6. I do wish Billy Wagner would please come to Boston, because I think it's entirely possible he could be to this bullpen what Alan Embree was in 2003-04. (Then again, he could be a repeat of the Great Gagne Zeppelin Distaster of '07, but no matter.) But I do understand his reasoning why he's apparently choosing to use his no-trade clause -- he wants to close and surpass the 400-save threshold, he knows the Mets won't offer him arbitration because they literally cannot afford to, and he's going to be able to work his way back from Tommy John surgery with lower-stress innings with the lost-cause Mets than he would in the AL East playoff chase. I'm not saying it's the right thing to do, and it certainly is easy to paint him as someone who does not consider winning a priority. But for long-term's sake -- long-term being the last year or two of his career beyond this one -- it does make some sense to remain a Met.
7. Yep, Wagner's agent, Bean Stringfellow, is a real person and not a refugee from a Mark Twain novel. (Real first name: Thornton. Not much better than Bean.) In fact, he was a teammate of Smoltz in Triple A on those stacked 1987-88 Richmond Braves clubs.
8. I'm not saying I think the Red Sox are rushing to bring Tim Wakefield back Wednesday, but it is going to be a bit unusual for a baseball traditionalist to watch him riding a Segway when he has to cover first base. Weak jokes aside, I'd rather ol' knucksie go out there slathered in Icy Hot, wearing a back brace, and having the footwork of Captain Ahab than having to endure one more Brad Penny start. Speaking of which, here's Dodgers coach Larry Bowa, Feb. 18, 2009, a day after Penny criticized him shortly after joining the Red Sox:
"Is this the same Penny that never went to meetings, that came late, left early, was never in shape, always had an excuse when things didn't go right, didn't help the young kids at all? Coaches get on players when they're lazy and don't work. I think he should worry about getting hitters out in the American League East and not worry about me. . . . Brad Penny wants to work and dedicate himself, he could probably be as good as he wants to be. He didn't do it with us."
I've always thought Bowa was an angry little hypercompetitive jerk. Still do. But in this case, it appears he was an angry little hypercompetitive jerk who knew exactly what he was talking about. That said, I fully expect Penny to go to the Cardinals and win 23 games next year.
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.