Ten free minutes for me, 10 free throwaway lines for you . . .
1. While the Pink Hatters' relentless shrieks when he steps to the plate can get a little annoying in an eardrum-shredding sort of way, it's been nothing but a pleasure to watch Jacoby Ellsbury in his rookie season with the Red Sox. Even with his recent struggles, there's no doubt he's going to be a star here for years to come. But anyone who thinks he, and not Tampa Bay phenom Evan Longoria, is the frontrunner for the AL Rookie of the Year award needs to start watching "Baseball Tonight" once in a while, or at least something other than NESN propaganda. While Ellsbury's batting average is a point higher (.272 to .271) and he obviously blows him away in steals, Longoria has a huge edge in homers (15 to 5), OPS (.874 to .739) and OPS+ (134 to 94), among other categories. Frankly, as much as we admire Ellsbury, the competition and comparison isn't even close. Longoria, coming off a torrid June in which he had a 1.066 OPS, is the superior rookie. I just hope he doesn't show as much in the next few days.
2. The win total (216) is low, and the ERA (3.46) is probably too high, but in the end, yes, I think Curt Schilling will get into the Hall of Fame. He was a crucial-to-heroic contributor on three World Champions, won 11 of 13 postseason decisions, and will be remembered as one of the greatest big game pitchers in the annals of the sport. Thanks to the bloody sock, he may be one of those players whose legend and legacy continue to grow. And while Schilling plays it humble and says he doesn't belong in Cooperstown, I betcha he has a rough draft of his speech already written.
3. So Carlton Fisk is now doing radio spots for "Just For Men" hair color. Funny, after seeing him at RemDawgPalooza the other night, I was pretty sure his dye of choice is Valvoline. We should all look so good at 60, though. (Wait . . . Pudge is 60? Good heavens, where did the time go?)
4. I've long thought Lance Berkman was baseball's most underrated great hitter - his most similar player according to baseballreference.com is David Ortiz - and he only enhanced my opinion of him while tormenting Sox pitching this weekend. But he does have one stat this season that caught even a longtime fan by surprise, and it's not the .363 batting average. Berkman is third on the Astros, behind burner Michael Bourn and Kaz Matsui, with 12 stolen bases. He must be a hell of a savvy baserunner, because he doesn't look like he could take a one-legged Sean Casey in a footrace.
5. I'm keeping the faith that Official TATB Hoops Binky James Posey will be back with the Celtics next season - his agent did say it is the new Big Game James's preference to stay - but I can't help but think that someone like Mark Cuban was watching the NBA Finals, saw Posey's consistently tough and clutch performances, and thought, "He's exactly what my soft team needs. JEEVES, GET ME THIS POSEY! NOW!" My point: Posey is going to have a lot of suitors when he hits free agency Tuesday. Here's hoping he believes Boston is the place to be, even if that means a little less money.
6. I hold out less hope that Eddie House will be back - I get the sense Danny Ainge thinks he can upgrade - and that's too bad. The guy deserves a steady NBA home, and there's always a place on my team for a fearless shooter who also happens to be a selfless teammate.
7. I'll admit my affinity was probably based more on familiarity than anything, but I wanted the Celtics to take quirky Memphis scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts with their first round pick. I understand why they didn't, though - it sounds like he's so inept/indifferent defensively that he might as well change his last name to Radmanovic-Vujacic.
8. I'm reluctant to criticize any decision of Ainge's at this point - yep, he's just about earned the Belichick treatment - but when I heard the name J.R. Giddens, I immediately thought of Michael Young, the Celtics' No. 1 pick in 1984-'85 who didn't even make the team. I'm encouraged by the pick after hearing Ainge articulate why he likes him - he sounds like Tony Allen with better court sense - but I'm still more intrigued by second-round pickup Bill Walker, the injury-prone but ridiculously athletic former running mate of Michael Beasley's at Kansas State. If he can stay on the court, he will be a steal.
9. Before the Red Sox go trading Michael Bowden or any of their other coveted prospects in exchange for supposed bullpen help, I hope they consider this option first: move Justin Masterson to the back end of the bullpen, and slide Clay Buchholz, who seems to have found his fastball command at Pawtucket, into his current spot in the rotation. It's the least costly option, and it might be the most effective.
10. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:
While reading Amalie Benjamin's story this week in which former Sox first baseman and current Astros manager Cecil Cooper reminisced about his playing days in Boston, I was reminded of the staggering amount of offensive talent that came from the Sox farm system in the early- and mid-'70s. Check out these names, all of whom arrived in Boston from '72 to '75: Cooper, Fisk, Dwight Evans, Juan Beniquez, Ben Oglivie, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, and Rick Burleson. Now that's what you call a player development machine.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.