Monday, October 23, 2017

POLL: Most Think Sox Have Brighter Future Than Empire

Very early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that a plurality of readers (43%) think the Red Sox have a brighter future (over the next 3-5 years) than the Yankees. As the chart shows, one-third of our readers (33%) think both teams have about equally bright futures, while just under one-quarter (24%) think the Yankees have the advantage going forward. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Alex Cora Is A Solid Choice As New Red Sox Manager

For years, new Red Sox skipper Alex Cora was hailed as a 'manager-in-waiting'—a cerebral guy with natural leadership skills. During his tenure as a utility infielder for Boston, he kept his nose clean, kept his mouth shut (for the most part) and did his job—really well. He even mentored a young Dustin Pedroia during his early-season rookie slump—even though Cora would have been the default option at second base. So, can he right The Good Ship Carmine Hose—reeling from two straight early playoff exits? As The Boston Herald's Steve Buckley rightly points out, Cora's biggest challenge will be clubhouse accountability. Even team owner John Henry—in a rare moment of lucidity—said this: "In Alex we have found a natural leader to guide our clubhouse." Let's hope this is the case. While the 2017 Red Sox were not exactly 'Chicken And Beer' surly, they were not happy campers. John Farrell could not rein in the troops and, thus, got no respect in the clubhouse. It seems that Cora—younger, bi-lingual, tough, smart—is the right guy for the job. Soon enough, we shall see.

You Can Acknowledge Girardi And Still Hate The Yankees

(Getty Images)
These last couple of days since Saturday night have been a sweet period of schadenfreude for most Red Sox fans. The Bronx Embalmers getting bounced from the playoffs in ALCS Game 7 (after blowing a 3-2 series lead) showed that—after all—there is justice in the world. Here at FenwayNation we do not buy the revisionist position that the 2017 edition of The Yankees was somehow "lovable". The whole 'Baby Boomer' BS was just that. It's really easy to dislike players like Todd Frazier, Greg Bird (how dare he wear number 33?), Starlin Castro, Gary Sanchez and Aroldis Chapman. Even the 'nice-guy' hype surrounding Aaron Judge was wearing thin. However, when it comes to the skipper of The Pinstriped Posers, we have a different view. For several years, we have felt that Joe Girardi was among the most under-rated managers in the game. Think about it. For a decade, he's had to put up with the the ownership lunacy of The Steinbrenner Brood (Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Dumber), alternately getting crap rosters to work with and then half-decent ones. Finally, GM Brian Cashman was free to make some strategic moves that netted a bevy of young talent for the big club in the Bronx—as well as a re-stocked farm system. Through it all, Girardi has also had to put up with the disgusting New York media—and he has pretty much consistently won despite it all. Even a World Series Championship in 2009. So, while we wholeheartedly endorse Empire-Hating, take it easy on Girardi. He's pretty good at what he does.

POLL: Do Red Sox Or Yankees Have Brighter Future?

Now that the 2017 season has ended for both, which team has the brighter future in the next 3-5 years: the Red Sox or the Yankees? free polls

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Red Sox Officially Hire Alex Cora As New Team Manager

It's official! The Red Sox announced on Sunday afternoon the hiring of former team infielder Alex Cora as the new manager of The Carmine Hose. The 42-year old Cora, who played 14 seasons in the major leagues (2005-2008 with Boston), won a World Series title with the club in 2007. He replaces John Farrell—who led the Red Sox to back-to-back Division titles for the first time in franchise history (2016, 2017) and also won two World Series Championships (2007, 2013). Cora is currently the bench coach of the 2017 American League Champion Houston Astros. The contract is for three years—running through the 2020 season (with a club option for the 2021 season). Said Cora, "I am extremely honored and humbled to be named manager of the Boston Red Sox and I want to thank Dave, John Henry, Tom Werner, and Sam Kennedy for giving me such a tremendous opportunity. Returning to the Red Sox and the city of Boston is a dream come true for me and my family and I look forward to working toward the ultimate goal of winning another championship for this city and its great fans." Welcome back, Alex!

Yankee Elimination Day! Astros Head To World Series

Now, we can all just relax and enjoy the World Series. It almost doesn't matter whether the Dodgers or Astros ultimately win—it's more than enough that The Bronx Embalmers won't. Down three-games-to-two, Houston pitching shut down the Yankee offense in Games 6 & 7 (one run), at the same time that the Astro bats heated up. In four games in Houston, The Evil Ones scored a grand total of three runs. Evan Gattis and Jose Altuve clouted solo HRs and ex-Pinstriped Poser Brian McCann knocked in two more in the eventual 4-0 shutout. Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined to limit New York to just three hits on the night. All Hail, Yankee Elimination Day! (Getty Images)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

REPORT: Nationals Poaching Of Alex Cora Will Not Work

According to's Ken Rosenthal, interest in Alex Cora by the Washington Nationals will not prevent his hiring as the new manager of the Boston Red Sox. Rosenthal quotes sources that—as soon as the Astros eliminate The Bronx Embalmers from the ALCS (i.e., tonight)—Cora will be named skipper of The Carmine Hose. Earlier reports had suggested that—after firing Dusty Baker—the Nationals were putting on a full-court press to snare Cora.

Red Sox Owners Plan To Add New Seating At Fenway

Not satisfied with another hike in ticket prices for 2018, John Henry and his out-of-towner ownership group also want to add two new areas of seating to Fenway Park—sucking further revenue out of the old ballyard. According to plans filed at Boston City Hall, the NOG (new ownership group) will add at least 25 additional seats in a new area along the left-field/third base side of the park; and move a row of first-base side seats forward and below ground in a “dugout suite”. This radical new seating arrangement comes without any specific commitment to add protective netting to these areas—although the new "dugout" seats will place fans behind fencing. All the team has said about potential new netting is from spokesperson Zineb Curran: "We continue to evaluate options related to netting to ensure the game experience is both safe and enjoyable." Yeah, right.

Yankee Elimination Day Draws Nigh, Empire Falls, 7-1

Justin Verlander continued his dominance of The Bronx Embalmers, with seven shutout innings of work in Houston's 7-1 smiting of The Evil Empire last night. The win evened the ALCS at three games apiece—setting up a national celebration of Yankee Elimination Day later this evening. Jose Altuve lined a HR and knocked in three total runs in the victory. Ex-Pinstriped Poser Brian McCann opened the scoring with a one-run double, then Altuve followed with a two-run single in the fifth. The 'Stros broke it open with a four-run eighth. (Getty Images)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Alex Cora Set To Be Named The New Red Sox Manager

Multiple reports indicate that the Red Sox will name current Astros bench coach Alex Cora to be their new manager. The announcement could come as soon as this weekend—at the conclusion of the ALCS. If the Astros advance to the World Series (and, if there is any justice in the world, they will), then the formal in-person announcement may need to wait until the conclusion of The Fall Classic. While Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski issued a statement late Thursday that no decision had yet been made, it's pretty clear that Cora will be the next skipper of The Carmine Hose.

A Better MLB Expansion And Re-Alignment Scheme

Rob Rogacki of the Tigers blog, "Bless You Boys" has come up with a much more rational expansion/re-alignment proposal than the one floated by Baseball America’s Tracy Ringolsby (see our analysis of that plan HERE). Rogacki proposes eight four-team divisions—rather than Ringolsby's four eight-team divisions (along with Ringolsby's elimination of the American and National leagues). Most importantly, the league distinctions remain in place in Rogacki's scheme. Here is his idea:

AL East: New York, Boston, Toronto, Baltimore
AL North: Detroit, Cleveland, Minnesota, Chicago
AL South: Kansas City, Houston, Texas, Tampa Bay
AL West: Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Oakland

NL East: Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Montreal
NL North: Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati
NL West: Arizona, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego
NL Something: St. Louis, Atlanta, Miami, Colorado

Granted, some of the team pairings seem a little wacky (e.g., Colorado and Miami)—but it's still far more realistic than other proposals.

MLB Expansion, Re-Alignment And The End Of AL & NL

Very quietly, Major League Baseball may be hinting at a revolutionary change in how its teams are aligned. As part of a plan to expand baseball from 30 to 32 teams, one proposal (by Baseball America) would eliminate the American and National leagues and move to a four-division scheme—with eight teams in each. The only upsides as far as we can see are: 1.) the season would be reduced from 162 to 156 games; and 2.) travel times would get shorter and thus long, wacky road trips would end. Otherwise, this seems like an incredibly stupid proposal. Consider this, the Red Sox would be lumped into a new "North" division—along with The Evil Ones, the Mets, the Indians, the Tigers, the Twinkies and one of the likely new expansion franchises in Montreal (the other would likely be Portland, Oregon in the West division). Here are the other three division breakdowns:

East: Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington.
Midwest: Both Chicago franchises, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Texas.
West: Anaheim, Arizona, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle.

The four first-place teams would advance to the post-season, and eight Wild Card teams would vie for advancement to the Division Series (where they would play the four Division Winners). The remaining four teams would go on to a new round of  'Championship' Series—which would produce the two teams that advance to the World Series. Confused yet? While this is an ambitious reform—and does solve the length of season and travel issues—it is doomed to failure in our opinion. You just can't eliminate the American and National leagues and think fans will roll over and accept it. There has to be a better solution.