From the Inbox

In an effort to take a deep breath in anticipation of next week’s always-zany baseball winter meetings, here’s a sampling of the ol’ Inbox from the past week:

Um, “the Red Sox pulled off their most significant trade in eight years” hurts your credibility just a tad, no? I assume you refer to the Pedro trade, but two other trades are as significant as Pavano and Armas for Pedro.

Let’s see, how about:

1. Casey Fossum and Brandon Lyon for Curt Schilling. Pretty significant, especially since it helped the Sox win a World Series.

2. Heathcliff Slocumb for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe.

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I think both these trades equaled the importance of the Pedro deal.

And to a lesser degree: Nomar Garciaparra for Doug Mientkiewicz and Orlando Cabrera. Pretty significant.
J. Martin, Northbridge

Granted. But significant in terms of long-term vitality of the franchise is the issue here. Curt Schilling was a (duh) “significant” pickup. But he could be entering his final season, and while that’s certainly not belittling his contributions, it’s not like the Red Sox are counting on him being the rock here for years to come a la Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez. Your second mention is on the money, as that was a deal the Red Sox are still reaping the benefits of with their captain. But it also happened in the summer of 1997, some four months before Dan Duquette landed Pedro. The Nomar deal was “significant” but neither of the particulars are even here anymore, and one is even getting sued by the team in the most ridiculous chapter of this embarrassing World Series ball story. I refuse to even discuss it. There.

Zito for Youk & Alvarez!!!!? You think that’s what it takes to get Barry Zito? I only wish. A No. 1 lefty pitcher for a utility infielder and a reliever, you are out of your mind!! That’s worse than Zambrano for Kazmir. Billy Beane should get fired instantly for that.
Mike Sampson

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Probably not … although the man did just sign Esteban Loiaza to a three-year deal. Loiaza, a guy who had a Cy Young caliber season in 2003 (21-9, 2.90) and has pitched no better than Zane Smith since. I liked Smith, but would I give him $21 million? Do I have to answer? Then again, so many have doubted Beane before only to end up with egg on their faces. Loaiza will probably go 28-2 next season.

I think you and everyone missed the boat on Manny’s latest trade demand. Manny has always been sensitive about his press coverage, and I believe this latest trade demand coincided with a story that appeared in the Boston Sunday Globe about Manny’s dearth of charitable contributions since coming to Boston.

You can look it up and correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m almost positive that that story was the last straw for the sensitive slugger. And if he watches Sports Plus and saw Jackie MacMullan dress him down further for his lack of charitable acts, he was likely crushed beyond repair.

I think in this case, it was the media, and I think in this case it was that story.

Of course, Manny should be ashamed for not setting up a foundation with that kind of money, but I guess he didn’t like hearing it from the Boston Globe.
Ron Miller

Eh. That wouldn’t explain the trade demand this past summer. Or why he wanted to play for the Yankees someday. Or the reports that came out in 2001, his first season in Boston, that he felt he had made a big mistake. As for his lack of a charitable foundation, Manny’s partly to blame, but the former regime knew what they were getting when they signed him: a heckuva ballplayer who happens to be aloof in every way possible. Any master plan of having this guy be the face of the franchise probably was scrapped when the Cleveland batboy become a sticking issue in contract negotiations. I see Tim Wakefield, Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, and Johnny Damon all putting their faces out their consistently for the Jimmy Fund. Ramirez, for all the weight he carries in this city (just look at that ridiculous KeepManny.com site) could do so much good. It’s a shame. If he doesn’t like reading about that, well then he should have done something about it. You’re absolutely right.

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Eric — You made me spit out my coffee in laughter at your Tales Of The Gold Monkey reference. I think I signed the same petition. I loved that show.
Terence Reilly, Mahwah, NJ

Even more, I was discussing this show with my wife the other night, and she wondered if the guy who played Jake was in fact Rev. Camden of Seventh Heaven fame. Fame being relative of course. Heck, wouldn’t you know, indeed it was. Too bad the ol’ Rev. couldn’t possess some of his former character’s toughness though. He might be able to shove the missus into a dark basement never to be heard from again. Is there a more annoying and unlikable character in TV history? Outside of Neil Everett, that is.

I remember that 1991 Dartmouth-Stang game … my best friend’s brother was Mike Gaffney, the guy who took it the distance to win the game, GO INDIANS!!!!
Brian

Yeah, yeah. BTW, Globe high school sports editor Bob Holmes picked Abington to beat Stang tomorrow, 28-0. That’s worse than the dress down Standard Times grump Buddy Thomas gave the Spartans yesterday, prompting a menacing glare from coach Rob Ostrye. I’ve seen that glare plenty, mostly after shimmying to the right of the offensive guard while the opponent’s running back is dashing down the sideline to my left. It usually came accompanied by a string of words better served in John McClane’s mouth. Some people have nightmares, they see snakes and such in their dreams. I have Coach Ostrye’s glare. That and clowns.

1. While I agree that Dan Duquette had many shortcomings as a GM, the biggest pieces of the trade with Florida were signed during his watch. It was his plan to sign players and stock the farm system. Theo’s signings will also bear fruit with players for the Sox or as trade bait.

2. He lit a fire under Clemens by challenging him with his statistics in the last 4 years with the Sox.

3. It’s not my money………….pay for another banner…………it is OK with me.
Ira Greenberg

1. Duquette got a fair amount of credit for his part in helping build the World Series champs. Isn’t that enough? The guy has been gone four years now and he’s still taking credit for stuff?

2. Oh, well if that was his intention, what a sweet guy.

3. You’ve never bought a ticket?

With family living in KC, there is always the running joke when it comes to baseball. KC Baseball that is. Kansas City still has baseball? Really?

When a friend asked my dad if he wanted tickets for the game for free (!); he said you know I don’t want to take all them, and the response back was….”don’t worry, they ( Royals) gave me 70 free tickets, ( yes 70!)–they just want people in the seats. And at last season’s Sox series in KC, ACE was selling two for the price of one on all of the seats they had. The best was during the series when the vendors told some us who were Sox fans, thanks for coming, because it was one of their few good nights to make some cash. So…..

To : Manny, Boomer and anyone else who wants out.

You want to get out of the spotlight and not deal with fans?

Two words: Kansas City

You want to have no one recognize you and no one care?

Two words: Kansas City

You want to play where even the media doesn’t pay attention to you?

Two words: Kansas City
Saundra Ketner

Two words: No chance.

OK, well Manny probably thinks there’s a chance, but he’d have to forfeit like, I dunno, $52 million of his remaining $57 million to do so. But I get your drift. Reminds me of the old college days when we used to make frequent trips to Olympic Stadium to watch Les Expos. A ticket would cost you $4, and the place was so empty, you ended up sitting directly behind the dugout. And the ushers I think were encouraged to let people do it, in order to make it look like there were a few hundred people in the joint at least for TV. This was also the place where I first discovered Ice beer, a moment in time I wish to forget if I could remember.

Eric, I just read your article about Manny and the KeepManny.com petition. I think that KeepManny.com misses the point a little (and I commented such on my signature), but I also think that you miss the point. The fact that the media swarms to Manny’s condo is the very reason that he wants to leave. Give the man some privacy.

Am I happy with his multiple requests to be traded? Do I like it when he doesn’t run out a ground ball or when he drops an easy pop fly? Of course not. But that again is not the point. The Boston Red Sox as a club are better served having Manny on their team and I have not heard of any clubhouse dissent with Manny. As a fan, that is all I need to know to want him on my team.

The solution I see is to make Boston a happier place for Manny, and it’s very simple. Starting with the fans and then with the media, we need to leave Manny alone and let him play ball. Rather than criticize the little things he does wrong and tear him apart on talk radio, just let the season go its course and end up with the net benefit of his .300 avg, 40 homerun, 125 RBI season.

When Manny is outside of the park, fans shouldn’t crowd or approach him. The media shouldn’t try to interview him. There is plenty of other Sox coverage to write about. Fans need to realize that they cause the problem. KeepManny.com should be a petition to the Globe and other media outlets to end coverage on Manny. I know that the only coverage of him I need is his daily line in the box score. No analysis, no criticisms, just the facts. At the end of the season, the numbers will do the talking and Manny can be happy.
Tom Russell

So, Tom, I’m confused. Does this mean you’ll be getting your KeepManny.com T-shirt or not?

Eric,

After reading that the Sox are suing for possession of the 2004 World Series ball, two questions come to mind:

1. If the Sox lose and Minkie either gets a check from the Sox for the ball, or is able to sell it on eBay, should we expect to see players scuffling amongst one another on the field for the next Series-clinching ball in lieu of celebrating the victory?

2. What happened to the 2005 ball?
Chris

1. Do the Red Sox understand how stupid they look? I mean, do they? I would have less of a problem if — say for instance — in a Family Circus comic, Jeffy gives Billy a cookie, which Billy, substituting for Dad with a cockneyed trail map this week, eats with a flourish. Then, 49 weeks later, Dad back on the job, Jeffy files suit against Billy for eating a cookie that was rightfully all his. That makes more sense to me. Really.

Don’t the Sox have better things to do than to go after this freaking ball? Like hire a GM? Trade their superstar? Build a posh luxury box for their pride and joy clientele? I dunno, prepare for the winter meetings, which start in three days? No, they’re hiring lawyers — lawyers! — to go after this stupid ball. I’ve had it up to here with this story, and that was last December when this whole thing took on ridiculous proportions. I about lost it when they had a the whole red carpet ceremony to announce its arrival. Look, if Dr. Charles Steinberg wants to be Cecil B. DeMille, then go be Cecil B. DeMille. And leave the damn ball alone. For God’s sake.

“We have made numerous approaches to the Mientkiewiczes, and to their representatives, to seek an amicable private settlement, and to ensure that this piece of club history remains accessible to all of our fans,” Red Sox’ chief legal officer Lucinda Treat said. “All were rebuffed. That is why we now seek a judgment.”

Accessible to fans, eh? Where is it then? Can I go see it right now? Oh, really? Well then, here’s an idea of what to make accessible to fans: Tickets that aren’t the most expensive in baseball. How’s that for a novel idea. What a concept. But instead, let’s hire a team of lawyers so we can bring this baseball story back from the dead. The next player who catches the Series-clinching ball should toss it into the stands immediately. It only turns out to be like the Looney Tunes frog in the box. Once you have it, it only keeps coming back to haunt you.

2. Paul Konerko gave it to team owner Jerry Reinsdorf the day of the parade. Reinsdorf has yet to sue for the two days he was denied its presence.

Faces don’t bring titles, that’s very true. But they put butts in the seats. And that’s something EVERY NHL team needs right now after the ridiculous lockout. Now that they traded their only face, and now that their Dunkin Donuts Buy 4 get 4 free promotion is over, and now that they have basically called it a season and are in last place, I can’t wait to see how bad the attendance figures plummet. And I’ll laugh at Jeremy Jacobs every second while it happens. Because he’s the guy that kept O’Connell and let him make this trade. Someone want to tell me what O’Connell has done to impress anyone? Drafting has been pretty crappy. This trade is pretty crappy for the B’s in most eyes. This guy looked like a jerk coming out of the lockout. Their calculated guesses were wrong on freeing up so much money going into the lockout, which stinks, but who knew? But then they have all this money to spend, they don’t go hard enough at the top talent that got signed very early in the game after the lockout, and then they sign their top players only to trade them off. Or when they do go after top talent free agents, none want to come to Boston, because they know how much this organization sucks!!! Can you imagine the marketing people over at the Garden when someone yelled: “Surprise! We just traded our only marketable player! Good luck getting butts in the seats!”
Chris Twardzicki

Look, I am in no way defending the job Mike O’Connell and Harry Sinden have done over the years by any means. But here is why their time here has to be up soon: They can’t win. On or off the ice. On the ice, O’Connell constructed a pathetic team nowhere near capable of winning in the new NHL. But they can’t win with the fans either regardless. By keeping Thornton and not surrounding him, they just want to fill the seats and not win. By trading him and trying to fix things, they are incompetent. Both statements may be true mind you. I just find it funny how on talk radio yesterday afternoon, they screamed about how the team no longer had any marketing in jettisoning its best player. Has anyone seen the “…it’s called Bruins” campaign? Might be the worst ad push since McDonald’s stupid snow pea salad or whatever that looping commercial was. We’re concerned about that taking a hit?

How come O’Connell isn’t accountable after promising a “Stanley Cup contending team”? The Bruins forced the situation they wanted (lockout) and screwed it up worse than anyone could possibly imagine. They were supposed to thrive after the lockout, they had planned for 2+ years on how to deal with it. Yet they assembled a team of middle aged, middle of the road players. Where is the accountability? The post-lockout Bruins are a professional sports management disaster. “Thank You Fans”

Oh, I think he’s very accountable, in that if this trade doesn’t work, he’ll be fired and seen as the modern day Harry Frazee in this town. I just wish he had a little Lou Gorman in him. It was uncomfortable listening to him explain himself yesterday, when Lou would have spurted out something about the sun rising, setting, and having a nice lunch for himself. Gorman’s best. Even better than his lack of outfield space for Willie McGee.

Sure, anybody can work various Phish and Keller Williams pun/references into a weblog.

Now work Umphrey’s McGee in there. THEN I’ll be impressed…
Dave in Atlanta

Where would we play Umphree’s McGee?