White Hat Sports Headlines

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We've Been Here Before

It's almost one in the morning and Jon Lester just got lifted from the Sox game after being struck with a ground ball/line drive (I really can't tell, I'm a little shaken up about it) but he was pretty much at the end of his night anyway, but that means that mine has just begun. On the replay it looks like a one hopper right off the shin of Lester. Papelbon is on now to work with one out and the bases loaded and a 4 run lead.

Right now Terry Francona is avoiding Hideki Okajima with runners in scoring position like Artie Bucco avoids Charmaine on the Sopranos.

Side note, I am working my way through the series for the second time, and upon further review Artie wasn't in the show as much as I remembered the first time. Whenever he was around, it was very awkward like when he would order for people at the restaurant and of course all of his awkward fights (I just watched the weird fight he had with Jean Phillipe over the money he lent him for "The New Vodka" so I'm pretty stoked for his upcoming feud episode with Benny Fazio. They were the Flair v. Rhodes of the whole show).

~I just saw the Yankees score on the bottom line, how on earth is Sidney "Separated at birth from John Daly" Ponson 6-1? I knew the Yankees had won most of his starts, but I figured it was like when most aging veterans join a team and they get a lot of no decisions and he just keeps the team in the game, gives them a chance to win (I'm going for the managerial record for post game cliche's in one column) and really located his pitches.

~ Jose Vidro is playing first base for the Mariners right now. Really Seattle? The guy was an Expo for crying out loud and they didn't hit him third or have him play first base. (I know they had Vlad, but still.) This Mariners team sort of reminds me of the Red Sox teams of the late 90's and very early 2000's. They don't have a ton of talent, they should be winning a lot more games than they are, but have some likable guys on the team. Here are the similarities and player to player comparison's from the late 90's very early 2000's Red Sox and the 2008 Seattle Mariners.

Ichiro would be the Nomar of the team, he can hit and is genuinely exciting to watch. He starts every all-star game now matter how bad the team is because he's that good and people want to watch him play. Felix Hernandez is the Pedro of the team, but is more like Pedro when he was in Montreal, starting to come into his own and is one Cy Young away from signing for a East Coast contender. (Who knew Montreal and Seattle had so many similarities? Maybe I should write a save out Mariners column? Too soon Sonic fans? Too soon.)

I'm going to keep going with this comparison because, well it's fun.

Willie Bloomquist is a combination guy, he could either be Darren Bragg (one of my favorite under producing Sox players of all time) or Trot Nixon minus the one really good season so far. He hustles and you feel like he is going to get a hit when he comes up or at least will remember to always bring his bat to the plate when it's his turn, which on this team is really saying something right now.

Yuniesky Bettancourt (great name to say out loud in baseball today, do it, DO IT!!!) is a lot like Jose Offerman but not grossly over paid and hasn't quite hit the same kind of stride, maybe because he bats 9th? Yeah, it's because he bats 9th, Offerman on the other hand was a lead off hitter. This comparison doesn't go much past, they are both from other countries and both are middle infielders.

JJ Putz is definitely the Tom Gordon of the team. I was debating between Gordon or Derek Lowe, but Lowe didn't throw nearly hard enough to be compared with Putz. People forget now how good Tom Gordon was and how good we all felt about having Pedro, Nomar and Gordon. Two all-stars and another who was a top 5 closer and with his numbers would have been on every all star team now, (especially with Tito taking 6 closers.)

To paraphrase what Magic Johnson said about Larry Bird on Larry Bird Night, (February 4, 1993, yes I have that date memorized. I've seen the tape of that night literally 100 times, I thank for dad every day for taping it.)

"There will never be another Rich Garces." EVER!!!

Sox close it out and tomorrow I am on my way to Portland to see David Ortiz play for the Sea Dogs. I will have a column up on Wednesday with a full report.

Sterling Pingree

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