Friday, March 04, 2005
I'll explain the picture in a bit. Hang in there with me, kids.
Today the Red Sox kicked off the 2005 baseball (spring training) season with a 4-3 victory off of the Minnesota Twins. I figure that everyone, their mom, and their automatic blog-updating robot will be saying something about how baseball is back, spring is here, sunshine (although it was pouring in Ft. Myers) and pine tar and hotdogs and defending champions and the cyclical nature of the game and we're all starting back at ground zero and the sweet innocence of the laidback games and yadda yadda yadda. So I'm just going to say that the season has started, the obsessive behavior is locked and loaded, and welcome to 2005.
The 2005 Boston Red Sox-- DEFENDING WORLD CHAMPIONS.
Looks nice, doesn't it? On to the game.
I don't think you can get much out of the pitching performances we saw today, as the only worthwhile look we had was at Matt Clement, who only went a couple of innings and looked utterly wild in the first one. Immaterial, he's got plenty of time to settle down and settle in, plus he seems to be awfully pleased to have Varitek behind the plate:
"It was awesome," Clement said of his first game work with Varitek. "He's everything that everybody says about him. I think he's going to help me a lot, I really do. I hate to harp on him being helpful and how much I'm going to enjoy throwing to him because I feel like I'm downplaying the past catchers that I've had. I mean, all the catchers I've had in the past were great. I think the only thing about my other catchers is I only had each of them for one year at a time." via this article from Redsox.com
Heh. Yeah. We like him too, Matty m'boy, we like him too. I also like the subtle dig at the Cubbies' inability to keep a guy in kneepads for more than year. Varitek's been on the team for so long and has been such a steady presence in the game that it's hard for me to imagine a team without a regular, long-term catcher. Anyways, good luck with, um, Michael Barrett? Henry Blanco? whoever the heck you're putting back there, Chicago.
There's not much to say about the parade of pitchers we saw after Clement, as none of them pitched much more than an inning. Everyone seems to assume that if BHK pitches well it will only serve to increase his value in a trade, not keep him on the roster. I notice we've already given away DLowe's number to Jeremi Gonzalez who, interestingly, is said to be "emotional on the mound, similar to Derek Lowe", according to the Sox Prospects site. Josias Manzanillo has been playing in the major leagues for LONGER THAN I HAVE BEEN ALIVE, which is so ridiculous that I can't even process it. Abe Alvarez, who's gone from 'that half-blind pitcher only a few of us have heard of' to 'that guy everyone wants to see make it' looked OK on the mound, but seems to have been taking grooming tips from the modern-day Bronson Arroyo. Mark Malaska is much less frightening live than he is in his official MLB mugshot.
The Twinkies rocked Denney Tomori (Tomori Denney? Which one is it? He's referred to everywhere as Denney Tomori, but his jersey says Denney on the back. I know, I know, Ichiro. But... Matsui? CONFUSION) but I'm not too concerned. At that point that ball was probably slippery as hell from all the rain, and it's just spring training, and gosh darn it we won anyhow.
I can't even pretend that I knew who some of those guys we had playing in the field were. Tim Hummel? He looked like a stretched-out 12 year old. Simon Pond? C'mon, that's a stage name. I have no idea who these people are.
Some guys I was pleased to see out there? I know it's silly, but poor Hanley Ramirez has been thrown around as Our Most Highly Touted Prospect so much that even I got excited seeing him play tonight. I thought that Jay Payton, for whom I have relatively high hopes, looked promising, especially in the field, where the absurdly strong winds made everything an adventure tonight. I am, for the record, gearing up to have a full-on, unreasonable and partially inexplicable loving obsession with Payton. I've no idea why, I just like the guy.
I also thought that Adam Stern looked great out in right today. Again, he had the high winds to contend with, plus the slippery grass from the precipitation, and he did a lovely job. He's going to have to wow the team with defense, because apparently he doesn't hit for much power. Although, hmm, he hit .322 in 102 games at the AA level for Atlanta last year, so what the hell do I know. I don't think he's ever played above the AA level, but as he's a Rule 5 draftee for us, I really hope that he makes the cut and stays on the team.
I hope this is the case first and foremost because I think his speed and his defense would make him a valuable player for us-- I don't know that he'd break the 25 man roster, but he'd be great to keep on the 40.
Secondarily, and this finally ties us back into the photo at the top of this entry, he's Jewish.
Yup. With Stern and Youks on the team, the Red Sox are back up to their '04 level of Jewishness, despite the loss of Gabe Kapler to Yomiuri (he apparently hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat for them, and the Giants won, so way to keep on bangin', Hebrew Hammer!). Stern's from London, Ontario and spent three years at the University of Nebraska (Big 12, urgh, whatever) before being drafted by Atlanta, from whom we, er, Rule-5-drafted him. That's not a real verb, but you get the idea.
For a giddy moment during today's game my mother and I thought that perhaps Dave Berg was Jewish as well, which would have made for three Jews on the team, which probably hasn't happened in Major League baseball in lord-knows-how-long, but upon further research it appears that he isn't. Can't blame us for thinking it was a possibility, it's a pretty Jewish-sounding name. Still, two is pretty respectable in this sport, and I'd love to see both of them do well.
If Curt Schilling is allowed to use his post-game press conferences to evangelize, I'm allowed to get excited about Jews on the team, OK?
In a pathetic side-note, the Red Sox start this season without Derek Lowe, without Pedro Martinez, and without Nomar Garciaparra. And I'm sitting here missing the heck out of Dave Roberts. I'm not kidding. I miss Dave Roberts. He was not even with us at this time last year. But you try telling that to my weepy little heart.
Oh, and I know the Tigs lambasted the Phillies with a score of 9-1, but I didn't see it so you all will just have to wait until I'm back in Michigan for enthusiastic TigerBlogging.
Since I can't think of a good way to end this, I'm just going to mention that I've noticed that recently I'm downloading a bunch of songs (from the iTunes store, I pay for my music, calm down) that I enjoy, but only in the sense that I am completely embarassed that I have downloaded and enjoyed them. "Jerk it out" by the Ceasers. That remake of "In the air tonight" by Nonpoint that FOX used for their psych-you-up-for-playoff-baseball spots last season. "White Wedding" by Billy Idol. "Walking with a ghost" by Tegan and Sara.
So I guess I'm finishing this post by giving you a nice reason to laugh at me. Go on, I know you're all chuckling anyways. The things I do for the amusement of my readers.
Jesus, "Walking with a ghost"? What the hell is wrong with me? It wasn't even cathartic to admit to liking that song, I'm still ashamed of it. And I'm listening to it on repeat right now. My life is woe.