Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford, and Punto to LA

It's official. Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto are headed for the Dodgers.  Beckett has waived his 10-5 rights (as a player with ten years in the majors and five with the same team, he has the right to veto any trade), and Crawford has accepted the trade despite having the Dodgers as one of just three teams in his no-trade clause.

The blockbuster trade seems pretty one sided, as the Red Sox are getting just a single major leaguer in the person of James Loney, a first baseman who is a free agent after this season.  The Sox will also be getting four minor league players players: outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands (AAA), infielder Ivan DeJesus (AAA), righthanded pitcher Allen Webster (AA), and righthanded pitcher Rubby De La Rosa (AAA) (who was claimed by the Blue Jays, pulled off of waivers by the Dodgers, and thus will likely be a player to be named later and obtained in the offseason).

The Dodgers are going to be taking on all but about $10 million of the approximately $250 million the Sox owe to their four players, who are, as Pete Abraham so aptly put it, "bad contracts, not bad people."

Carl Crawford came in and was never quite healthy, which was as much as disappointment to him as it was to the fans.  Adrian Gonzalez was a slave to the heightened expectations we had for him because of his transition from the cavernous Petco Park to the friendly confines of Fenway.  Neither man was prepared to embrace the demands of being a star in Boston.

As for Josh Beckett, I for one would like to say thanks for the memories.  Without the man once referred to as "Commander Kickass," there would have been no World Series in 2007, and for all the crap he's said through the years, he's done some great charity work.

From the Twitter feed of Nick Punto, we can see that Beckett, Gonzalez, and Punto seem pretty happy to be on their way to Dodger-town, and it's for the best all around. They didn't like playing in Boston, and the Red Sox will have a ton more financial flexibility going forward.  It's been real, boys - happy trails.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Going, going Gonzo? Waiver Rules explained.

Back to California for Adrian Gonzalez?

With all the talk about Adrian Gonzalez being claimed off of waivers by the Dodgers, and the talk of a possible blockbuster trade (including the albatross contracts of Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett...?), I thought it might be a good time to go over the actual rules and customs regarding waiver trades. 

  • After July 31st, all trades must be done through waivers, and if these players aren't acquired by August 31st, they are not eligible to play in the postseason.
  • Teams can put any players on waivers, and they do not need to tell the players in question.
  • Once a player is on waivers, other teams have 48 hours to put a claim in on that player.
  • If multiple teams put in a claim, the team with the worst record in the league the player is currently on. If no teams from that league make a claim, the player goes to the team with the worst record in the other league.
  • Once a player is claimed, their team has three options:
  1. They can pull the player back. If this happens, he cannot be traded for 30 days.
  2. They can work out a trade with the team that claimed him. Other players in the trade must also pass through waivers UNLESS they are not currently on a 40-man roster.
  3. They can simply give the player to the other team, getting nothing in return, but the new team must pay the player's remaining salary.
  • If no one claims the player, he can be traded to any team in the league.
Often, teams will put all twenty-five guys on the roster on waivers, just to see who tries to claim them,  and what they offer in return.  If it's not enough, players just get pulled back.  So the fact that Gonzalez was put on waivers is NOT that big of a deal - though the possible deal would likely be a huge one.

Stay tuned for further updates if/when the trade develops.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why I Give to the Jimmy Fund

Today, the Red Sox are hosting the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to raise money and awareness about the Jimmy Fund.  Today also happens to be the third anniversary of the day my mother passed away from cancer. The following is a re-post of my September 25, 2009 entry entitled "Baseball as a Coping Mechanism," which should explain why even a broke recent college grad like myself makes sure to give every year. 

 "Surviving cancer is, and will always be, my toughest battle. I laugh when people talk about how tough it is to deal with the boos of the fans or the high expectations of big market baseball. Hah! You want to know what tough is. John Kruk knows. Andres Galarraga knows. And Jon Lester has come to find out. When cancer comes calling, baseball takes a backseat. Having forty thousand people at Yankee Stadium tell me I suck is a nice diversion." -Mike Lowell, Deep Drive

Cancer took my mom last month. Today would have been her sixty-second birthday.

When I came back from boarding school with a renewed obsession for baseball, my mom humored me, watching all the games with me (with intermittent naps), and even picking a favorite player (David Ortiz). After I read Mike Lowell’s book, I knew she had to read it, too. The above passage caused Mikey to replace Papi in her affections.

The Red Sox were something that we shared. She didn't have any real affinity for professional baseball before I did (though she grew up in rural Connecticut, so the Sox would have been a logical choice), but she started paying attention because it was important to me: I loved the Red Sox, she loved me. Therefore, she loved the Red Sox, too. The other members of my family are what you would term "casual fans," they don't know very much about the players, don't really watch on TV, but, like all good New Englanders, they have Sox hats and are happy when the home town team does well.

When we were in the hospital last month, the Red Sox were on the telev
ision every night. The first night we were there was the night of Victor Martinez's two-out, go-ahead double in the ninth inning, and when he hit it I leaped out of my chair, feeling that I shouldn't yell in a hospital. My mom felt no such qualms, and shouted her excitement. She then looked at me and said, quite seriously, "You know, I really liked Justin Masterson... but this new guy looks promising." I couldn't have said it better myself.

The Red Sox provided an escape these last few years when I needed one, and they were something for my mom and I to enjoy together when we could. Her first trip to Fenway was last June, and Tim Wakefield pitched the Sox to a win over the Diamondbacks. We went twice this summer, once to see Jon Lester pitch 7+ perfect innings (and a complete game) against the Rangers in June, and once to see Brad Penny toss a gem against New York the next week.

"I never thought I'd get to go to Fenway Park," she told me more than once. I'm so glad that she did.

Even when I was away at school, she would watch the games so she could talk about them with me (and, as a lifetime coach and phys. ed. teacher, she had a deep love of sports). I have a saved voicemail on my cell phone from April 26, 2009. She called me during the game, while my phone was off, and left the following breathless message: "Wow, Kayla, I really hope you're watching the game, because Jacoby Ellsbury just stole home, and it was AMAZING!" As soon as I got the message, I called her back and we discussed it at length.

My mom valued sportsmanship highly, perhaps because of her keen awareness that life isn’t fair, she expected sports to be fair… She even infamously pulled out a rulebook in the middle of a field hockey game last season in order to correct the referee. As those she coached well know, she never advocated arguing with the umpire, so if she was upset, there was something very wrong. Sure enough, she was right, and another person learned that it’s very unwise to doubt Deryl Fleming when it comes to field hockey. She taught me to always respect the umpire, and the only time I ever saw her visibly upset over a call in MLB was last year. Mikey Lowell, whose book she had just finished, starting arguing balls and strikes with the umpire. "Well," she reasoned, "Mike never argues, so if he thinks it's a bad call, it's a bad call."

I can't thank everyone enough that helped her and our family through everything: all the food, and the rides, and the support, meant more than anyone will know. I wish there was some way for me to thank the Boston Red Sox, and specifically Mike Lowell, for giving her, and me, something to believe in and hope for right up until the end.  

To give, call 877-738-1234, go to, or text KCANCER to 20222 to give $10. Every little bit helps.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dustin Pedroia!

My favorite human being turns twenty-nine today, and although it's been a terrible season for the local nine so far, I smell a win tonight on the back of starting pitcher Franklin Morales and the birthday boy himself, Dustin Pedroia.

I've waxed poetic about Pedey in this space many times before, so instead of boring you all with tales of my obsession devotion, I'll just leave you with some of my favorite photos of the Laser Show:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Remembering Johnny Pesky

After sixty-six seasons (forty-four consecutive) with the Boston Red Sox as player, coach, broadcaster, consultant, manager, ambassador, and general all-around good guy, Johnny Pesky has passed away at the age of 92.

Pesky was a beloved member of the Boston Red Sox organization for more than a half-century, and he saw hundreds of players come and go.  He was a mainstay at decades of spring trainings, and a constant presence at Fenway Park, participating in ceremonial events late into this season, including the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park and the honoring of Jason Varitek.

Pesky had a ceremony of his own in 2008, when the Red Sox retired his number 6 and hung it from the right field wall with legends like his former teammates Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr.  Pesky did not technically have the qualifications required by the Red Sox for a retired number: players must have played at least ten years with the Sox -Pesky had eight (though dozens more once he was done playing); they must have have retired as a member of the team - Pesky retired after a season with the Senators; and they must be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame.

Though Johnny Pesky was never voted into the HoF at Cooperstown, he was certainly a player of the highest caliber. In his ten season career, Pesky had 1455 hits, 226 doubles, 50 triples, 404 RBI, 662 walks, and a batting average of .307.  After a rookie season in 1942 where he finished third in MVP voting, Pesky went off to serve his country, missing three seasons in his prime.  He came back in 1946 and finished fourth in MVP voting after a trip to the All Star Game (the AL defeated the NL handily, 12-0).

Pesky hit just seventeen home runs in his ten year stint in the majors, and his propensity for wrapping them around the right field foul pole at Fenway (the shortest home run distance in the majors, at 302 feet from home plate) got the pole named after him.

Pesky has been a reliable presence around the Red Sox for dozens of different teams and a constant role model for hundreds of players.  Anyone who would like to learn more about Johnny Pesky as a player and a person should read The Teammates: A Portrait of Friendship, by David Halberstam. You might recognize the featured athletes (Pesky, Williams, Doerr, and Dom DiMaggio) from the teammates statue outside Fenway.

Johnny Pesky had the kind of life most people dream of having, and he'll be forever remembered by thousands of men and women across Red Sox Nation.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Aces low

That's really all there is to it.  The Red Sox have been absolutely terrible this season is games started by their two "aces."  No, wins and losses are not the best way to judge a pitcher, but ERA doesn't lie - especially with such a large sample size.

Yes, there have been injuries to a lot of key players, but when you can't depend on your number 1 and number 2 pitchers, you're pretty much stuck.  Lester seems frustrated, but all he can come up with is "executing pitches" and "fixing mechanics." Beckett, on the other hand, was seen closing a Boston bar a day and a half before his last disastrous start.

Somehow, the Red Sox aren't in last place, and they are only 5.5 games out of the Wild Card, thanks to the new format.  But it's safe to say that if Lester and Beckett can't win some games there won't be any October baseball around these parts.