The Red Sox Spring Training Truck is on its way to Florida. But first off, let's talk plane. The Red Sox have their own airplane on JetBlue Airlines, which took its maiden flight from Boston to Fort Myers on Friday. After a few hours in the air, we've learned 10 things that make this Airbus A320 unique:
- It runs out of gas 90 feet short of the runway.
- It has trouble taking off in September.
- There are no scheduled flights for October 2012. (thanks to Eleanor C. on Facebook)
- It only makes crash-landings in Baltimore.
- Flight attendants serve nothing but fried chicken, Bud Light and wrap sanwhiches.
- Flights always hit turbulence after the sixth inning.
- There are way too many (expletive) snakes on this (expletive) plane. (Just ask Josh Beckett.) Among those onboard is the infamous unnamed reptile(s) who threw Tito under the bus and leaked his use of prescription pain-killers. That is unless he's flying Midwest Airlines.
- Captain Carmine will be your pilot today - and everyday.
- The shortstop and right-fielder have gotten bumped.
- Soccer players fly first class. (Tom M. and Peter W. on Facebook get assists on that one.)
And, of course, Bobby Valentine flew long before the Wright Brothers.
Speaking of transports, the Truck left for Fort Myers Saturday.
With that in mind, let's get serious for a moment ...
Frame from Kevin Fowler's "Hell Yeah, I Like Beer" video via You TubeJosh Beckett will have to find another drinking buddy this season.
I couldn't keep a straight face on that one, either.
But this will wipe the smile off your noggin:
"The Red Sox are now a subsidiary of themselves - part of the Fenway Sports Management empire. Henry’s "collection of sports assets" landed him on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans with a net worth of $1.1 billion. As Forbes noted "the assets in Henry’s commodities trading firm once totaled $3 billion put have plummeted more than 90% ... The Red Sox and NESN are what is driving the Henry’s net worth."
"The free-wheeling days of the Red Sox throwing unlimited money at their concerns have gone the way of the 9 1/2-game lead and the NESN baby. Ben Cherington is going to become the Lord of Austerity as the Sox embark on the Road to Mediocrity. Damage control time. Cherington said Friday Papelbon's agents never gave the Sox a chance to match Philly's offer - not that it would have made a difference. The Sox may not overtly gut the payroll like, say, the post-World Series Marlins, but the waistline will be getting smaller and smaller as the offseason progresses."
The author got severely ripped on both occasions. He was also way off on his Super Bowl pick.
John Henry spent some serious cash in the offseason on the Liverpool footballers, much more than he added to the Red Sox payroll. But it's not like he hasn't spent money on the Red Sox in recent years - the Sox coughed up about $570 million on John Lackey, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Dice-K and Adrian Gonzalez in the past five years. No wonder they don't have money for a shortstop or a starting right fielder. These are the Red Sox not the Indians, however. Or they used to be. The fact that they could not afford to keep Marco Scutaro in Boston for mere $6 million is all the wake-up call anyone needs to realize that Red Sox, Inc. are no longer Henry's favorite line on the Excel spreadsheet. The $6 million for Scutaro, one of only three or four players on the team who kept his head in the game last season all season, could have been covered by the gate from day-night doubleheader against the Royals or the royalties from sale of Wally dolls.
Larry Lucchino, who "runs the Red Sox", told MLB Network Radio Friday that the team should not be criticized for its new-found frugality since the team's payroll ranks near the top in baseball and added the 2012 payroll will be its highest ever. "Will we eclipse the luxury tax threshold? To be sure, we will — once again. So I think the talk of us not spending needs to be viewed in the context of real facts and in comparisons to real dollars," he said according to the transcript posted on WEEI.com.
But all that talk still doesn't buy you a shortstop, dependable right fielder or fourth/fifth starter. The 2011 offseason was one of the worst in recent memory for the Red Sox. (Losing Carlton Fisk and Fred Lynn on the same day back in 1980 due to a postal malfunction comes to mind.) September's collapse just never stopped and the dominoes started to fall, from Tito and Theo, to chicken and beer, to the managerial fiasco, to the idea that the PR masterstroke of hiring Bobby Valentine is going to be the answer to all the team's problems, to Papelbon, to Crawford's injury, to Scutaro's departure. The highpoint of this offseason thus far was Lackey's Tommy John surgery.
That was until we learned that Kevin Youkilis is going to marry Tom Brady's sister, Julie. Just wait. If Youk's hitting .250 in July they'll be saying Gisele got off easy and we'll have another ridiculous built-in excuse to blame the failings of a Boston athlete on his wife or kids.
Truck Day means that the 2011 offseason is officially over. Now, it's the 2012 preseason. Time to look up, look ahead and make sure your seat belt is securely fashioned. It's going to be a wild ride.
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