Archive for the ‘Bill Lee’ Category

Here Comes the Sun

The sun did rise today.

The birds are singing, and things seem to be OK.

After watching the Red Sox get out-hit, out-pitched, outplayed and out-cheered the last three nights, I wasn’t so sure that was going to happen. But here we are – it’s a new day and we have the damn Yankees to focus on.

There’s a lot of baseball left to played. Let’s turn this thing around. quick hits

  • After receiving threats in the mail a few days ago, Sox players avoided fans in the stands like they had the ebola virus (with David Aardsma being the exception, but I think he may have a few screws loose anyway).
  • Walking into the game last night and seeing ex-Sox player Bill Lee in attendance signing autographs I thought was going to be a good omen. It wasn’t.
  • Evan Longoria is a great ballplayer, but after watching him interact with the young fans in the crowd, I think he is an even better person. Within two years, this guy is going to be the most popular player in baseball.
  • With Terry Francona picking the reserves for the All-Star Game, I think Longoria just secured a spot on the roster.
  • Funny observation of the night: The Red Sox coaches warm up as if they are playing that night. I watched as Brad Mills and Luis Alicea played some long toss before the game. After watching the Sox bullpen implode last night, they could have used them.
  • Three games, three dumb moves by Francona. Game 1: Not pinch hitting Sean Casey for Lugo in the 9th inning. Game 2: Having the ice-cold Jason Varitek pinch hit. Game 3: Keeping Craig Hansen in the game too long and having him walk half the Rays lineup.
  • Bonus dumb move from Game 3: Having the above mentioned Varitek do a hit and run with the slowest guy on the team standing on first base. It was a recipe for failure.
  • Manny sucks.
  • What a relief, Boston has four games against the Yankees.
  • 3 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay Rays feels like 100 right now.
  • Thanks to the Rays fan who jump started my truck in the parking lot after the game. I take back some of the bad stuff I’ve said about their kind in the past.

Closing Time

One could make the argument that a team’s closer is the most important player on the roster. A good closer is the guy that can come out of the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth inning of a close game and consistently shut the opponent down. He may only pitch sixty innings a year, but every single one of them counts. He needs to have a short memory, mental toughness, and ice water flowing through his veins.

The pressure of being a Major League closer has ruined the careers of countless pitchers. These guys are special and are a rare breed of ballplayer. Fortunately for the Boston Red Sox, they have such a guy, and they need to lock him up for a long time.

Jonathan Papelbon is entering his third season as the Red Sox closer, and during his short career he has quickly turned into the game’s elite closer, all for the bargain basement price of $425,500 a year. Major League Baseball has a weird salary structure that bases salaries on a player’s initial years of service, so Boston is under no obligation to pay him any more than that. But why take the chance of insulting the best closer in the game?

So why doesn’t Boston lock him up for a long-term contract? The Red Sox have shown that they’re not afraid to spend money. (See Dice K’s $51.1 million posting fee, J.D. Drew’s $14 million a year, Julio Lugo’s $9 million a year.) Why not spend some on the guy that saved 37 games last year and was unstoppable in the playoffs?

Not to mention, Papelbon may be the most liked athlete in all of New England. I grew up in New Hampshire, and I don’t ever remember an athlete doing an Irish jig after winning a big game. I’m not sure what Boston fans find more endearing, his All-Star caliber pitching, or his ability to relate to the common man.

Papelbon reminds me of a combination of Bill “Spaceman” Lee and Karl Childers from Sling Blade, a likable party animal with a mean streak. His recipe for success seems simple: sprint from the bullpen, crazy stare to home plate, 96 MPH fastball. Repeat as necessary. Whether he comes in for one out or two innings, this combination has been the reason that Boston knows that it’s game over when Papelbon enters the game.

So Theo Epstein, please give this guy the contract that he deserves. I can’t bear the thought of him dancing in another team’s uniform.

Am I allowed to be a member of Red Sox Nation and still think Jerry Remy is an idiot?

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Jerry Remy is going to be “elected” President of Red Sox Nation, but I don’t have to like it. I guess I’ve never really understood the appeal of Jerry Remy. Sure, he’s a career .275 hitter, with a whopping 7 career home runs, and he did make the all-star team in 1978. But this guy for President??

Remy was a non-factor as a player during his 7 years with Boston. Teams never had a game plan when they played Boston on how they could contain Remy. They were worried about guys like Yaz, Rice, Lynn and Fisk. How did this guy get so popular?

Maybe it’s because he’s so engaging doing his color commentary on NESN. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of hearing “Buenos Tardes, Amigo” to begin every broadcast. Is “Remy” a Spanish last name? Could it mean disheveled chain smoker with a porno actor mustache by any chance? I can see NESN wanting to have an ex-player doing commentary. Who wouldn’t want to add that insight to the broadcast? But maybe we could have got someone with either half a brain (Dwight Evans?) or at least a little character. Bill “Spaceman” Lee would be perfect. Of course Bill Lee would be hammered for every broadcast, but I think that would be part of the allure. At least he would have a reason for his incoherent babble.

Side note: I actually had the pleasure of meeting Bill Lee a few years ago during a Pro-Am golf tournament in Sarasota, Florida. He was playing in a foursome with Ozzie Smith and two guys I never heard of. My dad and I caught up with him on the second hole of the course, and he was already blasted. During the few minutes that we talked with him, he was more engaging and real then a season’s worth of Jerry Remy.

Jerry, you can keep your awful Lumber Liquidators voiceovers and your unhealthy affection for Wally the Green Monster.

I’m voting for change in Red Sox Nation. The People have spoken…