Archive for the ‘Spring Training’ Category

The Safety Dance

I was playing some disc golf with my buddy Kyle the other day, and we stumbled upon a collegiate baseball tournament that was being played on the adjacent fields. I came to find out that there are 25 baseball teams playing in a month-long tournament in Port Charlotte (Snowbird Baseball Classic on Florida’s Suncoast). After dominating Kyle in golf, we caught a few innings of Montclair State University vs. Carthage College. If you put a gun to my head I couldn’t tell you where these school are located, but I can tell you it was really enjoyable to watch. This just further proves what I always say… Any baseball is good baseball.

Enjoy thefoulline.com’s Quick Hits:

  • Manny Ramirez has 3 sons, all named Manny.
  • How is it possible that the frickin’ New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys conglomeration of suckiness is having a concert at Fenway Park this summer and Pearl Jam is not?
  • If I had the chance to spend a day talking baseball with any two people in the world, Don Zimmerman and Yogi Berra would definitely top the list.
  • If I had the chance to spend a day talking fantasy baseball with any two people in the world, Ginger and the Bostonbadboy would definitely top the list.
  • Big, bad, burly Dan Johnson’s walk up music is Men Without Hats, “The Safety Dance.” Odd choice.
  • I’m really looking forward to a season of ESPN baseball broadcasts without Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. Joe Morgan is a pompous ass.
  • I just read that Chipper Jones is having a great spring and is swinging the bat better than he did in 2008. I expect to be reading in two weeks that Chipper Jones is on the DL with a hang nail.
  • I think the Baltimore Orioles have a chance to go 81-81. Their pitching isn’t quite there, but the lineup with Vlad, Markakis, Mark Reynolds, Luke Scott, Brian Roberts, and Matt Wieters should be fun to watch.
  • Quick! Not counting Fausto Carmona, Grady Sizemore, and Carlos Santana, name three players on the Cleveland Indians. (Shin-Soo Choo and Travis Hafner were all I could come up with.) I think the Royals may have some competition for worst team in baseball.
  • I’m not sold that Josh Beckett is going to have the great resurgence that a lot of fantasy experts are projecting.
  • I’m predicting that Jonathan Papelbon will be the Baltimore Orioles closer in 2011.
  • Dear Seattle Mariner ownership: Please do not trade King Felix to the Yankees regardless of who they offer you. He’s your franchise guy. Build around him!
  • Has anyone seen Unsportsman Mike? I don’t want to hear any more lame excuses about an auto-drafted team this year. He had a three-week notice.
  • I’m hoping for the 4th-6th pick in this years draft. Not a fan of the bookend position.

12 days.

I Hate Everything About You

I had a great week. I was fortunate enough to go to three spring training games, filled with youngsters trying to make the team and superstar players doing their thing.

Unfortunately, there are also a few jerks that linger on the baseball diamond. On the heels of writing thefoulline.com All-Pro Team of Awesomeness, I thought I’d mix it up, and come up with thefoulline.com’s All-Pro Team of Jerkiness.

And here it is.

  • Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski
    Even his own teammates don’t like him.
  • First Base: Mark Teixeira
    I’m not resentful that he spurned the Red Sox so that he could get an extra $10 million from the stupid Yankees. I just really want to punch him in his huge, ugly face whenever I see him. I accidentally drafted this d-bag in a recent mock draft. I immediately shut the computer off, my draft/day ruined.
  • Second Base: Ian Kinsler
    Has a well known feud with the far superior Dustin Pedroia. Injury prone. Needs to find a pair of baseball pants that fit him.
  • Shortstop: Stephen Drew
    J.D.’s brother… that’s enough for me.
  • Third Base: Alex Rodriguez
    Cameron Diaz fed him popcorn on national television. I’d like to feed him a knuckle sandwich. A-Fraud is captain of my d-bag team.
  • Outfield: B.J. Upton
    Million-dollar talent, 10-cent brain. If this guy ever decided to give a damn, he’d be unstoppable.
  • Outfield: Jonny Gomes
    This d-bag loves to be the third man in on someone else’s fight. Dylan and I were at a Rays game a few years ago. Gomes was playing left field (lousily I might add). We kept calling him a lard ass with a crappy arm. I’ll swear to this day that I saw a glint of a tear in his eyes. This rager is a token tough guy.
  • Outfield: Alfonso Soriano
    Easily the worst defender in baseball, makes Johnny Damon look like Roberto Clemente in his prime.  $136 million over 8 years! Really?
  • Designated Hitter: Miguel Cabrera
    I don’t care if Miggy hits 80 home runs and bats .400 this season. His decision to drive drunk and act like an idiot is inexcusable. You make $19 million a year. Hire a driver, jackass.
  • Pitcher: Tim Lincecum
    Ok, we get it. Your dad used to put a dollar bill on the ground when you were pitching to make sure you were following through… Enough of this stupid commercial. This pot smoker really needs a haircut.
    Although I do like that he tanked it down the stretch last year, ultimately foiling Dan’s season.
  • Pitcher: Matt Garza
    Spit… spit… spit… spit… spit… Garza is a big-game pitcher… spit… spit… spit… spit… has some really stupid facial hair… spit… spit… spit… and is the grossest man in baseball.
  • James Shields takes a swing at Coco Crisp
  • Pitcher: James Shields
    If you’re going to incite a baseball brawl against the smallest guy on the other team, can you at least look at what you’re swinging at?
    15 losses with a 5.18 ERA in 2010. I think we can officially lose the “Big Game James” moniker.
  • Pitcher: Carlos Zambrano
    Fighting teammates, throwing temper tantrums, going -24 in the first week of fantasy baseball — it’s the triumvirate or douchiness.
  • Pitcher: Daisuke Matsuzaka
    I can give you 100 million reasons that he’s on this list. My biggest problem is that Dice-K went 18-3 during his rookie season, then stopped throwing fastballs and started trying to nibble the corners with bad off-speed stuff. He’s chronically slow on the mound and causes his games to drag on forever. I’d rather watch a Lifetime movie marathon than watch Dice-K throw 110 pitches in 4 innings.
  • Closer: Francisco Rodriguez
    This class act berated his girlfriend and then pummeled her dad after his manager didn’t let him pitch in a game. And he looks stupid in his prescription pitching goggles.
  • Coach: John Rocker
    Racist. Redneck. Homophobe. Jerk. Remember?

There are 750 baseball players on Major League rosters. There’s bound to be a few bad apples in there.

Baseball is still the best sport in the world.

18 days.

Simply the Best

Basketball is boring, the NHL has too many foreign players whose names I can’t pronounce, and the NFL may not be around for a 2011 season. And that is why Major League Baseball is the best of the professional sports. 30 teams, all with a chance to win the World Series. 162 games that matter. Fresh-cut grass. Cold beer. Keeping score… and oh yeah, fantasy baseball.

Quick Hits:

  • I can’t believe that I made a “don’t draft” list and didn’t include Grady Sizemore. I hate that bastard, and his one good knee.
  • It’s nice to see the Chicago Cubs in mid-season form. It’s the first week of games and they’re already fighting each other in the dugout.
  • Carl Crawford’s batting average has soared to .167  after collecting two hits today. The flood gates are officially open.
  • Speaking of mid-season form, Dice K gave up 7 runs in today’s game. That’s $100 million well spent.
  • I want to see a race between Jacoby Ellsbury & Carl Crawford. The loser has to bat lead-off.
  • I just scored two tickets for the Rays-Red Sox game this week, 5th row behind home plate. This spring is shaping up nicely.
  • After watching the aging Yankees last night, Robinson Cano is their only player that scares me. That guy is stupid good. He’s the best second baseman in the league… By a lot!
  • Just when you think a player is a total scumbag, he runs into your daughter’s first grade teacher and her son at Publix, poses for pictures, and gives the kid an autographed bat… I guess that’s just Manny being Manny. Classy move.
  • I’m really happy to see that our league has 10 teams signed up, although I’m not sure what a “bostobadboy” is.
  • Dont sleep on the Atlanta Braves this year. If one of their Billy Wagner replacements pitches well, watch out.
  • I actually traded Hanley Ramirez and David Price for Ryan Howard and a scrub pitcher last year. How’d I make the playoffs?
  • If you want a good laugh, YouTube Dustin Pedroia and watch any interview he does. The guy is a character.
  • Is Buster Posey the first catcher taken in the draft?
  • Can’t wait for Opening Day. Although I’m dreading that I have to listen to Dewayne Staats call Rays games.
  • Fact:  3 weeks until draft time, and two-time defending fantasy baseball champion Love Boat Captains has yet to research the first player or do a mock draft. Why am I still scared?

I’m So Excited

I have never been more excited for a baseball season to begin.

After suffering through a tumultuous 2010 season, filled with injuries and unfulfilled expectations, the offseason for the Boston Red Sox has been just what the doctor ordered. Boston made the two biggest splashes of the year by trading their top prospects for Adrian Gonzalez and his perfectly-suited-for-Fenway Park swing, and signing Red Sox-killer Carl Crawford to a ridiculous 7-year contract.

I absolutely love the additions. These are two high-character hard workers that make Boston a lot more exciting. The reality about the 2010 Sox was that they were a bit boring to watch. Players grinding out at bats is productive, but I want to see the shock and awe of Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury stealing bases, coupled with Gonzalez, Youkilis and Big Papi knocking bombs.

I couldn’t care less that Boston is shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars in player salaries. I just bought a Red Sox hat that cost 35 bucks, and I’m happy to see the Boston owners putting it back into the team. And I don’t buy that they’re starting to resemble the Yankees, who think they can buy a World Series. Pedroia, Youkilis, Lester, Buchholz, and Ellsbury are all homegrown and are still the heart of this team.

There has been a ton of speculation on what the new and improved batting order is going to be. Is Ellsbury leading off? Is the lineup too left handed? Where should Crawford hit? What a great problem to have. They could put all nine names into a hat and pull them out in any order and still win 90 games. David Ortiz is leading off? Whatever.

Of course, Terry Francona is a lot smarter than I am, and he has a ton of lineup options depending on the opposing pitcher. But, if it were up to me, here’s what I’d do.

  1. Ellsbury
  2. Pedroia
  3. Crawford
  4. Gonzalez
  5. Youkilis
  6. Ortiz
  7. Drew
  8. Saltalamacchia
  9. Scutaro

I’ll put this lineup up against anyone. Patience, speed, and power throughout. Is this a 95+ wins team positioned for a playoff run? As long as they stay healthy, I’m pretty confident that it is.

The 2011 baseball season starts in 30 days… I guess we’ll start answering some of these questions then.

Start Me Up

Baseball season is finally back, and although the offseason for the Boston Red Sox didn’t go the way I’d hope it would, I’m still optimistic for a successful 2009 campaign.

It’s becoming more and more obvious that Theo Epstein and Terry Francona don’t read thefoulline.com. If they had, we’d be watching Mark Texiera and Derek Lowe gearing up for the season in Fort Myers, while watching the enigmatic Julio Lugo and overrated Jason Varitek packing their bags to destination Anywhere But Boston.

But after my initial disappointment with the lack of big name signings, I’m starting to really like the additions of Brad Penny, Takashi Saito and especially future Hall of Famer John Smoltz. These guys are low cost, with potential huge rewards for Boston. Even though Smoltz won’t be ready until June, he could be the big addition to the lineup that usually takes place at the trade deadline. If Boston makes the postseason, a lineup with Josh Beckett and John Smoltz would be scary.

Before we can talk about the playoffs, there are a lot of questions about this team that could severely affect their post season chances. Will Josh Beckett, David Ortiz, and Mike Lowell rebound from their 2008 injury-plagued season? With Coco Crisp shipped off to Kansas City, is Jacoby Ellsbury ready to be the everyday centerfielder and leadoff hitter? Can a full season of Jason Bay make up for the loss of Manny? Who will be the Red Sox catcher of the future?

To make matters worse, rivals Tampa Bay and New York revamped their already dangerous lineups. The Yankees decided to spend a quarter of a billion dollars on big-game choker CC Sabathia, the oft-injured A.J. Burnett, and current thefoulline.com public enemy #2 Mark Texiera. Will this high priced talent lead to a return to the postseason for the Bronx Bombers? Or will these guys wilt under the pressure of playing in the Big Apple like Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown and Carl Pavano? Let’s hope for the latter.

As for the Rays, I really like the additions of Pat Burrell and Matt Joyce to fill the right field and designated hitter spots. This is a big upgrade of the Gabe Gross/Cliff Floyd combo. I’m interested in seeing whether Evan Longoria can duplicate his rookie season, and if the Rays can repeat their success with their closer-by-committee bullpen.

The good news is baseball is back.
The competition  for the AL East crown promises to be fierce.
Let the games begin!

Turning Japanese

I wasn’t too excited about the Red Sox cutting their spring training short to travel halfway around the world for a couple of exhibition games. The Sox will have a hard enough time defending their title without having to fight jet lag, and it’s obvious that MLB is trying to capitalize on Boston’s recent success now that they are the best baseball team on the planet. But after watching today’s game, and seeing how excited the Japanese fans were to watch the World Series champions, I think maybe MLB got it right when they chose the Sox to be international ambassadors for baseball.

Thefoulline.com’s Quick Hits, the International Version

  • MLB.tv used the Japanese broadcasters for today’s game. I didn’t understand a word they said, but I still preferred it to Jerry Remy’s incoherent babble.
  • Dice K has proven that he is Japan’s version of Elvis.
  • J.D. Drew has 7 RBIs in two games. He is on pace for 567 RBIs this season.
  • I always found it funny that the Red Sox assign their rookies uniform numbers more appropriate for an offensive lineman or wide receiver. I’m pretty sure that Jed Lowrie didn’t dream about wearing #82 for a major league team when he a kid. I wonder if this increases their motivation to make the team, so that they can get a good number.
  • Jonathan Papelbon was given #58 as a rookie and he kept it, but we all know he has a few screws loose.
  • In an attempt to fix his dismal batting average of the past two years, Coco Crisp is now wearing batting gloves. It has to help, right?
  • The Sox lineup has the chance to be special this year. A batting order of Pedroia, Youkilis, Papi, Manny, Lowell, Drew, Varitek, Ellsbury, and Lugo could wear down an opposing pitching staff and put up a ton of runs. Plus, this lineup gives Francona the flexibility to move players around if they aren’t performing well.
  • Thefoulline.com’s public enemy #1, Jon Weber of the Tampa Bay Rays, is batting .211 this spring training. Public enemy #2 Doug Mientkewicz of the Pirates is hitting .273 with one measly RBI in 16 games. This just proves that you don’t mess with foulliners. Karma will come back to haunt you.
  • Speaking of foulliners. Thefoulline.com inaugural fantasy league baseball draft is only three days away. We still have three spots to fill. If we don’t have ten players, the league will be disbanded, and we will never see Dylan chose J.D. Drew with his first round pick. Find a friend and sign them up!! There will be a great prize package for the league champion (me). Email me with any sign-up questions.

Have a happy Easter!

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Attention all Major League ballplayers, playing hard against the Yankees will no longer be tolerated!

After some no-name Tampa Bay Ray ran over some no-name Yankee player a few days ago, the Bronx Bombers took exception to anyone daring to challenge them, and they vowed revenge. Yesterday, during Round 2 of the epic Yankees-Rays brouhaha, that revenge took the form of Shelley “My Parents Really Wanted a Girl” Duncan.

By now, I’m sure everyone has seen the replay. Duncan did her best Pearl Harbor impression into the unsuspecting second baseman Akinori Iwamura. What made this dirty play even worse was when Duncan stood up and acted like (s)he didn’t do anything wrong. This chick is your typical, cheap-shot, idiotic, self-entitled Yankee. I expect this stuff from A-Rod, not from some moron that has done absolutely nothing in this league.

Thefoulline.com Quick Hits

  • The Red Sox released Doug Mirabelli today. How this one-trick pony has lasted in the league this long is beyond me. This guy hasn’t been able to hit his weight in average over the past several years. If the Sox are going to use a weak-hitting, defensive-minded backup catcher, make it one of the young kids. Jason Varitek needs to start grooming his heir.
  • Clay Buchholz is dating a Penthouse model. This just proves my theory that woman are attracted to dumb, lanky, goofy-looking men. She is in no way interested in his potential future earnings.
  • Bartolo Colon looked pretty good today. Two innings and 1 ER against the always-potent Tampa Bay Rays. Not a bad way to begin his epic comeback.
  • To be filed in the Talk Is Cheap folder: Coco Crisp vowed at the beginning of spring training that he would not be happy with being a backup outfielder and would win the starting centerfielder spot. Since this bold statement, Crisp has played in two spring training games. Thanks for totally killing your trade value.
  • In sad news today, the loyal thefoulline.com reader/contributor known as “the Canadian Yankee/Pirate fan” has suffered a serious injury. It appears that in an attempt to simultaneously cheer for his two favorite teams during the Yankees-Pirates game today, his head exploded. We all hope for a speedy recovery.

The Sounds of Silence

For some reason MLB.tv had legendary announcer Vin Scully call the Red Sox/Dodgers game yesterday. Wow! Listening to Vin Scully call the game made me want to move to Siberia and never listen to another game for as long as I live.

Scully is a huge name in the broadcasting world. He’s been calling Dodgers games for 57 years and has been inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. But enough is enough. This guy needs to hang up his microphone and enjoy his golden years.

During yesterday’s broadcast, some of the poignant topics that Scully talked about included: a detailed lesson about every palm tree in Dodgertown; which flavor bubble gum Matt Kemp was chewing; the reason that Mike Lowell doesn’t chew gum at the plate; and a history lesson about the field the Dodgers play on. He even managed to call a few balls and strikes. And this was just in the first inning.

This guy is the reason that television and radio broadcasts added a color commentator. If you ever have the opportunity to listen to Scully in action, don’t do it. Find a WNBA game and watch that instead. You’ll thank me.

Thefoulline.com’s tantalizing tidbits and predictions for the week.

  • If Josh Beckett’s back injury is even remotely serious, the Red Sox are screwed.
  • If Julio Lugo’s back injury prohibits him from playing ever again… oh well.
  • The Grapefruit League’s worst record belongs to the Boston Red Sox. The best record belongs to the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • The Sox treat Spring Training as a way to evaluate their young prospects. The Rays treat Spring Training as their World Series.
  • I think Coco Crisp is going to have a good season for the Oakland A’s.
  • If Bartolo Colon’s ERA matches his weight this year, he will go down as Theo Epstein’s best transaction… ever.
  • The 2008 MLB All-Star game will be held at Yankee Stadium. Manny Delcarmen will be on the American League team. Derek Jeter will not.
  • Thefoulline.com fantasy baseball draft starts in 17 days. Spots are still available, and competition is fierce for 2nd place.

The Boys Are Back In Town

Florida is the second best place to be a Red Sox fan, in the world, ever. Ideally, being able to go to Fenway Park day in and day out would be best, and I do long for the Fenway Park days of my life. Going to games on summer nights and taking the T into Kenmore Square is one of my favorite activities, hands down. But, if I can’t have the real deal, southwest Florida is a good second.

Yesterday I was able to watch the first pitches of Spring Training for the Red Sox in the beautiful City of Palms Park in Fort Myers. I had psyched up for this game, and baseball in general, for quite some time now, but yesterday had some icing on the cake. I awoke in the morning to what seemed like 25 missed calls from my Dad informing me that the World Series trophies would be on display at the park and available for photos. As you can tell by the photo section on the thefoulline.com, we took full advantage of the opportunity to take pics with the trophy of all trophies. I was so overjoyed, and showed it a little, that Dave and I ended up being tracked down by MLB.tv for an interview. (I like to think they recognized us from the thefoullline.com, but who knows?)

It was a beautiful day. Great weather, the trophies, baseball being back in action. It’s great. While we can’t embrace the warmth of Fenway on a summer night as much as we in Red Sox Nation South would like to, we DO have Spring Training to bask in, and 12 games at the Red Sox’s other home field, the Trop. So, welcome back, baseball. We’ve missed you.

It Was a Good Day

I knew today was going to be a good day. The weather was a perfect 65 degrees, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and I had two tickets for the Red Sox/Boston College game in Fort Myers. I knew the game wasn’t going to be close, but Josh Beckett was penciled in to pitch the first two innings and I was hoping to see a couple of the Sox regulars get some playing time. The game started at 1:05 p.m. I planned on picking up Dylan at 10:00 for the hour-long drive down to the game. What transpired over the next three hours made this a day I won’t soon forget.

  • I get a call from Dylan. He tells me that his Dad has called him seven times this morning to tell him that the World Series trophy will be on display at City of Palms Park. Thank you, Wayne Hamilton!
  • Approximately five seconds after getting to Dylan’s, he suggests we hit Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast. Brilliant!
  • Coffee in hand, we make world-record time down to Fort Myers.
  • 11:00 Arrive at the park.
  • 11:15 In line to get our pictures taken with the World Series trophies. That’s right, two trophies! They had the 2004 and 2007 trophies on display.
  • 11:30-11:40 Dylan and I mug for the cameras.
  • After the pictures, Dylan is showing me around the park when a camera crew stops us. Long story short, this is the camera crew from MLB’s This Week in Baseball. They told us that they had been taping us during our time with the trophies, and they wanted to interview us. We talk about what the World Series trophies mean to us, the Sox chances this year, blah blah blah. Like a couple of idiots, neither one of us thinks to mention thefoulline.com. Anyhow, we’ll keep an eye out for when we’re on TV and get the word out.
  • Five minutes later, we are checking out the Boston Red Sox team store when team owner Tom Werner and Boston mayor Tom Menino pop in. These guys are walking around doing a little shopping like a couple of regular guys. Something tells me they don’t need to use their Red Sox Nation discount card.
  • For those of you that have never been to City of Palms Park for a Red Sox game, you need to go. This was my first time, and the place is beautiful. It felt like I was at a Grateful Dead concert. Everyone was united, in a good mood and ready to cheer on the Sox. It truly is Red Sox Nation South. I can’t wait to go back.
  • 12:30 p.m. Lineups are posted. I was psyched to see the lineup Terry Francona put out there today. He played every projected starter, with the exception of Manny and J.D. Drew.
  • 1:00-1:30 Josh Beckett looked like he was in mid-season form for the two innings he pitched.
  • 1:15.35 – 1:15.43 I am now convinced that Jacoby Ellsbury is the fastest person in the world. He went from first base to home on a bloop hit from Dustin Pedroia quicker then anyone I’ve ever seen.
  • Kyle Snyder, Brandon Moss and Manny Delcarmen looked really good today.
  • Dylan and I were sitting behind the owner of The Penalty Box Irish pub in Providence R.I. If you’re ever up there, check it out. Mention Kevin for a free round.
  • For seven innings, B.C. was dominated. Even with the starters pulled and the no-name Sox playing, this game was a blowout.
  • 24-0. Ouch!
  • Even though it was a Spring Training game against an outmatched opponent, I thought Boston looked pretty good.
  • I can’t wait to get my picture taken with the 2008 W.S. trophy next year.