Tagged: Rays

Ouch!

By Chris Cue
April 9, 2009

     What’s to say? A friend of mine described the Rays as “Pesky”. I have another word that comes to mind, but it probably isn’t something I should write here. All I know is we have some serious payback to deliver to that team and I was hoping we would get a good start along those lines with this seasons opening series. Not to be. While Beckett looked awesome, Lester struggled from the 2nd inning on and Matsuzaka continued to be….well, Matsuzaka.

     I’m seriously getting one of those feelings. I’ve never had any bad feelings towards the Rays since they became part of the AL East, but they are getting under my skin. They haven’t reached the “Pinstriped” level yet, but they have a good foothold on that kind of future.

     Congrats to them and their fans. They have been at the bottom so long that they are due some good fortune. I just wish it wasn’t at our expense. I’d much rather see them keep that “other” team down. Hey, it’s a long season and that may well come, but I have another idea when it comes to the future of that team.

Little Rays.jpgEnjoy it while you can Rays fans.

This season is far from over!

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Links

By Chris Cue
April 6, 2009

     Busy day today with lots of stuff to get done if I want to watch the game this afternooon. So, in an effort to save some time and still bring you worthwhile information, here are some links to news & previews you might be interested in.

First, the Weather forecast for Fenway is HERE (we’re going to need to get lucky in this department)

Today’s game, which has a 2:05pm start time (ESPN2), will feature Josh Beckett vs James Sheilds.

Here are the links to the game previews:

Probable Pitching Matchup from MLB.com is HERE

ProJo’s preview is HERE and their Head to Head is HERE

Neither the Boston Globe (HERE) or the Boston Herald (HERE) had an online preview at the time of this writing. You might want to check with them later this morning.

Today’s probable Red Sox lineup:

Ellsbury – CF
Pedroia – 2B
Ortiz – DH
Youkilis – 1B
Drew – RF
Bay – LF
Lowell – 3B
Lowrie – SS
Varitek – C

It’s The Red Sox Opening Day folks. Keep your fingers crossed Mother Nature is in the mood to help us out.
Have a good one and GO SOX!!

Francona’s Unique Approach

By Chris Cue
February 23, 2009

     Red Sox manager Terry Francona introduced a few new conditioning tools to the team yesterday. Many of the new approaches to training are a bit unorthodox, but the players appeared to embrace them without any questions or complaints. When asked why he decided to institute these new measures now, Francona responded with, “Well, we all heard about the suck-up session that Joe Girardi had with his players yesterday, so the Theo and I decided to do something a little different for our guys too.”  Francona then went on to introduce a few of the new idea’s to the media during his afternoon press gathering.

     “This was originally designed for Pitchers. We hope that by using this they will become much better in pinpointing their accuracy when it comes to locating their pitches. When I installed it in the club house, I was surprised to see the entire team line up to try it out.”

“The Location Drill”

Pitching drill.jpg     “They’re all getting their work in by using this.” Francona said. “I think right now, Beckett has the team record, but we’ll keep track of it and update you on the current standings.” 

     Another motivational piece introduced yesterday is a first of it’s kind when it comes to preparing ball players. When asked about the next item shown to the press, Tito said, “You know, ever since Coco’s incident last season, we’ve been trying to figure out a way to prepare players mentally when they are hit by a pitch. All the guys have to do is look at this and I think it gets the message across.”

“The Hit By Pitch Approach”

Hit by pitch drill.jpg     Francona was asked if he had any special idea’s regarding how to approach Tampa this season. He responded by saying, “We kind of had to think out of the box to address that, so what we ended up doing was bringing in someone we felt was an expert at tackling situations like that.”

“The Fishing Instructor”

fishing_drill.jpg       “This next picture shows you something that I can’t take credit for.” Francona said, “It’s something that Tek came up with. He noticed that a number of the guys like Bard, Kottaras and even Dusty Brown don’t really spend a lot of time in the weight room. So, to increase stamina and to test their will power, he had the guys doing this exercise yesterday.”

“The Sam Adams Indurance Test”

Catching drill.jpg      “The guys really seemed to enjoy it. I saw them doing this over and over. It must be really challenging because at the end of the day, most of them couldn’t seem to be able to stand up.”
    
     “Another challange we had was how to help some of the younger pitchers learn how to hold runners at first base. As you can see in this shot, Michael Bowden got really into it.” Francona labeled this next exercise….

“The Pick Off Drill”

Pickoff_drill.jpg
     Time will tell if Francona’s unique approach will have any real benefits to the players this season. It certainly seems like the Red Sox organization is pulling out all stops to get the team prepared for any eventuality that could occur. When asked if he had any other idea’s that he planned to try out, Francona said, “I have a few. Right now we’ve been trying out a plan to help Julio Lugo reduce the amount of errors he has in the field. It involves a metal ball and a high powered magnet inserted into his glove. Lugo hasn’t got all the kinks worked out of it yet and right now he’s pretty bruised up, so we’ll wait until he heals up and try some more.”

     Good Luck Tito…..

Futile, but Fun

By Chris Cue
January 29, 2009

     JOKE OF THE DAY:
     Q: What does a Monkey and a Baseball “Expert” have in common?
     A: They both have the same chances of correctly predicting the outcome of the 2009 MLB season.

     For what it’s worth, that’s not really a joke. It’s been proven before. So much for Darwin’s Theory of Evolution huh? You’d think that by now we would have evolved to a point that would give us a “hands down” advantage over a chimp wouldn’t you? Guess not. At least it doesn’t seem so when predicting the future. Oh well, don’t worry about it too much because there will soon be plenty of “experts” telling us what will happen. None of them will be correct mind you, but hey, what does that matter right? Predicting the outcome of a Major League season is fun. It’s a futile exercise, but it’s fun never the less.

     There are a ton of Baseball statistic web site out there. Take your pick on which one you think may come the closest as they all will offer up a prediction sooner or later. Not to pick on anyone specifically here, but the Hardball Times had their staff make predictions on the 2008 season prior to it starting. Here’s a link to what their “experts” came up with. (Hardball Times Staff Predictions 2008)
Pay close attention to the AL East. How many of their staff members called the outcome correctly? Yup, you guessed it….NONE of them. You’ll notice that the end result in the predictions had the Red Sox winning the East, followed by the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays and Orioles. Pretty whacked huh? Of course hindsight allows us to make that observation, but considering that these are the “experts”, it kind of puts the worth of these predictions out there for everyone to see doesn’t it?

     Morale to the story: Take any prediction regarding the outcome of a MLB season with a HUGE grain of salt.  

     You may as well make a few predictions of your own. They have the same odds of being correct as that monkey mentioned earlier. Just to see what would happen, I recently used my dog to predict the outcome of the AL East for the 2009 season. Here’s how the test was done. Using 5 pieces of notebook paper, each labeled with a single team name, they were placed face down on the floor (just in case the dog can read). Under each sheet was a dog treat. Standing roughly 10 feet back from the papers on the floor, the dog was released. Each time he went to one paper to fetch a treat. The first one he went to was the predicted winner, the second one he went to was the team predicted to come in second place and so on untill all the teams were picked and there were no dog treats left for our beloved pooch.

     Here’s the predictions of “Fido the Wonder Dog”:

     1st place: Tampa Bay

     2nd place: Boston

     3rd place: Toronto

     4th place: New York

     5th place: Baltimore

     Can he be any further off then what the predictions were for last season? Time will tell, but we should assume that it is a good thing that “Fido” doesn’t write for the NY Times. A prediction like that in a New York paper might just bump Joe Torre’s book to the back page.

     If you want to make some safe baseball predictions of your own, you may want to latch onto one of these. They are all fairly certain which will reduce your risk of being wrong. Feel free to pick one or add one of your own in the comments section. It’s just for fun….right??

The 2009 Safe Predictions

**Manny Ramirez won’t sign a contract until after Spring Training starts. That will be his excuse this year for not reporting on time.**

**Baseball experts will attempt to see into the future and tell us that they know what will happen before it actually does.** (I told you these were safe predictions)

**Before the first game is over, some knuckle head will use the nickname “Sit-n-Spit” when talking about Terry Francona.**

**Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts will see increased coffee sales the morning after West coast games.**

     See, isn’t this fun? It’s easy too. The best part is the experts will never come up with these kinds of predictions. Calculators don’t compute this kind of stuff. However, a well placed dog treat? Yeah, you might want to give the dog the edge on these. Have fun and let us know what else we should be betting on this year.

Guest Bloggers

By Chris Cue
January 14, 2009

    This is a horrible time of year for most Baseball fans. I mean, when the headline of the day is where Bartolo Colon has just signed, well, you know you’re in trouble. So, I’ve decided to turn over my blog for the next few days (not really) to a few people I’ve created met recently. Before doing that, I thought it would only be proper to introduce you to them first. So, in no particular order please say hello to:

Hankenstein
Hank-en-Stein.jpg

Hank’s a “swell guy” (hat tip to Leave It To Beaver), but he’s widely misunderstood.
Oh sure, he grumbles a lot, but nothing he says ever really happens. He only gets real
nasty when he shows up in New York. So, it’s a good thing he’s hardly ever there.

Unknown
Jumper.jpg

I’ll be honest about this. I’m not sure who this guy is, but I understand that if you can
ever get him off that ledge, he’ll talk about the Mets all day long.

Chuckles The Chimp
ChokeTime.jpg

We talked Chuckles out of hiding to fill in this week. He normally only makes personal
appearances in Los Angeles during October, so we’re pleased he decided to stop by.
Chuckles motto is: “100 Wins is Never Enough”. He say’s it over and over and over and…

Bandwagon Betty
BandwagonBetty.jpg

I met Betty during the 9th inning of game 5 of the 2008 World Series. There were
2 outs and she was looking for bus fare for the ride home. She’s nice and all that,
but she hasn’t been around baseball very long. Go easy on her OK??

Charles de Gulp
Charles_de_Gulp1.jpg

What can I say, they ran out of Kool-Aide in Canada. You probably won’t hear
very much from Charles this year. Although, you will hear him mumble the name
J.P. Riccardi from time to time. He usually follows that with a very loud burp and a quick
check of his pockets for spare change.

and finally……

Stat_Head.jpg

I’m sorry, but I have very little patients with this guy. I know others like him a whole
bunch, so I invited him as well. It’s not that Stat is a bad guy, he’s not. I just get tired
of hearing him tell me what the odds are that Julio Lugo is about to strike out.
No offense intended, but I don’t need a math wiz to tell me what those odds are.

So, there ya go. My guest bloggers for the next few days. I’ll be back soon and then we can talk
about all the new people we’re sure to meet later in the year…….

bandwagon.jpg

A Little of This and That….Again

By Chris Cue
January 7, 2009

Heading into the first full week of January 2009, it would be an understatement to say that the Red Sox haven’t made any “Front Page” signings this off season. I would however, like to address what has been done and what has been attempted to be done by this front office.

First, a subject by now most of us are probably sick of, but I continue to read comments about it so maybe I’m in the minority here. Frankly, I’m over the whole Mark Teixeira to the Red Sox issue. I’ve made my opinions known on that deal long before he joined the Yankees. However, there remains a large number of fans that continue to blame the Red Sox front office (mainly John Henry and Theo Epstein) for “not getting it done”. Well, I’ve got news for you.

In an interveiw with Mike Francessa on WFAN (link HERE), Mark Teixeira made it known that his wife was a huge factor in his decision. “My wife loves New York” he said. What he said he was looking for when trying to decide on a team is the following:
1). Close proximity to his extended family in Baltimore and Atlanta.
2). His family’s happiness
3). A chance to win every year
4). The contract
Mark also said that the Yankees were always in the mix noting that Scott Boras and Brian Cashman had kept an open dialogue all along.

I read an article by Tony Massarotti (a well know Teixeira lover and critic of the front office in this)  that Mark had made up his mind that New York is where he wanted to play 2 weeks prior to agreeing on a contract.  You’ll remember that the Red Sox met with him 1 week prior to him agreeing to terms with the Yankees.
The link to the Mazz article is HERE and here’s the quote.

“…..let the record show that Teixeira acknowledged that he
all but decided on the Yankees two weeks before Christmas, during a
Dec. 12 dinner with his wife, Leigh, at the cou ple’s Dallas-area
country club. And let the record show, too, that the Teixeiras’ weekly
date came precisely six days before the Red Sox’ fateful and fruitless
visit to Dallas
in hopes of closing a deal with the player.”


He made that decision based on the 1-4 criteria mentioned above as described in the Francessa interview. These are no longer rumors, they are facts. Now here’s my question. How can someone acknowledge that Teixeira never intended to sign with Boston, yet still hold the front office accountable for “not getting it done”? You can’t have it both ways here. It doesn’t wash unless you think they should have offered him a contract that essentially was worth 10 years and 220 million dollars. If that’s the case, then you’ll have to excuse me if I think you need your baseball head examined.

The gut feeling I have here is that John Henry’s email he sent to the press after meeting with Teixeira, meant what it said. “It’s clear we are not going to be a factor”.  I suspect that the Red Sox contingent that met with Teixeira knew what was going on and bowed out of the race so they wouldn’t be used any further. That’s not a fact, but purely speculation on my part.
The facts are he was never realistically going to play for the Red Sox. So, is it finally possible we can put this issue to bed? I sure hope so. I’m beyond tired of it.

Second on the list is a look at what the Red Sox have done recently. We’re talking about the signings of Brad Penny, Josh Bard and the latest, (yikes!) Nick Green. I think it would be fair of you to say I’m not overly impressed with these signings. However, other then Brad Penny, Bard & (yikes again!) Green may never make the Major League club. Bard was signed to a non-guaranteed contract and (OK I won’t say it again) Green was signed to a minor league deal that included an opportunity to comepete for the middle infielder bench role.

These are not “Front Page” signings. They do however serve a purpose, even if that purpose is only for us to kill more time by asking more questions.
Questions like:
Is Bard really going to try and catch Wakefield again?
Is (omg) Green really here in case we trade Lugo?
Is Penny really our 4th starter?

Call me a “pollyanna” or a “Glass half full” kinda guy if you will, but I really have a hard time believing that those 3 acquisitions are considered by the Theo Epstein to be “The Master Plan” going into the 2009 season. If they are, heaven help us. No, I think we still have some work to do in the “Let’s improve the team” department. I don’t think Theo is quite done yet. I do think that this team as constituted (minus the catching vacancy), is ready to compete next season and keep us close enough by the trading deadline to warrant a significant move at that time if one is not available now. Still, I think a move or two will be made prior to opening day. Stay tuned because this isn’t the final solution (we hope).

Third and finally, as teams begin to firm up their rosters, watch out for all the “Expert” predictions that will follow. You’ve seen it before. Several weeks prior to the season openers, these folks line up and write about who will and who won’t be in the running this year. Take these with a VERY large grain of salt. There is no evidence that any of these people will come any closer then  +/-10 games to the final results. In fact, if you want to call yourself an expert and predict how many games the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays will each win, do the following:
Get a dart board and hang it on a wall
Re-label the numbers on it starting with 87 wins and ending with 97 wins
Blind fold yourself
Throw a dart.
What ever number it lands on is as good a guess as any of the so-called experts. Trust me on this one. Sure, you’ll find out by seasons end that one or two blind squirrels were able to find a nut, but it won’t be because they knew something you didn’t. It’ll be more luck then anything else. When you’re looking at a  plus or minus 10 game variable in Baseball, that 10 is a HUGE number. The games are played on a field not a chalk board and there’s good reason for it.
 

New Years Resolutions

By Chris Cue
January 1st, 2009

I have decided to turn over a new leaf for the New Year and the following is what I think will take me to the promised land…….

I Resolve To:

  1. Make more money so I don’t need to take out a second mortgage to buy Red Sox game tickets for family and friends via Stub Hub.
  2. Not laugh respectfully under my breath when the Yankees season ends in a dismal failure. This year, I’m gonna laugh out loud directly into the face of that obnoxious Yankee fan we all know.
  3. Admit Pink Hats really do look cute on female fans….(there’s a story there I’ll share at another time)
  4. Not discuss baseball with my butcher before I ask him to weigh the meat. (he’s a Yankees fan)
  5. Mute Michael Kay if I’m ever forced to watch a Red Sox – Yankees game on the YES Network.
  6. Fly to Tampa for a game and ask the fellow sitting next to me where everyone else went today.
  7. Never give to a charity that requires Don & Remy to do an interview during the 7th inning.
  8. Be nice to Orioles fans (after all, they do have a nice ballpark and tickets are cheap).
  9. Try to forget Eric Gagne.
  10. Never EVER give my money to the Steinbrenners to see a game in the new Yankee Stadium.

I don’t know how much of a better person this will make me in the eyes of others, but I think I’ll feel better about myself.