November 2011


Now leading the Red Sox ...

The Red Sox have, mercifully, finally made a decision on who will be the 45th manager in team history, and it’s Bobby Valentine, he of the fake mustache, science fair wins and six touchdowns in one game, he who’s worked as an ambassador for baseball in Japan, he who spouts off every week on Sunday Night Baseball.

Smiling Bobby Valentine, for better or worse, is in charge now.

There are a fair number of reporters applauding this decision. Valentine will be great! He’s a disciplinarian! He ballroom dances! He’s witty! And I understand that. Valentine has a reputation of saying the ridiculous on the record, and he’ll make the life of a beat reporter much more entertaining.

And, in the face of reason, it’s quite disappointing. (more…)

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It happened.

For the first time in 19 years, a pitcher has been properly recognized as the most valuable player in his league. So congrats go out to Justin Verlander, the American League Cy Young winner and MVP. It’s been a long time coming. (more…)

For a little while, Sam Horn owned Boston.

On Thursday night, Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, did his best not to throw the ball, running an SEC-style offense against the New York Jets, one of the better defensive teams in the NFL and coming off an emotional thrashing at the hands of the New England Patriots.

But the Jets struggled offensively, keeping the Broncos in the game. And in the fourth quarter, with time ticking down under a minute, Tebow slashed his way through the defense and into the end zone, giving the Broncos a 17-13 win, his fourth win in five starts, and just the latest entry into his late-game exploits.

It doesn’t make sense. Despite his good intentions and obvious ability to inspire and lead, Tebow should not be beating anyone in the NFL. He has an arm made of butter, and his best ability, to scramble and run, is usually stopped cold by even the most pedestrian defenses in the league.

But he keeps winning. It doesn’t stand up to reason.

And neither did Sam Horn. (more…)

All that's missing is Joe Carter in right field.

The Baseball Gods have once again shined its graphic magic upon the game.

Following the lead of the Baltimore Orioles a few days ago, the Toronto Blue Jays have unveiled a new logo and uniform set, which harkens back to a time when Toronto was the capital of the baseball world, a team that played its games in a futuristic stadium and terrorized the rest of the American League.

It’s an updated take on the graphic blue jay, bringing back the baseball background, the maple leaf in the ear and the hollowed out numbers and typeface, a unique look for baseball’s second Canadian team. And since it fits my distorted world view that every baseball team (with some exceptions) should dress like it did in 1988, I couldn’t be happier with the results. (more…)

This is what it looks like right before Justin Verlander strikes you out.

I don’t believe in taking many hard-line stances. Every moment is unique, every situation is fluid, circumstances change, emotions are unpredictable.

So when I hear otherwise intelligent folks say that pitchers should not ever win a Most Valuable Player award, I want to set my hair on fire.

Most years, this isn’t quite such a pressing issue. While there’s always one or two pitchers who seem to be world beaters — Zack Grienke in 2009, Roy Halladay every year since 2004, for example — there are typically one or two hitters in each league having career years, propelling their team to the playoffs, perhaps even marching towards history.

But not in 2011, and not in the American League. (more…)

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