In retrospect, the Red Sox, heading into the final game against the Cardinals, are 6-6 against the Yankees and the division leaders they have faced over the last dozen games. Holding their own against the best is a decent place to be. What is bothersome about the team is they are not destroying the other teams on their schedule as they used to do. Toronto, Tampa Bay, Seattle, and Baltimore just do not roll over when they face the Sox (or the Yankees for that matter).
So the Sox have met one goal of being competitive with the best teams in the league (or leagues with this absurd marketing ploy known as inter-league play). What the team needs to do is play up to their status as the defending champions and start beating up on the lesser teams in the division such as the Yankees (yes, they are a lesser team), Toronto (who I still admire, but they do not have the talent that is in Boston), and Tampa Bay.
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THE AMATEUR BASEBALL DRAFT - YES!!!
What a great draft by the Red Sox. They picked up their future center fielder who should be ready to play within three years with their first pick when center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. The best news was their second number one pick which brought their future closer and likely set-up man next season, relief pitcher Craig Hansen. Hansen would fill the role, which I had said the Sox desperately need in the previous blog, of the young pitcher with the 97 mph fastball and deadly slider coming out of the pen in the seventh or eighth inning and get some key punch-outs and to take some load off the trio of aging veterans currently filling the role: Matt Mantei, Alan Embree, and Mike Timlin.
Hansen fell into the lap of the Sox only because of his agent, Steve Boras, who scared off a number of the small market clubs. Rumors originally had Hansen in the mix as a top three pick. If a college relief pitcher is expected to contribute immediately, like Ryan Wagner or Huston Street, I see no reason NOT to treat the draftee like a free agent and signing him to big contract. Or to put it another way, I would much prefer to give the money to someone who can contribute in 2006 than to a seventeen year old kid who may or may not be ready in three to five years.
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DEPTH, DEPTH, AND MORE DEPTH:
The Patriots add Antaun Edwards for more depth at safety. On a side note, how many variations of Antuan/Antaun/Antoine/Antuwann etc are there out there in the NFL?
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The Chris Redman era has a quick end in New England as the Patriots quickly cut the number of quarterbacks on the roster to four, which is where it logically belongs. Tom Brady, Doug Flutie, and Riders of Rohan Davey are 1, 2, and 3 with Matt Cassell, who according to some talking heads on FSN who were in attendance at passing camp, is a legitimate bona-fide quarterback prospect that just never got a fair shake in college being behind two Heisman Trophy winners in Carson Palmer and Matt Leinert. As I said on draft day, he could have been the second best quarterback in the college ranks and no one would know because he backed up (and nearly beat out in spring camp) the top QB in the country.
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Final note: to all my Canadian, Dutch, & other non-related or pal readers, I love ya & keep reading! Thanks for the support, and feel free to drop me a line. Heck, anyone can send me a note with the link at the bottom of the blog or just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I love talking sports as much as I love writing it.
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