Wednesday, March 30

Iggy Update: Where to Play?


WEEI.com - FORT MYERS, Fla. — According to team sources, the Red Sox are still debating whether to have top prospect Jose Iglesias open the 2011 season in Double-A Portland or Triple-A Pawtucket. The team wants to assign Iglesias to a level that will maximize the likelihood of his being big league ready for the 2012 campaign."
 
"Because the shortstop -- already considered a defensive star -- lost a couple months of his 2010 season with Portland due to a broken finger, the team might want him to get more at-bats in Double-A before an early season promotion to Triple-A. That said, the team might also decide that Iglesias is better served by a challenge at a more advanced level."


While I see both sides to this story, I find one thing particularly interesting.  This is one of our top prospects right?  The shortstop of our future?  The next Ozzie Guillen? The guy that in fantasy baseball, I'll likely end up trading half my team for just so I can have an extra obsession with his play?

Then why don't we have this plan hammered out yet?  Theo and company are predominately meticulous with their player development game planning.  This one seems odd to me.

By all accounts, Iggy has no issues with his broken finger from last year, and performed quite well in the fall league and spring training thus far.  Knowing that, it makes me think that the argument of "they wanted to see where he was coming into the season" seem a bit far fetched. 

I'm in favor of starting him in Portland for a month or two, and, so long as he's healthy and performing reasonably well, pull him up to Pawtucket. It seems like it would fall in line with Boston's way of building a bit of confidence followed by a challenge. Depending on Boston's performance and needs, as well as Iggy's, there are some rumors that he could be a September call up.

Random ITM note:  if this Pawtucket team doesn't contend for the league championship, something is wrong with Rhode Island's water....the team is pretty stacked. 

Monday, March 28

Mr. April, and Now a Slumlord Too

TEMPLE TERRACE, FL. - He is the owner of a World Series ring, a $275 million-dollar contract and three American League Most Valuable Player Awards. Alex Rodriguez is also the owner of the Normandy Park Luxury Apartment and Townhouse complex in Temple Terrace, Florida.



While most of the world knows the New York Yankees’ third baseman as ‘A-Rod,’ a tenant of Normandy Park calls him something else.


“He’s a slumlord,” says Vince, who would only give his first name. “I’ll call it just as I see it.”....

...“You got leaky faucets, leaky bathrooms, screens coming off, dog feces everywhere,” said a tenant who did not want to be identified.



Residents complain to on-site management about the trash strewn along the complexes walkways because there aren’t enough dumpsters.



The biggest complaint among tenants currently is the development’s swimming pool. Residents say it’s been a mess and unusable for about three years. The pool is always full of bacteria,” says another tenant who did not want to be identified."

Got this from a buddy of mine, don't ask me how he got to Fox News Latino...he's one of the most overwhelmingly Irish American guys in the history of Earth. He's reached the end of the Internet seven times in his life, clearly today makes eight.

Question my buddy's Internet search habits if you want, but this story seems too good to be true right? I mean, this guy simply can't do anything right, and I can't get enough of it.

I mean, by next week, I fully expect he'll be in the news for stealing a baby, a kicking a puppy on his way to the getaway car.  To read the entire article, (I promise Fox News Latino is not a fake, virus-filled porn site) check it out here.

Opening day is getting so close, this story just feeds my excitement for baseball....and hatred for Arod.  Get pumped.

Saturday, March 26

Finally, I Found One...


It has taken over a month, but I finally found a fellow Red Sox fan alive and in person here in London.  I have the feeling this is only the beginning....it's an irrational belief that once the season gets going next week, Red Sox Nation will come out in numbers across the pond.

I also saw a 6 year old kid with Red Sox hat today when we were near the London eye...but it was clearly brand new, and he was from Spain, so that was a bummer.  Poor kid had no clue why I was so excited....pretty sure his parents threatened to call the cops on me too.

That said, ITM has received multiple emails about establishing a London-based Red Sox fan spot.  There are a few pubs around London that carry American sports, but perhaps we'll establish our own Red Sox Pub...it'll take a lot of work, and a lot of pints....but we may just get there.

ITM note:  Who's worried about our pitching staff right now?  Collective ERA of what seems like 13 (it's a bit lower in actuality, but not enough to make me feel good).  I know, I know, it's only spring training, but don't tell me you're not at least a bit worried.

Go Sox...Go London....Go Boston.  Just Go.

Thursday, March 24

Today's Sad Reality: This Dog Has The Life I Want...



We saw Boozer every day when we stumbled slightly hungover into the minor league player development complex.  He was just hanging out, yukking it up with fans, players and media.  I remember thinking that dog had it good....but after watching this video, I officially want to be him.

Sunny weather, Red Sox baseball, a loving fan base, no stress.....this dog has everything I want.  Plus he gets to roll around on the grass and no one thinks he's insane for doing it. 

New short term goal for ITM...figure out how we can be more like Boozer.   Cologino was right...the working man is a sucker...

Wednesday, March 23

A Few Pics and Videos From Ft Myers

Full recovery from this trip may never be reached....my body absolutely hates me....but here are a few additional pics and videos from ITM's last day in Ft Myers...

Pap getting in some work against a bunch of 18 year olds...

video


Bard doing the same....walking off immediately when getting the final fly ball out...

video


Downtown Ft Myers...



T Murph, Myself, and my brother Rich....with Joe Murph on camera duty.  Great seats, rough game, par for the course.  (this photo was taken about 15 minutes before Heidi walked right by us and we all fell out of our chairs)...



Joe Murph at the minor league complex...taking it all in...


More pics to come as we continue to sanitize them in an effort to ensure they're all Internet appropriate...

Monday, March 21

ITM's Digital Scribble Notes From the ML Complex...

Pap:

1st inning:

Ran the count full, grounder to second
Ran the count full, walked on a check swing. 
Single to right. 
Double steal. 
Strike out on a high/bad pitch. 
Ground out to first. 

2nd inning:

Grounder to second. 
Walked. Out of the game. 


Hitting 90 on the gun. 

Bard:
Strike out swinging 
Error on a grounder to third, runners now on second and third. 
Lazy fly ball to shallow center, out of inning. 


2nd
Push bunt single - steal
Opposite field double- RBI. Good pitch and hit
Poke to left off a bard fastball. 

Hitting 94 on the gun



Those are just my copy/pasted notes as it happens. What's up Nick Cafardo?

Getting Started at the Minor League Complex

With the big league squad up in Clearwater, and a few of us still shaking off the cobwebs from last night, we're at the minor league complex to see Pap and Bard get some work in against the Rays.

Cafardo and others had the same idea, so it's a blog-off this afternoon...

80 and sunny here at the Fort, good luck with te snow back in Boston.

Keep checking back for updates.

Sunday, March 20

ITM in Ft Myers: Cloudy Recollections of Day Two

It's another beautiful day in Ft Myers....although here at the Courtyard Marriott, it's a bit of a slow and rough morning as the Red Sox, buzzer beaters in March Madness, and cheap beers may have gotten the best of us yesterday.  Anyways....

After spending an hour or so at the minor league facility, we hit the road, driving 90+ miles north to Bradenton to see Josh Beckett and the Sox take on those amazingly talented Pirates.  Despite only recognizing 3 names on the Pirate's team, Josh Beckett looked eerily similar to the pitcher we got saw in 2010.  He started out fairly strong, but eventually allowed 5 runs (only one earned) in 5 innings. 

Regardless of the runs to earned runs ratio (the Sox decided to throw the ball around a bit in the 5th), JB was far from sharp.  As we entered the small but appealing Pirates complex, we saw a Beckett fastball get bashed to left field....luckily for our number four starter, Daniel Nava pulled a Griffey-like home run-saving catch (no, Manny would not have caught it).  Without a public radar gun, it was difficult gauge Beckett's velocity, but overall, it was easy to see he was leaving pitches up and not hitting his spots.

Thus far, we've yet to see a Boston player really stand out, as offense has been tough to come by over the last two days, and starting pitching has been rocky at best.  We know it's just spring training, and we've been pretty quick to forget about the struggles when screaming at TV screens at the Ale House.....but still, it always makes me feel better inside when they perform well in March.

Random picture of the day....tough to see below, but it's the "Dos and Don'ts for Living with Alligators".  Found at the Red Sox minor league complex. 


In addition, check out some video of Lars Anderson taking BP at the minor league complex.  It's amazing to see just how "Californian" he is...

video

We're headed back to the minor league complex this morning, then running back to City of Palms park to see Pujols and the Cardinals take on Dice-K.  Odds are the game won't end until 6pm...

Friday, March 18

ITM in Ft Myers: Day One, Game One - Game On

It's our first real day in Ft Myers....and the trip is already living up to expectations.  We're currently in between games (that's right, we went to the minor league complex, followed by the Sox game at City of Palms Park, and now we're driving up to Port Charlotte to see the nightcap Sox vs Rays....all while slightly hungover).

It's been a solid 86 and sunny here today...making the Murphy's retreat to the shade, but here are a few pics thus far....



Lineups...solid split squad....we'll be checking out Jacoby, Crawford and Drew tonight....


This is the classic pic that we take every year.  It makes me never want to leave.  We were by far the loudest people in the right field bar stool seats.


A grill in the right field area caught fire during the 2nd inning....causing Mike Cameron to slightly freak out in right field since it was so smokey he couldn't see the ball.  While T Murph tried to offer his services, the pros were required.

More as it develops...which it most certainly will...

Thursday, March 17

From London to Ft Myers

Today is the day. After about a million "get excited" emails between T Murph, Joe Murph, my brother and I, our annual trip to Ft Myers begins today.

All the prep work and due diligence has been done and compiled, each year the trip gets better. Given this year's offseason moves, I'm not sure if it's possible for the four of us to be more excited than we are.

It's a guys trip to the fullest. Beginning with St Patricks day drinking at the airport, filled with a ton of red sox baseball, fierce betting competition over March Madness, and a sincere appreciation for a bucket or 5 beers for 5 dollars.

The only difference is this year I'm flying over from London. Where a bucket of 5 beers would cost me 50 bucks. Time for some 5 hour energy drinks and red bulls to get me through what is sure to be a fantastic, but rough weekend.

Currently getting the trip off to a good start with a beer at 9am...London time....by myself.

And begin. Check back for updates. No promises.

Wednesday, March 16

Red Sox Nation Number 2 "Most Passionate Fans"


According to the Bleacher Report "The atmosphere outside of Fenway Park before Red Sox games is unlike anything else seen in Major League Baseball.


Fans mill outside of the stadium for hours leading up to the game; shopping at stores, drinking at bars and grabbing good food from concessions.


Once the game starts, Fenway is always a packed house. 

The Red Sox crowd has declined in overall quality since winning their two World Series in 2004 and 2007.  Higher expectations have led to an increase in ticket prices, forcing out the die-hards and replacing them with more indifferent business folk.


But Red Sox fans still care about their team more than any other fans in baseball.


Players have gone so far as to request to leave Boston because they constantly felt hounded by inhabitants of the city.  Perhaps Boston fans are too passionate.

The Celtics are one of the NBA's elite franchises, and the Patriots are currently among the kings of the NFL.

But when the Red Sox are good, Boston is first and foremost a Baseball town. The Red Sox have sold out every year since 2005."

I wish I could say I disagree with this report, but at least on the surface, it's quite accurate.  Call it a natural ebb and flow given years of torture followed by recent success....but clearly we all have work to do this year.

Also, call me crazy, but is there something wrong with me that I can't take any city that is not on the East coast seriously when it comes to baseball fandom?  Football?..sure, that's right up their alley, but America's pastime just feels "right" where America started in the first place.  Who knows.

Anyways, ITM flies from London to Boston, then Boston to Ft Myers for a long weekend of Red Sox Spring Training, adult beverages, and the opening round of March Madness.  Stay tuned....and hope that none of us get arrested.

Saturday, March 12

Don Orsillo Just Ruined My Day...

video


Two crazy things happened to me when I woke up in London this morning.  First, the sun was shining without a cloud in the sky, and second, I saw the above video over at Sox and Dawgs.

When considering which one threw me off more... I'd have to go with the video, because odds were I'd see the sun eventually, but I didn't think DO would ever subject us to something like this.

As much as you can't take your eyes off of DO in the video, watch Remy's response, so uncomfortable.  Classic.  Also, for some reason, to me, he looks a lot like Mr. Miyagi in the video...


Yes?  No?  Maybe?

Friday, March 11

Dice-K - Fading Significance


Ho-Hum, just another day at the office for Dice-K.....getting shelled but saying he feels great....

....and least tell us you were "working on some new pitches".....

I woke up in London this morning to read that Dice-K's ERA sits at 11.42, and while I absolutely realize it's just spring training, I'm starting to wonder if I should begin to at least consider being worried.

In the grand scheme of things, Dice-K's effectiveness in 2011 is quite far down on the list of priorities for the Sox (behind things like overall health, Beckett, Pap, Lackey, Ortiz, etc). That said, we can't forget how much Boston shelled out for a guy who has quickly become a joke.

We've all seen it before, Dice-K has the talent and ability to be dominating, but those flashes are few and far between. I've said it before and I'll say it again, we bought into the Dice-K hype, and we're (quite literally) paying for it.

The Dice Man has gone from the main attraction, to an afterthought. How much does it really matter to this Red Sox team? The answer lies in Beckett and Lackey. If they can return to form, stay healthy, and be effective (I'm not asking for Ace material, just effective), then anything we get out of Dice-K is gravy.

If Beckett and Lackey throw up on themselves again in 2011, Dice-K's inability to be a fifth starter will become a big issue.

Attack hitters, don't nibble, and for God's sake get through 4 innings in under 2 hours. We'd all appreciate it.

Like Dice-K, Boston's rotation has the potential to be absolutely filthy, we're all just waiting for it to come together.

PS: Prior to hitting "post" on this blog, I considered holding off given the terrible earthquake/tsunami in Japan. Something about the current events and calling out Dice-K didn't feel right. As you can tell, I quickly got over it. Go Sox.

Monday, March 7

Pedroia to Karl Ravech: I'm Challenging You to a Fistfight



And the golden videos just keep coming.  Look, it's not like all I want to do is post videos, I'd love to sneak in some legit Red Sox posts at some point.....but I can't not post this.  It's simply too good, too Pedroia...plus it enables me to keep in touch with Pedey's craziness from the other side of the pond here in London.

Also, how many phone books does Ravech sit under while hosting Baseball Tonight?  Not that I'm a giant, but anyone who is visibly smaller than Pedey can't possibly see above the desk at ESPN studios right?

Regardless, Pedey wins this fight going away.   He's got youth, size and utter insanity on his side. I'd put my money Ravech tapping out after about 28 seconds, 12 of which would be in the cross-faced chicken wing wrestling move.

I should also mention that I'd choose to fight about half the guys on the Red Sox team prior to Pedey.  As a crazy old Italian guy once told me back home "you gotta watch out for the little guys, especially the crazy ones."  Spot on Joe, spot on.

Can't wait to watch Pedey hit lasers down in Ft Myers in about 10 days. 

PS:  While walking the streets of London's West End yesterday, I saw someone wearing a Red Sox hat.  You would have thought Heidi Watney walked by me in a bikini.  I was beside myself with excitement.  Turns out the guy was from Asia and probably wanted to run away from me after seeing my crazy face.  Oh well.

Sunday, March 6

Tito and Pedy.....Video Gold



They're no idiots at ESPN....put Tito and Pedey in a confined area, toss a camera on them, and of course you have golden footage. 

I honestly wish I could just hang out with the two of them all day....I would be the middleman who just keeps getting the both of them worked up and bashing on each other.

I almost felt bad for Pap at the end of this clip....the man wasn't even there to attempt to defend himself....but then I remembered his numbers from last year and laughed at his stupidity like everyone else did.

"Even you line out sometimes right?"  - best line of video by far.

Friday, March 4

Show Some Pride New York....






















Saw this SportsNation poll recently on Barstool Philly (huh?...I know right?)

Anyways, the obvious question is who are these "other" teams (Joe Murph says Wisconsin voted for the Packers, and Tim firmly believes it's the Pirates taking votes). 

Either way, the biggest thing that jumps out at me is the state of New York. Show some pride huh? Terrible, just terrible. The Phillies?  I thought "the baby New York" was supposed to be a geographical and hated rival? 

Meanwhile, all of New England will apparently punch you in the face if you tell them that the Red Sox are not winning the World Series. That said, more states should be drinking the kool aid that is Red Sox fever...I'm sinking bottles of it here in London.

Bone up America, show some pride New York....we'll show you both.

Thursday, March 3

Coco Covelli: Miggy Cabrera Style


ESPN.com:  PHOENIX -- "Major league security officials met with the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday and delivered their annual spring lecture to the players on the pitfalls of their profession. One of the subjects discussed was the danger of drinking and driving.

Coco Crisp attended the meeting. Hours earlier he was in jail.

Crisp was arrested early Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz., on suspicion of drunk driving, the third major league player to be charged with DUI during spring training."

Someone wasn't listening during the meeting huh?

He hits a grand salami off of my main man Matty Garza in his first spring training game....then goes all Charlie Sheen/Miggy Cabrera on us. 

Remember when we signed Crisp and thought he would be our outfield's rock for years to come?  We were so excited for his speed and glove.  Now look at us.  See how much we poured?
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