White Hat Sports Headlines

Friday, February 20, 2009

Red Sox in the movies part II, the pitchers

Yesterday I wrote a column comparing the current Red Sox line up to baseball movie characters. Today I am back to write part two, comparing the current Red Sox pitching staff, relievers and starters to baseball movie characters. I split them up because with pitchers it is infinitely more challenging because if you look at baseball movie history, most of them are based around position players. The few that are based around pitchers, or at least have a pitchers as a leading character (ie Major League I & II and Bull Durham) only have one of them not an entire staff. So without further adu, your Red Sox pitching staff, in the movies.

Josh Beckett is to the Red Sox, what Amanda Whurlitzer was to the Bad News Bears.
Both were the aces of their staffs, and right now there are people saying that Jon Lester is the ace of this staff. I disagree, I expect big things from Jon Lester and a Cy Young candidacy next season for the south paw, but as of today with a big game on the line you want Josh Beckett taking the hill and he wants to be there too. Beckett is a big game pitcher and has pitched with big game pitchers, previously Curt Schilling and currently John Smoltz. Whurlitzer was a man among boys, or a prepubescent girl amongst boys. She was dominant in big games and well every game she pitched she expected to win. With her devastating curve ball and plus fastball she took the little league equivalent of the Seattle Pilots and turned them into a force. Add in the mean streaks that both of them have on the mound and there's your aces.

Jon Lester is to the Red Sox, what Wedman was to the Minnesota Twins in Little Big League.
The stark difference to these two guys are that Wedman was likely at the end of his career and a journey man that got the start in the one game playoff just because Billy's friend Joey said he should pitch him as a running joke throughout the movie. What happened? Until Ken Griffey Jr, lit into a home run that announcer Wall Holland described as one that "people take vacations shorter than that one", he was coming up huge in a huge game. Lester has twice become the guy for the Red Sox during the post season, first in game 4 of the 07 World Series and then again in game 7 of the 08 ALCS. Lester has a lot higher ceiling but both were thrust into the spotlight only to surprise everybody and impress with their performances.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is to the Red Sox, what Every Japanese Pitcher was to Jack Elliot when he first gets to Japan in Mr. Baseball.
This one might be weak but let me explain. Daisuke has a style to him and he works the same way that the pitchers in Japan did to Tom Selleck's character in Mr. Baseball. He went there with a hole in his swing and the pitchers took full advantage of it. Daisuke does the same thing to major league hitters. He seemingly goes looking for trouble all of the time and somehow always gets out of it unscathed. He loaded the bases routinely but would never be scored on in those most pressure packed situation. He is maddening to watch pitch in the postseason but by game one against Tampa Bay, I was almost at ease with him out there, that he just wouldn't break out there. He would find the hole in each batters swing when he needed to.

John Smoltz (could be) to the Red Sox what Billy Chapel is to the Detroit Tigers in For Love of the Game.
The gritty battler who goes out there in the big games and just flat out gets it done. Smoltz is one of the greatest big game pitchers in history dating back to his classic game 7 duel with Jack Morris in the 1991 World Series. Since then he's just won a World Series, a Cy Young and won 12 games in the post season with a 2.65 era. Chapel was a legend in his career and seemingly had a tremendous postseason career, he had won a World Series with Detroit. Smoltz career could have taken the same path if he hadn't been traded from Detroit to Atlanta for Doyle Alexander in 1987. For Love of the Game is one of my favorite baseball movies and perhaps the biggest reason is Vin Scully is tremendous and really sets the stage and yes I'm a sucker for Kevin Costner sports flicks. Tin Cup, Field of Dreams, Bull Durham and For Love of the Game all classics in my book. This year with the Red Sox John Smoltz will "After 20 years in the big leagues, 41 year old John Smoltz has trudged to the mound for over 3500 innings. But tonight, he's pitching against time, he's pitching against the future, against age, against ending. Tonight, he will make the fateful walk to the loneliest spot in the world, the pitching mound at Fenway Park, to push the sun back into the sky and give us one more day of summer."

Tim Wakefield is to the Red Sox, what Eddie Harris is to the Cleveland Indians in Major League.
This comparison came from me to a my buddy Zach before game 4 of last year's ALCS when Wake seemed like our last chance in the series. I told him "He's going to go out there and throw every piece of junk he can think at 'em Skipper". Zach liked the mentality and that we were leaning on the veteran to get it done one more time. Wakefield didn't that night, the long balled spelled him for the night, but this guy will give his heart and soul out there on the mound. He is the unofficial team leader as he's been there longer than anybody on the club. Note: The first Red Sox game I ever went to was in August of 1995 against the Yankees and I remember thinking that Tim Wakefield was going to pitch that game and being disappointed when he was moved up and I saw Erik Hansen saw the Yankees in half instead.

Clay Buchholz is to the Red Sox, what Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh was to the Durham Bulls in Bull Durham.
This one was a no brainer. Similar build, both guys are very skinny right handers with great velocity and a big league breaking ball. But like Millie says after she "meets" Nuke minutes before his professional debut, "He makes love how he pitches, sort of all over the place." That was Buchholz last season, he was getting tagged, maybe we need to find him an Annie Savoy and have her bring him along. The problem is that right now, Buchholz is like Nuke at the beginning of the movie when he was just Ebby Calvin and he only worried about dancing with every girl in the bar at the same time and whether he needed a nickname or not. He hasn't gotten to the point where he hounds Jason Varitek (I compared him to Crash Davis yesterday) and thus learns how to pitch and how to play. The day I see Buchholz give an interview like this "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains. Think about that." That will be a great day.

Manny Delcarmen is to the Red Sox, what Kenny Denunez was to The Sandlot.
This one is quick and easy. I think Delcarmen is Denunez solely because I think he calls his fastball the heater.

Justin Masterson is to the Red Sox, what Henry Rowengartner was to the Chicago Cubs in Rookie of the Year.
Masterson was the young kid who made his debut last year and by the end of the year became a relief ace for the team, almost that same way that Henry did for the Cubs. (The only difference was that Cubs only had three pitches on the entire staff and he was the only relief pitcher.) Masterson acts like a big kid and I think it's a great thing to see on this team. He drives a Mini Cooper and he clapped when the audience clapped for him on Mohegan Sports Tonight last week. He signs autographs all the time and just enjoy being in the Majors. Plus I could totally see him grabbed a fruit basket and jumping on the bed and screaming "We get our own rooms?" on his first road trip.

Jonathan Papelbon is to the Red Sox, what Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn was to the Cleveland Indians in Major League I & II
Maybe this one should be switched around, hold on one second........

Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn is to the Cleveland Indians in Major League I & II, what Jonathan Papelbon is to the Red Sox.
There, now doesn't that look better? It seems right to me, because at this point I think Papelbon has taken the "Wild Thing" act a few steps further. He throws blazing fastballs, the park goes "1980's Boston Garden" when he comes into games and celebrates like Ricky Vaughn never dreamed of. Rick Vaughn had the wild hair in the back, Papelbon looks like he just stuck his finger in a light socket. Vaughn had some control problems coming out of the California Penal League, Papelbon never really had much trouble since coming into the big leagues in 2005. The only thing that worries me is that next year Paps is going to come into camp and start throwing 90 and naming his pitches, on second though. Naw, that will never happen.

Sterling Pingree

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oil Can, this ones for you...

So, I'm sure everyone has heard that Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd is attempting a Major League comeback this year at age 49. He hasn't pitched in the bigs since 1991, but apparently he is still pitching in the low 90's (mph not age). This list is of the best players, position by position, who have either stayed in baseball too long or tried to make a pathetic comeback.

Catcher: This one is tough because most catchers change positions or go to DH to prolong their careers. My selection is Benito Santiago, who caught games in the bigs up until age 40. This sort of deserves an asterisk, however, because Benny has been mentioned in the BALCO fiasco.

First Base: This choice was easy, considering this geriatric player was around until age 48. Julio Franco, having his best year at age 35 in 1994, retired in 2007. No one knows why he was able to keep a contract for so long, he wasnt even that good.

Second Base: This pick is somewhat bittersweet, because I liked this guy. Craig Biggio came into the league as a catcher, but was quickly converted to 2B, and later in his career platooned at 2B and OF. His last couple years were awful to watch, but I'm sure Houston fans still love him. One thing I will give the guy, he played his whole career for one team. There is a lot to be said about that.

Shortstop: This guy actually still plays, and for some reason doesn't look much older than 30. He is 42, however, and has hovered just above the Mendoza line his last 2 seasons. Omar Vizquel was great in his prime, but nowadays not so much. Someone please stop giving this guy a job and let him retire in peace.

Third Base: Personally this guy is one of my favorites. Cal Ripken had one of the greatest careers of any Major Leaguer, ever. He retired at age 40, but once he broke Gehrig's record, he really only accomplished two things. He got his 3,000th hit, and he hit a homer in his last All-Star game. We miss you Cal, but mostly from pre-1998.

Outfield: First Choice is definitely Moises Alou. The guy is going to be 43 years old this July, and he still hasnt retired. He has been plagued by injury the last few years and has barely been able to step onto the playing field. He hasnt played a full season since '04, but hey why not play through the rest of the decade, right?

Outfield: This outfielder is THE greatest base stealer of all time. Rickey Henderson is loved and respected by all who know baseball. He was a fantastic player until 1999, but continued to play until 2003 at age 44. This of course is not counting his years with the Newark Bears or other independent league clubs after he retired from the bigs.

Outfield: The final outfield pick was also a prolific base stealer, Kenny Lofton, but seriously looked pathetic in his final year in 2007. Lofton was great around the bases, but really didnt do much after he turned 35 in 2002. Yet he decided to stick around for 5 more years, ouch.

Ok now it's time to talk about starting pitchers. This is where it gets interesting. Here I will name five starters and one closer who stuck around or are still sticking around too long.

SP #1: This pick is terribly obvious. Jamie Moyer is too damned old to pitch. He was too old to pitch 5 years ago, yet at age 46, he's still pitching, poorly. Moyer's career ERA is over 4.20 and he has had a ton of seasons in which he's posted ERA's over 5.00. The other ugly part of his current game is that his fastball tops out at a whopping 74 mph.

SP #2: This is also an easy choice. Jesse Orosco was on of the first players I ever saw on a baseball card. I remember getting my first set of card in 1989. They were Topps, and Jesse Orosco was the first card I looked at. The funny thing about Orosco is that he was 32 in 1989, and pitched until I was one year removed from high school (2003). He was 46 at retirement, and his best years were certainly behind him.

SP #3: The Rocket. No, not Gary Busey in Rookie of the Year. Roger Clemens. One of the most dominant pitchers of all time. Had he retired in 2000 at age 38, we may not even be talking about this whole steroid scandal. But thanks to Roger's amazing abilities to pitch in the high 90's even towards the end of his career (I wonder how?), He managed to pitch a half season for the yankees in 2007 and make $22,000,000. Thanks Rog, we all know it was Debbie's fault.

SP #4: This guy definitely did not have the same genes as young looking Omar Vizquel. Charlie Hough retired in 1994, and looked older than most managers (besides Leyland). He was a knuckleballer, however, so that added many years to his career. He was still effective up until retirement, he just makes this list solely based on his nursing home looks.

SP #5: Randy Johnson will be pitching in September (barring any injury) during his 46th birthday. No one can deny this pitcher has better then most "stuff," still years after his Over-the-Hill party in 2004. It will be interesting to see what he can do in '09, but please retire Randy. I don't ever want to watch you attempt to hit a baseball ever again.

Closer: Is it possible to amass over 550 saves in only 15 years? Is it possible to accomplish this feat with a career ERA over 4.00? It sure is, just ask Trevor Hoffman. This guy is arguably the greatest closer of all time (if you are from San Diego, not New York). He was thrown out of his home at Petco after 15 solid seasons as the Padre's closer, and will try to replicate his '08 season in Milwaukee. Part of me really just wishes he would have retired after last year. But hey good luck with the Brew Crew, you are going to need it.

Well there is the list, hopefully all of you agree with the picks. I intentionally strayed from naming Satchel Paige, who retired from the MLB at age 59. Satchel was something special, and didnt deserve to be on this list of has-beens and never were's. Personally, I would love to see Oil Can come back and setup Mo Rivera for the Yankees. Good Luck in your travels Dennis, as I will be awaiting the day you show up on Yahoo's Waiver list so I can add you to my roster.

Eric Goldthwaite

If the Red Sox were the movies.

It's that time of year once again, yes, it's OSCARS TIME. In honor of the Oscars and of the first full squad work out yesterday, I am going to name a Red Sox player and their cinematic twin. These combinations are completely superficial, it is based off looks, style of play public response. Today I will work through the line up and comeback tomorrow for the pitching combo's.

Catcher- Jason Varitek is to the Red Sox, what Crash Davis is to the Durham Bulls in Bull Durham.
The easy choice here would be Jake Taylor from Major League I & II and there are similarities like both were all-stars for Boston and both are gutting it out behind the plate. Though I could never see Tek pretending to hit a home run, just like I could never see him play for another team, which Jake played for a bunch of teams and one in Mexico. Tek has to be compared to Crash for being the leader of the team and for being the guy that the whole team looks towards. The most value for Tek as we heard a thousand times this off season is how he handles the pitching staff and how unmeasurable his value is. (Did I just start channeling Scott Boras into this column?) Look at how Crash handled Nuke and how Tek handles all of the young pitchers in the system. This comparison works even better now that Tek is divorced and could go after an Annie if he wanted to, or steal her from his young protege as he prefers to.

First base- Kevin Youkilis is to the Red Sox, what Lou Collins is to the Minnesota Twins in Little Big League.
This one was easy, the professional tough first baseman who wouldn't have a problem dating the owners Mom. (Though I really doubt Youk would dump Enza for the mom of John Henry, Larry Luchino or Tom Werner, but it shows his guile.) Both were leaders, look at what the Twins did when Lou got benched by Billy down the stretch run only to come back and hitting a home run in his first game back. The greatest comparison is that facing Randy Johnson, in a one game playoff, you know Youk would at least take him to the wall, and probably out.

Second base- Dustin Pedroia is to the Red Sox, what Michael "Squints" Palledorous is to The Sandlot
This comparison was really the reason that I decided to go all the way with this column. This is the one that inspired it. I didn't want to cop out the MVP and compare him to Tanner of the Bad News Bears or something trivially like that. Squints because of the time frame could honestly by Pedroia's father. Watch the scene when they play the little league team and they "kick the crap" out of those guys and Squints is going warning track and off the wall and you can just tell he's the guy that you couldn't keep off the base paths. Now his position is really unknown because of camera angles, it seems like he's sort of a rover or the short fielder. And here is what sealed it for me, you know, you KNOW, Pedroia would put the moves on the life guard and steal a kiss from Wendy Peffercorn.

Third base- Mike Lowell is to the Red Sox, what Stan Okie is to the Chicago Cubs in Rookie of the Year.
I know what you're thinking, and yes, Stan Okie was the first baseman for the Cubs in that movie. It was hard to think of a comparison to Mike Lowell. Lowell is like no other guy, his sense of humor is dry and he's no nonsense so you think. The comparison stems from the hidden ball trick, both have pulled it off successfully and both could keep a straight face while doing it.

Shortstop- Jed Lowrie is to the Red Sox, what Scott Smalls is to The Sandlot
Both guys are just too smart to be that good at baseball. Lowrie went to Stanford and has the hair cut to prove it. Smalls was the nerd of the team who became cool from playing with the cool kids, (except Bertram, there's no way he was cool, hence why "He got really into the 60's and nobody ever heard from him again.") now even though Lowrie doesn't seem like a complete nerd, you have to remember he has been in the minors for a while, prior to that I can completely see him walking out of a Star Trek convention, can't you? Smalls had the long billed fishing hat, a collared shirt tucked into cargo shorts and tall socks on when he first went to the Sandlot and thought Babe Ruth was a she.
Writer's note, I didn't mean to make this sound negative towards Jed Lowrie, I like the kid and I can see him having a good career as an Alex Cora type. I used him because I didn't want to compare Julio Lugo to Yeah-Yeah from the Sandlot.

Outfield- Jason Bay is to the Red Sox, what Barry Pepper was to Roger Maris was in 61*
Now before you go crazy, I'm comparing Red Sox players to movie characters, I am in no way comparing Jason Bay right now to Roger Maris, but on second thought, why not? These guys are sort of similar, Bay doesn't seem to have Maris's paranoia and general disdain for the media, but he is a very quiet reserved guy from a place that's no understood here. (Maris North Dakota, Jason Bay Canada). Comparing their numbers, is very interesting right now. Bay has 149 home runs and Maris hit 275. Bay is a career .282 hitter and Maris hit .260 for his career and Bay's OPS is 30 points higher. So, yes, I am now comparing Jason Bay to Roger Maris, not just Barry Pepper's portrayal of him in 61*.

Outfield- Jacoby Ellsbury is to the Red Sox, what Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez was to The Sandlot.
Rugged good looks, you know he is getting the best looking women and all the women he could handle if he wants them but wouldn't be the the Ricky Vaughn of the team. Both have legendary speed, Benny out ran "The Beast", Ellsbury has run down a deer in his back yard. Put each of them in the other's situation and it would probably play out exactly the same. The only difference between these two guys is that Benny was a right handed hitter (by the way 10 years ago and there is no way I'm not comparing Benny to Nomar) and Jacoby hits from the left side.

Outfield- JD Drew is to the Red Sox, what Kelly Leak was to the Bad News Bears.
Before I proceed, I want to state that this was by far the toughest comparison, there just wasn't enough to work with. Drew could be compared to Kelly Leak though at the beginning or the non beginning of his career. Leak wasn't on a team, he was a rebel, but had all the tools. Drew was drafted by the Phillies and they couldn't sign him, he was a little bit of a rebel and then went and took of 5 of his tools and played for the St. Paul Saints. Though Drew has been anything but controversial since the inauspicious beginning of his career, he is the strong silent type and these days they don't make the strong silent type anymore.

Designated Hitter- David Ortiz is to the Red Sox, what Pedro Cerrano is to the Cleveland Indians in Major League I & II
This was by far the easiest pick. They were the big bopper in the middle of their line up, always came up with the big hit, I mean watch the Major League movies and they both kind of have the same things happening. Each big final game, Cerrano blasts a 3 run shot to tie or go ahead in the game after the 7th inning. Ortiz's clutch resume' speaks for itself. The only thing I don't see between these two guys is voodoo, I'm not sure how Big Papi would get along with Joboo.

The Bench
Josh Bard played by Rube Baker, Major League II
Julio Lugo played by Yeah-Yeah, The Sandlot
Mark Kotsay played by Tucker Kain, Little Big League
Rocco Baldelli played by Isuro "Kamakaze" Tanaka Major League II

Sterling Pingree

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A-Rod Press Conference wrap up

The questions have been pretty good. A-Rod has avoided all of them. To sum this up in a few words, A-Rod is terrible at taking steroids (yet he averaged 51 home runs per year while taking them), he and his cousin, whom shall not be named, were immature, ignorant, stupid, immature and

*********(I'm doing the new pattened Alex Rodriguez non-emotional, non dramatic, take a drink pause)**********************************************************************


Ignorance must be bliss, A-Rod right now has used some semblance of the word 5 times right now. He used the word stupid a lot with Peter Gammons, apparently ignorant is the new stupid.
~ So if you play on A-Rod's team currently he loves you, if you once upon a time played with him, you hate him and he hates you. Good to know, thanks Jamie Moyer.
~ Somebody just asked A-Rod a question in Spanish and A-Rod answered it in Spanish. For his next trick, A-Rod will falsely answer questions while competing in a hot dog eating contest.

The question on my mind right now is, will Selena Roberts ask him a question about why he villanized her in his one on one with Gammons. Come on Selena, don't be ignorant, stupid or immature and now SILLY!

~ A-Rod is injecting himself with steroids once or three times a month for three years and he doesn't really remember how much or know what it did for him. So his cousin and him just decided to start injecting themselves and getting big. I now have a new mission for Selena Roberts, find a family picture (if one exists) of A-Rod's family, find whichever one looks like they can rip a mature tree out of the ground and run down the street with it and we'll know the identity of his cousin, the injector.

~ The Yankees bus must have great shocks on it, because the past couple of season's there have been a lot of family members thrown under it. Debbie Clemens and Andy Petitte make room for your new road kill roommate, A-Rod's Cousin! Good times. I can't wait until next season when Chien Ming Wang fails a test! See you next Spring!

Sterling Pingree

Monday, February 16, 2009

In the year 2000...In the year 2000!!!!!

The 2009 Major League Baseball season is upon us. Pitchers and catchers have reported, and the MLB as we knew it is gone. My heart, however, is stuck in 2000. That was the last year my favorite team, the New York Yankees, won it all. There were no A-Rods, there were no Gary Sheffields, no Pavanos, and no Jaret Wrights. Those were the good ol' days. Who were the Yankee heroes? Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Tino Martinez, among others. What made those guys amazing players and people on and off the field? Their personalities. These players were the epitome of selflessness. It was team first, and individual numbers last. Even Joe Torre was eight years away from becoming a sellout.
Even during the economic harships our country is going through, the Yankees still managed to spend almost a half a billion dollars in about a month's time with the acquisitions of Sabathia, Burnett, and Teixeira. George Steinbrenner is no longer making all of the financial decisions for the team, but clearly, he has passed his beliefs down to his son.
I would be lying if I were to tell you the Yankees are doing all of the right things nowadays. Although my allegiance for the Yankees will never falter, I would absolutely relish in the chance to put together that team. All that I can hope for is that we start winning again. The Yankees have a fantastic team going into the 2009 Campaign. The rotation is riddled with 5 pitchers who can all win more than 15 games. The bullpen is suspect, but still has old faithful, Mariano Rivera, as the closer. The lineup is better than most, and in my opinion, the most potent in the league.
But the truth is, as a lifelong Yankee fan, I am not happy. It could be because this spending spree that started with Jason Giambi, and most recently led to Teixeira, has wielded Zero championships. It could also be because many of former and current Yankees (Clemens, A-Rod, Giambi, and Pettitte, just to name a few) have been linked to Steroid use. If any higher up with the Yankees were ever to read this, I would gladly offer my advice. Trade A-Rod to anyone who will take his salary, and rebuild with coachable players who have talent. Players who will play better because their team is winning, not because they will make $19,000,000 this year whether they pitch 7 games or 37 games. Bring this team back to its glory days by acquiring players who will inspire greatness. I think C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira have all of those qualities, it is just too bad they had to come at such a high price.
A team should be considered great for what they do on the field, not because three men in your infield, and one of your starting pitchers are the four highest paid players in baseball. Good luck to the 2009 Yankees, as I hope that you return to greatness and play well together as a team.

Eric Goldthwaite

Who loves LA(A)?

Nobody in baseball. Take your average all-star and tell them they should sign with the Dodgers or Angels and apparently you have to literally twist their arm to make them sign with one of these two teams. Let's break this down ESPN News left side scroll style.

Key losses:
Mark Teixiera (Signed with the Yankees late December)
Francisco Rodriguez (Signed with Mets in early December)

Key Additions:
Brian Fuentes (signed mid January)
Bobby Abreu (signed early February)

They lost two guys rapid fire after the winter meetings at the beginning of December. The Angels pretty much took the stance that they were letting Rodriguez go, which was probably a smart idea in theory, until he signed for way under market value and his perfect storm of free agency didn't happen. Then they were sort of in on the Teixeira sweepstakes, but once the bidding started escalating slowly, they put on the brakes and said they weren't going to go any further. They remained quiet and it just didn't make sense. They have had some success in bringing up young pitchers, but not so much bringing up young bats. Remember when Dallas McPhearson was a big time prospect? What about Brandon Wood and Kendry Morales? Yes, they made the big club at the end of last season, but they were supposed to be teetering on the fence of being all-star at this point.
Brian Fuentes just doesn't make sense to me a lot the same way that Keith Foulke didn't make sense to me. He doesn't really have anything that makes him unhittable, he has a odd release point, but still looks like he's trying to throw an egg without it breaking in his hand. It's going to be interesting to see how he does, my gut tells me that by the end of the year he's either going to be Joe Borowski circa 2007 or Joe Borowski circa 2008. Either way, I'm predicting Jose Arredondo is closing by the end of the year.
The signing of Abreu was genius and the Angels got a good deal on him paying only $5 million for the season. Though coming off a season when he hit 20 homers and drove in 100 though had a dip in his batting average. As a Red Sox fan, I couldn't be happier that he is out of the Yankee lineup. He wore out Sox pitchers and drove up the pitch count with endless at bats and clutch hits. This is a good fit for the Angels because he fits their scrappy style, though this doesn't really make them that much better. They are completely void of pop in their line up, and are packed with ground ball hitters who have moderate speed. I think they are regressing and not progressing, and now they're supposed to knock off the two teams coming out of the AL East this season? It's not happening, if Matt Holliday doesn't plunge like Andruw Jones this contract year (I'm calling it, his numbers outside of Coors Field, horrible) they might have to look out for the A's.

The Dodgers can't even be broken down at this point. They are completely reliant on Manny Ramirez at this point there is no question that they are going to sign him but I don't know which way the contract is going to go. The last offer I heard had Ramirez (a year ago he was Manny to me, no longer on a first name basis. Bromantic break ups are tough) was for 2 years and 45 million dollars. Which as I recall is the same offer that they originally offered him back at the very beginning of December before the Winter Meetings. In between the Dodgers upped their offer, Scott Boras has called made fun of their offers and at the end of the day they are destined to reunite. It is like when you break up with your girlfriend, and they start offering you stuff to stay, clothes, food and various other relationship perks to come back to them. It's sad and we all know somebody who this has happened to. Well in this case, that's the Dodgers, they've been dumped so their boyfriend (Ramirez) can go off and play the field and get drunk with his buddies for a few months and see if he can find a better looking girl elsewhere. In the end it will come back to a backslide and the Dodgers and Ramirez will get back together like Zack and Kelly did during the middle of the College Years. That is unless those sleazy Yankees jump in like the college guy who worked at The Max and took poor Kelly Kapowski's innocence. I wouldn't put it past them, and if we have learned only one thing from the Czar of Sports, Bill Simmons, "The lesson as always is, women are just plain evil."

Sterling Pingree

Friday, February 13, 2009

If we're ever going to see a rainbow.....

Leading off, you may be asking yourself why this is the first post on this site since the end of October? The reason is simply, I just couldn't top my last post after the ALCS.

This is supposed to be the happiest week of the year, pitchers and catchers had to report by yesterday to spring training. There are stories that come out of each team's camps, stories like Jon Lester has gained 5 lbs since the end of last season, Justin Masterson and his wife drove to Fort Myers from Indiana in a Mini Cooper, (by the way, Masterson is listed at 6'5). But this week has been dominated as it seems almost every spring is, with talks about steroids and impending litigation. Alex Rodriguez being tabbed for taking banned substances for at least 3 years (I say at least because where there is smoke, 3 years, there's fire, a career) and then having an epic interview with Peter Gammons. The point of the interview that no body mentioned in my opinion was, didn't it look like A-Rod was breaking out with hives around his eyes? He had red blotches around his eyes, in hd it was mesmerizing against his yellow looking skin. Unless Kramer has been cleaning his meat slicer with A-rod's hand towel again, someones under a little stress I would say.

So here, this is supposed to be the happiest time of the year and the first rights of spring and the topic of conversation has been completely based on A-rod, steroids and Brett Favre. (Did you know he retired?)

A story is forming as we speak that could be the sun breaking through the clouds so to speak. Word is that the Seattle Mariners and living legend Ken Griffey Jr, are close to coming to terms on a one year deal with incentives that could trigger an extension. I was thinking to myself earlier this month how wrong it was that in this current economy that we are all living in, veterans and legends like Griffey Jr, Pudge Rodriguez, Sean Casey and Mike Timlin were not under contract and would probably be forced unjustly into retirement. This week however we have seen Casey retire but go directly to a nice gig with the MLB Network, and now possibly Griffey could get the homecoming that he so desperately sought back in 2000 when he signed with the Cincinnati Reds. Really though, this is a potential signing that could mean more to the fans and a generation that still believes George Kenneth Griffey Jr, was the greatest all around player they had ever seen. This is a belief that was held so easily that until McGuire and Sosa assaulted the record books in 1998 that every other player in the game could be good, but there was no argument, Griffey was the only one who was great. Yes, Ken Griffey Jr, in Seattle would help a generation (my generation) get over what has been a scared upbringing in the game of baseball. This could take us back, if only for a moment, to what we fell in love with before steroids and ugliness blurred our vision of the game. It's almost like Field of Dreams when Terrance Mann describes what people will feel when they come to the cornfield to watch baseball:

"For it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces."

Bring on the memories and perfect afternoon's that we as baseball fans from the 1990's lack these days.

~Sterling Pingree