Tagged: Papelbon

Even the players want Varitek back!

It appalls me that some Red Sox fans don’t want Jason Varitek back. Perhaps they are those lowly bandwagon fans who only look at the statistics and don’t realize that there are certain players whose impact goes much beyond the box score. 

It goes beyond hardcore fans who want Jason Varitek back on the Red Sox. Even fans of opposing teams know that Jason Varitek belongs on the Red Sox. I have said before how much of an impact Jason Varitek is on the pitchers, and I’m not just making that up. 
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Upon signing with the Red Sox, Jonathan Papelbon said, “There are certain players in Major League Baseball that you take a gamble on, whether it’s age or whether it’s money… Varitek is, no question about it, in that category… Whether it’s a money issue, or whether it’s an age issue, there’s not question in my mind, you make a gamble with a person like that. It’s that simple to me.”
Papelbon has spent his entire career with the Red Sox, so he has only known one catcher, Jason Varitek. 
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If that’s not enough for you, Curt Schilling, who joined Boston in 2004, had some stuff to say. Curt has been around a little bit longer than Papelbon, so he’s definitely speaking some words of wisdom. Schilling speculated that the Sox have invested roughly $45 million dollars in its pitching staff for next year and “if your catcher doesn’t work with your pitching staff, it’s not one player that has a down year, an off season,  it’s potentially the entire staff”. He then said that he’s “very comfortable in saying that there is very little chance that every guy on that staff won’t be better if he’s back next year. He’s the kind of guy that makes you as good as you can be in each start”. 
The most significant quote though was, “Jason knows us as good, if not better, than we know ourselves” 
I don’t remember the exact quote, but I do remember Kevin Youkilis saying that it would be a huge blow not to see Varitek back at Spring Training. 
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It seems like Theo and the front office have finally listened to the pleas of fans, and the pleas of the players themselves. As we know a contract offer has [finally] been made. That took a while after the whole arbitration mistake. Varitek wants two years, and he could finally be getting his wish. The contract could guarantee two years, or Varitek could attain two years by having a certain number of at-bats. It’s like those incentive contracts that we gave John Smoltz and Brad Penny. Those are the best type of contracts. Instead of just throwing the money at people and potentially getting disappointed (like the Dodgers and Andruw Jones), that money should certainly be attainable, but only by certain means. 
Hopefully Varitek would be willing to accept a lower payroll. His hopes for something around $10 million dollars were diminished upon declining arbitration. I really find it interesting that apparently he didn’t know that by declining arbitration that the receiving teams would have to relinquish two draft picks. Does that sound like the captain of the Red Sox? Are players really that blind to the business side of baseball.
I blame Scott Boras. I have no warrant for that, but I blame him. 
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Another player announced his retirement. This time it was Sean Casey. Great, our new team just lost it’s first baseman (just kidding). 
He only played 12 major league seasons, the majority of which he spent with the Reds. This doesn’t mean he’s done with baseball by any means. He signed on for some kind of job with the MLB Network. Could he be another analyst? I could definitely see him up there. 
Did you realize that with the abundance of unsigned free agents out there that you could form a pretty good team? If you didn’t see the entry, all you have to do is scroll down. If you could name it, what would you name it, and which city would it be in? 
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I found out yesterday that my friend’s Dad used to be a partner in owning the Savannah Sandgnats. Unfortunately, she did not realize the significance in owning an autographed John Smoltz ball (I’m the one with the Jacoby picture in the back),or sitting on his lap for that matter, or owning a signed World Series ball. Regardless, her father has agreed to let me interview him for this blog.
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So, if you could ask a former minor league baseball owner any question(s), what would you ask?

A Cornucopia of Dumb Baseball Questions

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As writers, we have to realize when we make mistakes. That was one of the lessons in Mark’s J-Blog School. In my last post, I posted a MLBlog definition that you guys all helped me with. Even though it was a great definition, I think we were just defining the fan blogs that we read. Julia and Bigpapi72 recommended that I send it to Mark, and I did. It was within his response that I realized our mistake. “MLBlogs are whatever people want them to be… Do not try and define the indefinable”. 

The thing is, we weren’t looking outside our realm of fan blogs. We forgot about Alyssa Milano’s blog, we forgot about the baseball cleat advertisements that keep beating us out on the rankings list (I feel your pain COB), and so many more! Anyway, Jen was partially right in attempting to define MLBlogs as a community. At least there seems to be “one constant” (there are endless ways to use this pun) throughout any type of blog on here: baseball!
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I feel like this week I’ve been bombarded with stupid baseball questions. You guys will be appalled when you read some of the questions I heard this week. To these people’s credit, they do not know anything about baseball, but still… 
I was in my history class talking about the MLB Network and how I have the Red Sox 2007 post season run on DVD and how I’m always watching it when I hear the question:
Haven’t you seen these games already though?
Me: Well, yes but..
.
[We’ll use the alias Bob]: So what’s the point in watching them again if you already know what’s going to happen
Me: Well, first off I haven’t memorized the score so I don’t know EXACTLY what’s going to happen. And I can focus on certain players. I can see the look in JD Drew’s eyes when he’s about to slam a 3-1 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the first into dead center field. Something in his eyes that is different from the rest of the season.
Bob: Okay, okay… So on this MLB Network do they show the Bill Buckner play
Me: *shudders*. Yes, they play it quite often actually. Did you know that Dwight Evans has never watched the replays of that play? 
Bob: Wow. [This was actually a sincere wow, and yes, I explained to him who Dewey is].
Then, in my Life Skills class, we’re learning about setting goals, and we get this handout, and on the top of the sheet it says: Yogi Berra. Sure he played for the Yankees, but still, it’s baseball! We’ll use the alias Steve for this one.
Steve: Wait, who’s Yogi Bera?
Me: *slaps hand to forehead*. Steve– Yogi Berra played for the Yankees in the 1950’s. He caught Don Larsen’s perfect Game 5 of the 1956 World [I’m cut off]
Steve: OH! Is this where Yogi Bear came from? This sounds like something he would say
Me: NO! Yogi Bear and Yogi BerrA are two totally different people! 
Finally, today in math, my math teacher was telling me how he has been watching Ken Burns’ baseball series on the MLB Network. Bob once again asks why I’m watching baseball when it’s not even baseball season. 
Aside from these appalling baseball crimes, Jonathan Papelbon signed a one year, $6.25 million dollar deal! He is now the richest, first-year arbitration player ever. Papelbon brings more than just his pitching stats to the table. 
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He has this ridiculously intimidating stare. He takes a deep breath, and then faces Varitek, and narrows his eyes and puts his mouth in an ‘O’ shape. He’ll either nod or shake-off pitches. Then, he hurls the ball 90 something mph and blows it right by some of the best hitters in baseball! 
Then there’s the dancing. After winning Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS, Jonathan Papelbon came out in his boxers and did this… Irish step dance to ‘Shipping Up to Boston’ by the Dropkick Murphys. 
He is also part of the notorious Bullpen Band (called the Black Pearl right?). He has an unparalleled intensity on the field, but is a humorous guy to hang around with in the clubhouse. 
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Papelbon also had some very nice words for the only catcher he has ever known. His captain, the one and only Jason Varitek. 
There’s certain players in Major League baseball . . . that you take a gamble on, whether it’s age or whether it’s money… Varitek is, no question about it, in that category. Whether it’s a money issue or whether it’s an age issue, there’s no question in my mind whatsoever. You make that gamble with a person like that. It’s that simple to me.”

So, it’s not just me, and JULIA and BIG PAPI who are willing Varitek to come back, he means A LOT to his players as well. 

I had an RSBS moment today! During my history quiz, on the bonus question (which I honestly cannot remember), among the choices were:
b. Jeffery
c. Allen
Too bad I was the only one LOLing at this. 

-Elizabeth

How Would You Define a MLBlog?

Blog: (As defined by the dictionary on my computer’s dashboard) A website on which an individual or group of users produces an ongoing narrative.

Blog: (As defined by the trashy URBAN DICTIONARY): A meandering, blatantly, uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic, life. 
Okay, maybe some blogs are like that, but I think we do it a little differently over here at MLBlogs. There may be the occasional paragraph dedicated to our personal lives (which I honestly find interesting), but for the most part, our blogs center on how our personal lives are affected. 
Then, I looked up ‘MLBlog’ on urban dictionary, and they didn’t have a definition… yet. So, I was about to add a definition when I decided to ask you guys to help me define it. So, how would you define a ‘MLBlog’?
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As you all know, the one thing that I’ve wanted throughout this entire offseason is for the Red Sox to re-sign Jason Varitek. Theo got a little distracted when he decided to make our bullpen one of the best in baseball (if not the best), but that’s alright, it’s for the good of the team after all. 
Then again, so is Varitek. Apparently he and John Henry met one-on-one for an hour and a half. I’m pretty sure they weren’t looking to negotiate a contract, but maybe to start talking about next year.
There’s some pretty good news coming out of this meeting. 
1. Jason Varitek wants to come back to play for the Red Sox, and Theo and the Red Sox want to bring Jason Varitek back. Too bad Varitek’s agent is the epitome of all evil, Scott Boars.
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2. Scott Boras wasn’t at the meeting! John Henry doesn’t like Scott Boras very much, with good reason of course. 
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In ‘The Matrix’, we are taught to avoid agents, and run away from them. If I saw Scott Boras, I would probably run in the opposite direction. Agent Smith was defeated in ‘The Matrix’, so metaphorically speaking, maybe Scott Boras will be defeated. Neo rhymes with Theo right?
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Papelbon filed for arbitration recently. We were getting him at SUCH a discount, I’m sure he’ll be making more money next year. I’d love to sign him for a long term contract though. 
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Speaking of long term contracts, wouldn’t it be nice to lock up Jason Bay for a few more years as well? The free agent market for left fielders isn’t that great (Manny does not count since the chances he’s returning to Boston are basically zero).
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In one of my recent posts, I mentioned that I really like Tim Lincecum. Another National League pitcher that I really like is Cole Hamels. Hamels just signed a three year deal with the Philles. I’m sure Phillies fans are happy about that, after all, he was their World Series MVP. I’m sure he’ll be a candidate for a Cy Young Award in the near future.
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And he’s cute too 🙂
In my American Lit class, we learned a little about Ernest Hemingway. One of the most interesting things about him, in my opinion, was that it was his life’s goal to write one true sentence. So besides defining a MLBlog, if you could write one true sentence… what would it be? 
-Elizabeth

Ringing in the New Year in Canada

Well I hope everyone had a fabulous New Year’s Eve, and that you ringed (rung?) it in well. I was actually in an elevator when the clock struck midnight. I can’t say that I had a “white” Christmas like some of you up north and out west, but I did have a “white” New Years. Nope, it didn’t snow in Miami… come on, the weather NEVER changes there. I’m in Canada with one of my friends, Christina (who is playing the really amusing game, Bubble Trouble), right now. I don’t think we’re anywhere near Homer.. we’re in Mont Tremblent, skiing. Surprisingly enough, I’m not as bad as I thought I’d be. It’s not like I can do those crazy tricks, or go down Black trails yet.. but I’m going down the blues :).

Well, I hope MLB Network had a successful launch… we don’t get it up in Canada, much to my dismay. As soon as I get back though, I’ll be able to watch baseball 24/7/365. Mark has written numerous articles about it, and it sounds phenomenal. He was even kind enough to quote me in one of his articles. 
The New Year seems seems to be all about New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve never really kept any before, so I’ve decided to make a few that will be within my power to keep. 
1. Try and blog everyday. There might be a few shortages… when it comes to the AP US History exam in particular. Also, for a month during in the summer, there’s a possibility that there will be no blogs because I’ll be at camp. Regardless, the moral of this resolution is: blog as much as possible.
2. This is probably the most important one. Get an internship with a sports writer, or maybe just any kind of writer… but sports would be good seeing that the only thing I know anything about extensively is baseball. Any kind of internship would be wonderful though 
3. When I read Julia’s blog the other day, about her resolution, it got be thinking. It was kind of like a ‘Pay it Forward’ type thing. One person can’t change the world, but a bunch of people can by helping those around us.
4. Get a 4 or higher on my first AP exam. AP US History scares the living crap out of me… there’s so much information. But I’d love to get at least a four on the exam. Besides that just do well in school of course :). 
5. Alright guys, for this one you’ve got to e-mail me if you want to know what it is. I don’t want to put it up here. elizabethxsanti@aol.com
6. Be the number one blogger of the week just once this year. Maybe it’ll happen, if I can get past people like JeffJaneJimmy, etc. 
7. Go to as many Spring Training games as humanly possible. Regardless of how expensive gas is (even though it’s gone down A LOT).
8. Go to at least three Red Sox vs Rays games this year. 
Now that I have some of my own resolutions down, I have some for the Red Sox too. I know I can’t control anything that happens in the organization, but I’m glad that I have faith in something that I can’t control.
1. Re-sign Jason Varitek for two years. I don’t know if he’ll be finished in two years, but I do want him to retire with the Red Sox. 
2. Sign some of our promising star players to longer contracts. This means Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon, Jason Bay, and JD Drew. 
3. Keep the team morale and spirit up. I hope that there are no fights or harsh spirits between the players (like Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramirez). I think that in order to do well, that everyone on the team has to be working together. Sure players can have special games sometimes, but there’s no way that you can get to the postseason if you don’t work together.
Now that I’ve been on this site for a couple of months… I want to thank absolutely everyone who reads my blog. It really means the world to me when I get those nice comments and what not. It’s such a great community that even fans of rival teams can coexist. I’m glad I’m part of the best blog community on the internet (in my opinion at least). I wish everyone hear a healthy and prosperous New Year!
**By the way, my next entry will be about the new Red Sox acquisitions Josh Bard and Brad Penny, and I will also answer levelboss’ question about what I would do about our catching situation.
-Elizabeth

Red Sox Awards, Burnett, Mussina.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is going to be pitching in the World Classic this year, with Japan of course. He was their MVP in 2006, and wants to help Japan defend its title. In ’06 he went 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA, and a year later was signed to the Red Sox for six years. 

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The Red Sox have announced some “team” awards that they are going to be giving at the Boston Baseball Writer’s Dinner. The Red Sox named Pedroia as their team MVP, which is not surprising at all. It was definitely a hard choice between Kevin Youkilis and Pedroia, just like it was for the AL MVP.  Kevin Youkilis will be presented the Jackie Jensen award, which is given for spirit and determination (this award was named after the Red Sox outfielder who played with them from 1954-1959, and 1961). 
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Youkilis also won this award two years ago, the only other player to win this award twice is Johnny Damon (’04-’05). Hopefully, Youk won’t follow the same path that he did. Jon Lester will be recognized as Boston’s pitcher of the year, 

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Jacoby Ellsbury was named Red Sox Rookie of the Year, Jonathan Paplebon is the Red Sox Fireman of the Year, Sean Casey with the Good Guy Award, and Jeff Bailey with the Red Sox Minor Leaguer Award. I’m sure we’ll be seeing Bailey a lot in Spring Training. Jason McLeoad, the amateur Red Sox scouting director, will receive the Unsung Hero Award, seeing that Youkilis, Pedroia and Lester are all “homegrown products”. 
On another note, AJ Burnett’s agent wants to have Burnett signed to a five year contract, which apparently, might keep the Yankees out of contention for Burnett. Plus, they might be a little apprehensive about his injuries, I mean, look what happened with Carl Pavano. How many games did that guy pitch? 
Also, with Mike Mussina retiring, there is a lot of talk about him eventually being voted into the Hall of Fame. His numbers match up with some of the guys who are already in there… and he’s had some great seasons. I think that one day, he’ll be in there. 

Looks like the Sox bullpen can get the job done…

Game 6 isn’t going to be remembered for some spectacular, unbelievable feat like Curt Schilling’s bloody sock of 2004, or Pedro’s six innings of hitless relief in 1999. Josh Beckett pitched through five laborious innings, but with his lack of perfection, it was pretty damn good for what it’s worth. Everyone is so proud of him, or everyone should be. After starting out rough for the Sox this post season, he really turned it around for this start giving up only four hits (two of them home runs: one to BJ Upton, and one to Jason Bartlett). Stupid TBS decided to have a power problem that forced me to endure 15 minutes of ‘The Steve Harvey Show’. Watching it on gameday just isn’t the same, no matter how fancy they try and make it.I’m hoping that TBS is forbidden from further broadcasting crucial MLB games. The early deficit was no problem for the Red Sox. The RBI machine, Kevin Youkilis belted a solo home run in the top of the second inning to even it up. Barlett’s throwing error proved crucial once again when it allowed Dustin Pedroia to get on base in the next inning. Big Papi then hit a double putting runners on second and third for Kevin Youkilis. Kevin Youkilis grounded into a fielder’s choice, but it did score Dustin Pedroia. Youk always does his job doesn’t he? Now, after going 0-for-14 in this ALCS, I knew it was time for Jason Varitek. When he got up to the plate in the sixth inning (was it?) I knew. I don’t even know how, but I knew. I didn’t have a single doubt in my mind. I called his shot, placement and everything. And it was our captain that broke the tie. It was then an RBI single by David Ortiz that gave us a much needed insurance run. Not that any lead was at all comfortable.

I knew that Terry Francona would do some kind of combination with Okajima, Masterson and Papelbon. It would either be M.O.P. (mop ’em up!) or O.M.P (Oh my Papelbon!!!). Okajima, once again, came through for us as that “hero in the dark” and with eight outs to go, it seemed like the Rays were in a similar situation that the Sox were in only two nights ago, with a much smaller deficit. But it was the Red Sox bullpen that was able to hold onto it. I swear, Terry Francona loves Justin Masterson, but who wouldn’t? He was in AA early this year and now he’s our eighth inning man? Even though he got two men on quickly, John Farrell came out and calmed him down, and Masterson was all strikes from there! Jonathan Papelbon came in and pitched a solid ninth, but you could tell he didn’t have his normal stuff when his fastball peaked at 93 mph. It worked though! And now, once again, it’s time for game 7.
I’m happy that Terry Francona is going to be giving Jon Lester the ball. We’ve got to ignore what happened in Game 3 and just focus on Game 7. I think that it was the fact that everyone was so confident in Lester, the fact that everyone had already chalked up a win for him, I think it just got to his head. He’s still a young guy, and the key here, is to not let his emotions get the best of him. As for Matt Garza, the key for him is to get him really pissed off. Start fouling off on purpose, start bunting, stealing, whatever. If we can get a run or two in the first inning, Garza will go sooner. I think Garza gets over confident too. In Game 5 at Fenway he was joking around and shushing the crowd, as if he had already opened the bottles of champagne. But boy was he in for a surprise. I think the Rays are still going to have that ‘deer caught in headlights look’. Pena thinks that they’re due for a turn around, but they already had their peak. The Red Sox are still riding their turn around, and they’re not stopping yet. I believe in Jon Lester. I don’t care about his last start, and he said that last year is irrelevant too (although he has pitched in a clinching game). And he’s absolutely right. He just needs to focus on this game. I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again. It’s time for Game 7, it’s not time to say: oh we’re making that same comeback like we did in ’04 and ’07. No. If you focus on the past, then you definitely will never progress. It’s nice to think about, and it still leaves me a little bleary eyed, but you’ve got to focus on the present. You can’t even think about the future for that matter. If you focus on advancing to the World Series, then you’re not gonna win Game 7. You’ve got to build the bridge before you cross it. We’ve got to focus not only on making Matt Garza royally pissed off, we’ve got to focus on winning every inning, and concentrate on winning every pitch, and for Jon Lester, he’s got to focus on executing every pitch. This is not going to be easy, it never is. The Sox have a lot of momentum going into this game, but that does not mean that it’s over. 
This just in (5:21pm) Terry Francona has announced the lineup:
1. Coco Crisp (CF)
2. Dustin Pedroia (2B)
3. David Ortiz (DH)
4. Kevin Youkilis (3B)
5. JD Drew (RF)
6. Jason Bay (LF)
7. Mark Kotsay (1B)
8. Jason Varitek (C)
9. Alex Cora (SS)
Jon Lester (SP)
I’m fine with everyone in this lineup, except for Alex Cora. But, I trust Terry Francona, so I’m not gonna question his decisions. Jed didn’t help us produce last night, or the night before, so it’s time to give someone else a chance. I have a good feeling about Jason Bay tonight!
I believe in everyone in this lineup, I believe in Terry Francona’s decision. 
It’s going to be crazy, it’s going to be epic. I believe that the Red Sox can win this game!
-Elizabeth

“I don’t believe what I just saw” Miracles Can Happen

Tessie, “Nuf Ced” McGreevey shouted
We’re not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don’t blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn’t live without you
Tessie, you are the only only only


We were down 7-0 after the sixth inning. People were quite literally leaving Fenway Park, a lot of them. What they didn’t realize though, and what they don’t have, is the magic of the Red Sox. Miracles CAN happen. We just can’t stop believing. And trust me, we didn’t. Dustin Pedroia started it all off with an RBI single, and Big Papi followed with a 3 run homer that you knew was gone the second that he hit it. It was 7-4. Could miracles happen… again? Next inning, JD Drew hits a towering two run homer, Mark Kotsay hits a double and Coco Crisp gets an RBI to tie the game. We TIED the game. The greatest comeback in Red Sox postseason history (in a single game), perhaps in baseball postseason history. We scored eight runs after almost all hope was lost. We really did focus on just game 5, we really did just focus on all nine innings, and we really did focus on pitch by pitch. The middle relief, was outstanding. Justin Masterson, is absolutely incredible. That double play that he got Carlos Pena to ground into, it kept my faith going. Jonathan Papelbon came in for two solid innings of relief before that. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay are on first and second with JD Drew up to the plate. JD Drew lines one into right field over the Rays’ head and Kevin Youkilis comes around to score! 
It’s not over yet, we’re going to Tampa Bay and it’s time to look forward to Game 6. There will be no champagne celebrating for the Rays tonight. One of the TBS commentators mentioned that the Rays fans were dancing in the streets of St. Petersburg. Well, I think he got that backwards. The fans of Fenway were dancing in the streets of Yawkey Way. We’re going to Tampa.
Miracles can happen baby