Not Ready to Make Nice

After a disastrous 2012 season, the Red Sox owners added some character guys on the tail end of their careers. In an effort to make the team more likable, Sox owners signed Ryan Dempster – great Harry Caray impersonator, got shelled in Texas last year; Shane Victorino and his .255 batting average; Mike Napoli and his two necrotic hips.

But the the most egregious signing of all was Johnny freakin’ Gomes! What the hell was that all about? How can Gomes ever get cheered at Fenway after his sucker punching and hair pulling of Coco Crisp in the bottom of the “fight” pile? I can understand defending your teammates, but what I can’t comprehend is having this orangutan patrol left field in Fenway Park. I’ve disliked a lot of players in my time, but it’d be hard to find anyone I dislike more than Gomes. But what the hell… It’s only $10 million, and he’s all ours for two seasons.

Quick hits:

  • Speaking of that fight… Does anyone wonder if Coco and James Shields have ever thrown a punch in their collective lives? Whiff… whiff!
  • I still hate the Rays, but I’m interested to see Wil Myers play.
  • I’m making a return to the Rays Opening Day game. Last year’s Rays vs. Yanks game was one of the best I have ever seen live.
  • I’ll be not-so-secretly hoping that the Cleveland Indians do well this season. I’m still a huge Francona fan.
  • I’ll be not-so-secretly hoping that Bobby Valentine contracts syphilis. I still can’t stand that guy.
  • Am I the only one that feels sorry for Houston Astro Carlos Pena? They are by far the worst team in MLB. Moving to the American League is not going to help.
  • It’s my tradition to buy a new Red Sox hat before the start of every season. I might skip it this year. I’m really starting to dislike the Sox ownership.
  • The word around Red Sox camp is that John Lackey is in great shape. They’re also reporting that he’s still a mouth breather.
  • I made the decision a few weeks ago that I was going to cut back on Spring Training games this year. Next thing I know, Dylan hooks us up with Sox vs. Cardinals. Followed by my brother scoring Sox vs. Rays. Then the October Boy asks me to go to the Rays vs. Phillies. Followed by my buddy Nate getting Tigers vs. Mets tix. Suddenly, my spring is looking up!
  • I really, really hope Ryan Braun isn’t a juicer. But I think he is.
  • AL East final 2013 standings: 1. Blue Jays, 2. Rays, 3. Yankees, 4. Red Sox, 5. Orioles
  • What are your thoughts on a 12-team league? Does that interest anyone?

Well, that’s two posts in two days… Is it baseball season yet?

Everyone’s Gone to the Movies

Since we can’t watch real baseball for several more weeks, I thought I would write a post on the next best thing – baseball movies! The funny thing is, there really aren’t a lot of quality baseball movies that have been made. For a sport that is America’s game and has been around for 100 years, I expected to be able to easily name ten great baseball movies. I couldn’t.

So here for the first time is TheFoulLine.com’s Top Five Baseball Movies of All Time!!

(Before I start, it should be noted that Field of Dreams will not be making my list. I hated this entire movie. I hate the “If you build it, they will come” ghost story. I hate Iowa. I hate the stupid Field of Dreams Pepsi commercials that they played 9 billion times last season. Now, I’m sure that I’ll be accused of not being a baseball fan for having these comments, but I urge you to rewatch this movie and try and tell me that it’s not a piece of crap.)

Top Five Baseball Movies of All Time

  1. Bull Durham
    Hands down, the best of all time. This movie has it all: baseball, witty banter, sex… The re-watchability of this movie is off the charts. When flipping through the channels, if I come across this flick, I have never not watched it. True story.

  2. Major League
    Who would have thought that they could make a movie about the Cleveland Indians, and it would actually be really good? I’ve watched this movie at least 30 times and I’ve always enjoyed it. How can you not like Wild Thing, Willy Mays Hayes and Pedro Cerrano? And they beat the Yankees to make it to the World Series! (We will not be mentioning the abominations known as Major League 2 and Major League: Back to the Minors.)

  3. The Sandlot
    This is the funniest movie on the list. The scene where the sandlot kids go face-to-face with their arch rivals is classic. Moron, scab eater, butt sniffer, pus licker, fart smeller, and the ultimate insult… You play ball like a girl! This movie brings me back to when I was kid playing baseball and talking smack.

  4. Moneyball
    For a movie that’s about on-base percentage, drawing walks and Scott Hatteberg, it was really good! I saw this in the theater with the RedRay, and we both really enjoyed it. This is a smart movie that had me laughing. I’m not sure why they made Art Howe such a prick, but even so, this is a top-fiver.

  5. The Natural
    I saw this movie in the theater, the night before my first game as a member of the Salem Little League Traveling All-Star Team. After watching Roy Hobbs knock the cover off the ball with “Wonderboy,” I was amped up and ready to play. I proceeded to go 2-3 with three RBIs, as we beat Litchfield 8-3. I’m not saying this movie was the determining factor in me having a good game, but I’m sure it helped. It’s a classic.

Honorable Mentions:

What’s your all-time favorite baseball movie?

First Among Equals

Holy cow, that was a long first week of fantasy baseball! I think we can all agree that a seven-day game week is preferable to the 11-day marathon. Congrats to the teams that won. Good luck this week!

Quick Hits

  • Trades in fantasy baseball are a crazy thing. Sometimes there are obvious winners and losers. Other times times one team gets absolutely crushed. An example of this would be yours truly trading Alex Rodriguez and C.J. Wilson for Cole Hamels and Justin Upton. I drafted A-Rod in the 4th round of our draft, and I was happy with the pick. I think he’s going to have a monster season. But every time I saw him up to bat, I was wishing that he would take a fastball in his earhole. I think it’s important to have a fantasy team made up of players that are not only good but also fun to watch. I think Hamels and J. Upton  are two of those guys. A-Rod never will be.
  • The Yankeehaters were getting crushed this week. I traded A-Rod and my team’s performance turned around the next day. Karma? Perhaps. Either way — good riddance.
  • The 8th inning experiment with star closer Rafael Soriano is not going well. Some guys are just meant to pitch in the 9th inning. Oh well, it’s only $35 million.
  • B.J. Upton’s real name is Melvin.
  • There’s an appendicitis epidemic sweeping through baseball. I’m going to have mine prematurely removed so it doesn’t potentially affect my playoff run in fantasy baseball.
  • Manny Ramirez is a total scumbag. Joe Maddon and the Rays players supported him 100%. Manny repays this support by lying to them and then getting busted using steroids for the second time. Good riddance.
  • Sam Fuld makes a great defensive play every game.
  • The LBCs have been snakebit in the first week of our season. Don’t write her off quite yet. She’ll still make the playoffs.
  • Thanks Chefdick for dropping Edwin Jackson. He’s looking great so far.
  • The once-proud Cleveland Indians fan base was totally absent in the series against the Red Sox.  There was an average attendance of about 5000 fans per game. Didn’t they used to own the consecutive sellout streak?
  • Scoring the second most points in the league and losing is one of the frustrations of playing in a head-to-head league. Sorry, Chefdick.
  • Jered Weaver: 3 games, 3 wins, 9 hits allowed, 85.5 points. Wow!

The Foul Line Fantasy Baseball Power Rankings

  1. Yankeehaters: 541 points! I think that might be a world record
  2. chefdicks11: Some tough injuries down the stretch hurt. Playing the Yankeehaters hurt even more.
  3. RedRays: Put up a ton of points and crushed the two-time defending champ.
  4. bostobadboys: If Josh Beckett continues his great pitching, the BBB will be tough all year long.
  5. Rays Those Cowbells: Dan made some great trades this week. I anticipate RTC climbing up the rankings this week.
  6. Sam’s Baseball Train: Solid from top to bottom. Sam is going to win more than he loses this year.
  7. Love Boat Captains: This week was a fluke. Her team is better than their week-1 performance.
  8. WILLIS Be The Year: Pitching is pretty awful. If he addresses that, he could bounce back. He’s still 1-0.
  9. ToPpIn Da ChArTz: Losing Longoria was a big reason he lost this week. I look forward to A-Rod getting injured on your team this year.
  10. UNsportsmanMike: 295.5 points in an 11-day week? Really?

Go Sox!

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 Believe

364 days ago I wrote a post called “Keeping the Faith, Part 2.” At that time Boston was in a 3-1 hole to the Cleveland Indians in the American League Championship Series, and they were getting ready to face CC Sabathia in game 5. One year later, I find myself in a similar position, full of hope and optimism and sitting in front of my laptop. Can Boston make another comeback and crush the hopes and dreams of Rays fans everywhere? I not only hope so, but I’m going to give the reasons why.

  1. Scott Kazmir is pitching tonight. Why would Joe Maddon do this? He is either hoping that Kazmir rebounds from his last several poor performances and pulls out a win, or he’s that confident that “Big Game” James Shields will be money in game 6 at Tropicana Field to win it in front of the home crowd. Whatever the reason, I giggled a little when I saw Kazmir as tonight’s starting pitcher. This series is at least going back to St. Pete.
  2. The Red Sox have played horrible baseball. This the all-or-nothing, backs-to-the-wall scenario that shows a team’s character. Like Gene Hackman said in The Replacements, “winners want the ball.”  The Red Sox are the defending World Series Champions. Let’s start acting like it.
  3. 1986, down 3-1 to the California Angels in the ALCS. 2004, down 3-0 to the NY Yankees in the ALCS. 2007, down 3-1 to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS. They’ve been here before and have won. They will do it again.
  4. Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. There is no way in hell that these guys throw another crappy game like their last time out.
  5. Big Papi actually got an extra-base hit last game. The offensive flood gates are officially open.
  6. There is no way that the Rays can keep up with their 8 home runs a game pace. MLB is going to start charging them for lost baseballs.
  7. Dice K is a ninja. The Rays won’t know what hit them.
  8. Jason Varitek got the hole in his glove stitched up, so no more inning-extending passed balls.
  9. The Sox only have to win three measly games. A three game winning streak is nothing. They’ve done it 16 times this season.

So now you can see how obvious it is that Boston will rally back and win this series. I almost feel bad for the Rays…

Go Sox!

Makes Me Wonder

The three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins was exactly what the Boston Red Sox needed. The Sox have been going through the motions lately, getting little to no production from Manny, Lugo, Ellsbury, and Varitek. Even Jonathan Papelbon has been getting hit. These guys had looked like a shell of their former selves.

During this series with Minnesota, Boston won the first game 1-0. They rallied back from a three-run deficit to win the second game, and they had the blowout in the third game to cap the sweep. I know that one good series doesn’t make a season, but this could be a turning point for the Sox. They beat a very good team three times, in three very different ways. Boston is finally getting healthy, and this could be when we see the real Red Sox show up.

Thefoulline.com Quick Hits:

  • Boston is 34-10 playing at Fenway and 21-29 on the road. Home field is going to be more important than ever this postseason.
  • Some guy named Clay Buchholz is starting for Boston Friday night. I hope that he can do as well as some of the other young pitchers the Red Sox have used this year.
  • Congrats to Evan Longoria for making the All Star team. It’s well deserved and is sure to be the first of many during his career.
  • Speaking of the All Star game… Imagine, if you will, the 9th inning, the AL up by one run. Francona goes to the bullpen, the last All Star game in Yankee Stadium… and out comes Jonathan Papelbon. It won’t happen. But it would be awesome to stick it to the entire state of New York.
  • Dustin Pedroia needs to be in the running for the MVP of the league.
  • Vernon Wells of the Toronto Blue Jays is injured again and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. It’s time for Toronto to concede the season and look towards next year.
  • After dropping three in a row, and losing 13-2 to Cleveland as I write this, you know that the Rays are counting the minutes to the All Star break so they can regroup. This is just a bump in the road. They’ll be competitive all year long.
  • Is A-Rod dating Madonna really newsworthy? Would this even be in the paper if the Yankees were relevant?

Hey Man Nice Shot

Good teams find ways to win.

Sometimes it’s a pitcher throwing a complete game to give a tired bullpen the night off, or a great defensive play to keep your team in the lead. In the case of the Red Sox, it’s been back-to-back games with a game-winning home run in the 9th inning.

Thefoulline.com quick hits:

  • It already sucks to be a Cleveland Indians fan. It must suck even more when the Red Sox come to town and you know that your team is going to find a way to lose. The Indians have a ton of talent and should be running away with the division, but with a 5-9 record they are one game out of the Central Division cellar. Maybe they need some Lake Erie Midges swarming around their heads to get them back in the groove.
  • Did you see the lineup Terry Francona put out last night? Coco, Ellsbury, Lowrie, Lugo, and Cash. I thought they were mailing it in before another Yankees series. I guess even the Sox reserves can beat most teams.
  • It was great to see yet another Red Sox prospect live up to the hype. Two years ago it was Jonathan Papelbon. Last year it was Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, and Manny Delcarmen. After last night’s 3 RBI performance in his first Major League game, it may be time to add Jed Lowrie to the list of legitimate prospects.
  • Which reminds me, how are the over-hyped Yankees Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy working out for New York? Last time I checked, Hughes was was 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA, and Kennedy was 0-1 with an impressive 8.74 ERA. Do you think the Yankees are regretting not dealing these guys for Johan Santana?
  • Mike Mussina and Carl Pavano will make a combined $22,071,029 this season.
  • Tim Wakefield and Jonathan Papelbon will make a combined $4,775,000 this season.
  • To further reinforce how crazy the Steinbrenners are, these idiots actually dug up the “cursed” Ortiz jersey buried in Yankee stadium. News Flash, Hank! The shirt is not the reason your team stinks. It’s the lousy pitching pitching staff, over-hyped prospects, and $28 million cancer playing third base.
  • The Red Sox are in first place. Woo-hoo!

It ain’t over ’til it’s over

I hate Dane Cook. I don’t think he’s funny. But I agree with him, there is only one October. I also like to think that there is only one November, one April, etc., etc. The Major League playoffs is the one event in all of sports that consistently delivers. What’s so great about the playoffs is you can never count a team out. No matter what the game count is, until you’ve won four it’s still anybody’s game.

Behind solid pitching and an offense that can score in bunches, Boston rallied from a three-games-to-one deficit to knock off the Cleveland Indians. It’s easy to compare this team to the 2004 World Series Champions. Both teams never say die and play hard until the final out.

In game seven last night, Dice K may have quieted the critics for a little while at least. Dice K came out of the gates smoking. He pounded his fastball and kept the Indians off balance with his off-speed stuff. The first three innings he was awesome. The fourth and fifth innings, Dice K allowed a couple of baserunners but was able to minimize the damage. He performed well last night. Let’s hope his new-found confidence will carry over to the World Series.

Speaking of confidence, is there anyone playing with more confidence than Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis right now? Pedroia is the Little Engine That Could. This guy goes up to the plate and just lets it rip. His two-run home run was the difference maker last night. He followed that up with a bases-loaded double in the eighth. Pedroia thrives under pressure. Not too bad for a rookie.

Youkilis is scary. The way he looks. The sweat constantly pouring off his head. The intensity that he plays with every game. Youkilis was the one guy in the Sox lineup that was consistent through out the ALCS. He batted .425 and had four home runs. These two guys have been the catalysts in rejuvenating the Boston offense. As the stage gets bigger, these two play better.

What makes this victory so special is not only the way the Red Sox came back, but the competition they did it against. The Cleveland Indians are a great team. They play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. They have a great lineup of young talent that never quits. They are a classy organization with passionate fans. They will build off this loss. I’m sure they’ll be back in the playoffs for many years to come.

The Red Sox are firing on all cylinders right now. The starting pitching has come around, featuring two of the best playoff pitchers of all time. The Sox offense has been scary, with everybody contributing. And the bullpen has been lights out. They will be facing a Rockies team that has won 21 out of the last 22 games. Of course, all of these wins came against the Junior Varsity that is known as the National League. Let’s hope the eight days off and the four inches of snow in Colorado have cooled them off.

Worth the wait

They say good things come to those who wait. Boston fans remained patient even when down three games to one. After being outplayed by Cleveland for three straight games, the Red Sox have battled back and have forced game seven.

Curt Schilling pitched a gutsy game last night (7 innings, 6 hits, 2 ER, 5 strikeouts, 0 walks), improving his postseason record to 10-2. He got into some trouble early in the game but was able to execute his pitches and get out of the jam. I’m not sure what I think of the 90-mph-fastball-Schilling. He doesn’t have that extra gear to blow the pitch by the hitter. I find myself on the edge of my seat when he tries to pitch inside to lefties. It seems he either gets the batter to pop up or hit a monster home run to right field. But to his credit, he has come to grips with his new style of pitching. He knows he’s not the strikeout pitcher of past seasons, so he relies on out-thinking the hitters. He was just what Boston needed last night. A big performance from a big game pitcher.

While we are still on the subject of waiting, there was a J.D. Drew sighting last night. After a long season of Drew performing below expectations, he blew open the game with a first-inning grand slam, 3 hits and 5 RBIs. This is exactly what Drew needed to get a clean slate from Boston fans for next season. Last night he was worth every penny spent on him. Suddenly, $14 million a year doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.

All series long, people have been saying Boston needs other players besides the big three to step up. Last night it finally happened. Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis were awesome at the top of the order, getting big hits and setting the plate for Boston’s big hitters. If these two continue this hot streak, I don’t see anyone beating them. The Sox even got some production from their 8 and 9 hitters. Wonderboy Jacoby Ellsbury further enamored himself with Boston fans with an RBI and his all-out hustle. Even Julio Lugo contributed with a big double and two RBIs.

Everything seems to be clicking with Boston right now: Two quality starts in a row from their pitchers. The offense appears to be out of its funk. Heck, even Eric Gagne pitched a decent inning. But like Winston Wolfe said in Pulp Fiction, “Let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet.” The Indians are a good team. You can be sure that they are going to leave it all out on the field tonight.

Thefoulline.com baseball news and notes:

  • I have a lot of respect for Terry Francona. He really cares for and trusts his players. He gives them every opportunity to succeed. He catches a lot of flack for his loyalty to his players, but his guys play hard for him. Let’s hope Boston management does the right thing and locks him up with a long-term contract.
  • Before game 6, Fausto Carmona stated that he won’t be intimidated by anyone, especially not Curt Schilling. Wow! Way to back that up. You really showed them. Another bad playoff performance. He is turning into the skinny version of C.C. Sabathia.
  • Travis Hafner is in a bad funk right now. He hasn’t had a hit in a couple of games and really appears out of sorts. Maybe it’s because his helmet is crushing his huge head. Have you seen this guy’s melon? His head makes his helmet look like the ones little kids eat ice cream out of.
  • Coco Crisp has played his last game in a Boston uniform. He will be dealt in the offseason. Thanks Coco, you were fun to watch play centerfield.
  • Maybe Cleveland shouldn’t have printed all of those 2007 World Series T-shirts when they were up 3-1.
  • I really hope Boston resigns Mike Lowell. If they decide not to, I can see them ignoring A-Rod and going after the Florida Marlins’ Miguel Cabrera.

That’s all for now. Huge game tonight. Let’s keep this thing rolling.

Go Sox!

Shipping up to Boston

The Red Sox may have finally turned the corner on this series. Their offense began to show some signs of life, putting seven runs on the scoreboard. The Sox were patient at the plate, looking at a lot of pitches and capitalizing on C.C.’s mistakes. It was nice to see Pedroia bust out of his slump and Youk continue his great series. Boston had opportunities early in the game to jump out to a big lead, but a couple of bases-loaded double plays and Manny admiring his long single off the wall just a little too long thwarted the rallies.

Coco Crisp may have played his last game of the ALCS. He played another horrible game: 0 for 5, 2 strikeouts, 4 runners left on base, and he couldn’t get down a sacrifice bunt resulting in another key strikeout. How does Francona not sit this guy for game six? Maybe a game on the bench will light a fire under him and get him to refocus for the World Series. Even if Ellsbury comes in and stinks just like Coco, he is the Red Sox centerfielder of the future. Let’s get him some playoff experience.

Before Boston fans get too excited about last night, let’s remember that Chocolate Cake Sabathia was pitching. This guy was an All-Star this year. He is the front runner for the Cy Young award. But when the playoffs start, he turns to crap. Maybe the C.C. stands for Chokey Chunkbutt?

The Sox looked better last night, but they were the beneficiaries of several Cleveland mistakes: Grady Sizemore dropping Youk’s triple, passed balls, Rafael Perez throwing away a sure double play. All these things padded the Sox lead. Boston is going to have to play better the rest of the way.

I wish game six was tonight. Fenway Park. Crowd Buzzing. Schilling on the mound. Sox with some momentum.

Buckle up! This series is just getting started.