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Mike Napoli, beard return to Red Sox as good times keep rolling in Boston

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  December 6, 2013 04:21 PM

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This week Boston saw the Red Sox lose Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees, the Bruins slip out of first place after falling in Montreal, the Celtics sit at 9-12 but remain atop the worst division this side of the D League and the Patriots dealing with more unfounded idiotic accusations of spying on their opponents.

So why does everyone feel so giddy? Boston can't have a bad week these days even when it tries.

Well, let's start with the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

[We get to keep saying that for at least another 11 months.]

Mike Napoli will be coming back to the Red Sox in 2014. He agreed to a two-year deal worth $32 million on Friday night.

The deal was first reported by WEEI's Rob Bradford, who even scooped Napoli's own Twitter feed.

The #DrunkNapoli party continues.

Let the good times roll.

Gentlemen, remove your shirts.

Good times indeed, especially for the folks at Daisy Buchanan's on Newbury Street and McGreevy's on Boylston.

On the field, Napoli's return gives David Ortiz continued support in the middle of Boston's lineup. He hit .259 with an .842 OPS last season, swatting 23 home runs and driving in 92 runs for the best and most-clutch offense in baseball. The $16 million-a-year deal smothers concern that the Red Sox were going to try and do things on the cheap in the near future.

Napoli's return was a necessity to shore up both the infield and the right-handed hitting side of the lineup. He'll also keep Boston's biggest beard in the fold. Napoli has said during the offseason he has no intention of being clean shaven any time soon.

The baseball futures of Napoli and Ellsbury were foretold the night of the Red Sox Duck Boat parade and Napoli's shirtless romp through the Back Bay:

The Red Sox are certainly a lesser team for not having Ellsbury leading off next season. Jackie Bradley Jr. [when do we get to drop the "Junior" since I never heard of his dad?] is a potentially talented but unproven commodity in center field or as an everyday starter. Shane Victorino can fill in as a center fielder, but that leaves right field open.

The Yankees undeniably improved themselves by getting Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, who they signed on Friday night. But at what cost?

Depending on where he ends up in the lineup, Ellsbury will face some very hittable pitches. Walking Ellsbury is like giving up a double to Derek Jeter. He will see plenty of strikes and will get on base. Now, whether his teammates can move him along will be the big question.

Things took a turn for the wonderful earlier on Friday when news broke that Robinson Cano pulled an Ellsbury, taking the money and heading West to Seattle. The Mariners are paying Cano $240 million over 10 years.

And he was never heard from again.

The same Yankee fans and State Run Media apologists who lauded Ellsbury for his focus on the bottom line in jumping from Boston to New York are now, no doubt, squirming and spewing about that "[expletive] greety Cano."

The salted suppositories are in the mail from Ben Affleck.

How far does $240 million go these days? Well, for about $226 million, John W. Henry got himself an Improbable Dream 2013 Red Sox World Series Championship at Fenway Park and still had enough money left over to buy the Boston Globe, Worcester Telegram and Gazette [now on the block] and the worldwide distribution rights to the OBF Blog. The later was valued at 15 Fenway Franks.

You want another reason why Red Sox fans will be smiling as they wait Saturday in those virtual waiting room to buy their 2014 spring training tickets? Well, the beloved Yankees have five players signed for 2014 who are going to be paid in excess of $20 million apiece:

They are:


  1. Alex Rodriguez [3B] - $26 million [suspension pending]

  2. Vernon Wells [OF] - $24,642,857

  3. Mark Teixeira [1B] - $23.125 million

  4. C.C. Sabathia [P] - $23 million

  5. Jacoby Ellsbury [OF] - $21.875 million [contract average]

The House of Steinbrenner is paying out fielder Alfonso Soriano $19 million, newly-signed catcher Brian McCann $17 million and the he turns-40-in-June shortstop Jeter $12 million.

Beltran is a steal at three years for $45 million. He will be making $15 million annually at age 40.

Before we get too excited, Theo and the Cubs are picking up $14,000,000 of Soriano's salary and the Angels and Blue Jays are paying combined $21,642,857 of Wells' deal. That's $166,642,857 [give or take a few bucks] for seven position players and one starter, again pending A-Rod's fate, with the Yankees covering $130 million of that tab.

All this, and the Yankees don't have a legitimate, everyday second baseman. Maybe Ellsbury can play second base. At least his arm is good from 90 feet.

Yeah, we're not supposed to focus on other teams.

And the Yankees were going to rally past the Red Sox thanks to the "Curse of the Dempstino."

But there are the Yankees and by poaching Ellsbury, they re-stoked their dormant-for-a-while rivalry with the Red Sox. No one knew it would blow up in their face so quickly. The Yankees showing all the signs of desperation that the Red Sox did when Theo was trying to fight off the Monster and keep those preferred NESN demographics happy.

No matter what happens with A-Rod, it will be great theater. He plays and he's a massive distraction, an oft-injured lumbering .244 hitter [at least in 2013] and a $26 million drag on the payroll. He's suspended, and it's further confirmation that he's a fraud. Haters can whine all they want about Ortiz, but Big Papi hasn't tested positive for anything but beer and champagne at least three times since 2004. And now, he doesn't even eat chicken any more.

It's all so deliciously devilishly delightful to chronicle - even from Florida in December.

The Red Sox entire payroll for their worst-to-first finish in 2013 was $154,555,500, and that included Ellsbury, Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan.

The Red Sox, their fans and those who chronicle the team across the print, digital and broadcast spectrum all got a brutal lesson in how money doesn't buy happiness in baseball during The Great Nuclear Winter. That ended, ironically enough, with an 8-2 April Fools Day 2013 win at Yankee Stadium.

Who knew the joke would still be on New York eight months later?

And it's even louder now Napoli's back in Boston's fold.

The Celtics are smiling not just because they're in first place. Two thirds of their dearly departed "Big Three," Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, are mired in the nuthouse once known as the Brooklyn Nets. Jay Z did not have this in mind when he bought into this team. Jason Kidd has become the Bobby Valentine of the NBA in his first season as a head coach. That takes some effort.

Who knows, perhaps the right set of disastrous circumstances could see one or both returning to Boston sooner to play for the home team sooner than their numeric retirement ceremony at TD Garden?

The Celtics are in a true no-lose situation. If they keep this up, they'll have a division title and a No. 3 seed in the playoffs., if they slip just far enough in the putrid Atlantic Division, they'll fall back into the lottery.

Either way, Danny is looking like a genius. And they're doing all this without Rondo.

Brad Stevens - Coach of the Year. Tanks, but no tanks.

The Bruins lost the battle and the war to the Canadiens Thursday, and it doesn't get any easier since they play Pittsburgh Saturday. But no one in the organization can be too upset over Thursday's loss given the thumbs-up prognosis for Johnny Boychuck following his boarding from behind courtesy of Max Pacioretty.

There's never a cop around when you need one.

While the fans in Montreal were singing "Ole, Ole" as the clock wound down on Boston, live at the same time on NBC, the Third Reich was annexing Austria during Carrie Underwood's version of the "The Sound of Music."

We report, you decide.

Boychuk's takedown was a quick and sobering reminder of the perils of hockey, especially when your opponent is master of both thuggery and the cheap shot. But he's going to be OK. And it's against the law to get too upset over a regular-season NHL loss in December. Especially when you consider a year ago at this time there were no NHL games due to the lockout. The season resumed in January and was still pretty awesome until the final two minutes of Game 6 against Chicago in June.

The Patriots will be 10-3 by 5 p.m. on Sunday. While Antonio "Tonestradamus" Smith began the week by crying about how the Patriots were spying on his precious, laughably labeled "best defense in the NFL." His 2-11 Texans ended the week by firing their head coach, after losing to the Jaguars for the second time in 11 days.

Doubtful Tonestradamus saw that coming in August when multiple NFL Experts and Insiders tabbed the Texans as a favorite for the AFC title game.

The lesson here is simple for both fools like Smith and all the "Spygate Truthers" across the NFL, talk radio, the interwebs and social media:

"Don't screw with Tom Brady and the Hoodie." [Unless, of course, you're Eli Manning or Tom Coughlin.]

Karma is their b***h.

In the meantime, as one of Boston's most popular bands of my youth once sang:

"Let the good times roll
Let them knock you around
Let the good times roll
Let them make you a clown...
Let the good times roll..."

And they show no signs of letting up.

Especially with Napoli back in town.

Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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