A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Tag: Red Sox

You Should Probably Not Drink The 2011 Red Sox Cabernet

by evanmcmurry



“Announcing the release of the limited edition Red Sox Club Series Reserve, a 2011 Alexander Valley Cabernet and a 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Celebrate the history, tradition and triumphs of the Boston Red Sox with your new favorite wine!”

Tasting notes on that 2011 Cab:  “It starts off weak, has a really good mid-palate that seems to earn its price point, but then takes a complete nose dive at the end, at which point you’ll detect strong hints of fried chicken and beer. Still preferable to the 2012 batch, which ends with Bobby Valentine riding his bike into a tree.”

Now Boston’s Season Begins

by evanmcmurry

The Red Sox own the best record in the Majors, have the hottest pitcher (Buchholz) and the leader in RBIs and extra base hits (Napoli).

But they’ve also been playing terrible teams. Almost all of the Sox’s opponents have either been woeful in general (Rays, Blue Jays, Astros) or in a slump when the Sox met them (Yankees, As). Tomorrow Boston starts a series against the Rangers, a first place team well above .500. It will be their first true test of 2013.

Progress, Boston Red Sox v. Capitalism Edition

by evanmcmurry

Ben Cherington must read this blog and its long-running complaint about ballclubs sinking all their money into overpriced slugger salaries:

We knew when we made the Dodger trade, when we moved (Adrian) Gonzalez, that we would have to try to find a way to replace that offense, and as we got into the offseason we understood that was probably going to have to come from a combination of guys and maybe not one guy. (via)

Many guys as opposed to one guy? That’s not how baseball works.

Cherington has already offloaded three of Theo Epstein’s obscenely-paid players; of them, Gonzalez was the only one potentially worth a blockbuster contract, but even still his salary was so stratospheric that it’s hard to imagine a single player’s performance living up to its value (no player’s does). So while Cherington is still stuck with Dice-K and John Lackey, both Epstein acquisitions, he’s showing a proclivity for the smarter, mid-range contracts of the mid-2000s Sox—in other words, he’s acting like Epstein before Epstein started handing out contracts the size of a small nation’s GDP to anyone who was on the market that year.

Red Sox May Still Want To Be Liked, Maybe

by evanmcmurry

If you’re looking for clues that the Red Sox are taking at least baby steps toward becoming a non-embarrassing franchise again, consider that they’re looking to resign David Ortiz and Cody Ross.

Ortiz is the more significant of the two. Two years ago, it looked like Ortiz was done for, at least in a Sox uniform; but now he is the only remaining member of the ’04 Idiots, is hands down the most visible and likable personality on the team, and most, important, is still really fking good. One of the worst in a huge dustbin of disappointments in 2012 is that the Sox wasted a banner year from Ortiz; via ESPN, Ortiz went .318 with 23 home runs and 60 RBIs, leading the Sox in all measures of hitting during the stretch he was healthy.

The catch: other teams can make competing offers to Ortiz this year. He’s been vocal that he wants to retire in a Sox uniform, and not in the last-minute trade version of Garciaparra; so it’s left to the Sox to make sure they do right by him. If the Sox ditch Papi, especially after offloading Adrian Gonzalez, they’d lose both their best hitter and their best personality.

Ross, a free agent, is also the type of the player the Sox should keep around. A key component of the Giants’ World Series run, Ross hit well for the Sox this year, stepping up after mainstays like Ellsbury and Pedroia went down to injuries. And unlike some players we won’t mention, he performs well despite a relatively low price tag.

The Sox still have massive, and massively expensive, problems in John Lackey, Dice-K, and others. But resigning good, likable, affordable players would be a nice start toward next season; on the other hand, losing one or both of Ortiz and Ross would be quite deflating. I still wear my Sox cap daily on the streets of New York City; I’d like not to do so in vain.


Good News, Red Sox Fans: Carl Crawford Is No Longer Indicative Of The Apocalypse

by evanmcmurry

Now that $142 million man Carl Crawford—whose name, up through last week, was being ubiquitously paired with words like “mess,” “fiasco,” and “disaster”—is hitting .355/.375/.710/1.085 with eight runs and nine RBI in the past few games, he no longer statistically correlates to the end of the world:

Via Google Trends, red is “apocalypse,” blue is “Carl Crawford.” You can clearly see Carl break away in the end there.

Twitter agrees:

It’s official: Carl, you’re out of the doghouse. Now don’t fuck it up.

The Penn State Scandal Is Beginning To Corrode Other Sports

by evanmcmurry

This little gem showed up in my FB feed yesterday:


BOSTON, MA — This afternoon, Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry and Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington spoke to Bill James regarding him making public his personal opinions on Joe Paterno.

In that call, Mr. James was informed that his comments in no way reflect the opinions or positions of the Red Sox; and, because he is perceived as a representative of the Red Sox, he was asked to refrain from any further public comments on this matter.


Ordinarily, I can’t stand it when brand identity takes precedence over open discourse. Reggie Jackson should be able to call A-Rod a steroid-popping punk all he wants. Really, anybody should be able to call anybody anything. Too much is lost when corporations are perceived to own their employees’ behavior simply through some fuzzy associative logic.

But I’m making an exception in this case. For some reason, Bill James won’t stop defending Joe Paterno, and he needs to. I hope this does the trick.

I’m No Baseball GM, But…

by evanmcmurry

I don’t like the Red Sox trade of Josh Reddick for an A’s relief pitcher. It may make all the sense in the world from a talent/roster perspective (though few of the Sox’s pitching moves have, recently), but the Sox didn’t have a talent/roster problem last year–in fact, they had the (second) best roster in baseball. The Sox had a getting drunk and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse problem, which is to say a character problem. Josh Reddick is a young, eager ballplayer with tons of promise and what appeared (I don’t now the guy) to be character; he seemed like another Dustin Pedroia. Don’t the Sox need that more than a guy who can pitch the seventh inning every few games?

Manny Ramirez: A Still Life

by evanmcmurry

“I was not prepared for retirement,” Ramirez said. So in other words, Manny Ramirez approached the end of his career in the exact fashion as the rest of his career.