Wednesday, March 30, 2005
I've long had the feeling that the Boston media, in particular the Globe, has some of the best online baseball coverage available anywhere. The amount of audio and photo content they regularly get up there is fantastic for those of us who spend some of the season out-of-state, and the articles are well-written (with exceptions, and you know who I mean). They're not perfect, they make some dicey decisions (note to newspapers: leave the bloggers be, do not attempt to affiliate yourselves with them), but they're still excellent.
Sometimes, though, I still like to rocket around the newspaper 'net and see what everyone else is saying.
From the Miami Herald, on how winning the World Series has affected the team:
''If you really have a good team, your team polices themselves,'' Francona said. ``No place polices themselves better than [our clubhouse]. When you walk through the door, everyone's open, fair game. And if somebody's out of line, they get them back in line. That's how it's supposed to work.''
A World Series hangover? That's not going to stop this bunch.
''I have a feeling,'' Francona said with a grin, ``some of these guys play with hangovers anyway.''
Yup, I think David Wells is gonna fit in juuuuuuust fine.
From the Nashua Telegraph, on Trot Nixon batting second:
“I’ve never really had an issue where I hit,” Nixon said, “as long as I’m playing.”
Francona said Renteria accepted the decision.
“He was the first guy I talked to or this wouldn’t have been a reality,” he said.
“I didn’t necessarily come into camp thinking Trot was going to hit second,” Francona said. “The more I look at things and get some input, it just seems like the right thing to do.”
I guess it didn't occur to me that Tito would have to make sure Edgah was on board with the decision. I don't know why, it just didn't.
From the Baltimore Sun, on the Idiot Red Sox:
Standing in the middle of the spring training clubhouse, Varitek implores the media to look beyond the appearances and quirks of a few characters and instead concentrate on the bond of hard-nosed baseball that unites an eclectic clubhouse.
His words are still hanging in the air, waiting to be absorbed by tape recorders, jotted down into notebooks and eventually fed to the masses, when Varitek changes tone.
"That's gross. That's disgusting," he shouts toward the corner of the clubhouse, where Boston first baseman Kevin Millar, the poster boy for Idiot Nation, is doing jumping jacks wearing a red "Cowboy Up" T-shirt.
And nothing else.
Millar, a husky 210 pounds, has his back to reporters, but he is staging his half-naked workout directly in front of backup catcher Doug Mirabelli. However, Mirabelli is just sitting at his locker, staring straight ahead and occasionally erupting with a deep, rehearsed "I scoff at danger" laugh.
Unable to break Mirabelli's concentration, Millar scoots down two lockers and continues the routine in front of star outfielder Manny Ramirez.
Ramirez refuses to look at Millar, only further encouraging the first baseman while prompting bursts of infectious laughter throughout the clubhouse.
"A guy is walking around doing jumping jacks naked, but before that he is out there for an hour and a half hitting with the best right-handed hitter in the game," Varitek said. "So he got his work done first."
I have nothing to add to this. Nothing.
From the Daily Democrat, on Dustin Pedroia:
He laughs about the difference between shortstop and second base.
"Nothing...just the angle's a little different. Anytime you're playing in the middle of the diamond, it's kind of all the same. It's not that big of an adjustment."
"Bellhorn is always talking to me, trying to help me out," Pedroia continues.. "The guys on the big-league club are unbelievable. There's not one that separates himself from the team. Everybody is great. That's why they're world champs.
"You're be surprised how nice a guys and how everybody cares about everybody else. It's awesome. Francona is unbelievable. If you play hard, he loves you."
Pedroia and Francona, who played at rival University of Arizona, are constantly trading barbs.
"He gives me a hard time, asking me how ASU is doing," Pedroia jokes.
"Major league pitching is not that much different," he says matter-of-factly. "They make mistakes like we do. They're not perfect. They don't hit all their spots. Sometimes, they leave balls out over the plate. They're human."
Kid's got poise, yo. I love this little guy, I can't wait to see him move up the ranks.
From the San Diego Union-Tribune, on Dave Roberts missing Opening Day for the Padres:
The Padres' plans for Opening Day took a sharp turn Tuesday afternoon when club officials said center fielder Dave Roberts likely will be held out of the April 4 game because of lingering groin soreness that could put him on the disabled list.
"If it's not 100 percent, we'll give him a couple of weeks to get it right," [Padres GM Ken] Towers said. "I don't want it to be lingering for the whole season."
Also interesting is that his replacement for now is Xavier Nady, a Padre I have noticed in the past as being kind of cute.
From the Lynchburg News and Advance, on Brandon Inge's move to third base:
"Maybe it's less of a mental load being at third base," Inge said. "When you're catching, you've got to think about all the hitters on the other team, how to pitch them, working on all of your catching, framing, blocking, throwing runners out and, the biggest thing is, keeping that pitcher in line out there.
"Third base? Look at the scouting report, know who pulls the ball, who doesn't pull the ball, and go out there and catch what's coming to you and throw it across the infield and then go hit. That's it."
Seeing how Brandon Inge has publically and repeatedly admitted that he's 'not all that smart', a position that lets him play without thinking too much can only be a good thing.
From the Chicago Tribune, on A-Rod's new approach:
"I have a lot of respect for Jason [Varitek]," Rodriguez said Wednesday. "That's why he's the captain of that team. In the heat of the moment, New York-Boston, sometimes you do things you regret. I'm not really proud of it now that I have a daughter.
"But you play hard, you live and, again, I do have respect for Jason and what he's done. And he's a world champion and I'm not."
Torre said Rodriguez could work more this spring because the media focus was off him. The big stories are Randy Johnson, the new Yankees ace, and baseball's steroids controversy.
"It's been a lot more stealth, going back under the radar screen and focusing on one thing and that's winning," Rodriguez said. "Everything else is secondary."
OK, who called that one? Only I was talking about this effect working for Pavano and Wright, not A-Rod. Because, last I checked, A-Rod didn't really have a media-free offseason, what with the whole everyone-on-the-Red-Sox-will-call-him-out thing.
Blue Cats and Red Sox: reading the newspapers so you don't have to.
As a side note, today my photography professor, Joanne Leonard, was presented with a Distinguished Professorship by the University, which is apparently one of the highest honors they can give out. She gave a speech and a little overview of her life's work today, so my class had to attend. She's the first professor from the school of Art and Design to get one (when the University provost announced this before her speech, Dean Rogers [of A&D] whooped "Yes!" at the top of his lungs into the silent auditorium. It was hilarious and mortifying).
The point is, the whole crowd was filled with art students, and art faculty, and University bigwigs, and tons of professors from random departments, and whatnot. After the speech (which was quite good), I trotted down the stairs to tell the prof. that I had enjoyed it and to ask how many photos we had due on Thursday. As I made my way down, I passed the University provost, who was going up, deep in coversation with Dean Rogers. He glanced at me as we passed, then looked back and grinned.
"Great to see the football shirt in this crowd!"
Yes, I was wearing my acid yellow Michigan football tshirt, the one you get every year with your season tickets (I was wearing last year's edition). I guess in a crowd of art students and elderly professors the Provost wasn't expecting to see many football fans. I smiled and said, "Hey, gotta bring the sports in here somehow!", he chuckled, and we continued on our separate ways.
That was my exciting encounter for the day.