Monday, August 07, 2006

Off-Day Thoughts

* Something tells me we're about to see the first collision of the 'way Theo wants to run the team' and the way 'Larry wanted to run the team.' My best guess on the reasons behind TheoGate are that a) Theo's philosophy of having a long-term plan - and building a championship team with homegrown talent - was not high enough in the organization's overall philosophy; and b) he was sick of all the Hollywood, PR bullshit. Don't get me wrong - this new ownership team has done an awesome job of making the fans more comfortable, and preserving the greatest ballpahk ever - but they go way overboard on the schmaltzy, entertainment stuff. The opening night for "Fever Pitch" comes to mind, the makeovers that some of the players got from the "Queer Eye" TV show, the Red Sox Nation membership card.

Of course, a month or so after Theo left Fenway - in a gorilla suit no less - all the conversations between Henry, Lucchino and Theo that should have taken place actually did take place. Things were ironed out. Theo was able to voice his complaints directly to the owner of the team, and the owner of the team evidently gave Theo his backing on how the team should be run. That's all Theo wanted in the first place, but holy crap, the hurdles he had to jump through to get there. And is it a coincidence that Larry Lucchino -who before TheoGate was so visible that he had his own weekly morning slot on the local sports radio station - has completely gone underground?

The point I'm getting at is this: The recent trading period was the first time Theo has been fully behind the controls, and in the end, the team did nothing. Every trading partner wanted one or more of the young pitchers (Lester, Hansen, Delcarmen, Papelbon) and Theo dug in his heels and resisted making a move that might only yield short-term benefits. Many believe that Theo wouldn't have pulled the trigger on the Beckett/Lowell for Ramirez/Sanchez for the same reasons. Not making a move at the deadline looks bad right now because the Yankees have shot into the AL East lead and the guys they acquired at the deadline are contributing. The Sox are going to have to get lucky, healthy, and/or make some sort of deal to catch them but we've got a lot of baseball left to sort it all out. If the Sox crash and burn, it will be interesting to see if Theo comes into the crosshairs.

* Why did it take WEEI so long to say goodbye to crusty Ted Sarandis and hello to the wacky Mike Adams? Sarandis was such a dink -- cutting callers off, generally being rude and intolerant -- and Adams is on the other extreme. Goofy, fun, affable, can lead a good baseball discussion, and actually lets the callers dictate the program. The Sunday baseball show featuring Adams, Sean McAdam from the Providence Journal, and the Herald's Steve Buckley, is great radio.

* And while we're on the subject of 'EEI, what exactly is their fascination with Steve DeOssie and Larry Johnson? I don't want to hear a 'roided up football player opining on baseball. Just not a good match.

* Since the 2005 All-Star Game, a period comprising 161 games, David Ortiz has hit 60 homers and driven in 161 RBI. I don't want to hear any DH bias during MVP voting time. Papi is the MVP, with Jeter a respectable second.

* Switching sports for a minute - I can do that, I'm the proprietor - it was a nice sight today seeing hard-hitting safety Rodney Harrison on the Patriots practice field. Harrison tore multiple ligaments in his knee after an ugly collision in Pittsburgh last September.

* Just to vent for a moment, my fantasy team sucks. This was the first year we did auction style and I blew my wad early on Johan Santana ($40), David Ortiz ($36) and Miguel Cabrera ($28). All three have been solid, but I think I screwed myself for adding high-quality depth. Let's just say I've got Scott Hatteberg, Pedro Feliz, Casey Blake, Preston Wilson and Josh Barfield in my starting lineup. 'Nuf ced.

* Globe rookie Sox beat writer Amalie Benjamin is doing a nice job in place of Chris Snow, who left to work in some NHL team's front office. Snow was good but he went a little Charlie Pierce on us every now and then - using words that send you to the dictionary. Benjamin has a more casual, free-flowing style that makes for a nice read. Gordon Edes was great during the trading deadline too.

* The Sox have an absolutely brutal month of August ahead of them. After six coming up against KC and Baltimore, they play 11 straight against Detroit, the Yankees and the Angels. Where the rubber hits the road, as they say... and we're going to have to do it without Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.

* Some impressive candidates on this year's Comeback Player list, including Jim Thome, Nomar Garciaparra, and Curt Schilling.

* Two things about the bullpen scare me, and maybe three. 1) Julian Tavarez; 2) the glaring lack of a lefty specialist; and 3) Mike Timlin. I'm willing to give Timlin some more time, but he's been downright dreadful lately - and oh yeah, he's also on my fantasy squad. Got the Midas touch, don't I?

* Two guys who if they pick up their games in the second half will help the Sox get to the postseason for the fourth straight year: Josh Beckett and Coco Crisp.

* I've been irritated with Yankee fans who think their "injury-depleted" team deserves the Purple Heart for keeping the race tight with the Red Sox. The folks at Fire Joe Morgan have eloquently put my thoughts into words:

"I am the 2006 New York Yankees! Here is my line-up:

CF Johnny Damon. $13 million.
SS Derek Jeter. $19 million.
1B Jason Giambi. $18 million.
DH Gary Sheffield. $13 million.
RF Bobby Abreu. $13 million.
3B Alex Rodriguez. $25 million.
LF Hideki Matsui. $13 million.
C Jorge Posada. $9 million
2B Robinson Cano. $381 thousand.

(Total for starting nine position players: $123 million. More than the Red Sox' 25 man-roster.)

How is this relevant? Well, when you have a lineup of players worth $123 million, and you lose $26 million worth of player, you still have a pretty (expletive) good lineup. The crazy patchwork lineups the Yankees have been trotting out there, full of (I'm not the good) M. Cabreras, A. Guiels, (the wrong) B. Crosbys, and A. Phillipses, are still anchored by the very expensive Misters Jeter, Rodriguez and Giambi, to say nothing of the fairly expensive Senors Damon and Posada. Spare me the what-a-goddamn-hero-Joe-Torre-is routine. The lineup at the beginning of the year was lethal -- a mockery of the game of baseball, in fact. No "winning culture" accounted for its ability to withstand the loss of two of its better hitters -- and not, I might add, its two best."

Couldn't have said it better meself.

Timlin sucks. what time are we heading up to Maine on Friday?
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