Marco Scutaro has to GO – and Darnell needs to be sent to AAA to learn that he ain’t all that or be traded for a bag of potato chips

Holy jesus – I can’t stand watching these two bozos at the plate any more.

Marco Scutaro at the plate is a nightmare. Whenever he comes up to bat, I just want to see him get off the field as quickly as possible. He is the worst hitter on the Red Sox, and he sucks at shortstop too, and when I think about the excellent shortstops we’ve had in the past decade who we let go because we thought we could do better (Cabby) and because they had their worst year in their careers (Renteria) – now we have this half-wit who obviously is, day-in and day-out, the weakest link on the team, Marco Scutaro, I have to believe that all the noise from the Red Sox front office about strengthening the team by trading for a solid-hitting right-fielder or a relief pitcher (??) is just a smokescreen for a massive, coast-to-coast search for a free-agent shortstop who can field OK and who has a fucking clue at the plate, which Marco f-ing Scutaro has NOT.

How did this ass get on our team? He is so far below the standards of the Boston Red Sox as to be laughable. He is the WEAKEST LINK and he has to go.

Darnell McDonald is another of my bete noirs. He takes more care of his hair and his selection of designer sunglasses than in his selection of pitches to swing at or how to play the outfield. He clearly thinks he is way better than he is, and he needs to be sent to AAA just to teach him a lesson: you haven’t shown us shit at the major league level yet, so stop the Hollywood bullshit with the hair and the sunglasses at the plate and learn how to hit a fucking major-league fastball, already! And stop trying to upstage your teammates in the outfield, because you haven’t shown the skill necessary for you to call off JD Drew from a ball hit to RCF. You aren’t that good at this point in your career, so chill out.

If we can get rid of these two half-tards, we could be an ass-kicking team. But if I have to watch these two idiots come up to the plate without a clue after everyone else on the team has intelligent at-bats, working the count, then these assholes come up and hack and hack away – just thinking about it I just want to kill myself right now rather than watch this shit all year long.

[End of rant]

Love,

Houndcat

Toronto @ Boston – 4 July 2011 Debacle Sits on Francona’s head

This was a loss that should have been a win. Far be it from me to criticize the front office of the Red Sox after all the success they have had this past ten years; but Terry Francona does have a few – just a few – blind spots that have become obvious to me, so now it’s time for me to vent, because today’s loss was, IMHO, avoidable.

Toronto has a very good team. These guys would be in 2nd or 3d place if they were in any other division besides the AL East. Instead, they are in purgatory in the AL, and can only torture every contending team in the division. And torture us they did today, with John Lackey coming out and laying an egg where what turned out to be a closer game than it should have been ended up as a Toronto win.

Let’s cut to the chase: Why the hell do the Red Sox have base-stealing threats Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia if they are going to never send them in games where the Sox are trailing by several runs?

In the bottom of the first, Ellsbury singles. The Red Sox don’t send him, and Pedroia grounds into a force out at 2nd.

But most tellingly, in the 7th, Ellsbury and Pedroia reach on consecutive singles, and neither one attempts to steal even though the pitcher is ignoring them. So Gonzalez grounds into a DP and our last chance to tie the game goes away.

Terry: Why do you consistently not send our fastest base stealers when the game is on the line? Especially when the Sox are down by 4 runs? Or did you give them the green light and they just didn’t run?

I just don’t understand why we would leave these two standing on base when a steal or a double steal in the 7th could have easily resulted in one or 2 runs.

Francona has to get more aggressive with the weapons he has at his disposal. It makes no sense to have two base stealers on base and then to not send them, especially when the opposing team makes no attempt to even throw to first.

IMNSHO If Terry had been more aggressive sending his best base stealers in this game, we could have won it. We would have probably come at least within one run of winning it.

I don’t want to be part of that syphillitic crowd of so-called Red Sox fans who hate Francona and Theo Epstein. What Terry and Theo have done for us (2 World Series Championships in 10 years) is absolutely amazing and I will never pretend that my knowledge of baseball comes within a light-year of theirs.

But I have to wonder why in a close game like this, when we had our best base stealers in position to make a major impact in this game, they stood at their bases like “the house beside the road”.

I would send those guys every time they get on base, to put pressure on the pitchers and catchers. Even if they get picked off, the pitchers would have to worry about them every time they got on base, and they would probably be successful stealing at LEAST 50% of the time. That puts a bug in the ear of every pitcher on the opposing team all day long.

I have to say that Terry Francona has been responsible for at least 3 losses out of the last 10 games because he didn’t send our best base stealers when they got on base: in the Pittsburgh series, the Philly series and now in this series.

A good craftsman doesn’t buy expensive “special tools” and then leave them in his toolbox, unused. Terry: Ellsbury and Pedroia are your “special tools” – and you have repeatedly left them out to dry on base when they should have been put into play.

Theo: Have you discussed this with Terry? Because I think he maybe needs a bit of a push from you in this direction.

[End of Rant]

Love,

Houndcat

Ian Browne At Career Crossroads

Ian Browne at Career Crossroads

I had the unrequited (so far) pleasure of castigating Ian Browne of the Red Sox MLB media s[cr]um for his ignorant disrespectful trashing of Daisuke Matsuzaka for having the temerity to go for surgery on his f’d up elbow a la Tommy John. I love setting scarecrows on fire, so enjoy!

– HC

Dice-K at career crossroads

For the first time since his decision to undergo Tommy John Surgery, Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka discussed his situation with the media — first American, than Japanese — in the clubhouse this morning.

It’s hard to believe all the fanfare that come with Dice-K’s arrival in Boston. Remember all the bloggers who were tracking the progress of his flight back to Boston after his dramatic signing? Remember the 300 or so people at his first press conference? The story was as heavily-covered as anything I’ve seen during my time covering the Red Sox.

Let’s face it, he was a fascination, after a brilliant career in Japan.

In those first two years, Matsuzaka was never quite the No. 1 starter many built him up to be, but he was still pretty effective. There was a 15-12 season during Year One, which included good spurts, bad spurts, and ultimately a happy ending. Matsuzaka won Game 7 of the ALCS, and Game 3 of the World Series, and it seemed the adversity he overcame in that first season would lead to better things in Year Two. And that is exactly what happened. Matsuzaka went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 2008, with an amazing ability to get himself into trouble with walks and get out of those jams with big pitches.

The first severe downward turn came in 2009, when Matsuzaka went back to the World Baseball Classic. Communication between the trainers from Team Japan and the Red Sox was shaky at best. Manager Terry Francona was openly worried that Matsuzaka would hurt himself and the team’s chances that season by not following the type of program the team had in mind. So Matsuzaka won that World Baseball Classic with Japan, and for the second time in as many tries, he was the MVP. But he came back toward the end of Spring Training not in good physical shape.

To put it kindly, the 2009 season was a disaster for Matsuzaka. He made just two ineffective starts before being placed on the disabled list with what the team called a mild right shoulder strain. Matsuzaka returned five weeks later and nothing changed. He was mostly ineffective again, and back on the DL following a disastrous start against the Braves on June 19. This time, Matsuzaka was put on the DL for a prolonged stint, in which the club mandated he get to Fort Myers and get his entire body in better shape.

Matsuzaka missed nearly three months, returning to Fenway on Sept. 15. To his credit, he came back far thinner and pitched well in his four starts at the end of that season. The Red Sox were swept out of the Division Series, and Dice-K never pitched.

He was said to have a great winter following that season, and was driven to have a bounceback year. But there was a problem right away, as Matsuzaka’s back acted up on him in the Spring, and he missed the first month of the season. There were flashes of brilliance, but a whole lot of inconsistency from Dice-K in ’10. He finished the year 9-6 with a 4.69 ERA.

Then, on to this year. He was horrendous in his first two starts, and it seemed as if everyone was going to wave their hands in the air and consider him a failed experience. Then, one last tease. Matsuzaka put together perhaps his best two Major League outings in a row, firing seven one-hit innings against the Blue Jays and hurling another one-hitter — this time over eight innings –in Anaheim. So Dice-K was back, right? Nope. Then came the April 29 start at home against the Mariners, when his control was all over the place and he left the start with elbow woes. In hindsight, that is when his UCL started to deteriorate. He pitched three more times, once out of the bullpen, and wasn’t effective in any of those games.

And now it’s on to surgery, and you wonder if the 30-year-old Matsuzaka will ever have the type of success in the Majors that many forecasted.

Matsuzaka had few answers on Sunday morning.

“It’s actually my first time to get an operation and all I can say is I’m very shocked when it comes to these results,” Matsuzaka said.

Can you return to the Red Sox before your contract ends?

“It’s difficult to say at this point. But, you know, what I can do is do my best and come back to the game as soon as I can,” said Matsuzaka.

How tough is this? “It’s difficult, but what I can do is do my best and come back to the game as soon as I can. All I have right now is anxiety, so all I can do is do what I have to do my best, and come back to the game.”

Why the surgery and not rest and rehab? “The ligament is torn and I was told to fix it perfectly, I need to have the surgery. That’s why I’m getting the surgery.”

How do you summarize your time in Boston?  “I don’t think of it that way. For sure, I hope I come back to the game again with the Red Sox uniform. If I wouldn’t come back to the game, I will have to talk about that next time.”

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1 Comment

I think “Dice-K” in English means “not worth $50 million plus. Based on his injuries playing for the Japanese national team, I think he owes the Red Sox some money or Japan does.

By BillK on June 5, 2011 3:59 pmReply
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As I just pointed out to a pointy-headed blogger on this same subject:

[Source: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/matsuda01.shtml

Matsuzaka, lifetime with the Red Sox is 49-30 with a .620 winning percentage. The top 10 pitchers of all time for the Red Sox – all time: do you know what the winning percentage for the 10th best pitcher all-time for the Boston Red Sox is?
[Source: http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/leaders_pitch.shtml

.639!!

And Matsuzaka is .620. Very respectable.

Now please tell me: what the hell is wrong with that?

In my opinion, Daisuke was a victim of overhyping by the “knights of the pen” – YOUR brotherhood, Ian! He was overhyped by you and your fellow idiots to the point that there was NO WAY he could live up to the hype. And then when he failed to live up to your impossible predictions, based as they were on absolutely NO research at all and NO personal experience watching him pitch, you all pig-piled on his ass.

This is why you are called “the knights of the pen”.

By the way: Matsuzaka, as “disappointing” as his career has been, given the ridiculous hype given him by your brethren – has amassed some surprisingly good stats during his career with Boston, viz.:

Matsuzaka is:

#5 all-time in Ks per 9 innings pitched;

Tied for 5th all-time with Clemens for single-season W-L Percentage with .857 in 2008;

18th all-time for W-L percentage, .001 behind Mel Parnell; ahead of Tiant, Stanley and Siebert, Lee, Lowe and on and on…;

Hits per Innings pitched: Matsuzaka’s 6.871 in 2008 is better than Cy Young’s best year 6.923 in 1908;

Do you want more? I’m sure you don’t, but because you are such a big fish to fry I think you need more charcoal under the fire.

His 201 Ks in 2007 placed him in 24th place all-time in Red Sox history;

He’s 23rd in Ks vs Bases on Balls all-time… ahead of Lefty Grove and Dick Drago and Eddie Cicotte

By Houndcat on June 5, 2011 10:49 pmReply
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So I could go on all day with this. Obviously, Matsuzaka was and IS an amazing talent well worthy of the patience the Red Sox have shown him all these few years. If he can come back from Tommy John surgery and pitch as well as he has for us so far he’ll be climbing those charts like King fing Kong.

So, Ian, do some homework before you post and you won’t sound like an idiot.

Love,

Houndcat

By Houndcat on June 5, 2011 10:52 pmReply

Bring Me The Head Of Don Orsillo

“We may be looking at the closer of the future for Terry Francona.” – Don Orsillo, referring to pitcher Daniel Bard, 9th inning,  OAK at BOS, 5 June 2011.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I like Don Orsillo.  He’s a very good TV announcer for the Red Sox.  Great voice, excellent repartee with Jerry Remy, knows the game – pretty much.  I like the guy.  I enjoy his broadcasts and watch him and Jerry almost every day – in fact I prefer NESN’s duo over the WEEI radio team.  (I never listen to the radio call – Castiglione’s errant calls of fly balls to the outfield piss me off).

But Donny’s becoming very opinionated about the Red Sox lately in a way that I find obtrusive.  He’s starting to talk and write like one of the no-minds from SportsTalkRadio.  Seeking controversy too much.  Finding the Red Sox’ sore spots and then pouring alcohol into the wound.  It’s unnecessary, unseemly, and it’s going to come back to hurt him. Worst of all: he’s placing himself between Terry Francona and the team by suggesting that he is privy to inside information that the players may not be aware of yet.

I first noticed this when I was perusing Orsillo’s interesting NESN blog this spring.  There was a discordant note present in his commentary that I hadn’t noticed before.   Maybe I have been remiss in my attentions to these things, but all of a sudden there they were, like the sudden awareness that some of the bratwurst on your plate aren’t bratwurst at all.  They’re turds.

I achieved some clarity on this subject last month when I read Don Orsillo’s blog post “Tim Wakefield, Not Alfredo Aceves, Should Remain in Rotation After John Lackey Returns”.
[Source: http://www.nesn.com/2011/05/make-no-mistake-the-cleveland-indians-are-contenders.html%5D

What caught my attention at first was Dandy Don’s amazing effrontery – essentially telling Terry Francona what he should do with the starting rotation – as if Don Orsillo has the baseball smarts to second guess a man whose teams have won two World Series in the past eight years. Then I was wakened to Don’s backhanded “support” to Tim Wakefield, who, in my not-so-humble opinion, has been as big a reason for the Red Sox’ two World Series victories as any other player on those ’04 and ’07 teams. Wakefield has been the keystone of our pitching staff ‘lo these many years: he drives great hitters crazy with his knuckler – and makes merely good hitters look downright lame. The Red Sox would never have made it to the World Series in ’04 and ’07 if not for Tim Wakefield.  If I was Terry Francona, I would have Wakefield start the first game of every series we play – especially against tough teams.  I believe that facing Wakefield in the first game of any series would screw up the opposing teams’ hitters for the next 2 games.  Going from trying to hit a Tim Wakefield knuckler to trying to hit 95MPH-plus fastballs from Lester or Beckett is enough to knock 20 percentage points off the batting average of any team.

But Don Orsillo obviously has reservations about the value of a pitcher who is, arguably, year-in-and-year-out the MVP of the Red Sox pitching staff.

Here are some of Don Orsillo’s answers to questions from fans (not me), taken from his NESN blog:
[Source:   http://www.nesn.com/2011/05/make-no- mistake-the-cleveland-indians-are- contenders.html]

“Will Tim Wakefield remain in the rotation?
–Chris, Concord, N.H.

[D.O.]: “If it were my decision, my answer would be yes. Sadly, I don’t get to make personnel decisions. I like Alfredo Aceves, but in my opinion, he would be more productive from the bullpen, serving as a guy who can give you long outings. I think — good or bad —  Tim Wakefield is an innings eater. How  many times have we seen him have a bad inning or two, figure it out and then blank a team for five more innings? As we have seen in the past, he can be very streaky. Maybe Sunday night is the beginning of one of those stretches. I would leave him in Daisuke Matsuzaka’s empty spot when John Lackey  returns.”

Now this is what you call “damning someone by faint praise”.  “I think – good or bad – Tim Wakefield is an innings eater”?

Here is just some biography of Tim Wakefield I ripped off Wikipedia:
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Wakefield

“As of 2011, Wakefield is in third place on the Boston Red Sox career wins list with 181, trailing only Cy Young and Roger  Clemens who have 192 each; ranks second in all-time wins at Fenway Park with 94, behind Roger Clemens’ 95; and ranks first all-time in innings pitched by a Red Sox  pitcher, with 2,881.1, having surpassed  Roger Clemens total of 2,777 on June 8,  2010.[2][3]

“Wakefield has been nominated eight times for the Roberto Clemente Award, winning the award in 2010.[4] He is the first Red Sox player to win the award.

[***]

“In the 2003 ALCS, Wakefield allowed three runs over 13 innings against the New York Yankees. He started Games One and Four of the Series against Mike Mussina and won both starts.”

Wakefield’s WHIP through 17 seasons with  the Red Sox is a very respectable 1.348.  Compare it to the same stat for the following Red Sox starting pitchers:

Daisuke Matsuzaka:  1.397
Jon Lester:  1.303

How about walks per 9 innings?:

Wake: 3.3
Matsuzaka: 4.4
Lester: 3.4

How about home runs per 9 innings?

Wakefield: 1.2
Schilling: 1.1
Beckett:  1.1

[Source: http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/2007.shtml%5D

Do you begin to see why the Red Sox keep  bringing Tim Wakefield back into the rotation?

This is not a guy you want to throw under the bus. Obviously, the Red Sox front office recognizes the value of Mr. Wakefield to the team; otherwise he wouldn’t have been in Boston  for 17 seasons.  The front office – especially THIS John Henry-led front office – knows something about baseball.  The way Don  Orsillo is writing about Tim Wakefield, I’d have to say that Don would have been tossing Yaz under the team bus back in 1969.

Don hasn’t just been throwing backhanded brickbats disguised as feather pillows at Tim Wakefield, no.  Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have recieved a few gift-boxed cow-pies as well:

“Will the Red Sox give up on the Jarrod Saltalamacchhia experiment?
–Marc, Waltham, Mass.

[D.O.]: “I think in some ways they have already by scaling him back and starting Jason Varitek more often over the past couple of weeks. I think the idea floated of signing Bengie Molina, who is a proven winner, is intriguing,  and I think it could be done for an affordable  amount. You wonder if Varitek, who is in superb shape, can handle the daily grind of catching every day or more regularly as the  season moves along.

“What I do know is that the Red Sox need something from the catching tandem and right now are not getting much offensively (combined .185 average, 0 HRs, 10 RBIs in 124 ABs).”
[Source: http://www.nesn.com/2011/05/panic-still-not-present-with-red-sox-despite-walk-off-loss-shuffling-rotation.html%5D

“I think in some ways they have already [given up on the ‘Saltalamacchia experiment’]”?  Aside from the fact that the assertion is pure bullshit – a more diplomatic – and rational –  response would have been to deny that the signing of  Saltalamacchia was ever some kind of wild “experiment”in the first place… and perhaps to inform this correspondent that the job of a catcher is to call a good game from behind the dish, to catch nasty knucklers and curveballs and to keep 98 MPH fastballs from being thrown all the way through the backstop – not to hit like Albert f’ing Pujols!

[Another aside: Do you have a feeling like I do that this quickness to abandon players is part of the “New Paradigm” of capitalism in  general, where it’s all about “What Have You Done For Us Lately?”  A guy or a woman  can work for a company for 35 years, break all sales records, work weekends, come in on vacation days, never miss a day for 25 years, be one of the the pillars of the entire enterprise, and then when they turn 55 and start to show some signs of age it isn’t “We can’t let her go – without her this company wouldn’t be around anymore!”   No, it’s “What Has She Done For Us Lately?”]

Here’s Donny throwing dirt on Saltalamacchia:

“Jarrod Saltalamacchhia has been a hot  button topic. What will the Sox do?
–Kevin, Weston, Mass.

[D.O.]: “In my opinion, and in listening to Terry  Francona, they will catch him less often and  use Jason Varitek more. I think we are  seeing that already with Varitek catching  Tuesday night and scheduled to catch again  Wednesday, with Josh Beckett on the  mound. I do not think they will give up on  Salty entirely, but I just think the roles may  reverse here with the catching tandem  moving forward. I thought the comments  from Mike Scioscia over the weekend were  interesting when talking about young catchers  and how long they take to mature, perhaps  differently than any other position. I also  think Salty’s situation was magnified because  of the team’s trouble early.”
[Source: http://www.nesn.com/2011/04/jason-varitek-to-get-more-reps-for-now-but-red-sox-arent-giving-up-on-jarrod-saltalamacchia.html%5D

“In my opinion, AND IN LISTENING TO TERRY FRANCONA…”!!

Someone’s going to have their clubhouse access severely curtailed if this keeps up.

Here is Don putting his 2 cents in re: John  Lackey:

“What is up with John Lackey?
–Timmy, Bronx

“This is a tough one. He really has struggled,  allowing 15 Runs in two outings. He got the  win in Game 2, but without a Phil Hughes  bad performance, he would have received  the loss. He is a guy who can give you 200  innings and is going to win double figures but  may lose in double figures too. Is the  American League East the difference? That’s  tough to say, but it can be argued that the  AL East is tougher than the AL West, but he  allowed nine runs against the Western  Division Texas Rangers. Maybe there is the  pressure of living up to the contract that has  come into play. Regardless, for the Red Sox  to be in the postseason, John Lackey needs  to better.”

“Maybe there is the pressure of living up to  the contract that has come into play.  Regardless, for the Red Sox to be in the  postseason, John Lackey needs to [sic] better.”
[Source: http://www.nesn.com/2011/04/red-sox-pitchers-not-jarrod-saltalamacchia-or-curt-young-to-be-blamed-for-staffs-rocky-start.html%5D

That is nasty in so many ways.  Plus, Donny needs to write better and do better on his proofreading as well.

The Red Sox can’t get to the postseason without John Lackey pitching at the top of his form?

Really?

While I’d love to see John Lackey come back into the rotation and kick butt for the rest of the year, if it doesn’t happen – as you can see from the way the team has played without Lackey this past month – I think the Red Sox will still do very well, thank you.  John Lackey has been an excellent pitcher all his life.  He’s an excellent pitcher now.  And he will probably continue to be an excellent pitcher until he retires.  One thing is certain: If John Lackey isn’t pitching well these days it isn’t because he has given up trying and is just coasting on his laurels.  If you believe that B.S. then you can go screw every knothole in the nearest oak tree for all I care.  Lackey has given us 100% every time he’s gone out there on the mound and you know, sometimes you do get into a slump.  Every great player hits a low point in their career from time to time.  Yastrzemski hit low points in his career 5 or 6 times.  Great players like Yaz make the necessary adjustments and keep coming back, and I expect John Lackey to do the same.  If he can’t do it: hey, he gave it his best shot and that’s all we can ask for.  Had a great career and it came to an end, as all good things do.  The jury over here is still out on John Lackey for this year, but we’re rooting for him all the way.  Our respect for him will not diminish one iota if he has a 1.38 ERA at the end of this season or an 11.38 ERA.  He, like Pedro Martinez, was a dominating pitcher in his heyday and it was a pleasure to watch him pitch every time he took the mound.  And it will continue to be a pleasure to see JL go out there and give it his best because you know damned well that he wants to live up to the very real promise of this 2011 Red Sox team and nothing but severe physical infirmity will keep him from winning baseball games for us this season.  Have some respect for the man for gawd’s sake.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, the “new” owners under John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein (unlike most of their  tormentors in the news media) have a long-term view of things.  Thank Gawd for that!

In his essays, Don Orsillo sounds like he has  a very high opinion of – his own opinion [don’t we all?]; and he repeatedly makes it known that he is talking to Terry Francona on a daily basis – discussions which rarely take place during the  broadcast.  So they must be taking place somewhere else, right? (wink wink)

The problem is, he’s not an ombudsman writing for the Herald:  he’s the team’s own announcer.  He should try to be more diplomatic in advancing his opinion – or  just keep it to himself – because as the team’s  No. 1 cheerleader, he shouldn’t be injecting his personal opinions – or knowledge – into the decision-making process on Yawkey Way.

And it’s much, much worse if he is, in fact – as he himself has intimated repeatedly on his blog –  broadcasting information he has overheard during the course of his daily visits to the office of Terry Francona.  This is dangerous territory for the team’s #1 P.R. guy.

Today’s closing commentary by D.O. in the game against Oakland was annoying as hell.  Daniel Bard (who has been shaky himself on the mound from time to time this year) gets a ringing endorsement from Don Orsillo, speaking (one must assume) with the benefit of Don’s inside information: “We may be looking at the closer of the future for Terry Francona”  quoth Donny O. in the 9th as Bard was slamming the door shut on a pesky Oakland offense that kept rising from the dead like horror-movie zombies all weekend.

If Papelbon was a corporation instead of a human being, they’d be selling his shares on Wall St. at the ringing of the bell tomorrow morning, and the S.E.C. would have to open an investigation.

So Papelbon is out the door, Don?  Is that just your opinion or do you know something the rest of us (and the pitching staff) don’t?

This kind of commentary can be dismissed lightly if it’s coming from Dan Shaughnessy or some other ‘knight of the pen’ whose access to the team is relatively slight… but not when it comes from someone who is literally a team insider, who flies across country on the team plane, who has, either personally or via the NESN staff, total access to the clubhouse and the manager’s office on a daily basis.  In the voice of a Shaughnessy this kind of talk sounds like the jabbering of someone outside looking in who wants to give the impression that he knows more than he does.  In the voice of Orsillo, it sounds like someone telling tales out of school.

Orsillo’s meddling is disturbing. It’s obnoxious and if it keeps up it’s going to affect the team adversely.  Terry Francona is probably right now trying to explain to Papelbon that he has no clue as to where Don Orsillo got the idea in his head that Daniel Bard is set to replace Papelbon as the team’s closer.  That is not the kind of clubhouse controversy whose flames need to be fanned by the team’s own TV announcer.  Nothing good can come of  this.

So, note to Don Orsillo:  Stop trying to inject your opinion, founded or un- as it may be, into these discussions.  You can find a way to say the same thing so that it does not appear that you have some inside information as to what is playing out inside the front office and in the clubhouse.  You are there to report the news *after* it happens, not to *make it happen*.  You are there to help the team win – you’re not a free-lance journalist looking for a scoop.  You’re not a paparazzo trying to get a beaver shot up the skirt of the President’s wife.  If you keep this shit up you are going to be looking for a job.

Donny: ever hear of a guy named Steve Stone?  Another great guy who I admire who didn’t have a clear understanding of his role as a broadcaster for the franchise’s flagship network. Sad story with a Hollywood ending, right?

Well the problem for you is, Don: there’s only one baseball club in Boston.

The Cubs didn’t win – The Red Sox Kicked Their Own Ass Tonight

Ha! Ha! Haaaaa!  The Red Sox!!

What the fcuk was THAT?  What the hell happened in that 8th inning?  That was the second worst inning of baseball I’ve seen from the Red Sox in my memory – and that goes back to 1965.

Man, was I pissed when Francona left Matt Albers in to pitch after walking Ramirez after Albers wasted about 11 pitches on him.  There were two on and no one out and a .225 hitter on deck and I was pissed off when the Red Sox elected to pitch to Ramirez, arguably the Cubs best hitter, rather than IW his silly ass, loading the bases and then focus on getting Pena to hit into a DP.

So, Albers walks Ramirez after throwing a gazillion pitches right over the plate – not making any attempt to throw him a high fastball or a nasty curve or anything – and then walks Carlos Pena – a .225 hitter – to gift the Cubs a run.  Meanwhile, Francona doesn’t even have anyone up in the bullpen!  WTF, Terry?

It was only hours later, after the debacle was complete, that I realized something.  The decision to leave Albers out there wasn’t as stupid as it appeared.  Terry Francona was sending a message to someone or some people.

He was definitely sending a message to Albers.  Francona left him out there to hang himself, for reasons unknown to us; reasons that will never be divulged to any sports reporter, because they are internal club reasons.

Has Albers been a pain in the ass, refusing to take the advice of his pitching coach because he was sporting a 1.53 ERA going in to that fateful inning?  Has he been a prick to the rest of the staff, acting as if his shit didn’t stink, and badgering Francona for more time out on the mound when Francona was convinced that Bard was the better choice?  Is Albers a pet of the front office, who have been urging Terry to put their boy on the mound in middle relief situations?  Situations where Francona was certain that Albers would fail?

Well, whatever the reason, Terry F. left Albers out there to sink or swim tonight, and he sank like a stone to the bottom of the sea against a weak-ass Cubs team that really doesn’t belong being mentioned in the same sentence with the Red Sox.

Now, leaving Albers in to make an ass of himself against the Cubs may not have been a bad idea – but now it’s going to haunt TF for a while because of the sudden attack of temporary Alzheimers that infected the Red Sox defense immediately afterwards.  First, Jed Lowrie drops what should have been the first out of the inning: a lazy pop up can-o-corn that clanked off the heel of his glove as he winced as if it wasn’t a baseball he was catching but a piano that had fallen out of the sky.

The Sox finally pull Albers and bring in the newly acquired Franklin Morales.

Then, the biggest jackass in Major League Baseball since Manny retired, Alfonso Soriano, makes a completely fucktardian baserunning error on a short fly to left that has both himself and the runner behind him hung out to dry, and of all people, Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis and Carl Crawford combine to initiate the second worst defensive play that the Red Sox have ever committed in the history of the franchise.  The throw from left comes in to Varitek, who has Soriano (who has inexplicably wandered off third) hung up in a rundown situation, makes a poor but catchable throw to Youkilis covering third… which Youk simply muffs by closing his glove too soon – and the ball hits the second-base side of Youk’s closed glove and flies out to left field, allowing two runs to score after Crawford’s throw from left skips inexplicably past Morales at the plate.

This disastrous inning allows the Cubs fans to roar as if their team had been playing like the 1927 Yankees all night long(which, to merely state that they hadn’t would be a massive understatement) and they get to walk out of Fenway Park happy on a night in which the Cubs deserved to lose but instead walked away with a gift victory that, in the box score, makes them appear like they kicked the Red Sox’ ass.  Which they didn’t.

The Red Sox kicked their own ass tonight and all I can hope for is that the lesson taught to Matt Albers by Terry Francona was worth the humiliation of the loss suffered by the team.

Here’s hoping that Tim Wakefield’s knuckler will be dancing like Lady Gaga on 20 hits of blotter acid tomorrow or the Red Sox will be eating humble pie for quite some time for having lost this series to the feckless Chicago Shlubs.

Beware, My Friends, as You Pass By…

Ha! Ha! Haaaa!  The Cubs!

Oh, my god!  The Cubs! – and their wonderful, lovely doe-eyed fans – better swear fealty to Jeezus and hope to hell that the Rapture comes this weekend or they are going to wake up to a hellish reality on Monday – the realization that it’s “wait ’til next year” time once again!

I was talking to a guy tonight in Chicago – he’s actually a teller at my bank who is a Cubs fan, and who has, upon seeing my Red Sox hat,  rather cheekily suggested that I become a Cubs fan.

So, tonight I see him leaving work and he has on – a Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions hat with the big gold authenticity sticker still on it!

I say: “How’s it goin’?  Nice hat!  Why aren’t you wearing your Cubs hat?  Are you embarrassed about the fact that your team is about to be crushed like bugs at Fenway this weekend?”

He says: “No, I just like to support my town’s teams, is all.”

I say:  “How do you think the Cubs will do in Fenway this weekend?”

He says:  “Well, the Red Sox are struggling now; Ortiz is in a slump; Youkilis isn’t hitting; Pedroia is struggling; the pitching staff is underperforming.  I think we’ll do very well.”

So I says: “Oh really?  Wow!  I guess I’ll just go back home tonight and reconsider everything I know about baseball.  Because the Red Sox are gonna absolutely crush the Cubs this weekend.  I wonder what the score is right now?  I bet it’s 5-0 Red Sox.”

I tried to check the score but the MLB scoreboard wouldn’t update.  (It was 4-2 Red Sox in the 4th, I think.  The final score was equal to 5 to -5, Red Sox.  So I was more that just right.)

I say:  “Well, anyway:  – “Go Hawks!”… I mean,of course: “Go Bruins!”

He says:  Looks away and says…nothing.  What could he say?

I just make friends everywhere I go, leaving trails of joy and happiness in my merry technicolor wake!

But really, I was surprised to hear this guy talk such silly shit when anyone who has spent any time this past week paying attention to the AL East would know that none of what he said was true.  The Cubs-Red Sox game tonight – the first pairing of these two teams at Fenway Park since 1918 – has been hyped to the max on all the sports magazines and websites all week long.  How could this guy be so clueless?

Well, these things happen all the time.  You meet someone who seems to have some knowledge of the game, and then as you get to know them better and talk to them more you realize that they don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to baseball.  Or maybe their fangirl/boy side is so dominant in their personality that they really can’t even seem to talk intelligently about sports unless they are talking about their favorite team – with other fans of that same team.

So, we have game 1 of the much-heralded return of the Cubs to Fenway and —- it’s a 15-5 blowout in favor of the Red Sox.  Quel surprise!

If I was a Cubs fan, I’d have made the trek to Fenway to see the only remaining ballpark in the major leagues that is worthy of adoration besides Wrigley.  But I think I’d have left my Cubs “widows weeds” at home so I could enjoy the experience without having to be laughed at by the Red Sox fans.

This will be an excruciating weekend for these most die-hard Cubs fans at Fenway, so here’s a note to all Red Sox fans going to the games:

The Cubs fans are sweet, baseball-loving, harmless people who do not deserve the kind of abuse we routinely mete out to Yankee fans and White Sox fans, who deserve all our vitriol, and more.  The majority of  White Sox fans are a bunch of boorish louts who deserve to be shit on.  The Cubs fans are very nice people.  Please remember that they have suffered as we had nearly suffered, through a hundred years of futile attempts to win a World Series.  They are our baseball brothers and sisters.  They are now what we were then – until that glorious season of 2004.

Remember that, though their franchise (crippled as it is by the disastrous mismanagement of the repulsive Sam Zell and his valkyries) may suck bear testicles, they possess one thing that no other team in Major League Baseball possesses or can ever possess – the last great shrine to the American Pastime as it should be:  Wrigley Field.

Treat them with all the gentleness and love that you would treat any unfortunate adherent to a team that has been cursed with owners as clueless as the Zells – or the Yawkeys.  The Cubs fans will repay you with a warm welcome when you finally make your pilgrimage to that magnificent cathedral of baseball, where these wonderful, luckless yet somehow cosmically favored people get to spend their entire summers, year after glorious year, watching the greatest of American sports, in the greatest venue in American sports.

The Cubs fans are great baseball fans; though perhaps not that knowledgable, they love their team every year, win or lose.  Their loyalty is to be respected and honored, as it is of the kind that is rarely encountered in human relationships.  And they treat visitors to their beloved ballpark – even if they happen to be White Sox fans – with that tremendous Midwestern hospitality that is one of the things that makes living in our once-great country tolerable.  Which is eminently admirable.

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