Saint Theo? Boston.com has a delightful-as-always photo gallery of pitchers and catchers...
Last night I thought my lips were going to fall off from the cold as I wandered around Copley Square, but pitchers and catchers reported yesterday, and so spring has officially sprung. I'm off to surf for more cool stuff, and I'll update this post accordingly.
The Globe photo galleries are practically a flip book of Daisuke Matsuzaka's every moment in Ft. Myers since Friday. I bet the other guys are glad he's taking some of the scrutiny off them. I bet Daisuke's glad (at least during this first circus) that he doesn't speak English.
It was very interesting to watch the video of Daisuke's press conference on this Globe page...I feel pretty bad for the translator, as the reporters ask three questions in one run-on sentence for her to translate.
In the article below that video, Amalie Benjamin characterizes it as "a press conference that showed a sly sense of humor to go along with an engaging personality that hardly required an understanding of Japanese." So far I've definitely picked up on the sense of humor also, and his body language in every photo and video I've seen, sea of flashbulbs or no, has looked relaxed and friendly. I admire the way he's standing up to the pressure, and I'm rooting for him already. Also, I have to say that smile has got to be second only to Big Papi's on the team.
Maybe this is Youkilis' strategy for staying incognito over the off-season; I recall he showed up with this scary facial growth last year.
Nothing says "THE RED SOX SEASON HAS BEGUN" like this photo. It's like I plumb forgot in the darkness of winter that Jason Varitek was still out there in the world, still being the stately Captain that he is...and this photo was a pleasant reminder that hey, yeah, there's still Jason Varitek to look forward to this year. Behind the plate, anyway. I hope his bat will be different from last year.
I seriously wasn't going to write any more about Keith Foulke, but I saw this in one of Google's 311 news articles on his "surprise" retirement, and couldn't resist pointing it out:
The Indians, whose slide from 93 wins in 2005 to 78 wins and a fourth-place finish last season was tied to a dreadful bullpen, signed Foulke to a one-year, $5 million contract in January.
The club would have had to honor that deal if Foulke had reported to camp and then retired.
"He didn't want to disappoint the organization or his teammates," general manager Mark Shapiro said, praising Foulke's integrity.
Remember how that possibly-ironically-intended comment about "the first and fifteenth of the month" got Foulke such a thorough excoriation before he left? I sure as hell do.
Sometimes, like I said then and I'll say it again, actions really do speak louder than words. Really. Everyone who ever called Foulke a money-grubbing, unlikeable son of a bitch from the remove of their Barcalounger after he won us a World Series should really take a look at that and think about it.
"He was so miserable last year," Josh Beckett said yesterday. "He doesn't like being hurt. So, in that aspect, no, not at all [surprised]. My locker was right next to his last year. I knew he was dying inside.
"I think his elbow, I think his back, and his knees [were hurting him]. I think his knees were just killing him. He couldn't walk, he couldn't run. And pitching was just a pain in his butt." (Globe)
The guy was in pain all year and it's only now we're really hearing about that aspect of it. He didn't piss and moan, though he could have. He never once pointed out the shittiness of his treatment by some Boston fans in lieu of the 2004 season. I mean, bottom line is, this was a guy in tremendous physical pain who still had to go out in public and try to make his living with a broken body, and some of my fellow fans responded to this by mocking him. I don't know that I'm ever not going to be bitter about that.
I shouldn't let it get to me this much, because you can't change what other people think, but it drives me nuts whenever I read someone writing about Foulke's retirement who can't resist a snide mention of the "Johnny from Burger King" comment or to label him "cantankerous". The guy literally paid for our World Series victory with his career. With his livelihood. And yet, as Boston watches him ride off into retirement, there are still some among us so ungrateful as to bring up some stupid, offhand comment he made once. I just can't stand it when I hear it. So there's that.
I've been thinking also about whether or not I should even mention the subject I am about to in fact go ahead and mention, because I don't want to fan the flames. But I read on Jere's blog yesterday that apparently Deadspin and BDD have picked up on meme expressed on a blog that was written yesterday (and, actually, linked by its author in my comments section yesterday, if you're curious) about Daisuke being...get ready for it...fat.
Yep. The guy hasn't thrown a single pitch and already some among us are grasping at straws to find something wrong with him. It's like my dad said to me once: "Around here, we live for a guy to strike out in a crucial situation in May against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, so we can dog him for it the rest of the season."
Our team went out and spent $100 million to bring us this sizzling young pitching prospect all the way from Japan, a prospect hotly sought by other teams which will also bring us some much-needed revenue in the Japanese market and so maybe ticket prices won't be so impossible...and apparently because in one photograph he doesn't resemble an NFL runningback, he's fat and he'll suck.
It's not like I can say I'm all lily white in this, either. I've been pessimistic and unfairly critical of players in the past myself. And while I may disagree, there's nothing wrong with legitimate, considered criticism of a team's strategies or a player's performance. But a knee-jerk label of "fat" being slapped on the newest crown jewel of our pitching rotation, when he isn't even fucking fat...
Like I said, I don't want to fan the flames of this any more than it already has been. But at the same time, I think there's a benefit to making my displeasure about it known. At the very least, it will hopefully counterbalance at least one of the people who have apparently done lost their minds out there this week.
And let's hope (perhaps foolishly) that that's the last of it.