20 February 2005

More Spring Training Stuff...

Ok, I'm gonna do it. I can't believe I'm doing it, but I'm going to link to an article by CHB- Dan Shaughnessy, your Curly Haired Boyfriend. It's actuallly pretty informative (and better than the one of the same topic by Kevin Kernan in the NYPost yesterday).

Anyway, here it is, entitled "Plot Twists for Arroyo, A-Rod". Here are some of the more interesting quotes:

"He was about 6-3, 195, and at that time I was probably 5-9, 120," remembered Arroyo. "He was like Superman out there. Taking BP, I had never seen balls hit that far in my life.

"At the time I thought he was the cockiest dude I'd ever seen. During the game, I walked and got to second. He was playing shortstop and after a pitch he said something to his second baseman in Spanish and then he walks up to the umpire in the infield and says, with a straight face, `Hey, man. Tell that ump behind the plate that we get those calls back home.' Then he just walked off. He was 18 years old and I was going, `Holy [expletive].' "

Apparently way back when, as Rodriguez tore through high school ball at Westminster Christian, Arroyo's high school met up with the juggernaut squad- Arroyo himself then a shortstop like Rodriguez.

"They were the No. 1 team in the country and they were traveling around, making a circuit," said Arroyo. "They came to our place and I totally remember the game because I was a sophomore, he was a senior, I was a shortstop, he was a shortstop. He was so big and so dominant. He was out there stretching. He was in the middle and the whole team was in a circle around him and I thought he was the coach."

This was my favorite, personally- never read about this:

The two had a brief exchange after the infamous slap play in Game 6.

"He was talking to the umpire like 10 minutes after the play," said Arroyo, "and they had already called him out forever ago and I was just kind of looking over at him and smirking. And he said to the umpire, `Look, he's laughing at you because you made the wrong call.' "

Just like in high school. Still telling the umps what to do. Still thinking he's better than all the other kids.

It's interesting- Rodriguez (if you haven't noticed, I try to avoid the "A-Rod" moniker as much as possible because I've read he actually gave it to himself) will always be a dominant hitter and a dominant overall player. Just kind of funny all the stuff coming out now that speaks largely to a consensus on the guy around the league. I distinctly remember after that July 24th brawl game, reading some notes-column finisher in the Globe wherein a visiting Detroit player congratulated Varitek for giving him a leather sandwich saying, "we all been waiting to do that a LONG time."

Bet it was Da Meat Hook.


Renteria wants a ring too, dammit. (bostonherald.com)

Here's a great article on Edgar Renteria from the Herald today (who apparently got lost on his way to Ft. Meyers), talking about fitting in on the team that finished him and his Cardinals off in the World Series last year.

The date and logistics of the ceremony to present World Series championship rings to returning members of the Red Sox [stats, schedule] still haven't been worked out but newcomer Edgar Renteria already has his plans set.

``I'm going to go through the line and say, `Where's my ring?' '' said the veteran shortstop, who left the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals to sign a four-year, $40 million contract with the Sox. ``But I'll be happy for them.''

Seems like a nice, easy-to-like guy. He's actually gotten a hit to win an extra-inning Game 7 of the World Series (as a 21 year old in 1997 with the Marlins against Manny's Indians), and he's hit a Chopper to end Game 4 of a World Series sweep.

The ladies love him. We'll call him "heartthrob." (bostonherald.com)

Matt Mantei has a lot to say about his new rivalry mates, the Yankees. He's a very candid fella, that Mantei. On Rodriguez...

When A-Rod's name came up yesterday, Mantei jokingly said, ``Who's that?'' before adding, ``I played with him in A-ball. A couple years later, I saw him again and I don't think he remembered who I was, he was such a big timer by then.''

Mantei then offered this disclaimer: ``I like A-Rod, I think he's a nice guy. He does a lot of good things for the community and children, and stuff like that and I think that's pretty impressive to do what he does.''

On Randy in New York...

Mantei played the last five years in Arizona with Randy Johnson. He said the Hall of Famer is going to have a difficult transition to New York.

``It's going to be a tough fit for Randy,'' he said. ``He doesn't like the media. He doesn't like fans. He doesn't like anybody. He's going to have a hard time. . . . I love him to death. I wish him all the best.''

And on the Yankees themselves...

``I don't like the Yankees,'' said Mantei, who noted he rooted for the Red Sox last year in the ALCS. ``I don't think anybody does, except the Yankees. It's true, though."

Theo throws Hanley some love. (bostonherald.com)

It looks like, for now, the 26 year old Byung Hyun Kim is staying put. The Red Sox would like to watch him, give him a chance to find a spot on the staff, and maximize his capabilities. If Kim could, in some way, regain velocity and return to the form he showed in 2003 for the Sox and in his years with Arizona, the Red Sox would have a top-flight RH-setup man.

That's a big "if," though. I'm pulling for it with Kim more than anything, but claims like this from the Red Sox are more than likely just value-inflation, hoping he'll throw some quality innnings in spring training and get a bullpen desperate team like the Mets, Cubs, A's or whomever to bite. As it stands, any deal that would have included Kim would have required Boston to pay his way on the new club- an offer that obviously isn't worth doing (Kim will make $6 million this season). If Boston can stand behind him, get that number down and inflate his value this spring, I'm guessing they won't even hesitate in dealing him, as they've shown every indication of being somewhat fed up with whatever it is Kim brings off the field. Whether that's a good thing or not I have no idea, but if Kim is good in ST, I'd stil be surprised to see him finish the year in Boston.

Tek and the tools of ignorance. (bostonherald.com)

Karen Guregian writes about Jason Varitek as "captain" of this team, with innumerable awe-inspired praise from teammates- all great stuff, but all stuff we've read before. The interesting part of the article (to me at least) is the admission that Varitek will, in fact, sport the "C" on his jersey on Opening Day as captain of the Red Sox. Interesting decision (see what it looks like here).


Though it's necessary to be very doubtful when looking at the progress of a rehabbing pitcher, it's nice to see some optimism from Wade Miller, who was throwing from 150 ft. yesterday, and hopes to move to a mound sometime next week. If Miller can be healthy for any length of season, and pitch to his ability, he is our #2 starter, and makes our rotation the best in baseball, period. His health is a huge deal at this point.

"You've got to have some arm strength to throw that far," said Miller, whose season was cut short last season by a frayed labrum in his right shoulder. "I'll be behind the other pitchers, who will be throwing batting practice later this week, but I hope to be off the mound soon. I want to long-toss a couple more times first."

All the indications look at June as the earliest, but that was with the caveat that he wouldn't hit a mound until much later than projected here. I know Francona has stressed he is going to err FAR on the side of caution with Wade, a great idea considering if he tries to start back too early, we've truly lost him for a long while. Miller getting healthy around the middle of July would be like a tremendous trade for a front-line starter, and as such would bolster us for a division-push. Bringing him back on only a hope of his being ready would do tons worse than good.


When the Red Sox do hand out their World Series ring, they will be setting a record for the number they'll give out.

The Sox will issue 500 World Series rings to players, coaches, management, and myriad team employees, obliterating the record for the largest order ever received by Minneapolis-based ring maker Jostens Inc.

"That's so beyond the record it's unbelievable," said Al Nuness, vice president of sports sales for Jostens. "The most we've ever done for a championship ring in the past has been the Patriots when they first won their rings [in 2002]. That was about 225 rings. This is going to be a major celebration for the Red Sox."

Add to that the rings will be personalized and are of a very high quality- setting a new aesthetic standard, or so says the ringmaker:

The ring will marry tradition and spectacle. The stately "B" logo will be angled exactly as it is on the team's caps and done with rubies. Each ring will include the recipient's name, which is not necessarily standard operating procedure. The rings will be white gold. Principal owner John W. Henry preferred yellow gold but yielded to popular preference within the organization.

"They have been very particular about what they want," Nuness said. "We developed over 15 sample rings, [tinkering with] placement of diamonds, whether or not they want to use rubies. When you look at their `B,' the way it's curved, the way it's actually put together, you want to make sure that looks exactly like that no matter what stones will be used.

"This ring will change the way championship rings will be designed. That's how elegant this ring will be. Most rings in the past, it's gross, so much bling. With this you'll see . . . a ring that would really represent a place like Boston that has been in baseball forever."

Those will be unbelievable to see. I mean- FIVE HUNDRED! That's extraordinarily generous. And a lot of friggin' money.


Finally, one of the great closers of all time with one of the great fastballs in the history of the game has suffered yet another setback, and is electing to retire. Robb Nen, the Giants all-time saves leader and one of the cogs in Flordia's 1997 World Series victory, is sick of the setbacks.

Following yet another setback, the former Giants pitcher has decided to retire.

"I'm 99 percent sure," Nen told the San Francisco Chronicle by phone Saturday. "If I get a wild hair about coming back, and six or eight months from now I pick up a ball and feel good again, I might think about it.

"But that's probably not going to happen."

Nen told the Chronicle he decided to retire about two weeks ago.

Nen, with his toe-tap along his leg drive towards home, was always an entertaining pitcher to watch, and he had unbelievable stuff. He retires with a career ERA of 2.98, 314 SV, 793K and 715 IP.

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PTH checking in yet again...

FWIW, I asked one of my Tiger fan friends about that article excerpt, and since they know their own team the best, I asked who would've most likely said that. They said it was most likely Esteban Yan but could've possibly been Bobby Higginson or Ivan Rodriguez.

Anyways....good stuff..just thought I'd pass on that bit of info, if you cared.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/20/2005 5:54 PM  

Dirt Dog gives me like 15 pages of "ring-gate" nonsense and unwarranted Pedro-bashing even after he's left the team. Here I get the exact info/tainment I want and more. Great jorb as usual.

By Blogger Jere, at 2/21/2005 8:08 PM  

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