A few random off-day thoughts before boarding a flight to Tampa ...
* The ejection of Adrian Beltre on Wednesday night appears to be wholly unjustified based on the comments of Beltre, Kevin Cash, Terry Francona and even Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, who backed up the story that Beltre was talking to him when he was tossed by rabbit-eared young umpire Dan Bellino.
MLB should make a statement explaining how Bellino will be held accountable for this. Most fans (and even many players) believe umpires have no accountability, which isn't the case. They have supervisors and reviews of their work. But for too long now, that process has been behind a wall. Fans deserve better.
* The funniest thing I ever heard yelled at an umpire was at an Eastern Connecticut State University game a long time ago. An obvious third strike was missed and a fan shouted out, "Kick your dog, he's lying!"
* The only way Johnny Damon's decision makes any sense is if the Tigers told him they would sign him for next season. Otherwise, it looks like he preferred playing out the string to playing for at least a little something.
Regardless, Damon is going to get roasted when next he returns to Fenway Park. If Johnny ever gets into the Hall of Fame, he's going to want to go in as a Yankee, that much seems pretty clear.
Think that is crazy? He is probably going to end his career with 2,700+ hits, 225+ homers, 1,000+ RBIs, 100+ triples, 400+ stoles bases and two rings. Look up how many guys have done that. Guys like Damon who weren't connected to PED use will look pretty good on Hall of Fame ballots 10 years from now.
* Texas manager Ron Washington probably will win. But Terry Francona would be my choice for AL manager of the year. It's somewhat of a miracle this collection of players is 5.5 games out.
* It'll never happen, but how about Jacoby Ellsbury, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jonathan Papelbon to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp, Russell Martin and Jonathan Broxton?
Play Kemp in center, Martin catches and Broxton sets up Daniel Bard.
* Portland 1B Anthony Rizzo, the kid who beat cancer, has 92 RBIs this season. What a great story.
* I didn't think it was possible. But I hate the Jets even more now after watching Hard Knocks, which is superb television. They can't lose enough.
* You're taking a chance that he may never be this good again, but keeping Adrian Beltre should be a priority for the Sox. That guy plays hard every single second of every single game.
* If you're looking for something fun to do tonight, head to St. Peter's Field in Cambridge for the annual Old Time Baseball Game, a charity event run by Herald columnist (and fellow UMass guy) Steve Buckley. Go to their web site for details.
* Let's be honest, there's nothing bothering Tiger Woods that a quick trip to Vegas and a waitress or two wouldn't fix.
* When the Sox game was rained out the other night, the news was first reported on Twitter by John Henry's wife, Linda Pizzuti. She also is producing the After The Game show on NESN.
* I'm pretty much to a point now where wins and losses aren't something I look at when evaluating a pitcher. Felix Hernandez is 10-10. If he played for the the Sox or Yankees he might be 18-2.
* The Red Sox clubhouse has been brightened considerably by the presence of Victor Jose Martinez and D'Angelo Ortiz. Terry Fracona never smiles more than he does when teasing little Vic or bumping fists with D'Angelo.
It's important what these guys do for a living and a lot of people care about it, probably too much. But in the end, it's a game they loved when they were kids and having kids around reinforces that.
* I'm not exaggerating when I say that every single player on the team has an iPad. Apple should make a commercial at Fenway.
* With all due respect to Dustin Pedroia's well-chronicled desire, taking grounders on his knees looks pretty silly now that, two months later, his broken left foot still hasn't healed. I'm sorry I bought into it at the time.
* If this is it for Mike Lowell, at least he's going out with his head up.
* David Ortiz looks great and good for him. But the Sox can't pick up that $12.5 million option. That's twice the market value of an aging DH. Offer him two years for that $12.5 million. Ortiz and the Sox need each other. There's a deal to be made.
* Chime in here: What are the alphabetically first and last songs on your iPod? Mine are A-Punk by Vampire Weekend and Zoloft by Drive-By Truckers.
OK, off to Tampa. Enjoy the rest of your day off from baseball.