Many of you have probably heard about the recent hubbub about the Red Sox fielding less than an All-Star lineup on Thursday's spring training game in Jupiter, Florida against the Miami Marlins.
The Sox fielded just four players in the original lineup with any MLB experience, which is suppose to be the minimum for any Grapefruit League game. (It has been falsely reported the Sox fielded just two by many outlets.) The four players were Ryan Lavarnway, Jackie Bradley, Brandon Snyder and Allen Webster (the starting pitcher). The game ended in a scoreless tie when the rain came in the eighth inning.
This "scandal' has even been called "lineupgate" in some circles. (Can we please STOP using the suffix "gate" on everything that is allegedly a scandal? That crap is VERY annoying.)
Apparently, this really rubbed the Marlins brass the wrong way, and want the Red Sox fined for leaving all of their big stars back in Ft. Myers. GM Ben Cherington even issued an apology, but manager John Farrell would not.
If anyone should apologize, it's the Marlins management, who has abused its fan base time and again in its history. They increased prices for the midweek game, and I heard the highest price ticket was as much as $70. (Who pays that kind of money for a game that ultimately doesn't count when it is concluded?) And as it turned out, the majority of fans attending the game were dressed in Red Sox garb anyway.
The MLB lineup in Miami for the majority of the 2013 season was to say the least anemic, after they made that blockbuster deal with Toronto, sending Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and others to the Jays for a package of prospects. And previous to that, they traded arguably the best player in MLB, Miguel Cabrera, to Detroit for a bunch of prospects that didn't work out well for them. (Two of which, Andrew Miller and Burke Badenhop, are in the Red Sox bullpen this year.)
Marlins management gets a brand new ballpark in Miami, and proceed to dismantle their team, to the consternation of those who call themselves Marlins fans. And they are angry at the Sox over sending over what they feel is a subpar Red Sox team in a game that means absolutely nothing.
Excuse me if I have to stop writing now, as I'm laughing too hard.
Here's a good take on this whole thing from Red Sox Monster.
Saturday, March 08, 2014
Many of you have probably heard about the recent hubbub about the Red Sox fielding less than an All-Star lineup on Thursday's spring training game in Jupiter, Florida against the Miami Marlins.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:41 AM
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Two years ago, Fenway Park turned 100 years old, and there were celebrations marking the milestone anniversary of "America's Most Beloved Ballpark."
In 2014, the focus now turns to Wrigley Field, as the Chicago Cubs will honoring their famed ballyard with their 100th anniversary celebrations.
Pultizer Prize-winning sportswriter Ira Berkow has just put together a fine coffee table-style book called "Wrigley Field: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Chicago Cubs" in honor of this anniversary.
We all know about the Cubs and their star-crossed history, and this book covers all of those bases. (Sorry, I couldn't help but use that cliched term.) The book opens with a preface by Cubs star pitcher Kerry Wood, and a foreword by retired US Supreme Court justice and lifelong Cubs fan John Paul Stevens.
Anything you can think of about the Cubs is covered in the book: the pennant-winning years, Babe Ruth's alleged "Called Shot", the nonsense about a "Billy Goat Curse", when lights came to the park in 1988, the failures of 1969 and 1984 when the Cubs looked on their way to the World Series, and of course, the 2003 Game 6 NLCS loss. (I really wanted a Red Sox-Cubs World Series that year. Just wasn't meant to be.)
Every great player who ever played for the Cubs gets the royal treatment, everyone from Gabby Hartnett to Ernie Banks to Sammy Sosa. I really enjoyed seeing the many great old black and white photos of Wrigley, back in the days when the Cubs were actually winning pennants. Colorful characters of their history like Bill Veeck and Harry Caray take center stage here. And there's a small section in the book on President Barack Obama, a noted White Sox fan, on his take on the Cubs and Wrigley. (I don't think too many North Siders will enjoy it much.)
The other sports that have graced Wrigley are not forgotten, as the time the Chicago Bears called Wrigley home is remembered, along with the NHL Winter Classic that was played in 2009 there as well.
The book also has many interesting takes from their famous fans, from Dennis Franz, Joe Mantegna, George Will, Billy Corgan, Shecky Greene (wow, he's still alive!), and even Rod Blagojevich ( the former governor who is currently in slammer on corruption charges).
This absolutely the perfect book for the Cubs fan in your life. As a Red Sox fan, I have always had sympathy for the Cubs and their fans, and I have known a few in my life. Like us, they are fiercely loyal to their team, and this book drives that point home. I really hope I see the Cubs win a World Series in my lifetime. "Wrigley Field: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Chicago Cubs" is an enjoyable, but at the same time, a rather sad look back at one of America's most beloved sports teams.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:20 PM
Friday, February 28, 2014
February is coming to an end, and this brutal winter just goes on. It will be 20 degrees today, and it looks like yet more snow is coming early next week. Ugh.
At least baseball is back.
On a positive note, the Red Sox began their title defense with the usual Spring Training opening doubleheader against the college kids, defeating both Northeastern and Boston College in two seven-inning games by the identical score of 5-2. I don't think the Sox have ever lost to a college team in Florida, but I could be wrong about that.
It appears that the Red Sox weren't the first to come up with a "B Strong" logo, as a non-profit organization in Texas has a "B Strong" logo in honor of a young man who died in a skiing accident in 2007, and a foundation was started in his memory. Here's more about it.
There's going to be plenty of Red Sox baseball on TV and radio over the month of March, to wipe away those winter blues. Here is the complete schedule of where you can see or hear the Sox this month (with thanks to the Boston Red Sox Fan Page Facebook group for supplying the data):
March 2: Orioles
March 8: at Orioles
March 9: at Pirates
March 10: Rays
March 15: Phillies
March 16: at Rays
March 19 Pirates
March 20: Yankees
March 22: at Braves
March 23: Rays
March 25: at Rays
March 28: at Twins
March 17: Cardinals
March 18: at Yankees
March 20: Yankees
March 1: at Twins (8 p.m. tape delay)
March 13: at Twins
March 21 at Phillies
March 24 at Orioles (11 p.m. tape delay)
WEEI (93.7 FM unless noted)
March 1 at Twins
March 2: Orioles
March 8: Orioles
March 9: At Pirates
March 15: Phillies
March 16 at Rays
March 17: Cardinals (850-AM)
March 18: At Yankees (850-AM)
March 19: Pirates
March 20: Yankees
March 22: at Braves
March 23: Rays
March 27: Twins
March 29: Twins
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:58 AM
Monday, February 24, 2014
I recently finished reading an interesting book called "The Most Wonderful Week of the Year," by Roy Berger, about the life of a fantasy baseball camp player who played in three different fantasy camps over a four-year stretch.
I've never been to a fantasy baseball camp, as the price has always been a little too steep for me. And I guess the idea of playing with a bunch of overweight guys who never played in MLB taking on some retired veteran players never had much allure for me.
Roy Berger is a air-medical transport membership company based in Alabama, but grew up a Pittsburgh Pirates fan on Long Island. His great memory is of course, Bill Mazeroski's ninth inning home run in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series over a heavily favored Yankees team.
In 2010, Berger decided to give the fantasy baseball week a go, attending the Pirates fantasy camp in Bradenton, Florida. He had not played baseball at any level since the 1960s, and is a lefty first baseman. It was clearly a dream come true for Berger to be there, as his passion for the Pirates of the early 1960s comes through, as he meets such legendary Pittsburgh stars as Mazeroski, Vern Law, Bill Virdon and Steve Blass.
Berger breaks down his experiences at the camp day-by-day, game-by-game, and injury-by-injury.
The following year, Berger went to the Detroit Tigers camp at Lakeland. He had no connection to the club, but it was not nearly as great a week as was his experience at Bradenton. The rain made the week a tougher slog to get through, but Berger still comes across as having a great week living out his dream of playing ball with the veterans.
In 2012, Berger went to Yankees camp in Tampa. He explains in the book that he became a Yankees fan in the mid-1970s through his friendships he made with Yankee stars like Thurman Munson. Mickey Rivers and Ron Guidry in a racetrack he ran in suburban Boston. And I knew what was coming next: yep, plenty of anti-Red Sox stuff.
(I must correct you on a few points, Mr. Berger.The sweep the Yankees pulled off over the Red Sox in September 1978 was NOT "the catalyst to one of the greatest collapses in baseball history." As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, the YANKEES were the ones who gave away a 3 1/2 game lead with 12 games to go, and a 1 game lead with 1 game to go to conclude the regular season. Yes, it was a great comeback by the Yankees from where they were in mid-July, but it was an equally great comeback by the Sox in the final two weeks. Sorry, I couldn't let that go and had to get that off my chest. And also, the Yankee third baseman in 1978 was "Graig" Nettles, not "Craig" Nettles. Now back to our book review.)
Lots of glorification to being a Yankee fan in this book, and it took a lot for me to get through it. But I don't doubt Berger's love of the team and how much he enjoyed being there. He would also return to Bradenton for another tour of Pirates fantasy camp in 2013. At every one of his stops, he details the games he's played in, some of the regular guys he's played with, as well as the veterans he played with. It's clear that everyone there has had a great time, playing the game they love and sharing stories of their lives, wherever they hail from.
It is overall an enjoyable read, especially if you have ever wondered what it is like to play again guys who donned the MLB uniform for real.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:22 PM
Friday, February 21, 2014
I am really pleased to be part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, and also to have taken part in "Playing Pepper: Boston Red Sox 2014."
Daniel Shoptaw, who runs the fine Cardinals blog C70 At The Bat, asked a number of Red Sox bloggers their take on the upcoming Red Sox team for the 2014 season, and I was thrilled to have given my thoughts on the Red Sox' defense of their 2013 crown and many other issues around the club. He's been doing it since 2009, and does the other 29 clubs as well, but today it is the Sox bloggers who take their turn.
Seven other bloggers took part, such as Christine from Boston Red Thoughts, Allan from The Joy of Sox and Ruben from Red Sox Nation-Alberta. It's a long post, but definitely worth checking out to get our two cents. Go here to check it out.
My thanks to Daniel and his fine site for allowing us to give our opinion on the 2014 Red Sox, for whatever it's worth.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Ryan Dempster announced today he will not pitch for the Red Sox or in MLB in 2014, and more than likely has pitched his last game.
Dempster, 36, said he wanted to spend more time with his family and he's also got some physical reasons to step away. He's also walking away from $13.25 million, which comes off the Red Sox books.
It also solves the logjam of what to do with the six starters in the Red Sox rotation coming into Spring Training. There were all kinds of rumors about trading Dempster or John Lackey or Jake Peavy. Good thing the Sox waited patiently.
Dempster goes out with a World Series ring in 2013, and he pitched his last game in Game 1 of the World Series, pitching the ninth inning in Jon Lester's win.
But he will be forever remembered for one at-bat at Fenway last August 19th:
Good luck, Ryan, and thank you for 2013.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:29 AM
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Pitchers and catchers officially report to Ft. Myers today. Many players, including position players, are already in camp as I write this. The scene in Florida includes this:
Bring on the 2014 season. I'm sick of this winter. It can't come quick enough for me.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:59 AM
Thursday, February 13, 2014
This Sunday night at 8 PM, ESPN 30 For 30 Films will debut a short film called "The Deal", a 22-minute film about the greatest trade in Red Sox history that thankfully never happened: the Alex Rodriguez saga of December 2003.
It was directed by Nick and Colin Barnicle, and it chronicles the drama of Slappy not coming to Boston, and interviews many of the principals involved, such as Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Brian Cashman, John Hart (then the Texas GM), Gordon Edes, and many others.
Noticeably absent from the film are any current interviews with Rodriguez himself.
Couldn't help but laugh at all the "Curse of the Bambino" nonsense that's dragged up in this film.
If you can't see it on Sunday, why not watch it now? My friend Ian at soxanddawgs.com has the video of the film there. Definitely go and check it out with this link.
And by the way, after "The Deal" airs on ESPN at 8 PM on Sunday, they will be showing "Four Days In October" again, just to keep you in a good mood for the upcoming season ahead.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:10 AM
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
I called it.
Last year I told anyone who would listen that Derek Jeter was going to do EXACTLY what Mariano Rivera did last season: announce his retirement just prior to Spring Training in 2014 and then go on a year-long retirement tour. And sure enough, with pitchers and catchers set to report to most teams this weekend, Capt. Tange announced that 2014 will be his final season.
I don't begrudge Jeter doing exactly what Rivera did. He saw the way all MLB teams honored his teammate, so why shouldn't he do the same?
But if you thought Rivera's Retirement Tour was a bit insufferable towards the end, you ain't seen nothin' yet with this coming retirement circus.
And Jeter will conclude his career on September 28th at Fenway Park against the Red Sox, the Yankees final game of the season. Unless it means something (and I'm betting it won't), Jeter will likely play his last games in the Bronx among the home crowd before then, like Rivera did last year, and Ted Williams did in 1960.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 6:42 PM
Saturday, February 08, 2014
Spring is on the way. Today is Truck Day!
The Truck left Fenway Park today with tons of equipment on its journey down south to Fort Myers, signalling that the 2014 season is just around the corner. It can't come soon enough.
My buddy Ennis took in all the festivities from Fenway, and posted this pic of the Truck. I'm sure he won't mind if I share it with you.
Like all of you, I am bloody tired of this winter. I can't wait to hear "Defending World Series Champion Red Sox" said over and over again in 2014.
And you probably heard that the "Man Without a Country" Alex Rodriguez dropped his foolish lawsuit against MLB and the players union yesterday. It's too late for this guy anyway. He was all talk and no action. I still believe he has played his last MLB game. Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post has an excellent take on Slappy and his silly nonsense.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:39 AM
Friday, February 07, 2014
I was deeply saddened yesterday to learn of the passing of a true New York icon, Ralph Kiner, at the age of 91.
Ralph was one of those people I can trace back to my earliest memories of my youth, watching Mets games on TV. He, Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy were simply the best in the business and made watching Mets game fun, no matter where the team was in the standings.
He was best known as a Hall of Fame slugger during his career with the Pirates, Cubs and Indians. But here in New York, he was known as a voice to generations of Mets fans. And, of course, his endless malaprops, like calling Gary Carter "Gary Cooper." I think my favorite of all-time was the time he opened "Kiner's Korner" with "Hi, I'm Ralph Korner..." But we still loved Ralph.
He was font of baseball knowledge, and I loved when he and Lindsey Nelson would kill time during rain delays with his old baseball war stories. I'll never forget when he once talked about Branch Rickey, who ran the Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates: "He had all the players, and all the money, and never let the two get together."
Ralph's passing is even sadder that he was an original Met, doing the games since the team's inception in 1962. And now, there are few connections to that time left.
SNY dedicated almost all their air time yesterday to his passing, and it was wonderful listening to people like Tom Seaver, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Gary Cohen and Vin Scully reminisce about Ralph and his towering legacy.
All Mets fans lost a legend yesterday, as well as a friend.
Godspeed, Ralph. And thank you for the memories.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:40 AM
Thursday, February 06, 2014
The Red Sox announced their Class of 2014 for the team's Hall of Fame: Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, Joe Castiglione, and the one sure to cause plenty of controversy: Roger Clemens.
The four were chosen by an 16-person committee of media, club executives, and baseball historians.
We don't have to rehash anything about Clemens, as it is well-documented. Clemens has been seen at Fenway a number of times over the recent years, and appears to be building bridges with the team since his acrimonious exit by free agency in 1996.
It will be interesting to see what kind of reception he gets from the fans during the ceremony, of which a date has not yet been announced by the team.
In far more unsettling news, Curt Schilling announced Wednesday that he is suffering from cancer. He would not elaborate as to what the cancer is or how far along he is.
I wish all the best, and hope he wins this fight against this insidious disease.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:47 AM
Monday, February 03, 2014
A big stinker of a Super Bowl on Sunday night: Seattle 43, Denver 8.
It was a bit depressing for me seeing Percy Harvin run back the opening kickoff of the second half for a TD.
And then seeing Tarvaris Jackson come in as QB and take the final snaps of the game to run out the clock as Seattle won the Super Bowl.
Heath Farwell leading Seattle's special teamers. Darrell Bevell as offensive coordinator. (Sidney Rice at WR, but out injured.)
Seeing Pete Carroll win a Super Bowl as a head coach.
They are all ex-Vikings. (Carroll was an assistant coach in Minnesota from 1985-89 coaching the defensive backs before getting his first head coaching gig with the Jets. Bevell was OC with the Vikings a few years back.)
It's now been 37 years since the Vikings even appeared in a Super Bowl, and still no Vince Lombardi trophies still on the mantelpiece.
But, one dubious distinction was taken away from the Vikings yesterday (as well as the Buffalo Bills). They no longer hold the record for the most Super Bowls lost by any team. The Denver Broncos now hold that infamous title, with their 5th Super Bowl loss.
And even more depressing, Vikings fans: the first Las Vegas odds have the Vikings at 75-1 to win next season's Super Bowl. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars odds are longer at 100-1.
Bring on the baseball season.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:53 AM
Sunday, February 02, 2014
As the whole world knows by now, it is Super Bowl Sunday.
The NFL Hype Machine is in overdrive, with two interminable weeks of nonsense leading up to tonight's Denver-Seattle clash. I will be alone at home, doing laundry with the TV tuned to the game.
And I put the game on at 6:30 PM, and not a second earlier. I spend the afternoon watching movies or TV shows I have DVR'd. As I write this (11:30 AM), Fox has already begun their pregame show, with rolling out as much nonsense they will try to connect to this.
Me, I watch the game, and that's it. No pregame, no halftime (I will watch an "Odd Couple" episode I DVR'd during the New Year's marathon WLNY had), and absolutely NO commercials. That crap gets WAY too much publicity, so I will channel surf during commercial breaks, going to a movie I will select before the game.
I'm badass old school when it comes to this day. All I care about is the game.
I do miss one thing about "Super Bowl Sunday." DJ Jonathan Schwartz, a devoted Red Sox fan, would dedicate one hour during his show on this day on WNEW-AM to nothing but old baseball highlights: great moments from the game's history, baseball-themed songs and a typical Red Sox broadcast from a game in the 1950s, 60s or 70s. It was something I always looked forward to, but Jonathan ended it a number of years back. I wish he would reconsider bringing that back some year.
13 days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Enjoy the game everyone.
UPDATE (6:15 PM): My friend Leah informed me on Facebook that Jonathan Schwartz did indeed do his "Salute To Baseball" earlier today on his afternoon radio show on WNYC today. Maybe next time I should really check to see if it were happening. A few years back, Jonathan didn't do it and he made it sound like he was retiring it. I have to admit I assumed he had retired it. You know what happens when you assume...
YET ANOTHER UPDATE (11:30 AM, 2/3): The "Salute To Baseball" show will be repeated online at www.thejonathanchannel.org on Tuesday, February 4th between 12 noon and 4 PM. Don't know when it is exactly, but I'll be tuning in.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:33 AM
Friday, January 31, 2014
I was crossing 42nd Street on 5th Avenue in Manhattan yesterday, on what was a cold day in the big city. Right the middle of the street I looked over at the corner, and I couldn't believe my eyes as to who was about to cross the street in the opposite direction.
None other than legendary Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
No, I didn't yell any obscenities or throw anything at him. Or pull out my iPhone and snap a picture of him. I really didn't have time to do any of these things. I was literally in the middle of the street with the light changing. Oh the missed opportunity...
He was busy chatting away with another person, and didn't notice the Red Sox hat or scarf I was wearing. If he looked right at me he couldn't have missed them.
I have to admit I smiled as he walked past me. I couldn't help but think how far the Red Sox had come since his Reign of Terror ended in October of 2012.
That season seems like it was 20 years ago, doesn't it? How would I react if I actually met Bobby Valentine in a social setting? I'd probably be gracious, and then slip into the conversation that I am a Red Sox fan. I bet his reaction would be priceless.
And in much better news, I got the word this morning that I will be going up to Fenway Park to see the championship flag raising and ring ceremony on Opening Day on April 4th with the BLOHARDS on their annual trip up to Boston.
Absolutely, positively, can't wait.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:18 AM
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
So what do current MLB players Shane Victorino, Miguel Cabrera, David Murphy and Matt Carpenter all have in common?
They've all had the dubious distinction of making the final out in a World Series.
So here's a cool video I saw on NESN's website today, and a few of the clips should warm your heart, on what is a brutally cold day here in the Northeast.
It is of the last out made in every World Series since 1989. There was no last out made in the World Series played in 1993, 1997, and 2001, as they all ended with hits in the final game to end the Series. (And they are included here, too.)
And of course, there was no World Series played in 1994 at all. (The Series played in 1995 and 2005 are not included, as the author could not include them due to some complications in getting the video.)
Edgar Renteria has the unique distinction of being featured twice in this video, on both ends of the spectrum. He got the World Series-winning hit to end the 1997 World Series, but made the final out of the 2004 World Series (which we all have memorized).
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:33 AM
I honestly thought Jerry Remy would retire from announcing Red Sox games on NESN, due to all the health and personal problems he's gone through over the last few years.
But he announced on Monday that he will return to the booth for the 2014 season.
Remy left last August after his son Jared was charged with murdering his girl friend Jennifer Martel, who is the mother of his daughter. It was the right move for him at the time, as his attention should be focused on the tragedy he and his family are going through.
I am certainly fine with his coming back. It is his and NESN's decision to do so, and I'm sure most fans will be supportive of it, too.
Remy is being very supportive and sensitive to the Martel family, but I was surprised to hear that if his return upset the family that he would walk away from his broadcasting career. He has every right to return, and it's clear by what he said yesterday that needs to come back to the Red Sox to keep his mind occupied and away from the tragedy that has engulfed his family.
Here is a clip from WCVB, who spoke to Remy yesterday.
It will be interesting to see how Remy has changed since last August when he returns. I would bet some of the "frivolity" may be gone. But baseball is his life. Broadcasting is his life. I hope a return can be therapeutic for him.
I'm actually glad to hear Jerry Remy will be back in the NESN booth. I hope he and his family, along with the Martel family, can find some peace eventually through this trying time in their lives.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:04 AM
Sunday, January 26, 2014
As we wait for the interminable two weeks before the Super Bowl happens, here is a cool YouTube clip I posted on Facebook recently.
I've lived in Brooklyn my entire life, and most of it in the section of Midwood. NBC used to have a studio right on the corner up the block from my house (it is now used for movies), and would film many TV shows there, the most famous being the first three seasons of "The Cosby Show." (It eventually moved to another studio in Queens.)
In 1968, there was a program called "The Kraft Music Hall", and they filmed a segment with legendary comedian Don Rickles walking on Avenue M, beginning with a stroll through the subway station. He encounters kids playing stickball, gets his watched lifted by a "passerby", grabs a hot dog and talks about the glory that is being in Brooklyn.
I nearly flipped when I encountered this clip. The avenue has changed just a bit, but for those of you who know this neighborhood, it is a walk down memory lane.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:59 AM
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Sizemore has missed all of the last two seasons with various injuries, and that's been the story of his career. He's a three-time All-Star with two Gold Gloves. He was one of the AL's premier outfielders of the late 2000s before the injuries set in during the 2009 season.
For the Red Sox, it is a low risk, high reward type of move. He agreed to an MLB contract worth $750,000, with incentives that could reach $6 million. Jackie Bradley Jr. is the heir apparent for CF for the Red Sox, but Sizemore says that he is ready for Spring Training and will surely push Bradley for the job.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:06 PM
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Masahiro Tanaka made his decision on Wednesday, and will play in the Bronx. And for the next seven seasons as well.
The Yankees and Tanaka reached agreement on a 7-year, $155 million deal, with an opt-out clause after four years.
My first reaction: this contract is totally insane.
And I'm glad the Red Sox aren't the ones giving it to him.
Tanaka was 24-0 last season for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2013. Impressive? Sure. But it was done in Japan, which is really like AAAA baseball (in-between AAA and MLB in America). I just don't see giving a seven-year deal, worth on average over $22 million per year (including the $20 million they have to pay the Japanese club) to a guy who has yet to throw a pitch in MLB.
Obviously the Yankees are doing this to bring Japanese fans into the ballpark and increase TV ratings, which will both happen for sure in 2014. The state of New York's pitching rotation meant that hey had to make some kind of big splash, and there wasn't a pitcher on the market this winter who was going to do that for them. They had to overpay, as they have an almost barren farm system, and were not going to make the playoffs without making a signing like this.
I'm glad the Red Sox did not get into a bidding war with New York over Tanaka. This is precisely the type of contract that got the Sox in trouble three years ago. But at least those onerous deals (Crawford, Beckett and Gonzalez) were for established MLB stars. Right now you have no idea what Masahiro Tanaka will turn out to be. Japanese players have had mixed success in the US. Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui had great success here, Hideo Nomo, Yu Darvish and Koji Uehara have been very good, but does anyone remember the hype when the Yankees signed Hideki Irabu? Or Kei Igawa? Their track record with Japanese pitchers leaves something to be desired.
Time will tell on Tanaka.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:53 AM
Saturday, January 18, 2014
The game show Jeopardy! had a baseball question the other day, and in my years of watching the show, their baseball questions generally aren't very hard.
This one stumped all three contestants.
It was about which ex-Red Sox pitcher, who won 354 games lifetime, didn't make the Hall of Fame in 2013. All three contestants were women, and obviously aren't big baseball fans.
Either that or The Texas Con Man is starting to fade from public consciousness.
My thanks to Fenway Refugees for originally posting this YouTube clip:
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:57 AM
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I think I needed a shower after watching that "60 Minutes" report on Alex Rodriguez' one-year suspension.
Everybody connected to it: Slappy, Tony Bosch, Bud Selig and MLB, all came off really sleazy. No "good guys" in this whole thing.
Now Slappy is suing both MLB and the MLB Players Association to block his suspension. It is highly improbable that a Federal judge will actually order an injunction to allow A-Rod to play in 2014.
Did you know that Slappy's 2014 baseball card was leaked to the press? Here it is (courtesy of Mad Magazine):
I would go back to collecting baseball cards just to get this one. BTW, do they still come with that pink gum inside?
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:44 AM
Sunday, January 12, 2014
A lot of Red Sox fans were jumping for joy that A-Rod will sit out this entire upcoming season. Not me.
No, I haven't become an A-Rod fan. But I was hoping that he would be suspended for 50 or 100 games, as that would hurt the Yankees far more than a full year suspension would. Slappy's over the hill, and I would much rather see him clogging up a roster spot than sit all of 2014.
New York will save about $25 million now that Slappy will miss 2014. A shorter suspension would have put them on the hook for his 2014 salary, and further hamstrung their ability to add other players. They are still on the hook for the last three years of his deal, worth about $61 million. And you know A-Rod won't walk away from that money and retire. He will try to make it back in 2015, but honestly, how much could he have left after missing most of the previous two years, with two bad hips and being nearly 40 years old?
A-Rod and his handlers are threatening a Federal injunction to block this suspension, but don't bet on that happening. US courts rarely ever overturn these kind of suspensions that have been reached through collective bargaining. And besides, he would have testify in open court about his steroid past. If he gets caught committing perjury, he could face jail time.
BTW, A-Rod is still still eligible to participate at Spring Training beginning next month, and then will have to sit out the entire year. Can you imagine what kind of a circus that will be? Unless both parties come to some kind of an agreement beforehand, the Yankees can't legally bar him from coming, so be prepared for much more A-Rod nonsense when their players report to Tampa in February.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:00 PM
Thursday, January 09, 2014
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:20 AM
Tuesday, January 07, 2014
It's a brutally cold 10 degrees here in New York City. The dead of winter.
Pitchers and catchers report in just under six weeks from now. It can't come any quicker.
Here's something to warm all of you Red Sox fans out there: the 2013 season in a six-minute video played to the Dropkick Murphys version of the song "Tessie."
Stay warm everyone and enjoy:
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:55 AM
Sunday, January 05, 2014
I noticed in the last few months of 2013 that the traffic to the blog here had dipped rather low, as I hadn't been writing that much.
But on the website Reddit.com, there was a thread about the Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey earlier this week, and a fan brought up Doug Mirabelli, Tim Wakefield's old personal catcher with the Red Sox. And of course, he linked the "A Day In The Life Of Doug Mirabelli," which originally put up here in 2006.
And the traffic here just exploded. (BTW, I don't use SiteMeter any more, as they now give you almost no information that they used to. Anyone know what happened to them? I now use Clicky.) I had nearly 1,400 hits here on Friday, which is by far and away the most ever in the nearly eight year history of this blog.
It's Dougie to the rescue once again! (Remember when the Red Sox brought him back in 2006, and got him to Fenway in the police car?) Every time someone discovers my post on the Internet and puts it on a site, my numbers skyrocket, and I appreciate that. The Dougie post is by far the most popular thing I have ever posted on my site.
For those of you who have haven't read it, or just want a good laugh, just go here.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:55 AM
Friday, January 03, 2014
It was written by Ben Bradlee Jr., who spent ten years researching the life of the great Hall of Famer, and absolutely left no stone unturned in this exhaustive biography, and it runs nearly 800 pages.
The book opens with the death of Ted, and his body shipped off to be frozen at Alcor in Arizona, which is ghoulish to say the least.
Every phase of the Splendid Splinter's life is examined, beginning with his birth in San Diego and his difficult upbringing by an uncaring father and a mother who was more concerned about saving souls with the Salvation Army. The book also examines in depth his Mexican roots, and Ted's fears about it being uncovered during his playing days.
He was definitely a lonely kid, and you seem to get idea he was most happy when he was alone. Baseball became his life as a youngster, and it was all-consuming passion. He was brash, and not afraid to let everyone know how great he was going to be. Cocky and arrogant, and it served him well in many respects of his life, but not in others.
His relationship with women was always volatile. He went through three marriages, and had numerous affairs in and after his playing days. He had three children, and had a difficult relationship with all of them, especially his son John-Henry.
Ted's five years in the military is especially fascinating. I never knew how upset he was about going back into the service again during the Korean War, and how behind the scenes he tried to get out of it, while publicly saying he was fine going back in.
The book gives the highlights and lowlights of Ted's career. The highs being 1941 when he hit .406, his home run in the All-Star Game that year, and one of his most proudest accomplishments: hitting .388 and winning the AL batting title in 1957 (which in many ways was a bigger thing than what he did in 1941, as Williams was 39 and at the end of the line). The lows being the loss to the Cardinals in 1946 World Series when he hit just .200, the playoff loss to the Indians in 1948 and the two losses to New York in 1949 that cost the Red Sox the AL pennant.
The book is chockful of tidbits I never knew about Ted's baseball career (like Ted being offered the Red Sox managerial job in 1954, the Tigers job in 1961, and the Yankees wanting to sign him as a pinch-hitter in 1961).
Ted's post-MLB career is looked at in incredible depth, from his becoming a Hall of Fame fisherman, to his return as Washington Senators manager, to his ultimately being looked after by his son John-Henry in his later years. John-Henry doesn't come off well in this book, and is made out to be a son who was looking to make every last buck out of his father's name. That may ultimately have led him to cryonics, where a person can be frozen after death in the hope of one day being "revived." I found all of that to be rather unsettling, and brought back bad memories of when Ted and his name became a joke on late night television.
I definitely recommend the book, as it is the last word on one of MLB's greatest heroes. Ted Williams was complicated individual, and Ben Bradlee Jr. brings him back to life. The book is enthralling, and worth the time to read, even if you aren't a Red Sox fan.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 8:11 PM
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
This is my 288th and final post on The Mighty Quinn Media Machine for 2013. It's been an interesting year to say the least.
It was a year for the ages to be a Red Sox fan, as our team came from last place in 2012 to shock the world and win their third World Series championship in ten years. It buried the failures of 2011 and 2012. It was simply magical, and it was the most emotional of three wins for me (yes, even more than 2004).
The team came off the rails in 2011, and it was successfully put back on by Ben Cherington, John Farrell and the entire 2013 club. Thank you Red Sox for an extraordinary year.
It was a miserable year to be a Minnesota Vikings fan, as the team regressed badly, especially at the QB position and on defense. The Vikings still have talent, and will have a new coach in 2014. Notre Dame also fell back a bit, to 9-4, but that was expected, as they lost a number of critical players on defense and had a much tougher schedule.
It was a year of transition for my Trivia Empire, as we left one in February, and another in November. As I write this, we have not settled on a new venue in Manhattan yet, but hope to have a new place soon. I thank all of you for supporting me and my Trivia Night, and I hope to see you all again soon in the new place.
It was not a good year overall for my background acting career, as I worked just four times all year. There's a lot of reasons why, and I won't go into it here. Let's just hope for more work in 2014.
I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year, and I hope you all have a successful 2014. I have been writing less here as the years go on, but I still value my writing here and thank all of you who stop by here for whatever reason.
Thank you and God bless you all.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:09 AM
Monday, December 30, 2013
The Vikings bid farewell to the Metrodome yesterday with a 14-13 win over the Detroit Lions.
The Dome will be taken apart starting next month, and the new stadium will begin construction on the same site. (As much as people would like to have seen it blown up, that won't be happening.)
The Vikings played there from 1982 until yesterday. The Dome had hosted the World Series, Super Bowl, the Final Four, and numerous concerts. The Vikings were there for 32 seasons, and never went to the Super Bowl in the entire time they called the place home. (It has now been 37 seasons since the Vikings appeared in the big game, in January 1977 against Oakland.)
So I guess it is time for them to return to their roots: the outdoors. They will play the next two seasons in the University of Minnesota's home stadium, before their new home opens for the 2016 season.
I was in the Metrodome just twice: both in August 1999, for a Vikings preseason game against the Eagles, and a Twins-Red Sox game the day before. (Vikings won, 17-13, and the Twins won, 5-3.) I actually enjoyed the time I spent in the building, as it was not the dungeon it's been made out to be. It clearly isn't a classic ballpark by any means, but the noise the Vikings fans made during the football game was pretty infectious.
The Vikings conclude their final indoors with a 5-10-1 record, and it officially cost Leslie Frazier his job as head coach. He was let go today, and it comes as no surprise. The Vikings gave up the most points of any NFL team, and have a muddled QB situation. I really thought this would be a promising season, but it wound up being yet another season to forget. The Vikings had a decent second half, going 4-3-1 after the dreadful 1-7 start.
Time to start anew in 2014. A new temporary home with a brand new coach.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:32 AM
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Notre Dame ended the 2012 season with a 26-16 win over Rutgers on Saturday in the Pinstripe Bowl at that den of vipers called Yankee Stadium.
It completed a not bad year for Notre Dame, who went 9-4 on the campaign, after losing three of their biggest defensive players to the NFL and two others on D to injury. (10 of their opponents are playing in bowl games this year, so a return to the BCS title game didn't look very viable.)
Tommy Rees completed his Irish career in style, going 27-for-47 and 319 yards. I'm betting this his last football game, as he doesn't appear to be NFL material. But you never can tell.
Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals, with T.J Jones and Tarean Folston scored TDs.
All-time Notre Dame is 17-6-3 in edifices known as Yankee Stadium, and the second win in two tries in the new joint.
Notre Dame plays their next game in just over eight months, as they open the 2014 season at Notre Dame Stadium against Rice on August 30th.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 6:58 PM
Thursday, December 26, 2013
I saw this video just before Christmas, but I'll share it with you now.
Mike Carp had a GoPro camera attached to his cap during the Red Sox World Series celebrations, beginning with the final out of Game 6, and ending with the duckboat parade.
It's great stuff, and you can get an idea of what it was like from the Red Sox players' perspective The video lasts just over four minutes.
It was a Christmas present in October:
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:43 AM
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 7:56 PM
Every year on Christmas Eve, I always post this YouTube clip, from my favorite Christmas special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas."
When good ol' Charlie Brown is frustrated about the meaning of Christmas, Linus takes center stage at the Christmas play and explains to all assembled the true meaning of this special holiday.
I want to wish all of you out there a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy the holiday.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:19 AM
Monday, December 23, 2013
It's December 23rd, so you know what that day is: it's Festivus!
It's the "holiday for the rest of us", so I want to wish you all Season's Grievances and a night of great feats of strength.
Here is the godfather of Festivus, Frank Costanza, explaining the holiday, on the famous episode of "Seinfeld" that brought our holiday to the forefront: "The Strike."
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:36 AM
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Before today's Vikings game in Cincinnati against the playoff-bound Bengals, I was thinking about how hard the Vikings were playing over the last six weeks, going a respectable 3-2-1 after starting the season at 1-7.
I thought Matt Cassell might come back as the Vikings' starting QB in 2014, as he has been playing so well, and a good finish might save Leslie Frazier's job as head coach.
Cassell fumbled on the first series of downs, which Cincy recovered and scored a TD a few plays later, and he also fired three interceptions.
Adrian Peterson returned after taking a week off with the ankle injury, running for 45 yards on 11 carries.
The Vikings tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, but the Bengals took charge and it was never a contest anymore, as they coasted to a 42-14 win.
The Vikings also locked up last place, and entered double figures in losses, with 10.
The season mercifully ends next Sunday, as the Vikings will say goodbye to the Metrodome forever with a game with the just eliminated Detroit Lions.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 8:19 PM
This is still one of the most popular things I have ever posted on my blog, so I'll post it again.
Here is "The 12 Days of Christmas," as done by Irish actor Frank Kelly, who memorably starred as Father Jack Hackett in the screwball British TV comedy "Father Ted" back in the early 1990s. It is a brilliant parody of the classic Christmas song, and it gets more silly and bizarre as it goes along.
I originally posted this on my blog in 2007, and my traffic numbers here absolutely exploded. That happened almost every Christmas since, although it has calmed down considerably the last few years. (I guess people are finding it off different places on the Internet now.)
So, here it is: "The 12 Days of Christmas", Irish style. Enjoy.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:39 AM
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
I need this explained to me.
Sports Illustrated picked Peyton Manning last Sunday as their "Sportsman of the Year" for the year 2013.
Peyton Manning. Really?
So, what did Manning do in this calendar year that makes him worthy of that award? It started out badly for him, as his favored Denver Broncos blew a second round playoff game at home to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Yeah, he's having another great year for the Broncos, and is probably on his way to his 5th NFL MVP award, a new record. But the Broncos haven't won a Super Bowl with him at the helm yet.
I thought David Ortiz would be a slam dunk choice. He literally put the Red Sox on his back and led them to a very unlikely World Series title, after a brutal 2012. His grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS literally turned the Red Sox fortunes around, and his speech in the dugout during Game 4 of the World Series again seemed to turn the Red Sox fortunes around, as the won the last three games to secure their 3rd title in 10 years.
His speech on April 20th at Fenway, five days after the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon, was inspiring to say the least. "This is our f****n' city" seemed to say it all.
Papi did it with his bat, and his leadership.
And he won more titles in the calendar year of 2013 than Manning did.
I could even see picking Mariano Rivera as the winner as well. He bounced back from a devastating knee injury to finish his Hall of Fame career in style.
Sorry, I just don't see Manning as a better choice than Papi or Rivera.
I won't lose any sleep over this. At least Papi won the hardware that counts for more.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:24 AM
Monday, December 16, 2013
When the news broke yesterday morning that both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart was sitting for Sunday's game against the Eagles at the Metrodome, I thought we might be in for a really ugly afternoon under the white roof.
I couldn't have been more wrong. No AP? No Gerhart? No problem. AP had an ankle injury, and Toby had a hamstring injury from last week's loss in Baltimore, and both were forced to sit it out.
Matt Asiata, a second year player from Utah who has been used basically as a blocking fullback and on special teams (and wears Chuck Foreman's old number: 44), got the starting assignment at running back and made the most of his big chance.
He rushed for 51 yards on 30 carries, but scored three TDs in the Vikings surprising 48-30 upset of the first-place Philadelphia Eagles. Asiata became the first NFL player to score three TDs in his first NFL start since Daunte Culpepper did it for the Vikings in his debut in 2000.
It was a huge day for Matt Cassel, who put up the best numbers of any QB in a game this season. He threw for 382 yards and 2 TDs and ran for another. Cassel isn't the Vikings long term answer, but it is clear they are better off sticking with him, and not Christian Ponder.
The 48 points was the most the Vikings have scored in a game since their record-setting team of 1998 scored 50 late in that year.
I give the Vikings a lot of credit in that they are playing hard for Leslie Frazier and are not mailing in the rest of this season. The defense played well, and shut down LeSean McCoy, the NFL's leading rusher, as he only got 38 yards on the ground.
A lot to like about yesterday, and made me wonder what could have been. Three of those last-minute losses could have been wins, and they would be right in thick of the playoff race. The Vikings are now 4-9-1, and are 3-2-1 since the loss in Dallas on November 3. They play the Bengals in Cincinnati next Sunday, and conclude 2013 with the Metrodome finale against Detroit on December 29.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:14 AM
Friday, December 13, 2013
The Red Sox went through the Winter Meetings, and didn't make any significant moves. Not the biggest shock in the world. They did kick the tires on Matt Kemp, but I'm sure the money and years left on his deal (still six more years left), as well as his recent injury history caused the Sox to back off.
I was waiting for some of the usual suspects to give out "grades" on how the teams did at the Winter Meetings, which is my opinion is an act of utter stupidity and a waste of time. Last time I looked they don't hand out a championship trophy to team that wins the winter. (It would have gone to the Toronto Blue Jays last winter and the Red Sox in 2011. Neither team brought home the real hardware the following October.) It reminds me of those "experts" who insist on grading teams the day after the NFL draft, which is even more worthless, judging guys who haven't taken a snap in the league yet.
Stephen Drew has yet to sign with anyone, and the fact that one of his biggest suitors, the Mets, have pulled away from him says to me he may return to the Red Sox, possibly on a two-year deal. It sounds like the market for him isn't very large, and his agent Scott Boras, aka "Dr. Evil," has not identified any other offers on the table for him. Funny he hasn't followed his usual MO, "the mystery team" nonsense to get someone to commit. But he still has time.
Drew's return to Boston makes sense for the Red Sox. His defense was stellar all year, even if he had a tough postseason at the plate. I would guess Xander Bogaerts opens 2014 at third base, and Will Middlebrooks' future becomes a little more cloudy. This is till the biggest question the Red Sox must address before spring training.
I can see them adding another outfielder and a utility infielder before the officially finish their off-season retooling. I'm not surprised they've been relatively quiet.
It's good to be the kings.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:42 AM
Monday, December 09, 2013
They say the Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports, but yesterday's Vikings-Ravens finish gave it a run for its money.
The Vikings are playing out the 2013 season, and found themselves in Baltimore yesterday playing the Ravens. And as the game began, they found themselves confronting something they haven't worried about in Minnesota for a long time: playing in the snow.
Early on, the story of the game was Adrian Peterson's foot injury in the second quarter, and it knocked him out of the game. No word yet on how long he will be out, as x-rays proved negative and he will have an MRI on his right foot today.
And AP wasn't happy with the fans or officials after the game yesterday, and let the world know it on Twitter.
The Vikings trudged on without AP, and had a 12-7 lead in the fourth quarter, when the Ravens got the ball and scored with just 2:05 left on a Joe Flacco 1-yard TD pass. That made it 15-12 after a two-point conversion. Game over.
Not quite. The Vikings got the ball, and on the second play from scrimmage, Toby Gerhart burst up the middle for a 41-yard TD to make it Vikings 19, Ravens 15. Fourth Vikings win of 2013.
Not yet. Blair Walsh made a terrible mistake on the kickoff, kicking it short and right into the hands of the dangerous Jacoby Jones. He went up the sidelines 77 yards to put Baltimore ahead and another brutal Vikings loss. Ravens 22, Vikings 19.
Hold the phone. 1:16 left and the Vikings got the ball back, and on the third play, Matt Cassel hit Cordarrelle Patterson with a short pass that he broke free on, and it resulted in a 79-yard TD. Vikings 26, Ravens 22. Another glorious Vikings comeback win.
Bloody hell. They left too much time on the clock. Aided by a very questionable pass interference call on Chad Greenway, Flacco hit Marlon Brown at the back of the end zone with four seconds left to end the wackiest final two minutes of football ever, 29-26.
There was six lead changes in the fourth quarter yesterday, the first time in NFL history that has happened. Six TDs in the fourth quarter after just one between the two teams in the first three. Unfortunately, the Vikings were on the wrong end of the last lead change, resulting in their 9th loss of 2013.
It was also the fourth time this season the Vikings lost in the last two minutes of a game. They'd be 7-5-1 and in first place if all four had turned out in the other direction. I give the Vikings credit, that they are playing hard and not tanking the season, especially over the last five weeks, where they are 2-2-1.
It's a year to forget, but at least they are losing in an exciting manner. (OK, I'm doing my best to look on the bright side.)
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:08 AM
Saturday, December 07, 2013
It's been one helluva crazy week on the Hot Stove front.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both leave the Red Sox for the greener pastures of New York and Miami respectively (that's a joke, folks). Mike Napoli will be returning to the Sox for two more years at $32 million. (And if you look at the original deal he signed last year for three years that the Red Sox changed to one year, Napoli has actually come out ahead on the deal by about $7 million.) Stephen Drew is still available to anyone, but it looks like he will leave for a multi-year deal elsewhere.
And in the shocker of the week, Robinson Cano bolted the Yankees yesterday for the Seattle Mariners, for a ten-year deal worth $240 million. The Yankees called his bluff, and Cano left. New York answered it back by signing an aging Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million deal. They are about 9 years too late on Beltran. (After the 2004 season, Beltran practically begged the Yankees for a deal for less money he got with the Mets, and they passed.)
It was further a bad day for the Yankees, as Curtis Granderson left for the Mets, for a four-year deal. Good move by the Mets, as they have to show their fans that they are indeed on the way back.
Plain and simple, the Yankees blew it on Cano. Granted, the Mariners needed to make a big splash and become relevant again, and in the long run the Yankees may have made the right move. But this clearly hurts them in the short run. They replace his bat with Beltran, who will be 37 next season. This team needed to get younger, and move athletic, but they settle for an aging slugger whose best days are behind him and his defense wasn't what it was. They are clearly going in the wrong direction, and now they will have to move Brett Gardner to get some pitching help in a trade.
They are throwing crazy money around now, and it's like putting Band-Aids on a gaping wound. They have gotten far away from the formula that brought them success in the late 1990s. They should have taken a step back and rebuilt their farm system and gotten younger. But it's their money, and they lost bucks by not making the playoffs in 2013.
I have to admit that I am enjoying seeing Yankee fans act like the crazy sterotypical Red Sox fans who lose their minds when a star leaves and goes elsewhere, especially to New York.
I'll leave you with this question to ponder:
Would you rather have Ellsbury go to Seattle and Cano stay in New York, or let it be the way it panned out, with Ellsbury in New York and Cano in Seattle? Granted seeing Ellsbury in pinstripes won't make any Red Sox fan happy, but it just may have worked out for the best. We'll see.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:10 PM
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Jacoby Ellsbury sold himself to the highest bidder last night.
No big surprise, with him having Dr. Evil, aka Scott Boras, as an agent. My hat's off to Ben Cherington today for allowing another knucklehead to offer an odious contract to a Boras client.
I thought Ellsbury would end up in Seattle or Texas. Nope, it's New York. (Don't you love the fact that the Yankees go after Red Sox players with championship pedigrees?)
So much for the Yankees getting under the $189 million luxury tax for 2014. The contract they offered Ellsbury is for seven years, at $153 million. He would have been crazy to turn down this offer. The Red Sox clearly learned their lesson from the Carl Crawford disaster, and I'm really proud that the Sox brass walked away from Ellsbury, which they were clearly prepared to do.
New York signing Ellsbury means they forfeit either a first or second round pick in 2014, and the Red Sox gain a first rounder (and will gain another when Stephen Drew signs elsewhere). So tell me, which team needed to rebuild their farm system again?
Listen, I won't call Ellsbury a traitor or compare him to Johnny Damon. Ellsbury never said he wouldn't sign with New York (as Damon infamously did in May 2005). MLB players are first and foremost businessmen. It was a business decision. They are taking an enormous risk here, as Ellsbury has missed over 270 games the past four seasons due to various injuries (including 28 in 2013). This will be yet another odious contract the Red Sox wisely decided not to go near.
And for the Yankees, it was another case of having to make a big splash with their fan base. (My friend Lisa Swan, who I have a lot of respect for, is not happy about this. She has a good take on it today over at her site "Subway Squawkers.") They clearly have gotten far away from what made them winners in the late 1990s, and throwing insane money at guys like Ellsbury won't fix that.
This does remind me a bit of when the Yankees traded for Alex Rodriguez in 2004, and I wrote to my Red Sox fans who were upset about it: "Alex Rodriguez can't pitch."
Jacoby Ellsbury can't pitch either. Even if they resign Robinson Cano (for even more they signed Ellsbury to, yet more insanity), it doesn't address their pitching problems. For the sake of their payroll, they better pray A-Rod sits out all of 2014.
The Red Sox move on. It could be Matt Kemp, Carlos Beltran, Curtis Granderson or Jackie Bradley playing center next year. We'll see where the Sox move on to.
Right now, I can only say thank you to Ellsbury for being a big part of two World Series championship teams. See you at Fenway next April 22.
And thank you to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who officially joined the Miami Marlins on a three-year deal last night. Thanks for being part of a memorable 2013 championship season.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:41 AM
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
In a surprise move, the Red Sox have come to terms with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski on a one-year deal.
This means that Jarrod Saltalamacchia will play elsewhere in 2014. The fact he was benched for the final three games of the 2013 World Series certainly didn't help his case. And that he was seeking a three-year deal was something the Red Sox certainly weren't interested in doing.
Pierzynski will be 37 years old this month, and a one-year deal with him clearly makes sense. The deal is for $8.25 million, and he figures to be the bridge to two young catchers the Sox have in their system: Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. He batted .272 for Texas last year, with 17 HRs and 70 RBI.
Pierzynski has the rep for being one of the most hated guys in baseball. But he is one of those "teammates love him, opponents hate him" type of players.
Saltalamacchia got some big hits in his time with the Red Sox, none bigger than his game-winning single that won the crucial Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS against Detroit. All the best to him, no matter where he lands.
Also, both Andrew Bailey and Ryan Kalish were non-tendered contracts for 2014, meaning they are now free agents. All other players that had to be tendered contracts, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Burke Badenhop and Mike Carp, were offered 2014 contracts by last night's deadline.
Monday, December 02, 2013
I caught some of the Vikings-Bears game on NFL RedZone yesterday (which I highly recommend, as it has totally changed my Sunday NFL viewing), and I couldn't help think of a legendary baseball icon while watching it: Ted Williams.
Watching the Vikings this season is like being a Red Sox fan back in the late 1950s: the main reason for checking them out is for one iconic player on the team. And in the Vikings case it's Adrian Peterson.
AP rushed for 211 yards in the Vikings 23-20 OT win, and became the 28th player in NFL history to reach the 10,000 yard plateau. The season has completely gone down the dumper, but AP is still running like a man on a mission, and appears to be on his way to another NFL rushing title. He basically put the team on his back in OT (I thought a second straight tie might happen), and got the Vikings into FG range late in the OT, and Blair Walsh's 36-yarder won it.
AP now has 1,208 yards, and leads second place LeSean McCoy of the Eagles by 120 yards with 4 games to go. It's really all Vikings fans have to root for right now.
But the Vikings may have a big time player on their hands in rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, who rushed for a 33-yard TD. He has brought 2 kickoffs back for TDs, caught one TD, and rushed for another.
I'm not one to root against my team in the hope they get a higher draft pick, as they can always trade up for a higher pick on draft day. But guys like Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson make me still want to tune in. I'd still like to see the Vikings get some dignity back and end the season strong.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:12 AM
Saturday, November 30, 2013
It has now been exactly one month since the Red Sox won their third World Series in ten years. And 30 days on, I'm still trying to wrap myself around the fact they they actually did it.
On the night of September 28, 2011, a darkness fell over Red Sox fans everywhere. An excruciating one month collapse that saw the Sox miss the playoffs by one game, from a team that everyone and his brother-in-law said would go all the way. Heads rolled, and management made some godawful decisions that turned the 2012 season into a complete and total nightmare.
Generally when teams have a September collapse, it lingers far longer than just the season after. For example, the Philadelphia Phillies authored the worst collapse in baseball history in 1964, blowing a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 to play. And it took them 12 years to recover, not getting to the postseason until 1976, when they won the NL East. And they were not a contender in any of those intervening years.
The Mets had one of the worst collapses ever in 2007, losing a seven-game lead with 17 games to play. They still haven't recovered from it, and have had 5 straight losing seasons and counting.
The point is: late-season collapses generally means the team is on the road downward.
When Bobby Valentine's Reign of Terror ended after the 2012 season, I really didn't think the Red Sox fit into the above mold. Too many things went wrong that year (not all Valentine's making, of course), but there was too much talent in Boston for the Red Sox to consider "the nuclear option" (in this case, blowing up the team and starting over from scratch). The day they made that historic trade with the Dodgers and got rid of the clubhouse lawyers, I thought right there and then the Sox were on the road back. (I couldn't help but wonder what Beckett, Crawford and Gonzalez were thinking the night of October 30.)
Magic Johnson deserves a 2013 World Series ring. I'll never say a bad word about him ever again.
I had a good feeling watching the press conference that introduced John Farrell as the new Red Sox manager in October 2012. He was exactly what the team needed: a respected man who knew many of the players and organization, a guy who lets the players play, stays out of the way and brings NO drama to the scene.
GM Ben Cherington made a conscious attempt to bring in "good character" guys and many a writer questioned a few of the moves he made. Signing Jonny Gomes brought a collective yawn from most Red Sox fans. A few thought Shane Victorino was past his prime and giving him a three-year deal was foolish. Stephen Drew was a late signing, and bringing in Mike Napoli seemed to take forever, with his hip problems. And absolutely no one noticed when Koji Uehara was signed from Texas.
Few of the so-called experts picked the Red Sox to finish higher than third. Many picked a second straight last-place finish. I actually picked them second (behind Toronto, oops), winning 90 and getting a Wild Card berth. And I thought I was being wildly optimistic.
97 wins. An AL East division title. And an eighth World Series title.
I still shake my head over it. I simply could never have imagined seeing the Red Sox hoist up the 2013 World Series trophy before the year began. From the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing in April, it all unfolded into one of the best baseball stories in a long time.
The Red Sox buried 2011 for good. The future looks very bright with Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Allen Webster and host of other young players on the horizon. They have a host of tough decisions to make this winter.
But when people I haven't seen in a long time come up to me and ask me how I'm doing, I usually reply, "Still basking in the afterglow of another Red Sox World Series championship."
And just 125 days until another World Series championship flag flies again at The Fens.
Thank you, Red Sox.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:31 PM
Thursday, November 28, 2013
I want to wish all of you out there wherever you are a very Happy Thanksgiving.
For me it will be a day of turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, "Alice's Restaurant", NFL football, "The Honeymooners" marathon, "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and being with family.
I am so thankful for my good health, and having a wonderful family and friends. And living in a country I can enjoy all these things. I'll be thinking and praying for all our brave men and women in uniform today who are thousands of miles away from they really want to be. Thanks always to them for their service.
And a special thank you to everyone associated with the Boston Red Sox who made the year 2013 a special one none of us who are fans will ever forget. This was more emotional for me than even 2004.
Enjoy the day everyone, and since I am such a lifelong "Peanuts" fan, I will conclude with Linus' Thanksgiving prayer from the TV special. May all of you have lots of turkey and cranberry sauce!
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:24 AM
Monday, November 25, 2013
I had little hope the Vikings could pull off an upset win in Green Bay on Sunday, but they came damn near close to pulling it off.
The Packers took an early lead in the first quarter after an amazing run by QB Scott Tolzien. But the Vikings came alive, scoring 23 unanswered points going into the fourth quarter.
I watched parts of the game on NFL RedZone, but knowing what kind of season this has been for the Vikings, I expected the other shoe to drop. And it did, courtesy of a Green Bay QB change.
Tolzien was totally ineffective after his TD, and the Packers put in Matt Flynn, the QB recently acquired after Seneca Wallace went down. And Flynn caught fire, leading GB to two fourth quarter touchdowns. (The Pack tried a two-point conversion after the first, and missed. Had they kicked the extra point, they probably win in regulation. Still can't fault the choice, as they were down by 16 points, and two TDs and two-point conversions would have tied it up.)
The Packers tied it up in the final seconds with a field goal, and off to OT the game went. Green Bay took the kickoff and went down the field, and the Vikings defense held them from getting a TD that would have instantly ended the game, and they settled for a FG. The game was still going, as it would only end if the team who got the ball first in ovetime scored a touchdown. And they also went down the field, and narrowly missed winning it, as a pass from Christian Ponder was tipped in the end zone and went off Cordarrelle Patterson's hands. So they also kicked a FG that made it 26-26.
And it stayed that way. Both teams did nothing after that, and wound up punting it back and forth.
The tie was just the fourth in the NFL since 2000, and the Vikings and Packers last played to a tie in 1978.
It was a big day for Adrian Peterson, who showed no signs of his groin injury affecting him, as he rushed for 146 yards and a TD. The team as a group rushed for 232 yards. Christian Ponder had a pretty decent day as well, and went 21-for-30 and 233 yards and 1 TD. He figures to keep his starting job for now.
But both the Vikings offense and defense disappeared in the fourth quarter. The Vikings couldn't add to their 16-point lead, and the let the Packers back in it once Flynn entered. It was a good performance for three quarters by the D, but we've seen that before in 2013.
The tie puts the Vikings at 2-8-1, and it is officially a losing season. Just Jacksonville, Houston and Atlanta are below them in the NFL at 2-9. This season, which looked promising to me in early September, can't end soon enough.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:13 PM
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Thanksgiving now approaches, the temperatures are now below freezing, and winter is just around the corner. You know what that means.
Pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers in 83 days (February 15th).
Truck Day is one week earlier, on February 8th.
The Red Sox earlier this week released their Spring Training schedule, and it will begin with the traditional twin bill with the college boys from Northeastern and Boston College, on February 27th.
They open against MLB teams with the Minnesota Twins the next day at Ft. Myers.
The 2014 season will open for the Red Sox in Baltimore on March 31st, and the championship flag with be raised four days later when the Red Sox come home to Fenway on April 4th against Milwaukee.
Here is the Spring Training schedule and more info about tickets.
Stay warm everyone.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:18 AM
Friday, November 22, 2013
This never gets old. Ever.
Last night, I was with my good friends from The BLOHARDS, the New York-based fan group of Red Sox fans, and we gathered together as the 2013 World Series Trophy was brought in and we all took pictures with the hardware. It was at the upscale Union League Club, so everyone had to dress appropriately. (Yours Truly was in the monkey suit.) I had previously posed with the Sox Trophies in 2004 and 2007.
Dr. Charles Steinberg of the Red Sox front office was on hand and chatted for a few minutes about the team and took questions from the crowd, which numbered about 150. Red Sox PA announcer Dick Flavin was on hand to do some Red Sox-themed poems, and was really amazing. My pal Chris Wertz gave a speech about the state of the New York Union (and it is good). And I did Red Sox World Series Trivia, and my good friend John Pizzarelli gave out prizes to the winners.
Here are the five questions I did, and the answers will be at the end of this post:
1. When Jim Lonborg pitched a one-hitter in Game 2 of the 1967 World Series, what Cardinal batter got the only hit?
2. Dave Henderson and Dwight Evans hit 4 of the 5 home runs for the Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. Who hit the other one?
3. Who was the leading hitter in average for the Red Sox in the 2004 World Series?
4. What former Red Sox player is the only active player, besides David Ortiz and Derek Jeter, with three World Series rings?
5. When Bernie Carbo hit a pinch-hit three-run homer to tie Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, who was he batting for?
This is a picture of me (second from left) with a number of the BLOHARDS, including Joe Cosgriff (far left), my pals Chris (next to me), Matt and Adam, and Dr. Charles Steinberg (on the far right). It includes bunting from Busch Stadium and the 2004 World Series. A great time was had by all.
Trivia answers: 1. Julian Javier; 2. Rich Gedman; 3. Bill Mueller (.429); 4. Javier Lopez; 5. Roger Moret.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:29 AM
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I don't usually comment on the goings on with the New York Yankees, but this Robinson Cano free agent saga got my attention, and I thought I'd throw in my two cents.
When I first heard that Cano and his flunkies were seeking a 10-year, $30 million deal to stay in New York last month, I honestly thought that was a joke. It turns out they were dead serious, and that Cano wanted a similar deal to what Alex Rodriguez got from them in 2007.
Nobody, not even the Yankees, will offer that kind of deal to anyone. The era of handing out decade-long deals may finally have ended with the one the LA Angels gave to Albert Pujols two years ago (and I bet they are already regretting it). Teams saw the way the Red Sox put together a World Series winner in 2013, and without having to sign anyone to a long term deal, and it will be copied.
And earlier this week, Cano and his crew actually were comparing him to Michael Jordan. This further shows what a rank amateur Jay-Z (Cano's new superstar agent) comes off as. Cano isn't even the best all-around player at his own position (Dustin Pedroia is), let alone a player who transcends the sport.
Cano should be comparing himself to Pedroia, not to Jordan or Rodriguez. The Red Sox smartly extended Pedroia last summer, making him the highest-paid second baseman in the game, with eight more years at $110 million.
The rumor has it that the Yankees have offered Cano a seven-year deal at about $150 million. That easily eclipses what Pedey would make over the rest of the decade. So now if you're the Yankee brass, you simply tell Cano to go out and find a team willing to make a better offer than that. And right now, that doesn't appear to be happening.
You can scratch off the usual suspects like the Dodgers or Angels, who have enormous payrolls, and are already over the $189 million luxury tax threshold (especially the Angels, who have been burned in the free agent market the past few years). And most other teams either don't have the wherewithal to sign him, or don't want to get into a bidding war with the Yankees, who will surely outbid them.
And you may have heard that the Mets brass met with Cano and his people earlier this week. It was requested by his agents and not the Mets, who basically told them that the Mets busted open the bank for David Wright last year and won't be doing the same for Cano. It was really just a pathetic attempt to try to get the Mets into a bidding war with the Yankees, so the price Cano ultimately signs with the Yankees would get inflated past what the Yankees standing offer is. Nice try, Jay-Z.
So, to my friends who are Yankee fans, I wouldn't sweat this. I'm betting that Cano won't sign on the dotted line until January at the earliest, and he will be back in pinstripes in 2014. Even if the negotiations with them becomes really rancorous, Cano is all about getting the most money, and I can't imagine him signing with any other team for less. The Yankee offer will be the highest one he's offered, and it won't be half of that ridiculous 10-year, $30 million deal he wants. Ultimately, he will have to settle for it. The Yankees hold all the cards right now, and Cano and Jay-Z know that.
Scott Boras (Cano's former agent) must be laughing himself silly right now.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:53 AM
Monday, November 18, 2013
At the end of the calendar year of 2012, it looked to me like my two favorite teams were going in different directions.
The Red Sox had just gone through one of their worst seasons in two generations, winning only 69 games with a season loaded with injuries and a terrible manager. Things were beginning to look a bit better, with John Farrell returning to the team as manager, and a few new players had just joined the team. But it still looked like it was going to be a long road back.
The Vikings had just come off a spectacular month of December. They entered it at 6-6, and ran the table in that final month of the season with 4 wins and a playoff berth. Adrian Peterson had just missed the rushing title by just 9 yards. I was very optimistic about the Vikings' future (and they had a good draft in April, which fueled it even more). They had a terrible year in 2011, going just 3-13, tying their worst record in team history (with the 1984 club).
I thought 2013 would be a year that the Vikings would take the next step in becoming a Super Bowl contender, and the Red Sox would just try to right the ship and possibly be on the cusp of being a playoff contender again.
The results for the Red Sox were spectacular. Far beyond what I could have hoped for. And it ended with a duckboat parade through the streets of Boston.
The results for the Vikings were beyond bad. They'll be no parades in Minneapolis in the foreseeable future.
And it was on display yesterday in Seattle. The Seahawks, now at 10-1, showed why they are one of the NFL's best teams, as they made short work of the Vikings, 41-20.
They are a complete mess. Christian Ponder threw two more interceptions, one of which was returned for a TD. He was benched in favor of Matt Cassel in the 4th quarter, and he was also picked off (and they all happened in three straight possessions). Adrian Peterson tried to tough it out with a groin injury, rushing for just 65 yards. (Granted that by the Vikings had to throw the ball more often when they fell behind by 18 in the third quarter, so AP wouldn't running much after that.)
How bad has it gotten? The Vikings have now allowed the most the points in the NFL, with 320, two more than the worst team in the league, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville is now the only team worse then the Vikings, at 1-9. At 2-8, the Vikings are tied with Houston, Atlanta and Tampa Bay with that record.
And the schedule is not promising the rest of the way for the Vikings. They still have Green Bay, Baltimore and Cincinnati left on the road, and Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit at home. 2-14 is not out of the realm of possibility.
Well, it certainly has been an interesting year. Sad watching the Vikings go down the tubes once again. There will certainly be some heads rolling if their situation doesn't drastically improve the rest of the way.
Who would have guessed that they might be vying for the number one draft pick for 2014, while the Red Sox sit on top of the MLB mountain as champions?