Notes

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE NEW "WHAT'S COOKING ON THE HOT STOVE" SECTION, ON THE LEFT HAND COLUMN.

2007: A Review in Sports

2007 for sports in America can be simplified down to: the good, the bad and the ugly. Read below for an overview of the year.

Major League Baseball

THE GOOD: The Boston Red Sox winning their second World Series Championship in four years and becoming the first and only team to win it twice in the 21st Century. As well as Sox pitcher Jon Lester coming back from a cancer diagnosis in late 2006 to win the clinching game of the World Series.

THE BAD: The Mitchell Report by Senator George J. Mitchell being released in mid-December, naming 86 current and former MLB players including former Red Sox Roger Clemens and Mo Vaughn. It really gives baseball a black-eye.

THE UGLY: Roger Clemens’s denial of steroid usage and Jose Canseco’s coming out with a new book in the Spring of 2008.

National Football League

THE GOOD: The New England Patriots becoming the first team to finish the regular season 16-0 and have the best chance of going 19-0 and winning their fourth Lombardi Trophy. As well as Tom Brady breaking Peyton Manning’s touchdown record and Randy Moss breaking Jerry Rice’s touchdown reception record.

THE BAD: Former Atlanta Falcons’s Quarterback Michael Vick being charged and arrested for dog fighting in April. Upon the guilty verdict, Vick now is spending 23 months in a Virginia penitentiary.

THE UGLY: New York Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini blowing the whistle on his former mentor Bill Belichick after the Patritos-Jets game at Giants Stadium at the beginning of September. It resulted with the Patriots being stripped of their first round draft pick and getting in the wallets of Belichick and the Patriots franchise for a combined $750,000.

Also the Miami Dolphins winning their first game of the season against the Baltimore Ravens in December and ended the season with a 1-15 record.

National Basketball Association

THE GOOD: After winning only 24 games all of last year and losing 19 games in a row at one point, the Boston Celtics are the hottest team in the NBA right now. Trading their fifth overall pick to the Seattle Supersonics for Ray Allen then making a blockbuster deal to acquire Kevin Garnett in July, the Celtics find themselves a top the league at 26-3.

THE BAD: The gambling scandal of NBA official Tim Donaghy for betting on basketball games that he officiated during the previous two seasons. Donaghy pleaded guilty to federal felony conspiracy charges.

THE UGLY: The Miami Heat being 8-23 so far this season when only a couple years ago they were World Champions. Also you have to take into account Minnesota without Kevin Garnett – and with half of ex-Boston players (Al Jefferson, Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, Gerald Green, Antoine Walker, Randy Foye and former BC Eagle Craig Smith) sits at 4-25.


College Football:

THE GOOD: Appalachian State beating Michigan in the first week of the college football season as well as Boston College as one of the surprise teams of the year, ending the season with an 11-3 record and 6-2 in the ACC.

THE BAD: The fact that we have two teams with two losses in the season playing for the National Championship. What about West Virginia or Hawaii?

THE UGLY: The historic powerhouse the Notre Dame Fighting Irish getting their second win of the season against Duke on November 17. They finished the season with a 3-9 record and many wondering if this will be Charlie Weis’s last year.

If you noticed that “the good” all have ties to Boston, well this was Boston’s year in the sporting world. And it looks like, with the direction the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Revolution and even Bruins are heading, it won’t be their last year on top.

Here are some high and low points of the past year in sports:

  • January 12 – McDaniel College Head Basketball Coach Bob Flynn passing away at the age of 49 after a sudden, massive heart attack.
  • February 4 – Peyton Manning finally gets his ring when the Indianapolis Colts defeat the Chicago Bears two weeks after coming back from a 21-6 deficit against the Patriots.
  • The Florida Gators defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes for both the NCAA Division I-A Football Championship and the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship.
  • Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron’s homerun record in August then is indicted by the federal grand jury months later.
  • Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew becoming the only major league player to be a part of two back-to-back-to-back-to-back homeruns, when the Sox Manny Ramirez, Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek all went deep against New York Yankees starter Chase Wright on April 20. (Drew was a part of one as a Dodger the previous year.)
  • The American League winning another All-Star game.
  • The first player to get a hit off of Daisuke Matsuzaka was college outfielder and punter, Johnny Ayers.
  • Patriots offensive line man Marquise Hill dying in a jet-ski accident in Louisiana in July.
  • Bills tight end Kevin Everett being temporarily paralyzed after trying to make a tackle on, then, Broncos kick returner Dominik Hixon. Thanks to the knowledge of the Buffalo medical staff, Everett is able to stand and walk on his own four months after being injured.
  • Redskins safety Sean Taylor dying from a gunshot wound to the leg after catching someone trying break into his house.
  • Broncos defensive back Darrent Williams being shot and killed less than 24 hours after the Broncos’s season ended on Denver streets at 2 o’clock in the morning on New Year’s Day 2007.
  • Zach Johnson winning his first Masters Championship on April 8.
  • Don Imus’s racial comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team in April.
  • The Virginia Tech Hokies winning the ACC Championship after the a single gunman took the lives of 32 students and faculty.
  • San Antonio Spurs sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
  • Roger Federer wins his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title.
  • Tiger Woods wins his 13th major winning the PGA Championship.
  • Phil Mickelson wins the 2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am for the third time and his second in three years.
  • Mickelson injures left wrist while playing in a practice round at the U.S. Open at Oakmont due to the heavy rough.
  • Angel Cabrera becomes the fourth consecutive non-U.S. born golfer to win the U.S. Open. (Retief Goosen, South Africa, 2004; Michael Campbell, New Zealand, 2005; Geoff Ogilvy, Australia, 2006)
  • Irish golfer Padraig Harrington wins the 2007 Open Championship (British Open) at Carnoustie Golf Links.

"It sounds like a Personal Problem"

Jose Canseco’s second book should be released just in time for Opening Day 2008 and, according to ESPN; the sequel is going to mention more names than the first. The New York Post and the New York Daily News gave some details about what might be included in his second book.

Allegedly, Canseco has defaming information on Alex Rodriguez, Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez regarding steroid usage as well as information regarding Mark McGwire in the 2005 Congressional hearings. Canseco adds that this book will “fill-in” the holes that the Mitchell Report opened and how he was shocked that A-Rod’s name was not mentioned in the Report.

If you never read Canseco’s first book “Juiced,” I would advise you not to read the sequel. By virtue of writing a second book it has become evident that Canseco has absolutely no interest in cleaning up the game of baseball. All he is doing is defaming the league for his own personal downfall. This is not a baseball problem and in the words of Dr. Charles Neal “it sounds like a personal problem.”

To all baseball fans out there here’s a warning: do not waste your hard earned money on Canseco’s second book of crap. It is assured to add nothing but speculation with more players.

Both books have been Canseco’s way of getting back at Major League Baseball for the way his career ended. No one can argue that Canseco had a less than perfect end to his career. After playing seven seasons with the Oakland Athletics, he spent the last years of his career with Texas, Boston, New York, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Toronto.

In his 17 year career, Canseco was a two-tool player – a base stealer and a power hitter – and overall good baseball player. For seven seasons he was had double digits in stolen bases and homeruns while becoming only one of four players to hit 40 homeruns and have 40 stolen bases in a season. Those are the quintessential skills that start to diminish around the age of 31/32 years old and in his case he became a one-tool player after 1994, with the exception of one year (1998). When his skills started to go, he had nothing. Canseco was a defensive liability in the field, hence why he spent his entire career in the American League. (Remember the time he was playing rightfield and a fly ball bounced off his head and over the fence for a homerun? My point exactly.)

His books mean nothing but a bunch of sour grapes that his career ended struggling to make the rosters of the Devil Rays and Expos. These books are for the sole purpose of saying “if I’m going down then I’m bringing the entire league down with me.” That is sad and I think we are witnessing a man in total “emotional turmoil.”

Athletes contemplate but choose wisely

This is an article that I wrote during my sophomore year at McDaniel College about collegiate athletes (mainly at McDaniel) and performance enhancement drugs. I talked to wrestlers, football, lacrosse and baseball players. This is what I found out from talking with these Division III student athletes.

At one point in time steroids came to the mind of all college athletes for the extra strength that they need so they can compete with that other linebacker, quarterback, pitcher or outfielder. McDaniel coaches, trainers, athletic director and Terror athletes are on different sides of the fence on the issue of steroid use in Division 3 and at McDaniel.

Green Terror athletes spend a lot of time in the weight room lifting weights and working hard to compete for roster spots and starting positions. Athletes can spend so much time in the weight room but there is only so much that they can do. By their competitive nature, athletes will try to gain an advantage over their teammates for playing time anyway possible.

“There comes a time when you can’t do anything more,” says sophomore defensive back Matt Lufkin. “There comes a time when you can’t lift any harder or do anymore.”

It is always tough to see that guy come into the weight room, spend an hour there, leave and still get playing time over the guy who was “the first one in and last one out.” No athlete wants to see that. So they look for a way to gain an advantage.

They are always competing with someone, no matter if it is during a game or during practice. They want playing time.

“No one likes to work hard and not get a chance to show it,” says senior wrestler Leon Checca.

Athletes will look for the easiest way to gain strength, become stronger or faster. That way usually leads to steroid abuse. With steroids athletes can lift harder and longer. Steroids have testosterone that allows athletes to work out for a longer period of time and cuts down on the recovery time of the athlete.

“[Steroids] decreases the recovery time,” explains McDaniel Athletic Trainer Gregg Nibbelink. “They will lift too much and never let the body heal.”

But the negative affects of steroids do not have any affect on athletes. They are thinking of the present and the near future.

“They want that $100 million contract,” says junior linebacker Jay Scott.

Neither Scott nor Checca has ever considered using steroids. Steroids are the easiest way to get bigger and stronger. They are the worst thing to ever happen to sports in this society. To put it simply steroids are the easiest way to cheat.

“They are an inevitable part of the game,” says Lufkin.

Athletes want to play. They want to show that they can play. They have worked so hard. Some coaches at McDaniel recognize that athletes my try or consider steroids for a roster spot. But other coaches such as the men’s lacrosse Head Coach, Jim Townsend, think just the opposite.

“If they have to compete for a roster spot then they have issues other than steroids,” says Coach Townsend.

Coach Townsend and football Head Coach Tim Keating do not believe that there are athletes at McDaniel who are using steroids. And they are right. There has been no evidence that suggested a Terror athlete had been using any type of performance enhancing drug, according to Athletic Director Jamie Smith.

“I haven’t seen athletes at McDaniel about steroids, so I can’t prove it’s being done [here] or not being done [here],” explained Nibbelink.

But Nibbelink is not saying that there definitely are no Terror athletes on steroids. It is possible that athletes can do steroids because the NCAA drug testing policy is not the same in division three as it is in divisions one and two. This has sparked the idea of having more stringent and random testing in division three.

Division one and two athletes have random drug testing but division three athletes are only tested if they make the playoffs. So it is possible for a division three athlete to be using a performance enhancing drug during the season. The only thing that athlete has to keep in mind is: what if the team makes the playoffs?

“If a player thinks they will go to the playoffs or nationals they won’t do it,” says Nibbelink.

Nibbelink, as well as Keating, is for random drug testing. Athletes will less likely to use any performance enhancing drugs if they know that they can be tested at anytime, according to Nibbelink. He also thinks that the NCAA should pay for the testing if they really want to drug free the college athletics.

“McDaniel can’t avoid to do random drug tests,” says Nibbelink. Drug testing can cost a school up to $1 million per year.

But not everyone is for random testing. Checca is one who is against. It is not the answer to the steroid problem in division three. Testing doesn’t prove anything, according to him. As long as they get off the drug a few months before they have the idea they are going to be tested the drugs will be out of their system.

Division three athletes are different than division one and two athletes. Division one and two athletes are playing mostly for the chance to go to the next level (the professional level), says quarterback and lacrosse player Brad Baer.

“D3 athletes are playing more for the love of the game,” says Checca.

Steroids do not make the athlete. The athlete has to already have some skill and talent level before he/she steps onto the field. The steroids are not going to do it for them. Athletes have to be willing to work and put in time in the weight room, says outfielder and quarterback Tom Weinrich. They have to be willing to be “one of the first ones in and one of the last ones to leave.”

“You can take all the steroids you want but if you don’t lift nothing’s going to happen,” claims Coach Townsend.

No more Fleece...

Doesn't MLB have more important issues to deal with than making sure Terry Francona is wearing his jersey? There is the whole steroid issue that comes to mind as being more egregious than Francona's fleece sweatshirt.

If MLB wants to crack down on the uniforms than crack down on the personnel that are actually ON field. Looking at the 30 different teams in baseball the majority of the players wear their pants down over their shoes. There are not too many players left that show the socks. Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz all wear uniforms that somebody just let the air out of. Call me old school but I liked it when the uniforms actually fit the players. I would like to see a little more nostalgia in the league or more of MLB players like Josh Beckett. He actually looks professional. Remember 90% of life is presentation.


Then their are the players like Jason Varitek and Mike Timlin who from time to time like to wear the high socks. I do not have a problem with this style compared to the overly baggy style because it is nostalgic. It traces back to the days of Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.

How about a standard uniform like NFL? All players and teams will have to designate their uniforms during the first three weeks of Spring Training, where ALL players must wear the same style. There is a reason it is called a uniform for a reason. All players must be uniform (no player may wear their pants long when the rest of the team is wearing their pants high and vice-versa). During the course of the season the teams and players must where their designated uniforms for their home or road games. If during the season, a player violates MLB uniform policy, both the player AND the team are fined an indefinite amount of money.

Idealist fans with Neo-Realist Philosophies

The fans out there who say that the Sox should not trade Jacoby Ellsbury, even if it means getting one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball and a 2-time Cy Young Award winner, are idealist in nature. They see, at sometime in the near future, all the Sox prospects playing on the same field together. This is not the case.

The Red Sox want to be a competitive team year in and year out and the only way to do so is to build up a farm system of good, young players. These players can be used on the field or as a trade bait to get the Pedro Martinez's, Josh Beckett's and Johan Santana's of the league.

Having a good farm system is a double edged sword for the Sox, having the prospects they have leave trades difficult to make. Other teams, such as the Twins, also know how good the Sox system and will up the price for their veteran talent (i.e. the Twins wanting Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, etc. for Johan Santana). It is what Sox fans have to deal with. Not all prospects will wind up in a Sox uniform.

The majority of realistic Red Sox fans understand the benefits of a good farm system give you a leg up in being competitive every year by being able to acquire the present day top players. These fans would trade Ellsbury and his future potential for Santana. Acquiring Santana will put the Red Sox in the same position of MLB in 2008, that the Patriots are in during this year's NFL season. That position being: dominating the rest of the league and possibly another championship.

"Utopia - that which is not"

Jon Lester now has something in common with Mike Lowell when Lester became the 21st player to win the Tony Conigliaro Award.

The award is given, each year, to the player that overcomes the most adversity. In 1999, while with the Florida Marlins, Lowell won the award after his battle with testicular cancer. Eight years later Lester won the award after his battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The Tony Conigliaro Award is one of best awards given by baseball writers because it adds a human element to the game. You are not talking about statistics or what a player brings to a team, instead you are talking about overcoming adversity and doing things people never thought was possible. And that is exactly what both Lester and Lowell did.

Lester and Lowell are not the only people who have received the award. Former Red Sox outfielder Curtis Pride, who became deaf as an infant, received the award in 1996. Former Red Sox pitcher Jason Johnson did not let his Type I diabetes stop him from his dream of playing Major League Ball. Jim Eisenreich, Jim Mecir and Freddy Sanchez overcame their birth defects - Tourette's Syndrome and clubfoot - to play Major League Baseball.

But there is one player who overcame the most difficult challenge and inspired others like him that they can achieve their goals no matter the difficulty. The player is Jim Abbott, the left-handed pitcher born without a right hand and threw a no-hitter for the Yankees in 1993. Abbott has inspired others who thought they would never play a sport due to possible physical limitations, including this man. Click this link for story. (He also ran the Baltimore Marathon in October and came in, in 3 hours; making the limit to run the Boston Marathon in April.)

Pedroia, Ellsbury Untouchable?

The word untouchable should be reserved for guys with the name Brady or Seymour not to two young 24-year olds. In the words of Beyonce Knowles "I can have another you by tomorrow So don't you ever for a second get to thinking you're irreplaceable." It's those words that separate Bill Belichick from Theo Epstein.

Dustin Pedroia's and Jacoby Ellsbury's come around more often than a Johan Santana. If you have the opportunity to trade for one of the best pitcher's in league you do it. Do you think that Belichick had any doubts trading a fourth rounder for Randy Moss? That fourth round pick could have had a lot of potential seeing that Asante Samuel and Jarvis Green were both fourth rounders in 2003 and 2002, respectively. But Belichick does not act on what can be he acts on what is.

Both Pedroia and Ellsbury have a lot of potential in the future but Johan Santana is proven veteran. There's no major league track record for Pedroia and Ellsbury. Pedroia might come back next year hitting .250 after pitchers have got a full season to know his tendencies.

The law of supply and demand tells you that it is more difficult to find a good starting pitcher, let alone a dominating one, than a second baseman. Any infielder can play second base. The hardest thing about the position is turning a double play, seeing the second baseman has their back to the runner.

Ellsbury is the player I would be hesitant to give upt but would refrain from calling him "untouchable." No one is irreplaceable. Hate to put a flaw in Buck's article. If the Sox want Santana they're going to have to give up Ellsbury. The Twins are in need of a centerfielder after losing Torii Hunter to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

I do not want to give up Ellsbury, but I would trade him, Pedroia and Buchholz for Santana if I am assured I can lock up Santana until 2010, with a club option for 2011. (Josh Beckett's contract is up after 2009 with a club option, based games started, for games stared. You would not want Santana and Beckett to potentially become free agents at the same time.)

If that was the case I would have, former Minnesota athletes, Randy Moss and Kevin Garnett welcoming Santana to Boston as he steps off the plane at Logan.

Mike Lowell's Back

Today should be referred to as Mea Culpa day for me. I said earlier that I did not think Mike Lowell would be back in a Red Sox uniform. I admit I was wrong. At the time I thought once Lowell hit the free agent market he was a goner because other teams would have been more willing to give him four years. I misjudged the market. It is what it is. No further commenting on the subject.

But Michael Averett Lowell will be started at third base for the next three seasons. He is just a stand up guy.

Don't Lie Kids....

If it were my decision Barry Bonds's cell mate in prison would be none other than Irving Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Yet, I am not a federal court justice therefore I do not have the power to make such actions but one could wish.

We all know (well most people know) that President George W. Bush pardonned Scooter Libby's 30-month prison term so he only has to pay the $250,000 fine, two hours of supervised release plus 400 hours of community service. If Libby was able to get out of jail time after being convicted of 4 out of 5 counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, then it does not spell good news for the baseball fan who wants to see Bonds behind bars.

Last time, I checked lying about leaking a CIA operative's name to media outlets was a greater national security risk than lying about steroid usage. I have come to accept that justice will not be served in the case of Barry Lamar Bonds v. the United States of America just like in Libby's case. It is sad our judicial system has come to this, when the big guys get off from doing things we were told not to do as children.

Bonds and Libby were questioned by the Grand Jury lied under oath when questioned about steroid usage and leaking a CIA agent's identity, respectively. Nothing would have happened to Bonds if he was honest like Jason Giambi was when he was called to testify. The Grand Jury even went to the degree of granting immunity to Bonds to tell them everything he knew about his steroid usage from Balco.

Personally, I did not care that Bonds used steroids. It was his denial of his usage that soured me on him as a ballplayer and a person, because if you have to lie about something then you know you should not be doing it. And if you do happen to do something that is wrong it is better to come right out and admit it then hide behind lies. Former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton learned this the hard way along with former U.S. Senator Gary Hart (no perjury charges but still lied when questioned by the press). Now Libby and Bonds can be added to the list.

It can be deduced that Bonds will probably not serve any prison time, since Libby committed a far worse action and was pardonned. There is something wrong with our justice system if a man who puts our national security at risk is allowed to walk free but goes all out to imprison a drug abuser. Lying about putting the United States in a compromising position, relating to national security, is more egregious than one man who shot himself up with steroids and lied about it.

Too Much GIRTH for Beckett to Overcome...

Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia runs away with the 2007 Cy Young Award. Josh Beckett came up 33 points short of the award with only eight first place votes, 14 second place votes and four third place votes.

Sabathia finished the 2007 regular season with a 19-7 record, a 3.21 ERA, a .259 opponents batting average and a 37-209 walk-to-strikeout ratio.

To add insult to injury, two baseball writers left Beckett off the ballot. How can you leave baseball's ONLY 20 game winner off of the ballot? It is completely inexcusable! These writers need to be stripped of their voting privileges for ANY baseball awards!



But Red Sox fans do not be disappointed with Beckett not winning the Cy Young. You cannot ask for any more from the guy. After a disappointing 2006 season, Beckett stepped up his game in 2007 and pitched himself to a 20-7 record, 3.27 ERA, .245 opponents batting average and a 40-194 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Not to mention putting the Sox on his back and bringing them back from a 3-1 deficit in ALCS, earning him ALCS MVP honors.

Beckett's performance in the playoffs is much greater than whatever he gave us in the regular season. When he pitched in the post-season, he was so dominating that the game was over before it started. It was Tom Brady-esque. It was Pedro Martinez in 1999.

All Good Things Must Come To An End...

The closer it gets to midnight tonight the clearer it becomes that Mike Lowell will not be the Sox starting third baseman on Opening Day 2008. The Red Sox have until midnight to talk exclusively about a new contract with the World Series MVP but it looks as if Lowell will be heading to free agency.

After being a throw in player in the Josh Beckett deal in 2005, Lowell re-emerged as the hitter he once was while quieting the critics who questioned steriod abuse for his decline in production in 2005. He produced during his two years in a Sox uniform both at the plate and in the field. Lowell had the mind set to play in Boston and was an asset and leader inthe clubhouse.

Lowell has always said that he loved Boston and Red Sox Nation but he has to do what is right for Mike Lowell and not the Red Sox. He only has two obligations: himself and his family. This will, probably, be Lowell's last big pay day and he wants to cash in now. His stock can't be any higher after hitting .324 with 21 homeruns and 120 RBIs as well as being MVP of the World Series; there will, certainly, be a team out there willing to give him four years at $15 million a year. It just won't be the Red Sox.

I don't have an issue with Lowell opting to test the market. If he did not go out and test the market he would be letting the Red Sox determine his value instead of letting the market determine his value. Hence the term "market value." But if any of you Sox fans are hoping that Lowell is going to follow in Schilling's footsteps in sign at the last minute, it's not going to happen. There is a lot depending on Lowell. He's going to set the market for free agents this year. So Lowell will not be returning to the Sox in 2008 but he will be greatly missed.

Little Big League

He's little. He's cocky. But now he can add a Rookie of the Year award to his World Series.

Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia(left) was named the American League Rookie of the Year. First Red Sox rookie to be named Rookie of the Year since Nomar Garciaparra won the award in 1997. (Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun (below right) was named the National League's Rookie of the Year.)


Even though Pedroia got off to a rough start, hitting only .182 in April causing most fans to call for more of Alex Cora. Pedroia came back strong in May, earning the AL Player of the Month award for May and continued his hot hitting well into the summer months as well as September and October. Pedroia played in 137 of 162 games hitting .317 with 48 extra-base hits, including 39 doubles, 1 triple and 8 homeruns. His strikeout to walk ratio was almost exact at 42 to 47, respectively, as well as having a .380 On-Base Percentage, .442 Slugging Percentage and a .823 OPS. He also put up some good numbers in the field and made some exceptional plays. Pedroia finished the regular season with only 6 errors, 360 assists and 259 put-outs.

You have to tip your cap to Pedroia for a remarkable season and ALCS and World Series as a Rookie.

Personally, I don't know about you but I don't put a lot of stalk in the Rookie of the Year award. Take a look at some of the past Rookie of the Year winners.

  • In 2003 Kansas City's Angel Berroa won it while in K.C. After losing his starting shortstop position to Tony Pena, Jr., Berroa has played in just 9 games this year hitting .091 in 11 At-Bats.
  • Eric Hinske won the award in 2002. Now he is a fourth outfielder and defensive replacement at first base for the Red Sox.
  • Oakland's Ben Grieve won the award in 1998. After spending three years with the A's, he was traded to the Devil Rays (or known today as the "Rays") and quickly got lost.
  • Remember in 2003 how we hated Scott Williamson? Well he was a Rookie of the Year award winner in 1999 for Cincinnati.
  • Japanese pitcher Kazuhiro Sasaki, from Seattle, won the award in 2000. Not only was he NOT a rookie but he had one exceptional year as a closer for the Mariners and then faded into oblivion. He is currently back in Japanese ball.
  • Who can forget the Chicago Cubs pitcher, Kerry Wood. He had so much potentional but a plethora of injuries ended his chances of becoming one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. Wood is still on the Cubs a relief pitcher, appearing in only 22 games with a 1-1 record and 2.22 ERA with a .207 opponents batting average. But he is no longer the pitcher he once was or had the possiblity of being.
  • Chuck Knoblauch, the guy who couldn't throw the ball from second base to first without it going into the dugout or stands, was the Rookie of Year during his stint with the Minnesota Twins. He became so ineffective as a second baseman for the Yankees in the late '90s that the Yanks moved him to leftfield.
That's the reason why I don't put all that much into players winning the Rookie of the Year award. There have been too many players who have one the award that did not pan out in later years. We don't know what Pedroia is going to be like in the future. He could be like Derek Jeter or he could be like Chuck Knoblauch. Remember Jeter beat out Alex Rodriguez for the Rookie of the Year award in 1996 and who turned out to be the better, overall player?

Although I do believe that Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki (left) will be a better MLB player in future years than Braun. Tulowitzki just appears to have more potential. He might become the next A-Rod and we'll look at the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year award the same way we look at the 1996 Rookie of the Year award. But you never know everyone said that about Wood.

Welcome to Red Sox Nation....



The 2007 Cy Young Candidate Josh Beckett welcomes you to Red Sox Nation.

Freshman Year at ASU

Dustin Pedroia's freshman year photo for the Arizona State Sun Devils in 2001-2002. (Photo from ASU archives)


Doesn't freshman Pedroia look like he's 12 years old?

Pedroia swinging through one during his freshman year at ASU.

Pedroia running the bases at ASU.

Jed Lowrie

JED LOWRIE
Shortstop


FULL NAME: Jed Carlson Lowrie
DOB: April 17, 1984
BIRTHPLACE: Salem, Oregon
HEIGHT: 6’0”
WEIGHT: 185 lbs
BATS: Switch
THROWS: Right
COLLEGE: Stanford

ACQUIRED: Drafted in the 1st Round of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft

MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT: April 15, 2008

PERSONAL INFORMATION:
Growing up in Salem, Oregon Jed Lowrie followed the careers of Brett Boone and Alex Rodriguez. After graduating from North Salem High School in 2002, Lowrie went on to attend Stanford University. While at Stanford, he was not just a shortstop on the baseball team but also a good student – majoring in political science. Lowrie’s parents (Dan and Miriam) attended almost every home weekend series games during his career as a Cardinal. (Stanford baseball SID Kyle McRae)

(Stanford University Media Relations department)

Links:

McRae, Kyle. "Not Easily Intimidated." Stanford University Athletic Site 17 May 2005.

McRae, Kyle. "Foundation for the Future." Stanford University Athletic Site 30 January 2004.

McRae, Kyle. "Defining Moment." Stanford University Athletic Site 28 February 2003.

Jon Lester

FULL NAME: Jonathan Tyler Lester
AGE: (on Opening Day) 24
DOB
: January 7, 1984
BIRTHPLACE
: Tacoma, Washington
HEIGHT
: 6’2”
WEIGHT
: 225lbs
BATS
: Left
THROWS
: Left

MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT: June 10, 2006
ACQUIRED: Drafted in the 1st Round of the 2002 MLB Draft.

Jon Lester with a younger cousin in his home state of Washington. (outincenterfield.com)

PERSONAL INFORMATION:
The only child of John and Kathy Lester, Jon Lester was born on January 7, 1984 in Tacoma, Washington. In 2002, he graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma and was taken by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2002 MLB Draft. He had to wait four hours after the scheduled start of the June 10, 2006 game against Texas, due to rain, but eventually went six innings for the Red Sox in his debut. Later in August of the same, Lester hit a low point in his career and life when he was diagnosed with a non-Hodgkin large-cell lymphoma. He underwent treatment back in his native Washington at the Fred Hutchinson Clinic. On December 5, 2006, Lester’s cancer was deemed in remission and he began his training for the upcoming 2007 season. While on a rehab assignment in Greenville, he met his current girlfriend, Farrah Johnson. The two of them have gone deer hunting together and Lester was with her when she shot her first deer. He also adds fishing to his interests and even caught a salmon one time with his uncle.

Jon Lester withstood a four hour rain delay to make his major league debut against the Texas Rangers on June 10, 2006. He went 4 2/3 innings and recorded a no-decision in the Red Sox's 7-4 loss to the Rangers. In those 4 2/3 innings, Lester allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out four and walking three. (AP Photo)

Lester meets with the media in August of 2006 after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins large-cell lymphoma. (Boston Globe)

Jon Lester at his first camp, in Feburary, 2007, since his cancer went into remission in December, 2006. (AP Photo)

World Series Game Four starter and winner, Jon Lester poses with the World Series trophy. (AP Photo)

Jon Lester cleans off his spikes in front of a bunch of rookies after coming off one of the five practice fields at the Red Sox's Fort Myers Spring Training facility. (AP Photo)

Jon Lester throws a pitch in Spring Training 2007. (AP Photo)



Links:

Edes, Gordon. "A journey from cancer to champion for Sox' Lester" The Boston Globe 17 February 2008.


Multimedia:

VIDEO: Jon Lester chats with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, on WEEI's "Dennis & Callahan," at the picnic table in Ft. Myers, Florida Thursday February 21, 2008.

Seattle Radio Station Interview


Dustin Pedroia

FULL NAME: Dustin Luis Pedroia
AGE: 25
DOB
: August 17, 1983
BIRTHPLACE
: Woodland, California
HEIGHT
: 5’9”
WEIGHT
: 180lbs
COLLEGE
: Arizona State

MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT: August 22, 2006
ACQUIRED: Drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft

Dustin as youngster playing Little League. (outincenterfield.com)

PERSONAL INFORMATION
Born and raised in Woodland, California with his older brother - Brett, their father owned a tire business and Dustin's little league team fell one game short of reaching the Little League World Series. Recruited by Texas, Cal State - Long Beach, Tulane, Florida and Miami out of high school, Pedroia attended Arizona State University where he was an interdisciplinary studies major. Throughout his collegiate career, his parents (Guy and Debbie) rarely missed a Sun Devils home or away game. Pedroia married his wife, Kelli, on November 11, 2006. (Information from ASU SID)


Dustin fielding a ground ball as youngster. I guess his growth spurt stopped at six. (outincenterfield.com)

Pictures from Pedroia's Days at Arizona State University:

FRESHMAN YEAR 2001-2002


JUNIOR YEAR 2003-2004


Links:

Inside Track. "Dustin and Gary's dustup" Boston Herald 22 February 2008.

Goldberg, Jeff. "Cocky or Confident? Pedroia Doesn't Care" Harford Courant 18 February 2008.

Bradford, Rob. "Gotta hand it to him" Boston Herald 10 November 2007.

Reiter, Ben. "The Little Big Man: Dustin Pedroia" 22 March 2007.


Multimedia:

Dustin Pedroia joins Dale Arnold and Michael on WEEI's "Dale & Holley" mid-day show on Monday February 25, 2008.

Junior Year at ASU

Dustin Pedroia during his junior year, 2003-2004, at Arizona State University.


Pedroia fielding.

Pedroia's swings through a pitch during his junior year.

2003-2004: Dustin Pedroia makes a play for the Sun Devils.

Sophomore Year at ASU

Dustin Pedroia's sophomore year photo at Arizona State University in 2002-2003.


Pedroia at bat for the Sun Devils during the 2002-2003 season.

Pedroia making a diving catch at shortstop for the Sun Devils.





DISCLAIMER: ALL photos are from the Arizona State University Sun Devils Archives website.

Mike Lowell


FULL NAME: Michael Averett Lowell
DOB: February 24, 1974
AGE (on Opening Day:) 34
BIRTHPLACE: San Juan, Puerto Rico
HEIGHT: 6'3"
WEIGHT: 210 lbs
BATS: Right
THROWS: Right
COLLEGE: Florida International

MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT: September 13, 1998
ACQUIRED: Traded to the Red Sox from the Florida Marlins along with Josh Beckett and Guillermo Mota for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and Jesus Delgado on November 25, 2005.



PERSONAL INFORMATION
:
Lowell is married to wife, Bertica and have one daughter Alexis Ileana (4) and graduated from Florida International with a degree in finance.






2008 Red Sox Depth Chart

Most Stars of the Game for the Red Sox

Players who have the most Stars of the Game for the 2008 season:

13 Stars
Manny Ramirez

10 Stars
J.D. Drew

8 Stars
David Ortiz
Jason Varitek

7 Stars
Kevin Youkilis

6 Stars
Coco Crisp
Mike Lowell

5 Stars
Josh Beckett
Daisuke Matsuzaka

4 Stars
Jon Lester

3 Stars
Sean Casey
Tim Wakefield
Dustin Pedroia



Opposing Players who have the most Stars of the Game

Opposing players who have the most Stars of the Game for the 2008 season:

4 Stars
Frank Thomas

2 Stars
Roy Halladay
Rich Hardin
Alex Rios

Manny Ramirez

FULL NAME: Manuel Aristedes Ramirez
AGE
(on Opening Day): 35
DOB
: May 30, 1972
BIRTHPLACE
: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
HEIGHT
: 6’0”
WEIGHT
: 200lbs
BATS
: Right
THROWS
: Right
HIGH SCHOOL
: George Washington (Bronx, NY) ’91


MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT: September 2, 1993
ACQUIRED: Signed as a free agent on December 13, 2000 from the Cleveland Indians
MAJOR LEAGUE EXPERIENCE: 14 years, 33 days


PERSONAL INFORMATION

The son of a seamstress and a cab drive, Manny Ramirez was born and grew up in one of the poorest countries in Latin America where he was a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays due to their Dominican ties. At the age of 11, his parents Aristides and Onelcida made the decision to move the parents to the United States to give Manny and his three sisters – Rosa, Evelyn and Clara – the better opportunity. Two years later, the Ramirez family finally accumulated enough funds to make the trip up the east coast to the Bronx, New York. Although, Ramirez had good work athlete as an athlete he did not excel quite the same in the classroom. Part of it was the culture differences and language barriers while part of it was the fact he did not care. It is simple as this: if it was not base baseball, Manny was not interested. Ramirez’s high school baseball coach recalls for Manny “it’s just that he really didn’t care about anything other than playing. Even team pictures – it wasn’t important to him. You had to drag him by the hair. But if you said we had a game at three o’clock he’d, like, want to sit out there at seven o’clock in the morning, waiting.” Because of Ramirez’s lackadaisical style to his academics, he was occasionally suspended for truancy and just barely attended enough classes to play three years of baseball. Although he did not graduate, Ramirez did obtain his G.E.D after high school. What a lot of people never knew about Manny is that the Sox left fielder is an extremely shy person and never asked family members to watch him play as a minor leaguer. In 2004, Ramirez missed a game with the Sox to become a citizen of the United States and when he returned to action, the next day, he ran out on the field carrying a small U.S. flag in his right hand. After the Sox won the 2007 World Series, Manny appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and proclaimed to be a big car lover and explained some of the intricacies behind “Manny Being Manny.” Ramirez met his wife, Juliana, when he worked out in Bally’s Gym in Boston, where she worked. Manny has three children – Manuelito “Manny” (1995), Manny Jr. (2003) and Lucas (2005). The latter two are with Juliana.

FUN MANNY FACTS:

Favorite Movies:

“The Matrix,” “Rocky II,” “The Village,” “Ice Age,” “Finding Nemo”

Favorite Baseball Movies:

“The Rookie,” “Field of Dreams,” “Major League”




Jason Varitek


33
JASON VARITEK

FULL NAME: Jason Andrew Varitek
AGE (on Opening Day): 35
DOB: April 11, 1972
BIRTHPLACE
: Rochester, Michigan
HEIGHT: 6’2”
WEIGHT: 230lbs
BATS: Switch
THROWS: Right
COLLEGE: Georgia Tech

MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT: September 24, 1997
ACQUIRED: Traded with Derek Lowe from the Seattle Mariners for Heathcliff Slocumb on July 31, 1997

PERSONAL INFORMATION

The second son of Joseph and Donna Varitek, Jason grew up in Longwood, Florida with his older brother Joe and young brother Jared and Justin. When he was 12 years old his Altamonte Springs (FL) Little League team represented the U.S. South in the 1984 Little League World Series that lost to Seoul, South Korea in the finals. The young Varitek played third base, shortstop and catcher that year. All ready with a Little League World Series on his resume, Varitek attended in LakeBrantley High School where his Patriots won the 1990 Florida state championship before enrolling at Georgia Tech in the fall of 1990. While at Georgia Tech, Varitek majored in international relations and lead the Yellow Jackets to the 1991 ACC Finals. After his junior year in 1993 the Minnesota Twins selected Varitek in the first round with the 21st pick overall, right after they selected outfielder Torii Hunter at 20. But Varitek and Minnesota could not come to terms regarding his signing bonus by the fall of 1993 and Varitek returned to the Atlanta campus. It turned out to be good for both Varitek and the Yellow Jackets. In the spring of 1994 along with future teammates Nomar Garciaparra and Jay Payton, Varitek helped lead Georgia Tech to the 1994 NCAA Division I College World Series where they lost to Oklahoma. After college he was selected by the Seattle Mariners with the 14th pick of 1994 Major League Baseball Draft just two spots after teammate Garciaparra was selected. Currently Jason Varitek resides in Newton, Massachusetts with his wife Karen Mullinax and his three daughters Alexandra Rose (1/14/2000), Kendall Anne (9/30/2001)
and Caroline Morgan (6/13/2005).



Varitek and two of his three daughters at the 2005 All Star Game in Detroit. (Gettysimages)

Justin Masterson

JUSTIN MASTERSON
Right-Handed Pitcher

FULL NAME: Justin Daniel Masterson
AGE: (on Opening Day) 23
DOB: March 22, 1985
BIRTHPLACE: Kingston, Jamaica
BATS: Right
THROWS: Right
HEIGHT: 6’6”
WEIGHT: 250lbs
COLLEGE: San Diego State University

ACQUIRED: Drafted by the Red Sox with the fifth pick in the second round of the 2006 MLB Draft.

(San Diego State Student-Newspaper)

MLB COMPARISON: Derek Lowe

PERSONAL INFORMATION:

Born in Jamaica to Mark and Judy Masterson, the young Justin was the son of an Evangelical minister and grew up in a very Christian household. As little leaguer in Ohio, Masterson looked towards fire-ball, strike out king Nolan Ryan and the rocket Roger Clemens to hone his skills. His Christianity is so dear to him that he enrolled in Evangelical college, Bethel College in Indiana after he missed his scholarship interview at the University of Notre Dame. After spending two years and playing two seasons for their NAIA baseball team, Masterson transferred to San Diego State University where he majored in criminal justice. Since he is such a devout Christian he enjoys studying the bible in his spare time as well as bike riding, playing the drums and the guitar. On November 3, 2007, Masterson married his college girlfriend, Meryl, and the two of them currently reside in Beavercreek, Ohio.

American League East

AL East Wins Losses GB Pct. Streak L10
Baltimore Orioles 14 11 0.0 0.560 Lost 2 6-4
Tampa Bay Rays 14 11 0.0 0.560 Won 6 8-2
Boston Red Sox 15 12 0.0 0.556 Lost 5 5-5
New York Yankees 13 13 1.5 0.500 Won 1 4-6
Toronto Blue Jays 11 15 3.5 0.423 Won 1 3-7

2008 Hitting Statistics

Hitting Statistic Leaders: (Updated April 26, 2008)

Batting Average

(Minimum of 3.1 PA)

1

Manny Ramirez

.347

2

Dustin Pedroia

.324

3

Kevin Youkilis

.309

Hits

1

Dustin Pedroia

36

2

Manny Ramirez

34

3

Kevin Youkilis

29

4

Julio Lugo

27

5

J.D. Drew

21

Doubles

1

Dustin Pedroia

11

2

Manny Ramirez

9

3

Kevin Youkilis

7

4

Sean Casey

6

Triples

1

Kevin Youkilis

2

2

Manny Ramirez

1

Jacoby Ellsbury

1

Homeruns

1

Manny Ramirez

6

2

David Ortiz

4

3

J.D. Drew

3

Jason Varitek

3

Jacoby Ellsbury

3

Total Bases

1

Manny Ramirez

63

2

Dustin Pedroia

50

3

Kevin Youkilis

46

4

Jacoby Ellsbury

33

5

J.D. Drew

32

Runs Batted In

1

Manny Ramirez

20

David Ortiz

20

3

Kevin Youkilis

14

4

J.D. Drew

13

Walks

1

J.D. Drew

14

David Ortiz

14

Kevin Youkilis

14

4

Jacoby Ellsbury

13

Runs

1

Jacoby Ellsbury

20

2

J.D. Drew

18

3

Manny Ramirez

17

4

Kevin Youkilis

16

5

David Ortiz

15

Strike Outs

1

Manny Ramirez

26

2

J.D. Drew

20

3

David Ortiz

18

4

Jason Varitek

16

Stolen Bases

1

Jackass Ellsbury

8

2

Coco Crisp

4

3

Julio Lugo

3

Dustin Pedroia

3

On Base Percentage

(Minimum of 3.1 PA)

1

Manny Ramirez

.413

2

Kevin Youkilis

.396

Jacoby Ellsbury

.396

Slugging Percentage

(Minimum of 3.1 PA)

1

Manny Ramirez

.643

2

Kevin Youkilis

.489

3

Dustin Pedroia

.450

On-Base plus Slugging Percentage

(Minimum of 3.1 PA)

1

Manny Ramirez

1.056

2

Kevin Youkilis

.886

3

Jacoby Ellsbury

.836