To Mr. David Ortiz: Bunt the Goddamn Ball!!

If he bunts, he will get his mojo back.

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David Ortiz is Getting Back To His Old Ways

David-Ortiz_redsoxmaniacHe is seeing the ball better. He has better confidence in his harder swings. He isn’t arguing with the umps as much.

He will be good. I expect him to get his 30 homeruns by the end of the year. But, I think the Red Sox and their 5-year ideology on team building has put Ortiz on the top list of players to be replaced.

Ortiz and 3B are the only positions where the Sox could add a great deal of offense, and after Texeira donned the pinstripes, the free agent waters for a big bat don’t look to good when 2009 is over ( Adrian Beltre, anyone? Anyone? )

Adrian Beltre would probably be a a great fit for the Sox if the front office is confident his shoulder can be fixed by next season. He is an amazing hitter whose line-drive power doesn’t get a lot of love in Safeco Canyon Where Homeruns Go Extinct field.

Going back to the matter at hand, I think Ortiz would do a lot better if he bunted his way on. He did this a few years back to shake up the opposing manager’s decision to put the shift on him.

If he bunts ( even if its just one or two times a month ), he’ll force pressure on the pitcher to think defense right after the throw, he would force the decision to bring the 3rd baseman back to his position to help on bunt defense, and he will effectively force some honesty out of the ridiculous shift.

This would in effect give Ortiz back a lot of batting points lost from those pulled line-drives to right field. Getting more of these hits will force pitchers to stay away from Ortize with off-speed pitches. From this point on, he would probably become a .320 hitter easily, or become an insane walking machine.

As of now, the pitcher doesn’t get hurt as much throwing him inside since his hard hits are either homeruns or outs due to the shift. Making the defense honest will not only make Ortiz’s game better, but it will open up many opportunities to how he is pitched, and how new situations may force opposing ptichers to pitch around him.

If anyone should be telling Ortiz this advice, its Jason Bay. With Oritz constantly getting on base, Jason Bay will have a lucrative meal ticket for the 2nd half 2009, and he could end up redeeming it for a cool $16 million.

Hopefully, he won’t have to make this exchange with a Steinbrenner.

My Letter To Dan Shaughnessy about Manny Ramirez

I don’t even know if I spelled his name right, but I sent him an email about his recent Manny-bashing. Everyone is bashing Ramirez, and he has done nothing that pretty much every player has been doing since free agency. I know its bad timing for all of this, and its not like Theo Epstein wanted him. But here is the email.

This is all of his recent articles. The one I am writing about are the ones before the trade about Manny, and the Manny-mania one.

Note: Digression. Sometimes I think of the Manny-Epstein relationship like a huge party at the nerd’s house, and the nerd constantly tries to get rid of the sexy-but-crazy jock who just blows coke and eats the roommates’ food out of the fridge. Just a random thought.

The Email To Shaughnessy:

Let me just start out by saying that over the past week, I feel as though I have been completely let down by the sports journalism in our town. For a story, although murky in terms of the opaqueness of the Red Sox front office, to be so important and so serious for Boston sports, the main journalists of the area had gone out of their way to portray Manny Ramirez as a bad guy without giving credit to the importance of all the story’s facts.

For one thing, it seems you have gone out of your way to highlight that Ramirez missed two games. What is more egregious is that you failed to list the number of games that Manny Ramirez had missed ( in your article, you just state “games”, giving an impression that Manny missed a whole bunch more than he actually did ). You had wrote an article before the trade bashing Ramirez and all of his antics.

You had used a quote from our State Secretary, as though this guy is a true representation of all Red Sox fans. You had stated that Manny Ramirez “flattened”, not pushed or shoved, but “flattened” the traveling secretary ( and you my friend have written the 15th article about Jack McCormick without mentioning he was a former State Trooper ). You berated him for criticizing management for not being honest with his contract. You had called him missing the 1st game of the Yankees series “despicable”, as though this was the most egregious offense any player can do to the Red Sox.

Throughout most of your stories, it was clear that you left out the obvious connections for the events leading up to his trade: The team’s option, and Scott Boras’s influence. You had failed to separate the incident between Jack McCormick and his incidences with missing games. Although I can see this being a headache on the front office, I would have no trouble separating these issues with the journalistic knowledge that he could be missing games to prove a point to management.

Scott Boras is his agent, and you wrote in the story that clearly the agents makes no money if the option is taken up. Also, on Peter Gammons’ blog, he had talked about how Ramirez was telling his teammates he could receive 4 years/ $100 million this off-season. Are you going to tell me that these antics, along with Boras’s plea that Manny will play better if they let go of the options, are some important pieces to the whole Manny story.

Ok, so we can admit that Manny is money-hungry. But does this make him more of a bad person than players who look for their best interest in the off-season? He did it during a pennant race because Boras and Manny felt that if the options can be dropped at any time, why not before the deadline ( where the Red Sox can say they won’t re-sign him, or he will go to a team that will say the same thing ). At the same time, Ramirez is looking to make $25 million a year ( which I highly doubt he will receive ). You think that a player, who screwed up his financial future with another agent, is going to pass up more money over his teammates?

Bad timing, I agree. But there are no saints when it comes to the business of baseball, and Manny Ramirez shouldn’t be the poster boy of doing what essentially every person on the field and in the front office is doing.

My question is, do you really think Manny would half-ass the rest of the season, and at the same time, tight-rope his statistics and his attitude to reap such a big contract? Wouldn’t you think that the best time to cause a stir would be in July and not in September, when the team is ACTUALLY in the race, and not 60 games away? Do you believe that his actions are somehow more heinous than other players who leave teams for bigger contracts?

It is conceivable that this move can allow Ramirez to make $20-60 million more guaranteed money. Do you think he is going to let that money up over a team that has tried to get rid of him for four years? Do you think he has to respect a front office that has put their best player on waivers? What makes it really scary, is that I don’t believe the Red Sox were going to pick up his contract, seeing that they have tried to get rid of the same yearly amount when he was younger. They knew what Boras wanted, and they held mum because they didn’t want him anymore.

The Red Sox had leverage, and had the right, to not speak about his contract until the off-season. But if there is even a hint that they pick up the option, it screws Manny’s chances of a big contract and Boras’s chances to get any money. By the Red Sox holding firm on an option they weren’t planning to pick up any way, weren’t the Red Sox at fault for calling the bluff when a concession would’ve been better for both sides? The front office is not hired to hold grudges, or run people out of town. Their job is to place the best players on the field. Did they think they made the best trade, by paying for both Ramirez and Jason Bay’s contract, not picking up a reliever, and losing their best hitter in the lineup? I only agree with this trade since I believe Bay was a player Epstein had his eyes on longer than we know, but that is another OBP-Moneyball story for another day.

They traded him, and they got Bay. I have no qualms with that. But I have an issue with the Boston media that has trivialized the Scott Boras influence, and has grossly overlooked the Gordon Edes article that clearly states the Manny camp intentions.

In your article, you ask Boston fans if my blood is boiling, and I will respond with a loud yes. I am saddened that Manny had to depart, but I find the fault not to be equal on both sides, but to be heavily pointed to Theo Epstein. He did not want Ramirez; he never wanted Ramirez. And he got his wish. And we lost a star.

People lose their minds over his antics, and when someone asks, ” But what about our World Series championships?”, the response is usually an ambivalent shrug of “So what?” statements. From there, I can see that Boston fans have become too far-removed and big-headed to understand the contribution of some of their best players.

I can’t expect better from Ramirez, because he brought a championship to a city who had been in a dire drought of hoisting the World Series trophy. To call it even, to ship Manny off, and to equate it with Brett Favre, Nomar Garciaparra, or Roger Clemens, clearly shows how little we truly appreciate what Manny has done for us. The antics do not outweigh what he did. Maybe a couple of missed playoff berths will bring us back to that reality.

I’ve Been Incredibly Busy

But I will come back with some good stuff in about a few days. I am sorry I have been putting my stuff on the back-burner. I have a lot to talk about, but very little time to sit in front of the computer. I’ll give away $10 to anyone who can tell me something that was different about Wakefield’s last start ( against Arizona ). Seriously, I will paypal it to you. If you can tell me something that was different, anything, I will give you $10.

Bonds To The Red Sox? Give Me a F*%king Break!

I know that the talking heads are speculating that Barry Bonds is available to the Sox now the we have no long-term prognosis on David Ortiz’s health. But put this bullnosh to rest!

1) This guy is in the middle of a federal trial. He is in the middle of being a free man who could swing a bat or an anxious mess who has a feeling he’ll end up in prison. I know Kobe Bryant played well under that kind of pressure, but there hasn’t been one innocent bystander in this BALCO mess. I doubt he’s getting off clean, and I doubt he is going to have a clear mind if he knows this. I know his trial date is next year, but its hard to have a clear head when you can assume a future in a small room with a psycho roommate named Bubba McBride.

2) This guy is old. He’s 43. Yea, his arguably has the best plate discipline of any player in the history of baseball, but how much are you going to expect from him 60, 70, 80 games into the season? Is he going to bat 2nd ( it would be ideal with his eye. )? Is he going to break down? How many games will he need to get in shape? Will he even be useful by that time? He’s the best hitter on the market, but he’s 43.

3) The media circus is going to create mayhem in the clubhouse. We are going to have daily updates on his condition, how well his conditioning is, his chase for 3000 ( which is probably his only goal other than winning a championship), his ability to interact with the Beantown fans etc. This commotion can be a negative effect on the clubhouse, and the chemistry can be disrupted enough to be a consequence in our run for the championship.

4) The teammate and fan reaction will be a problem. He’s not going to be welcome anywhere, and the only place that applauded his achievements through thick and thin had thrown him to the curb last year. In the league, in clubhouses and in the stands, there has been a collective sigh of relief that he hasn’t continued his career amidst the hypocrisy that his number were tainted. I think there was a subliminal shame in allowing him to keep on playing through the insanity of the steroid allegations, the rising evidence against his swearing of being clean, and the witch-hunt that had ousted many other players doing the same thing.

Some players, like Curt Schilling, had denounced Bonds for cheating the game. He is a vocal player, and later apologized for his remarks. But there were others in the league who voiced their opinion against steroid use, and although it wasn’t directed specifically at Bonds, it did reflect a negative disposition against players who may have been a part. I can’t say that the clubhouse wouldn’t bring Bonds in with open arms, but I can’t see there being a smooth-sailing effect once he joins the team.
And the subliminal shame that I referred to, that shame had affected fans all over baseball the most. If you google Barry Bonds right now, and peruse through the many articles about his long-ball record, you will find countless comments, tirades, diatribes, and exclamations about Bonds being a cheat, about his record-breaking home-run scarlet-lettered with an asterik, about how hated he is outside of San Fransisco etc. This guy has been booed in every ballpark he has gone to. Every single one.

He will have no friends in the game. And I don’t know how much a team wants to pay to have that negative heat on them every time they are on the road. Even worse, to have your fans turn their back on you as they boo your decision to sign Bonds by screaming bloody murder within the confines of Fenway Park.
5) He is an asshole. He has been an asshole to so many people. I don’t have to explain. Its all here.

6) The game, in its beautiful and scary hierarchy, is trying to put that era behind them. Baseball sometimes has a weird way of just dropping things that it feels is out of style. It could be team policies, types of players, types of managers, systems etc. Players who are in their twilight, even when they have a lot left to give to the game, are usually just shut out from getting back into the system. No one can really think of reasons, but Bonds isn’t the only player who has been recently ostracized.

Kenny Lofton doesn’t have a job. David Wells doesn’t have a job. Remember six years ago when Ricky  Henderson played for the Red Sox? He didn’t have great stats, but his .320 on-base percentage with his base-stealing was still pretty decent for a back-up. He re-iterated his availability for years afterwards, not finding any team and eventually retiring in 2007. He was the 1st base coach for the Mets, but he was long from being accepted by any team for his talent.

Bonds is part of the cleansing that baseball has to finish so it can move on to its next generation. The Red Sox could sign Wells, but they would rather produce the young Masterson. We have the young Ellsbury, Every, Moss, and Lowrie in the wings. We have David Ortiz on the mend. At the end of the day, we can make sense and insert bonds into the mix. But if anything, the Red Sox recipe of utilizing their young is more comforting than the sour taste of Bonds trying to mesh his aging talent and negative essence into Red Sox nation.

The Beantown Brawl: Three Red Sox And Five Devil Rays Suspended.

It was clear as the replays kept showing the brawl between The Devil Rays and the Red Sox that the Rays probably had been inciting more mischief around the melee. Tim Kurkjian on baseball tonight had said that Coco was going to receive a stiff penalty for his actions and his comments detailing the incident and implicitness in the altercation.

But the penalty wasn’t as bad as thought. He will go down in the count for seven games, which I feel is adequate, and surprised that his comments didn’t land him more. James Shields was also fined for six games, and the fine amounts are undisclosed.

Shields is a starting pitcher, so this is the equivalent to one start. I don’t know why they did six games instead of five. Although his comments implicated his willingness to hit Crisp, he hit him in the leg, and even Crisp gave him props for not head-hunting.

Where the fines do make sense were the trouble-makers during the chaos. Johny Gomes and pitcher Edwin Jackson got five-game bans. Crawford & Akinori Iwamura, for getting those cheap shots at the end, got a four-game and three-game suspension respectively.

For the Red Sox, Jon Lester and Sean Casey ( I don’t remember them being involved, but that could be the NESN broadcast and/or my love-of-the-Sox bias ) for five and three games respectively.

Crisp is batting right in front of my face so I guess he’s appealing it. And rightfully so, now that Ellsbury is day-to-day with his wrist. The Boston Globe has reported he is available for pinch-hit duties, so I guess it isn’t serious. But this team isn’t going to take risks on their soon-to-be-superstar outfielder ( Wow, I am coming up with top-notch analysis today ain’t I?)

“You sure are”, answers Sarcasm. “You sure are…”

The suspensions for Shields, Gomes, and Lester are going to start tonight.  Crawford’s will start his on the 11th, Edwin Jackson on June 13, Sean Casey on June 14, and Iwamura is starting his vacation on the 17th.

If You Post Stupid Comments, I Will Burn Them At The Stake!

 

I was looking over a couple of comments that came up from my Manny-Youkilis fight post, and there is one comment that makes no sense. Read it:

“TALKING TRASH ABOUT..N THIS SITE DIDNT EVEN KNOW WHAT CAUSED IT..YOUKILIS SHOULD KEEP HIS MOUTH SHUT..HE’S JUST A ROLE-PLAYER..YOU LOVE HIM WHEN HE HITS HR..THEN YOU HATE HIM WHEN YOU ASSUME SOMETHING..”

None of this makes any sense. None of it. I read it back and forth, and not only does it not make sense, but it is getting mad at my post and my opinions. 1st off, if he/she reads the post, my only vocalization was my surprise that these players would be involved in fighting. 2nd, don’t post up as a Red Sox fan if you have no clue what is going on. No one has ever been mad at Youkilis in his entire career, so I don’t know where this hate remark comes from. And 3rd, if you are stupid, don’t comment on my site.

I won’t disapprove them; if anything, I use these examples only to demonstrate that there are a lot of stupid people who don’t know how to analyze sports. I am not saying this from an elitist perspective; if anything, I hold true to form the idea that most people are inherently smart, but some forget to use it.

I know I am just ranting, but when this guy clicked “post a comment”, did he feel good about himself? Did he write this thinking that he was creating a strong rebuttal against my blog post? Did he put any thought into what he wrote? Is this guy mad! Is this guy re-TAADED?

I’m angry because I rarely get any comments on my site, and I don’t even get the ones where people just plain hate my guts. I get comments like this where it is incoherent babble that has nothing to do with anything I’ve said. And he calls himself a Red Sox fan. I see these comments on all types of sites, and it scares me because people have time to write coherently when they are typing. This wasn’t like a racial slur, or a passing spam bot. This was some raving lunatic who didn’t make sense. He didn’t add to the conversation. And I am angry that I am even typing this to make light of this person’s stupidity.

Hey buddy! If you see this next time you come to my site, remember to tell your mom she made a mistake when she let a stupid loser like you into the world. If you want to do a world a favor, don’t comment on any site. Ever. You are a moron, and have only dedicated yourself to adding your existence to the already high membership of anonymous knuckleheads that exists on the web, and the around this beautiful world.

I apologize for the rant. But don’t be stupid if you come to my site. If you are stupid, then leave. This site isn’t for the ordinary fan. WEEI and FOXSports love stupid fans; go to them if you want to make nonsense and have someone listen.