Friday, February 24, 2006
No Tag for Adam
It seems like Adam Vinatieri has been the place-kicker for our boys in blue forever, right? It looks like Bill is in no hurry to keep it that way. The crux of the problem is uncertainty... Belichick and Pioli have been masters in the past of allocating resources, and are unwilling to make contract decisions until they know what those resources will be in the next few years. That's right, the salary cap which has created the tight competition we've come to love in the last decade, is not set for 2007, and many factors still need to be hashed out before we even know if there will be one. And right now they're not even talking.
The team has decided not to slap the franchise tag on Adam, which would have awarded him $3 million for the 2006 season. If not signed to a contract with the Patriots by March 3rd, Vinatieri will become a free agent. Even if he leaves, Adam may still be dressing in blue and silver; ESPN is reporting Dallas to be the most likely landing place. I really hate Bill Parcells. Really. Ok, I just had to say that; I will be extremely annoyed if he gets our kicker.
Bill says he can't make any contract decisions until he knows what he's working with, and is focusing instead on preparations for things he knows the parameters of. This means key free agents may slip away to teams willing to take that chance. It is no surprise that our front office is taking a conservative economic approach to the situation, despite the immediate risk. As sad as it would be to lose our clutch kicker, this is the philosophy that has brought three Lombardi trophies to Foxboro in the last five years, and continues to keep our team competitive in the long term.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Sheffanie may produce on the field, but his selfish and nasty attitude are intolerable. No doubt teammates must tiptoe around him, so as to not awaken the beast. Even though I resent it when he contributes a key homerun, I am glad to see the Shef in pinstripes yet again... he is ticking bomb in the clubhouse, exuding negativity all the while.
I don't like that our Manny is a prima donna, and yeah, I sure wish he was more of a team player, but at least he's not a raging a$$hole.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
With so many new players, we here at reb sox are glad to see an early turnout to camp. The World Baseball Classic will be cutting deep into the get-to-know-you time down there in Fort Myers, and every extra day helps. Although I know a lot of RSN sheds no tears over the departure of Kentucky Fried Kevin, between him and clueless Johnny we are losing the core of the chemistry previously pulling together the clubhouse. It's going to take a little while for all these new guys to mesh, but perhaps even longer for our team to find their identity.
There's been a lot of debate over whether this WBC thing is good for the MLB or not. When it was first announced last fall, the risk of injury to our players was at the forefront of everyone's mind. Of course the risk is highest to starting pitchers, and since we don't have any of those playing in the Classic, who cares, right? I like how Tito pointed out that this will give younger players like Pedroia a chance for more playing time. One of the best traits of our manager is his ability to put a positive spin on anything.
Despite all of its possible drawbacks for the team, we at reb sox are pretty excited for the new international tournament. After all, this means MORE BASEBALL. Sure, we would have the spring training games, but ya gotta admit they can be pretty lame, since no one really cares about winning them. March is a long and dreary month up here in New England, and any distraction is welcome as far as I'm concerned.
With nine days before the first spring training game, the nation tries to keep a grip on our anticipation with silliness such as the Manny search. But there's a lot of good news coming out of Fort Myers, too - like all of our early arrivals, and players who are happy to be here and hoping not to get traded. Spring Training will be productive and answer a lot of questions for us, despite the disruptions. And somewhere up ahead lies a hundred and sixty-two games to look forward to.
Friday, February 17, 2006
As I danced, I saw the green of Fenway in my mind, felt the swell of fans groovin' along with me, and smelled the sausages... and all the while four words repeated over and over in my head:
That's tomorrow, folks. But most of the guys are there already, as anxious as we are.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Rabid about Roger
I was very much out of the loop last week while I was out of town, and was surprised when my client arrived on Friday talking as if Clemens was practically ready to lace up the cleats over RED SOX. Sure, I've heard the whispers even as early as before the trading deadline last year, but I've had a hard time taking this one seriously. Do we really want Roger?
Before you start waving stats about and shaking me by the shoulders, hear me out people. I'm perfectly aware of Roger's fine skills. I know how unhittable he was in Texas last year, yes, and please don't yell. Guy got shut out nine times last year, yada, yada, ya don't have to tell me. He's a great pitcher. He's old, could go south any day now, but far be it from any of us here in Boston to suggest that his best days are over... once burned, twice shy, you know.
So why am I dubious? Oh let me count the ways!
- Remember what he said about us last year? Roger does not like red sox nation. He thinks we like to complain. That we don't know how to be happy. That we don't know how to love our team. Roger listens to too much WEEI, methinks.
- Roger has only played the last two years because he was able to play for his hometown. He was able to live at home and spend most of the time with his family. Even if he were to get the same silly deal with travel here, pitching for Boston would involve being away from home most of the time.
- Roger costs too much money and would require special treatment. Isn't that why (I mean deep down in the unadmitted area) theo pushed away Pedro by bruising his ego? This is not a good ingredient to team chemistry.
The only inkling that could bring Roger here would be EGO. Maybe he yearns for that sentimental finish in a blaze of glory. Maybe he realizes the Hall of Fame will induct him with a Red Sox uni, so he may as well make some more positive memories here so he won't resent it. He came close to winning it all for his home team last year, which really would have put a cap on it... he won't come to Boston unless he firmly believes we can have it all.
I see this situation as a sentimental piece of coal being pressed vigorously by ownership - Our young stallions in the front office know what a fruitless effort this whole thing is, and have told John Henry to knock himself out.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
The Extra-Large Bowl
Three years ago I had some very legitimate reasons to back Tampa Bay on game day:
- Jon Gruden is hot.
- I hate the Oakland Raiders, their fans, and their owner.
It turned out ok for me that day. I ended up seeing the Raiders lose AND lots and lots of close-up shots of their former coach, wonder-boy Jon. So now that I think about it, the last FOUR Superbowls have been pretty damn good for me, and a team should be so lucky as to have me on their side on Superbowl Sunday.
Looking again at my reasons for backing the Bucs in 2003, it sure makes my pick for this year seem funny. That's because:
- Bill Cowher is scary-looking. His smile could wilt flowers.
- I could care less about the Seattle Seahawks. Actually under normal circumstances I pretty much hate the Steelers, and Seattle I view as benign or unthreatening.
So why adorn myself in black and gold? It's pity, to be quite honest. But don't tell those towel-heads; they're a proud bunch. They have been pretty aggressive toward us Patriots fans in recent years, and nothing shuts up a trash-talker like not needing to talk trash. In an ideal situation, the steel army did not need to get past the pats this year to make it to Detroit. Let's hope they take advantage, 'cause who knows when such a thing will happen again.
Maybe I'd be more inclined to root for the Seahawks if I knew any Seahawk fans - at all. I'm sure it's just because I'm sheltered in my haven of New England, but you can't prove those guys have fans by me; I have never met one in my life. I do, however, know many Steelers fans, including one of my best friends from college, and after the consternation caused by my own team in recent years, I suppose I could deal with seeing them smile.
That being said, best of luck to all the fans out there with vested interest in this game. It's a special day to see your team in the big show, and you never know when or if you will see it again. Soak it up.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Does it Do Any Good to Demand?
The season ended on a sour note - can't win 'em all, folks - and a cry rose up from the malcontents. Demands were made for a trade by two marquee players. At least we know of only two, right?
Perhaps there were others. I like to think maybe Edgah wanted out... and was smart enough to keep his mouth shut about it to the press. He was dealt early. No rumors, no setbacks, just smooth-sailing, with no attempts by the Atlanta front office to fleece the farm. If there was blood in Boston, the braves didn't smell it. Reticence served Rentaria well this time; His unhappiness, while plain for the world to see, was not shouted of from the roof-tops, but brooded upon silently behind closed doors, where our young braintrust was free to negotiate a reasonable solution.
I would like to know what Manny and Wellsie think they have accomplished by making their trade demands so widely known.
Recent reports indicate another failed attempt to trade Manny to the west coast, as the Angels balk at the steep price of both Manny's pay and trade value. An earlier trade fell through when Manny made known that he would require his new team to pick up both ($20 million) option years at the end of his contract. For those of us with brains and logic skills, it's quite dizzying trying to figure out what manny actually wants... we realize these are tools he may not possess, but surely he's paying someone to advise him? (How often would you want to strangle your client if that were you?) With his repeated fits of unhappiness, Manny Ramirez has placed the Boston management in an awkward position - over and over and over again. His monstrous salary alone limits the interest of other teams, as so few can afford to pay him. He might have a beef there with the players' association, since their ruling will not allow him to accept a pay reduction, yet I get the feeling Manny doesn't even realize this is a problem. If you told the man that he makes more than two-thirds of the salary of the entire Tampa Bay team, he probably wouldn't get it. (It seems wasteful to pay someone that much when they are incapable of recognizing how much it really is.) By "tying the hands" of the GM, Manny has essentially made himself impossible to trade. He has driven down his trade value time and again, until there is nowhere left to go. Meanwhile his future is being determined by people who are fortunately much, much brighter than he is. While paying lip service to the possibilities, theo & co. will only go so far to cut their losses on this one. We will not accept fodder just to get the cry-baby out of the fold. After so much time, his complaints now fall on deaf ears- (oh except for the dumb ones on WEEI.) By the end of the month we will almost surely see him take it all back, smiling sheepishly as he pulls on his navy cap and double-points to the crowd. He will claim, once again, that he wants to win for the city of Boston. And we will cheer, once again, at least until the trading deadline.
Boomer has also waited in vain for a trade announcement this winter. After sounding off this Fall, Wells has watched from the sidelines as Sox management has toiled unsuccessfully to placate his desires. Just this week, Boomer's agent felt the need to reinstate goodwill in the situation by asserting that Wells would be reporting to camp with belles on his toes and a jolly good smile, toasting jovially to another year in Boston if he has not been traded. David has claimed this is not about Boston, but simply a desire to be closer to home as he finishes his career. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant. David Wells may have a few loose screws, but is known to be crafty and is clearly intelligent... So why would he make his desires to be traded a public matter? It's clear now that he has shot himself in the foot; teams on the west coast, seeing that the sox have no choice, have tried to take advantage of the situation. The result has been NO DEAL, as the sox seek fair compensation for a valuable ace and will not allow him to simply be stolen. One look at the roster and we clearly see the need to unload the great Boom... and might have already if he had only kept his trap shut.
I understand that players believe this is the only thing in their power to get traded. Do they understand the results? This tool - the press - is a dangerous one, with a mind of its own and a strong tendancy to backfire. Players and agents should look at these situations carefully and take heed to the dangers demonstrated. Shouting demands with all the sound and the fury of an explosion can so easily result in nothing but the stench of ill will and distrust from a fanbase. Whisper your wants, and they may be more swiftly granted.