At home at fenway

Keeping on eye on Dustin, Papi, Youk & a few good books

Archive for the ‘Manny Ramirez’ Category

Don’t blame Selig for Manny & David. It’s the Money, honey.

Posted by athomeatfenway on July 30, 2009

We don't need a scape goat.  We need disinfectant.

We don't need a scape goat. We need disinfectant.

This is an up and down week for loyal Red Sox fans.

 

Tears of joy fell over the enshrinement of Jim Rice 4 days ago.

 

Anguish and anxiety struck today. Big Papi and Manny Ramirez tested positive in 2003.

 

There is a stark contrast about which to be spoken.

 

Rice averaged one HR every 21.5 AB’s.  He never touched PED’s.

 

Papi & Ramirez combined to average a HR every 15.2 AB’s.

 

It’s no surprise, really.  If you saw Rice play you know he was just as terrifying to face (if not more) than David or Manny.

 

The differences between the Dominican Dandies and the Boston Strong Man are about cheating and honesty, shortcuts and work ethic, popular culture, the relativity of talent, and M-O-N-E-Y, baby.

 

Can’t help but think of my friend who once ended up at a Florida cocktail party with Wakefield, Varitek and Mirabelli.  The talk was all about money.  Real Estate.  Business.  Opportunity. 

 

The MLB is a Money Machine.   It is a pathway to the riches of a lifetime.

 

What would you do to stay on that pathway ?

 

How many of us would do whatever is legal to stay there ?

 

How many of us would stop taking steroids after 2002, when they became illegal ?

 

These are hard questions. 

 

90% of us would cheat if they had company and the protection of the MLBPA.

 

The money is just too hard to resist.

 

So, Papi and Manny should now pay the price.

 

The BBWA and Old Timers should forever keep Manny out of the HOF, along with A-Rod, McGwire, Clemens, and every other “immortal” who would otherwise be enshrined.

 

The Red Sox should forever keep David out of the Red Sox HOF, and never retire his number.  (His heroics, tarnished or not, would not have made him a Cooperstowner anyway.)

 

We may all look at David’s 2009 struggles and 2008 decline a little differently knowing he was PED-fueled.

 

It’s a sad day.  And we must face the music.  The MLB must be cleaned up.

 

Let’s get off our asses and stop blaming Bud Selig.  Let’s insist on the release of all 103 names that tested positive in 2003.  Let’s agree to ban every one of them from the HOF.

 

Let’s get clean and stay that way.

Posted in A-Rod, BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Bud Selig, David Ortiz, Jim Rice, Manny Ramirez | Leave a Comment »

Review: Reversing The Curse

Posted by athomeatfenway on December 22, 2008

reverse-art-1

REVERSING THE CURSE:  A Season in the Life of America’s Greatest Sports Rivalry.  By Dan Shaughnessy.  2005. 272 pages. Houghton Mifflin.

 

 

About 40 pages in, Shaughnessy lucidly recalls how young Theo submerged himself in professional baseball, postponing his driver’s license test for 7 years, living on McDonald’s, working 12 hour days, becoming a lawyer and climbing the ladder with preposterous speed.

 

At that point I thought, “This book is far better than I expected.”.

 

About 70 pages in, Shaughnessy quotes Halberstam’s summation of Red Sox fans, “It’s really very distinctive……I have maybe gotten into the artists and writers and poets of Red Sox Nation.  The fans are quite interesting and important and different……”

 

At that point, I started to feel like I owed Shaughnessy an apology for not reading his book sooner.

 

Should have known that the guy with total access to Theo and his minions would bring a book packed with inside stuff.

 

Should have known that the guy who can make about 800 words work three times a week would write one of the better books about the 2004 Red Sox.

 

Shaughnessy has serious writing chops.  On TV and in public he carries himself with reserve and courtesy.  He’s a polite guy.  Maybe even camera shy.  I am almost surprised he isn’t a little bit immodest.  He’s that good.

 

He has taken his hard shots at the Sox in the past, but not so in this book.

 

Nothing so cutting as the harpoon with which he speared Nomar on Aug. 1, 2004.  (As I remember it, he wrote that the clubhouse cancer had been removed.)

 

The sharpest criticism D.S. levels in REVERSING is to make it clear than Pedro Martinez did not attend team meetings, work outs or even arrive in the dug out for games he did not start  —– until the 7th inning !

 

During one critical series against the Yankees, he didn’t even come down with the team.  He waited until his start before making the 200 mile trip.

 

So, why did Tim Wakefield make the same trip promptly ?

 

“Because I wanted to be with my teammates.”, said, Wake.

 

That’s the contrast Shaughnessy strikes.  Pedro the Hall Of Fame Prima Donna versus  Wakefield the Team Guy.

 

Pedro had a negative effect on Manny.  After Pedro took an outrageous 6-day vacation in the middle of the season, Manny reported tightness in his hammy and took a few days off, too.  There had been no indications that anything was wrong with Manny.

 

Two feakishly talented slackers.   Two players that find themselves outside of the organization’s circle of love at the moment.

 

************ 

The portrait of Larry Lucchino in the book is titillating.  LL emerges as a fearless, F-bomb dropping, Yankee hating leader.  With a mind like a steel trap.

And yet, Lucchino has moments of doubt.

 

Larry’s moments of vulnerability came in game 4 and game 5 of the 2004 ALCS when the Sox were within a few outs of elimination.  Lucchino began scribbling notes for a speech.  As much as losing hurt, he would say that they were not vanquished, not defeated, and would come back with passion and a singular goal in 2005.

 

But things kept happening.  With the Yankees leading 4-3 in the 9th, Millar walked and Roberts stole second.  Lucchino put his notes in the desk of his luxury suite.  He settled in until Ortiz hit a 12th inning walk-off HR off Quantrill, making Larry’s speech at least temporarily moot.

 

The next night, down 4-2 in the 8th and back on the brink, Lucchino retrieved his note pad to re-draft his concession-without-submission speech.  But then Ortiz homered off Tom Gordon, a rally ensued, and Tek sacrificed in the game tying run..  Again, Lucchino put his notes back in the drawer.  He settled in to watch the completion of the 14 inning Sox victory, won when David’s gork dropped into Centerfield for a single.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see that incomplete draft of Lucchino’s speech.  It marks a desperate moment in Sox history and shines light into Larry’s character.  The darkest night comes just before the Dawn.

 

Call me a sick Soxaholic, but I just feel gratified to know about that draft.  If and when I meet Larry, I’ll be sure to ask about it.

 

Reversing The Curse is filled with such gold, excavated and preserved by the author.  I won’t ruin it for you b revealing more now. 

Even if you are prone to bashing Dan,  I recommend you read this book this winter.

 

You’ll be glad ya did.

 

theo-n-larry

The Author

The Author

Posted in BASEBALL, BASEBALL BOOKS, Boston Red Sox, Manny Ramirez, RED SOX | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Michael Bowden impresses with Win #1

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 31, 2008

Aug. 30, 2008

Fenway Park

 

All of this on Ted Williams’ birthday.

 

 

Michael Bowden took the mound today for his first MLB start backed by a makeshift Sox line-up featuring the “strongest 160-pound man in Baseball” batting cleanup.

 

Ellsbury (CF), Lowrie (3rd), Ortiz (DH), Pedroia (2nd), Kotsay (RF), Bay (LF), Tek (C), Bailey (1b) and Cora (ss).

 

Pedroia would reach safely for the 10th AB in a row and hear the MVP chant. 

 

 

Bowden did not have it easy.

 

He faced a ChiSox starting 9 that already poled 185 HR this year. 

 

The 3-4-5 hitters, Quentin, Dye and Thome, have 96 HR between them. 

 

Add to that the sensational rookie Alexei Ramirez (.310/15/60), a still potent 38-yr-old Junior Griffey, and a few other clutch performers, and this was no team of pushovers facing Mr. Bowden.

 

Bowden was as advertised in terms of a powerful, condensed pitching motion.  After walking Cabrera on 5 pitches to start the game, he fired four 92 MPH fastballs to Pierzynski, inducing a 1-3 double play.  5 fastballs later, he grounded Quentin out to third to record his first MLB inning, facing the minimum 3 batters.

 

Bowden would put up only 5 innings this night.   He wouldn’t go unmolested.  But he limited the damage, showing great character and composure in tight spots.

 

In the second, he worked his fastball and a 77 mph cutter to get 2 strikes on Jermaine Dye, but with the crowd calling for the rookie’s first MLB strikeout, Dye smashed the ball 390 ft. to the Garage Door area in dead center.  It had HR distance but hit the CF wall 10 ft below the fans in Bleacher 36.  Two batters later, Bowden gave up his first run in the majors when Alexei Ramirez stroked a 2-2 fastball on a line before Bay in left and turned on the speed to register a double and an RBI.

 

With the crowd still waiting for his first K, Mr. Bowden then fed Nick Swisher a fastball and three 78 mph Cutters, striking Swisher out on a cutter in the dirt.   Swisher, a very good player, looked like a bad one.

 

The 2nd inning damage was 1 run.  Ramirez was stranded on second.  Bowden kept his cool.

 

Bowden gave up one more run this day.  That run almost never scored because Joe Crede, the runner, almost produced an out instead of a triple.  Crede led off the 3rd by smacking the 8th pitch Bowden hurled 379 ft to the base of the left center wall. There, Ellsbury caught up with it, and on the ball’s descent, tipped the fly up not once but twice before it fell for a triple.  He stuck his glove out at the end and just missed it.  Not an easy catch potentially.  A great try by the centerfielder.

 

Crede, who could have been out, trotted in two batters later on Pierzynski’s ground out to Pedroia.  1 run.

 

Bowden fired fastball after fastball over the course of his outing.  He threw about 60 fastballs out of 89 total pitches. 

 

Power Against Power

 

Bowden disarmed Carlos Quentin, holding the MVP candidate to personal O-for-three before leaving. 

 

Bowden displayed his intangibles in the fifth.  After yielding two singles to Cabrera and Pierzynski, and with Dye on deck, he fed the power hitting Quentin four 92 mph fastballs, two of them partially over the plate, two of them not. 

 

On the second pitch, with a 1-0 count, two ducks on the pond, Bowden was not afraid to pound another fastball in letter high to the White Sox slugger.

 

Power against power. 

 

Quentin couldn’t catch up to it. 

 

Bowden did not get Quentin to chase the pitches out of the zone, but he did make him fly out to Bay on the last pitch.   Then he stranded two ChiSox when the slugger Dye flew out to Bay on a ball with HR height to the track.

 

Bowden never looked to be in serious trouble.  He surely put runners on base, yielding 4 hits in the 4th and the 5th, but no one scored.

 

He was aided by one double play, initiated by him self in the first.

 

 

More than a fastball

 

At the end of the day, Bowden had a fine first outing.  His fastball, 5 or 6 mph slower than Manny Delcarmen’s or Josh Beckett’s, had the movement needed to stay away from the heart of the plate and give the White Sox batters conniptions.  Although heavy on the heater, Bowden mixed in an effective Cutter (77 mph), Curve (78 mph), and a Change (85 mph).  He really made Swisher look bad with the curve in particular.

 

Licking His Chops

 

Young Alexei Ramirez stood on deck while Griffey made the last out in the 9th.   He was asked what he thought of the kid who started tonight.  Alexei smiled sweetly at the questioner in the second row.  He looked like a cat licking its whiskers after biting the mouse on it’s hind quarter, but somehow letting it get away.  He smirked, but said nothing.

 

Bowden gets an A+ for cool.  He gets an A+ for getting ahead in the count.  He gets an A for controlling the rythym of his outing.    

 

He gets a B- for overall performance though, unable to keep the able ChiSox batters off the bases. 

 

We’ll someday see how he does against the Ginger and Mary Anne’s in Baltimore, Kansas City and Seattle.  

 

Ellsbury, Pedroia & Kotsay win it 8-2

 

Mr. Bowden owes thanks to the self-acknowledged “Strongest 160 pound Man in Baseball”, and a few other mates, for notching his first MLB victory on Ted Williams’  90th birthday, by a score of 8 – 2.

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Charlie Zink, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Manny Ramirez, Matsuzaka, Michael Bowden, Mike Lowell, NESN, RED SOX, Ted Williams, Terry Francona, Tim Wakefield, Uncategorized, Youkilis | Leave a Comment »

FOR THE RECORD

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 4, 2008

 

Fri., July 25    Joba outduels Beckett  1-0

 

Sat. July 26    Wake’s first bad outing since May 18, Yanks win 10-3

 

Sun. July 27   Lester cruises over Ponson, 9-2.

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Carl Yastrzemski, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Fred Lynn, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jim Rice, JOBA CHAMBERLAIN, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Manny Ramirez, Mike Lowell, NEW YORK YANKEES, RED SOX, Ted Williams, Terry Francona, Tim Wakefield | Leave a Comment »

KEEP MANNY RAMIREZ IN BOSTON – WHERE HE BELONGS !

Posted by athomeatfenway on July 31, 2008

Manny wants to be traded.  That’s what he says today, July 31, as of 12:50 PM EST.

 

Who knows what he’ll be saying @ 4:01 PM EST, when the trading deadline occurs.

 

Manny does not want the Sox to renew his contract for 2009.

 

Manny believes he can get a multi-year deal that will guarantee his employment from 2009 through 2012, when he turns 40.

 

Bottom line, Manny does not like being renewable on a year-by-year basis.

 

Manny wants the security & megabucks he believes he has coming.

 

With his fan popularity, national reputation, 500+ HR’s, history in three World Series, and incredible good looks, Manny suspects he’ll get an $80 Million 4-year contract. 

 

He’s misjudging his market value. 

 

He is 36. His offense is declining. His defense is fair. He has baggage.  He shoved to the ground down a 68-year-old employee.  He swung his fist inexplicably at Youkilis.  He took off games with lame excuses.  He took off games against tough pitchers.  He did not run out grounders. He talked trash about team ownership. 

 

He won’t get what he thinks he is worth.  But someone will pay his $60 Mill for 4 years.  $65 Mill —  tops.

 

The Sox should move quickly this afternoon.  First by tearing up his two option years and replacing it with a 4-year $65 Million contract with performance incentives.

 

Make it so that Manny can go from earning a base of $16.25 Million a year to total annual pay of $25 Million IF he plays in 150 games, bats .300, and gets 100 RBI annually.   Stagger it.  Be creative.

 

Manny has done much for Soxaholics. He has earned this.  He’s hit in the clutch.  He’s made David Ortiz more productive.

 

He is everyone’s favorite player.

 

At most — He is the entire show on some days.

 

At worse – he is a major player in this show.

 

And make no mistake  — this is show business.

 

Let’s overlook the fact he a spoiled flake.  The Nation and the Team have managed to be flexible with Manny over 8 years of this stuff.  Let’s be loyal.  Keep him in Boston where he belongs.

 

 

 

 

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia, Manny Ramirez, RED SOX | Leave a Comment »