A free morning for me = a blog update for you:
1. Indian cricket fans are just as crazy as Red Sox Nation. I know I said in the last post that the match I went to was poorly attended - and it was. However, it was the West Indies playing the Netherlands, in Delhi, so it wasn't surprising that there weren't too many Dutch or West Indian fans in attendance... it's sort of a long trip from Europe or the Caribbean. There were lots of India fans there, chanting "IN-DIA! IN-DIA!" and it sort of reminded me of Red Sox fans chanting "Yankees suck!" while we're playing the Blue Jays.
2. I'm very heartened by David Ortiz's spring thus far. I know it's silly to count spring performances as indicators of what's to come, since many players have torn up Spring Training only to flop over the course of the season, and vice versa. But it still seems like a good sign that he's swinging the bat well, especially given how lost he looked in the opening months of 2009 and 2010. Here's hoping we skip the struggle this year - though if Papi falters, we have a few more big bats to fall back on.
3. Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez seem to be adjusting well. Though it's possible that Crawford is still creeped out by the whole private investigator/due diligence/much ado about nothing fiasco of a few weeks back, he seems to be at home with the rest of his teammates thus far. Quick to assure the media that no, he and Jacoby Ellsbury are NOT in competition, that they'll be great TOGETHER, Crawford is a team player (who wouldn't bet against himself in a footrace). Gonzalez is ahead of his schedule for recovery after last season's shoulder surgery, but in his case I think no news is good news... I can't wait to see them both in a game.
4. The Lester-Buchholz show is back - hopefully with some more reinforcements. Jon Lester is giving a strong showing so far this spring, and Clay Buchholz is determined to replicate (or surpass) his last season's results. Besides the little hiccup when Josh Beckett got nailed in the head shagging fly balls, the pitching staff looks to be gearing up for a strong season. They have a lot to prove after last year's poor performances - and they know it. Here's hoping they're up to the challenge.
5. I very much admire Jed Lowrie. This is a bit off-topic, since it's hardly baseball-related, but Lowrie is doggedly completing the last few requirements for his degree in political science from Stanford. Lowrie left in 2005 to play baseball, and though it would be easy to decide that he could go back when his playing career is over, he's opting to get it done now, even as he's fighting for playing time in a camp full of All-Stars. Full disclosure: one of my majors is poli-sci, so I have a soft spot for fellow students of politics.
6. I don't buy the whole "Yankees are the underdogs" thing. No, the Yankees did not have the high-profile acquisitions that the Sox did this offseason, but they are NEVER the underdogs. All you need to do is read their lineup to understand that, and though they are most definitely getting old, they are also a roster full of superstars. Add to that the ever-present potential for Brian Cashman to go out and make a big splash with Yankee dollars and prospects, and I'll most definitely be keeping an eye on the Bronx Bombers this season (hopefully in the rear-view mirror).
7. The kids are alright. Okay, so I didn't much like that movie, but the Sox prospects are performing well this spring. Though Lars Anderson is most likely trade bait, and Felix Doubront is destined for the bullpen for the time being, I'm always excited to see some young kids do well. Jose Iglesias is making me long for 2012 despite the enormous potential for this season's squad. According to more than a few people, he has the potential to be a star AND the solution to the revolving door at shortstop.
8. I'm [more than] slightly concerned about Daisuke Matsuzaka. Hardly groundbreaking news, but Matsuzaka's spring has been less than inspiring, and he's as much of an enigma as ever. Luckily, no one is counting on him to be anything more than a serviceable fifth starter - hopefully he can live up to that, at least.
9. No news is good news on Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. I was always a believer in the Sox last season, but when Pedey and Youk were officially down for the count I started to lose hope. Both are back for 2011 with no limitations, and we haven't heard much from them, which to me must mean that they are going to be A-OK - hopefully that's the case.
10. I'm both excited for and dreading April 1st. I'm going to be in Dakar, Senegal when the Red Sox open up their season against the Texas Rangers, and internet there is a great unknown. If I have a fast, reliable connection (and time - unlikely, but I'll try to make some) I'm going to buy MLB.tv and try to watch as many games as possible. If not, I'll be reliant on sporadic emails and access to internet cafes. Here's hoping it's the former!
[All factual info in this post was gathered from boston.com - fantastic coverge, especially for a baseball-starved student stranded in Delhi, India.]