Friday, July 28, 2006

A DAY OF REST

With no Red Sox game on Thursday night (and not many thrilling games going on within the limited schedule playing) I found myself with some time to kill. Of course, watching Da Ali G Show on HBO On Demand was a great way to kill it. Sacha Baron Cohen is just too funny. Of course, his best role is King Julian in Madagascar. Believe me, I have two kids under the age of five (plus my two year old niece) at home, so I have seen Madagascar forty-seven times (plus in the theatre when it came out). Even though it is a kids movie, it is worth seeing just for Cohen voicing the King of the Lemurs. But I digress! Here is what is rattling around the brain:

Ryan Claridge, fifth-round pick in 2005, fills a position desperate for depth (linebacker), and is cut on the eve of camp. This certainly sends a message to the younger players as the positional battles play out.

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Deion Branch is getting some bad advice from his agent. Richard Seymour played the card he was dealt to perfection last year: he made his point; he got his money; he did not miss camp; and he got his extension this spring with no home-team discount. How hard is that? Seymour had his teammates and the fans on his side. He knew he had earned a better deal and rather than make waves, he showed up for camp, refrained from making idiotic statements to the press (paging Ty Law!), and took care of business on and off the field. Deion, were you sleeping all last training camp? Of course, I doubt Bill Belichick is too concerned, considering he held a healthy Branch out of the preseason last year. All Branch is doing is losing money (fine for each day not at camp) and losing the public relations battle.

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Personally, I hope to see the Red Sox stay put at the trading deadline this year. Short of getting Dontrelle Willis for second-tier prospects (which is never ever going to happen), no deal makes sense. One thing to know about Theo is that he is not going to panic this year to try and do something for the sake of looking like the team is trying to do something. David Wells will be back soon to shore up the number five hole in the rotation. Tim Wakefield will be back in mid-August. Matt Clement may return. The bullpen looks great with the dynamite kids and troop leader Mike Timlin. If Keith Foulke can comeback and be half as effective as he was in 2004, the bullpen will be a strength down the stretch.

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If I were Theo (now that would be a wish come true for my wife!), this is how the 2006 Red Sox would look:

Starting Nine: c: Jason Varitek; 1b: David Ortiz; 2b: Dustin Pedroia; 3b: Kevin Youkilis; SS: Alex Gonzalez; LF: Coco Crisp; CF: David Murphy; RF: Wily Mo Pena; DH: Manny Ramirez

Starting Rotation: Jonathan Papelbon; Curt Schilling; Josh Beckett; Jon Lester; Tim Wakefield

Co-Closers: Keith Foulke/Craig Hansen
Set-up men: Manny Delcarmen; Mike Timlin; Edgar Martinez; Phil Siebel; and Javier Lopez.
Swingman: Kyle Snyder

I love the way Mike Lowell plays the game and believe he is built to hit in Fenway park, but he may have too much value to keep (if a team offers prospects). I love the way Mark Loretta plays the game as well, but Dustin Pedroia needs to play in the major leagues and is cheaper and better defensively, and Alex Gonzalez would be playing shortstop for me even if he hit .000. I think Ortiz is under-rated at first base and that Manny would be more productive at DH. I think David Murphy is a star in the making. I think Coco is better served standing in front of the Monster. I think the Sox should take any draft pick compensation they get for Trot Nixon when the Orioles sign him to outrageous money (because they seem to collect no-power corner outfielders and 1b/DH types). Matt Clement? Maybe he will accept being out-righted to Pawtucket so he can get himself healthy both physically and mechanically.

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When did Daunte Culpepper ever do anything without Randy Moss lining up at wide receiver? Did the Dolphins trade for Moss and I somehow missed it? Daunte will find it quite daunting to throw off his surgically repaired knee to the maddeningly inconsistent pair of Chris Chambers (I know how maddening his production is, I have been drafting him in fantasy football for years!) and Farty Marty Booker (yikes!). I respect Nick Saban as a coach, but Culpepper and Joey Harrington are neither THE answer the Dolphins were looking for nor are they capable of leading a team with an aging defense and barely adequate offensive line to the playoffs.

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Jason Taylor and Zack Thomas. How long until the fist-fights break out at practice? Nothing like extended family squabbles (take it from me, I am an expert!)

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Maurice, you have insulted the freaks!

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I have decided that I want nothing to do with Allen Iverson in the white and green uniform this season. I have also decided that Johnny Most is most certainly not going to rise from the grave and grab the mike from Cornbread Maxwell and decry the Celtics having a dance team for the time in franchise history. After that jerk Rick Pitino stripped Red Auerbach of the title of President of the team, I am convinced nothing could be worse for the franchise. OK, Bob Cousy could come out of retirement and insist on playing point guard at the age of 70, but last year that would have been considered an upgrade at the position.

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Is it OK if I am ecstatic that Kevin Pittsnogle is a Boston Celtic? No? Oh well.

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