Archive for July, 2007

Deadline Day (Update II)

Posted by rich on 31st July 2007

Just goes to show you how these things are always in motion at the final hour. The Jermaine Dye deal fell apart, although Theo said that he thought that they had put together the best offer for “a bat” that they “had targeted.” Oh well, we’re stuck with Wily Mo, who is starting tonight (God help us all on that front).

But it didn’t look like the Rangers would part with Gagne, and they did. The Sox gave up the surging Kason Gabbard and minor leaguer David Murphy, who was never going to make it here. The addition of Gagne gives the Sox the best bullpen in baseball. The foursome of Papelbon, Okijima, Gagne and Delcarmen is off the charts good.

That’s it for today (three updates, you’d think I got paid by the post). I’m outta here, have to get to Hyannis for a soccer game. See y’all tomorrow.

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Deadline Day (Update)

Posted by rich on 31st July 2007

It’s now 2:10 PM and still no moves reported, but the Dye trade seems to be picking up steam. Latest reports have the Sox receiving Jermaine Dye from Chicago in return for Wily Mo Pena and Craig Hansen. The Sox would also get a minor leaguer.

If that’s what it’ll take, I’m all for it. Hansen may never find his mojo in Boston and a change of scenery makes sense. Pena, well you know by know how I feel about WMP. Also making this move either allows them to keep Manny Delcarmen for the rest of the season, or package him in another deal.

Is it me, or has Theo gotten his groove back?

Also the Sox moved Joel Pineiro today, trading him to St. Louis. Details can be read here.

Lastly, the Sox still are in talks for Eric Gagne, but the Rangers apparently want the house, including either Ellsbury or Bucholz. The Sox aren’t making that move with either of those guys involved, no way.

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Deadline Day

Posted by rich on 31st July 2007

Yesterday’s big news was trade related, obviously, with the Celtics being the big players. Today will probably bring the formal announcement of that deal, but that won’t be the only trade news as the deadline for the MLB non-waiver deadline is 4 PM this afternoon.

According to Jeff Horrigan the Sox are working on a couple of deals in a big way, but not having a lot of success getting them done. Jermaine Dye, of the White Sox, and Eric Gagne, of the Rangers, seem to be the big objects of the Sox’ affection. Boston just doesn’t want to give up any of their prized prospects, such as Jacoby Ellsbury.

If the Sox can bring in both of those guys it would be a huge coup. Adding Gagne to the bullpen mix would be awesome for the Sox, giving them an unreal 1-2 punch with Paps. Throw in Oki in that mix and the Sox pen would be more lights out than my father on an energy fixation when I was a kid.

Dye would add a big punch to the lineup and would allow them to do a lot of different things with the lineup. Papi would get some more days off at DH and Drew wouldn’t have to hit against lefties. I just wonder if Dye could play some center field too? If he could the Sox can platoon him with those two guys, and Coco, and have a punchier offense for the stretch drive.

According to several web sites part of the trade for Dye would include Wily Mo Pena. Can we get an “Amen?” Talk about perfect timing. WMP — aka Pedro Cerano Jr. — had a big weekend, bolstering his value to its highest point ever. Thank goodness.

Check out ESPN.com throughout the day for any trade news as they seem to be on the pulse of things.

For the record, both the Sox and Yankees have played 105 games at this point, leaving 57 left. By my calculations that makes the Sox magic number 50. If the Sox can play basically .500 ball the rest of the way (29-28) the Yankees would need to go 37-20 (.649) to tie. You have to like the Sox chances of finally winning the AL East for the first time since 1995.

LINKS

Now this is what golf needs more of, this pro golfer channeled Shooter McGavin at the Canadian Open. I wonder if he later questioned Grizzly Adams’ facial hair status?

Bill Simmons’ view on the big trade makes sense, although he made a few mistakes in his column. Your chances of hitting a flush after flopping four spades is about 36-percent, not 25. Trust me on that one, but he knows the C’s better than me.

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Garnett

Posted by rich on 30th July 2007

So Kevin Garnett may accept a trade to Boston after all. Interesting.

Now here’s the big question. Are the Celtics giving up too much by trading away Al Jefferson and Gerald Green?

GarnettKG is one of the best players in the NBA, there’s no question about that, and he’s been pretty durable. I’d put him in the second tier of NBA stars, just behind the likes of Tim Duncan, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. He’s probably in the top 10 of NBA players and could be a top five guy. Bringing him in gives you a new best player on your team, and the troika of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Garnett seems pretty solid. Without question that threesome puts the C’s in the top three — at least — in the Eastern Conference.

Garnett averaged over 22 points per game last year and 12 boards. Those are great numbers, and he’s durable and went nearly 40 minutes per game. He’s also a unique talent, a guy that can stretch a defense from the four or five spot and play on the interior or perimeter, and he defends very well.

The only downside of Garnett is that he’s not getting any younger. He’s 31 years old and has a lot of miles on the odometer. Let’s not forget that KG eschewed high school. He’s been in The League for 12 years already.

I love adding Garnett to the mix, and if Ainge believes his job security lies with this team going deep, well, who can blame him for making the move. It’s a good one.

But, and this is a big but, do the C’s really get that much of an upgrade going with KG over Al Jefferson?

Garnett is the player that people hope that Jefferson can become. He’s done nothing but get better and had a great second half last year. This is why Minnesota wants him, his potential seems to have a very high ceiling and he’s starting to get closer to realizing it.

Last year Jefferson averaged 16 points per game and 10.9 rebounds. Those numbers aren’t quite as good as KG, but they’re very good, especially for a 22-year old kid that’s just starting to blossom. He’s got talent and he’s getting better.

But the Celtics don’t want to wait around for him to get better. Ainge wants to win now, and feels that the chances of doing that improve greatly with KG in Big Al’s place.

I can’t say that I blame Ainge, and I think the move makes sense. The window to win isn’t going to be a big one, the new Big 3 are all in their 30s, but the Celts have a chance to make some noise this year, and maybe more important than anything else, be relevant on the Boston sports landscape once again.

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Entourage last night was once again worth the half-hour. The laughs weren’t non-stop, but the last shot alone was worth the build-up. If you’re interested in seeing where the rest of the season is headed, here’s a synopsis of the next four shows.

LINKS

If you can’t wait to see your favorite new shows, well you might not have to. Apparently tons of new shows have already been leaked on the net, even though they’re not supposed to hit the airwaves for about another six weeks.

Tom Brady is getting excited about the coming season and all of his new weapons, especially the one wearing No. 81. Speaking of the number for Randy Moss, I’ve got to say I was hoping he’d stick with No. 6. I just thought that it had a unique look to it. Probably the NFL wouldn’t allow him to wear it because there were numbers available in the 80s, and sometimes NFL does stand for “No Fun League.” Still, it was unique and Randy Moss is, if nothing else, unique. In the end, though, who cares what number he has on his chest as long as he’s hauling in passes and taking them to the end zone.

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Manny Being Awesome

Posted by rich on 27th July 2007

mannyIf the Boston Red Sox are going to hold off the New York Yankees down the stretch, which I think they will, they are going to need to start producing more offensively on a regular basis. Last night’s game was a nice step in the right direction.

The man that I believe will be the catalyst for the club’s numbers in the second half is everyone’s favorite goofball left fielder, Manny Ramirez. Now we’ve heard a lot about how he’s not had a great season, and that his production is down. And, to an extent, that is true. Power-wise, he hit only 11 homers with 45 runs batted in. Those are great numbers if you’re Kevin Youkilis, but not so much if you’re Manny Ramirez. Manny being Manny means Manny needs to pound the baseball.

Well look out, Manny’s pounding the baseball again. Last night he smacked two homers and drove in four. Since the all-star break he’s been on a tear. For the month of July he’s got six homers, all have come since after the break, he’s driven in 21 runs (19 post-break) and he’s hitting at a .368 clip. Even more impressive, he’s slugging .697 and his OPS is off the charts at 1.165.

Personally, I love the guy. During the 2004 season I had the opportunity to spend the better part of an afternoon with him when he came to Falmouth to get some work done on a car for his dad. Picture Pimp My Ride, Falmouth edition. I took photos and hung out with him and the owner of Falmouth Auto Works, Chris Silva, and found Manny to be quite personable. I’ll never forget what he said that came back to make me smile a few months later. Now, you have to understand, this was said in Manny’s voice, which made it funnier. “Man, to win the World Series for Boston, that would be the best, the best. These fans are crazy, they love us, they love Manny, they’re fun to play for. To win one for Boston, wooo, that would be something.”

Who knew that three months later he’d be doing just that, and winning the series MVP in the process (although I think that Keith Foulke probably should have gotten it).

It’s nice to see Manny getting the job done, now if only Papi would round into shape.

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derby 1I had to go to the Barnstable County Fair twice this week, once with the family and once on assignment. I have to admit that I actually had some fun. We took the kiddos on a day when they could ride all the rides they wanted, until 6 PM, for a total of $15 each. That’s a lot of money for those dumb rides, but they stretched those dollars pretty far. If I had had to pay for all of the rides they went on it would have easily cost me $100 at least.

The food at the fair is atrocious. There’s just no other way to put it. I settled on some fried chicken, and it might not have been all that bad if they had actually cooked it all the way through. The onion rings made the ones on The Sopranos finale look like a delicacy. The only thing that was half-decent was the pizza the kids got, and that still couldn’t stand up next to something from Pizza 1 or Pi.

barnstable demolition derby 2As for the people at the fair, there’s no nice way to say it. Where do they come from? I thought Cape Cod was supposed to be a place that the beautiful people spent their summers. Walking up and down the aisles we had to avert our children’s eyes from freak show after freak show. I wish I could print in this space the things that my buddy Darin had to say about the fair, but alas they are not suitable for a PG-rated web site.

On Wednesday I covered the demolition derby. Watching cars crash into one another is fun, there’s no other way to put it. The car-nage, the wreckage, the twisted metal. It’s a good time. Those guys that get in there to do that are a bit twisted, but they are certainly enjoying themselves.

The best part of the fair, though, is that it will finally be over this weekend. Once again it will be safe to head toward Route 151 and not expect miles and miles of delays. Traffic is bad enough round these parts in the summer. TGIO, Thank God It’s Over.

LINKS

Just when you thought that humanity couldn’t go any lower, someone robs a kid’s lemonade stand.

For those of you, who like me and Lyra, look forward to Lost every week, here’s a rundown of what we can expect in the next season. I’d say there are mild spoilers, but nothing that would ruin the season for you.

SI’s Jon Heyman says not to get too worked up about the MLB trade deadline. As one GM called it “worst trade deadline ever.” So looks like you’re winning it or losing it with what you’ve got Sox fans.

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B-Rad

Posted by rich on 26th July 2007

Don’t have a lot of time for a big post today, I have to head over to Falmouth Hospital to see my cousin Brad. He’s been complaining of severe back pain the last couple of weeks and ended up in the hospital yesterday and they’re running a variety of tests. I’m not sure what the prognosis is right now, but he’s only 19 and he’s in there by himself right now, so I’m going to grab him some magazines and head over to spend a couple of hours with him before I have to head to Harwich for tonight’s Comms’ game.

Another great pitching performance last night for the Sox, it’s just that Carmona one-upped Beckett. It happens. Papi looked like his timing was way off.

Not that it really matters, because the team didn’t touch the Indians’ staff last night, but there’s no way that that was strike three to Pedroia in the ninth. That pitch was down, and should have been ball four. I know that they say if its close with two strikes that you have to swing, but I didn’t think that it was all that close, and neither did Dustin.

Listening to WEEI this morning I heard a caller, John from Falmouth, who was going at it with John Wallach. I can’t remember what exactly the argument was about, but John from Falmouth is becoming a regular rabble-rouser on EEI of late, and I hardly ever listen to the station anymore. It’s entertaining, I’ll give JFF that.

Yes the lead is only 6 1/2 now. The sky isn’t falling. Do not panic, there’s still a long, long way to go. The Yankees are playing unreal ball right now, but keeping up that pace is next to impossible. Let’s not forget the Red Sox had a similar streak early in the season, and they’re still comfortable ahead.

The fact that the Sox get to beat up on the Tampa pitching staff this weekend helps, too. Let’s just hope Gabbard can get the job done tonight.

Hopefully I’ll have a good Barnstable County Fair post tomorrow. Have a good Thursday.

Links

This might become a regular part of the dashboard, the top 5 lists by SI.com. Here you’ve got the five worst WWF gimmicks and the top five worst soccer hairdos. I think I’m on board.

Now some of these have some bad language in them, so if you’re offended, click another link. But, anyways, you’ve heard of the chuck norris facts? You know, “On the seventh day God said “Hey Chuck, lil’ help?” You know, stuff like that. Well, someone did the same thing for Cole Hamel, of the Phillies. There are some pretty funny ones, but don’t try to get through the whole list in one sitting, it’s over 1,200 entries long.

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171 Starbucks

Posted by rich on 25th July 2007

My affinity for Starbucks is no secret. I have a venti (that’s large to you uninformed laymen) cup in front of me as I type this. As much as I love the stuff, though, it has not become any kind of obsession. I stop in on my way to work and sometimes on my way home. When the chocolate chip cookies are soft, they’re divine, although the supplier doesn’t seem to be able to accomplish that on a consistent basis.

For me to go to every Starbucks in town, that’s no problem, there’s one. I’ve had days when I’ve visited every Starbucks on Cape Cod, which is no big deal because there are two (three if you count the Barnes and Noble coffee shop at the Cape Cod Mall which is not officially a Starbucks, but they brew the coffee there and do have the logo on the cups).

Now if you’ve ever been to a big city you might think that Starbucks has an evil plan for worldwide domination. In Boston you can’t walk more than a block or two without seeing that inviting mermaid. Apparently they are even more widespread in Manhattan.

Mark Malkoff, who obviously is somewhat tapped and had too much time on his hands, found out that there are 171 Starbucks in Manhattan and then decided to visit each and every one of them. He accomplished his goal, but not without some obstacles, which included purchasing something at each and every store. (Now I know the Starbucks people love the free publicity, and they reimbursed him for having to bribe an employee after they had closed so that he would n’t miss out on his goal, but come on guys, what about me? I wrote a great piece here about the superiority of Starbucks to Dunks, and still no gift cards? What’s up with that, it’s not like it’s that difficult to send one to: Rich Maclone, c/o Enterprise Publishing, 50 Depot Ave., Falmouth, MA, 02536. Really is it?)

So Malkoff hit them all. You’ll enjoy this video, the best part is the street interviews in the beginning, but you have to stay with it for the whole 11 minutes, it’s pretty riveting. What did people do before the internet anyways?

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Daisuke Matsuzaka is the man. Last night was great. I love that the Yankees have been killing lesser teams, scoring runs at an alarming rate, but haven’t gained any ground. They must be tearing their hair out in NY right now. The Yanks win by a few touchdowns, the Sox win 6-2. The Yanks win 9-4, but the Sox win 1-0. At the end of the day, I still prefer what the Sox have because the pitching, and especially the bullpen, is superior. That’s what wins in the end. The Tampa pitching staff will not be making any appearances in mid-October.

The weird thing, though, is the lack of run support for Dice. Over his last 11 starts the Sox have scored 2 or fewer runs in nine of them. That just tells you how good he’s been, posting a record of 12-7 with an ERA of 3.79. The guy can pitch, and he seems to be better in close games. And, he’s only 26.

Tonight’s match-up should be a great one as well. You may never have heard of Fausto Carmona, but he’s very, very good. You know about Josh Beckett, and he too is very, very good. It wouldn’t surprise me if we had another 1-0 game on our hands this evening.

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I finally got some of my mojo back last night on pokerstars. I had been entrenched in one of the worst downswings I’ve had in a long, long time, having gone about 15 straight tournaments or sit-n-gos without cashing. I don’t know if was just that I finally caught some nice cards or that I outplayed people, maybe it was a combination, but I took first in an 18-man two table tourney last night for $36. It’s not a huge score, but at this point I’ll take anything. I’m hoping to grind back up to where I was, and beyond, over the next few months. I made a $50 deposit on PS almost a year ago and have never had to put money back on, and I cashed out several hundred bucks two months ago to pay for Dewey the Dog.

If anyone believes that playing cards is just luck, you are crazy. There is definitely skill involved. A top online pro players, Annette_15, played made a point this week by playing in an 180-person $4 tournament without looking at her cards. She won the whole thing. I saw the video of it and it’s downright impressive. You can tell she never saw her cards because there were times that she folded pocket kings and queens instantly. I wish i was that good.

Links

Darin and I are supposed to be taking the kids up to see the Pats training camp for Tuesday’s late session. If you too are interested in seeing some training camp stuff, head to this Patriots.com link and the full schedule is there. One note, though. We tried to do this last summer and went up for a late session only to find out that Coach B had canceled the afternoon session. Of course we found this out after the 75-minute drive to Gillette Stadium. So if you’re going, make sure to check in at the web site first.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about B*rry B*nds lately, and his quest for 756. I read a great article last night about Hammerin’ Hank in Sports Illustrated that just made me despise Mr. ** even more. Not that we really need any more proof, but the “Doctor” that prescribed the famous Clear — not to be confused with flaxseed oil — says that B*nds and Sheffield both are cheaters.

John Clayton has a look at the upcoming NFL training camps and tells you what to look for. He might look like Chicken Little, but Clayton knows his stuff.

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That Was Perfect

Posted by rich on 24th July 2007

lesterJon Lester’s story could not have been any better last night. The lefty came back to the mound and reminded everyone that he’s not just Jon Lester, cancer survivor, but also Jon Lester, big league pitcher.

Even Yankees fans had to take their caps off and tip the in Lester’s direction last night. You can’t help but feel good for the guy.

Good job by the offense getting him a cushion early on. Nothing like taking the mound for the first time in a year and already having a 4-0 lead.

That was game No. 99 last night, so 63 remain on the season. The Sox are now 60-39 overall, which I believe matches their best over-.500 number for the year. The Yanks won again, so they’re still 7.5 games behind. No need to worry, though. Willie B told me last night that baseballprospectus.com says that the Sox likelihood to win the AL East this year is now north of 95-percent. I like those odds.

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If you’ve got HBO, tonight is the must-see Bob Costas special about the steroid era. Curt Schilling is the main interview guest, and we all know he’s got an opinion on the subject. This is must-see TV. I’m looking forward to see who he throws under the bus and what he’ll be apologizing for or clarifying on Dennis and Callahan on Wednesday morning.

Also starting soon on HBO is the return of Hard Knocks. After a few years hiatus, it’s back following the KC Chiefs this time. With LJ maybe holding out, this could be really, really good.

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Links

CBS announced yesterday who will be replacing the lovable Bob Barker. I’m marginally excited about the prospect of the new guy, but no one can really ever replace Bobby. I’ll never forget late morning in college sitting around the TV with two or three other guys as we argued over the retail value of a toaster in the state of california. Good, good times.

A boxing champ in the UK was shot in the face, for asking three guys not to smoke. What is happening with the world?

First dog-fighting, now cock-fighting. Again, what is happing with the world? At least Mike Vick wasn’t involved.

Speaking of Vick, he’s been told my the NFL that he’s not allowed to report to training camp. Good call.

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Let’s Go Lester

Posted by rich on 23rd July 2007

Seems like I nailed it on the head last week. Jon Lester gets his shot with the big league club again tonight, coming back from his bout with cancer. Cleveland will offer a stiff test, but if there’s any justice in this world, then Lester will have a solid outing against the Indians.

This stuff is Sunday Movie Of The Week-type of stuff. The kid came up through the system, became a legitimate big leaguer for the Sox and then had it all ripped away. Now, 11 months later, he’s back in The Show with a chance to help his team in its pennant drive. Pass the Kleenex.

It will be interesting to see what will happen if Lester is solid tonight. If he’s able to pitch well in consecutive starts the Sox will have a bit of a conundrum when Schilling comes back, should 38pitches.com be able to return to his old form. Let’s not forget that right before Schill got hurt he 1-hit the A’s and should have had a perfect game. That seems like ages ago, in reality it was only like six weeks ago.

When Schill is back in the mix, it will be three guys for two spots and we know Mr. Bloody Sox is going to get one of them. He’s been an ace for the last couple of years and he gets it by default, which leaves Tito, Theo and Co. to decide between Lester and Gabbard. Kason Gabbard may have a confusing name, but his pitching has been on point. He was awesome the other night and he’s still undefeated, now 5-0. Sorry Lester, but you’ll be waiting in the wings until the Sept. call-ups most likely. Having too many arms, of course, is a good problem to have.

The Sox finally seem to have righted the ship. The game certainly got a bit tenuous late yesterday, but Paps got through it. Three-run lead, two on, no outs and he fans Thome and then gets Konerko to bounce into the old 5-4-3 DP. Rye and I were cheering as loud as Paps was.

The only bad thing to come out of the weekend was the injury to Papi, who jammed his shoulder diving into second base on Friday night. Can we pass a Man Law that neither Ortiz or Manny are allowed to dive head-first into any base. I love the hustle big guy, but as Boba Fett once said, “he’s no good to me dead.”

The Yankees had a field day against Tampa this weekend, but they lost a half-game in the standings, so we’re okay with it. I had an engagement sitting last night, shooting a couple of Yankees fans, and the banter was fun. I still say the Yankees are going nowhere, it’s too much of an uphill battle. They keep making up a little ground on the Sox, but then they give it back. They’ve got a test this next series. The KC Royals have been legit over the last six weeks, as the Sox recently found out. Let’s go Royals.

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Entourage last night was a return to what I love most about the show, Drama being Drama, Ari being Ari and Lloyd being Lloyd. Those three are the driving comedic forces on the show, although Billy Walsh is certainly on his way.

It will be interesting to see what they do with the story now that Eric seems ready to take a step back and let Vince do the movie without him. Still, wherever they go with those stories are secondary to me to what Drama, Ari and Lloyd are doing.

Links

Today feels like a football day, high 60’s, a little rain, mud on the turf. Good times. It’s Monday, which means Peter King is weighing in with the MMQB. If you’re fed up with the Mike Vick stuff, just skip to page three. I wholeheartedly agree with PK that there has not been enough said about Tarik Glenn saying goodbye in Indy. The Patriots are licking their chops just thinking about a rookie protecting Mr. Cut That Meat’s backside. As PK said, “I think the story that got far, far too little attention in the past few days is the apparent retirement of Indianapolis left tackle Tarik Glenn, who has protected Peyton Manning’s blind side for 151 of Manning’s 157 NFL starts (including playoffs). If Glenn is serious, and it sounds like he is, the Colts are going to have a major issue on offense in training camp, when they thought all they had to do in camp was fine-tune a D with lot of new starters.”

NBC wants to keep Jay Leno around, even though they have said that Conan O’Brien will take over The Tonight Show in 2009. Honestly, I can’t stand Leno. I’ve always like Letterman a whole lot more, and I’ve found myself watching Jimmy Kimmel more than either of them. Leno’s just not funny, which proves that Americans love mediocrity and don’t enjoy edgy comedy. I also think there are many who tune in still because they used to watch Carson. Let me tell you something, Johnny Carson ain’t coming in through that door anytime soon.

Okay, this is a real thing. There will be a Bionic Man and Woman cruise next year. If you’re a fan of either TV show, you’ll love it, apparently. This is niche marketing at its finest. Something tells me that there will be last-second seats available.

You knew it wouldn’t be long before Bill Simmons weighed in on the NBA gambling scandal. He’s right, by the way, that would have made a pretty good movie.

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Deadline’s Looming, Part 3

Posted by rich on 20th July 2007

If you can tear yourself away from the new Harry Potter book (personally, I’ve never quite understood the madness, but to each his own), the final installment in the trade deadline series and, after watching last night’s debacle, I’ve come to the realization that something absolutely needs to be done to get this team recharged. I know professional baseball players are not rah-rah in the dugout during games, but late in the game I have to say that I thought that the bench just didn’t look all that interested in the proceedings.

Chalk up another one that they should have won. I thought they were going to take a 5-3 lead when Manny walloped that ball in the seventh, only to have it die in the deepest part of the field. I had no idea, but someone told me today that he hasn’t hit a walk-off homer since 1996. How is that even possible. Someone needs to research that.

Okay, here’s what happened. I had written a huge entry regarding about the lineup and broke everything down, and then my computer crashed. It was good, but I can’t write it again because I promised my family I’d suck it up and go suffer through the torture that is the Barnstable County Fair. I’d rather not go, I’m not a big fan, but I’m stuck.

Here’s the crib notes.

The Sox need to make a deal for a bat, but probably won’t be able to because they don’t have a lot of spots that they can tinker with. The two spots that need addressing the worst, shortstop and right field, are the two spots that Theo paid out HUGE money for in the offseason, so they’re saddled by those contracts. Lugo is hitting better, so that might not be as big a need in the long run. JD Drew, at this point, should show up to pick up his check with a ski mask on. As bad as Lugo’s been this year, he still has more hits and RBI than Drew, who is on pace to drive in just 60 runs. So much for providing pop in the middle of the order.

The Sox have gotten more than they expected from Youk, Pedroia and Lowell. Youk’s slumping a bit, but I think he’ll be fine. Lowell is more of a first half guy than a second half hitter, but he’s playing for a contract, so I think they’ll be okay there.

Manny and Papi are starting to heat up, let’s hope that trend continues. Coco is also hitting better, but I wouldn’t mind them moving him if it meant playing Ellsbury every day. The youngster gave them a spark when he was in there.

Behind the plate Tek’s doing a great job, considering what he did last year, and that he catches basically four out of every five days. Mirabelli’s been pretty bad, but he’s basically Wakefield’s caddy anyways.

Hinske and Wily Mo are both replaceable, and hopefully will be replaced. I like Hinske, but he really has only had one big game. Wily Mo hit a huge homer in April to win a game against Baltimore and hasn’t done anything since. He’s on pace to pile up more strikeouts than total bases for the year. He makes Pedro Cerano look like a great breaking ball hitter. I miss Bronson Arroyo’s cornrows, too. In my eyes, that was one of the worst trades that Theo ever made.

Apparently the Sox are talking about making a move for Jermaine Dye. That would help, but where are they going to play him? He can’t play in center, so that would most likely mean platooning him with Drew, which would make JD a $14 million a year part-time player. Great work if you can find it, huh.

Theo is a smarter man that I am, so I hope he’s got some other plans too. He’s got 11 days to figure this out. If he doesn’t, well, the Yankees seem to be getting better. This team needs a kick in the rear ASAP. The clock is ticking.

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I love John Madden Football as much as the next guy, but really is this necessary? Jostens and EA Sports have come up with a way for you to prove that yes, you indeed are, the biggest loser at the party. You can customize your own championship ring based upon your Madden records. Truthfully, I’m speechless. What would make someone purchase one of these things?

“I had to get one. I went 65-4 at the All-Madden Level against the computer, and won the Super Bowl. Man, I earned that ring, I earned it. No one believed in me, but me, and now I’ve got the bling that is the ring.”

Wow.

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Links

Remember what I wrote about Jon Lester perhaps taking over for Tavarez? I’m not the only one that thinks this could happen.

The Atlanta Falcons might have Mike Vick take paid leave this year. That’s not a bad idea at all. The last thing they need is that distraction each and every day of the year. If he’s in the ATL it will be a media circus from the first day of training camp until the end of December. There’s a chance we’ve seen him elude his last linebacker. I can’t believe I bought this guy’s jersey a couple of years ago. What a jerk.

This could be one of the biggest scandals of all-time in sports. The NBA has a problem.

Perhaps the biggest waste of time … ever. And, yes, I know I’m a self-described Stars geek. Still, these guys are a one-part genius and several parts crazy.

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