I believe in God, but I also somewhat believe in baseball karma. I didn’t like it when the media was walking around saying, "The Red Sox are the new Dynasty in baseball." I didn’t like it when the players said, "We’re the team to beat." Baseball karma has a funny way of taking away everything just when you get comfortable.
Confidence is one of many traits that spurred the 2007 Sox to their 2nd World Series championship in four years. Cockiness was not. George Steinbrenner is cocky; the Red Sox were getting cocky, and now look what’s going on in Spring Training. Maybe it’s like theatre: bad dress rehearsal, good show. Or maybe it is the Curse of Papelbon’s Jersey.
Papelbon forgot his jersey for one of the away Spring Training games. Apparently there’s always an extra Manny jersey around. So he donned #24 and pitched the game. Maybe that was just too much for the universe. Could you imagine combining the personalities of Paps and Manny? I think the universe would explode, or implode. I’m not quite sure which.
All joking (or is it?) aside, the 2008 Boston Red Sox are not doing so great. You can never have enough starting pitching. Someone should embroider that on a **** pillow. I hope Beckett’s injury is just a hiccup to his first Cy Young award. Where is Curt Schilling? We haven’t heard anything from the notorious talker in at least a week. Lester was stellar today; his pitching performance sure was a boost. Now where are those bats?
PS, I bought Wheaties just because it had Josh Beckett on the box. Talk about a marketing buy. I didn’t know they still put professional athletes on Wheaties. I’m kickin’ it old school. I took the cereal out of the box, put it in a container, and the box has been proudly displayed on my desk ever since.
Papelbon has been pretty vocal about wanting a new contract. Then again, is there ever anything Papelbon is NOT vocal about? I was watching Pardon the Interruption tonight and the subject was part of their Big Finish segment. They said, "Is this topic even worthy to cover? No, but they have to pay him extra for his river dancing." If Papelbon wasn’t so **** good, he wouldn’t have been able to get away with that, the river dancing and the public contract whining.
We’re 3-3 in spring training games right now, not that it really matters. The biggest issue the Sox have to sort out this Spring Training is their fifth starter and their bullpen. Good luck with that. Lopez screwed the game today, and I wish they would just designate him; he’s the lefty specialist who can’t get lefties out. They hit something like .298 against him, while right handers are hitting somewhere around .198. The first pitch Tavarez threw when he worked the first Twins game was nasty; I had hope until he threw the next pitch. It was a home run by Brian Buscher. Hmmm. Beckett has been impressive, as if we expected anything less. Dice K has also shown improvement.
The way men are still left on base (13 in today’s game) is somewhat troubling, but we’re not playing with all major league players, nor are we in a regular season where every game counts. Leaving men in scoring position was one of the main obstacles to our WS title, but thankfully our pitching was so good, and they found ways to overcome lower home run totals.
But I am getting ahead of myself. It’s only Spring Training, after all. Jeff Louderback from www.soxandpinstripes.com recently reminded us what Spring Training is all about.
"If you understand baseball – and the objectives of spring training – then you won’t get too concerned or too excited when you read the box scores. Spring training is a time when pitchers work on developing or improving secondary pitches, work their way into a routine and build strength and endurance to prepare for the 162-game season ahead. Thus the reason starters gradually extend their innings per game, and thus the reason many pitchers battle control problems and/or surrender an array of runs and hits. Spring training is also a time when hitters work on their timing, their stance, their swing and other techniques. With this in mind, don’t get worried when Jon Lester or Clay Buchholz have poor outings, as Lester did yesterday and Buchholz did today. Also, don’t place lofty expectations on a player who hits .400 in spring training and/or posts gaudy home run and RBI totals. Statistics in spring training mean very little. Of course, impressive spring training performances from minor leaguers trying to open a manager’s eyes, and veterans battling for roster spots, are important for the aforementioned players and help teams make roster decisions."
Jeff always says it better than I ever could.
The Sox played the Pirates yesterday, and who was playing first base? None other than Doug Mienkiewicz, the infamous thief of the 2004 last out World Series ball. He did finally give it to the Hall of Fame, grudgingly. He is trying to make the Pirates major league roster as their infield utility man. He lost 25 pounds in the off season, where his work out partner was ARod.
Blog Notes: I am going to try and update everyday. There’s just too much good baseball going on to not. I was able to fix my pictures in the album so they go in chronological order. Thanks to Dee for the suggestion.