Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City Chiefs’

Alomar is officially out.  Technically Lovullo is still in contention, but a second interview has yet to be scheduled, and that appears unlikely since Lamont is coming back for a second interview.  And of course we have Valentine to deal with.  Something of note is that Ben and the front office introduced Sveum to the brass.  Ben and the front office did not introduce Valentine to the brass.  The brass introduced Valentine to Ben and the front office.  Obviously that says something about who’s in the driver’s seat when it comes to Valentine.

Ben made some internal promotions, although obviously none to manager quite yet.  Mike Hazen, who’s run our farm system since 2006, is now Ben’s assistant GM.  Brian O’Halloran, a veteran of the organization, was promoted to Assistant VP of Baseball Operations last spring and is now the other assistant GM.  There were also several promotions in the departments of player personnel, Major League operations, player development, and scouting.

Ben also offered arbitration to Papi and Wheeler.

Justin Verlander stole Ellsbury’s MVP award.  Make no mistake.  Verlander may have the hardware, but Ellsbury was really the Most Valuable Player in every sense of the phrase.  He was absolutely brilliant.  I don’t care if the writers voted him in second place.  He finished the season with a .321 average, thirty-two home runs, 105 RBIs, fifty-two walks, thirty-nine steals, and a perfect fielding percentage of 1.  In fact, he hasn’t made an error since 2009.  That sounds like an MVP to me.  At least he was the top position player on the ballot.

Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association have signed a five-year deal.  It includes mandatory HGH testing, an even fifteen teams in both leagues by the 2013 season, more Wild Card teams and playoff rounds, expanded instant replay, and a worldwide draft by the 2014 season.  Everything seems good to me except the playoff and Wild Card expansions, which seem iffy.  The playoffs are already enormous, and the playoffs are supposed to mean something.  Do I wish that we made the playoffs every single year? Absolutely.  But I don’t want to increase our probability of losing and exhaustion if we do.  Plus, aren’t the playoffs supposed to mean something?

In other news, the Pats absolutely buried the Chiefs under their copious badness, 34-3.  It was a cakewalk.  The B’s had to eke out all of their wins this week.  We squeaked past the Habs, 1-0, and we bested the Sabres, 4-3, in a shootout.  The Red Wings snapped our winning streak at ten in a shootout, but we ended on a high note by besting the Jets.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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Spring Training officially began on Wednesday.  We’ll play eighteen home games in the Grapefruit League this year, and as always Red Sox Nation makes a good showing in Fort Myers; we’ve sold out every game at City of Palms Park since March 16, 2003.  After a season ends the start of Spring Training is one of the greatest days of the year because it means baseball season is just around the corner.  On Wednesday I watched baseball for the first time since October and it felt awesome.  It felt great.  I’m so psyched for the regular season.  But as a spectator I’m not so sure I’m a fan of Spring Training.  It’s impossible to take these games seriously because the starters never stay in.  So it’s not a good gauge of the team’s performance down the stretch.  Not to mention the fact that you’re always worrying about injuries; look at what happened to Josh Beckett last year.  He threw his back out in Spring Training and it completely threw off his season.  Still, it’s a good opportunity for the team to warm up, get the kinks out, and scout the competition, and we get to see glimpses of how the guys are doing.  So it depends on how you look at it, I guess.  If you look at Spring Training as an indication of how the team will do during the season, it’s definitely lacking.  But if you look at Spring Training as an opportunity to get back in the groove, it’s not bad.

Wakefield got rocked by the Twins, but Bard handled him really well, so that was a relief.  Beckett pitched two perfect innings and struck out two against Boston College on Wednesday.  Yes, it was only a college team, but pitching is pitching, and Beckett’s form looked pretty sweet.  And what an experience that must’ve been for BC.  I’m telling you, that’s the thrill of a lifetime for those boys.  I mean what an opportunity for the team.  Buchholz made two starts and luckily he’s looking pretty good.  He pitched two innings on Saturday night, allowing only one hit and striking out one against the Reds.  He got the win in our first Spring Training victory against Major League opposition.  Doesn’t seem like much for Buchholz, but if you consider the fact that this time last year he was 1-3 with a 10.03 ERA.  At that time he owned a spot in the rotation.  Now he’ll have to earn it.  Sure, it’s only two innings, but with the way he pitched last season it’s better than nothing.

Rehab’s going well for everyone.  Mikey Lowell should be playing by the middle of the month, Mark Kotsay should be swinging a bat by the time we break camp, pitcher Miguel Gonzalez will visit an arm specialist for his elbow, and Jeff Bailey is good to go after fouling a pitch off his foot.

Dice-K isn’t camping with us because he’s prepping with Japan for the World Baseball Classic.  He struggled through about two innings of a warmup game in Osaka against Australia.  Japan eventually won it, but it wasn’t pleasant to see the Dice-K of ’07 instead of the Dice-K of ’08.  He gave up two runs on five hits and struck out three which, over two innings, isn’t as great as it could be.  But hey, that’s what warmups are for.  No use getting nervous over a contest in March; the only way to go is up.  There’s nothing left to do but improve, and he has the whole month to get it back.

Speaking of the World Baseball Classic, Boston is sending six: Dice-K for Japan, Jason Bay for Canada, Big Papi for the Dominican Republic, Dustin Pedroia and Youk for the US, and Javier Lopez for Puerto Rico.  The World Baseball Classic does interfere with Spring Training, but baseball is baseball.  As long as they play, they’ll be in good shape.  I’m not concerned.  Papelbon won’t be playing in the Classic this year.  Smart move.

News from Curt Schilling.  What else is new.  You’ll never believe this.  Remember how he said last offseason that he wanted to pitch with us for one more year and then retire? Yeah.  No.  Looks like he’s changed his mind.  He’d like to pitch for the Cubs this season.  That came totally out of left field (no pun intended).  The Cubs? The dude likes to break curses, I guess.  He won’t be hurting anybody in Chicago, that’s for sure.  I mean he’s a fantastic pitcher, but I don’t know how much he has left.  He’s aged, and he continues to age.  And we wouldn’t want his pitching to get in the way of his new hobby: expressing all of his…opinions.  It’s been interesting listening to his views on the proceedings during the offseason, that’s for sure.

In other news, Matt Kenseth of Roush Fenway Racing won the Daytona 500! Mike Dee, our chief operating officer and the president of Fenway Sports Group, partnered with NASCAR owner Jack Roush to form the five-car team in 2007.  And as you can see John Henry and Mike Dee have a penchant for championships.  Let’s hope it continues.  I have a good feeling about 2009.  The Patriots gambled by trading Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a draft pick.  That means the team is confident that Tom Brady will return, which is awesome news, but if Brady gets injured again we’re toast.  The Bruins are still fighting for supremacy over the league.  We’re tied with the Sharks right now with 93 points, and the Capitals, the team closest to us in the Eastern Conference, only have 85.  The Canadiens only have 75.  We have 93 points, and the Habs have 75.  Us, 93; Habs, 75.  Nuff ced.  Anyway, we routed the Panthers on Tuesday, 6-1, and shut out the Ducks on Thursday, 6-0.  So our offense is good.  We just need to stay with it.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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It’s there.  It’s right there.  It’s so close you can taste it.  Yesterday’s well-played victory puts us only half a game behind the Rays (the Wild Card’s been locked up for some time).  I’m telling you, the stars are aligning for this series.  We’re starting all our best pitchers: Lester last night, Dice-K tonight, and Beckett tomorrow.  And speaking of Lester, let’s talk about what a bang-up job he did.  He shut out Tampa Bay, pitching almost eight innings and giving up only six hits.  He walked three and struck out nine to tie his season high.  So that means he’s undefeated in seven career starts against the Rays.  I mean, before last night’s game he was 2-0 against the Rays with a 1.46 ERA this season alone.  After last night’s game his stats are so good I don’t even want to know about it.  Last night his cut fastball was absolutely filthy.  He improves to a 9-1 record at home in 2008.

Papelbon came in in the eighth to get the last four outs, and he did so with three Ks and only one hit allowed.  It’s good to see him in there, even if a middle reliever could do just as well, because we’ll need him in top form for the postseason.  Tito worked him a bit in Texas and it paid off; you could tell he was much more spot-on last night.  Besides, Pap’s never been known to let us down when it matters the most.

RBIs for Youk, Ortiz, and Bay.  Youk’s been kind of quiet with the bat lately; currently he’s five for his last twenty.  Ortiz continues to produce (clicking? What clicking?), and Bay went two for three with a solo home run off Jackson with two out in the first.  It’s his sixth in Red Sox letters.  But he also showed some leather last night, holding Zobrist’s high eighth-inning hit off the Monster to a single.  The shock is that Pedroia went 0 for 4.  Lately I didn’t even know that was possible.  I didn’t even know he knew how to swing and not get a hit.  On the bright side, he never struck out.  The real story centers on Coco Crisp.  Last night he went three for three to extend his hitting streak to ten games and is currently batting .291.  He recorded a theft and a CS and was successfully picked off.  But I think this is definitely the Coco we were supposed to see when he came over from Cleveland.  He sparks the bottom half of the lineup, and with Ellsbury having a tight quad it’s good to know his replacement is someone not shy with the hits.  It’s interesting how someone will always take his game to the next level this time of year.  Someone always does.  It never fails.

Speaking of injuries, BJ Upton left the game in the fifth with a strained left quad, and JD Drew was activated before this series, but Kotsay’s been doing fine, last night going two for three with a walk and a run.

In other news, Tom Brady’s left knee was injured in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.  It’ll require season-ending surgery.  Matt Cassel will take his place.  I was hoping for something comparable to last year’s season, but I think it’s safe to say it seems almost impossible.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not counting that out, I’m just saying it’ll be very difficult to do damage to other teams without your stare quarterback.  The Yankees lost, 1-12, to the Angels and got into a bench-clearing brawl to boot.  Pudge and Torii Hunter collided at home, Torii gave Pudge a push, Pudge pushed back, Torii gave Pudge a two-handed shove in the back, and that was it.  Cleared the benches.  Pudge and Torii were both thrown out.

And now for news on baseball’s latest record.  Last night’s contest was the 456th consecutive sellout at Fenway Park! That means that we, Red Sox Nation, broke the all-time Major League Baseball record for most consecutive sellouts! May 15, 2008 through September 8, 2008.  What a run, and it isn’t even over yet.  We’re number one in baseball but fourth overall, behind three NBA teams: the Portland Trailblazers, the Celtics, and the Bulls.  But what a difference it must make.  The team plays for a full house every night, and we’re behind the team 100%, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  All those walk-off wins, the cheering, the sitting in the cold or heat or rain until the last out; it makes a difference in the team’s performance.  Don’t believe me? Check our home record; we’re 49-19.  It’s official: we are the best fans in baseball.  But a lot of credit has to go to the Red Sox brass.  This ownership group has done wonders for Fenway.  They improved it, renovated it, added things to it that blend right in, and generally made it a great place to be.  And they know how to make the team better.  As a fan, I love seeing the money I spend at a baseball game or on a hat or shirt or something go directly to improving the club.  In Boston the fans matter.  It’s that simple.  Without Fenway Park, without the legends and lore, without that Boston atmosphere, and without Red Sox Nation, the team just wouldn’t be the same.  So I’d like to advise a pat on the back for my fellow diehards.  We watch our guys set records, and now we’ve set one of our own.  Nice!

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