Monthly Archives: April 2011

Red Sox hire around-the-clock protection for Jed Lowrie

The Boston Red Sox first realized they could have a problem on their hands during spring training, when Jed Lowrie had to be disciplined for being late for a team bus after temporarily losing his custom-fit, double-earflap batting helmet.

His torrid start may help the Red Sox climb out of the cellar, but could Jed Lowrie wind up being locked in there instead by some deranged fan? (Photo courtesy of NBC Sports)

“Turned out,” says a front-office source speaking on condition of anonymity, “Jed was letting people wear his helmet as they posed for photos and some overzealous fan made off with it. We got it back, eventually, but the damage was done…”

Indeed, that day set a tone that has resonated like a six-game losing streak.

Twitter hashtagging weirdos and traditional plant-crouching stalkers alike have taken to Lowrie Mania over the first two weeks of the season, prompting the team to hire a team of private security guards to monitor his well-being around the clock.

Team officials believe his torrid start to the 2011 season has effectively fanned what were once mere embers of admiration from a small subset of fans to the present forest fire of obsession that is tearing its way through Red Sox Nation.

While numerous Red Sox have stumbled out of the gate, Lowrie’s batting average is nearly 250 percentage points higher than his career rate. Meanwhile, his slugging percentage is similarly through the roof, particularly for a utility infielder.

Add it all up and the recipe is set for disaster.

The team had initially dealt with the crisis by forbidding Terry Francona from starting Lowrie more than twice per week. But with the team reeling out of the gate, it needs Jed Lowrie more than ever.

“It’s such a large fanbase so the odds are against collective sanity,” said the front-office source. “I know this sounds terrible, but we always root against a guy getting off to a start like this because it really can be pretty dangerous.”

Meanwhile, even the small-time, proverbial “fanboy” blogs seem to be inexplicably entranced by Lowrie’s gravitational pull, employing even the minutest development in the man’s life as occasion to write about their hero.

“You know, there’s such a thing as being too polite,” says one club source. “Jed needs to learn how to say no to people…or to at least stop giving out his home address and phone number just because some drunk guy in the third row asks him for it. He thinks everyone wants to be his friend, but some of them just want to say they were the one who locked Jed Lowrie in their wine cellar for a week during his breakout 2011 season.”

As the Red Sox prepare for their second road trip of the season, security officials plan on providing Jed with what they describe as “early 90s New Kids on the Block-level protection.”

Defined, the “New Kids” protection plan includes a special helmet similar to the one Lowrie uses at the plate, only reinforced with barbed wire to protect his scalp from being ripped by fawning hands. (Unlike Adrian Beltre, Lowrie shows no aversion to being patted on the head.)

“Jed Lowrie’s safety is currently our number one priority,” said one security spokesperson. “We are on triple scarlet alert…We’ve stopped wasting our time checking fanny packs on 50-year-old women. We’re just giving them security clearance bracelets and moving on.”

The road trip begins Tuesday in Oakland before moving to Anaheim over the weekend and closing in Baltimore early next week. Red Sox officials are working tirelessly to notify the thousands of fans who had been promised time with Lowrie that their plans cannot be accommodated.

Local artists who are painting portraits of Jed Lowrie, sculpting models of Jed Lowrie, constructing life-size papier-mâché statues of Jed Lowrie or creating so-called “sound wave art” by shouting Jed Lowrie’s name out their windows repeatedly are being asked kindly to cease and desist.

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Clay Buchholz’s Love Doctor Mailbag: Opening Day Edition

During spring training, a seemingly bored Clay multitasks, catching the baseball while also checking the stands for broads in halter tops. (Photo from CBS)

One-time prolific ladies’ man Clay Buchholz may have given up a jaw-dropping four home runs in his first start of the season, but the 26-year-old remains a frontline starter and key member of the Boston Red Sox. A few days before his second start of the season, the happily married father of a six-month old daughter was nice enough to take some time to impart some of his sage wisdom to a few readers while holed up in his hotel room during the final night of Boston’s first road trip of the 2011 season.

Clay,
The City of Boston’s licensing board recently green-lighted the widespread sale of mixed drinks at Fenway Park. Any thoughts?

Rebecca from Jamaica Plain

Becky, I’m all for it. But I’m happy they’re not going to let the ruffians in the bleachers anywhere near the sauce, because having a bunch of drunk broads flashing their breasts at me as I’m warming up in the bullpen can get kind of distracting. I would ask that ladies refrain from that kind of behavior until after the game, when I’m driving out of the parking lot on Van Ness St.

Clay,
This is difficult for me to discuss, but here goes: My daughter wants you to autograph one of her butt cheeks as her Sweet 16 birthday present. At first I told her ‘absolutely not,’ but the more I think about it, the better the idea sounds. It beats trying to impress the neighbors by buying her a new car and it’s definitely better than paying for her to get her belly button pierced or a trip to Cancun. Can you give me a ballpark estimate on how much dough your autograph on my daughter’s buttocks might set me back?

Roger from Natick

Roger, you sound like a good guy and it’s perfectly natural for you to be a little hesitant, but I’m glad you came around. I’m offering a number of different pricing tiers for the 2011 campaign:

The 2-Seamer Package ($29.95): A 30-second conversation (I don’t have to act interested) followed by a lightly pressed Body Autograph written with a medium ballpoint pen.

The 4-Seamer Package ($49.95): A two-minute Q&A session (I come up with the questions) and a Body Autograph written with a thin Sharpie.

The Slider ($69.95): A hands-on demonstration of various pitching grips, a two-minute conversation (I feign mild amusement) and a Body Autograph written in permanent marker.

The Curveball ($99.95): All of the above, only the Body Autograph is written in scented permanent marker. Oh yeah…and Jim Rice gets to watch while you give me a backrub.

And Roger, the prices are doubled if you insist on hovering over us to supervise.

Clay,
Do you have any fears that there are women out there who have incriminating text messages from you filed away that they might sell off for some quick money in a pinch?

Terry from Worcester

No, I don’t, Terry. I’ve always found that tactic a bit too blunt for my tastes. I’ll admit that back in my single days a few years ago I satisfied the occasional urge to send something a little risqué to some random dame. But I guess I was a lot smarter about it than Tiger Woods or Brett Favre—I’d wait until guys like Craig Hansen or Takashi Saito got into games in the later innings and use their phones in the clubhouse. I tried using Youkilis’ phone a few times, but the chicks always seemed to know it wasn’t Kevin.

Clay,
A friend of mine told me you used to date some ladies who worked in various capacities within the magazine industry and I’m wondering if you might help me make some connections in the field. I’m a married, stay-at-home mother of three children (ages 4, 7 and 9) and I sit around bored all day while my kids are at school. I figure a freelance gig might help me stay occupied during the day.

Marie from Reading

I’d be happy to help out, Marie. Just send me your resume and portfolio. Be sure to include standard information like your favorite song, secret talents, political views and the date of your most recent breast augmentation.

Click here to read the Thanksgiving edition of the Love Doctor Mailbag

Click here to read the Red Hot Summer edition of the Love Doctor Mailbag

Click here to read the Valentine’s Day edition of the Love Doctor Mailbag

Click here to read the October 2009 edition of the Love Doctor Mailbag

You’re a little too big for those Peter Pan tights, John Tomase

Apparently, it wasn’t enough for your Boston Herald employers to antagonize baseball fans everywhere, including the hometown hands that feed them, with that ridiculous “Best Team Ever” headline last week.

Now the tabloid has unleashed this piece of epic ignorance (“Take your talents elsewhere, Lebron”) on the good people of Boston.

Frankly, your misplaced, childish provinciality is puzzling given the fact that you jumped ever so quickly at the chance to report a non-story desperately aimed at deflating the joy of the New England Patriots’ historic 2007 season.

You were naïve then to place your trust in a clearly biased source and you sounded equally as foolish today in bashing Red Sox ownership for making a shrewd business deal that is almost guaranteed to bolster its revenue stream.

Not only does your misunderstanding of relatively standard business leveraging sound like some 14-year-old girl whining on Facebook about her Spanish homework, but you employ a comparable level of vocabulary in summing up your feelings (“Gag”? Seriously?).

To sum up, you’re offended by the Fenway Sports Group’s consummation of a branding deal with Lebron James because it reeks of something Faustian—or worse, of unspoken approval of a basketball player who wears a Yankees hat. Oh yeah, and because the whole “Decision” thing that upset basketball fans everywhere eight months ago should have been a red flag to billionaires everywhere that profiting off his namesake is comparable to trafficking “blood diamonds.”

You also compare the deal as akin to relationships with A-Rod, Peyton Manning, the Montreal Canadiens and the 1986 Chicago Bears. Boy, you could really rile up the regulars at Sullivan’s Tap if you wanted to…

And don’t try to tell us your editors plugged in the Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen references to improve your column’s Google rank. You wouldn’t want to sell yourself short as being anything but worldly and uber-topical.

But our favorite line has to be this gem: “The Celtics’ first order of business should be opening a Babe Ruth suite at the Garden.”

Dan Shaughnessy is probably pouring sugar in your gas tank as we speak for so boldly shoehorning a Babe Ruth reference into a sports column. Who the hell do you think you are?

Here are the facts: James is now a minority owner of a soccer team that plays on another continent. He’ll probably fly overseas after the season to film some sort of advertisement involving shooting a soccer ball through a basketball net. You act as though the guy will be writing out the Red Sox batting order or making decisions on free agent signings next offseason.

No modern day Carl Bernstein himself, even the Globe’s Nick Cafardo took the time to at least explain the actual nature of the deal between James’ LRMR entity and Fenway Sports Group’s EPL Liverpool soccer affiliation. You’d rather just blurt out a bunch of clichéd buzz words and call it a column. Referencing the “Super Bowl Shuffle” as a means of inciting vitriol would have sounded outdated 15 years ago, let alone in 2011.

Sure, there are questions that need to be asked about how focused Red Sox ownership truly is on developing its most famous brand—or at least the one Bostonians are most interested in protecting. John Henry and Tom Werner’s interests have surely become more diluted over the last year. Like any conglomeration of billionaires, they are certainly no strangers to money grabs and buying low on “stressed” assets such as Lebron’s namesake.

Sorry you have to find out this way, but these guys didn’t make their hay selling “Yankees Suck” shirts in Kenmore Square back in the 1990s.

From now on, just leave the kinda complicated stuff to the adults. In the meantime, why don’t you grab a crayon and scribble all over the file photo your newspaper ran alongside your column of Lebron wearing a NY hat. It’ll make you feel better.