Happy 75th Anniversary…

In my last blog (The Race to 100 Losses), I gave the first update on MLB teams and their potential to enter baseballs dubious 100-loss club. I figured that it was time to update the states of these possible members. I am going to list the team, their current record as of August 26,2014, how many games they have left, and lastly what record they will need to post to make it in to ‘The Club’… Starting with the American League…Texas 51-79/32/11-21, Houston 55-77/30/7-23, Boston 57-74/31/5-26, Minnesota 58-72/32/4-28, Chicago White Sox 59-71/32/4-29. The National League looks like this…Colorado 53-77/32/9-23, Arizona 55-76/31/7-24, Chicago Cubs 58-72/31/3-28, Philadelphia 59-72/31/3-28, San Diego 60-70/32/2-30, New York 61-70/31/1-30. Also in my last blog, I researched the relative suckiness of records by city of cities that had more than one team. Texas seems to be ‘winning’ this season, as the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros are equally abysmal, followed again by Illinois with the White Sox and Cubs bringing sorrow to the Windy City. This may be a season where nobody gains admission to the 100-loss club, although I think that the Texas Rangers have a reasonable chance…
Pitcher Tim Lincecum has been taken out of the San Francisco Giants starting rotation and sent to the bullpen. I was a little surprised that this has happened, but not because of the way he was pitching. Let’s face it, he was struggling, and I am surprised that it took this long. I guess when you have a guy who recently tossed a no-no and has won two N.L. Cy Young awards, it is a bit of a shock to the system when he gets sent to the pen. Manager Bruce Bochy said the Lincecum was fine with the decision, and that he knew that he needed to work on some things to get back to being an effective pitcher again. Lincecum has lost four out of his last five decisions with just one win in his last seven starts. He had a 4-game winning streak prior to coming off the rails. I hope that ‘The Freak’ can get his groove back.
Today is the 75th anniversary of the first Major League Baseball game to be televised. It was a double header between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn NY. The legendary Red Barber called the game, which was won by the Reds 5-2, with the Dodgers taking the second game 6-1, on an experimental TV station that would eventually become WNBC-4. Only 3,000 people were able to enjoy game in from their homes. People were able to listen to MLB games on the radio since 1921, but this was a whole different thing. Last year’s World Series attracted more than 14 million viewers. Let’s face it, TV changed everything…literally. On August 26, 1939, no one could have imagined how this gimmick, this fad, this folly that was seen by only 3,000 people from the comfort of home would become the world-changing behemoth that it became. I suppose that no one could have imagined that only 5 days later, Germany would invade Poland and World War II would begin. As I said, TV changed everything socially, politically, morally, and any other way that you can think of. There are those that rate the advent of TV as the single biggest invention of the 20th century. It would be hard to argue…
There was more history made on Sunday (August 24th) as softball legend Michele Smith became the first female analyst to call a nationally televised Major League Baseball game. In case you don’t remember, Michelle Smith is a softball legend and 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist. She was in the booth with Ernie Johnson and MLB Hall of Famer John Smoltz for the call of the Dodgers-Braves game from Turner Field in Atlanta.

The Race to 100 Losses…

Well it is that time again, perhaps a little early, but close enough for me to revisit one of my favorite subjects. Yes, it is around this time that MLB teams realize that there is probably no hope and they can start saying the iconic words ‘Wait ‘till next year…’ Every baseball fan has either heard or expressed this lament, some much more than others. Last year there were several candidates for the exclusively dubious 100-loss club. The ‘winners’ were the Houston Astros (111 losses), and the Miami Marlins (100 losses). The Chicago White Sox lost 99 games and their cross-town rival Cubs lost 96 games, making Illinois the capital of the Most-Combined-Losses-Per-Teams-That -Play-In-The-Same-State universe. Congratulations…
This got me thinking. There are several States with more than one team. In fact, there are 9 States with multiple teams. So I thought ‘what if we could somehow rate the loserocity factor of these States?’ It would certainly be easy enough to do. It is just a matter of simple averaging. So I went for it with the hopes of crowning the worst State in Major League Baseball. It broke down like this… the Illinois teams combined lost an average of 97.5 games, Texas was 91.5, Florida was next with 85.5, and that was followed by New York with 82.5. Pennsylvania was next with 78.5 and they were followed ever-so-closely by California at 78.4. Rounding things out were Baltimore/Washington with 76.5, Ohio with 71, and finally Missouri with 70.5. It must have been miserable to be a Chicago baseball fan last year…
Let’s come back to 2014. While it is still a little early, we can loosely project where teams stand as far as gaining membership to the 2014 100-loss class. At this point in the season, August 19th, most teams have played between 120 and 125 games, meaning that there are only 37 to 42 games left. Now I am only going to address the teams that I think have a realistic shot at 100 losses. The Texas Rangers currently boast a 48-76 record over their 124 games played so far, meaning that they are 24 losses away from club membership. They would have to go 14-24 over the 38 games that they have left to make the show. Hot on their heels are Colorado Rockies with a current record of 49-75, meaning that they are 25 losses from the nirvana of 100 losses. There are currently 6 teams that have lost 70 games or more at this point of the season, so they are ALL potentially 100 loss teams. Another way to look at this is from the plus side of the win-loss column. Any team that has won 63 or more games mathematically cannot lose 100 games in the 162-game MLB schedule, so there are 15 teams that are no longer eligible for club membership. There are 9 teams that are in limbo that can go either way. I guess we can call it baseball purgatory. I will revisit this in a few weeks as it gets closer to the end of the season.
Now for a little this-and-that… These last 3 seasons have been a wild ride if you are a Boston Red Sox fan. In 2012 Boston under the leadership of Bobby Valentine posted a dismal 69-93 record. They finished last in the A.L. East, 26 games back. 2013 saw them finish with a 97-55 record, which was good for the A.L. East title. As we all know, they went on to win the World Series, their third in the last 10 years. This year? Well let’s just say that what goes up must come down. The Red Sox are currently 56-68, 15.5 GB. They did a serious housecleaning, and now the youngsters are getting to play and learn at the Major League level. This means that here will be flashes of brilliance and visions of future glory, but more likely you will young players learning, and that generally equates to losses mounting up. Boston fans (myself included) are smart and loyal. They understand that these things happen. We may not like it, but there is a future of better days.
What about the Kansas City Royals? This team that plays in the beautiful Kauffman Stadium is currently in first place in the A.L. Central. I had said last year (and the year before that) that the Royals were only a few pieces away from being a contender and a playoff team. They were up and down before the All-Star break. They have caught fire in the second half, and currently lead their division by 2 full games. This is in a division that includes the powerful Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have a pitching rotation that includes Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, and now David Price. They also have Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler, JD Martinez, and Alex Avila. This team should be running away with this division, but somehow they trail the red-hot Royals. The 2014 version of the Royals is a fun team to watch, and if they can keep it together, they will make the playoffs for the first time since 1985. That year, the beat the St. Louis Cardinals in an epic World Series.

The Crazy 2014 MLB Trade Deadline

I have never understood why people like rollercoasters. I am sure that while they provide thrills and surprises, they make my stomach toss and turn like one of those crab boats you see on ‘Deadliest Catch’. I really can’t stomach them. I bring this up (not literally..) because the 2014 MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline has come and gone, and let me tell you, it was busy, it was exciting, and it was one of the busiest rollercoaster rides in recent memory. I will bring you all up to date on what happened, and perhaps provide my own opinions. You are all free to agree or disagree. That is the beauty of baseball! Here we go…
Tigers get David Price(OF) from the Rays. Rays get Drew Smyly(P), Nick Franklin(IF), and Willy Adames(SS). Mariners get Austin Jackson(OF)—This was a three-team blockbuster trade that addresses the desire of the Tigers in regard to them getting another frontline starter for their pennant run. David Price was one of the big prizes at the deadline, and he is regarded as one of the best pitchers in baseball I believe that the groundwork for Price’s exit from Tampa was actually laid last year when James Shields left Tampa for Kansas City. That was my first hint that the Rays might be getting ready to shake things up. The Rays, even though they are playing much better as of late, realized that they are probably not going anywhere this year. The Rays got a few pieces, and the Mariners got Austin Jackson, who is a very good OF and will be great for the Mariners.
Red Sox get Yeones Cespedes(OF). A’s get Jon Lester(P) and Johnny Gomes(OF)—The second huge deal of the day. It seems that Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland A’s really likes Red Sox Players. Let’s look at how many ex-Sox now play in Oakland. There is Jon Lester, Johnny Gomes, Jed Lowrie, Nick Punto, Coco Crisp, and Josh Reddick. At one point, Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry offered the Boston GM job to Billy Beane, and he turned it down. Is there a connection? I don’t know, but the two teams seem to do a lot of business. Oh, the trade…Jon Lester was set to become a free agent at the end of this season, and Boston probably had very little chance of resigning him, unless Lester would give the Sox a HUGE hometown discount. The Sox had to make a move on Lester, or they would have run the risk of him just simply walking away in free agency, with the Sox getting nothing for him. Johnny Gomes is a terrific character guy, but truthfully he has forgotten how to be an outfielder, and his bat isn’t strong enough to be a full-time DH. The result of the trade is this…The Red Sox get an All-Star OF who has won the last two Home Run Derby’s at the MLB Mid-Summer Classic. He is going to make the Green Monster cry in Fenway Park. He has an absolute cannon for an arm and is only going to get better. Just picture this…Pedroia, Cespedes, Ortiz, and Napoli as your 2-3-4-5 hitters. The A’s get one of the premier pitchers in all of baseball with Jon Lester. No losers here. There is a rumor swirling around that the goodbye hug Lester received from John Henry was more of a ‘see you soon’ than it was a goodbye. The rumor is that Henry may have said to Lester ‘Go to Oakland for a few months. We will get another huge bat and when the season is over, we will give you whatever you want to come back to Boston.’ It is almost logical, and it will be interesting to see what develops. It is a known fact that Lester did not want to be traded, and he wanted to stay in Boston for the remainder of his career.
The A’s get Sam Fuld(OF), the Twins get Tommy Milone(P)—Tommy Milone had been pitching very well. In fact, he was 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA over his last 11 starts, but when the A’s acquired Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs, Milone was sent down to AAA Sacramento. At that point, he asked for a trade. He got one, to Minnesota. Sam Fuld is a player that I have always liked. He is gritty and is a very lunch pail kind of player. Milone will get to showcase his talents at Target Field in Minnesota, and he should do well.
The Cardinals get John Lackey(P) and Corey Littrell (P), the Red Sox get Joe Kelly(P) and Allen Craig(OF)—Another step in the Red Sox dismantling the 2013 World Series winning team that is in last place in 2014. Ben Cherington (GM-Boston) knew that this was a necessary retooling. John Lackey, due to an arm injury that caused him to miss the entire 2012 season, had a clause in his contract that would have had him making only $500K for next season, and for a #3 starter, that is pretty tempting for any team. The Cardinals have long coveted Lackey, and the price of Joe Kelly and Allen Craig didn’t seem to be too steep of a price for the Cardinals. I think that both teams got what they wanted. I can’t wait to see Allen Craig hit in Fenway Park…
Brewers get Gerardo Parra(OF), D’Backs get Mitch Haniga(OF) and Anthony Banda(P). Good trade for the Brewers. Parra is a solid player and the D’Backs get some good pieces for the future.
Nationals get Asdrubal Cabrerra(SS), Indians get Zach Walters(SS). I did not see this coming. What can I say about Cabrerra that has not already been said? He is/was a spectacular defensive player. He is/was one of the most exciting shortstops I have ever seen…period. He is not quite that player anymore, and he really has no bat to speak of. Walters may be in the next wave of really exciting young infielders. He has 18 HR’s between the Majors and AAA Syracuse this year.
Mariners get Chris Denofria(OF), Padres get Abraham Almonte(OF) and Stephen Kohlscheen(P)—The best piece of this trade is Almonte. He is a pretty neat player.
Orioles get Andrew Miller(P), Red Sox get Eduardo Rodriguez(OF)-Miller is a very tall reliever with some control issues. That said, it was partially due to his control issues that he was effective. I have watched him pitch, and every time he came in I had to check my blood pressure. A change of scenery was probably needed for him.
Yankees get Stephen Drew(SS) Red Sox get Kelly Johnson(3B)—These intense rivals very rarely do business, so when they do…well, let’s just say that it is a surprise. When the Sox signed Drew a few months in to the season after he turned town a qualifying offer of $14M, I didn’t think he would ever make it back to Fenway Park unless he bought a ticket. However, the Boston 3B/SS issues caused them to reconsider, and they signed him to a pro-rated $10M deal. Drew is excellent fielder, but he simply couldn’t find his groove at the plate. His BA was abysmal. The Sox have Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogearts, so Drew became expendable. Also, with Kelly Johnson coming over, Drew became really expendable.
Yankees get Martin Prado(IF), D’Backs get Peter O’Brien(C) and a PTBNL or cash—Prado has been around quite a long time. He is solid and dependable, plus with Kelly Johnson now playing in Boston, the deal makes sense. As far as O’Brien goes, catchers are a rare commodity, and teams usually hang on to good ones. O’Brien may be a good backstop down the road.
Braves get Emilio Binafacio(IF) and James Russell(P), Cubs get Victor Caratini(C)– Bonafacio is the name piece in this deal. Caratini to the Cubs? Who did he piss off? There were thoughts that down the road, he would be the next Brian McCann for the Braves.
Marlins get Jared Cosart(P), Austin Wates(OF), and Enrique Hernandez(IF), Astros get Jake Marisnick(P), Frances Martes(P), and Colin Moran(3B)–Cosart was turning out to be one of the best pitchers on a very young Astros staff. He was probably the best part of a trade of minor pieces.
And I have to include this…A’s get Jeff Samardzija(P) and Jason Hammel(P), Cubs get Addison Russell(SS), Billy McKinney(OF), Dan Straily(P), and a PTBNL. Even though this was not a deadline deal, it is important, because it showed everyone that the A’s were in it to win it. They fired the first shots in the deadline wars. Both of these pitchers are MLB established starters, and they make the A’s very serious contenders for the AL pennant.
I may have missed a few pre-deadline deals, but these are the major ones. Surprises? Perhaps. The Red Sox were by far the most active and the Mets did nothing. After spending a little time looking at the new rosters of the teams that made moves at the deadline, I believe, along with most everyone else that analyzes this stuff, that the Tigers and the A’s are the favorites to play for the AL pennant. Their pitching is downright scary. Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez, Porcello, and now you add Price. Shudder…The A’s made moves that will have them running away with the otherwise weak AL West.

Oops, with a capital ‘OOPS’…

I just made a colossal error. It was huge… Amazingly stupid…The Godzilla of Goof-ups. This is a word of warning to everybody else out there who creates anything in Microsoft Word. Before you try to post your literary creation to your blog…SAVE IT FIRST!!! I had just completed the latest installment of this blog, and as I was in the process of moving it over to be published, I somehow managed to delete all 2600+ words. It was the longest article I had ever written, and it was chock full of….insight into recent events. I had some frank observations, interesting quotes, important and relevant statistical data, some Reductio Ad Absurdum, and maybe even a glimmer of hope. However, because of my stupendous stupidity, we will now have none of it. I don’t even think that I can recreate my subject matter. I mean, I know what I was writing about, and I can perhaps get back to some of it, but maybe it was Gods’ way of saying that I ought not post what I was writing about. Okay, fair enough. I will now write about other things. Hopefully they will be as interesting and thought-provoking as the stuff that took the big dirt nap. And just maybe, if I am lucky, I can remember some of what I was writing about before this little oops of mine…
The Stanley Cup finals are set. It will feature the New York Rangers versus the Los Angeles Kings. The last time that there was a Los Angeles versus New York match-up for a major sports championship was back in 1981, when the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees in the World Series 4 games to 2. What does this match-up from 33 years ago in a completely different sport have to do with the Stanley Cup? Nothing. Not a damn thing. It is just some useless filler that some color analyst or announcer will bring up at some point during the series. It is supposed to be interesting. Okay, if you say so. Most of the guys playing in the 2014 Stanley Cup finals weren’t even born yet in 1981, but don’t let that fact get in the way of some useless information which I refer to as ‘fluff’. Anyway, about the Stanley Cup finals… The New York Rangers are my hockey team. I make no excuses for it, and I do not run from it. They are one of only two teams in all of sports that I can say without any reservation that I truly care about, that I truly LOVE. The other is the Boston Red Sox. When the Rangers last lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup at Madison Square Garden in 1994, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing and who I was doing it with. I remember being on my knees on my living room floor, my long since ex-wife screaming from the excitement and my two cats hiding under the couch. There was 1.6 seconds left to play in Game 7. The Rangers were leading 3-2, and there was one last face-off to the right of Ranger goalie Mike Richter. The Vancouver Canucks had the dangerous Pavel Bure taking the face-off against Craig McTavish. Bure had been a major thorn in the Rangers side for the entire series and he was an excellent face-off man. It made sense that he would take the draw. The puck was dropped. McTavish won the draw, and then the most amazing words that I had ever heard (up to that point in my life…) were excitedly screamed by Rangers play-by-play announcer Sam Rosen, ‘The waiting is over! The New York Rangers are the Stanley Cup champions! And this one will last a lifetime! No more curses! This is unbelievable!” The Rangers had not won the Stanley Cup since 1940, and this finally ended 54 years of frustration and disappointment. I remember speaking to my late father on June 15th, 1994, the day after the Cup was won. We jokingly (for the most part) said to each other that we were ‘halfway to being able to die in peace. Now the Red Sox have to win a World Series!’ For the next few days, everybody was a Ranger fan. There was an excitement, a pop and electricity just about everywhere you went. My mail person that delivered the mail to where I worked at the time had her face painted red, white and blue, and she had New York Ranger ribbons in her hair. No matter where you turned, it was all Rangers, all the time, and it was great! I will never forget it. Almost everybody that I knew called in sick to work so that they could be a part of the victory parade down New York City’s ‘Canyon of Heroes’. It took 10 years for me to experience that kind of euphoria again when in 2004, the Boston Red Sox erased 86-years of futility and won the World Series, and yes, thank God, my dad did live to see it…

Food, glorious food…

I love food. There, I said it. I-LOVE-FOOD. With me, it’s not just something that I get to do a few times per day because that is what the clock says that I am supposed to do. I genuinely love food! I do the ‘SMH’ thing whenever I hear somebody say that they really don’t like food, or even really care what they eat. WHAT?!? I don’t get it. Do these people (men) who say this think that it makes them sound tough, like they could eat what a Billy goat eats and not care? And for women, is it a body image thing, where if you say that you don’t like food perhaps it will lead to a smaller derriere? I don’t know…
It seems to me that the reason that a person has a full complement of taste buds is so that they can enjoy the extensive flavor palate that God provides on this earth every day. I really look forward to the different tastes and cuisines that are offered from all over the world. And, you no longer need to be a world traveler to try any (or most) of it. The culinary scene in the United States is so diverse now, that if you want to try most cuisines, a passport is not required, although in some places, you still need to bring plenty of cash…
The Food Network has been a blessing for foodies like me. I still do not like most competition shows, although Iron Chef America is one of my favorite shows. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri, is almost on the level of ‘must-see’ programming for me. It is amazing to me all of the different offerings that exist here in this great country of ours. Who would have thought it? It seems that if you can dream it, you can find it. It just takes a little detective work, and ‘Triple D’ takes a lot of the mystery out of it. This show just never gets old for me, and it has inspired me to take a few chances in my own kitchen as well…
I was raised around food…good food. My mother, who can be compared to Tanta Kringle, was and is one of the best ‘home cooks’ that has ever lived (IMHO). Some mom’s (and dad’s too) looked at mealtime for the family as something to be thrown together with whatever you had around and took the least effort to prepare. That is a shame. Here is a golden opportunity to bond with family over a good meal, and maybe even some conversation, but the opportunity is tossed away like the fish sticks and canned green beans that were hastily prepared and served and promptly tossed in the garbage. My wife tells tale of her own mother (God bless you, Jackie…) who looked at dinner as a task to be done as easily as possible. Jackie used to say that if it was something that took more than 30 minutes to make, she wasn’t making it. Now granted, there were 6 kids, plus Ed (father-in-law), and two of the boys were especially finicky, but still…My wife was the oldest of the family, and probably could have, and probably did, help where she could, but who knows…
My point is that I will bet that it was and is the case more often than not, and I wonder if that is just indicative of our problems regarding the breakdown of the family unit as a whole? What is more basic than gathering the family around the fire and eating the kill form the days hunt? We can debate that topic in another blog, because I really want to try and stay on point with this food thing.
Back to Tanta Kringle (mom). It is in no small part that I owe my love affair with food to her. She always made sure that as a family, we ate together, and we ate very well. I can count on one hand and have a few fingers left over, all the bad meals that we ate together. She always knew how flavors worked, and that is important because so many people today have no clue, largely because no one ever taught them. I was lucky, because I was always hanging around in the kitchen with my mother when she was doing her meal magic. She allowed and encouraged me to taste, to cook, to try new ideas, and to really enjoy the creative experience. My mother always said that ‘food is an expression of love’, and I couldn’t agree more. I use that as my cooking mantra today. While I am certainly no professional chef (although one of my best friends growing up, and the drummer of the rock band I was in became one), I am reasonably confident and competent in the kitchen. I enjoy creating. I enjoy tasting. I enjoy eating. I hate cleaning up. It is awesome because my wife is also a ‘foodie’, and although she is not the ‘addicted foodie’ that I am, the pretty redhead can hang. It is so much fun to have someone (and a really pretty someone, too) to try all different food things with. At home, she is perfectly happy to let me flap my culinary wings and see what brand of havoc I can create. I have done everything from smoked ribs and brisket, to seafood bisque and ratatouille, to all sorts of Italian and German classics, and just about everything in-between. It is a rare day indeed when I don’t feel like doing something creative regarding mealtime. I admit that it is not always ‘creative’ in the classic sense, but it is always ‘good food’, in the tradition of my mother. I do not ever, nor will I ever, just ‘throw something together’ because it was easier to do so. I am lucky, because my pretty-someone of a wife is also a really good come cook too! We always say that she is a better cook, but I am a better chef. If you want simple, good, everyday food, you would pick her. If you want something tricky and involved, you want me. We have made some amazing meals together…
Another thing that is really cool, and that has brought some really creative out-of-the-box food ideas is the resurgence of food trucks. I am not talking about the roach-coaches and ptomaine-travelers of yesteryear. No sir! I am talking about Gourmet Food Trucks. Some of the trucks exist simply because of the economics’ of today’s world. A chef wants to ply his trade, but there is no way in H-E-Double Ladles that he can afford the rent, the insurance, staff, food costs, and the myriad of other expenses that come with owning a brick and mortar establishment. So what is he to do? Give up and flip burgers and shake out baskets of French fries in his local McWendKings? I don’t think so! What this chef can do is, for a significantly smaller investment, start a gourmet food truck. We have all seen them, and there are more and more of them popping up every day, and believe me, it is a good thing! Do you remember that thing that I was saying a few paragraphs back, about trying different diverse cuisines but not necessarily needing a passport? Well, you erstwhile food critics, this is what I was talking about. On any given day in just about any city all across America, all you need to do is go to a busy downtown area around lunchtime, and you will see a cornucopia of trucks, all with different and frankly quite amazing culinary offerings. You will really see, smell, and taste it all, from classic American to Vietnamese Bahn Mi and everything in between. It is Nirvana for foodies! If you ever get the chance, stop by and check one out. The prices are generally reasonable, and they are very eager to please, because they know that in today’s world of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, not to mention residents of the blogosphere, word of mouth will either make them or absolutely kill them.
Let me close todays’ non-sports blog with this. Food, glorious food…it’s not just for filling the pie hole anymore…

From the hip…Random musings for a slow afternoon.

  So the Red Sox broke down and resigned SS Stephen Drew. When speaking to a few of my friends from Red Sox Nation, the reviews of this move were as mixed as any I have ever seen. They ranged from 5 stars to 0 stars. It certainly ran the gamut. There are those who contend that Drew will have absolutely no impact on the team. There are those who believe that this is the best thing that could have possibly happened. The Sox are giving Drew a 1yr/$10M deal, which equates to the prorated salary that Drew would have received if he would have accepted the Sox’ qualifying offer ($14.1M) in the offseason, and thus could have avoided all of this drama. But Drew is represented by one Scott Boras, and that is never a good thing for any team, and in this case, it wasn’t good for the player either. There is bound to be some ill will and some hard feelings amongst the Yawkey Way faithful, and perhaps even some teammates. Drew, even though he has been working out daily with a baseball trainer hired by Boras, still needs to get himself up to ‘game speed’. That might take a little while.
Let’s leave the hype and drama out of this for a second, and concentrate on the baseball side of things. As everyone knows by now, Will Middlebrooks, the current Boston 3rd baseman, cannot hit and cannot stay healthy. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is actually a natural 3rd baseman, but he is playing shortstop. They also have Brock Holt bouncing between Pawtucket and Boston on a regular basis. It would appear that with the signing of Drew, Middlebrooks suddenly becomes expendable because Bogaerts can be moved back to his natural position (3B). Drew takes over at shortstop, Holt keeps yo-yo-ing up and down, and Middlebrooks gets a ticket out of Boston, destination unknown. The Sox have more than one hole to fill right now, but the signing of Drew will, in my humble opinion, help. I like Stephen Drew. Although he is a bit injury prone, he plays hard, and he is an excellent defender. The double-play combo of Drew and Dustin Pedroia is impressive. His bat is inconsistent, but maybe he will be a little better than his career stats indicate? It could happen…As I stated earlier, the Sox have more problems than middle infield, but it is a start…
Hats off to Julio Franco. Yes, that Julio Franco. The Julio Franco that is now 55 years old, and is getting back into professional baseball. He played in the majors for parts of 23 seasons and didn’t stop until he was 49 years old. The Elias Sports Bureau indicates that he is the oldest player to ever hit a home run in a Major League game. This gives Franco a chance to play professional baseball in five different decades. This is in the rarefied air of Minnie Minoso. I think that it is great, and I wish him all the success in the world when he steps up to play for the Fort Worth Cats of the independent United League during the club’s first homestand, which starts Tuesday night at LaGrave Field and is nine games long.
The NFL has awarded the 2018 Super Bowl to the City of Minneapolis. This could be interesting. The consensus among NFL observers is that the new $1 billion dollar stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2016, sealed the deal. I guess it is being looked at as a ‘reward’ for getting a new stadium approved…
This really burns my burrito. Mexican fast-food purveyor Chipotle has decided to ask that law-abiding concealed carry license holders leave their guns at home. My response is that I will be leaving my wallet home, too. Sorry Chipotle. I like your food, but I hate your politics. There are plenty of other Mexican restaurants’ that will not infringe upon my Second Amendment rights, and I will happily give them my hard-earned money.
How am I going to survive the TV ‘off-season’ without new episodes of ‘The Big Bang Theory’, and ‘NCIS’? Thank heavens that there is plenty of baseball to see me through!
That’s all for today!