Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FN Is Proud To Promote Non-Tobacco Chew

As you all know, we have a lot of advertisers on FenwayNation—and we are proud of them all. But we are particularly proud of our newest advertiser—Jake's Mint Chew. This non-tobacco product is all natural, USDA Certified Organic and has no nicotine. And, on top of everything, it's made right in our own backyard—in Danvers, Massachusetts. Recently—most notably with the tobacco-related illness of Curt Schilling—the dangers of chewing tobacco have been spotlighted. We hope that the availability of products like Jakes's will encourage all current and future baseball players to avoid chewing tobacco. You can learn more about this great product HERE.

Time To Retire Jimmie Foxx's Red Sox Number 3

Jimmie Foxx
Today is the 107th anniversary of Jimmie Foxx's birth. "Double X" played seven amazing seasons for the Red Sox—winning the AL MVP once and ending up in the Hall of Fame. Yet, for some reason, his uniform #3 is not retired and on the facade in right field at Fenway. Can anyone please tell us why? In his time here, Foxx hit .320 with 222 HRs and 788 RBIs. In 1938 (when he won the MVP) he hit .349 with 50 HRs. He was an All-Star in six of his seven Boston years. Yesterday, we recounted the five worst Red Sox trades, but the trade that brought Foxx from the Philadelphia Athletics was one of the best. Boston sent George Savino (minors), Gordon Rhodes and $150,000 south. Not bad. So, come on, let's get old Double X's #3 up there! It's way overdue.

Is Shields Taking Himself Out Of Sox Picture?

(USAToday Sports)
"Big Game" James Shields has been anything but this postseason. He has hurled a total of 19.0 innings over four starts—and posted a very unlucky ERA of 7.11. He's also given up four HRs over that span—including last night's first inning, two-run shot to Hunter Pence. Overall this postseason, batters are hitting .337 against him. So, does this mean Ben Cherington and the Yawkey Way 'brain trust' are re-assessing their reported desire to give Shields a four- or five-year contract? One would hope so! After all, some guy named Jon Lester is younger than Shields and wants to come back.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rusney Castillo Injured In Arizona Fall League

This is not what we want to hear! Multiple sources are reporting that Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo was injured Monday in Arizona Fall League action. Word is that Castillo has a bruised hand or thumb after batting yesterday for the Surprise Saguaros of the AFL. Castillo—who signed a $72.5 million contract with Boston—had been hitting .278 in the Fall League.

Top Five Worst Red Sox Trades Ever Made

As we sit on the playoff sidelines—and contemplate a flurry of Winter trades—it might be instructive to look back at the five worst Red Sox trades ever. Keep in mind that Babe Ruth to the Yankees was not a trade, so that doesn't count. OK, here goes:

5. Dave 'Hendu' Henderson to the Giants for Randy Kutcher. Yikes! This 1987 trade—one year after Hendu's thrilling HR against the Angels—was a real loser. Henderson later went on to the A's and made it to the World Series three straight years (1988-1990). Kutcher batted .224 in three forgettable seasons with The Carmine Hose;

4. Sparky Lyle to the Yankees for Danny Cater and Mario Guerrero. This 1972 deal brought a 32-year old Cater to Boston. He had three "vanilla" seasons for the Red Sox. The 26-year old Lyle, meantime, had 35 saves in his first year in pinstripes—and eventually collected 141 in the Bronx. Bad trade, no biscuit!;

3. Fred Lynn to the Angels for Jim Dorsey, Joe Rudi and Frank Tanana. Lynn had four solid years in Anaheim and another three-plus in Baltimore. Dorsey, Rudi and Tanana all had short, non-impactful Red Sox careers;

2. Curt Schilling and Brady Anderson to the Orioles for Mike Boddicker. This 1988 deal did bring back a productive Boddicker (39-22 over two-plus seasons), but both Schilling and Anderson eventually became pretty big stars. Then again, we did get that Schilling guy back;

1. Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson. This horrendous 1990 deal sent a little-known minor league infielder to Houston for the one-year rental of an OK relief pitcher. Anderson was good (1.23 ERA in 15 games), but Bagwell became a force in Houston. He played 15 years there, hitting .297 with 449 HRs and 1529 RBIs. He was Rookie Of The Year in 1991, the 1994 NL MVP and a four-time All-Star. He may yet make the Hall of Fame. Worst. Sox. Trade. Ever.

Chili Davis And The Yankee-Red Sox Connection

Chili Just Before Going Yard Off Pedro
New Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis reportedly turned down the Yankee hitting coach job to sign with The Carmine Hose. Score one for the ChiliMan! Moreover, Davis has another solid Red Sox connection—he was formerly the hitting coach of AAA Pawtucket. However, an even more obscure connection might not sit too well with the Fenway Faithful. On September 10, 1999, Davis collected the only hit (a solo HR) off Pedro Martinez in the pitcher's legendary complete-game, 17-strikeout win at the old Yankee Stadium. The pinstriped Davis will always be held accountable for the only blemish that spelled the difference between a perfect game and a just amazing game. We might forgive him. If he asks nicely.

Reluctantly, We Say Giants Over Royals In Seven

Honestly, we really want the Kansas City Royals to win the World Series. If the Giants win, it will be three rings in five years—overshadowing the Red Sox achievement of three in ten years. But, if we look at the series with our heads and not our hearts, we have to conclude that San Francisco will prevail in seven games. There are many reasons for this: the vast experience advantage of the Giants; the incredible hot-streak of Madison Bumgarner; the 'clutchness' of players like Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and (perhaps future Carmine-Hoser) Pablo Sandoval. All of this will outweigh the Royals' karma, defense and bullpen—barely. In the grand tradition of non-entities getting World Series MVPs (with some obvious exceptions—like 2013), we pick Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. He will augment his manifold defensive skills with an offensive explosion.

Red Sox Fail To Make Any News For 15 Minutes

In an unprecedented circumstance, the Boston Red Sox failed to make any news in a 15-minute period between 10:15 AM ET and 10:30 AM ET this morning. While the team is out of the post-season and thus might be expected to have some slow news days, this quarter-hour news blackout is the first ever in franchise history. Attempts to reach officials on Yawkey Way have so far been unsuccessful. There are unconfirmed reports that PR Guru Dr. Charles "The Mad Dentist" Steinberg is scrambling to put together a news release—perhaps even about former catcher John Flaherty's 47th birthday. While Flaherty caught only 48 games for the Red Sox, he was drafted by Boston in the 25th round of the 1988 draft. Beggars can't be choosers. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lou Lusier, Oldest Red Sox Alum, Dies At 96

Lou Lusier (1918-2014)
He was a pitcher for the Red Sox during the World Ward II years. He was a local kid from Northbridge, Mass. He pitched 79.1 innings for Boston over a two-year span—going 3-4 with a 3.97 ERA. Until he passed away on Saturday at age 96, Lou Lusier was the oldest living Red Sox alum. His passing moves the legendary Bobby Doerr into that spot. Lou stayed active—even attending the 100th Anniversary Celebration at Fenway Park. He will be missed.

Yoenis Switches Agents, Now Has Shawn Carter

Shawn Corey Carter
If you were thinking that the Boston stay of Yoenis Cespedes might be short—you now have more reason to feel that way. Cespedes announced on Monday that he is switching agents from Adam Katz of WMG to Shawn Corey Carter (otherwise known as 'Jay-Z') of Roc Nation Sports. The highly-annoying Carter got Robinson Cano his 10-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners. Considering Carter's hatred of the Red Sox, you can pretty much assume Ben Cherington will unload the 29-year old outfielder this off-season (rather than face him and 'Jay-Z' in free agency next year). Unfortunately—even if that does happen—we'd still have to deal with Carter since he represents Rusney Castillo as well.

POLL: Slim Majority Would Trade Cespedes

Very early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that a slim majority of readers (55%) support the idea of including Yoenis Cespedes in trade discussions this Winter. As the chart shows, 45% take the opposite view—that the 29-year old slugger should not be in trade talks. You can still vote in this poll HERE.

Honoring A Great Yankee On His Birthday

It isn't often that we take the time to honor a member of the Yankees. But, today we will make an exception. To those of us who faintly remember baseball in the late '50s and early '60s, Mickey Mantledespite his pinstripes—was an icon. He was a five-tool player before there were five-tool players. His Hall Of Fame numbers speak for themselves—.298 BA, .421 OBP, .557 SLG, 536 HRs, 1509 RBIs over 18 seasons. And, even with his famously gimpy knees, he stole 153 bases—swiping 21 in 1959. Mantle was the Mike Trout of his day, so, when a little kid from Somerville, Massachusetts almost caught one of his batting practice HRs in the early sixties—it was a moment to treasure. I was hanging out about halfway up the bleachers at Fenway (leaning over the gap with the grandstands), when a majestic Mantle clout eluded my grasp by inches. If only I had been a little taller! Had he lived, Mantle would have been 83 years old today. Happy birthday, Mick.

POLL: Should Sox Offer Cespedes In A Trade?

The Cespedes Trade Quandry

Should the Red Sox offer Yoenis Cespedes in trades?

  Current Results

Red Sox May Be Looking To Deal Cespedes

(AP Photo)
Multiple reports suggest that the Red Sox may be looking to trade just-acquired OF Yoenis Cespdes. The slugger with the amazing arm just turned 29 and is owed $10.5 million in 2015—the final year of his contract. Cespedes was picked up in the Jon Lester deal and has sent out mixed signals about his desire to stay in Boston. Clearly, he could be the centerpiece of any one of several trades the Red Sox are looking to consummate this winter—to address their twin needs for front-line starting pitching and a left-handed power bat.

Chili Davis Is The New Red Sox Hitting Coach

(USA TODAY Sports)
Multiple sources now report that the former long-shot candidate Chili Davis has—in fact—been named as the new Red Sox hitting coach. The team passed over a bunch of other candidates—including Bill Mueller, Rich Gedman, Kevin Long and Dave Magadan. Since 2012, Davis has been hitting coach for the Oakland A's. Previously, he was the hitting coach for Boston's AAA Pawtucket ballclub.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Simple Solution To World Series Home Field

As we approach another Fall Classic, we're again confronted with the rank stupidity of home-field advantage being determined by an exhibition game. The Kansas City Royals might get an extra home game because Mike Trout had a good day last July 15th. Is this really fair? Of course not. So, let's try to find a more representative way to decide the issue. Oh, wait, we have another of Bud Selig's dumb ideas right in front of us! The ubiquitous Interleague schedule—where a cross-league game is played every day. That's a pretty big sample size—in fact, it was 257 games in 2014. This is an even better idea, since the leagues are now balanced—with 15 teams in each circuit. As it happens, the AL whupped butt this year—winning 140 games to the NL's 117. In fact, the AL has had the advantage since 2004. Still, wouldn't it be great if Bud made this simple and logical change on his way out the door?

Jose Iglesias Said To Be 'Fine' For 2015 Season

Remember Jose Iglesias? You know, the guy we traded away in exchange for now-San Francisco Giant Jake Peavy in a three-way deal? After missing the entire 2014 season with stress fractures in both of his shins, word is that the 24-year old shortstop will be 100% healthy for the 2015 season. Perhaps the slickest Red Sox defensive shortstop in a generation, Iglesias began to show surprising offensive ability before his July 2013 trade. He then played well against his old club in the 2013 ALCS. Now, it looks as if he'll be Detroit's starting shortstop for a long time. While Tiger GM Dave Dombrowski won't fully commit to this, it seems pretty obvious, "I would think with what we know from Iglesias, if he returns to the form that he was in the past, which they tell me he will, but if he does, then he would be our regular shortstop because he's a very, very good shortstop." Indeed.

Sox Land Four In Baseball America IL 'Top 20'

Baseball America's International League (AAA) Top 20 list includes four players from the Red Sox organization. The four are: Mookie Betts (ranked 2nd), Anthony Ranaudo (ranked 6th), Christian Vazquez (ranked 16th) and Allen Webster (ranked 19th). All four made contributions to the 2014 Red Sox big league club and are slated to be key players in 2015 as well. Congrats to all four!

Ten Years After: Dave Roberts' Watershed Steal

It can't possibly have happened a decade ago. But, re-checking our trusty FN WayBack Machine, it appears that the Dave Roberts Steal was exactly ten years ago today—although technically, it happened after midnight. As one of the privileged 34,826 who attended the 5 hour and 2 minute contest, I can safely state that it was the most thrilling sporting event I ever witnessed in person. And I attended some doozies! It was bigger than the Snow Bowl Game at the old Foxboro Stadium, bigger than the 2007 ALCS clincher, bigger than the Game One win in the 2007 World Series, bigger than the 2013 ALCS clincher. You have to recall the utter despair that was crowding in on us as Mariano Rivera took his warm-up tosses in the ninth. We only wanted this one win—to avoid the humiliation of a sweep at the hands of The Evil Ones. Looking back, it's amazing how much positive signage was around the old ballpark: "It Ain't Over Yet", "You Gotta Believe It To See It" and my personal favorite: "Tomorrow Never Dies". We all know what happened—and the impact it had on the next ten years. Thank you, Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts and Bill Mueller.