Tagged: Adrian Beltre

Musical Chairs 101

Adrian is not a name you hear every day, yet this week…the Boston Red Sox have lost one Adrian, and gained another. 

 

Wake To VMart.jpgWe are amid an offseason full of drama, intrigue…..and a boatload of cash being spent. 

Preparing for the 2011 Major & Minor league baseball season is certainly no joke. The “best” players are demanding serious money and some real long-term commitments for the use of their abilities on the field. The better the ability, the higher the pricetag.
When your fiercest competitors get wind that your team office is in need of a player to become an important piece in your lineup and a threat to them on the field next season and beyond, then they suddenly want that same player….at all costs! Driving-up your offer in the process just to make things more fun, adds the necessary intrigue. This kind of “cat and mouse” business play can easily bankrupt smaller teams, and turn others that try to stay in the game…into “non-contenders” if they do not wisely and frugally stick to their Needs List. 
Pride and bravado have no place in the business world. And if you think that Baseball and the entire Sports World is not a business…you are very wrong. General Managers have many things to consider (year-round) in selecting which players will play on their field in April. Quite a bit of analysis goes into the selection of each position’s player prior to the “Offer” being made. Scouting reports, age, personal & medical history, all must be considered prior to talks of money & contract time.
Something that must never be ignored (something many GM’s have yet to learn) is “What will the fans think?”  No one should forget who puts up the money to fill those ballparks and watch their players all Spring & Summer…….not only ticket sales, but massive expenditures on food & beverage on gameday, parking (for those ballparks who provide parking) and tours, and souveniers and all types of player jerseys & memorabilia. Just a small core of veteran favorites can severely-impact game sales & player-related expenditures in any given season. It will be extremely interesting to watch baseball team giants like the Red Sox and Yankees when their veteran players retire. (Ortiz, Wakefield, Varitek, Jeter, Rivera,etc…)
 
 
WS Beltre Growls.jpgMoney does make the world go around, and even though Baseball is our national pastime, money dictates who will play where in our beloved game of baseball.
All-Star, Silver Slugging Adrian Beltre was hopeful to return to the Red Sox organization, but the Boston front office decided to go in a different direction. Instead of giving a proven 100+ RBI slugger a 4 year deal to return, they spent 3 times more money to get a younger NL slugger in Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres for 8 years. Adrian cannot play right now because he just had surgery and may not even start Spring Training on time with his new team mates. Hopefully, he will be a strong and productive player for the VERY LONG 8 years that he will play for us in Boston.
 
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The Hot Stove season is certainly not over, and the Managers’ Meetings continue in lovely Lake Buena Vista Florida. There will be additional moves made, and money will be shuffled-around – and when the offseason is done, just like in Musical Chairs…….most major league ball players will have their seats when the music stops.
Play Ball !!!
– fenway fruitgirl 2010   “BEHIND THE NET”
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Rocky Spring Training 2010

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So far in 2010…spring training has not exactly been outstanding for the Boston Red Sox, competitively. Most players arrived early to the training facility this winter, and are present, and appear to be very physically-fit….at least to my discerning eye. So what’s wrong with this picture ?  


Last night’s game at Hammond Stadium was unfortunately televised on both MLB tv, and NESN (delayed) as well as broadcast live on WEEI radio….too bad. It was a very poor example of a professional baseball game, on Boston’s end. Buchholz was missing his spots and making Varitek run all over the place to pick-up his poorly thrown balls. He was inconsistent, and proved to me that he is no more than a fill-in starter at best. 

The guys were all missing catches all over the field. It was a mess, and I am purging myself of the entire unpleasant outing, and moving on to bigger things.

Today’s game in Bradenton Florida will be against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and our Texas beast Josh Beckett is taking the mound…hopefully and probably to right any of last night’s wrongs. Show ’em how it’s supposed to be done in the big boy world of pro ball today Josh. 

The NY Media (ESPN) is having a good old time being critical of our efforts this spring, and our many recent losses. Maybe they do not think we are paying attention to the hate and utter ugliness they spew about my team….well, I am paying attention. They are so completely biased, it is laughable….do they even take themselves seriously ?

I know that it’s springtime on the Gulf Coast, and the games do not count, and it’s all about the at-bats, and the gametime and workouts….and bonding…and blah, blah….but seriously, I want to see a few straight wins to please my own eyes and brain…and to shut ESPN up !!

10 Exhibition games are left before Opening Night at Fenway Park on EASTER SUNDAY – so lets set a goal of more wins than losses in those 10 remaining games…OK guys ? (You know I love you, I am your cheerleader….so JUST DO IT !!)

Oh, by the way…I am very impressed with Mike Cameron’s speed and agility, and his at-bats. I also am liking Adrian Beltre’s range and speed at 3rd base, as well as Jeremy Hermida’s fielding. Crossed-fingers for Dustin Pedroia on his wrist injury.

I would say: “I can’t wait until they get up here” but, they need more time down in Fort Myers. Opening Day/Night will be here soon enough.



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– fenway fruitgirl 2010

Deep Breath, Another Season’s About To Begin

 

city-of-palms-entrance.jpgAwoke this morning, a bit earlier than the last, and with a springier step than the previous day. Small changes that mean nothing, when melded-together….mean everything. Spring is on our doorstep, we can almost touch it.

The boys have been down in Florida preparing for the grind of daily games in the most intense media spotlight ever seen in these parts. The 2009 season ended abruptly, and not the way it should have….so the team and their fans have a chip the size of Oregon on their shoulder after watching rival team, the zillion-dollar New York Yankees take home the World Series trophy last fall. Closer and obvious fall guy Jonathan Papelbon re-signed with the Red Sox in the offseason, and returns a humbler, more mature and focused competitor. We have a new starting shortstop Marco Scutaro, who I believe will only help the lineup, and should be a great fielder, with young Jed Lowrie still available for play time also. Ortiz showed-up to the Fort Myers Training Facility early, as did Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and 2008 AL MVP Dustin Pedroia. They showed-up early to show eachother that they mean business, they want to win (not place or show) in 2010.

 

baseball.jpgVictor Martinez will get the bulk of the time behind Home Plate as lead catcher in 2010, but will rely heavily on direction from team mate Jason Varitek and coach Gary Tuck. Victor is an exceptional bat for the middle of our lineup, but does not throw too many base-stealers out, and does not call a game anywhere near what our Captain is capable of. You can check your stats on that one. But with Varitek only catching 2 of every 5 or 6 games, his strength will be preserved more effectively for the long season ahead. I watched the man play game after game, with hardly a break or day off because Kottaras’ bat was so weak, until he could no longer be effective in his at-bats in August/September of 2009. The man who was hitting home runs like crazy in Spring Training, into April/May/June (including a Grand Slam in late April at Fenway against the Yankees) was not the same man at summer’s end.

The addition of what some consider to be a third Ace in John Lackey, was one of the biggest offseason stories. Lackey has power, and came to Boston to win a championship….and will hopefully be just the addition needed to get us over the large hump and into the final stretch of the post season. You can never have too much pitching. Just ask Theo, he’ll tell you. I am sure that Clay Buchholz was not pleased at the addition of Lackey to the pitching staff, because he felt that he put his time in, and deserved to be lit-up at last. Let’s not forget our very expensive import, Japan’s MVP of the WBC….Mr. Daisuke Matsuzaka….who also needs a spot in the rotation. And oddly enough (and surprising to me) the front office decided to offer a pitching spot to returning veteran Tim Wakefield.

There is lots of talk of young Casey Kelly, the addition of Boof Bonser to the pen and another Ramon Ramirez !! Can’t wait to watch the guys throw for myself. Reliable lefty Hideki Okajima also returned to the team with a contract this offseason. Wagner and Saito are gone, both to the Atlanta Braves. Just hope there’s enough pitching in that pen to last us through a whole season. Any way we can buy-back Justin Masterson ? Young Daniel Bard should be quite effective as a setup guy in the 8th, or as an alternate closer when Papelbon has a night off.

Young Jacoby Ellsbury will become our LF guy, as Mike Siverman predicted in his Boston Herald article way back in late November/early December of 2009. Jason Bay left us for more money from the NY Mets, so we are left with a need that Jack-Rabbit Jacoby will fill at LF, and his previous position of CF will be played by veteran newcomer Mike Cameron. I am not sure if I agree with that move, because Ellsbury was so quick and limber, and jumped and stretched and caught almost everything that was thrown near him in that huge outfield in 2009. How will an aging Cameron do ?  J.D. Drew will return in RF, and be a reliable bat in our lineup once again. I welcome young Jeremy Hermida as a utility outfielder, and effective bat.

2009 3B Mike Lowell is being replaced on an everyday basis by Adrian Beltre. Not a popular move on Theo’s part, but we have to remain competitive, and Mike Lowell’s injuries keep him from playing everyday, whether he wants to admit it or not. Don’t get me wrong, Mikey has a great feel for the game, he is a great 3rd baseman, and an exceptional hitter who knows how to send a ball over the Monster….but he is no longer an everyday player of the caliber that we need to compete for a World Championship title in 2010. The poor guy can barely walk without limping (and he’s not the only one). Sadly, this will be the last full playing year for several of our favorite heroes in the Red Sox uniform.

They will bond as a team this month, and return to us at Fenway Park on Sunday April 4th eager, and powerful, and hungry for another great year. We will cheer, and pray for warmth, and chant as we watch them from our Blackberries, our slingboxes, our expensive HDTV hookups, Direct TV dishes, even 3D televisions !! We will collectively gather on Easter night and each night after in our dens, recreation rooms, corner bars, fancy living rooms, computer screens, backyard radios, social clubs, and everywhere people gather to be amazed and entertained by these amazing and entertaining men….who happen to be in a Red Sox uniform.

 

Panorama.jpgI will make my pilgrimages down to Boston to watch them play, from my little perch behind the net as often as I am able…..because I am a Red Sox fan….and can think of no better way to spend my precious time than to watch them play ball right at my toes, as I scream at the umpire and opposing players….please stop-by and say hello to me whenever you can, you will be greeted with a big smile.

– Fenway Fruitgirl  “Behind The Net” 2010