That is just a little note for Mrs. Johnny Damon. By the way, Michelle, enjoy Yankee Stadium next summer when Derek Jeter is stabbing your husband in the back in the clubhouse and the fans are clamoring for Bernie Williams. And Johnny, glad to hear you are a pitching coach now. So if you are done with your jealous little anti-Curt rant, pack your bags and get out of town, Johnny.

Skip Bayless has the right idea at ESPN.com: Shut up and let Curt Schilling do what Curt Schilling wants to do. Although he makes some weird comment about Schilling having fake blood on his sock against the Yankees (what, sutures never bleed? Show me a suture on a foot that stays closed after the person walks 20 feet, let alone pitches six innings!), Bayless is right about one thing: Schilling is a short-term fix in the bullpen, he will be starting games soon, and the rest of the team should just shut up.

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And I still could care less about le Tour de Francais. Is Greg LeMond still racing? Greg Louganis? Sheryl Crow putting her plastic surgery together with Lance Armstrong and his steroid fueled body? Is it an unnatural advantage in racing to have one ball? I know I snagged mine mighty painfully on the huffy more than a few times as a kid, so I wonder if the French can get some kind of injunction against Armstrong. Does anyone know if he got a silicon implant to improve balance? This is just too much to think about regarding a bike race!

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Please tell me that Adam Stern is staying and that Gabe Kapler is going to be signed to play in AAA. He did NOTHING last year other than provide some muscle and intimidation for bench clearing brawls.

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This is still gnawing in my brain and just will not quit. I mentioned these dysfunctional Duquette teams earlier this week, and when I was chatting about them with Rickles the other night, I realized that Jimy Williams just has not gotten the props he deserves for taking a collection of chumps and moody stars into the playoffs. Check this out:

1998 Red Sox (Wild Card):
Catcher: Scott Hatteberg/Jason Varitek:
Young Tek hit around .250 and was still green. Cross-eyed Hatteberg hit a bit better, but was still young and has never been much of a backstop.

First base: Mo Vaughn:
When not at the Foxy Lady, Big Mo was the original Big Pimping Big Papi in Boston. It was a contract year that is still paying off for Mo.

Second base: Mike Benjamin/Mark Lemke:
Lemke hit .187 so I guess it was all about the benjamins. Talk about filling a position with any warm body found for the MLB veteran minimum salary. The less said about Mike Benjamin, the better. I have stomach pain just thinking about Benjamin coming to the plate.

Third base: John Valentin:
The sulking former shortstop hit for some power, but that .247 average was the first sign of the quick decline. The end was fast approaching in his rear-view mirror.
BEING GENEROUS, I WOULD SAY AVERAGE (after all, Oakland had Mike Blowers at third base that year).

Shortstop: Nomar:
Back when he loved us! Before the wrist injury robbed him of his power. Thanks, Beautiful.

Outfield/DH: Troy OLeary, Darren Bragg, Mike Stanley, Darren Lewis, Reggie Jefferson, Damon Buford:
Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth. OLeary almost was passable at the plate, and Stanley did OK when he came over from Toronto, but the rest were horrible, horrible, and horrible. I think the Sox set a record for the most wins in a season without a single outfielder who could play both offense and defense. Buford and Lewis were above average defenders, and OLeary could hit a little. Stanley and Jefferson were adequate for DH, though certainly not an ideal situation. Darren Bragg could neither hit nor field, but, boy oh boy, did he hustle. And we loved him for it, dammit!

Assorted Bench Players (emphasis on the A-S-S in assorted): Jim Leyritz, Donnie Sadler, Midre Cummings, Lou Merloni, and Keith Mitchell among others:
Wow, those were some painful memories. Merloni has always and still sucks. He was nothing but a jock-strap carrier for Nomar. The way he mouthed-off about being sent to the minors was pathetic. Donnie Sadler never realized that with his speed he could hit .300 by hitting all ground balls and bunting like a maniac. Mitchell, Leyritz, and Midre Cummings all were past their limited primes (OK, Midre never had a prime past high school).

Starting Pitchers: Pedro Martinez, Tim Wakefield, Bret Saberhagen, and Steve Avery
For Pedro, these were the glory days and though those days are gone forever, this was Pedro at his best.
For Wakefield, this was a bounce-back season as he won seventeen games as a solid number two starter.
This was the final hurrah for Sabes, the last time he lasted a full season. He was a solid three with fifteen wins.
Ten wins, 5.00+ ERA, yeah, and this was his first good season since 1993. Of course, this also qualifies, as sad as this statement truly is, as his last hurrah.

The Fight for the Fifth Starter and assorted Asian Imports:
John Wasdin, Derek Lowe, Pete Schourek and Brian Rose:
Yuck, yick, blech, blah! This spot was never filled effectively all season long. They all stunk (caveat for Mr. Lowe, he did pitch well when he was in the bullpen).
Assorted Asian Imports:
Jin Ho Cho and Robinson Checo:
They both cost a ton of money and they both were hideous. They were 0-5 in six starts.

Relief Pitchers:
Tom Gordon, Fat Jim Corsi, Dennis Eckersley, Fat Rich Garces, Derek Lowe, John Wasdin and Carlos Reyes.
They were fat (Corsi and Garces), they were old (the Eck), and they were in transition (Wasdin and Lowe). Oh yeah, they also stunk save for Corsi and Flash Gordon. Also, I have no memory of who the heck Carlos Reyes was, when he pitched, how he did, and nor do I care to ever find out. EVER!
Corsi was the set-up, and this was when there was a Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and his 46 saves.
Greg Swindell, Butch Henry, and Ron Mahay.
Stink, stank, stunk. OK, they were not that bad, but none of them were outstanding. They were consistently mediocre.

So the 1998 Red Sox had three decent starters, a set-up man and a closer in the pen, and two offensive stars. Other than that, they were woefully below average. How did this team ever win 92 games? Jimy, you get credit for your work this year. I am sorry for everything I ever said bad about you. Damned good job that year just to win the wild card. The post-Mo 1999 squad was even worse, but I do not think I can stomach an examination of that horrible squad right now. Maybe another day.

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