Why subpoena Curt Schilling for the congressional steroid hearings? Because he is outspoken and articulate? That isn't fair. He is lumped in a group with Jose Canseco and Sammy Sosa and Jason Giambi -- admitted, suspected or known users. I hope there isn't some underlying creepiness here. No one has said anything, and Curt has said the absolutely right things, but that list is ugly, plus Curt.
John, Keene, NH
John, you needn't worry about Curt ... he's been around the halls of Congress enough that he won't be intimidated by the hearings. He also knows he has nothing to hide, thus the line of questioning he receives is hardly expected to be hostile. I think he was included on the list because he has been critical of steroid users, and should make for an articulate voice on baseball's testing program. He isn't being smeared by the same broad brush that some of the others are. I would say Frank Thomas is another exception, a guy who has been outspoken in his condemnation of steroid use.
Gordon, love your work. Did it strike you as ironic that as the Sox were honored at the White House, they were in the presence of Dubya, who, as an owner, was the only owner to vote against the wild card? If not for the WC, the Sox would still be searching for their first playoff appearance since 1995, let alone their first Series win since 1918?
Johnny, Dover, NH
Johnny, I wish I had thought of that when they were there. That's a great point, and one that Larry Lucchino should bring up the next time he stops by for a visit with his pal.
Hey Gordon. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the fifth starter position this year. It's great that the Sox have depth as well as a backup plan for potential injuries, but who should get the nod? Wakefield or Arroyo? Thanks man
Bryan, Feeding Hills
Bryan, As I'm sure you probably know by now, with Wade Miller on the shelf for at least a month, Arroyo and Wakefield will both be in the rotation, and I don't see that changing anytime soon, John Halama gives the Sox an experienced swingman if any of the first five go down.
Gordon, is it just me, or is spring training pretty tame this year compared to what it usually is? Do you think it's because Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra are gone, or have Theo and the Trio finally gotten a good enough grasp on this team and the type of players they're bringing aboard?
Ryan, South Boston
Ryan, when a shooting of "Queer Eye" in camp is your most exciting development, you know it's been a quiet spring. Curt Schilling's availability for the opener (I still say he pitches) has been an issue, and Wade Miller's availability for the season remains one, but there are no major roster issues, other than determining the identity of the 24th and 25th men on the roster and the 11th man on the pitching staff. Contrast that to last spring -- the Big Four all facing free agency, the arrival of Schilling and Keith Foulke, the new manager -- and this has been Camp Tranquility.
Hey ... still kind of curious about the Bill Morgan firing, which was pretty surprising given that it happened after the whole ankle sutures experiment. No one ever seemed to report what really happened, can you explain?
Chris, I think there were a number of factors involved, and I want to stress off the top that Morgan's DUI arrest was not one of them, in my opinion. Morgan was very popular with the players, but I think it was the matter of the owners wanting their own man -- Dr. Gill performed surgery on John Henry's shoulder last summer -- while having some issues with Morgan's handling of a couple of medical issues. In Dan Shaughnessy's forthcoming book, he quotes Larry Lucchino as being upset that the Sox did not know Schilling's ankle was as bad as it was before his first LCS start, and I think ownership also was upset that Trot Nixon was discovered to have a herniated disk in his back shortly after he signed a three-year deal, though an MRI taken by Morgan came up clean prior to the signing. I can tell you this -- the Sox don't win the World Series without Morgan's medical magic with Schilling's ankle, and many of the players were sorry to see him leave, and intend to consult him in the future on their own, including Schilling.
When A-Rod slapped that ball out of Arroyo's hand, the ball trickled down the first base line, and visions of Buckner flashed through my mind, and I can't help but think every one else's mind as well. When the umps slapped down that play, I (and every one else in that bar I was in) felt as if the ghosts were banished right then and there. Have you heard
that reaction from others, noting the ball followed the Buckner trajectory and the curse reversal effect at that moment?
Alan, Warner, NH
I haven't heard it put quite that way, but obviously the initial reaction to the play was a feeling of déjà vu -- this can't be happening again. The fact that the call was reversed, as was the earlier call on Mark Bellhorn's home run, was powerful evidence that Sox fortunes had finally changed for the better.
I can't believe I'm reading there is a controversy about Manny or Ortiz batting third in the Red Sox lineup. I know there were a number of factors that contributed to the Red Sox great record from August on last year, but switching Manny to third was a big one. He gets on base as frequently as anyone in the league and prolongs innings much better than Nomar or Ortiz ever did. Everyone in the lineup hit better after this change. Look at what the Sox did in the World Series in the first innings. They won the World Championship with this lineup, for crying out loud! Why on earth would they change it back? David Ortiz is a team guy -- he must understand.
Steve, Culver City, Calif.
Steve, the matter has been settled. Francona has spoken to both players, and things will remain status quo -- Manny hitting third, Ortiz fourth. I would agree with you -- Manny is a superior hitter all-around, Ortiz fits the mold of your classic cleanup hitter, and a combination of Millar/Nixon/Varitek should give Ortiz sufficient protection, though after his last two seasons -- and last October -- I think you're going to see a lot of teams decide that they can't let Ortiz beat them.
Gordon, do you predict Pedro's post-Red Sox career to resemble that of Mo Vaughn or Roger Clemens?
Charles, Bellingham, Wash.
Charles, Roger Clemens is starting his ninth season since leaving the Sox -- I don't see Pedro pitching nine more seasons, but I expect him to pitch very well this season for the Mets. It's debatable that the results will be there, because the Mets' bullpen is so iffy. But hey, who can say with any certainty that Pedro won't go down with a freak injury like Mo did, which altered forever his post-Sox career?