Tag Archives: red sox

In Case You Didn’t Know…

-The Boston Red Sox begin a three game series with the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa starts the day just one game ahead of the Sox. A crucial series to say the least.

-Donovan Mcnabb and the Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) march into Irving, Texas to take on T.O., Tony Romo, Adam”Don’t Call Me Pacman” Jones, and the Dallas Cowboys (1-0). Both teams are coming off of gigantic Week 1 wins. Monday’s matchup should see its fair share of scoring and exciting plays, and Dallas is favored at +3.5.

-Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost has been fired after the Brew Crew were swept 4 games to 0 by the Philadelphia Phillies.  In the interim, third base coach Dale Sveum will take over in efforts to right the ship. Milwaukee has lost 11 of their last 14 games. Yikes.

– Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano threw a no-hitter on Sunday in his first start after suffering rotator cuff tendinitis. It was Z-Pac’s first no-no and his first win since August 21. The Cubs starting rotation of a healthy Zambrano, Rich Harden, and Ryan Dempster is atop the list for best in the National League, and possibly all of baseball.

-The NFL has downgraded referee Ed Hochuli after he admitted to blowing a call during the Chargers-Broncos game. It remains to be seen if he’ll be able to officiate playoff games or any games at all. Hochuli is best known for his impressive physical stature, so we’ll see if a possible demotion leads to some negative side effects.

-Yankees catcher Jorge Posada thinks pitcher Joba Chamberlain should return to the bullpen instead of remaining in the starting rotation. Of course, Posada is talking about next year because, well, the Yankees aren’t going to make the playoffs. But I guess it’s the thought that counts… In other news, Yankees catcher Jorge Posada talks bad-mouths former Red Sox great Pedro Martinez in reference to the Sox-Yanks brawl in the 2003 AL Championship series: “I thought he was going to hit me in the head with a bat, after we had the fight and he pushed Don Zimmer. It was ridiculous. I mean, he throws at Karim Garcia because he’s losing the game. I mean, there’s no class.”

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Not a Soccer Blog…Top Eight From The News

Thanks to the absence of the venerable Nick and Austin, I have heard rumors of this blog turning into a “soccer blog.” While I have no problem with that, I thought I would appease all my eager fans with a mixed bag of non-soccer news.

Here are the top eight stories today and my not-so-humble opinion on them.

1. Brett Favre and the J-E-T-S? Who saw this one coming? I don’t think Favre will pull a Namath and win a Super Bowl, but I do think he takes a team that won just four games last season to the playoffs.

I also would like to see the Jets release Chad Pennington already so that the Bears can add him to their stable of unreliable, mediocre quarterbacks. One positive about Pennington: he is much better than Grossman and Orton.

The Patriots are safe on the top of this division for at least another year.

2. In honor of Landy I will delve into the Packers. This was a huge mistake. Plain and simple. ESPN’s Rachel Nicols asked the question that I would like to see answered: “Are the Packers better off with Aaron Rodgers than Brett Favre?”

How can they answer that with a yes? They have never seen Rodger play for a whole season, and while I am sure he will be decent, Favre is a Hall of Famer. There is no comparison. This is a win now league and the Packers just shot themselves in the foot.

3. Because we are The Looper I have to mention something having to do with golf don’t I? How ironic would it be if Sergio Garcia won the PGA Championship this weekend? The man that was expected to challenge Tiger Woods wins his first major with Tiger sidelined with an injury.

But, to tell you the truth, I hope he wins it. I think without the pressure of having to beat Tiger, Garcia will be loose and this could mark a significant turning point in his career if he is able to pull it out. He is just one shot off the lead after most of the field finished the first day and he is one of the top five most talented golfers there so why not?

4. Have you lost count of how many players Georgia has suspended this season already, because I have. They are named the preseason number 1 and immediately their players begin to act like they just won the National Championship.

Let me be the first to say that I don’t think Georgia will finish in the top 20. They obviously don’t have the maturity or leadership, their coach, Mark Richt, doesn’t have the experience to withstand the pressure and while their star running back, Knowshon Moreno, will be a front runner for the Heisman, he is not prepared to lead this team through the heart of an impossible SEC.

5. Can’t you see it now. Kids all over L.A. with dreadlock wigs and wearing number 99 Dodgers jerseys on Halloween as the Dodgers battle deep into the playoffs behind midseason acquisition, Manny Ramirez. So far Manny has hit four home runs in just six games and has energized this team that was struggling mightily to score runs.

I still can’t believe the Red Sox made the trade. I know Jason Bay is good—I have seen him 16 times a year when the Cubs play the Bucs—but he is not Manny. This is a team that is fighting for their playoff life and they traded away their best bat.

If they are able to overcome the Rays and withstand a run from the Yankees and make the playoffs it won’t matter but I don’t know if they will be able to without Manny in their lineup.

6. Sticking with baseball, how can I not mention the Cubs. Just a week and half ago people said they were going to fail as they fell into a tie with Milwaukee. But just five days later the Cubs were the proud owners of a four game sweep of the Brewers and a five game lead in the division.

Since that series the Cubs have continued to roll winning nine of their last 11 games. Meanwhile the Brewers have been winning but have also been fighting—Parra and Fielder’s little shoving match in the dugout the other night—and seem frustrated after not taking advantage of a great opportunity with Chicago in town for four games.

In no way am I writing off the Brewers but I do think they need to pull themselves together the rest of August in order to avoid a catastrophic collapse like we witnessed last season.

7. Why is there football on tonight? It is not that I am not ready for football—it reminds me that fall is coming and that is always a good thing—but it seems so early for people to be hitting each other.

Am I going to watch any of the games tonight? No. Maybe I will turn on the Bears game for five minutes to see Orton beat up by the Chief’s fourth string defense, but otherwise these games are absurd.

These EXHIBITION games are more for the coaches than anyone else and all the hoopla that comes from these games is completely ridiculous. The football writers need to wait until at least Labor Day, please.

8. I guess I will finish up with the Olympics, which begin tomorrow. I am excited to see the summer games. Great athletes competing in the largest competition in the world is always good time.

Highlights for me have to be whether the USA basketball team can actually win gold, Michael Phelps (why did he grow that disgusting ‘stache, by the way?) run for eight golds and how many people asphyxiate do to the poor air quality.

Should be a good time had by all.

So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed and hope that it inspired Nicks and Austins everywhere to come out and write once in a while.

Good Week/Bad Week

Here are this week’s biggest winners:

Jon Gruden- On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach got a chance to caddie for the PGA’s John Daly. It was practically love at first sight when the two met amidst a 2 1/2 hour rain delay – – under the Hooters Owl’s Nest tent, nonetheless. When asked if the new caddie helped, the always entertaining Daly replied, “Oh, yeah. He fires you up.”

Alexander Ovechkin- After scoring only one goal in his last 8 games, the NHL’s leading scorer snapped out of his ‘slump’ by scoring 3 first period goals on Monday, followed by 2 on Wednesday. This puts A.O.’s goals total at 54, and puts him back on pace for being the first player to score 60 goals since Mario Lemieux did it during thr 1995 -1996 season.

Jonathan Papelbon- The Red Sox and Jonathan Papelbon have finally come to an agreement on a one-year, $775,000 contract. The transaction nearly doubles Cinco Ocho’s previous contract, and should help the intimidating closer focus on the upcoming season with a clear conscience.

Boston Celtics- Upon defeating the Pistons on Wednesday, the Celtics clinched a playoff berth with 23 more regular season games to go. They also signed veteran point guard/alien look-a-like, Sam Cassell, a valuable asset to any team.

Here are this week’s biggest losers:

Tim Thomas- Up until Monday’s meeting with the Washington Capitals, the Bruins netminder had been playing out of his mind. On Monday, though, Thomas was pulled twice, surrendering 7 goals en route to a 10-2 loss.Things didn’t get much better when he gave up 5 on Thursday during a 8-2 loss against Toronto. Numbers like these have to make you wonder what’s going on lately.

Tripp Isenhour- The former PGA Tour cardholder was brought up on charges of cruelty to animals and killing a migratory bird. The charges stem from a December 12 incident in which Isenhour killed a red-shouldered hawk with a golf ball during the taping of a television show. Fed up with the hawk’s relentless squawking and interruption of the show’s taping, Isenhour repeatedly attempted to eradicate the bird by hitting golf balls at it. As the bird neared closer, Isenhour hit it, resulting in death. This judgement malfunction could result in a maximum of 14 months in jail and fines up to $1,500.

Albert Pujols- The All-Star first baseman for the Cardinals is in need of Tommy John surgery after doctors found a torn ligament, bone spurs, and arthritis in his elbow. Though a team doctor told Pujols to wait until after the upcoming season, it will be interesting to see how yet another injury-plagued season affects his high-powered game.

Colon, by Bartolo

 The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a minor league contract with 2005 Cy Young award winner, Bartolo Colon.

On Tuesday, the 34-year-old is expected to attend Red Sox spring training as a non-roster invite.

With Curt Schilling on the DL until at least the All-Star break, the Sox are hoping that Colon can give some depth to their bullpen, or even better, earn a role as the 5th starter in the rotation.

Colon, however, does carry some health issues of his own.

Last year, he suffered a tear in his rotator cuff, and was subsequently plagued with elbow problems. During his time as a member of the Angels in 2007, he carried a record of 6-8 with an ERA of 6.34 in 19 games. 

These numbers are certainly not indicative of Colon’s caliber as a pitcher, rather, they represent his struggles to stay healthy.

Although this may not seem like a noteworthy move from a Red Sox perspective, given Colon’s recent decline, there is no doubt that a $1 million dollar contract and a chance to compete for a role on a championship team is a deal that could potentially leave both parties grinning.

If Colon, like Borat, has great success, Red Sox management ends up looking like the board of Mensa.

And if Colon turns out to be a bust, well, it’s not the end of the world. Your team is still a contender, and at the end of the day, you really haven’t lost any money.

One more thing: Prior to talks with the Red Sox, Colon turned down a one-year incentive-based offer from the White Sox. Some reports have even listed the deal as being worth up to $8 million dollars.

Talk about wanting to play for a winning team.

Accolades and acquisitions

It didn’t take long for the Boston Red Sox to make more headlines.

Only 10 days after winning their second World Series in four years, the success train that is the 2007 Red Sox has continued its tour of excellence.

First Stop: Gold Glove Land

On Tuesday it was announced that my man, Kevin Youkilis, has earned himself a Gold Glove at the first base position in the American League. The dude went 135 games without an error, so it shouldnt’t come as much surprise to anyone with a clear conscience that he won, although Yankees fans would most likely argue Jason Giambi’s 18 games at first base with one error deserved the award.

Sorry. Maybe next year.

Though Youkilis isn’t a natural first baseman, there is nothing fake about his game or his beard. Day in and day out, Youk plays perhaps the most aggressive style of play at his position, only increasing the chances of committing an error. Clearly my man wasn’t worried because he had it locked up like Akon .

Next Stop: Curt Schilling Returns-Land

More great news came on Tuesday when it was announced that the Red Sox have completed a one-year, $8 million deal with Curt Schilling that could potentially earn him $14 million should he reach the incentives offered.

According to the team and Schilling’s blog www.38pitches.com , the veteran righty can earn $2 million by successfully completing a series of 6 weigh-ins, $3 million for innings pitched, and $1 million for recieving just one Cy Young Award vote; a total of $6 million based on incentives. If the 41-year old successfully reaches these incentives, he will have earned $1 million more than the one -year/$13 million contract he had hoped for.

All incentives aside,though, Schilling’s legacy in Boston is what will be most remembered. Whether or not he succeeds in reaching contract goals set by the team is irrelevant when stood next to his list of accomplishments with them. In complete honesty, Curt Schilling can do no wrong. And maybe this is a first for him, but it couldn’t possibly come at a better time.

Fresh off of winning yet another World Series with the Red Sox, Schilling’s decision to end his career in Boston says masses about the type of man that he really is. Forget any talks of Schilling being loud and obnoxious, pompous and unapproachable. They are irrelevant in terms of measuring his success. To members of Red Sox Nation,Curt Schilling, number 38 ,will forever be remembered in a different light: As a gamer. A bulldog. He’s the guy with the bloody sock. The guy who filled in as closer when Keith Foulke went down. The guy who helped a struggling franchise forge a new identity en route to winning two World Series titles in four years (in case it wasn’t mentioned).

Either way, after his final season, when everything is said and done, Curt Schilling’s legacy as hero in Red Sox history will have already been long-established. It will never be touched. But more importantly, it will never be forgotten. Because that’s what heroes are made of.

So Money #1

Think of this week as the first installment of The Looper’s Most Money Player of the Week –– it’s like an MVP award, except we are dealing solely with how “money” someone is.

By money I am referring to a combination of several qualities but, most importantly, the “clutchness” of our recipient.

Generally, the award-winner is going to be someone who is money and is so money they don’t know it. Actually –– and I know the math might sound a bit cuckoo –– a person is exponentially more money if they don’t know it. It could be an act, it could be genuine, but either way it’s adorable.

If you’ve followed me this far, you probably have a good idea of the origins of this idea.

If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, fire up your Netflix and put “Swingers” on your queue.

If you don’t love it, then you can blame the caddy. That’s nothing new on my end.Mr. $$$, Mike Lowell

So, drum roll please … for The Looper’s inaugural Most Money award … the winners are: Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox. [Insert: fanfare, pomp and circumstance.] I know, I know, I’ve got three winners, not one.

Please, bear with me.

Lowell has been incredibly money all season, not just lately, something my dad has pointed out continuously. He’s been high on Lowell for months and while I concurred, I was not nearly as vocal. I was merely waiting to see what transpired.

Boy was there some fatherly wisdom there.

If not for the gigantic collective shadow of Ortiz and Ramirez in the heart of the roster, or A-Rod’s gaudy numbers, Lowell would be the frontrunner in the American League MVP race.

His numbers and overall performance demonstrate just how money he is.

All season long and into the playoffs, Lowell has been the most consistent player in the Red Sox lineup, with the glove and the bat. Of late, though, it’s been the Red Sox’ youngsters, Pedroia and Ellsbury, who’ve stolen the show and epitomized all that is money.

When Pedroia knocked that home run in the seventh inning of game one against the Rockies … whew! I almost jumped through the living room ceiling.

If my boy at second base doesn’t get Rookie of the Year I think we should organize a nation-wide sit-down protest. All I’ve got to say is, “Who’s coming with me?”

Then, there’s Ellsbury.

The 23-year-old speedster was inserted into the lineup against the Indians and has proceeded to scorch the Rockies, collecting four hits, two runs and two RBIs in game three.

As if his on-field performance weren’t money enough, it’s reaping benefits for all of us.

His stolen base in game two got everyone a free taco from Taco Bell.

Free food?

That’s as money as it gets.

Magic numbers

My head hurts and it’s not because of the recent temperature swings. Or the increasing weight of my thesis project. Or last night’s open-bar wedding reception.

The cause of my recent pervasive headache is the MLB playoff race.

It’s dizzying.

It’s across the board.

It’s out of control.

With a week left in the regular season, which ends on Sept. 30, there are only two divisional races locked up (for all intents and purposes), those being Cleveland in the AL Central and Anaheim in the AL West. This leaves four divisions basically up for grabs.

Anything could happen.

All of the talk about magic numbers and clinch-this and choke-that is making me see white spots and fear pinstripes.

Starting in the AL East — where my heart is — it was never really in question.

The Yankees were going to be in the thick of things when September rolled around, the Red Sox’ 14.5 game lead was moot.
Neither you nor I could have looked in the mirror at that point and said, without cowering in shame, “It’s over, Red Sox Nation, the Yankees have collapsed! Smooth sailing, and Godspeed.” Now, after being up by so many games and leading the division for so long, it’s come back around.

The hottest team since the all-star break is bearing down on the Red Sox. It’s a far cry from May.

The good news for both, though, is that each has effectively wrapped up the Wild Card slot — we just don’t know who’s taking it home yet.

The National League race is where things get really interesting.

I’ll just throw some names at you: Mets, Phillies, Cubs, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Padres. That makes seven different NL teams with a chance of making the playoffs. What is more, in no divisional race is there more than a three and a half game difference.

The Wild Card race? It could go in any direction. Colorado will have the toughest chance, but they are only two and a half games out there.

It’s out of control.

The three biggest things to look for this week, aside from how the NL Wild Card turns out:

1. The AL East. Can the Red Sox hold on to their season-long advantage, or will it crumble in the last throws of the 162-game campaign?

Can the Yankees keep up their torrid pace and overtake their red-footed rivals as AL East champs for the umpteenth time in a row?

2. The Mets. They, like the Red Sox, have had their division in hand for much of the season but each win is harder and harder to come by as the season winds down.

3. The Cubs. Enough said.