Why even get into a lengthy setup just to prove I can write a lead. Pitcher and catcher reporting is less than two weeks away. I can smell oiled gloves, pine tar, freshly cut grass and see crisp white lines on sports’ most beautiful stage. Let’s get down to the good, the bad and the ugly with the Red Sox and baseball in general.
Pedro Martinez is back in the fold in Beantown. I posted on this here yesterday if you missed it. Bottom line: great move. Pedro is all about both the guts and the glory and is not that far removed from being a player so that current Red Sox players will view him as a mentor that is still credible and relevant. Dig it!
The MLB Network. A baseball junkie’s dream, the MLB Network provides both emotional sustenance in the winter months and solid analysis to keep fans both involved and entertained. Intentional Talk with Kevin Millar and Chris Rose and Clubhouse Confidential with Brian Kenny underscore both the cerebral sublime and ridiculous aspects of the game. That’s not to say that Rose and Millar don’t have something to say. To the contrary, the rapid-fire analysis combined with the barbs and Millar’s always off the wall take on, well, the world is entertainment personified.
The Four Horsemen
This past Wednesday Jonny Gomes, David Ross, Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava traveled by truck, trolley and train, making stops in and around Boston to give away Red Sox tickets and ticket vouchers. The four players made stops in Copley Square, Charlestown to visit the Bunker Hill Monument and the U.S.S. Constiution, The Freedom Trail and Faneuil Hall and finally Kenmore Square.
Earl – who passed away last Friday night – brought fire, passion, smarts and a winning attitude during his 17-year tenure in Baltimore. Weaver had a career .583 winning percentage, won four AL pennants and a World Championship in 1970 when the Os went 108-54 wire to wire and blew away everyone in their path.
I still vividly recall watching Earl on two separate occasions when embroiled in a, let’s just say, intense discussion about balls and strikes with home plate umpires, first kicking dirt all over the plate a la Billy Martin and on another occasion carefully mounding the dirt on top of the plate, both times completely obscuring the dish.
Guess what? Earl got ejected out both times, just two of his AL career record 98 tosses (Bobby Cox holds the NL and MLB record with 132). Surreal theater and bulldog tenacity all rolled into one pint-sized, ready to go off at any time powder keg. Love you Earl.
Baseball lost both a great player and real gentleman this week when Cardinals’ great Stan “The Man” Musial passed at the age of 92 last Saturday. In 22 major league seasons, Musial led the league in average seven times. He finished his career with a .331 lifetime average, 475 home runs and a .976 OPS. More than that, Musical was the consummate ambassador of the game. He didn’t embarrass himself or his team. Many of today’s stars can learn from his example.
In a recent article that appeared in the Boston Globe, Bob Ryan wrote of Musical, “Musial’s career twist was simple. He was a lefthanded pitcher right through 1940 until he hurt his arm. By late 1941, he was in the Cardinals lineup as an outfielder, breaking in with a .426 September BA. When he retired 22 years later, he was the all-time National League leader in everything meaningful, including Best Musician (harmonica). My favorite Musial stat: 3,630 lifetime hits — 1,815 at home and 1,815 on the road. No Coors Field effect for him.”
The Houston Astros
The Astros are moving to the AL West. Say what? True dat. They have recently moved players to make themselves better in the future. So what’s the problem? The problem is that the ‘Stros are moving to a tougher division when they at their weakest. Short term, this move is sure to help the records of new division foes the As, Rangers and Angels, who will play them a whole lot more during the course of the season.
OK, they have nothing to do with baseball but nevertheless make the cut; Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o. ‘Nuff said.
Do you…you, feel like I do?
How’d ya feel?
Do you…you, feel like I do?
- Do You Feel Like We Do?, Peter Frampton