August 2008

Bowden tonight!

We’ll get another look at the future tonight, as 21 year old Michael Bowden makes his major league debut.

From our press release today, announcing his call-up:

At the age of 21 years, 356 days, Bowden will be the youngest Red Sox pitcher to debut and start since Abe Alvarez was 21 years, 279 days on June 22, 2004. Bowden is 0-3, 3.38 in 7 games/6 starts at Pawtucket. He had a no decision in his last start on August 23 at Rochester, allowing 6 hits and 3 runs in 6.1 innings.

 

The righthander started the season at Double-A Portland, going 9-4, 2.33 in 19 starts to earn a spot on the Eastern League All-Star Team. Bowden is in his 4th pro season after being selected by Boston as a sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

 

Here we go!  Good luck, Michael!

…oh, and he’ll be wearing # 64.

Mark Kotsay, Instant Replay, and Cheesy  Goodness

“America” as the new “God Bless America??”

During the Neil Diamond concert at Fenway Park this past Saturday, there was a groundswell of support (stemming from some folks who will go unnamed) to have Neil’s classic song “America” replace “God Bless America” on Sunday Red Sox games.  While this will obviously never happen at Fenway, I can’t imagine I’m alone in saying I would love to see it happen.  Some minor league club needs to start doing this.  Immediately.  They can hold auditions, and have Neil Diamond impersonators sing “America” in the middle of the seventh.  I defy you to watch this video and then tell me this is not a good idea.

These “kids” here might have to have first crack at it.

Anyhow, here’s what’s putting dents in the Green Monster this week…

Hot off the presses today is news that we have acquired outfielder Mark Kotsay from the Atlanta Braves.  kotsay.jpgThis move seems to have been made, in part, because of the injury to J.D. Drew.  The 32 year old Kotsay, an established major league veteran, should be able to help shore up our outfield down the stretch.  The left-handed Kotsay has a .305 batting average against right-handers this year, and on-base-percentage of .361 against righties.  Kotsay will wear #11 and will join the team in New York.  In exchange, we sent minor leaguer Luis Somoza (who was playing for the Lowell Spinners) to the Braves.  To me, this seems like a good move which will hopefully ensure that our outfielders stay fresh and are not overworked as we battle for the AL East title over the last month of the season.

Also, as I’m sure you’ve heard, this week MLB will officially start using instant replay.  How do you feel about this?  Every other major sport (with the exception of FIFA Soccer, I believe) currently has some form of Instant Replay.  tek vs a-rod.JPGTechnology and video replays have certainly benefited the fans over the years…The never-ending replays of the pizza toss incident…Pedro’s Zim toss…the Manny high-five…Orlando Cabrera’s elaborate handshakes…Varitek’s mitt in A-Rod’s face…

Anyhow, as of now, from my understanding, Instant Replay for baseball will only determine close home run calls.  Do you think it should be expanded to close calls on the base paths?  For example, what would life be like right now, if for some reason Dave Roberts was called out on his famous steal?  Or what if they were able to use replay                            Brita Meng Outzen/Boston Red Sox  on the Bartman incident – in addition to saving the poor kid from years of torment, would the Cubs have finally ended their curse?                                

Point being, while a poor umpire call on a homerun can drastically change the outcome of a game, so can a close play at the plate.  So what do you think?  Is it good in its current form?  Does it need to be expanded?  Or is baseball too much of a national pastime, too rooted in tradition, and human judgment (balls and strikes for example) to be aided by video assistance?  I’d be very interested to see what all of you think..

Since as I mentioned in my Insider Newsletter (which if you haven’t signed up for, you can sign up for here) I’m looking for anyone who has been to every Red Sox home game at Fenway Park since May 15, 2003.  I realize this may be next to impossible, but I also know, we have some SERIOUSLY dedicated fans out there.  So if you have been to every home game since then, or know somebody who has, please email me!  insider@redsox.com 

All the best from inside the Front Office!
“The Voice of the Nation”

PS – Because I firmly believe you should know what’s going around the Front Office at all times, I feel it is my duty to inform you that Cheez-Its were added to our Front Office breakroom earlier this week.  They were a big hit, and gone within a mere 1.5 hrs.  They have not made a return appearance.  I promise to keep you up-to-date if anything changes on this front. 

 

 

Yaz, Youuuk, and Sweet Caroline

Yaz.jpgAs I mentioned in the FREE Red Sox Insider newsletter, I’m sure I’m not the only one who breathed a sigh of relief when I heard that Yaz’s triple bypass surgery was complete success and that he is now resting comfortably.  Thanks to all of you who had your thoughts and prayers with number 8 (who will be celebrating his 69th birthday on Friday!)

Now onto what what’s putting dents in the Green Monster this Week…

Here’s a question I will pose to all of you this week: If it was the bottom of the ninth in our last regular season game, with the bases loaded, with two outs, and we were down by 2 runs….and our playoff hopes all hinged on this one at bat, who would you like to see at the plate?

Would it be Youk, who’s just been smoking the ball lately?  Would it be Pedroia, who’s just been drilling “lasers” off the green monster all year?  Would it be Jason Bay, who’s done nothing but score and drive in runs since he arrived?  How ’bout J.D. Drew, who’s been as consistent as anybody all year-round?  Or then again, is it that guy Ortiz??

They’re not quite double-jointed as Phelps, as elegant as Nastia, or as timeless as Misty May and Kerri Walsh, but those 5 guys (6 if you count the injured Mike Lowell) have become quite the formidable group of hitters.

And I’m not saying this as a bad thing.  We just have an incredibly well-balanced offense now.  You could easily make the case for any one of those aforementioned guys to be the one you want to see in a clutch situation.

I’m interested to hear what you think and what your rationale would be.  Let me know in the comments.

melinda-doolittle-1.jpgFrom the, “I can’t believe what I just saw” column…try this one:  And yes, I actually did see this with my own eyes.  The other day, American Idol’s Melinda Doolittle sang the National Anthem.  As she was exiting the field (minding her own business), Dustin Pedroia ran up to the top step of the dugout (like an 8 year old hearing the sweet sound of the ice cream truck), screaming, “Melinda!  Melinda!  I voted for you!!”  He stuck his hand out hoping she would stop by to shake it (which she, very graciously did).  It was by far one of the funniest things I’ve seen all year.  The best part…he was completely serious.

Also, it should be known that everyone who met Melinda said she was one of the nicest celebrities they’ve ever met.  Turns out she really is as sweet as she seemed on TV.

 

neil diamond.jpgOk, outside of baseball, there is a bedazzled jacket wearing rock star coming into town this Saturday, and I’ll admit, I’m not sure if I’ll laugh or cheer when I see the outfits he sports when he comes on stage.

I’m also quite intriuged to hear how loud the crowd is for “Sweet Caroline.”  I think I might get the chills for that one.  And yes, I do realize how embarrassing that is.  I just don’t care.

“Sweet Caroline,” of course, was written about Caroline Kennedy (daughter of JFK), and has been played in Fenway Park since 2001.  Ironically enough, the first year “Sweet Caroline” was played at every single Red Sox home game was 2004.  Coincidence??

Also, while we’re on the subject of concerts, I want to pass along our condolences to the family and friends of the very talented LeRoi Moore, the saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band.  As I’m sure many of you know, the Dave Matthews Band played Fenway Park in the summer of 2006.  Moore passed away from sudden complications following an ATV accident.

And after somewhat of a hiatus, I’m happy to bring the return of the fan photo of the week!  This week, I’m highlighting a great photo of Dan, formerly of Hampden, Maine.  This was taken while Dan was in the Chilean Andes, near Santiago, Chile.  I feel like this is one of those Leonardo DiCaprio “I’m the kind of the world!” type moments.  If you’d like to send your Sox photo in, please email it to me at insider@redsox.com.

8-20 Fan Picture of the Week.jpgAll is pretty quiet in the Front Office today.  We just read a few more Laffy Taffy jokes (none of them worth sharing).  And while we’re on the subject of not worth sharing…let’s talk about the performance of the Front Office employees at our weekly (when the team is not in town) Front Office basketball league…a little rusty ladies and gents…I expect better next time around.  Embarrassing pictures will be spared this time…

All the best from inside the Front Office!
“The Voice of the Nation”

PS – I should mention that not everybody was rusty at basketball.  Really, it was just me.

Jays fly in…

Day 2 of the Jimmy Fund (we’re on our way to a record-breaking $4 milllion!!!)  Help us get there!  Again, if you’d like to donate to this great cause, please call 877-738-1234.  No amount is too small to help in the fight against cancer.  And without further ado…Good luck Byrd!  Here are the lineups for tonight…

Blue Jays

1.  Joe Inglett (2B)

2.  Marco Scutaro (3B)

3.  Adam Lind (LF)

4.  Vernon Wells (CF)

5.  Matt Stairs (DH)

6.  Rob Barajas (C)

7.  Lyle Overbay (1B)

8.  Brad Wilkerson (RF)

9.  John McDonald (SS)

SP:  Roy Halladay (13-9, 2.72)

 

Red Sox

1.  Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)

2.  Dustin Pedroia (2B)

3.  David Ortiz (DH)

4.  Kevin Youkilis (3B)

5.  J.D. Drew (RF)

6.  Jason Bay (LF)

7.  Jed Lowrie (SS)

8.  Sean Casey (1B)

9.  Jason Varitek (C)

SP:  Paul Byrd (7-10, 4.53)

Happy Jimmy Fund Day!


jimmy-fund.gifToday and tomorrow are Jimmy Fund Day at Fenway Park.  As many of you know, the Jimmy Fund and the Red Sox have a long-standing relationship, going back to the days of Ted Williams.

The Jimmy Fund is one of the great charitable endeavors, and does an amazing job raising money for cancer research.

Anybody who would like to donate, can do so by calling 877-738-1234.  And here are the lineups…

 

Texas

1.  Ian Kinsler (2B)

2.  Frank Catalanotto (LF)

3.  Michael Young (SS)

4.  Milton Bradley (DH)

5.  Marlon Byrd (CF)

6.  Brandon Boggs (RF)

7.  Chris Davis (1B)

8.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C)

9.  Ramon Vazquez (3B)

SP: Tommy Hunter (0-1, 10.61 ERA)

 

Red Sox

1.  J.D. Drew (RF)

2.  Dustin Pedroia (2B)

3.  David Ortiz (DH)

4.  Kevin Youkilis (1B)

5.  Jason Bay (LF)

6.  Jed Lowrie (3B)

7.  Jason Varitek (C)

8.  Coco Crisp (CF)

9.  Alex Cora (SS) 

SP: Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-2, 2.90 ERA)

Wednesday’s Lineups

Rock paper scissors.JPGBelow are tonight’s lineups…

but also noteworthy is one of tonight’s honorees…Sean Sears a Chicopee, MA native and winner of the U.S. Rock-Paper-Scissors Championship will be honored tonight in a Pre-Game Ceremony.  Sears will compete travel to China later this month to compete in the Rock-Paper-Scissors World Championship on August 20.  You can’t make this stuff up…

Texas

1.  Ian Kinsler (2B)

2.  Michael Young (SS)

3.  Josh Hamilton (CF)

4.  Milton Bradley (DH)

5.  Marlon Byrd (RF)

6.  Brandon Boggs (LF)

7.  Chris Davis (1B)

8.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C)

9.  Travis Metcalf (3B)

SP: Luis Mendoza (3-5, 7.50 ERA)

 

Red Sox

1.  J.D. Drew (RF)

2.  Dustin Pedroia (2B)

3.  David Ortiz (DH)

4.  Kevin Youkilis (3B)

5.  Jason Bay (LF)

6.  Jed Lowrie (SS)

7.  Sean Casey (1B)

8.  Jason Varitek (C)

9.  Coco Crisp (CF)

SP: Jon Lester (10-4, 3.23 ERA)

D’oh! Mikey Lowell to the D.L.

Lowell.jpgSeems my sanity wasn’t the only thing lost due to last night’s game…

Just when the injury bug hit Tampa Bay, and gave us a (forgive me…) a “ray” of hope, it has struck the Sox again, this time putting Mike Lowell on the 15 day D.L. with an oblique strain.   Lowell had already been hampered a bit by an aching hip.

My question for you is; where do we pick up the production?  It seems to me like it’s going to have to be a team effort.  This will only put more pressure on the pitching which is never a good thing at this point in the season.

Lucky for us however, we have Jon Lester on the mound tonight.

Let’s see if the boys can keep that offense rolling!

That’s all for now,

“The Voice”

Ummm….what was that?!?!?

20080812_bmo_tex_1168.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brita Meng Outzen/Boston Red Sox     

                                                                                                            

Seriously???

19-17…I mean…c’mon!?  I’ll tell you what, it was a busy night (and continues to be a very busy day) for our folks in the Media Relations department, who had to go through and research all of the records broken, etc. from last night’s game.

Personally, I’m just relieved we won the game.  I can’t even believe I have to type that, after we were up 10-0 after the first inning.  You know, they say you never forget your major league debut….I’d have to say that’s going to be particularly true for Charlie Zink…

Well…there wasn’t much that wasn’t putting dents in (or over) the Wall last night…

Thumbnail image for 20080812_bmo_tex_2376.jpgBut Thank Goodness… this game ended the way that it did because I’m not sure I would have been able to write a blog entry today had we lost that game.  Really…I mean that.  But can we please take a moment to reflect on Youk’s career year?  Where would we be right now without him??  Nevermind, don’t answer that…                                                                                           Brita Meng/Boston Red Sox

Anyhow here’s what’s putting dents in the Green Monster this week…

CT_Flag.jpgEarlier today, we put out a press release announcing the details for Connecticut Day at Fenway Park.  Most importantly for all Connecticans (I think i just made that word up), is that starting at Noon today, and closing at Noon on Monday the 18th, Connecticut residents age 18 or older can register for a random drawing to win the opportunity to purchase tickets to the Connecticut Day game, on August 31st.

Additionally, the first 100 Connecticut residents who sign up to become a member of Red Sox Nation during the registration period will automatically be able to purchase tickets for the Connecticut Day game.

In other news…as many of you may know, Jason Bay isn’t the only Bay enjoying some success lately.  Jason’s sister, southpaw Lauren Bay-Regula, pitching for the Canadian Olympic Softball team, had a no-hitter through 4-plus innings in leading Canada to a 6-1 victory over Chinese Taipei the other day.  Not too shabby…

The buzz around the office today (besides last night’s game, Michael Phelps, and the rest of the Olympic hoo-ha) is the big board meeting this afternoon.  No, I’m not talking about the owners meetings (though those are also going on down in D.C.)…I’m talking about the Red
kn_captain_275x235.gifSox Kid Nation Captains’ board meeting.  This will be the first time the Kid Nation Captains (of varying ages from 10-14 years old) will sit down with Jerry Remy, and Red Sox executives.  At the meeting the Kid Nation Captains will discuss their vision for improving Red Sox Nation, and will formulate a service project they will lead, that will help give back to the community at large.  I’ve read these kids’ applications…they’re actually incredibly well spoken and accomplished for such a young age.  I think we’ll be videotaping the meeting…should make for some interesting programming…

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m going to be blogging a lot more frequently, (including getting the game lineups as soon as they come out), so keep checking back in!

All the best from inside the Front Office!

“The Voice of the Nation”

PS – Wow…I almost forgot to give you the answer to last week’s Laffy Taffy question.  As a refresher…”Why did the buffalo go to the bank?”

ANSWER: To get his quarterback!  yuk yuk yuk….wakka wakka wakka.

Seriously…this is what keeps us entertained in the office (it’s a LONG season…)

 

Veteran pitcher Byrd flies into town

This just in…

We’ve picked up pitcher Paul Byrd from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.Paul Byrd.jpg

How do you feel about this move?  Can’t hurt to pick up a veteran pitcher with the “hot” hand, right??  Especially with Wakefield going on the DL.

I’m very intrigued to see how he’s used and how he’ll fare…

Let me know what you think!  In case you’re interested in the particulars… Below is our official release:

 

RED SOX ACQUIRE RIGHTHANDED PITCHER PAUL BYRD

FROM CLEVELAND INDIANS FOR A PLAYER TO BE NAMED LATER

OR CASH CONSIDERATIONS

 

BOSTON, MA–The Boston Red Sox today acquired righthanded pitcher Paul Byrd from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

 

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.

 

Byrd, 37, has been added to Boston’s 40-man roster. The Red Sox will make a corresponding move on the active roster once Byrd reports to the club.

 

Byrd is 7-10 with a 4.53 earned run average in 22 starts with the Indians in 2008. The righthander ranks second on the Indians staff in wins, starts, and innings (131.0) and has issued just 1.6 walks per nine innings, the eighth best ratio in the American League.

 

He has won all four of his starts since the All-Star break with a 1.24 ERA (4 ER/29.0 IP) to lower his season ERA from 5.47 to 4.53. Byrd is tied for the major league lead in wins since the break and has the second lowest ERA among pitchers with at least 20.0 innings behind Arizona’s Randy Johnson (0.66). He has worked at least 7.0 innings in each of his last three starts, allowing six hits in going the route to win at Toronto, 4-2 in his last appearance on August 9. Byrd has not allowed a home run in his last five starts with a 1.80 ERA (7 ER/25.0 IP) in that span.

 

Byrd has a career major league record of 104-91 in 330 games/242 starts with the New York Mets (1995-96), Atlanta (1997-98; 2004), Philadelphia (1998-2001), Kansas City (2001-02), Los Angeles Angels (2005), and Cleveland (2006-08). He has won 10 or more games five times, including four of the previous five seasons (2002-07). Byrd has issued just 2.12 walks per nine innings in his career, the sixth lowest figure among active major league pitchers with at least 1,500 innings. He was a member of the 1999 N.L. All-Star Team with the Phillies.

 

Byrd established career bests for wins (17), starts (33), innings (228.1), and strikeouts (129) with Kansas City in 2002. Last season, he was 15-8 with a 4.59 ERA in 31 starts for the A.L. Central Division champion Indians and led the A.L. with a ratio of 1.31 walks per nine innings. Byrd was 2-0, 3.60 in his two post-season starts,  including a 7-3 victory over the Red Sox in Game 4 of the ALCS on October 16 in Cleveland. He also won the fourth and deciding game of the ALDS on October 8 at New York.

More than a feeling…

Is anyone else having a lot of fun watching the new incarnation of this Red Sox team? 

The “feel good” atmosphere in the clubhouse certainly seems to have spread to the field, where the team seems to have a newly unified sense of urgency and dedication to each game.  Not only that, but we’re winning games (so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice…)

I don’t think I’m alone in saying this,  but I’m sold on Bay so far.  He has definitely come as advertised (hustling around the bases, making GREAT defensive plays, and has a good deal of pop in his bat).  Not to mention, he’s showing us things we’ve never seen before

Thumbnail image for 20080801_CL_OAKLAND 601.jpg

Photo credit: Cindy Loo/Boston Red Sox

And very quietly, amid all the trade/Bay hullabaloo, has been the emergence of Jed Lowrie.  Not only is he coming through in some clutch situations, but he’s flashing the leather as well (Top 10 play for his work last night).  He may not be the most glamorous player on the roster, but he’s getting the job done…and at the end of the day, isn’t that what’s most important to Sox fans??

We’ll see how we do tonight in Kansas City and then over the weekend against the White Sox, in what should be a pretty tough series, but so far, I’m really enjoying our post-trade games.  It may not be the Ortiz-Ramirez show as we’ve had in the past, but you can count on each player 1-9 giving his all each day his name shows up in the lineup.  And that’s what baseball should be all about.

In any event, here’s what’s putting dents in the Green Monster this week…

20080708_MI_MIN0150.jpgWell deserved kudos go out to Sox pitcher (ace??) Jon Lester, who was named the American League’s pitcher of the Month for July.  Lester has been nothing short of stellar this year (10-3) (3.14 ERA).  He’s picked up the team when they’ve needed it the most and shown some poise and confidence well beyond his years.  Oh yeah, and lest we forget…he did throw a no-hitter.

 

Photo credit: Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox

And while not as young as Lester, there were some other dedicated baseball players here earlier this week.  We hosted a reunion for the 80 players from our Red Sox Fantasy Camp here at Fenway Park.  These men and women participated in the Fantasy Camp in February (in Florida), and then were invited to play 4-5 inning games here at Fenway this week.  They were able to use the visitors clubhouse, both dugouts and bullpens.  I feel like this is one of those things where not a lot of people realize this is something we do, because if they did, we’d get a lot more people participating.  It truly is a one of a kind experience (being coached by Red Sox alumni down in Florida, living out your dream to see what it’s like to play for the Red Sox, use our facilities, and be treated like a Red Sox player).  It really is pretty funny… I’ve seen some of these people at Fantasy Camp, and it’s like they’re 14 year old boys and girls again.  The smiles are bursting from their faces as they forget about the blackberries, kids, bills, trips to Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. for a little while.  Anyhow, if you or someone you know would be interested (makes a great gift) you can find out more here, or by calling 617-226-6400.

As for the mood in the office, I’d say the last homestand aged some of us quite a bit, but thankfully, this week has been much quieter.  And with a quieter officelaffy_taffy.jpg and a plethora of Laffy Taffy kicking around the office, we’ve been having daily readings of the jokes from the Laffy Taffy wrappers.  It’s a bit of a contest of sorts to see which member of the Front Office can figure out the answer first.  Some of the jokes are good, some are a little bit of a stretch, and some are…well…just so dumb, they’re funny…but it’s been a fun way to break up the day.  I’ve listed my favorite below for your enjoyment.

I’m going to try to start making a lot more blog entries as we head down the stretch, so be sure to check back often, and post comments!  I love hearing from all of you.  Or, of course, if you’re a bit more shy, you can always email me at insider@redsox.com!

All the best from inside the Front Office,

“The Voice”

LAFFY TAFFY Joke of the Day: Why did the buffalo go to the bank?

(I’ll take guesses below, and I’ll post the answer in my next entry)