December 25, 2012

December 25th - a VERY special day

On December 25th last year, I reflected on how that day made me remember something very special that happened a long time ago. But this year, it has a very special meaning all on its own.  Yes, as I'm sure you've all guessed already, December 25th is the Baseball Solstice.  A big thank you to Dan at The Ball Caps Blog for reminding us all of this.  As fresh as our memories are of the 2012 season, and as distant as next season seems, after the 25th we will be closer to the start of Spring Training than to the end of the World Series. It is the day the furthest away from baseball all year - and although that may be a reason for sadness and despair, we need to realize that just as everyday has already started to get longer, we are also now getting closer to baseball.  I can't wait for the smell of fresh grass, the sound of the crack of the bat, the excitement of watching our Red Sox win games.... well, regardless of what happens, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

So remember even though the weather outside may be frightful, and with no games on, you have no place to go... it won't be long before you hear the call of "PLAY BALL!".(*)

Happy Holidays everyone :)

(*) As an umpire, I hate to perpetuate the myth that games start with this call.  Umpires only say "PLAY!" to start a game, but this phrase is more popular and traditional in our collective social consciousness so I'm going to go with it.

December 16, 2012

Another Canadian joins the Red Sox

(Greg M. Cooper / USA TODAY Sports)
British Columbia native Ryan Dempster has been signed by the Red Sox for the next two seasons. Dempster will join a long list of Canadians who have been part of the Crimson Hose in recent memory.  These include Jason Bay, Matt Stairs, Eric Gagne, George Kottaras, Adam Stern, Mike Gardiner, Erik Bedard and Chris Reitsma who was drafted in the 1st round but never played home games at Fenway.

Being Canadian myself, I usually want the Red Sox to acquire as many Canucks as possible. However, I was less then overly enthusiastic when I heard Dempster's name linked to the Red Sox.  With other free agent starting pitchers available, I did not think he was the best choice. What I knew about him, was that he has played most of his career in the National League and that his brief stint in Texas last year resulted in an ERA north of 5. And not being a fastball pitcher, we all know that when pitchers move from the NL to the AL, they get exposed as they can't dominate our hitters like they could in the National League.  Oh year, he's not getting any younger.  Sigh.  But thanks to the good folks at the Sons of Sam Horn, a bunch of very positive points have emerged about this signing:

Take a look at the 2 lines of nearly identical stats below over the past 3 seasons:.

December 02, 2012

Best Baseball Players not in the Hall of Fame

At the fine "Baseball: Past and Present" website, it is time for their annual project where readers rank the 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame.  This always makes for some interesting reading, so rather than just vote this year, I am helping to spread the word.  If you want to have your say, it's simple.  Just go to this Google form and fill it out!  This reference list has over 400 names that you may want to consider.   Remember when filling out the ballot, to include a Y or N to indicate if you think they should be in the Hall of Fame or not.  For example, you may think players such as Shoeless Joe Jackson or Pete Rose are among the best players not in the Hall, but feel they don't deserve to be in.  The full details are on the original post here.

You can also take a look at The Hall of Nearly Great to read some great stories about several players that are not in Cooperstown.  This book has a compilation of some excellent writers talking about their favourite players including Dale Murphy, Keith Hernandez, Don Mattingly, John Olerud  and Fred McGriff, all of whom are worthy of consideration for top 50 missing from Cooperstown.  As well, as Red Sox fans you can read about Luis Tiant, Dwight Evans and Ellis Burks.