Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sorry I haven't updated this site in a while. I know how desperately the two or three of you who read this regularly await each post and the host of insights it provides into the world of sports, life, the universe and everything. I just haven't felt much like posting.

I know a blog allegedly devoted to baseball, and the Red Sox in particular, ought to have had more baseball related content posted by this point in the season (to date, I think all I've done is a halfpost complaining about how fraudulent the season opening in Japan was and what a pointless waste of time the exhibition series in LA was). Hell, I haven't even gotten around to congratulating Kansas for winning the NCAA tournament thanks to my reverse jinx effect.

It's nice to see that the Red Sox haven't exactly lit the world on fire yet this season. I am going to wait a little before I celebrate, though. After all, a cursory check of the standings tells us that, at least at the start of tonight's games, the Baltimore Orioles are currently on pace to win 138 games this year. I wouldn't be much of a Catholic if I denied out of hand the possibility of miracles, but I just can't see this edition of the Baltimore Orioles demolishing the MLB record for wins in a season.

And of course we must assume that the Red Sox will only get better. After all, Curt Schilling is still rehabbing his injured shoulder and eventually he will come back. So what if he's more dangerous with his mouth (especially to Republican presidential hopeful John McCain) and his pointless blog than with his pitching at this point in his career. Humpty Dumpty will be back on the mound soon enough.

It was only a minor bump in the road when Beckett was roughed up by the Blue Jays in his season debut. After all, if Delcarmen hadn't allowed a grand slam to Frank Thomas, Beckett may not have gotten the loss. Then again, if Beckett hadn't stunk out the joint and left the bases loaded, Thomas might have had a hard time hitting that grand slam in the first place, but things will get much better for the Sox any day now.

Bartolo Colon and Mike Timlin are also going to come back at some point, we think. So this Red Sox team is best compared to a slumbering giant waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting American League. Other teams from whom big things were expected this year, like the Tigers and Yankees, can't be compared to slumbering giants, however. After all, I half-expected that the Yankees would just forfeit the season after Bill Simmons pronounced them the second most relevant baseball team in NYC right now.

I found that line amusing. The Mets may have acquired Johann Santana, but they'd have to win the next 13 or so titles in a row to overtake the Yankees in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers. Mets fans are a sort of New York equivalent to that guy who became a Red Sox fan in any other MLB city in the last 10 or so years. These people desperately want something to stick out their chest and feel big about, and rooting for the second biggest team in NYC or the second biggest team in America was one way to do it.

I'll believe in the Mets when I see them standing in the winner's circle at the end of the year. It seems every big ticket addition to the Mets takes at least one season to perform at the anticipated level. Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran took a year, and with the bigger deal, the bigger headlines and the fact that he's very old for a small power pitcher, makes me think that a slow April is just a sign of things to come from Santana this season.

Back to the Red Sox, I can't help but wonder when Congress will leave off investigating the likes of Roger Clemens and persecuting poor, innocent Bill Belichick to answer the real questions that vex those of us who observe the sports landscape. Based on a very, very, very small performance sample last season and countless pointless articles this offseason, I have been led to believe that Jacboy Ellsbury is the greatest outfield prospect since Mickey Mantle. And yet, he's bravely hitting .200 and hasn't made Coco Crisp expendable yet.

Just say that to yourself, out loud, one time. Jacoby Ellsbury hasn't made Coco Crisp expendable yet. And let's not forget that Coco Crisp has made himself expendable, making over $2 million to hit .220 (yeah, Crisp is hitting .250 at the moment, but I'm an incurable optimist) and produce an abysmally small number of runs for a number eight hitter in an AL East lineup.

Of course, there are intelligent Red Sox fans, like this blogger, who think one can bench the $2 million man in center and leave Ellsbury to founder and fail to fulfill his promise in center. Personally, I'd love that option. Using Crisp as a late inning defensive substitution would send a nice comment to those of us who sneer at the Red Sox attempts to out-Herod Herod (the Yankees), by wasting $2 million on a situational replacement. And forcing Ellsbury to play every day and founder under the criticism of the press and fans when he doesn't produce will, at the very least, imair this team's future.

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