Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Castillo Out A Week With Left Oblique Strain

It happened on his final swing of the Boston College game. Rusney Castillo—competing with Mookie Betts for the starting CF job—suffered a strained left oblique muscle yesterday. According to manager John Farrell, Castillo will miss at least a week's worth of Spring Training games. Said the skipper, "I don't have a time frame to give you or a projected length, but he's going through some treatment to try to calm down the strain right now, and then there'll be rotational exercises and rehab when he's ready for that." This development does not bode well for Castillo being in the Opening Day line-up on April 6th in Philadelphia—and gives Betts a leg-up on the starting job.

Temps Near 40: Will Red Sox Fans See Shadow?

For all of our readers around the world, we should let you know that it might hit 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) today in the City of Boston. This is a critical milestone. The last time it was north of 40, Pawtucket had a AAA franchise—yes, that long ago! Today, dozens of Red Sox fans will be emerging from their icicle-festooned homes to peek skyward and hope to see a yellow orb. Or maybe hear a flock of geese honking their way home from Florida. Of course, it will plunge back into the teens tonight and tomorrow, but a heat wave like this is a welcome sign of Spring.

Why Dustin Pedroia Is The Consummate Gamer

The Muddy Chicken
Everybody knows about the relentless hustle Dustin Pedroia shows on the field. And we're all aware of the maniacal leadership he displays in the clubhouse. But sometimes it's the little things that show his true value to the team. This morning on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan (Featuring Minihane) Morning Show, Pedroia was discussing the need to give 100% all the time—even when you're hurt (as he has been most of the last two years). He recalled that in 2011 his Carmine Hose missed the playoffs by just one game —winning 90 times but only playing golf in October. If someone on the team had given just a little more in any one of that season's 162 games, maybe they make the "tournament". So, on this March morning in 2015—he's still agonizing over a missed opportunity four years ago. This is the mentality that makes Pedroia great.

'Jerry Remy's' Eatery Near Fenway Park Closes

One of the most iconic restaurants nearby Fenway Park has closed. 'Jerry Remy's'—owned by former Red Sox player and current broadcaster Jerry Remy—has shut down permanently after the establishment's landlord refused to renew the lease. 'Remy's' has been an extremely popular hangout for fans before and after games—particularly in the rooftop dining area that offers views of the ballpark's exterior. Other locations of the restaurant—Logan Airport, Boston's Seaport District and Fall River (Remy's home area) are unaffected by the Fenway-area closing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Feds May Block Waterfront Park In Providence

No Stadium For You!
With all the political capital spent by the Red Sox ownership group, you'd think it would pay off in a little 'back-scratching' by those currently in charge of the federal government. Wrong, Fund Raiser Breath! It looks like all those big donations to the Democratic Party might not pay off after all. Word is that the feds are poised to block any attempt by the new owners of Boston's AAA franchise (read: the NOG) to build a waterfront stadium in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Larry Lucchino and his fellow owners want to move the PawSox to Providence, re-name them the Rhode Island Red Sox, and build that sexy new waterfront stadium. Apparently, the 4.8-acre plot along the Providence River is designated for use as a 'public park' by the Federal Highway Administration. 'Political pull' just ain't what it used to be.

Philly Exec Sighting At JetBlue Stirs Rumors

The Great Number One Starter Search is hungry for news—any news—that might suggest the Red Sox are serious about upgrading their rotation. So, when a special assistant to Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is spotted at JetBlue Park, the rumor mill kicks into high gear. Suddenly, some guy named Charlie Kerfield was given more media attention that Benjamin Netanyahu. Kerfield was seen around the Sox batting cages—chatting with Boston coaches! Could a deal for Cole Hamels be far behind? Hold your horses, Nation. While Kerfield might be scouting out lesser Sox prospects—Deven Marrero, Garin Cecchini, Jackie Bradley, Jr.—he might also just really like Sanibel Island.

Yankees Fire Ticket-Seller Over Schilling Tweets

Revenge is sweet. Sure the Internet is a place for free expression (although the impending "net neutrality" regulations may change all that), but you have to be accountable for what you place on the Internet. That lesson was brought home big time by the New York Yankees—who fired a part-time ticket-seller for allegedly posting vulgar tweets about Curt Schilling's daughter. Good for the Yankees! Schilling outed several of the cyber-bullies on his blog yesterday and some—including Yankee ticket-seller Sean MacDonald—have already paid a price for their disgusting online behavior. Kudos to Curt for shining a light on this serious problem.

Mookie Betts To Lead Off Today Against NU

Manager John Farrell has consistently said he'd like to see Mookie Betts as the 2015 lead-off hitter for the Red Sox. So, in the first contest of the year—today's 1PM tilt against the Northeastern Huskies—Betts is indeed leading off. The full line-up is: Betts CF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, David Ortiz DH, Hanley Ramirez LF, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Mike Napoli 1B, Shane Victorino RF, Xander Bogaerts SS, Christian Vazquez C, Clay Buchholz RHP. Apparently, the Sox are also playing another college later in the day—one from the outskirts of Boston, on some hill somewhere. But, nobody really cares.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Trixadexaphobia: NYY Vs. Sox Tix On 3/13 Crazy

If you want to temp fate on Friday, March 13th and catch the Sox and Yankees at jetBlue, bring along your 401k debit card. The average ticket price for this Spring Training game is $165.18. That's for a fake game—with no relevance to anything. The cheapest seat in Fort Myers that day will be $40—the cheapest. After what will soon be the snowiest winter in Boston history, it's understandable that many would want to bask in the warmth of a ballgame—but for 165 bucks? That's around the cost of five driveway plowings, or 55 gallons of home heating oil, or one shopping trip to Whole Foods (actually this one would be a lot more—maybe Stop & Shop). Geez, games at Fenway are starting to look cheap by comparison.

Worcester Looks To Steal AAA Sox From Rhody

It's a straight shot down Route 146 from Worcester, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island—just under 40 miles. But it's anything but a "straight shot" that the Worcester City Fathers are aiming at their neighbors to the southeast. Worcester is looking to grab away the Red Sox AAA franchise from the nation's smallest state and stick it right in the middle of Massachusetts. The new team owners want to build a riverfront stadium in downtown Providence—but the politics in 'Little Rhody' is only slightly less cut-throat than Syria. So, on Tuesday night, the Worcester City Council will take up an agenda item to bring the soon-to-be-former PawSox to the Canal District of the Bay State's second-largest community. While this is probably a long-shot, it raises the visibility of the city in its pursuit of any professional baseball franchise. Way to be aggressive, Worcester!

Mookie And Rusney Will Compete For CF Job

Mookie (L), Rusney (R)—(USAToday Photo)
Apparently, John Farrell was serious about Shane Victorino being his starting right-fielder. Accordingly, Farrell has made it plain that Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo will battle it out for the starting center-field job during Spring Training. Now, competition is a good thing—but the idea that Betts could be the odd-man out this year is agonizing. The kid proved he deserved to stay last year. He would be the ideal lead-off hitter. Maybe Ben Cherington knows that one of his many outfielders will be dealt by Opening Day, and he wants to keep both Betts and Castillo ready. Said Farrell, "They're going to get equal playing time. But I think it's important they both get comfortable with the combination of the guys on the flank because of communication, the responsibilities for balls in the gap, fly ball communication and those priorities." We shall see.

FN's Dalton Jones Industrial Average Returns

FenwayNation's exclusive Dalton Jones Industrial Average will return for another season in 2015. The DJIA (honoring the Red Sox all-time pinch-hit leader) gathers four key metrics from FN readers scattered around the world. Each month, they assess the fortunes of the team on: starting pitchingrelief pitchingoverall offense and overall defenseFenwayNation will publish the DJIA Index Score at the start of the season and at the beginning of each month during the season. Look for our first pre-season evaluation poll later this month!

Looks Like Buchholz On Opening Day In Philly

As the Grapefruit schedule plays out, it appears more and more likely that Clay Buchholz will be Boston's Opening Day starter in Philadelphia on April 6th. As The Providence Journal's Tim Britton points out, the rotation after Buchholz is Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Joe Kelly and Justin Masterson. If you simply project out those starts throughout Spring Training, Buchholz would get the ball in Philly. Again, with five number three starters, this really doesn't matter much—but it seems like more of a "seniority" thing for the big Texas right-hander.

Curt Schilling Takes On Vile Internet Bullying

Red Sox legend Curt Schilling took to his blog (38 Pitches) to expose a group of vile TWITTER users who made outrageous comments about his daughter Gabby. Schilling did what most fathers would do—he sent out a TWEET to congratulate his child for getting into college and on being a student athlete to boot. This simple TWEET set off a torrent of despicable and vulgar responses—most of which we cannot reprint here. Suffice it to say that the responses are indicative of the trolling culture that so poisons the Internet today. Schilling brilliantly exposes these morons for what they are and—in doing so—has won the respect and admiration of fathers everywhere. Way to go Curt! You can read his entire blog post—including explicit references to the offensive responses—HERE.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

'Nava-Gating' From Left Side Of The Plate Only

Daniel Nava
Daniel Nava is making a big change. In 2015, he will hit only from the left side of the plate—giving up years of switch-hitting. The decision comes on the advice of the coaching staff—which believes the outfielder can be much more productive if he learns how to hit left-handed pitching from the port-side of the plate. Will this move change his hitting mechanics much? Says Nava, "It's more the setup where I can see the ball. From the right side, you see with both your eyes, but from the left side, it's a little more challenging. If you're facing Andrew Miller, who's throwing from the dugout, I guess I'd be Tony Batista." Nava suffers a nearly 90-point drop in career average from hitting righties to hitting lefties, so this approach could make him a more well-rounder offensive player.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Northeastern's Carlos Pena On Effective Velocity

Red Sox Great Frank Malzone Turns 85 Today

Growing up a Red Sox fan in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there weren't many guys to root for. There were the obvious ones—Ted Williams and Jackie Jensen. But there was also a rock-solid third baseman named Frank Malzone. Frank turns 85 years old today. Malzone played in more than 150 games for seven straight years. In 1958, he led the league in games played and at-bats. Frank was an offensive and defensive star for The Carmine Hose. In 1962 he had his best season, hitting .283 with 21 HRs and 95 RBIs. He also won three straight Gold Gloves (1957, 1958 and 1959). Happy Birthday, Malzy!

Friday, February 27, 2015

'Pace Of Play' Or 'Pace Of Pay'?

by Mark Lawrence, International Editor

When David Ortiz talks – or rants, as some reporters assert – I sit up straight and pay attention.  The most recent burr under Papi’s blanket has to do with this wacky Pace of Play initiative and, sportsfans – upon consideration - I believe he has a legitimate gripe.  

My geographic remove oftentimes leaves me out of touch with the minutiae of MLB Policy, but Pace of Play confuses me a tad.  Why does the game really need to be sped up? I mean, what’s the point?  A trawl through the interwebs shows some interesting stats regarding average game length over the decades – and while I can’t vouch for the veracity of some of this information, it seems that in the past few decades, average game length has indeed increased – but only by some thirty odd minutes or so.  Is that enough to warrant these surprisingly specific new rules and regulations?  More importantly, though, I’ve been unable to find the Why of this.

Farrell: 'Merit' Will Determine Rotation Order

While past performance and reputation will play a part, it looks as if merit will be the driving force in deciding the order of the Red Sox starting rotation. As it should be. Given the relative equality of the five candidates, whoever steps up in Spring Training should get the Opening Day start. When asked about this issue, manager John Farrell stated, "Merit is one. You factor in what’s taken place either the year or years before." Frankly, whether it's Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Joe Kelly or Justin Masterson doesn't really matter—getting a number one does.