Since this will be
(sort of) his third year in the majors, maybe he can avoid the
sophomore slump. If he does, Ellsbury will be one of the game’s elite
leadoff hitters. That, combined with his great defense, should lead to
an excellent player.


Now lets look at the AL MVP Dustin Pedroia.

In 2008 spring training, Dustin batted .179 with one homer and four RBI.

By the time the 2008 season rolled around, he stepped up his game considerably, hitting .326 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI.

This spring, not including his brief stint at the World Baseball Classic, Pedroia has hit .370 with four RBI and 10 hits.

Pedroia throws off the stats a little, because so far, he’s been a
slow starter (he hit .196 in 2007 spring training, then hit .317 for
the year). But because of the World Baseball Classic, we don’t have all
his stats. If you figure them all out, Dustin’s spring average is
.279–considerably higher than his usual spring training average. That
means I have to forget stats and just guesstimate.

Look for Pedroia to do better than his stellar year last year,
hitting around the .335 to .350 mark. This may be overly optimistic,
but he’s got the will and the drive.

That’s it for part one. Next, I’ll look at Lowrie, Lowell, and Youkilis, and see what kind of years they will have.

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.





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”



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.
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


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.

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)

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.

“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.

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.

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

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  
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.

Varitek, Sox Together Again. Officially.

Finally, the Varitek saga, which has kept us all hitting “refresh” on google news/Boston Globe/ESPN, whatever, is over.

Reports are that Jason Varitek has agreed to the one
year , $5 million dollar contract with the club/player options for the
second year. All I have to say is hal-le-freaking-lu-jah!

    Of course, now that the Captain is back,
what am I ever going to obsess about? I mean, spring training doesn’t
officially start until Feb 14th, which is two weeks from now. And yes,
there is that little game called the Superbowl on
Sunday, and I can obsess about the Cassel questions and the NFL off-season.

    Note to Patriots, if you are even listening: half the Baltimore
defense are unrestricted free agents this year. Grab as many as you can
get your hands on. Please.

As for the Cassel/Brady drama…maybe that will be
enough to keep me occupied now that the Tek saga is done, and the Sox
unlikely to make any more off-season moves. But of course, since its
the Patriots, the amount of information we’ll be able to get on the
Brady/Cassel situation (how is Tom’s knee, are the Pats keeping Cassel,
are they going to tag him…etc) will be slim to none.
Thanks for the closed-mouth attitude, Bill. Most days, I don’t mind
that, but when you want to know something, the Patriots can be
down-right annoying.

    Back to baseball. Red Sox Nation rejoice, we have a catcher. I know
Tek was like an automatic out last season, but its not like there’s
anyone out there who can step in and take his place. Now we’ll just
ease Tek out of the position, introduce a new catcher, get the staff acclimated to the new guy, so that we can phase Tek out in 2010. And
you never know, he could have a brilliant season in 2009 and bounce
back a little. Call me crazy, but it could happen.

Just A Quick Blurb/Rant

    So I’m sitting here, refreshing my google news (sorted by date) on Jason Varitek. No word yet, and its just killing me. This is beyond ridiculous! Tek needs to take the contract, if only for my sanity and team morale. Yes, all you nay-sayers, team morale will plummet like the stock market after Obama’s election.
     Plus, our little pitchers need someone experienced on the backstop, and they would all be very sad to see Tek go.

    I know, I know, I’ve already said all this a million times, but its just so annoying! I mean, the Yankees have spent half a billion dollars on talent this year, so despite A-Rod’s obsession with Jeter, they’ll be competitive. Again. Are you telling me that we can’t spend a measly $5 million to bring back the gritty soul of the team? Seriously!

    Okay, that ends my rant. I’ll post again the minute I hear any news of Tek, one way or the other.

Sox Reportedly Make Offer to Tek

According to a Boston Globe article found here, the Red Sox have formally offered Jason Varitek a deal. While the specifics are unclear, it is likely that it is less than the previously offered $10 million arbitration deal, it may be for two years or contain an option for a second year contingent on at-bats or something.

If you ask me, its about time.

While there is no word on any deadline for Tek and the Prince of Darkness (Boras) to accept this deal, pitchers and catchers report on February 12th, a few short weeks from now.

Also, in other breaking news, Sean Casey, the fun-loving first baseman who pitch hit well for the Sox last season has decided to retire and join the MLBNetwork, according to reports. All I have to say is good luck Sean, he will be an excellent addition to the staff at the network.

Back In The Backstop: The Case For Tek

Of the Red Sox active roster, the average age of the pitching staff
is 28. Take out the highest and lowest two ages to avoid any one larger
or smaller number significantly affecting the stats, and the age you
get is 26.7.

That’s a young staff, and with such a young staff,
we need, and everyone say it with me, a VETERAN catcher. I really think
Schilling said it best. The Sox need Tek so they can wean our lovely young pitching staff off the Captain and acclimate them to the “catcher of the future”.


This may take some time. In the big leagues, Bowden, Buchholz, Masterson,
Lester, Delcarmen, and Paps have never had a different catcher. It has
always been Varitek. You are talking about a potential ace, several
potential starters, and a firecracker of a closer who have developed a
really close relationship with the Captain. Schilling also went on to
say that Varitek “knows some of us better than we know ourselves.”

Strong words. Now, we know the Sox have a standing offer on the table for Tek,
and we know it is not the $10-$12 million he would have gotten earlier,
however, I have to believe that for his pride’s sake alone (a Captain
needs a bit of pride to be a good leader!) they’re going to offer $2-$5
million over a year or two. I’d say two with an option for a third
year, because though he doesn’t need to be starting, you could have the
“catcher of the future” training under one of the greatest catchers of
all time.

Now what several people have suggested (and while I believe its none of our business, I think it might be true) is that Tek is waiting for his divorce to be finalized before agreeing to any deal. It makes logical sense from a financial stand-point.

know what else makes logical sense? A collective firing of the Prince
of Darkness (Boras) by all the Free Agents his greed has royally
screwed over this off season. Or the baseball owners pool their money
and have him “taken care of”.

Regardless, I think Tek will be
back in the backstop come spring training, with some new young guy
watching his every move, trying to learn. And who knows, maybe he’ll
have a comeback year. Call me crazy, but it could happen.

Sox Avoid Aribitration While Tek Clears The Air

Theo Epstein has now gone six years without actually going to the arbitration hearing.

Papelbon signed a one year, 6.25 million dollar deal to keep him out of arbitration in his first year of eligibility, and they may not be finished. This was the biggest deal ever for a relief pitcher in his first year of eligibility.

Of course, after locking up Youkilis and Pedroia with multi-year deals, one can bet the Sox, with their available funds, would likely try and lock up their eccentric closer as well.

Javier Lopez signed a $1.35 million deal, which is a $500,000 raise from last year.

Also according to reports, the meeting that Jason Varitek had with the Red Sox without the Prince of Darkness (aka Boras), it was to clear the air with the team because they had been ignoring Boras’s calls. He also stated that he had no idea that teams would forfeit a draft pick when he decided against the Red Sox earlier offer. How true this is, I don’t know, but it is possible that our beloved Captain, baseball smart as he may be, may not know all the ins and outs of trade deadlines and arbitration deals. From his comments, Tek sounds sincerely apologetic and a little ashamed.

For my part, I’m going to believe him, and maybe that is why he decided not to take the $10 million, which I never understood why he didn’t. It made no sense to not take that deal, and now I am starting to understand his reasoning behind not taking it. If he didn’t know about the draft pick, and PoD (Boras) wasn’t about to tell him, then he was going along, blissfully ignorant that taking him from the Red Sox would come at such a high cost for another team.