pre-season Yankees-Red Sox battle resumes on Monday as the New Yorkers travel
to Fort Myers to play Boston. The Red Sox won the first exhibition
meeting between the teams, and the odds are stacked against the Yanks as most
of the regulars stayed in Tampa.
Per the LoHud Yankees
Blog, the following players will not be making the trip to Fort Myers: Francisco
Cervelli, Russell Martin, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Eric Chavez, Derek
Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Colin Curtis, Greg Golson and Andruw
Unfortunately for the
Yankees, both Boston newcomers Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford will be in the
Red Sox lineup. The pitching match-up
will feature former Yankees starter/reliever Alfredo Aceves versus Sergio
The regular Yankees
outfielders (Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher) will be making
the trip, and will hopefully give the Yankees the offense they need to defeat
I realize that it is
only a meaningless exhibition game, however, I have placed another wager with
Julia of Julia’s Rants. Sorry, it’s just
too hard to let any Yankees-Red Sox game go by without a chance to fire a shot
at my friend from Boston! I guess she
and I are just starting to stretch ourselves out in anticipation of Opening
Day. For this game, the loser has to
sport the logo of the opposing team on their blog for one day (Tuesday, March
15, 2011). To take it a step further,
the loser also has to sport the Yankees or Red Sox logo for their FaceBook
profile photo for the same 24 hour period.
I don’t want to read
too much into Freddy Garcia‘s pathetic performance today. He gave up 4 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks and a
hit batter in 2 2/3 innings. I accept
that Garcia is historically a slow starter in spring training and do not feel
that today’s clunker should define whether or not he loses his grip on the 5th
spot in the starting rotation. I would
still prefer Ivan Nova and Garcia as the 4th and 5th
starters over any scenario that would allow either Mitre or Bartolo Colon into
I had hoped for a better
fate for Rule 5 draftee pitcher Daniel Turpen, but he never really had a chance
when the Yankees bolstered their bullpen (most notably the signing of former
Rays closer Rafael Soriano). Turpen was
returned to the Red Sox today. I do wish
him the very best, and I hope that he finds his way to the major leagues sooner
rather than later.
I feel bad for first
baseman Jorge Vazquez. He has done
everything to prove that he is ready for the major leagues now, but the Yankees
really need to go with former Oakland A’s third baseman Eric Chavez as their
backup corner infielder. I wish there
was a spot for Vazquez but there just doesn’t appear to be one (barring any
injuries, of course). I am sure that he’ll
see the pinstripes at some point this season.
I am definitely
looking forward to hearing some good old Frank Sinatra soon…
And so the wagers begin…
With the Yankees 5-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday
night, Julia of Julia’s Rants scores the first victory of the season. Of course, all things considered, a
meaningless loss in March is hardly anything to fret about. But still, a win is a win, and I am obligated
to write a post about Red Sox manager Terry Jon Francona.
Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Julia did send me some information to help get a head
start: Born in Aberdeen, South Dakota on
April 22, 1959. So, is that it? Am I done writing about Francona? Sweet!
Seriously, when I was a kid, the Red Sox were so easy to
dislike because I did not have any sense of attachment to their players and
their manager was usually someone that I felt indifferent about. Darrell Johnson, Don Zimmer (sorry Zim!), Ralph Houk, John
McNamara, Joe Morgan, etc. The names
just ran together to me and had no particular meaning. It culminated in 2003 when Grady Little left
Pedro Martinez too long during Game 7 of the ALCS. It was a game that the Sox probably should
have won, but ultimately lost when Aaron Boone homered to advance the Yankees
to the World Series.
When Boston decided not to renew Little’s contract in the
off-season and chose to go with Francona, I probably had similar thoughts to my
perception at the time the Yankees announced “Clueless Joe” (a/k/a Joe Torre)
as their manager. Here was, in my mind
at the time, an unsuccessful major league manager the Sox think they can
re-cycle. Francona had been fired from
his only previous managing gig with the Philadelphia Phillies so I was very
quick to dismiss his hiring.
Boy, was I ever WRONG!
Putting everything known about Francona aside, all he has
done is win two world championships for an organization that could not win a
World Series since my grandmother was a teenager. He eliminated the phrase “Curse of the
Bambino” from the vocabulary of all baseball fans and has established the Red
Sox as one of the premier organizations in all of baseball.
Francona, the man, is perhaps one of the classiest acts in
major league baseball. To a fan of
Boston’s chief rival, Terry has been nothing short of the consummate
professional since his first day in a Red Sox uniform. He is always so humble, and his teams always
so prepared and unwilling to quit. He
has changed my perception of the Sox and has given me a reason…a very strong
reason…to hold the Sox in great respect.
I look forward to the day when Terry decides to step away from the game
so that I can go back to hating the Red Sox!
I remember Terry when he came up with the Montreal
Expos. He was not a great player and
only accumulated 16 home runs and 143 RBI’s in 10 seasons with 5 clubs. He did manage to pitch one game in 1989,
striking out Stan Javier.
His minor league managerial career began in 1991 with the
Chicago White Sox organization. He made
it to the big leagues as third base coach with Buddy Bell‘s 1996 Detroit
He spent four seasons as the Phillies manager from 1997 to
2000 but was fired after failing to finish higher than 3rd
place. In Philly, he did get the chance
to manage his future Red Sox ace Curt Schilling setting the stage for their
eventual and highly successful reunion.
When he was hired by the Red Sox, he had been the bench
coach for the Oakland A’s.
Terry and his wife Jaque live in Brookline,
Massachusetts. They have four child (one
boy and three girls).
For a largely undistinguished playing career, Terry is a
Hall of Fame manager in my opinion. I
may trash talk about the Red Sox but one thing is certain…I will never say a
bad word about the man who is arguably the best manager in baseball.
Julia, I am out!
Well, new year but same old battles. With the first Yankees-Red Sox match-up scheduled for Friday, it’s time to begin my annual grudge match with Julia of Julia’s Rants. For the latest wager, the loser of Friday’s spring training game has to post a blog about the opposing team’s manager. For me, if the Yankees lose, I have to write a post about Boston manager Terry Francona. Conversely, if the Red Sox lose, Julia will be writing about Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
Waiting for the Baseball Winter Meetings to start seems
like an eternity. The meetings are next
week, but this week has been relatively slow aside from today’s free agent
signing of Adam Dunn by the Chicago White Sox (nice pickup, by the way). When I woke up, I was met with the headline
of ‘Yankees Re-Sign Sergio Mitre’.
Unfortunately, that did little to excite me…
I am not a “Meat Tray” fan, but for some reason, manager Joe
Girardi has been in his corner since his days as manager of the Florida
Marlins. Conversely, the Yankees
non-tendered Dustin Moseley today which I thought was a mistake. Moseley proved to be very capable as a spot
starter and bullpen arm. I realize that
if the Yankees sign Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte returns (which everyone
expects), then Ivan Nova becomes the “#6” starter. Also, re-signing Mitre had an impact. But, still, it was a mistake to let go of
Andrew Burton/Getty Images
The Yankees decision to non-tender pitcher Alfredo Aceves
surprised me somewhat. However, when I
heard that he had re-injured himself this off-season in a freak accident (bike
accident), I realized that it would probably be best for him to start over
somewhere else. The Yankees did tender
the guys that really mattered (Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, and Phil Hughes).
The Yankees quietly signed relief pitcher Buddy Carlyle
who is returning from Japan. Carlyle
underachieved during his previous major league stint, most recently with the
Atlanta Braves in 2009. Nevertheless,
you can never have enough fodder for the bullpen during spring training. As the Tampa Bay Rays showed last year, you
never know what you might find (stellar setup artist Joaquin Benoit).
I was pleased to see the Derek Jeter negotiations take a
positive turn this week. Jeter and his
agent Casey Close were smart to engage the Yankees in Tampa. There has been no negative comments made by
either side this week and it appears the Yankees are willing to increase their
offer while the Jeter side is willing to reduce their demands. Everybody knows this marriage will continue
so there was no sense airing the dirty laundry in the difficult
negotiations. Hopefully, they’ll come
to an agreement sooner rather than later so that we can move on to more
important things…like signing Cliff Lee!
Speaking of Jeter, it’s funny how much attention this has
gotten. Troy Tulowitzki, arguably one of the greatest shortstops in the game
today, signs a huge long-term extension and it gets marginal print. DJ, a soon-to-be 37-year old, past his prime,
shortstop garners national attention.
The photos of Jeter in other uniforms were particularly humorous. I’m sure that Julia loved Red Sock Jeter…
The Beckett Blog
While I saw that Zack Greinke might be willing to waive
his no-trade clause for the Yankees, I’d have to say that I still prefer Cliff
Lee. I know that Cliff will soon be 32
and Greinke is about 6 years younger, but the difference is that I know Cliff
can handle New York. Plus, he would only
cost money whereas Greinke would cost quality prospects plus money in the
long-term. I want to see Jesus Montero
as the Yankees starting catcher in 2011 so I am hopeful that the Yankees aren’t
faced with a scenario where they “need” to acquire Greinke.
Can I wake up to the headline ‘Yankees Re-Sign Rivera’
P.S. I have to show this video clip. The veteran on the left, Fang Wong, is my wife’s uncle and he is one of the greatest people I’ve met in my life. His strong sense of humor doesn’t show through but I can assure you he is one of the funniest and most intelligent guys I’ve met. Plus, he is a die-hard Yankees fan…
Okay, I realize that the regular season ended over a
month and a half ago, but I am finally getting around to pay my debt to Julia
of Julia’s Rants. As the wager for the
regular season’s final series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York
Yankees, the loser had to post photos holding pre-determined signs that were
pro-opponent. Therefore, since the Red Sox
won the series two games to one, I lost and had to create pro-Red Sox signs
using phrases determined by Julia.
So, here it goes…
Yes, the series loss cost the Yankees the chance to win
the AL East Division Championship and they went into the play-offs as the Wild
Card. The Yankees finished 6 games ahead
of the Red Sox but if Boston hadn’t encountered so many injuries, the finish would
have been much closer. As poorly as the
Yanks played in September, there was a real chance that Boston could have
passed them if they had been closer.
For as well as the Yankees played most of the season,
September and October were a disappointment.
They may have gotten past the Minnesota Twins, but the Yankee hitters
looked pathetic against Texas pitching.
I had started the season on a string of successive
victories in these wagers with Julia, but by season’s end, she was clearly on a
roll as I lost several Yankees-Red Sox wagers, plus the Minnesota Vikings got
hammered by the New England Patriots on Halloween. Well, hammered might be a strong word, but
the Vikings are clearly playing for a high draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
As part of the wager payment, Julia demanded vindication
for Wally the Green Monster who had gone the entire regular season wearing a
Yankees t-shirt. As you can see below,
Wally survived the ordeal and seems to be enjoying his new role.
Lou the Bear pulled me aside and asked me to stock him
for the winter so that he could forget the unpleasant experience with
Wally. Somehow, I think the signing of
free agent pitcher Cliff Lee, along with the returns of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera
and Andy Pettitte, would go a long way toward restoring Lou’s happiness.
Nevertheless, I look forward to future battles with Julia
and of course I trust the results will be different…much different!
Note to Julia:
Wager paid in full! J
Well, it’s time to pay off one of my two debts owed to Julia of Julia’s Rants for several wager losses. I should have been more responsive to my obligation but business travel and work have been very challenging lately.
The two losses were the final regular season series loss by the New York Yankees to the Boston Red Sox and the Halloween dismissal of the Minnesota Vikings by the New England Patriots. It goes without saying which teams Julia was pulling for. Sadly for me, the results were in her favor.
For the loss by the Yankees, I owe Julia a couple of signs on my blog. I promise that I’ll have them up by Thanksgiving. With the loss by the Vikings, I have to write a blog about Julia’s favorite football team. I know this is very off-topic for a baseball blog but keep in mind this is for Julia…
THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
When I was a kid, I remember reading about the old American Football League (AFL) and its original members. The Boston Patriots were one of those teams. In fact, when they were awarded their franchise in 1959, they were the eighth and final team.
Mike Holovak is the guy who stands out to me as the head coach of the Patriots in the 1960’s, however, it was long-time Buffalo Bills head coach Lou Saban who was the team’s first head coach.
My first real meaningful recollection of the Patriots was after they moved to Foxboro and became the New England Patriots. By that time, the head coach was Chuck Fairbanks. The year that stands out for me is 1974. The Patriots started season 5-0 behind QB Jim Plunkett, RB Sam “Bam” Cunningham, and WR Randy Vataha. They would only win two more games that season to finish 7-7, but one of the wins came at the expense of my Vikings.
Dick Raphael/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
I know, Julia‘s favorite was actually this guy (Steve Grogan)…
Before the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, the Patriots did play in one championship game, the 1963 AFL Championship. They lost 51-10 to the San Diego Chargers, and would not advance to post-season play again until 1976. They won their first AFC East division championship in 1978, but like in 1976, they were eliminated in the first round of the play-offs.
My next significant memory of the Patriots happened in 1985. The Patriots made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but it coincided with the great Super Bowl Shuffle by the legendary Walter Payton and the Chicago Bears as the Patriots lost 46-10.
Sorry Julia, but it’s hard to pass by Walter Payton’s name without giving him some sort of tribute. He was one of the greatest players to set foot on the gridiron…
As the organization moved into the 1990’s, their long history of futility began to change. In 1993, Bill Parcells was named the head coach and the following year, the team was acquired by owner Robert Kraft. Parcells would get the Pats to the Super Bowl in 1996 but they’d lose to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, 35-21. Hmmm, no wonder Julia dislikes #4!…
Brian Bahr/Allsport/Getty Images
After Parcells left, Pete Carroll was brought in for a few seasons. Despite making the play-offs two of his three seasons, the results were unimpressive and he was discharged. Still, a decade of some success had transformed the organization into one with a winning tradition despite the absence of Super Bowl success.
The arrival of the 21st Century also brought championship success for the Patriots as they won the Super Bowl in three of four years (2001, 2003, and 2004). If memory serves correctly, the new century also had a positive impact for another Boston area team that shall go nameless! 😉 With head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady, the Patriots emerged as the team to beat in the 2000’s.
The Patriots did miss out on football immortality in 2007 when the team went undefeated during the regular season but lost to what I felt was an inferior New York Giants team in the Super Bowl. How many teams can say that a 18-1 record was a failure? None, except the New England Patriots. I am sure that there were a few former Miami Dolphins celebrating that day…
The Patriots remain a championship quality organization and they have been able to successfully replace aging stars and over-priced free agents through the years. They are currently tied for the division lead in the AFC East with a 6-2 mark and seem well positioned for much success in the second half of the season. With Tom Brady at the controls, it is a certainty that they’ll have a say in who represents the AFC in the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011.
P.S. They won’t miss Randy Moss but I think I will… L*
*Brought to you by the Fire Brad Childress Immediately Committee.