Tag Archives: Adrian Beltre

Colour Commentary: Red Sox Hot Stove Analysis From Liverpool

O, dear brothers, surrounded by ignorant droogs interested only in footie, Your Humble Narrator across the pond just barely survived the most dreadful torture of a Sox-less World Series. Take pity, my dear friends, on the no doubt several thousand fools who viddied such senseless rubbish. (That wanker Edgar Renteria as MVP? A bloody travesty!)

Thank goodness for the great hot stove winter season, an orgy of free agent signings, arbitration offers/non-offers and key trade transactions. Our favourite baseball club in Boston shall no doubt be active.

It seems to me, dear brothers and sisters, that there are many issues confronting Lord Theo and his apprentices. In between fantastic visions of saddling that prime baboochka Heidi Watney with the old in-out, in-out, YHN has constructed a game plan of sorts for a successful winter.

Sir Ortise
Well pull down my knickers and twink my willy, the beloved designated swatter did not go zero-for-600 as some predicted in early April. Lord David’s rookers are a bit slower through the strike zone these days, but Your Humble Narrator modestly proposes extending Big Papi for no more than, say 15 million gollies ($21m US) for three more years. After which time, your narrator most enthusiastically volunteers to take the ageing man out to the nearest woodshed for proper burial.

Victour Martinez

How frightfully distressing all this talk of Jason Varitek’s potential return has been on Your Humble Narrator’s poor gutsalug. The team must simply rid itself of this bloke, everything from the horrific pop-disk at-bat musical introduction to his oozhasny discipline at the dish.

Meanwhile, Victor Martinez is adequate behind the dish, adds insurance at first base, shows a mighty good swing and makes us all shite our knickers in laughter when he rubs Adrian Beltre’s incredibly irritable gulliver. And he can be signed for three years if the money is right. And he’s a good teammate. And Bob’s your uncle.

Papelbonbon
Dear brothers, I confess to many times this past season soiling my poor neezhnies when brother Pap took the hill. A most unfavourable feeling of nausea overtakes my innards when I think about an arbiter awarding this man more than 10 million gollies to continue twisting up my embattled knickers. A trade of Dropkick Pap for  perhaps one major-league ready player and some B-level prospects would greatly please YHN, who, I must state, never could love the boy after his mock on-field display of the dance of Satan himself: the Irish step. Ship him up—and out—of Boston.

The Corner Soomkas
My friends, first and third are two positions of extreme importance for any organisation, particularly as poor brother Youkilis’ stardom will likely be continuously challenged by high, tight pitches aimed at his gulliver. The wear and tear on the Greek God of Knocks leads YHN to believe first base is the place for his talents.

And what more need be said of Adrian Beltre, dear reader, than all the praise already heaped in local gazettas? His 2010 was the dog’s bollocks, which may just be a problem for Lord Theo when it comes to signing a fair-market deal. Nevertheless, YHN believes the rumpy pumpy marriage between Beltre and Fenway Park is one that could thrive for four more years.

Unless the veck wants something obscene like $13 million ($18m US) per year. In that case, he may kindly piss off and waste away his inconsequential final years somewhere else as we question his true commitment and openly root against him from afar.

Jayson Werth
Devote readers, a veteran player with postseason success (tied for the most NL home runs all time), a scraggly beard, dirty hat and hard, desirous look (white) will most certainly fit into this team bloody well if either Sir Victour or Lord Adrian defect elsewhere. Let’s say four years, $34m eurogollies ($48m US).

The Rotation
Welly, welly, well it does appear the future is mostly bright here. In addition to Master Lester, Brother Clay has become a top-class ace. It was clear his newly domesticated existence cleared his gulliver of the siren’s call of the strange, clearing his mind in order to perfect command of his fantastic change-up.

I believe the recent birth of a mini Clay will afford even less time for lubbilubbing with various dolled-up Hags of the Hub. A solid follow-up to this past season would be most agreeable.

John Lackey was certainly a one-man horrour show in 2010. But the righty has a swell, jagged set of teeth with which to grit as he continues to eat up innings for the club for the next—hang on one moment while I check this media guide—FOUR HONKING YEARS??!! Oh…oh my. You noble narrator will simply close his eyes when Lackey takes the hill. Oh, I simply must find a rubbish right away…

[This is several hours later, dear reader] YHN notes this veck Daisuke can’t be fagged to throw one pitch in less time than my old lady takes to fix her Earl Gray. He quite simply must be dispatched to a poorly run organization in the National League before YHN’s patience is tried.

That is all, for now, dear readers. Your horrid American businessmen, click-clacking away on Dingleberrys up in the Fenway pavilion seats, have officially exhausted the standard British sign off (“Cheers”). So YHN will instead leave with a simple ta ta.

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On the (in)fluency of professional umpires

Es muy fácil: The Boston Red Sox lost their best hitter and fielder last night because some fill-in umpire named Dan Bellino don’t speak Spanish no good.

Bellino’s ignorance likely did not cost Boston a win. After all, the Sox were facing Felix Hernandez, who would be a frontrunner for the AL Cy Young if the season ended today (assuming the Boston media’s unhealthy obsession with Clay Buchholz’s win total and ERA has not spread into some kind of national pandemic).

On the other hand, Bellino did succeed in embarrassing the integrity of Major League Baseball—coincidentally, much like his crew chief (Joe West) has done so many times before.

In theory, the notion of a “human element” in baseball is a good thing. Unfortunately, kind of like the whole “bullpen-by-committee” idea, it is a concept that can too often be sabotaged if the right personnel are not in place. Bellino is just the latest example of too many umpires’ inherent desire to become part of the story. (There are some journalists in this town who often suffer a similar affliction.)

Bellino’s ignorance of what was actually transpiring on the field (two former teammates engaging in some fairly innocent trash-talk) injected a “human element” that has no business anywhere in America, particularly on a baseball diamond: cultural insensitivity.

The fact that Bellino wasn’t smart enough to realize Adrian Beltre wasn’t speaking to him as he took grounders at third base is bad. That Bellino did not or could not accept that he wasn’t part of the story, that Beltre and King Felix were merely engaging in some friendly jawing, is worse. And, on top of it all, that a 31-year-old, over-his-head, just-called-up, mercenary of a home plate umpire was not man enough to take the opportunity to correct his mistake is a downright embarrassment. (Beltre, for his part, hadn’t been ejected from a game since he was a Dodger six years ago.)

The precedent is set. (Bellino ought to understand this, as he actually holds a law degree.) An umpire may stand behind the veil of lingual ignorance if he feels the need to make a statement. Worse, unwritten code dictates that fellow members of the crew (Angel Hernandez) should stand by ejections, no matter how indefensible they may be. Both Bellino and Hernandez must have realized the error of Beltre’s ejection, as neither would provide Terry Francona with an explanation, whether spoken in English, Spanish or Pig Latin.

Given the demographics throughout professional baseball, both major league and minor league umpires should be required to speak Spanish beyond just recognizing cuss words when they are tossed around on the field. After all, their primary job is to communicate various decisions with the players and coaches on the field.

On occasions when someone a bit less…”cultured” must umpire home plate in a pinch, perhaps they could at least be reminded of their rightful place within the game.

Pathetic Red Sox Brawl with Indians, Attempt to Avoid Irrelevance

Yawn. Does this team really think instigating a benches-clearing, bullpen-emptying brawl will bring the fans back? Against the Indians?

Really, this is one of the most transparent attempts at salvaging relevance that a local sports team has constructed in a long, long time. It took Cleveland pitchers something like eight pitches over the course of seven innings before a Boston hitter even conjured up the nerve to pretend to be angry.

Adrian Beltre wasn’t even that upset when he took several steps toward the mound still wielding his bat. It’s a contract year, though, so of course he wants to look like a “team guy.” Total phony.

Facts are facts. Youk and Pedroia are on the DL. Ratings are down. Ambivalence is up. Casual fans (and NESN employees!) think Bill Hall is Mike Cameron and vice versa.

It’s over, everybody. The Red Sox are so passé. Worse yet, they’re 5.5 games behind the Yankees in the Wild Card race. Fan interest has made its inglorious return to the pre-Pedro days (officially dubbed by historians as the Days When You Could Get $20 Bleacher Seats An Hour Before the Game Without Having to Give A Scalper A Handjob).

A Tuesday night brawl against the Cleveland Indians ain’t gonna change that. Boston has roughly a 27% chance to make the playoffs after last night’s win. A 127% chance would sound a lot better.

What? Nobody else noticed that Jacoby Ellsbury didn’t even throw a punch? Reminds us of Nomar in Yankee Stadium that one time.

John Lackey made sure he challenged his big goofy white dude doppelganger, Shelley Duncan. Was that a toothpick in his mouth? C’mon…

It was vexing enough watching this team string together several late-inning comebacks over the past few days. Who wants to watch the team win if it’s going to take three and a half hours? The economy might be in the dumper, but we still have things to do. Either jump out to a quick lead or don’t bother winning at all.

Mike Lowell’s home run is a nice story. But if he keeps swinging at the first pitch, he’s not going to be much help down the stretch. Work the count full next time, Mike. Let the drama build a little for crying out loud. Reminds us of Nomar in Yankee Stadium that one time.

Everybody keeps talking about this guy Ryan Kalish. He is certainly no Jason Bay. (He hasn’t even hit a dinger yet.) The Trot Nixon comparisons are equally as ridiculous. Moles inside the organization have already confirmed that he has, indeed, had his uniform washed multiple times since his call up only four days ago.

Boy is it depressing to see the Devil Rays in first place in August.

Reminds us of Nomar in Yankee Stadium that one time.

The Youker Files: An Evening at The Nutcracker

Written exclusively for Fenway Pastoral by Red Sox first baseman/third baseman Kevin Youkilis

Going to a ballet probably wouldn’t have been my first choice for celebrating being recently named the 2009 winner of the Thomas A. Yawkey Memorial Award as Red Sox Most Valuable Player.

For one, as much as I appreciate the recognition, the tired postseason routine of doling out awards like Gold Gloves and MVPs seems so arbitrary and trite. Secondly, I’ve found that ballets and other dramatic performances of the arts often take place in old, musty theaters with cramped seating plans designed to accommodate smaller-framed folks of centuries long past. (This is especially true in an older city like Boston, but I’ll get to that in a few minutes.)

Anyway, when my wife Enza surprised me with tickets to a matinee performance of Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Opera House this past Sunday, I stoically took my ticket and hid my pained facial expressions like any slugger would after taking a hard fastball off the shoulder blade.

The day started off innocently enough. The foul weather made it especially easy to find a parking spot just off the Common right near the Opera House on Washington Street. It took us only a few minutes to walk from the car to the building.

The first sign of trouble came as we approached the large group of people bottle-necked into a chaotic hoard, awaiting entrance into the theater. Back at home, Enza had told me I should dress up since we were going to the ballet, but I took a look around and realized I was comically overdressed. I tugged at my tight, constraining bowtie and tried not to look too enviously at the other men around me who were outfitted in loose-fitting V-neck sweaters.

The line was impossibly slow-moving and the early afternoon drizzle peppered my naked scalp with cold winter rain. Having forgotten my hat, I attempted to cover my head with a Sunday edition of the Boston Herald, which did a surprisingly good job of keeping me dry while we waited. Unfortunately, holding the paper over my head exposed the right side of my body to the pointy elbow of a fur-coated socialite who clearly had no regard for anyone around her. She pegged the side of my gut so hard that she knocked the wind out of me and left me gasping for air.

This was a minor inconvenience compared to when my wife and I got to our row and I realized that I would have to sit with my knees together and angled to one side just to fit into the seat. I overheard someone beside us mention that the Opera House had recently been refurbished, but whoever was in charge of modernizing the seating plan ought to be fired. My back has been freaking killing me since Sunday and I know it was because of those seats.

Perhaps worst of all, though, was that my finely knit, specially-fitted white collared shirt was ruined after being drenched in the blood that gushed from my nose after it was hit with a slipper that one of the Sugar Plum Fairies somehow kicked off her feet amidst one of the show’s more elaborate dance numbers at the beginning of Act 2. It was at that point that I rued Enza’s propensity to seemingly always get her hands on the choicest seats for such events. This is one time when I would have gladly traded our front center orchestra seats for a spot in the second-level mezzanine.

My nosebleed did not fully subside until the end of the Russian dance–by which time I was thoroughly flustered by the commotion of having to rush up the aisle and into the men’s room in search of paper towels. The choke-hold of my double-knotted bowtie only made matters worse. Dizzied from a shortage of blood circulation to my head, I returned to my seat and did my best to ignore the subtle instrumental flaws that were evident in the orchestration of the Waltz of the Flowers. On the plus side, the footwork of the kids who played Fritz and Clara would have made Mike Lowell and Adrian Beltre blush.

Getting out of the Opera House at the end of the performance was a predictable nightmare. The heelprint marks left by the scurrying patrons will need to be buffed out of my wing tips before I can ever wear them again and I eventually wound up cutting the bowtie off my neck with a pair of scissors after trying to undo the knot for 15 minutes.

All in all, I must say I enjoyed taking a break from my offseason workout routine to do something with both seasonal and cultural relevance with my wife. This time of year, you’ll do just about anything you can think of to break the monotony of winter–even if it means getting a few bumps and bruises along the way. The Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker did a great job of taking my mind off baseball for a few hours. Then again, I do remember wondering whether Adrian Beltre would have caught that ballet slipper in his soft, soft hands before it had a chance to hit him in the nose.