Opening day….in March. Dan Shaughnessy says today is a whole new world, because the Sox have never played a March game before. If Manny hits a home run today, expect Dan to call him “Mr March” for the rest of his career. He predicts his Pedro no hitter again, unless of course the dreaded reverse-lock theory kicks in. Tony Massarotti says that Manny and Nomar are due for a big year at the plate. Someone at the ProJo (Sean McAdam?) goes over ten questions related to this years club. Number ten is one of those little things that bug me.
10. Can the Red Sox win it all?
Haven't you been paying attention the last 85 seasons?
That cha-ching you just heard was Shaughnessy paying commission for the sale of another book about that dead guy. (I’m boycotting the name of the book and the theory…not gonna say it anymore) David Heuschkel looks at Grady Little, heading into his second season with the Sox, his relationship with Theo Epstein, the players and if he’s going to be tougher this year. Bob Hohler also looks at Grady. In that piece its somewhat amusing to read the 80-something Johnny Pesky refer to the GM as “Mr Epstein”. That’s old school, folks. In a good way. It’s opening day, 2003, and Jeff Horrigan notes that Shea Hillenbrand is still here. The Metro unveils its Baseball Preview. Alex Speier was a busy guy, doing a short piece on Manny, 10 reasons why the Sox can’t win it all, 10 reasons why they can, predictions for 2003, (Red Sox are Wildcard, Twins win it all) and finally, Bill James pokes fun at the term “bullpen by committee”. One alternative they came up with was OTUB (Optimal Targeted Usage Bullpen) Kevin Gray looks at an improved Red Sox team, and makes his predictions. (Sox lose in six to the Braves in the World Series) Gordon Edes looks at Lou Piniella set to take the helm of perhaps the most inept franchise in baseball. In Tampa, Joe Henderson expects the hiring of Piniella to pay immediate dividends. Carter Gaddis has a look at today’s opening day starter for the Rays, Joe Kennedy. The Projo has a look at native son Rocco Baldelli. Steven Krasner says the Rays center fielder isn’t nervous heading into his MLB debut. They’re making comparisons to Joe DiMaggio in Tampa for Baldelli, if only because he’s going to wear # 5. For the pay articles, Howard Bryant comes up with five ways baseball can strengthen and improve itself. He suggests teams to be contracted, six total. He suggests going with an eight man lineup. No DH or pitcher batting. No music before every at bat. Steve Buckley says the new owners can finally call this team their own. He describes their changes as follows:
So here we are. Boy general manager, bullpen by committee, seats on the Green Monster, and stat wizard Bill James.
The new owners allowed advertising to be placed on The Wall, and yet more box seats to gobble up precious foul room. They turned longtime broadcaster Sean McDonough into a part-time employee.
The expansion of Yawkey Way into a gameday street festival continues. And let's not forget about the red uniform tops.
Ugh. Bullpen by committee. How many times do we need to point out that a bullpen is by nature already a committee? It’s closer by committee. (or OTUB) Wasn’t Sean McDonough already a part-time employee? But with the shots Sean has taken at Buckley on the radio recently, it sure was nice of Buck to acknowledge Sean’s status as a good announcer. The notebooks are all about Pedro and the missed deadline. Hohler’s notebook says Pedro will try to not let the situation bother him. Horrigan’s notebook says it’s possible this is Pedro’s final year with the Sox. McAdam’s notebook says there is a difference in opinion between what Pedro feels he’s worth and what the owners feel he’s worth. The owners are still waiting for that “market correction” to take place. If they keep waiting for that, it’s bye, bye, bye.
Stephen Harris looks ahead to tonight’s Bruins/Lightning game, with the B’s still looking to clinch that playoff spot after a few blow opportunities already. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at a change in the coaching of the forwards on the Bruins, requiring them to skate with more energy. John Molori looks at how PJ Stock is not benefiting from sales of t-shirts bearing his name.
Steve Bulpett notes that Jim O’Brien wasn’t too ticked off at Paul Pierce for ignoring his order to switch men on defense while Ricky Davis was lighting him. Pierce took the order as a challenge on locked down on Davis the rest of the game. Shira Springer says the Celtics still need to work on their halfcourt defense if they’re to finish the season strong.