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I’ve got a new post up at MVN.com’s Fire Brand of the American League where I go through Manny’s meeting yesterday with the media word by word with thoughtful commentary and reactions.   Well at least some thoughtful commentary and reactions!

You can check it here: Being Manny Ramirez


Coco the Cancer?

Is there a cancer in Red Sox Spring Training Camp in Fort Myers this season? Not quite, but Coco Crisp expressed a desire to be traded if he couldn’t play every day with the Red Sox this season which isn’t likely given the emergence of Jacoby Ellsbury behind him.

“I want to play everyday,” Crisp said. “I think everybody wants to play everyday. If you don’t, I think there’s something wrong with you. I don’t want to sit on the bench. I can cheerlead with the best of them, but that’s not where I want to be, though.”

“I would honestly rather be somewhere else and play than be on the bench. I’ll take whatever comes and deal with it. It’s no knock against Boston. The fans have treated me well. It’s ultimately for myself. I think I can speak for anybody, you want to play. So whatever the best situation is for yourself to play is where you want to be.”

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Well…between full time work, a full time family, blogging on my own about many topics, and enjoying the New England sports scene, I’ve let the Red Sox Times lag.  So I’m going to take a new approach to the 2008 season.  I’ll blog here occasionally.  But my serious Red Sox writing will be moving over to Evan Brunell’s Fire Brand of the American League at MVN.com.

Thanks for stopping by.  See you on the road.

Tim

This is a direct appeal to Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, and to anyone else who runs the Red Sox.

Please end the insanity now.

Get rid of Wily Mo Pena. Now.

We simply can’t take this any more. Please get rid of him. I took an informal poll of Sox fans at Professor Thom’s last night, and it was nearly unanimous. Wily Mo’s got to go, and we’ll take a few used baseballs just to get him out of here.

Once again the other night, he bombs out in the most clutch situations. Three times he came up with runners in scoring position, and he did absolutely nothing, leaving seven runners on base. The Red Sox were fortunate that Kevin Youkilis doubled in two to give them the lead in the seventh, and went on to win, 5-4. Pena has absolutely no clue about plate discipline. Throw him garbage out of the strike zone and he’s flailing away. And he looks absolutely pathetic while doing it. The comparison to Pedro Cerrano in “Major League” is so close it’s scary.

Everything I hear about Wily Mo is that he’s a good guy, and works hard at his hitting, taking extra batting practice, and works a lot on hitting curves and sliders. He has David Ortiz as a big supporter. But let’s face the facts. He’s just not going to make it in Boston. For the sake of his own career, he’s got to go to place like Kansas City or Pittsburgh and play every day to see if he has it to be a full time major leaguer.

And there’s no shame in admitting the trade for Bronson Arroyo was a failure. Even the best GM in the business, John Schuerholz of the Braves, has made his share of clunker deals. And Arroyo’s having a lousy year in Cincinnati this season anyway.

It’s time to do what’s best for the Red Sox. They have a weak bench right now. Alex Cora is a valuable utility man, but Eric Hinske hasn’t hit much and Doug Mirabelli catches Tim Wakefield (and does little else). They need a fourth outfielder, someone like a Gabe Kapler, who can come in and play good defense and substitute for the three main outfielders every once in while and get a clutch hit or two. (Bobby Kielty was just released by Oakland, and would be a nice addition, even if he is left handed.)

Pena is simply killing this team every time he plays. He’s wasting a valuable roster spot. He’s NOT a fourth outfielder, and he’s rotting on the bench with his infrequent play. It’s a shame the trading deadline passed without moving him, but of course, a trade through waivers can still happen.

It’s time to move him, Theo. Even if he has to be “designated for assignment,” the Red Sox have to do what’s best for the team. As well as keeping the fans’ sanity too.

Check out my blog “The Mighty Quinn Media Machine,” at: http://quinnmedia.blogspot.com

ramirez1.jpgI keep waiting. I keep waiting for Manny Ramirez to go on one of those superhuman rolls he’s been known for. Back in April when Manny was hitting below .200, you had to figure it was the weather, or just a slow start to the year, and that by the midway point of the season, Manny would be putting up numbers in the 20 HRs, 65 RBI range.

As I write this, Manny’s numbers are: 11 HRs, 45 RBI, with a .289 average.

So, what’s wrong with Manny?

He seemed to be in better spirits as the season began. He may not be talking to reporters, but Manny hasn’t done that for years. We haven’t heard any more reports about illnesses in his family (especially now that it is the All-Star break). This year he really wants to play in the game. Manny’s played a better left field in 2007, and has been hustling more and more. (Remember that belly-flop he did on that double at Fenway last month: “SuperManny!”) We haven’t heard about any injuries to him, real or imagined. (And you know, from all of Manny’s detractors in the press, that we’d hear about them if they had any basis in fact.)

So again, what’s wrong with Manny?

One thing few people are talking about with Manny is: his age. He hit 35 this past May 30, and you have to wonder if age could actually be catching up to him. This season he seems to be taking way more good pitches, looking at too many called third strikes, and now leads the Red Sox in hitting into double plays with 14. (That’s saying something with two of the slower guys in the AL, Mike Lowell and David Ortiz on the team.)

I can’t honestly say that Manny doesn’t seem to care or is playing lackadaisically. His contract is up after 2008, and a rapid decline in his numbers surely won’t benefit him when he’s looking for a new deal.

I watched him hit into double plays tonight in Detroit, and he just doesn’t seem to be the same threat at the plate he’s always been. His numbers are stagnant right now, and it will take a monumental effort in the second half for him to reach 35 home runs and 100 RBI, numbers we as Red Sox fans have come accustomed to him reaching, even in his sleep.

Manny’s going to the All-Star Game this year, as he was elected by the fan vote. The Red Sox fans rewarded him with their support, as usual. It’s good to see Manny wants to play this year, but it’s ironic that this is happening in a season he really doesn’t deserve to go.

And now I don’t think it’s too early to ask this question: should the Red Sox let him walk as a free agent after the 2008 season, even if he wants to return? (I know, I know, Manny changes his mind about that as often as the average person changes their socks.) I really believe that question will be asked more and more often, especially if Manny puts up below-par numbers for the final three months of 2007.

It’s time for Manny to be Manny for the second part of 2007. The team continues to play well and have a double-digit lead in the AL East. But it’s time for him to put his exclamation point on this season.

But Father Time maybe catching up to our favorite loony left fielder.

I sure hope that isn’t the case. Go get ‘em ManRam.

Check out my blog, “The Mighty Quinn Media Machine” at: http://quinnmedia.blogspot.com

Clay BuchholzA kid who looks no more than a day older than 18 is currently the top prospect in the Red Sox farm system, and one of the top, if not the top, pitching prospect in Major League Baseball. That kid is the 22-year old Clay Buchholz, who’s pitching repertoire and mental make-up all point to him being a star one day.

His electric fastball sits around 94-95 MPH, and he can dial it up to 97+ MPH when the occasion calls for it. His out pitch is his knee-buckling 12-6 curveball that registers around 75-78 MPH. Combine that with an excellent change-up, an above average slider, and an icy-cold stare that would make Jonathan Papelbon proud, Buchholz has all the makings of an ace.
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Bonds at Fenway

Silencing his doubters with a torrid May, Dustin Pedroia wasted no time last night, depositing a Barry Zito fastball into the second row of the Green Monster, scoring J.D. Drew, to tie the game at 2-2. That would be the story the rest of the night as Drew and Pedroia, hitting in the top two slots of the Red Sox lineup, led the Red Sox to a 10-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants. The pair accounted for 8 of the Red Sox 9 hits, scored 5 runs, and had 8 RBI.

The game was a spectacle from the get-go. Dave Roberts, the Dave Roberts, led off the first for the Giants, and he received perhaps one of the longest and loudest ovations the Fenway Faithful has ever given. He will always be remembered for that one moment in history: The Steal. Then the cheers and turned into boo’s and jeers when Barry Bonds stepped up to the plate in his first ever appearance at Fenway Park. Bonds seemed to enjoy it however, and more importantly, did no damage at the plate.

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Josh Beckett SteamedJosh Beckett was pounded for 6 runs on 10 hits over 5 tough innings in a 7-1 loss against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday in the rubber game of the series. Beckett, looking to improve upon his 9-0 record, was hit hard from the get-go.

Todd Helton started the scoring with an RBI single up the middle on a very good curveball from Beckett, but it was all downhill from there. Struggling Rockies 3rd baseman Garret Atkins came up with the bases loaded and no outs in the 3rd and saw a good 2-1 curveball that Beckett thought was a strike, but home plate umpire James Hoye thought otherwise. With a 3-1 count, Atkins was sitting dead-red on fastball, and promptly deposited the next pitch into the Green Monster, making it 5-0.

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Fake Curt Schilling?

Yesterday I stumbled upon Curt Schilling on Facebook and impressed by his use of the Internet to further his support of his charitable organizations, I happily friended “Curtis” after double checking what I could (email address, websites, birthplace) to see if it was really him or a Fake Curt Schilling.

I was friended back and after making a small donation to Curt’s Pitch for ALS through the Facebook Causes application, received the following message back from “Curtis”.

Curtis Schilling to Tim on Facebook

Sounded genuine enough, right? The timing of the post was plausible as he was probably hanging around the clubhouse waiting for the game to start.

As it turns out, my post yesterday was picked up by a few other bloggers including the Postmen at “We are the Postmen”. At 1:03 am last night, the Postmen received the following comment on their blog post.

I have no idea who posted pretending to be me up there, but it’s not. I don’t have a facebook site, never have, so who ever that is, it’s not me. Decent chance he or she will be hearing from someone that knows me rather soon though.

By Curt Schilling on 06.13.07 1:03 am

That prompted the Postmen to do a little digging. There was clearly a Fake Curt Schilling out there somewhere. Was he on Facebook? or was he on “We are the Postmen”? The Postmen did all the requisite diligence that they could with the information that they had at hand.

“Usually, I would just pass this off as someone pretending to be Curt, but the IP address was from Boston, the e-mail address was from 38 Studios and well, I decided to shoot an e-mail over to the address in question and here’s what I got back:

I did not setup a face book account. That was me that posted the comment and yes this is Curt Schilling.

Thanks for the response

So, there you have it folks, Curt Schilling is not on Facebook. I’m about to defriend you, Mr. Fake Curt Schilling. Not cool, buddy.”

At this point, I tend to agree with the Postmen’s analysis and am very sorry to have been bamboozled by Mr. Fake Curt Schilling myself and to have passed potential mis-information along. I am inherently still an optimist however, so I will hold judgment until Curt’s next blog post on 38 Pitches and ask him a question from there if he doesn’t address this in any way.

So there you have it. The investigation is underway. Let’s all just hope that Real Curt Schilling takes the mound tonight at Fenway Park instead of Fake Curt Schilling who ever he is.

UPDATE: As Schilling gets rocked, the investigation continues.  The email address that Curt or Fake Curt used to get onto Facebook is ________@redsoxmvp.com.  The domain redsoxmvp.com redirects to the Red Sox home page and is registered to MLB.  It certainly appears to be a valid email address.    Now, I believe that those email addresses are the ones that anyone can register for a “Red Sox” email account.  I don’t want to post the email address and make it public should it be Curt’s.  But the email structure is not one that I would expect, although it is made up of Curt’s name/initials.  If this page is a fake, the offender should be easily found by the Red Sox through that email address.

With another postseason series sitting at 3-0, this time the Cleveland Cavaliers down to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA finals, it’s time for the trailing team and their fans to call upon the ghosts of the 2004 Red Sox for inspiration.

“The Boston Red Sox were down 3-0 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS before rallying to win that series. I guess if they can do it, we ought to have some faint glimmer of hope for the Cavs.”

Is it just me or does every time a series gets to this point, especially after the 19-8 whooping the Red Sox received in Game Three, further illuminate how incredible those four games were.

My advice to Cleveland fans, hope your team is down by five points heading into the last two minutes of the game only to see Lebron James win it with a three pointer and send the series to Game Four.  Like Dave Roberts’ steal and David Ortiz’ home run, a Lebron buzzer beater is the type of first step that could turn the tide.

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