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Playing Pepper

Here are a few random thoughts (mostly about baseball):
  • Adrian Beltre really should take a pitch or two. I feel that it dilutes the whole lineup's approach when one guy clearly doesn't buy in to the general approach.
  • Speaking of Beltre, about the infield grass in Fenway, he said recently: "But when you’re playing in or you get slow ground balls, it’s like a snake coming at you, so you have to kind of take a guess where the ball’s going to go. I guess through the course of the season I’ll get used to it... It’s not nice. It’s not a good field. It’s a snake. The grass is a snake coming at you. It not only affects your defense, it affects your confidence. Like you get in that mind-set that, ‘Oh, where’s the ball going to go?’ So you start thinking instead of just reaction. I hope that I just get all the ground balls back on the dirt, not on the grass.’’ This is not ok. Youk almost lost his face and a wicked hope Thu. night. I understand having a slow infield or a fast infield, but a bad infield? I play softball on the National Mall sometimes, dodging tourists, diving across manhole covers, and dealing with consistently inconsistent bounces. Shouldn't the Sox infielders expect more than might the FEC's softball team?
  • I was wrong about the Sox not re-signing Beckett. Sometimes I like being wrong.
  • It really annoys me to see so many stolen bases, but I also know that they are less important than getting the batter out. Maybe V-Mart can turn it around but I doubt it. I have to wonder how good a catching coach Gary Tuck really is. The Sox and the media talk about him like he's a god but we can't throw anyone out and I think it's mostly Tek, V-Mart, pitching coach John Farrell, and the pitchers doing the pitch calling.
  • Jon Lester wins the Cy Young in the year he doesn't completely suck in April.
  • "Welcome to the club Darnell McDonald," said Vaughn Eshelman and Creighton Gubanich.
  • Speaking of Sweet Darnell, why do baseball players insist on beating each other up if someone has a walk-off hit or closes out a big game? Hug, jump, etc. But pig piles, pounding on helmets, busted lips like McDonalds? Please stop before someone breaks a rookie pitcher when he throws a no-no. I'm surprised Buchholz is fully ambulatory still.
  • Why are five of the pitchers on the Sox staff from Texas?
  • I was alarmed to see that Friday night's pitcher for the Orioles, lefty rookie Brian Matusz, is getting paid $13 million this year. I know he's very talented and was picked #4 overall, but it's just further proof of how out of whack the salary "system" is in baseball. I don't care that people get paid a lot, but it's not as closely tied as it should be to real value. Jacoby Ellsbury is getting paid $496,500 (see Sox salaries here). That's a guy with a career .298 batting average, team record for steals, very good defender, 23rd pick in the draft, and popular franchise player getting paid about the league minimum. Top picks should be able to get a big signing bonus to - as it implies - get them to sign (and everyone from every country should enter the league through the draft), but then they should get paid according to experience and productivity. Ellsbury, Buchholz and Daniel Bard together make about what Hideki Okajima gets. Ridiculous.
  • I need to look up if the Sox could actually just release Papi. I was consistently supportive last year but you only get one year of being this bad for long stretches. He's pretty much worthless, and I really say that as I guy who looooooooves Papi. But a DH who can't H is SOL.
  • I like the way Josh Reddick plays. I saw him hit an opposite field dong last year in Baltimore. He has electric talent and if he learns plate discipline he'll take over for JD Drew after next season - if not before.
  • Part of me wants the Sox to move V-Mart to DH, dump Papi somehow, and platoon Tek and AAA catcher Mark Wagner. Wagner cannot hit (yet?) but his arm is golden.

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