Tag Archives: Dustin Pedroia

Terse Predictions: ALCS Game 6, Detroit @ Boston

1. Boston will record three hits in the first two innings in which the batter swings at the first pitch dealt from Max Scherzer.

2. Another Xander Bogaerts start – another game in which the rookie reaches base safely multiple times.

3. Ryan Dempster will pitch two innings in the ballgame.

4. Clay Buchholz will run up two full counts in the first inning.

5. Dustin Pedroia will hit a home run.

6. So will Prince Fielder.

7. Joquin Benoit will not record another out this season.

8. One of the teams will top the series-high seven runs scored by Detroit in Game 3.

This Week in Boston Baseballing, July 19-25

The Red Sox took two out of three from the scuffling Yankees and lost two of three against the Rays, thanks mainly to a couple of gems by Tampa lefties Matt Moore and David Price. Boston is now just half a game up on Tampa Bay. However, as Dan Duquette would no doubt point out, Thursday night’s rainout (to be made up on Monday) ensured the Red Sox at least one more full day in first place of the AL East.

Meanwhile, a bunch of other stuff happened this week:

Jenny Dell’s Almost Sharon-Stone-in-Basic-Instinct Moment
SS Basic InstJenny Dell returned Friday night after a prolonged vacation (she did not make the trip to the West Coast with the team prior to the All-Star break). During last weekend’s series opener against the Yankees, Dell took to the Fenway Park stands for her “Fenway Fan Stories” sitdown segment with a couple of Sox fans . One of NESN’s cameras was angled upward so that it nearly caught an upskirt shot as Dell began to uncross her legs a la Sharon Stone while she turned from one interviewee to the other. Dell caught herself just in time – and/or a NESN producer was likely screaming in her earpiece. Seemingly aware of the close call, she finished the segment with a sheepish expression and her free hand placed on the outside of her leg as though to guard it from involuntarily falling into a more revealing open position. Welcome back, Jenny!

Dustin! Got A New Deal
Sources confirmed Tuesday that the Red Sox extended Dustin Pedroia’s contract through the 2021 season. The move was applauded by just about every writer and baseball analyst. All told, Dustin’s contract is likely to be an afterthought when compared to other nine-figure deals in the organization’s history (Manny Ramirez 8/$160m; Adrian Gonzalez, 7/$154m; Carl Crawford 7/$142m). The signing is rooted with a perfect balance of business sense and emotional backdrop. Pedroia needs the Red Sox (check out his home/road splits) and the Red Sox need Pedroia (he’ll be The Face of the Franchise after David Ortiz retires).

Clay Buchholz Got Peace of Mind from Dr. James Andrews
Alas, it was a complete waste of time in the eyes of fans and media that moonlight as amateur physicians who could have told Buchholz he has been healthy enough to pitch for weeks.

We can only imagine what these Budweiser-slugging ladies have been saying about Clay’s prolonged recovery…

Former Red Sox Gabe Kapler implored front offices to better educate players about advanced stats not found in USA Today
“At some point, Ben (Cherington) opened my eyes wide when he sent me a study on the sacrifice bunt and the value of the out in major league baseball at the time. I considered myself to be a student of the game, but this was the first time I had a baseball man illuminate such a study. It was at that point that I realized that baseball players are not the most educated people in our game — far from it.”

One would presume Cherington’s has reached out to bunt-loving Shane Victorino on this matter?

Trade Activity Watch
Guys supposedly on the Red Sox radar like Matt Garza and Francisco Rodriguez were pawned to other teams. John Henry and Larry Lucchino told reporters they wouldn’t necessarily be making any major trades before July 31. Meanwhile, the Sox did have scouts in attendance yesterday as Peavy got a win over Justin Verlander. Several reports went out of the way to say the Red Sox have not discussed trading Will Middlebrooks to the Chicago White Sox for Jake Peavy.

It also seems possible that the Sox could sign Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a long-term deal that pays him a pro-rated salary for 2013 that still keeps the team under the luxury tax. He may or may not be of much use this year, but he would provide depth and also a much higher upside for the future than almost anyone else rumored to be available. If Philadelphia decides to be smart about moving Cliff Lee, the equation may change.

The Sox have three games against the Orioles this weekend in Camden Yards and then the team is back at Fenway for three against the Mariners.

Fenway grounds crew works overtime after spunky Pedroia leaves a mess all over the field

They were everywhere. At first, the Fenway Park grounds crew didn’t know what to do with all of them. Donate them to charity? Take photographs of the ones that had their seams split open from being squared up so perfectly? Try to salvage the ones that weren’t warped from being laced down the left-field line? Hire Curt Schilling as a consultant to ensure a proper burial?

Dustin! Pedroia’s 13-pitch virtuoso performance in the fifth inning Monday night against Anaheim’s Jered Weaver that resulted in a two-RBI single was only the beginning, according to witnesses.

After Boston’s 9-5 victory over the Angels, the Red Sox second baseman convinced NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley to throw him “some cool-down” batting practice on the diamond.

What resulted over the next several hours was an absolute explosion of baseballs all over the outfield (BAM!), the infield (POW!), in the grandstands (SPARK!), ricocheting off the dugout protective fences (HEART!) and chopped down the third-baseline (SOUL!).

The frenzied riot of projectiles blanketing the field in the wee hours of the morning provided yet more confirmation of Dustin!’s epic resolve…and also six hours of overtime work for three grounds crew members asked to clean up the mess.

Media members at Fenway were too busy thinking up new adjectives to describe Dustin!’s latest performance and thus missed the—ok, fine—laser show. However, various club officials witnessed the show with awe.

“That was amazing,” said one front-office executive. “Pedey is really unique—and I’m not saying that because he’s not as tall as some other guys on the team. But, I’ve gotta admit, it just comes off as annoying when guys like Carl Crawford ask us if he can do the same thing.”

Eckersley, meanwhile, will be evaluated later this afternoon to determine the extent of damage to his shoulder inflicted by the three-hour BP session.

The Youker Files: 4th of July Fireworks Safety Tips

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

Setting off fireworks is a part of Americana that I’ve always truly enjoyed. The anticipation of a lit fuse, the loud explosions, the high-pitched whistle of a fiery projectile shooting into the evening air en route to illuminating the sky with smokey color. I take a childish delight in the whole scene.

We were lucky enough to have this past Memorial Day off this year–the Monday breaking up our homestand against the Royals and Athletics. So I figured I’d take advantage of this blessing from the scheduling Gods and have a barbecue at my home in a nearby Boston suburb.

Honestly, what BBQ is complete without fireworks? To honor our veterans, I decided to have a buddy go up north to the New Hampshire border and purchase a very large amount of explosives to set off in my backyard once dusk rolled in.

I’ve gotta say, the idea seemed pretty flawless at the time. But I did learn some valuable lessons about the proper usage of fireworks that I hope everyone will keep in mind this weekend as we celebrate the Independence Day of our great nation.

Rule 1: Stay back
I guess we can all learn something from Dustin Pedroia, who got his own foot a bit too close to his own Laser Show for his own good out in San Francisco. In all seriousness, once a firework is lit in your vicinity, get out of the way immediately. Fuses require differing lengths of time to burn through and just because your M-80 doesn’t fire out of its launch pad immediately doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to get a closer look to see what’s going on.

Rule 2: Watch your aim
Don’t point your fireworks at other people. Don’t point your fireworks at other houses. Don’t point your fireworks in any direction which might have flammable substances or wooded areas. This might seem like a no-brainer to most people. But I’ve actually been hit in the head by several ill-fated bottle rockets. Those things can come at you quicker than any line drive down the third base line and they can leave more permanent marks than just a baseball-sized bruise.

Rule 3: Wear protective armor
I know, I know. You probably think you’ll look ridiculous wearing a helmet, safety goggles and a non-combustible jumpsuit, but just pretend you’re stepping into the batter’s box against Joba Chamberlain after he’s been drinking heavily. Do you really want to risk a fast-moving projectile speeding at your head so quickly that you only have a split-second to react?

Rule 4: Be patient
I haven’t always exhibited the same amount of patience in my fireworks escapades as I usually do during at-bats. I like buying a lot of different types of fireworks, loading my mortar up with several explosives and setting them off at the same time. But the risks of haywire aren’t always worth the reward. Rather than trying to impress your barbecue guests by lighting 10 projectiles at the same time, set off your M-80s and Roman candles one after another and just enjoy the experience. It’s pretty embarrassing when all your friends leave your house early because you thought it would be cool to try to light your whole arsenal with a blowtorch.

Well, I hope these safety tips are helpful. An amateur fireworks show can be one of the most absolutely awesome forms of entertainment, but unlike baseball, injuries can only be avoided by using common sense. Stay safe on the Fourth, everybody.

Don’t bother advance-booking your flight out of Boston on Sunday, Joe West

Eat a big brunch on Sunday morning, pal. You should probably take a big dump just prior to game time, too. You’re gonna be on the field at Fenway Park for quite a bit longer than three hours.

Isn’t that cute…You’re trying to soften your well-publicized gripes about the Red Sox and Yankees “embarrassing” the game with their slow, deliberate play. The real embarrassment is that somebody (you) employed by a money-making enterprise (Major League Baseball) could possibly complain about the two components of the business (Boston and New York) that generate the most revenue for this said enterprise, thus facilitating paychecks for its employees (including you, Joe).

The damage is done and now the Sox have a golden opportunity to stick it up your craw, if it can be found amongst your many chins.

See who’s starting for the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon? Gil Meche. He walks over six guys per nine innings (6.29 BB/9)—worst in the Major League. He allows, on average, about two base-runners per inning (1.85 WHIP). He has been damn near the definition of terrible all year. In his first start of the season, in fact, the Red Sox managed three walks against him in just 3.1 innings.

And Pyro Gil gets the ball in Fenway Park on get-away day of what promises to be an orgy of runs for the Red Sox this weekend.

The Red Sox lineup is clicking on all cylinders right now, Joe. They have been having their way with some of the league’s best pitchers over the last week. Working counts, drawing walks and driving guys in with timely base hits.

Guys like Dustin Pedroia haven’t hidden how miffed they were by your ignorant, misplaced criticism. So, really, what incentive in the world will they have to swing at all? Ol’ Pyro Gil has already proven he can’t throw strikes to save his life this season. Let’s see how many strikes you can get away with calling while MLB undoubtedly scrutinizes your crew’s performance this weekend.

The Sox are going to drag Sunday’s game out for as long as possible. Forget about hitters getting the green light on 3-0 counts, Joe. This is one game where the Red Sox owe it to you to prolong every at-bat. Bill Hall doesn’t even plan to take a bat with him to the plate. Kevin Youkilis is going to send about 50 fans home with souvenir foul balls. Marco Scutaro’s tennis elbow is going to make it mysteriously easy to fight off 3-2 pitches with weak grounders into the KC dugout. J.D. Drew? Well, he isn’t going to change a damn thing about his approach at the plate.

If all else fails, the Sox can pull their scheduled starter, Jon Lester, after six innings and put in Jonathan Van Every for a couple innings of long relief.

Anyway, enjoy Daisuke Matsuzaka’s start tonight. You should be in bed by about 2 a.m.

The Youker Files: A Day on the Links

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

I don’t play much golf during the baseball season. I’ve found that angrily impaling an oak tree with the head of a nine iron can have devastating effects on my contact rates at the dish. Plus, I always wind up getting paired with Dustin Pedroia, who has never shared company in a tee box with a back-swing he didn’t want to sabotage by mumbling some off-color vulgarity.

When Dustin told me he was heading out one morning for an early round at a local country club near Fort Myers, my first instinct was to tell him to find somebody else to tolerate the childish taps from his putter on their undercarriage while trying to line up a 35-footer.

But then I got to thinking: The regular season was about a week away and my chances for a leisurely day on the links were about to become almost nonexistent for the next six-plus months.

I really don’t know what got into me, but the next thing I knew Dustin and I were teeing up a 380-yard par 4 with a dog-leg left on a private course near Fort Myers. Well, my first drive off the tee sliced dog-legged right and out of play. I rained blows on the first of many garbage cans that day. In the process, I broke the graphite shaft of my favorite TaylorMade driver, leaving me with just 10 back-up drivers for the remaining 17 holes. I knew I would have to be more careful.

The first few holes went relatively well after that. I was shooting a 39 heading onto the fifth–an elevated par 3 with a small swamp on the left and sandy desert on the right. I lofted what I thought was a brilliant shot with my seven iron. But the ball got caught in the wind and briefly hung onto the edge of the left-side rough before kicking out to the muddy edge of the drink.

I was able to identify my ball (I only play with Nike 2s) amongst several Titleists that some of the less adventurous golfers had abandoned in favor of taking drops on drier land. Maybe I should have done the same. But at that point, I was still on pace for my handicap and didn’t want to waste a stroke by taking a drop. Plus, I was wearing some old baseball cleats from last season (I hate the feel of golf shoes), so I didn’t see much harm in getting them a bit dirty by stepping into the swamp. What I didn’t realize was that a rather large alligator had somehow found his way into the water.

As I was lining up my shot, I caught a glimpse of the ugly gator’s open mouth surging toward my leg. My vain attempts to shoo him away with my wedge only enraged the creature further and it was then that I had regretted tuning out Mike Greenwell a few years ago when he gave the team a primer on alligator wrestling techniques during spring workouts. Back in 2005, his tips seemed overly complicated and pretty unnecessary. But I guess even in this new, rejiggered economic world, subduing alligators is a valuable survival skill.

Anyway, the gator took a pretty good chunk of meat off the back of my leg and I probably woke up some people in the nearby nursing home with my wrenching screams of agony. Its clenched teeth gripped my leg with excruciating force. Luckily, Dustin had a butterfly knife in his golf slacks and he was able to dart the blade between the reptile’s eyes to kill it. The effort was heroic even if rolling to the ground while making the throw seemed a bit unnecessary.

I wrapped my wound with gauze and ate a hot dog as we made the turn to the back nine. I was off my handicap but still shooting a respectable 68. Even better, I had only broken three drivers and thrown a couple of irons into the water. My only concern was that bending my putter shaft over my thigh after five-putting the ninth hole forced me to play the last half of the course using a three iron as a putter.

The back nine wasn’t all that eventful. Some hack’s stray approach shot hit me in the ear as I was lining up a putt on the 10th green, a pelican pooped on my head somewhere on the 12th fairway, I flipped our riding cart over on a sharp turn and saw some things in the 16th hole’s port-a-potty that will haunt my dreams. But that was really about it.

When it was all over, I was happy to wind up shooting a 129. Golf isn’t my best sport, but I think once I retire I could probably get pretty good at it and maybe join the PGA tour. We’ll see what happens, though. It’s tough playing with buffoons like Dustin. Don’t get me wrong, I love him as a teammate on the diamond. But golf is a game that requires a certain amount of social grace that Pedey just doesn’t seem to have. I don’t need someone calling me an “ugly Sally” every time I shank a drive and barely clear the women’s tee box.

Well, that’s all I got for now. I can’t wait to be back in Boston to start the regular season. In some strange way, I think the round of golf may serve as a good omen for 2010. After Dustin killed that alligator on the 5th hole, I pulled out one of its teeth and will wear it around my neck for luck. That bastard didn’t know who he was messing with.

Five Half-Witted Things Tony Massarotti Managed to Cram Into One Column

It won’t be long now before online readers will be asked to pay to view these posts of “Information, Insight, Analysis.” This morning’s column delved into the potential move of Dustin Pedroia from second base to shortstop. Welcome to the party, Tony.

(1) “For those of you who still think the Red Sox offense is going to be fine, ask yourselves this: if the Sox were concerned enough a year ago to offer Mark Teixeira the richest contract in club history – eight years, $170 million – how concerned are they now?”

They are panicked. They should increase their offer to Teixeira past $200 million and throw in the Ted Williams bleacher seat as a bonus. Honestly, the failure to sign Teixeira broke poor Tony. He’s had 12 months to heal the wound, but somehow those 300-plus days were not enough.

(2) “…the Sox are now looking for significant offense from their middle infielders because they know they are not likely to get it from other parts of their lineup, most notably from the designated hitter.”

This is some pretty confusing, roundabout logic. Apparently, Tony is a big believer in the theory that doubles and home runs are worth more when they’re hit by boppers like David Ortiz and Mark Teixeira. In his mind, grand slams by middle infielders are more like solo homers, at best.

(3) “For all of the criticisms that were made of someone like David Eckstein during his career as a shortstop – range and arm strength were chief among them – Eckstein was the starting shortstop on two World Series winners, one in the American League (the Angels, 2002) and one in the National League (the Cardinals, 2006).”

Back before writing tired storylines for Jim and Pam on The Office became so time-consuming, these types of ridiculous sentences would have been ripped apart in the most profane fashion imaginable at FireJoeMorgan.com. Now all we have left are lesser blogs imitating the style and a bunch of depressing relationship humor. Next year, look for Tony’s book examining how many career touchdowns Randy Moss would have if he only tried as hard as Wes Welker.

(4) “…the Red Sox would be making the move largely to account for other deficiencies, specifically in the middle of their lineup.”

Leave it to a Boston Globe sportswriter to attempt to stir up outrage by suggesting to fans that their favorite baseball team might be trying to toggle their lineup in such a way as to score more runs over the course of a season. Get pissed, Red Sox Nation!

(5) “Moving him to another position would be have been (sic) akin to making Jonathan Papelbon a starter in the earlier years of his career. Why dilute that? Why steal from one area to shore up another?”

Newspaper writers have not been using passive voice enough. It seems to have been a lost art in a lot of ways. Oftentimes, poor grammar and extraneous wording is utilized to mask laughably terrible arguments and rationales. For example, saying one thing is a bad idea by equating it to a very good idea – attempting to maximize a young pitcher’s value to a ball club – isn’t going to win many accolades. Unless that guy from Detroit who voted Miguel Cabrera for MVP is the one handing out the awards.

Clay Buchholz’s Love Doctor Mailbag

Boston‘s young pitching phenom Clay Buchholz will officially be off the dating market next month after he marries Deal or No Deal model Lindsay Clubine. The Red Sox star’s proclivity for dating smoking hot models has at times evoked feelings of disbelief, bewilderment and envy. Now that he’s off the prowl, Clay was nice enough to take some time out of his offseason to answer some Fenway Pastoral reader’s questions about the dating scene.

I recently visited a strip club in Toronto and purchased an hour in the champagne room. The stripper who wound up taking care of me seemed like a nice lady and I asked her for her phone number after my hour was up, figuring it would be nice to take her out for a nice dinner somewhere in the outside world. Unfortunately, she declined and now I have a weird rash to go along with the embarrassment of rejection. What did I do wrong?

–Daniel from Everett

Rookie mistake, Dan! You can’t just show up at the strip club and expect the chick’s gonna be all about you after one freaking hour. Courting strippers takes patience and persistence. Your first time with a dancer in the champagne room should be about putting your vibe out there. Play it close to the vest and be nonchalant while she does her thing. If they sense you’re too enamored, it’s all over. Act uninterested and like you’ve been there before. Strippers hate this, but they’ll remember you the next time when you show up with enough cash to buy a bottle of Patron and her exclusive company for the rest of the night. As for the extra pine tar on your barrel, a scalding hot bath and a ton of Icy/Hot on the affected area is the best remedy for erasing a regrettable evening.

I recently became intimate with a woman with a large tattoo of the Aerosmith logo on the small of her back that spans over the better part of her hips. I’ve heard of women with smaller, elegant tattoo designs on their ankles or shoulders, but I’m having trouble getting past the size of this thing. Is it out of line to ask her if she’d ever consider getting it removed?

–Brian from Athol

Brian, Brian, Brian…You’re kidding me, right? A broad without any tattoos on her lower back cannot be considered a true woman. This one sounds like a keeper. You should be out buying her tiny tank tops that ride up on her midsection so everyone can see her ink when she leans forward to grab her Budweiser tall-boy can from the bartender.

What kind of music is best to play to help get a girl in the mood?

–Pete from Somerville

Thanks for writing, Pete. I’m actually engaged to be married to a Deal or No Deal model next month, but back when I was on the singles scene, it depended on the type of magazines my date had modeled for. If she was a little freaky and had some experience posing for hard core pictorials, I liked to start out with heavier cuts from bands like Pantera or Sevendust and eventually segue into some Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie. The more vanilla, wholesome models (Victoria’s Secret, JC Penney) generally listen to tamer buttrock bands like Staind and Nickelback. These chicks aren’t usually much fun and I’ve always tried to stay away from these girls unless I’m lonely and just looking for the company of some easy road beef.

Is it OK to slip some Ecstasy into a girl’s drink at the club even if she’s already turned it down?

–Bill from Middleboro

I like where your head’s at, Bill. The reverse of this scenario actually happened to Brandon Walsh on one of my favorite episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210. He and his girlfriend Emily Valentine wound up having the time of their lives, partying until sunrise at an awesome underground rave. I haven’t pulled the E-slip on a girl in a while, but sometimes I’ll crush up a couple Ambien pills and sprinkle them in Dustin Pedroia’s Jagerbombs. That guy takes it to the limit every time we go to the club and, frankly, it’s difficult to keep up sometimes.

Local man would sleep with Heidi Watney

CARVER, Mass. — In a small, working class town known mainly as the pimple on the hindquarters of Plymouth county, the early morning sun beats down onto the pale green vines that lay flat over one of Francis Flynn’s many cranberry bogs.

Sheared wooden stems protrude from the green expanse, top-layered with vines cut dead under one of Flynn’s tractors last fall—days after the final out was recorded in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series in Tampa Bay.

After a brutal winter of ice, snow and sleet pelted, submerged and suffocated Flynn’s precious beds—on which cranberries will soon sleep—weeks of work are in store in order to prepare the fickle peat at the bottom of these marshy bogs before they are ready to reap a harvest of oblong diuretic red pellets. Tractors need to be serviced; weeds must be removed; beds must be fertilized. With his main assistant in court this morning after picking up a DUI early Saturday morning, Flynn, 38, is left to fend for himself on this chilly Monday morning.

Yet, gazing out over his bog while taking a long, deliberate swig of his 32-ounce Honey Dew coffee, Flynn only wants to talk about one thing.

“I would do Heidi Watney,” he says of NESN’s on-field reporter, when asked about the Boston nine’s prospects for the upcoming season. “I just want to get that outta the way right now. Anybody who the Captain would do, I would do. It’s as simple as that.”

After falling one game short of the World Series last fall, it appears Watney’s second year as team reporter will be a major storyline this spring and perhaps beyond as fans increasingly embrace her presence and impact on the team. Yet with the season opener closing in fast, it is a storyline that has fallen by the wayside.

“I was down at Sullivan’s Tap before the B’s game the other night. All anyone could talk about was ‘Tek’s ballpark adjusted OPP (sic), negative age 35-plus career arcs and batting average on balls put in play. I’m sick of talking about last year,” says Flynn. “The handwringing over offensive production? I don’t know, that ship sailed for me a long time ago.”

When Baseball Prospectus came out with its annual season projections in early February, Flynn admits being surprised there was no projection of “games worked” for Watney similar to the plate appearance forecasts BP provides for individual players. Once he took a closer look at the BP projections, however, Flynn put the omission into context.

“They (BP) got Youk batting .270 and Ortiz driving in only 89 ribs?,” he says. “Obviously anybody who thinks Lowell’s only gonna hit 15 dongs isn’t too much of an expert.”

He defers when asked to give his take on the durability questions about David Ortiz and Mike Lowell heading into the season. Indeed, other than his cranberry bogs, only one thing seemed to be on Flynn’s mind as spring training nears its conclusion.

“That kind of dirty blond hair and blue eyes? The sleeveless tops she wears on those hot, humid days at the park…Yeah, I’d say I’m a fan.”

The start of a Red Sox season is always exciting, especially for fans curious about the assimilation of key figures in the clubhouse. For younger prospects and rising stars, the sophomore season’s success or failure has become a cliché in itself.

“You look at a guy like Youk in 2005 or Dustin last year…the second full year in the league is always a big leap,” Flynn asserts. “I’m worried she may get a little too comfortable after last year. I hope she got some new outfits…”

Because of Watney’s late start last season (she did not begin reporting on games until May), the case can be made that this year will be more challenging as she attempts to prove she can survive a full season’s workload.

“She’s kind of like the guy who’s only had a few hundred at bats,” Flynn says. “The sample size may not be big enough yet to prove she’s the real deal. Like I said, though, I would do her. I’m a big fan.”

For lifelong Red Sox fans like Flynn, staying power is an important attribute for the on-field reporter position. The organization has become increasingly frustrated at what has become, in recent years, a turn-style spot in the order akin to shortstop. While the able-bodied Tina Cervasio was a solid temporary solution, her advanced age and fleeting dedication to the job motivated the Red Sox to find a younger, rising star who they could groom in their own image.

And for salt-of-the-earth fans like Flynn, Cervasio’s married status was somewhat unbecoming of an on-field reporter.

“Watching baseball has to be about more than just pitching, hitting and defense. I like seeing women on TV who I have a chance with,” says Flynn. “If I want to look at a girl I can’t sleep with, I’ll flip over to one of those MTV reality shows and pretend the flicker is acting up if my wife comes into the den.”

Count Flynn among the many Red Sox fans who believe NESN should televise more spring training contests in Florida. The station will air a total of nine games over the course of six weeks as the team prepares for the regular season.

“It’s really not enough for fans like me. I’m a diehard and after a 12-hour day out on the cranberry bog, all I want to do is crack a cold one and watch Heidi.”

Flynn also raised his concern that less televised games in March means Watney will be shaking off any residual rust at the beginning of April.

“If she’s bumbling around out there like Dustin in April 2007, they’re going to regret it.”

With this warning, Flynn reinserts his new camouflage Red Sox ‘hanging sox’ logo cap onto his head and excuses himself, heading back to his toolshed. He has fields to sow and his musings have left him behind on the day already as the 7 a.m. sunbeams have risen their way over the oak trees that surround Flynn’s bogs. If the weather cooperates and Flynn does his job right, his plants will yield red, pick-able berries in early October. The Red Sox may very well be in the playoffs by then. But all that is a long away for Flynn. The early spring preparation process must go on and the tail end of winter just got a little warmer for Flynn as he returns to work, thinking of easy-going summer nights.