Ten free minutes for me, 10 free throwaway lines for you . . .
1. Tremendous article by Yahoo! Sports's Tim Brown looking back with a game and insightful Jorge Posada on the 170 pitchers the Yankee veteran backstop has caught in his career. (Who knew that lefty Andy Pettitte used to throw a knuckleball?)
Of course, we figure some of Posada's analysis ended up being sacrificed to the whims of a copy editor. Such as these:
Best straight fastball: "Oh, Javier Vazquez, no doubt. Thing's like an arrow. And even straighter in big moments, if you can believe that."
Best . . . wait, did this guy really pitch for you? Does anyone remember this? "Gotta be talking about Scott Erickson there."
Best slider but you're not gonna say it because you hate him and he's mean to you and, dude, what's with the nipple rings and naming his bats after Marilyn Manson songs, anyway? "A.J. Burnett. Obviously. Pie-heaving $*#)@))@."
2. The Darnell McDonald story has been one of those developments that jostle your memory as to you why you love the game so -- his first game was a little reminiscent of Jeff Stone in '90, or maybe Dana Williams in '89 -- and on some level, his arrival also represents a pretty shrewd deviation in approach by Theo Epstein. McDonald is exactly the kind of player -- unflappable, experienced, and capable of holding down the fort for a short stretch-- that the Red Sox need and have often lacked at Triple A, thus preventing rush jobs like the one that happened with Josh Reddick last year. Come to think of it, McDonald may be the epitome of a replacement-level player.
3. I'm still not sure about the Patriots selection of Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty in the first round -- it's disconcerting when the first thing you hear about a player is in regard to his special teams skills. But I'm smart enough to give Bill Belichick the benefit of the doubt, and the rest of their draft was pretty reassuring and encouraging. I especially liked the addition of Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes in the second round. The Patriots have never adequately replaced Ted Johnson. I believe they have now.
4. It's not your fault, Aaron Hernandez. If Tim Tebow were all that he's supposed to be, he'd have charmed you into giving up the devil weed long ago.
5. A running back chomping his way out of the league one chocolate glazed at a time and a speedy, change-of-pace back trying to come back from a devastating leg injury? No, I guess I just don't quite get the praise of the Seahawks for "bolstering" their backfield with LenDale White and Leon Washington.
6. Three cool revelations for a shameless Bruins bandwagon jumper: 1) In case you had any reservations before he outdueled Ryan Miller, Tuukka Rask is a legit No. 1 goalie, right now. Wonder how Andrew Raycroft is remembered in Toronto. 2) David Krejci looked like he belonged among the game's elite in Vancouver. Cool to see that it has carried over here. Now, if they can just get him a couple of wingmen. 3) I had no idea Mark Recchi was so smart, determined and tough. How come you guys never told me?
7. Regarding future Jets pylon Adalius Thomas: The last time I was so giddy to blurt "good riddance" as an athlete departed the Boston sports scene, Carl Everett was packing up his temper and his lunatic theories and heading for Texas, a promising beginning here having long since turned into a legacy of one poorly-timed on-field meltdown and one media nickname that seems to have stuck.
8. Not sure what makes me more envious: That he got to dig through all those old baseball cards, or that he wrote such a wonderful, nuanced piece. Probably the latter. Probably.
9. I'm not sure if we should be reading the signing of Cuban catcher Adalberto Ibarra to a major league contract worth $4.3 million as a sign that the Red Sox don't consider Victor Martinez a long-term answer behind the plate. But I am, and yes, the fact that Martinez has thrown out 2 of 29 basestealers this season was also considered as evidence. It will be interesting to see how Martinez's defensive struggles affect his market value. As a catcher, he's worth a premium because of his bat. But as a DH/1B, he profiles as just another very good hitter at a position loaded with them. (FYI, discussed this at greater length today with Red Sox reporter Peter Abraham in our weekly Red Sox podcast, which you can find here.)
10. Watching the Celtics generally play up to their ability in finishing off the Heat has been somewhat fulfilling, though in a way it's also frustrating to see them prove (for now) that they can turn it on when they feel like it; selective effort is not a particularly admirable characteristic in a team, you know? For real fun this NBA postseason, I've been all about the Lakers-Thunder. After watching the Celtics yawn and check their watches for the last 50 games the regular season, it's much more entertaining to watch an ascending team like the Thunder, young and talented and so determined to begin accomplishing great things. (Update, 11:32 p.m. Yessir, already regretting this one.)
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.