The Best of What’s Around

With Opening Day of the 2008 Major League Baseball season a few short hours away, the staff at has come up with the inaugural All-Pro Team of Awesomeness. This is a team of players, handpicked by Dylan and me, who represent what this site stands for. These players may not necessarily be the best at their respective positions, some may not even be good at baseball at all, but they have the attributes to make them worthy of this prestigious honor.

To be eligible for this team, players have to meet certain requirements:

  • No Yankees allowed
  • Must be able to play hurt, and not spend more time on the DL then on the active roster. (This means Rocco Baldelli is out.)
  • Must keep their name on the sports page, not on the police blotter.
  • Not on the Mitchell Report. Sorry, Roger.
  • Most importantly, these are players that Dylan and I like. It was hard to not make it all Red Sox, but we did our best.
  • No Yankees allowed

Here is the 2008 All-Pro Team of Awesomeness

Catcher: Jason Varitek
Varitek is not only the captain of the Boston Red Sox, but we are making him the captain here as well. Although he’s getting on in years, he still prepares his pitchers well and calls a great game.

First Base: Mark Texiera
Tex flies under the radar as far as elite first basemen go. He’s solid every year he plays.

Second Base: Dustin Pedroia
The baddest man in Boston provides the scrappy trash-talking factor for the team. If this guy was 6 feet tall, he would be a household name.

Shortstop: Orlando Cabrera
I still can’t get over the Sox not signing him in favor of Edgar Renteria. The O.C. was great for Boston during their 2004 run.

Third Base: Alex R…..NOT! David Wright
This guy has every chick in New York City wanting him, and he still goes out and hits .324 with 30 HRs. Plus I like the fact that Derek Jeter gets this guy’s leftovers. Best 3rd baseman in NYC.

Right Field: Vladimir Guerrero
Vlad swings for the fences with every swing of the bat and has a laser-rocket arm. What’s not to like? He once went yard in the on-deck circle.

Center Field: Grady Sizemore
Sizemore plays the game like a new and improved Jim Edmonds. Not to mention, Grady is a pretty cool first name.

Left Field: Carl Crawford
Poor Carl, playing in relative obscurity in Tampa, still manages to put up great numbers. And he has to play his spring training games next to road-rager Jon Weber.

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz
This one was obvious. He’s one of the most likable people in all of sports as well as the greatest postseason clutch hitter on the planet. Plus, I can’t really think of another DH worth a damn.

Starting Pitcher: Josh Beckett
He makes the team due to his remarkable playoff record and the fact that he never smiles during a game. This guy epitomizes intensity.

Starting Pitcher: Scott Kazmir
This future Red Sox led the league in strikeouts last year. Also Dylan has a man-crush on him, and vice-versa.

Starting Pitcher: Jake Peavy
He’s great at nothing but really good at everything.

Starting Pitcher: Felix Hernandez
His nickname is King, and he one-hit the Red Sox last year. That’s good enough for me.

Starting Pitcher: Tom Glavine
Token old-timer of the staff and 300-game winner. Also Dylan saw him play high school hockey in Billerica, Mass.

Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
Great stuff. Decent dancer. Crazy as hell.

Bench: Carlos Pena
The pride of Haverhill, Mass.

Bench: Troy Tulowitzki
Pretty good ballplayer, even if he does play for the Rockies.

Bench: Joe Mauer
Close personal friend of Matt McLaughlin, so he makes the team.

Bench: Kevin Millar
This guy will never make it out on the field for this team, but he’s a fun guy to keep around.

Manager: Sparky Anderson
My dad’s favorite manager when I was growing up.

League Commissioner: Bill Lee

Here’s our team. I think that they would fare pretty well in the league. Who makes your Team of Awesomeness?

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.’s Quick Hits, the International Version

  • 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.
  •’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. 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!

Who’s Johnny?

Dylan and I and two friends of ours went to the Tampa Bay Rays-Toronto Blue Jays game this past Friday. After having a great time at the Red Sox game a few weeks earlier, I was expecting good things. The last game we went to included nice weather, World Series trophies, and the best team on the planet. This game consisted of the always-crappy Rays and Canada’s only team. My expectations may have been too high.

I like to get to the park early so I can watch batting practice and check out the stadium, so we arrived at 11:30 for a 1:05 game. As soon as we passed through the turnstiles at Progress Energy Park, it started to rain, and the temperature dropped.

This sucked for a few reasons. First of all, I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Secondly, the field crew threw the tarp on the field, so no BP. Thirdly, there was absolutely nothing going on at this stadium. This place is essentially a bunch of concrete and bleachers, nothing like City of Palms park, where they have a beautiful stadium and didn’t cut any corners. So there we were, stuck standing around the concourse with the other seven fans at the game.

For about an hour it continued to rain off and on and get colder and colder until it got to the point that I made the very difficult decision to get off my wallet and invest in a long sleeve shirt. After going to four different souvenir stands, I had the choice between a long sleeve Rays shirt and a Rays sweatshirt. I reluctantly forked over $28 and experienced one of the lowest moments of my life as a sports fan.

Eventually, the rain stopped and we got to our seats, two rows up on the first-base line. We watched as the players warmed up and then started coming off the field, stopping to sign autographs and chat up the fans. Then a short, fat guy wearing #63 for the Rays came off the field and tossed a ball into the stands, right into the hands of yours truly.

I’d never caught a ball at game before so I was pretty psyched. Until I looked back at #63 to thank him and saw that he was shaking his head in disgust and calling me a few choice words. Confused, I turned around to see a 15-year-old kid, glove in hand, sitting right behind me. Feeling like a loser for stealing this kid’s ball, I apologized and gave him the ball.

As the game started, I found myself getting more and more irritated, thinking about #63 and his overreaction. I didn’t know there was a kid behind me, and I didn’t appreciate some no-name giving me a bunch of crap over it. So I decided to make Mr. Short Fuse my verbal target for the rest of the day. I quickly did some research on him and found out that he is a 30-year-old career minor leaguer named Jon Weber. Lucky for us, he was starting in center field.

So at the beginning and end of each inning, as Weber runs on and off the field, I hit him with a “Look alive out there Johnny” or a “Let’s show some hustle out there Johnny.” Each time I said something, he made a point to look right at me to give me the stink-eye. We were officially in his head.

Our exchanges came to a head in the fourth inning. As he was running off the field, I told Weber to “enjoy Double A this year, Johnny.” I don’t think he appreciated this, as he again stared me down, and then told Carl Crawford that I was something that rhymes with “brother-clucker.” Victory is ours.

After pushing Johnny’s buttons for four innings, I figured it was probably time to leave this psychopath alone, before he jumped the wall and beat me to death with a Louisville Slugger. Although, that may have made the game more exciting for the fans in attendance.

Boring game. Bad weather. Lousy stadium. $28 dollar Rays shirt. Not the best way to spend a Friday afternoon.

After the game, a few questions popped into my head:

  • At what age do kids become fair game, when you don’t have to give them the ball?
  • What kind of Employee Assistance Program do the Rays have to help Jon Weber with his anger management problem?
  • Will the Rays ever be contenders in the hardest division in baseball?

If anyone has the answers to these highly debated questions, I would love to hear them.