Friday, June 29, 2007

More Draft Redux

Nice to pickup the Boston Globe and read that Dan Shaughnessy and Peter May still hate Danny Ainge. Sigh. After listening to these bozos complain that Ainge needs to find veteran help, Ainge swings a deal that keeps Al Jefferson in tow, keeps the best trade bait right now (the expiring contract of Theo Ratliff), and brings in a deadly shooting guard whose outside game complements Paul Pierce and has average over 24 ppg over the past few years. Umm, what is wrong with that? Oh yeah, they grab top-15 talent pick Big Baby Davis from LSU to help out Big Al and K-Perk in the middle in the deal and dump the contract of Wally. Plus, they have me walking on sunshine with Delonte West on the next plain out to Seattle.

Fortunately, I found someone who agrees with me: Chris Mannix at SI.com. A highlight to whet your appetite:
And the truth is, Boston didn't have to give up that much. Other than adding to a growing collection of players named Green, Jeff Green didn't have much to offer the Celtics, who are committed to developing 2005 top pick Gerald Green at the small forward position. By jettisoning Wally Szczerbiak, the Celtics rid themselves of a locker room lawyer who never meshed in Boston and Delonte West's departure hurts a lot less than it would have -- had Boston been forced to include Rajon Rondo in the deal.

Imagine the vitriol spewing forth from me if the Celts had given up Big Al or Rondo in this deal! Just the fact they kept those two building blocks is a steal for the Celtics. It would be like the Sox prying away Jake Peavy from San Diego for Mike Lowell and an Abe Alvarez/Charlie Zink level prospect. Or, just like the trades the WEEIdiots always propose (Why don't we just trade Bubba Bell in single-A to the Yankees for A-Rod?).

ARE YOU GELLIN?

The earth is round, so I am gellin like Magellan. Oh God make Dr. Scholl’s stop already! Brigs, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to end these commercials once and for all. Take out all of these Wedding Crasher Rejects in these commercials. Make them stop!

Yes, I have been away from blogging: I got into a 4-book cross-over Star Trek story (read my star trek blog, coming soon: the total descent into nerdiness) and outside of work and trying to get the kids to sleep at night, I’ve been incommunicado. Now that I am done with the series, I am one day away from a couple days of R&R in the White Mountains. Speaking of getting the kids to bed, see the deal is that Hal & Emma have their own rooms now, which means that all the toys that were packed away because of lack of space are now out. Throw in that since switching to DirecTV that they have receivers in their room and know more about using a remote at 4 and 6 than I did at 17, well it is safe to say that it has been more than one night this week that I get up in the middle of the night to find the lights on, TV on, or one of them out of bed and playing in their room.

Rod Beck is dead. What a tragedy. When he was briefly with the Sox five years ago, he was like Mike Timlin is right now: trying to get by on guts alone. Beck, well, he had a gut and guts (OK, not my line, I read it on ESPN.com somewhere, but I love it).

Chris Benoit is dead. Not a tragedy. That the roided-up freak killed his seven year old kid and wife is a tragedy. That he then spent a day in the house with their bodies before taking his own life is just plain creepy.

Asante Samuel thinks almost $8 dollars this year is an insult. Jeez, I need to be insulted big time. I think Belichick will hold the line with Samuel. There is depth at CB and unlike with Deion Branch, Asante is not tight with the franchise QB.

Now that Marquise Hill drowned tragically the Patriots (courtesy of Mike Reiss breaking this) do not even get any cap relief. Ummm, why???

See this smile from ear-to-ear? Roger Clemens is 1-3. His only win was against the Pirates. The Sox just got swept in Seattle and the Yankees dropped to third place behind the Blue Jays. Remember only two weeks ago when those Yankees fans came crawling out talking like the Yankees would go on winning nine of ten the rest of the way? Whoo-hoo, Yankees. How is that Johnny Damon contract looking right about now? More points for Theo for holding the line on Damon. At least Coco can play center field (and he is hitting, too!)

I like seeing Kason Gabbard in the rotation (forget about that last start at Seattle, he will be fine). I would like to see him stay there the rest of the year and the Sox can shuttle Wakefield off to the bullpen where he belongs.

Celtics dealing for Ray Allen makes sense: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Big Al make a nice nucleus for the season. Remember, if Wally & Pierce had stayed healthy, the team would have won 40 games. Ray Allen is a huge step-up from Wally and gives the Celtics three scorers. With a maturing Rajon Rondo and a healthy Tony Allen, this team may turn some heads.

I am ecstatic that Delonte West is out of town. Simply the worst point-guard this side of Orien Greene, Delonte was terrible on defense, turned the ball over too much, and was a poor shooter. But, hey, other than that he was great; and Tommy gave him all those Tommy Points!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Public Service Announcement

No, not that the Yankees are 9 1/2 games out in June--but rather, out of the goodness of my heart, I have taken a bullet for all four regular readers. Yes, I waded through the abyss and morass known as the (Formerly Boston) Hollywood Sports Guy Chat. Out with all the Sopranos blather, the non-Celtics NBA stuff (Cleveland, San Antonio...It's Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaantastic!), and the other junk that no one cares about. The full chat (only for the brave or constipated) is here: http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=16169.

Important Junk:

Paul (Auburn NY): What are your thoughts on the trade rumors involing Shawn Marion to the Celtics for the fifth pick, theo ratliff and one of the guards?

Bill Simmons: I don't think it makes any sense for Phoenix. if they trade Marion or Stoudemire, the goal would be to get under the tax. Well, how does Ratliff's contract help? Yeah, it expires next summer, but it still counts on the cap this year... and he's adamant that he's not retiring. So that trade makes no sense. If they deal Marion, it has to be to a team under the cap that can absorb most/all of his contract, like Atlanta or Charlotte. For instance, if Atlanta offered the No. 11 pick, Josh Childress and Marvin Williams, that could work.


The answer should have been: Everyone pretend you are a Phoenix fan and email overload the front office and beg them to make this trade for the sake of the suffering Celtics fans.

Robert (Kilmichael, MS.): Bill, who do you want the Celtics to take with the 5th pick? Bill Simmons: Corey Brewer.
The answer should have been: NO ONE!!! THEY TRADE IT!

Beth (San Jose, CA): So I was looking through some of your old "Ramblings" columns the other night and I ran across this little tidbit from July 19, 2003: "I wish I could buy stock in things like 'Roger Clemens will make an ill-fated comeback at age 44.'" I know he looked good the other night, but I still have reason to believe (hope?) this could have been one of your greatest predictions ever. What do you think the over/under is for implosion date?

Bill Simmons: That wasn't a hard one to predict - the guy would cross a
busy highway to pick up 50 bucks.

That was CLASSIC sports guy! Magnificent! I can't make that any better.

* * * * *Not to interject, but I am watching the Sox play the Rockies as I write (BREAKING NEWS: The Bruins sign Andrew Alberts! Stop the presses! ), and the sixth inning was the June Red Sox in a nutshell: Papi single; Manny walk; Drew double-play; Lowell whiffs. Arrrghhhh!!!* * * * *

No, I am not even going to comment on the Sports Guy and his obsession with the crotch of Julio Lugo.

OK, this goes against my stated "other junk" comment, but I cannot let this pass:
matt (omaha): You got it all wrong. Best series finale ever is "Boy Meets World". You never thought he was going to end up with Topanga, but he did.
Bill Simmons: And gave hope to fat women everywhere! You're right, that may have been top-3.
The answer should have been: Ben Savage kicks Fred's ass all night long. Seriously, though. Topanga was fat? What? Huh? OK, I need an answer on this. Jenn, Shannon, you two watched every freaking episode of this show (do not even try to deny it--I was there): was Topanga fat?
Paul (dublin): Does the Julio Lugo era make you feel any differently about the Theo Epstein era in Boston? Is there anything more inexplicable than Epstein's ability to strike gold with minor signings AND screw up every major singing over the last few years?
Bill Simmons: Since 2004, Theo has made some good moves and some bad moves... considering he's operating a team with a top-3 payroll, I don't see how he can be ranked higher than a B-minus. The best move he made other than Big Papi and the Nomar trade was probably NOT panic-trading Papelbon in 2005. other than that, very up and down. The one good thing about this year's team is that they have the best team chemistry they've ever had, even better than 2004. The team reaction after Romero got out of "bases loaded no outs" in Oakland was my favorite moment of the season so far.
The answer should have been: Two months does not make a Julio Lugo suddenly turn into Jose Offerman.

Matt (Medford, MA): All laughing and pointing aside, does the prospect of "2007 AL Wild Card: The New York Yankees" scare you in a playoff situation? The Yanks appear to be the only team right now that can smack around Beckett and Schilling, and have had at least 1 comeback against the Okajima/Pap combo.
Bill Simmons: I'm worried about the double whammy of Hughes and Clemens. I watched the game when Hughes got hurt, he had a no-hitter going and looked
dominant. he's a huge X-factor down the stretch.
The answer should have been: Hey, Matt Clement may be back by then. How is that for a gxx-dxxxed X-Factor, you gxx-dxxxed, whiney-xxxed WEEIdiot! Go away and have some faith in the Red Sox!

David (Milwaukee): Any thoughts on the Brewers this year? You've been to this city and we are ready for a playoff appearance. I think downtown may be unbelieveable come fall if the Crew is making their first playoff appearance in 25 years. Plus, Prince Fielder has to be the front-runner for NL MVP at this point.
Bill Simmons: They're not roping me in until Bernie Brewer starts jumping into the beer mug again.
The answer should have been: Am I on board? I picked the Brewers LAST YEAR! Watch them play Boston in October. Brewers belong in the AL Central

* * * * *Not to interject, but I am watching the Sox play the Rockies as I write this, and the Rockies have intentionally walked Manny to load the bases with one out in the eighth inning of a 1-1 game. Drew with a big sac fly to put the Sox up 2-1.* * * * *

* * * * *Not to interject again, but Justin Verlander just pitched a no-hitter against the Brewers. That is what I get for talking them up.* * * * *

One classic Sports Guy comment. A few interesting comments. Yup, that was it for relevant and interesting. Do not thank me, just send money.

Yo-Yoing the Rotation

As the Sox straggle back from a 3-4 trip out West after losing two of a three game set against the dreaded Pinstriped-ones, despite a large lead in the standings, doom hovers over Boston. To tell the truth, it has been so long since the Celtics glory days that the fandom of New England is just so hesitant and unable to comprehend the role of favorite. Even the model franchise, the Patriots, are constantly playing the underdog. Even winning 20 in a row, the team and fans had a chip on their collective shoulder due to the Colts whiz-bang offense serving as media darlings while the defense-heavy/short passing Patriots got props but always were treated as a second-act to the Peyton Manning Show.

What the heck does this have to do with Julian Yo-Yo Tavarez? Well, just about everything. In a matter of days, the Red Sox NEED to bring Jon Lester back to the major leagues. (Collective snort upcoming from Yankeedom) Jon Lester is the Red Sox what Roger Clemens is to the Yankees (Let it out, Bronxites. Get it out of your systems). Lester is the shot-in-the-arm, the feel-good-story, the talented half-season wonder. New York has gotten their Rocket Boost (as Matt Damon said to David Letterman: ten more of those and you will be in second place): Lester can be that boost to Boston with his nasty repertoire of pitches, veteran demeanor on the mound, bulldog mentality, and overcoming cancer and spreading joy and fastballs boost to team morale. Remember ye of little faith and memory: Lester was the number one prospect, not Papelbon. The kid so not just some Craig Breslow, he is a legitimate top-of-the-rotation stud.

Finally, I get to the good soldier, Yo-Yo Tavarez. Tavarez is a mediocre number five starter, but he has a rubber arm, will not complain about going to the pen, and is well-liked by all accounts. Therefore, his trade value will never be higher. Yo-Yo is in no way a long-term solution for the Sox pitching staff. In fact, I continue to question the particulars about the fact that he is in the rotation and Kyle Snyder is in the bullpen. So we need to send Yo-Yo somewhere desperate for pitching (OK, that is every team except Oakland and Anaheim), somewhere they know what they are getting (ahh, do you know where I am going with this?), and somewhere they are capital D DESPERATE for any pitcher capable of bouncing the ball to the plate: the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Yes, Yo-Yo is the perfect fit in the baseball paradise under the arch. The Cardinals are so desperate for pitching that they will want to deal sooner rather than later. Yo-Yo is cheap, and is well known in St. Louis. Heck, it is one of the few locations they may even welcome him back. Tavarez is a known quantity to GM Walt Jocketty and Manager Tony LaRussa. OK, now the bad news. The Cardinals have few prospects under their crimson wings.

Of course, I have taken the liberty of perusing the barren farm system of the Cardinals and have a few names to toss into the mix if the Sox can wrangle a deal (mucho shout-outs to baseball prospectus for their wonderful features on all MLB farm systems):

Bryan Anderson: Single A catching prospect. Hey, we need ANY catching prospect. Varitek is not getting any younger.

Chris Perez: Fast-track bullpen boy from the U (Miami of Florida) who has potential closer written all over him.

Mark McCormick: Single-A PROSPECT. Needs a lot of work but has a triple-digit fastball.

Any of the three work for me. Heck, throw in some middling prospect and finagle another of them. Yo-Yo, thanks for the effort, now get the hell out of the rotation!!!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

MISC

Yo-Yo Tavarez goes against Arizona and he must be knowing that his time is limited with Jon Lester in AAA. Lester had a rough outing going through 70 pitches and not getting through 3 innings for the Paw Sox. With Tavarez headed to the bullpen, the Sox have the luxury of having more arms than they have room for right now. With Mike Timlin back, JC Romero had to go out and he has been designated for assignment (no one in their right mind would send down Javier Lopez right now--he has been great). Romero has been wild lately, and his delivery is one of the most ugly mechinations I have seen on the mound. While I like the Sox having three lefties in the pen, Romero has easily been the weakest link. The big question mark is who goes when Lester comes up.

* * *

Does Clemens going against Pittsburgh count as a minor league tune-up? I give him until July 4th until the hammy pops.

* * *

Yankees win five in a row--and they are still double-digit games back.

* * *

Not much to report on the Red Sox draft. Picking so low, they could only hope for some solid picks and hopefully a big money man dropping. Was surprised they did not take a waiver on the local kid going to Stanford, but I can understand the need to go get someone who will report to the minors. I was actually hoping Brackman would drop to the Sox, but the Yankees scooped him up at 29. Arrgh!

* * *

I do not know about anyone else, but I have had enough of these West Coast games. My body needs SLEEP!!!

* * *

Two Drew

Finally the break-out game by JD Drew: Two home runs and seven RBIs against the D-backs. More than that, it should shut-up the WEEIdiots until at least Monday. Now they can focus their rage on Coco and Lugo.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Picking up the Pieces

A few vacation days after Memorial Day, downing Pabst Blue Ribbon at the Central with Gallagher on a Tuesday night, and the Sox are up on New York by 13 1/2 games (seriously, does any one care if Toronto or Baltimore are only 11 1/2 games back? Of course not). Life is good and it is good to be back writing about the Sox and everything else under the sun that shines brightly on the Boston sports scene (even though Daisuke got roughed up again) and looking forward to a three game set against the Yankees.

* * *

Went to my first Nashua Pride game this past weekend. What a hoot. Got to see El Guapo on the mound and Butch Hobsen managing and coaching third base. The starting pitcher was a big skinny lefty from the old hometown (he gave up six runs in two plus innings, which shows the Middleboro training right there) who went to high school with my sister-in-law. A furious comeback got us to the eleventh inning when the kids finally had to pack it in and head back. Saw a poor kid get a ball in the chest in the next section and just missed two foul pops.

* * *

Hmmm. What was the worst A-Rod action this week? Was it Slappy McHamburgerHelper showing off his fine skills on the basepaths shouting at the infielder for Toronto trying to catch a foul pop-up? Or was it off the field where the married man-about-Toronto was photographed checking out the strip clubs with a buxom blonde (i.e. NOT his wife).

As far as A-Rod shouting MINE or HAH or whatever he said at Blue Jays 3B Howie Clark, it was in poor taste. Was it illegal? Not really. Was I hoping SS John McDonald re-arranged the face of A-Rod ala Jason Varitek? You bet. Have I ever done that in 25 years of Little League, Jr. High, High School, Babe Ruth League, or Fast-pitch softball? Never. I will go into second base hard, I will run over a baserunner in my way, I will block the plate or base, heck I have even bowled over catchers and spiked idiot infielders who kept their foot on the bag too long, but I would never do anything so crass as to deliberately shout something like that. Yes, hall-of-famers John McGraw, Ty Cobb, Gaylord Perry, and Pete Rose (well he should be in there) probably did worse, but this is about A-Rod and the image he cultivates of being so much better than everyone else in every way. If he does anything in frustration that is outside that image, it is highlighted. If Dustin Pedroia did it, we would love him for it and he would be ducking his next time up at bat and then it would be a non-issue. But since it is A-Rod being A-Rod, it is big, big news.

The NY Post was kind enough to blast the picture on the back cover and give the Yankees front-office one more issue to worry about. Seriously, if a guy is going to throw a few ones at a stripper on an off-day or after a game, who really cares? I mean, Big Mo Vaughn was the Lord of the Thighs down at the Foxy Lady, and Ty Law was well-known for his partying ways in New England. These guys get a chuckle and a boys-will-be-boys shake of the head. A-Rod gets lambasted. Of course, the difference is that A-Rod is so image-conscious that this makes him look bad. Hell, Ty Law wanted everyone to know he was hitting strip clubs because it helped with his street cred. A-Rod would have been best served to just say so what everyone in baseball does it and it is no big deal. Heck, he would have been smart to invite some of those idiot sportswriters along with him and maybe get some good press. Boom. Instant non-issue But A-Rod gives off the impression that he is better than everyone else and therefore it turns into a mess. Controversy and A-Rod: a match made in heaven.

* * *

Let me be crystal clear with this comment: Jason Giambi is scum. A high-profile superstar who cheated and lied and got caught in his web and he can only issue weak apologies for unsaid issues and then try to divert the blame to major league baseball. Jason Giambi, it is important to remember, drove in two runs before the Aaron Bleeping Boone home run in 2003, so remember that a steroids-free Yankees would have never been within reach to tie the game. Giambi is the epitome of the modern athlete: pampered, fawned-over and out of touch with reality. The fact that it is the fault of MLB, and not him, sickens me. HE (and anyone else who used illegal supplements of any kind) obtained them illegally, and HE stuck the needle in his ass knowing that he was cheating. His lame half-apologies hold no water. This foot injury is poetic justice as far as I am concerned.

* * *

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