Saturday, May 30, 2015


APRIL 7, 2015
As the baseball season begins, there is hope for a Boston Red Sox resurgence in 2015. I
noticed one prognosticator had the BoSox winning only 86 games, but still capturing the
AL East. They should have an explosive lineup and an adequate pitching staff. A return
to form by Koji Uehara would be of immense help. A shut down closer is imperative.
Yesterday the Red Sox had 5 hits off of lefty Cole Hamels and 4 were solo home runs.
They ended up with 5 homers on the day, and David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval and Mike
Napoli had none of them. It won't be like that every game Red Sox fans, but they may
just pulverize some people with that lineup if they can stay healthy. Hanley Ramirez
seems to get injured every year, and Sandoval's weight bothers me though it doesn't
seem to weigh on him.
A check of shows the number of games that Hanley has played
since 2011: 2014 (128), 2013 (86), 2012 (157) and 2011 (92). During the same period,
Sandoval has these number of games played: 2014 (157), 2013 (141), 2012 (108) and
2011 (117). So Sandoval, listed as 5'11” and 255 lbs (I doubt it), has been more durable.
Napoli, Victorino and Big Papi are also not immune to injury, and we saw what
happened to Pedroia the last two years when he was hurt. Can you imagine that BoSox
dugout yesterday after Pedroia hit his 2nd homer? 'Laser show'. Top that (Hanley did).
And if there are injuries (may the baseball gods be benevolent), there are pretty decent
replacements in Pawtucket. Baseball America named Boston 2nd best in minor league
prospects (after the Theo-led Cubs), several of whom are at AAA.

Pawtucket is loaded with starting pitching prospects (Owens, Johnson, Barnes,
Rodriguez), some of whom may be essential if the Red Sox are to make the playoffs.
Among PawSox positional players, you know that at some point C Blake Swihart will be
in the Majors. And OF Rusney Castillo won't be down on the farm long [until Daniel
Nava or Allen Craig are traded or someone (Victorino?) gets hurt].
Every major league team has injuries and the following could see time in the Bigs: CF
Jackie Bradley Jr. (especially if he hits), utility man Jemile Weeks, and 3B Garin
Cecchini (good bat, so so glove). Other PawSox to keep an eye on are 1B Travis Shaw,
OF Bryce Brentz (both have HR power), 2B Sean Coyle (please - no Pedroia injuries),
and SS Deven Marrero. It would not be surprising to see 19 year old INF Yoan Moncada
in Pawtucket by the end of the year, but it's unlikely he will see Boston.
The PawSox won the IL championship last year and manager Kevin Boles has a team
stacked with good prospects. He is now joined by hitting coach and ex-Red Sox catcher
Rich Gedman and pitching coach Bob Kipper (both with him in Portland). Let's hope
that good weather and good fortune follow this team as well as the Red Sox. Play Ball!

• While I was away in Puerto Rico, there wasn't much sporting news to follow (no US
newspapers), but my phone got me on line to WEEI and One thing I
did hear about was Tony Massarotti mouthing off on radio about Shane Victorino
wanting the BoSox to trade Mookie Betts for Cole Hamels (not true and Victorino
responded immediately). I don't listen to sports talk radio any more. The callers are
ignorant of the sports on which they comment, and the hosts, like Michael Felger and
Tony Mazz, are just plain ignorant and rude.
• Not only does the Providence Journal screw up every day, but NESN is also a disgrace
at times. Yesterday's NESN recap had Hanley's last name spelled 'Ramreiz'. Seriously.
• Driller Killer and I have seen Clay Buchholz pitch many times. A couple years back,
he faced the Angels' Jered Weaver, who was 6-0 at the time, and Buch bested him
(5/2/11). Buchholz has always been a bit of a head case. Hopefully yesterday's opener
was just a preview of what is to come if Buchholz keeps his confidence.
• Now comes word that in some desperate, last second chance to save Aaron Hernandez
from being convicted, his lawyers have admitted that he was present at the killing, but
didn't do it. Here's hoping that the jury sees through this ploy and convicts Hernandez.
• And with Aaron Hernandez, the word 'Life' takes on a whole new meaning.
• With the regular season winding down, both the young Celtics and the
underperforming (amid injuries) Bruins try to make the playoffs. Neither team may go
very far, but once the postseason starts, good things can happen. The Celts need the
experience and, if the Bruins make it, they may have a small shot at redemption.
• The Sunday Globe did a section devoted to 'Big Papi'. In it, Peter Abraham notes that
David Ortiz called everyone 'Papi' when he first joined the BoSox because he didn't
know their names. Abraham quotes Ortiz as saying that 'Papi' is a term of respect in the
Dominican Republic. And Ortiz doesn't like 'Big Puppy' (“I'm not a little dog.”).
• In the same section Nick Cafardo credits BoSox international scout Louis Eljaua with
convincing Theo Epstein to sign Ortiz when Minnesota released him. I've seen stories
that said Pedro Martinez convinced Theo to sign Ortiz. NESN has a video where Pedro
takes credit for helping the Sox to sign Ortiz:
• Have you seen that video of Tom Brady jumping off a cliff 40 feet up into a pool of
water (in Costa Rica). One of the dumbest things ever. Someone ask Belichick about it.

Just saw the layout for the proposed ballpark in Providence in the Journal.
Only two comments. First, it would be Rhody's answer to Candlestick; the place would
be cold, damp, dark, windy, and totally devoid of any ambiance for baseball. They'd
need a dome over it to make it doable and then use it for soccer, lacrosse, and football as
well. There'd be wharf rats the size of dogs in the stands, being so close to the
waterfront. Secondly, if the city gave these scammers any money from the public coffers
to pay for this boondoggle, they should be strung up by their heels in Kennedy Plaza.
Just one word: "BOYCOTT" if they ever build it the way it's proposed.
Skeffington? Aren't they in the funeral business? They could call it "The House that
Embalming Built" or "Formaldehyde Field".
Bill LaPlante
"Big White"
Yeah Bill, it appears Skeffington wants to bury Pawtucket and the franchise will follow if
they move it to Providence. The team is right where it should be now in Pawtucket. They
will lose much of their fan base if they move to Providence. This is a AAA team, not a
MLB team, playing 5 months in Providence, a city that already has a lot going for it.
The principals, Skeffington and 'Loose Lips' Larry Lucchino, want to add corporate
suites and maximize revenue. If I see Skeffington at a PawSox game, I'm going to tell
him to have Lucchino bring back architect Janet Marie Smith (she designed Camden
Yards and Petco Park), and have her put their luxury boxes at McCoy Stadium. And if
the General Assembly even thinks about using tax payer money, I'll be at the State
House with a Boycott sign. - Z

Pal Al was telling me that Lisa Fischer was playing the old Park Cinema, now a music
venue. He had seen a ProJo article about her (she was in 20 Feet From Stardom), and it
said that she was the back up singer on the Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter. I noted that
Merry Clayton was the singer on the recorded version. Al agreed and said that the ProJo
only referred to Fischer. I told him that the ProJo is wrong about something every day,
and they'd probably print a correction. Sure enough, the correction was in the next day.
Told the Wise Man that the Patriots were still on the hook for Aaron Hernandez' salary,
and it counted against the salary cap. So Eric looked it up and it's $3 million in 2015 and
was $7 million last year. The NFL never gave the Pats any cap relief for him - pathetic.
The Bear visited the HC, so there was hockey talk - the PC Friars making the Frozen
Four (they play at 5 PM, 4/9). Found out from the Bear that while Victoria and I were in
Puerto Rico, the New York Rangers overtook the Bear's beloved Habs for 1st place. I
joked about whether the Bruins would make the playoffs and how long they'd last.
Charlie Clancy is a PC rooter, but is more of a Friars' basketball fan than a hockey guy.
I'm sure Charlie would have preferred seeing the basketball Friars last longer in the Big
Dance where they fell to the floor. I told Charlie that the same ref that called Kris Dunn
for an early flagrant 1 foul that took some of his aggressive moves away, was the ref that
gave Ed Cooley a technical during a timeout when Cooley was trying to motivate his
team, and knocked over a chair. Two bad calls. Bad enough Dayton is playing in Ohio.
Credit Dayton's defense which shut down the Friars.
So in talking about the Friars making the Frozen Four and facing Nebraska-Omaha, a
friend of Charlie's stated that PC wouldn't get by his alma mater - BU. I reminded him
that BU had to win their semi-final first (vs. North Dakota). And I added that PC has a
good goalie in Gillies, a good defense and a good coach, so they could beat Nebraska-
Omaha. The BU grad knew that his alma mater had a great young phenom. I said,
“Yeah, Jack Eichel”, but he didn't seem to know the name. I checked and Eichel leads
the nation in scoring with 67 points (I consulted a Cox piece of 4/3).
Conductor Sir Georg Solti has the most Grammy wins (32). Only theWizard knew it.
What other rock n' roller besides Bob Dylan hales from Hibbing, Minnesota?


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