Tagged with "MLB"
O H Thursday
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL MLB David Ortiz Bill Belichick Matt Scherzer

Oh Thursday

Another Thursday and another aftermath of the wind and snow up here in frosty Boston.

We are doing our best to keep a stiff upper lip and gut this out till spring springs eternal.

Mrsharry took over picking my bracket this year because I never get it close to respectability and although her regional choices for the finals both went down in the first round, she did pick 8 of the sweet 16 and that’s more than I would have picked.

MLB is underway down under…I don’t like the opening day of our baseball season to happen out of the lower 48…this is our MLB, National and American leagues, not the International league…that’s AAA I think.

Matt Scherzer reportedly turned down 6 years at $24,000,000.00 a year from the Tigers and is going to take his chances pitching this season and then going free agency as his agent Scott Borass has suggested. I think that’s top money for Matt and he should have taken it. Borass has made some guys very rich but doesn’t always give the best advice and sometimes over estimates the market and leaves guys hanging in limbo…Steven Drew…need I say more.

Yankees centerfielder Jacoby 153 Ellsbury hasn’t played since March 14th and could miss more time with a shin injury…this came as no surprise to Ellsbury followers.

Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has had a decent spring with 15 innings pitched he has given up 5 runs and 12 hits 16 K’s and only 3 BB. He should help solidify a rotation rounding into shape with the steady improvement of Michael Pineda.

David Ortiz signed a $16 million extension thru 2015 and it has 2 years of options thru 2016 & 2017. This eliminates David’s annual disrespected rant and keeps him a Red Sox for the rest of his career.

Mike Vick and Geno Smith are happy teammates and will be vying for the Jets starting QB job and the right to wear # 7 . Both would love to see disgruntled Eagles WR DeSean Jackson in a Jets uniform. The Jets parted ways with Mark Sanchez but that may not free up enough cash for # 10. The number ten is free because free agent Santonio Holmes last wore it and I don’t think he will be back.

Mark Sanchez was the 5th overall pick in the 2009 draft and in four seasons before missing the 2013 season he had passed for 12,092 yards at a 55% completion percentage.

His record as a starter in the regular season was 33-29 and in the playoffs he was 4-2    He threw 68 TD’s and 69 Ints with a career passer rating of 71.7

Rumors say the Rams and the Eagles are interested in Mark as a potential backup.

Patriots HC Bill Belichick put in his annual requests to the NFL league office for 4 rule changes to be considered. Bill would like:

-the goal posts extended 5’ taller. This would make it easier for the officials to get it RIGHT.  This proposal will get accepted by the NFL.

- Put 6 more cameras at each end zone to help the officials get it RIGHT. Bill says he understand that this is expensive and thinks that maybe the teams could have a BAKE SALE!

- Make reviewable every subjective play that an official can call. He thinks that if they start at that end and then work back it would be more effective.

- back the PAT back to the 25 yard line essentially making it a 42 yarder. Bill says, “just make it a competitive play”

Bill Belichick was asked by reporters at the annual coaches breakfast if Vince would be back and Bill said “ go ask Vince”

Bill was asked about the Revis signing and how he would impact the team’s defense.

Bill replied “Revis is a good player and I’m sure he will compete. We’ll put him in the mix and see how it works out.

 

Jim Irsay’s daughter Carlie Irsay-Gordon will be running the team operations while Jim “recovers” in an unnamed facility. King Roger is considering an NFL punishment which would probably be something like forcing the Colts to play in London for the next five seasons.

 

Tampa Bay WR Mike Williams was stabbed by his brother in the leg in a home domestic disturbance…his neighbors seemed to indicate that Williams isn’t really that good of a neighbor and is generally despised around the block.

Lovie Smith will probably be looking for some way to dispense of Williams before the team gets training camp underway. One thing is for sure, Smith won’t let Williams mess up his second opportunity to HC and NFL team.

 

Vince Wilfork cleaned out his locker and removed his name tag in his personal protest to being asked to restructure his contract (take a pay cut) He said please release me. Owner Robert Kraft expressed his desire to keep Vince who is coming of a season ending Achilles tear. How it’s healed and how effective the man who is a cheeseburger shy of 400 lbs will be is yet to be seen. If you remember last season Kraft expressed his desire to keep Wes Welker…Robert doesn’t call the player/personnel shots in Foxboro.

As a Pats and Vince fan I would love to see him finish his career with the Pats. He and Tom Brady are the last player connections to SB 39 in Feb of 2005 oh so long ago.

 

Back to the MLB,

The Ticket City people put out there biannual “most loyal MLB fans” rankings based on the following for the 2012-2013 seasons: Total attendance, Average home attendance, Average home ticket prices, percentage of stadium filled for home games, face book likes and twitter following.

Here is the results:

1. San Francisco Giants

2. New York Yankees

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

4. St Louis Cardinals

5. Boston Red Sox

6. Philadelphia Phillies

7. Texas Rangers

8. Detroit Tigers

 

The top 10 teams with the highest average ticket prices are;

 

1. Boston Red Sox                               $53.38

2. New York Yankees                         $51.55

3. Chicago Cubs                                   $44.55

4. Philadelphia Phillies                        $37.42

5. Washington Nationals                     $35.24

6. St Louis Cardinals                           $33.11

7. Toronto Blue Jays                            $32.98

8. Minnesota Twins                             $32.59

9. San Francisco Giants                       $30.09

10. Houston Astros                              $30.09

The beer prices at MLB parks top ten countdown

!0. San Francisco            $6.75 small draft 16 oz

9.   St Louis                     $6.75 small draft 16 oz

8. Atlanta                         $7.25 small draft 16 oz

7. Chicago Wrigley         $7.25 small draft 16 oz

6. Boston                         $7.25 extra small draft 12 oz

5. Toronto                        $7.35 small draft 16 oz

4. Minnesota                    $7.50 20 oz draft

3. Philadelphia                 $7.75 21 oz draft

2. Miami                          $ 8.00 16 oz draft

1. Washington                 $ 8.25 16oz draft

As you can see the average baseball fan supports his team and overpays for the product on the field and the beverage in his cup.

 

I started to dig into parking prices at MLB fields and came to one conclusion…no team in the Majors is anywhere close to the Boston Red Sox in parking prices that start at $40 bucks. Peter King of Sports Illustrated once said, “When going to a Red Sox game it’s actually cheaper to park in a no parking tow away zone than in the specified lots. It’s a $25 fine for the parking ticket and they won’t tow you on game days because there is no way for them to go to get to you with a tow truck because the roads are to narrow and are filled with cars parked in the tow away zones.

Don’t forget to check out my Boston and Thursday amigo Lanz… right over there

  

Talking Sports
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: MLB NFL XFL

It has been somewhat of a slow week in sports this week the brackets have been busted mine as soon as Ohio State lost too Dayton I was done. Syracuse and Duke bowing out as Mercer gave them some Mercer. The first couple rounds were just exciting and crazy and that’s what makes this tournament fun so I hope the NCAA doesn’t screw it up by adding more teams in the future. They shouldn’t have gone to 68.  64 worked fine we don’t need play ins.

This should be another week of exciting games. I think Dayton has a shot for the elite eight as they will go up against Stanford. UCLA could throw a scare Florida’s way as well. But that is what this tournament is about the unknown.

On the local front the Boston Red Sox gave David Ortiz his deal a 1 year extension for 15 million and a couple option years. Now maybe the Big Guy can stop whinning and concentrate on hitting 2 for 35 this spring. I get the hometown  hero and the guy has been good for the Sox and for that matter the city of Boston. But I would have waited the season out let him finish the current contract and go from there. He may have a great year by all means give him another but given his age.  Why not see what this year brings first. I understand the Red Sox rewarded him for being a good  player and all. I just would have waited.

Meanwhile in Foxboro Vince Wilfork is upset that the Patriots may want him to restructure his contract. I think they will get it done. However, Vince isn’t happy he reportedly cleared out his locker and ripped his name plate down. The guy is coming of a bad injury at his size and age. Teams won’t take a chance on him. The other thing is the Patriots have no problem cutting players. They even left one of their most dedicated guys Kevin Faulk over the years off the Superbowl Roster in his final season.

Belichick was hucking it up with the media at the owners meetings. The Patriots proposed as a rule change cameras on the goalline and the end line to help see if the ball crossed the plane of the goalline and to help with inbounds and outbounds on the endline and sideline of the end zone. So some reporter asks him how is the Billion dollar NFL going to pay for the cameras. (stupid Question) Bill says I don’t know a bake sale or maybe a car wash. He went on to explain  that each stadium has 100’s of cameras they can see if a fan spilled a beer on another fan. Bill may have a point but it was classic BB.

The wind was awful today and most of Massachusetts escaped a blizzard sorry Cape Cod you got it bad. We didn’t even get a flurry North of the city. The weather is not baseball friendly with opening day on Monday. At least the Red Sox don’t open here until next Friday the fourth against the EX American League Brewers.Maybe it will reach 50 by then.

I was driving Lil Lanz to Hockey tryouts and he says I wish we had our names on the back of our jersey’s. He says he would customize his and have it say Miser. I immediately thought of the XFL and Yes non other than He Hate Me. So I say to him they did that stuff in the XFL. He says whats the XFL so I explained it to him . How the wrestling Guy formed a Football League and it wasn’t great football with some crazy rules. Then it dawned on me that the XFL started in 2000, played 1 season in 2001. Lil Guy was born in 2002. Just a reality moment.

LIL Warriors Report

The boys got back out of the loss column this week and sealed fourth place for the playoffs. They tied 2-2 Saturday and won 5-4 on Sunday. Lil Lanz got the game winning assist. I nice shot from the right circle and Lil Bobby tipped it home. The hero was Lil Steve he wore the hat first year player and he got a hat trick and made a great defensive play. Kid has came along way since September. LIl Lanz checked the score sheet for his assist. Coach Dave ended up giving him the sheet. He ended up giving it to lil Steve..

Lanz here got called back behind the bench Saturday as Head Coach Glen had to leave at the end of the first period.  Boys have there first playoff game on Sunday at 4:30 a win they will play next Saturday a loss they are done for the season. They have gotten some ice time this week a two hour tryout last night which tries to place the kids on the right level team. Practice Friday.and the game Sunday.

Meanwhile Laser was going to play his final season of Youth lacrosse and has decided to just play baseball instead not wanting to risk head trauma.

Musings From The Hoodwood 3-25
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL College Basketball NBA MLB

Hey these mascot ideas are just as bad as the team...or is this the team???

 

Greetings for the Hoodwood, where the most frequent sound you hear is bracket busting all over the place. As for me ? Don’t ask.

NCAA: From 68 to 16 how we got here

Start from when Dayton stood up to the so-called mighty Buckeyes and wouldn’t back down and you had the makings of a wild first day.  You have to live in Ohio (as I do) to fully understand the gravitas of this game. Ohio State avoids playing teams in state at all costs unless its in an exotic place, at home in the cozy confines of Value City Arena in Columbus or forced to do so by the bracket. Ohio State is the school that the other schools in the state are always measured against and Buck Nation will not hesitate to remind you of this fact.  But the arrogant Buck Nation saw this matchup as a gimme, the problem was that the rowdy Flyers weren’t intimidated. They pressed the Bucks into errors, made the timely shots, kept the score low and close and didn’t let the haughty Bucks dictate the pace. The Flyers made the last shot, but needed too strong bounce off the rim on a last second bulrush to the rim by Aaron Craft to win. Two night later the Flyers topped that feat by knocking off Syracuse, these games were in Buffalo which doubled the incredible quotient. To knock off in-state big brother is awe inducing enough, but to knock Syracuse off in First Niagara Arena in downtown Buffalo, practically in the Orange’s backyard is a real feat. Here are the Flyers doing the cabbage patch in the corner of the dance hall, elbowing others out of the way to keep right on dancin’

 5-12 matchup seemed to be trap games in the round of 64 (I refuse to call it the 2nd round. 3 of the 5 seed teams(including my beloved Bearcats) got zapped. The sole survivor of the 5 seeds Saint Louis needed OT to survive and they got sent packing 2 nights later. But all the 5-12 games were eye opener. We'll skip the horrid performance my Bearcats had against a good Harvard team and go to the Bison of North Dakota State, I caught their Summit League title win, a thriller against IPFW but like most gave them little chance against a solid Oklahoma squad, but to the pundits surprise the Bison played like they belonged and sent the Sooners packing. I wasnt fond of the SF Austin-VCU matchup which I saw as the NCAA putting two good smaller schools against one another to keep them away from bigger opponents. Let the lower creatures fend for themselves and kill each other off. But the game in San Diego was a classic. The Rams rallied from a halftime deficit by stifiling the Lumberjacks with an agressive press that seemed to paralyze the Southland Champs and seemed to have the game in hand with a 4 point lead until Desmond Haymon launched a 3 and was fouled by JaQuon Lewis with under 5 seconds to play. The shot went down to the horror of Lewis and the Rams, a look that was all over his face when the call was made.  Despite an icing attempt by VCU coach Shaka Smart Haymon made the free throw to complete the 4 point play and force OT which the Lumberjacks outdueld a deflated Rams squad who had the look of having let one get away. The win was the 5th OT game in the first round...consider that the last two tournaments years in 132 games had a total of 2 games that went OT. The first two days had 5. Whoa. This is gonna get better as the stakes get higher. In the 2nd round. Wichita State and Kentucky played a Regional quarterfinal game that should have been a regional final or final four game. The unbeaten Shockers were taking on basketball royalty in the Wildcats. The game went back and forth but wasnt decided till Fred Van Fleet's three at the buzzer was off and the Wildcats got a hard earned victory. And of course the haters came out in force saying that the Shockers crumbled in the face of the first "real team" that they faced. I think that this 

NCAA Coaching carousel.

They call this the silly season, though the basketball is still being played there are teams that are speculating and pushing hard for teams. Wake Forest is trying to reach for a coach from a familiar place, they got Bob Staak from Xavier in 1985, then the late Skip Prosser in the late 1990’s now they reportedly are after current Xavier coach Chris Mack who has been the coach of the Musketeers since 2009. Would Mack who is a Xavier grad abandon his alma mater for the famous ground of the ACC? Someone that Wake also is reportedly after is VCU coach Shaka Smart who was pursued by UCLA last year but turned it down to stay put, Marquette is also after Smart who is from Wisconsin. Now Marquette is trying to fill its vacancy after its head coach Buzz Williams headed to Virginia Tech. Their AD was once the AD of Cincy. Trying to keep their hot young coach in the same place, Dayton moved to extend the contract of Archie Miller, the younger brother of Sean who is the coach of Arizona and formerly of…wait for it...Xavier. Does this carousel make you dizzy? It makes me a bit seasick. And its only going to get worse. If you thought football was bad….

NFL: Is Cuban Right? Is the NFL getting bloated?

Mark Cuban is someone that despite being a great and savvy businessman, is someone that like to hear himself talk. This has been the case since he became the owner of the Mavs a decade or so ago. Despite his attempts to broaden his sports ownership portfolio he has been rebuffed in attempts to buy MLB franchises and be a part of efforts in a possible NFL expansion ownership group. Cuban lashed out at the NFL saying that in 10 years the NFL would "implode in 10 years" by oversaturation. Now there are some points that Cuban made that were valid. The NFL's TV package as it is, is perfect.Though Im not crazy about the the Thursday Night games though and I hate the thought of expanding the playoffs. But does Cuban have a point in saying that the NFL is bloated and will get too big for its britches? Or does he come off as someone that missed out on getting into a very exclusive rich boys club and is lashing out

NBA: Reverse Streaking

I remember a Sports Illustrated Cover from 1983, it had the incomparable Dr. J. tipping a rebound into the basket.  The cover read, The Sixers are going for Seventy. The Sixers were after what was considered an untouchable 69-13 record the LA Lakers set in the 1971-72 season. The Sixers got to 57-9 at one point but coasted to 65-17 with a .500 finish over the last quarter of the season. But that was a great team. Dr. J. Mo Cheeks, Bobby Jones, Marc Iavaroni, Andrew “The Boston Strangler” TOney The famous fo, fo, fo quote by Moses Malone wasn’t quite fulfilled in the 1983 playoffs They went fo, fi, fo to win the 1983 NBA title. It was something that was celebrated by Philly Jazz Fusion group Pieces of A Dream making it into a smooth hit song also named Fo, Fi, Fo.

Ok now that you’ve enjoyed the throwback from the 80s you get thrown to the modern day  and the Sixers are the antithesis of that great team they have lost a mind boggling 25 games in a row. And the worst thing is that there is no sign of any kind of reprieve. Consider that the Sixers last won on January 29th, that was nearly 2 months ago. They are closing in fast on the record for the NBA’s longest losing streak held by the post Lebron Cleveland Cavaliers who lost 26 in a row. This team shows no signs of slowing its losing streak after getting hammered by the Spurs who have their longest winning streak of the Pop-Duncan era at 14 games. The Sixers play the Rockets in Houston then come home to face the Pistons exactly two months since their last win and facing possibly the record loss. Can the Sixers run the table in reverse? Will this cinch a new system for a lottery? Stay Tuned.

MLB: Define Overrated

There was a poll of MLB players on who was the most overrated player in their ranks and the person that led the poll surprised me. The Nationals Bryce Harper led over Yasiel Puig and get this A-Fraud...errr A-Rod. Now I think that Harper has rode a considerable hype machine since coming up as a precocious teenager and zooming through the minors to become a stud player for the Nats but to call him overrated? Im not too sure about that, Im also wondering why the haterade is being thrown at Puig who has burned bright as a young star from Cuba and has shown the tools if not the supposed discipline and decorum to be an all-around star in MLB. A-Rod? Is he still in this league? I want someone to define overrated for me. Im thinking of another Public Enemy Jam in "Dont Believe the Hype" It seems that the mainstream sports media wants to find the next big thing to build up so that they can tear them down and rail on them just as fast. 

Phat Dap

To the ladies of Oklahoma and Depaul Universities  who played an thrilling shootout on Saturday afternoon in the NCAA opening round. The 104-100 game was a record for number of points scored in a regulation womens tourney game but also was filled with a breakneck end to end energy that would hearten any hoop head. Both teams shot well with the Blue Demons shooting a crisp 54% from the field. the Sooners made 12 3's and the Lady Demons nailed 11 triples. it was a tight game all the way, decided only in the final seconds.  It was a fun game to watch and well deserving in the tourney. 

Head Slap

To the New York Post (Want a good tune, listen to the old Public Enemy jam Letter to the New York Post) who slipped up again reporting the former SMU basketball player Quinton Davis was dead...there was one problem. He wasn't. Davis who still lives in the Dallas area was at the La. Tech-SMU game the other night and returned home to find a flurry of messages. Davis who is in his early 30s, was reported as having been found dead as a homeless person. Davis who was neither had to spend the next couple days online and making calls to report that the reports of his death were exaggerated. The New York Post printed a correction but its just another slip up by a horrid publication. 

Other Things

I still think that the Wildcats benefited from a mass of no-calls. My mom isnt a hoop head like me but was wondering why the calls were so blatantly in favor of Kentucky.

Magic Johnson complained that the Lakers lack real leadership and that Laker legends Pat Riley, Phil Jackson and Jerry West in other cities instead of LA is a travesty. The leadership of Jimmy Buss is the travesty in LA and no quick fix is helping that squad. 

Gotta send love and prayers to one of my all time favorite QB's Jim Kelly who is battling an aggressive form of cancer. Kelly has been a favorite of mine since he was playing at the University of Miami and the old USFL Houston Gamblers. Send one up for an old QB battling a foe we all hope he will riddle like he did so many defenses in the K-Gun back in the day.

Richie Incognito with the Raiders? That just sounds too easy...

Baseball starts in Austraila this year, did you watch or care? Or are you like me, that baseball season starts when the Reds, or Red Sox or Braves or Cubs or whatever team you follow hits the field at the local ballyard. Its not really spring until opening day in the states. Not NIGHT...Opening Day!

Thanks for your patience while I fixed the column. Its hard to write with a sicky kid to take care of. Until next post fellow sports fans!

 

 

Opening Day Has Arrived!
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: March Madness MLB Opening Day

Everyone loves an Underdog, especially come March Madness and these opening games did not disappoint.  Mercer taking out Duke is every unaffiliated fan's dream game - a true David & Goliath type of match up.  It is interesting to see that now, even the mighty Duke is falling victim to the decay in the quality of college basketball.  As we all noted earlier, college basketball has had a major quality decline since the NBA started routinely drafting 18 & 19 year olds.  It some ways, it makes the March Madness upsets less surprising.  But who couldn't enjoy Dayton taking out Ohio State?!

In case you missed it, MLB opened the baseball season with a Dodgers - Diamondbacks game in Australia.  Kershaw pitched a strong game leading to a 3-1 victory.  First of all, it is clear that the Aussies seem to be a little confused about the game.  I really do not understand why baseball would decide to send Opening Day to the other side of the planet - who knows about it?

Next week is the REAL opeining day - and it will be time for a little forecasting for 2014.  By the way, Tanaka pitches today...think I will have to watch.

Enjoy the basketball!

 

Sports Friday with Hal: Madness in March
Category: FEATURED
Tags: College Basketball NFL Football Spygate free agency MLB Baseball Boston Red Sox Spring Training

Happy Friday!  I know I am excited for a weekend of March Madness!

 

The final week of winter has passed and in the Northeast and with that spring beckons. The green grass of infields, ballpark hot dogs, overpriced watered down beer, and sunshine seems far away, so close.  

 

Of course, March Madness is kicking off right now with two of the craziest days in college basketball (wishing I called out of work for some quality time with the couch, beer, and college basketball).  I will admit, my attention span waned on college basketball this winter. This year I was too caught up in the NFL all off-season and over-extended myself a bit with time commitments.

 

NFL NOTES:

 

The mad first week of free agency is over and the signings are just trickling in slowly now. The battle for bargains is in place. The big signing on Thursday saw Atlanta overpay for a kick returner (Devin Hester).  At 31, a three year deal for nine million dollars is a lot. Yes, the Bears had stuck him at wide receiver and cornerback in the past, but he is a pure special teams player.

 

I love how the New York Jets have had to put on a media dog-and-pony show to deal with the incessant criticism over their lack of activity in free agency despite a boatload of cap space. Their big news is that Michael Vick may come in and...well, what exactly? Cornerback Antonio Cromartie just signed in Arizona where he will team with Patrick Peterson to make a dynamic one-two punch. All the top corners are gone and there are no great quarterbacks available in free agency.

 

The Jets now are thinking about Vick to allow them to release Mark Sanchez and free up another $10 million in cap space they won’t spend? The best line by Ryan may have been about how his cornerbacks went from obscenely talented (Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie) in 2011 to...well nothing. Ryan said a lot of stuff about first round pick Dee Milliner and bust Kyle Wilson as part of his media show. But this line is just for the Patriots fans to make them smile:

“And there’s another guy, Ras-I Dowling, a guy that we really thought a lot of. . . . I’m happy with the guys that we have.”

Yup, the one and only Ras-I Dowling. From Revis to Ras-I...nice work, New York.

 

The highest profile free agent left is Jared Allen and he appears to be close to going to Seattle. Adding Allen would make an elite defense even stronger. Initially there were some frantic tweets  that he had signed, but now it appears Allen will decide this weekend.

 

Finally, an interesting note from a piece on the Brandon Spikes and Aqib Talib bad-mouthing the Patriots on the way out the door about reporting injuries. Mike Florio of NBC Sports/ProFootballTalk had this in his article on Thursday:

Over the years, we’ve developed the distinct impression that the NFL prefers to avoid shining too bright of a light on the irregularities of the injury-reporting system.  The procedure is aimed at creating the impression that there’s no inside information to be obtained by gamblers.  Obsessing over the various violations of the letter and/or the spirit of the rules would serve only to highlight that, indeed, the truth doesn’t reside on a piece of paper filled out by the team — and that it can possibly be obtained by offering small, green, rectangular sheets of paper to persons who are in position to pass along accurate information about who’s really injured, and who really isn’t.

The involvement of the Patriots serves only to complicate matters for the league.  As legend has it, the Spygate-related information given to the NFL by the Patriots that was destroyed by the league office consisted of evidence of cheating not only by the Patriots but also by multiple other teams in multiple other ways.  As the folklore also goes, Patriots coach Bill Belichick vowed to go public with chapter-and-verse detail about cheating throughout the league if the league were to mess with the Patriots again.

Wow. I would have loved to have seen Belichick roll out the tape on all the other NFL teams that were also “guilty” of “spying”. Damn, that would have been fun to see.

 

FAST BALLS:

I had my first fantasy baseball draft Thursday night as well.  I am really cutting down on the fantasy sports. I am in a hockey league that I have been negligent of and probably won’t return to next year; I had an even dozen NFL fantasy football leagues that was just a bit too much for me and needs to be cut down; this year I am in only three fantasy baseball leagues and have made a point to keep it at that number. Of course, one of them is the Gab league as I have to make up for my terrible performance last season.

 

Still, baseball is in the front of my mind. It keeps calling to me more and more each day. I already got some bleacher seats for the end of April at Fenway for cheap (well, the wife got them for me).  Did not get to Fenway the last two years, but am excited to get back there at a more reasonable price. The last two years the wife and I have dragged the kids to minor league baseball as there are great local products in Pawtucket (AAA Red Sox affiliate) and the Collegiate Summer League team the Brockton Rox.  Paying MLB prices for tickets, parking, food, drink, driving (gas money) and/or riding the rails, etc has killed a lot of the joy, and for a family of four it is an afternoon ballgame for the price of a vacation.

 

I have been following the Red Sox preseason games trying to get as many looks at the young arms that should be on display in AAA Pawtucket this summer. Drake Britton and Brandon Workman look like they are in position to start the season in the bullpen, but it may be in their best interest to be stretched out starting in Pawtucket. That said, there may not be room in the rotation.

 

Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster came to the Red Sox from the Dodgers when the Sox fleeced them by unloading Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez. Both had opportunities for a stretch in Boston but need polishing. De La Rosa looks like a better fit in the bullpen and Webster had some rough starts in Boston but has a lot of promise.

 

Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, and Henry Owens are all starters who may be called on to step up during the season if need be for a spot start or due to an injury. The trio has been flying up the minor league system and all project to be starting in Fenway in the near future. Barnes is the 2011 first round draft pick from UConn with a major league fastball and but has to polish his off-speed stuff. Owens is a big lefty who was also a 2011 first round pick with a mid-90s fastball and devastating change-up. He projects to be a solid starter. Finally Ranaudo is the most interesting case. He fell off the prospect watch after injuries slowed him in 2012. He bounced back with a big 2013 that saw him land in AAA. Still only 24, he could be in Boston by the end of the season.

 

OK, that’s all I have for today. Enjoy the March Madness and have a great weekend!

 

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