With just a week to go until we kick in the doors on another baseball season, a few things to take note of:
It's March 27. Manny Ramirez wants to stay. So says buddy Enrique Wilson, who tells the Hartford Courant, "He's happy now. He doesn't want to go out anymore. He just wants to stay here. It's one of those things where sometimes he got frustrated. But he's happy. He says he wants to stay here."
In light of this new information, I place the over/under on when Manny wants out at June 14.
Speaking of Enrique, picture of the spring thus far has to be the Associated Press shot of Wilson carrying Wily Mo Pena's bags in upon the slugger's arrival into camp last week. Manny babysitter, mouth piece, now a caddie. Can't the Sox keep him around a little longer? "Enrique, we can't have you playing the field, but we would like you to be our team sherpa."
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles had offered pitcher Rodrigo Lopez to the Reds in exchange for Pena, but that Cincinnati liked the younger arm and three-year deal that came along with Bronson Arroyo a bit better. In retrospect, either deal would have aided the Sox in that seeing notorious Red Sox killer Lopez in the National League would have certainly fared them well. In 21 career appearances against Boston, Lopez is 10-5 with a 3.78 ERA. That win total represents just less than one-fifth of his total career victories (51). That is stunning.
AJ Vaynerchuk breaks down the 2006 Milwaukee Brewers, including Wilton Veras. Wilton Veras? Who knew?
Clemens to start 2006 season with Rangers
That's the headline in today's Fort-Worth Star Telegram. Oh, wait, Clemens will just be attending Opening Day, not in uniform for Texas? I guess then I slept with Evangeline Lilly the other night since I watched "Lost" in bed.
Clemens to start 2006 season with Red Sox
Hey, well they're playing Boston, right?
Murray Chass has a breakdown on the Red Sox' risky proposition of depending on players who have switched leagues, especially after what happened with Edgar Renteria a year ago. Mike Lowell, Mark Loretta, and Alex Gonzalez are all switching to the AL this year from the senior circuit. Chass points out that of the 68 players who switched leagues since 2001, only 25 hit for a higher batting average in their first year in the new league, including old friend Bill Mueller in 2003.
Of course, the same could hold true for a league-switcher like Josh Beckett, who will likely see his ERA spike a bit facing more complete lineups. Some of the examples Chass lays out are intriguing, although I think we could have done without the less than convincing case of Tim Hudson, who watched his ERA drop from 3.53 with the A's to 3.52 with the Braves. That's like watching the smiley-face brag about dropping prices at Wal-Mart only to find out they knocked things back three cents. Whew. If I buy my pork rinds at Wal-Mart now, I can stat saving my pennies for that college fund.
Baseball players make dugouts dirty. You don't say.
Well, it has seemingly switched the allegiance of one New England native, as New Bedford's Mike Curcio, a custodian in Florida, tells the Fort Myers News Press, "The (New York) Yankees are the cleanest team I've ever seen. I'm a Yankee hater but I can't be a hater any more. You go in there and you can count the cups on the freakin' ground."
In a related story in the News Press' apparent hard-hitting expose, Al Mininoe, a member of the service that is in charge of cleaning Hammond Stadium at the Lee County Sports Complex and City of Palms Park, said, "The one thing about this job is business is always picking up."
Dane Cook, your reign has ended.
Tim Cowlishaw says the Oakland A's will be your 2006 World Series champions. I don't necessarily disagree.
Among the teams I see with a chance of winning it all:
Keith Foulke over the last few days has been like Ebeneezer Scrooge on Christmas morning, smiling in interviews, needling reporter's questions with a grin, and even admitting that he's out to put Sox Nation "at ease." Has the cantankerous closer had a change of disposition? To me, that's more encouraging than the results thus far -- which have also been stellar -- in that his head seems to be in the right place headed into the season. Of course, the fact that his pitching performance and attitude have both done a 180 simultaneously is certainly not unrelated.
The Alfonso Soriano rumors continue to percolate, but does anyone in their right mind think that the Red Sox would employ both Pena and Soriano on the same team? That would be the most maddening swinging tandem since Lorne Michaels pushed the execrable "One Night at the Roxbury" on us.
Why do I get the feeling the creator of mikelowellsucks.com is going to have a taker for the domain very soon?
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