Tag Archives: Shane Victorino

This Week in Boston Baseballing, March 21 – 27

The Red Sox will head north this weekend in preparation for Opening Day in Baltimore on Monday. President Obama will meet with the team the next day to honor the 2013 World Champs. Things are about to get serious.

David Ortiz Might Play Until He’s 57 Years Old…
With the announcement of the latest iteration of a contract extension, the Red Sox and Big Papi have all but guaranteed that he will never wear another team’s uniform as a major league player ever again. The extension, um, extends in theory until 2017 if Ortiz hits certain playing-time escalators. A few years ago, Ortiz wasn’t all that difficult an out for left-handed pitchers. It would have seemed unlikely that Ortiz’s at-bat total had a chance to remain anywhere above 500 as he looked to be evolving into a platoon DH.

However, none other than Adrian Gonzalez has been credited with counseling Ortiz in his approach against southpaws, which is proving to be an important development considering how well Papi has done against lefties the last two seasons. Gonzalez was reported to be a malcontent while he was on the Red Sox and this latest news proves all the conjecture. Knowing the Sox are basically obligated to pay Ortiz as long as he wishes to keep playing, A-Gonz was clearly helping Ortiz out in order to continue to cost the team millions of dollars years even after he went back to the West Coast. Demonic!

Boston Lands Third on Forbes’ MLB Valuation List
Forbes pegs the Red Sox franchise with a current value of $1.5 billion. The Yankees place first at $2.5 billion and the Dodgers are second at $2.0 billion (which also, interestingly enough, matches LA’s projected payroll for the 2017 season at its current rate of growth…). Regional television deals in larger markets are significant factors in many of these numbers, not only for the country’s top TV markets in New York and LA but also in Boston. The Red Sox own an 80% stake in NESN, which significantly aids the team’s value. While ticket demand is on a relative downturn now that the team’s sellout streak has ended, Forbes notes that the Red Sox saw a 14% increase in ratings during the 2013 championship run.

Every Little Thing No Longer Alright in Victorinoland
Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” was a Fenway favorite last year as Shane Victorino’s walk-up at-bat music. However, MLB has now capped hitters’ walk-up music playtimes at a completely un-alright 15 seconds.

On the Sons of Sam Horn message board, “mikey lowell of the sandbox” does seem to offer a feasible answer to the problem:

I see a solution — just leave out the introductory verse and go straight to the sing-along chorus:

Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou:”)

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Yes, the team could cut out the first 10 seconds or so of the song, but isn’t the build-up all part of the fun? It seems that no matter what happens, if Shane’s going good, Fenway fans are likely to serenade him during the at-bat even if the song isn’t playing.

The 2014 Red Sox Pocket Schedule
Last year, Fenway Pastoral provided a detailed history of various promotional pocket schedules released throughout the years during spring training. Ever the vehicles of optimism, pocket schedules provide a nice snapshot of how the team plans to advertise its product to the fan base. For example, team-designed pocket skeds distributed last year centered on bringing pride back to the city after the 2012 Bobby Valentine-Helmed Abortion. The whole 162 Chances to Restore the Faith thing worked out pretty well.

David Ortiz pocket sked 2014

Coming off a World Series victory, the team probably won’t need to get all that creative this year to drum up interest on a macro level. But moving tickets during afternoon games in early spring could be more challenging. The 2014 pocket schedule rallying cry speaks to that: “Any Game Can Be The Game.”

Indeed. Opening Day is less than 72 hours away.

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Terse Predictions: World Series Game 2, St. Louis @ Boston

Knee jerk, reactionary, non-replay-eligible thoughts on what will happen in Game 2 of the World Series tonight at Fenway Park.

1. Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma will cleanly record an out in the first inning and receive one of the loudest mock cheers from the Fenway crowd in recent memory.

2. The margin of victory will be two runs.

3. John Lackey will not finish the 7th inning.

4. Lackey’s average fastball velocity over the first three innings will be 94 mph.

5. During the team’s first turn through the order, three Red Sox batters will swing at the first pitch.

6. Shane Victorino will bat right-handed and left-handed before the night is over.

7. Jonny Gomes will strike out multiple times against Michael Wacha.

8. Michael Wacha’s total pitches thrown: 110

9. John Lackey’s total pitches thrown: 95

10. Koji Uehara’s total pitches thrown: 20

Terse, Hopefully Not Too Painfully Inaccurate Predictions: ALCS Game 3, Boston @ Detroit

Specific forecasts for this afternoon’s ballgame.

1. Shane Victorino will get hit by a pitch WELL outside the strike zone. But it will happen at a point in the game when it is clear that it was accidental.

2. Building on the previous thought, warnings will be issued to both dugouts by the home plate umpire at some point in the first three innings of this game.

3. Miguel Cabrera will hit a solo home run in the fifth inning to right field.

4. John Lackey will hit 95 mph on the radar gun multiple times during the 6th inning.

5. Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli will combine for six strikeouts.

6. Stephen Drew will hit a triple.

7. Justin Verlander will NOT post double-digit strikeouts. Anyone taking the over 7.5 strikeouts line being thrown around Vegas and Bovada.lv will still be sweating their wager in the 7th inning.

8. First-pitch strikes will rule the day for both Lackey and Justin Verlander, resulting in a ballgame clocking in under three hours.

This Week in Boston Baseballing, Sept. 13 – 19

The Red Sox swept the Yankees in impressive fashion at Fenway Park over the weekend. Their six wins in seven games against New York this month have helped to nudge the Yankees’ playoff hopes on to last rites. Boston wrapped up a three-game series against the visiting Orioles last night by winning 3-1 behind the strength of a John Lackey complete game two-hitter.

The Sox suffered two frustrating late-innings losses to Baltimore at home on Tuesday and Wednesday. On the bright side, the team hasn’t lost a game by more than three runs in more than a month (August 16, a 10-3 loss to the Yankees). When the team scores four runs or more, it is just about unstoppable. The Red Sox haven’t lost a game in which they have scored more than four runs since August 9 (a 9-6 loss in Kansas City).

Boston Clinches A 163rd Game …
The Red Sox secured a spot in the MLB postseason with the win on Thursday night. However, nine other teams will enjoy that privilege during the next 10 days. The real prize will come with Boston’s next win and/or the next Tampa Bay loss as the team’s magic number to clinch the AL East now stands at one.

… Now A World Series Favorite
The Detroit Tigers are projected to win the World Series more often than Boston, according to systems such as Cool Standings and Baseball Prospectus’ playoff odds. However, on a public level, the action seems to be swaying toward Boston as the prohibitive favorite to come out of the American League. The Red Sox were listed at 2/1 on Bovada as of this morning.

The narrative structure is now pretty well solidified heading into October. A season that began with the team looking middling at best, a team many figured would be lucky to have a record above .500, is going to win 95-98 games and may have had one of the best regular seasons in two generations. But expectations will continuously be revised during the postseason as the team advances, if the team advances.

The 2013 Red Sox season has already been a sparkling success. But if Boston gets bounced in the playoffs, will the feeling of satisfaction amongst the overwhelming bulk of the fanbase be reflected in the post mortems written by columnists?

1-2-3 Koji Gives Up A Run
Koji Uehara’s perfect streak ended at 37 batters on Tuesday night, when Baltimore scratched a run off the closer in its 3-2 victory at Fenway Park. As Jonah Keri wrote Wednesday, Koji’s streak was the best run by a closer since 1960 in terms of opponents’ OPS allowed. Uehara allowed a combined on-base percentage and slugging percentage of .214. The next lowest number was .337 by Robb Nen in 2000.

Valencia triple over Victorino

Shane Victorino deviated just enough from the optimal path to this ball hit by Danny Valencia that it landed over his head for a leadoff triple in the Orioles’ ninth.

Shane Victorino’s Thumb Hurts
Due to a jammed thumb, Victorino was wearing what looked to be multiple pieces of padding/gloving on his right thumb during his final at-bat on Wednesday night. He gutted his way through it and wound up getting jammed inside on the final pitch, but his pop-up fell safely in no-man’s land in left-center field. Shane has been battling nagging pains all year and it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets a few games off. And there could be added upside to this thumb thing if it keeps Victorino from attempting to bunt 15 times during each playoff game.

When Supposedly “Grown Men” Deploy The Chemistry Argument
On Monday, WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan brought in NBC Sports blogger Craig Calcaterra to discuss to what extent team chemistry has contributed to Boston’s success this season. Sidekick Kirk Minihane and Calcaterra advocated tempering the impact things like some players saying “Hey, let’s all grow beards” actually has on winning professional baseball games. The subtraction of some less popular minorities like Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford and the addition of whiter-hued guys like Mike Napoli and Gomes undoubtedly had something to do with their predictable stance.

Calcaterra summed up his experience:

At one point they said that Adrian Gonzalez is magically no longer a team cancer because he’s back in California and players from California are happier in California. I pointed out that Jonny Gomes was from California but that didn’t go over too well because, you know, facts. I didn’t get a chance to mention that Gomes’ “wins everywhere he plays” only works when you cut out the bulk of his career spent in Tampa Bay with the Devil Rays.

But hey, just because they call it talk radio doesn’t mean everyone gets to talk. There are some folks who, when they invite someone on who doesn’t agree with their nonsense, change it to “only I talk” radio.

The chemistry argument is a convenient one for posers like John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, who have perfected the dumb art of talking about sports for a living rather than actually watching games and making analytical sense of the sport. They are paid to establish circuitous, pointless arguments that can be constantly revised by either side based on even the slightest bit of recent, anecdotal evidence. Sports talk radio is verbal bukkake, and Dennis and Callahan always seem to have their dicks aimed and ready.

This Week in Boston Baseballing, August 23 – 29

The Red Sox took two of three from the LA Dodgers last weekend, finishing a stretch of 16 of 19 games on the road with a record of 9-10. Boston began the stretch on August 5 with a half-game lead over Tampa Bay and finished its trip on the West Coast up one full game over the Rays. The lead has since expanded to two and a half games as Boston’s winning four of its last five games coincided with the Devil Rays losing four of their last five.

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DEVELOPING: Shane Victorino Is NOT Carl Crawford
Shane Victorino paced the Red Sox with a gigantic offensive week that included a two-homer, seven-RBI performance on Tuesday night. GIFs of the HRs here, courtesy of Over the Monster. Coincidentally, some time late Tuesday night and also well into Wednesday morning, a bunch of fellows in the baseball media came to the conclusion that Shane’s been a pretty good signing for the team. (For example: here, here, here, here and here). His 3 HRs, 9 RBIs and 7 runs since Monday probably make him a favorite for AL Player of the Week honors.

Koji Uehara and David Ortiz Get Slap Happy After Wednesday Night’s Win
Click on photo for GIF animation, courtesy of @CorkGaines:

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Is This The End of Jerry Remy’s Television Career?
In a statement on Thursday night, Jerry Remy said he will sit out the remainder of the 2013 season. It isn’t fair to speculate too deeply about his future in the NESN booth, but Remy’s statement included reference to returning next season. Sadly, though, his days logging full seasons as Red Sox color commentator may be over. Meanwhile, NESN has quite a bit more than the requisite “two weeks’ notice” to find an adequate replacement not named Dennis Eckersley. Hopefully, it does the right thing. 

A beard-oriented, photographic retrospective of an exciting, productive week for the Red Sox:

From ESPN.com

Look! They made the trainer grow one too! (From ESPN.com)

victorino and dustin

From RedSoxLife.com

From PressHerald.com

From PressHerald.com

BostonHerald.com Photo

BostonHerald.com Photo

Boston Globe Photo

Boston Globe Photo

bos_g_mike-carp_mb_300_espn

From ESPN.com

Other potential freak injury threats that the Red Sox ought to guard against

By and large, the 2013 Boston Red Sox have been pretty lucky in terms of games missed due to injury. Disabled list stints have been relatively limited compared to the myriad ailments the team dealt with during much of the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

Freak injuries, though, are a storied part of nearly every baseball team’s past. In fact, Clay Buchholz’s AC joint ailment is hardly the first time a Boston pitcher has supposedly suffered an injury in a bedroom.

Rumor had it years ago that former Sox pitcher Paxton Crawford fell off his bed and onto a glass in Toronto, losing a couple pints of blood. (Whether you’d like to believe that a hooker “helped” him find his way onto that broken glass is a matter of personal slant that we won’t judge in this here space. However, just to be safe, it never hurts to pay for a woman’s escort service in the currency of her choosing.)

Anyway, it may be useful for the Red Sox to be mindful of the potential for these types of injuries in the future. For instance, any of the scenarios described below could easily sneak up at any given time and derail a promising 2013 campaign.

Uehara

Shane Victorino: The bubbly, rambunctious Koji Uehara takes things too far when he incorporates brass knuckles into his normally playful post-inning dugout rough-housing routine. Predictably, Shane Victorino bears the brunt of the damage. Wary of ruining the team’s newfound camaraderie, Victorino puts on a happy face and is a good sport about the whole thing, even through multiple plastic surgery procedures. (For what it’s worth, Uehara had struck out the side on nine pitches.)

J Dell

Mike Napoli: A pop up is lofted into right-field foul territory at Fenway, directly over Canvas Alley. First baseman Napoli assumes he can sell out and goes after it headfirst because it looks as though the natural cushioning provided by NESN reporter Jenny Dell’s amply-sized breasts will catch his fall. However, the NESN reporter’s bosoms wind up dealing Napoli a boulder-like blow to the skull and he suffers a concussion.

Applebees

Jackie Bradley, Jr.: Pumped up about his recent promotion back to the big club, Bradley once again visits the Applebee’s in Times Square prior to the finale of Boston’s three-game set at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Good ol’ standby, “intestinal turmoil,” lands poor JBJ on the 15-day DL and he is asked to take a separate plane back to Logan.

Stephen Drew: A witch sneaks into Stephen’s hotel room in the middle of the night and swaps his spinal column with that of his older brother, J.D., which recent MRIs have indicated is comparable to an 85-year-old.

Boras

Jacoby Ellsbury: After going 5-for-5 with a pair of homers and three stolen bases against Houston in August, Scott Boras sends in some cronies to kidnap Ellsbury so that he ends his season on an positive note heading into unrestricted free agency. The ransom price is set high enough that the Red Sox can’t afford it without exceeding the luxury tax threshold for the year. Ellsbury is forced to laminate all 300 pages in his Boras Binder while holed up in a small cage somewhere in Mexico.

Alfredo Aceves: An enterprising blogger creates a GIF animation overlaying replays of all 1,746 pitches thrown by Aceves throughout the first half of the season leading up to the All-Star break. Alfredo becomes so mesmerized by the animation that he cannot stop watching it. He becomes convinced that he has the ability to recreate a moment in which he actually throws all of his pitches at the same time. The project quickly proves a massive failure and Aceves retires from the sport.

David Ortiz: Due to a bookkeeping error, Major League Baseball tests Big Papi for PEDs a record 15 times over the course of three days and Ortiz is eventually so depleted of blood and vital nutrients that he is checked into Mass General. Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy waits patiently at Papi’s bedside to ask the tough questions.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Jonny Gomes: Sporting a shaved head and beard almost identical to Mike Napoli’s, Gomes wakes up one morning and becomes confused as to his true identity. The Red Sox roll with the whole thing for a while, but with Gomes sporting a sub-.200 OBP well into June, Boston decides to place him on the disabled list with avascular necrosis (the condition Napoli was diagnosed with this past winter). Gomes doesn’t complain.