The writer's strike, just like the NBA lockout, is over. I'm finally able to update my blog, which has been silent for exactly 6 months.
So much has happened. When last I blogged, the Red Sox had just made it to first place, despite the 0-and-6 start. We all know how it turned out, so let's look forward to 2012.
Predictions for 2012:
The day after Tito was fired I called the Red Sox season ticket office and asked if anyone had called up mad and canceled their season tickets. If so, I'd like to move up a few rows. Still in Section 29, which has a great view, but enough to get to the bigger, more comfortable red seats and still be just under the roof overhang. When it rains during a game I don't even know it until they haul out the tarp. They told me no one had called in to cancel yet, and they probably wouldn't know until January anyway. It's in my tickler file. I'll bet that I don't get to upgrade.
No thoughts really on whether Bobby Valentine or Gene Lamont would be the right choice. They do need a guy who can kick some butt in the locker room like Billy Beane did wth Jeremy Giambi and David Justice in Moneyball. Great scene: David Justice is in the batting cage, dripping with attitude, and Beane says to him, "You think you're a pretty big deal, huh?" Justice says, "Yeah. You're paying me 7 million dollars a year, so I guess that makes me a big deal." Beane responds, "No, we're paying you 3-and-a-half million. The Yankees are paying us 3-and-a-half million for you to play against them. Still think you're a big deal?"
Ellsbury and Pedroia will once again have great seasons. Youk will be less beat up and have more of a normal season, hitting just over .300 with 100 rbi's. In 2011 Carl Crawford was overwhelmed. He was used to playing in a half-empty stadium with a crappy field in St. Petersburg, where the few fans who were there would be 80 years old and would only think to ring their cowbell when the scoreboard told them to. In contrast, the nightly rock show at sold-out Fenway - especially playing the legendary left field - required a major adjustment. With a year to get used to it under his belt, he will have a substantially better season (he sure couldn't have a much worse one) and he'll be motivated to show that he's worth the money. Papi will be re-signed to a two-year deal and he'll hit around .290 with 30 homers and 95 rbi's. Adrian Gonzalez will be about the same - maybe slightly better toward the end of the season with a less tender shoulder. Ryan Lavarnway will see some decent playing time and will be a very good hitter. Marco Scutaro will be mediocre at short, and Jed Lowrie will get one last shot and the job. Varitek? They should make him the pitching coach and activate him if they get into a pinch.
Starters will be an issue. Beckett and Lester have to play nicely in the sandbox and show us that they've still got their good stuff. Buchholz will be okay. They need two more, but John Henry won't open up the checkbook after getting burned over the past few years by the Matt Clement, Dice-K, John Smoltz, Brad Penny and John Lackey signings. Wakefield will be back for insurance purposes. He's inexpensive, reliable and eats up a lot of innings. Unlike much of the pitching staff, he has a great reputation. Aceves will be the setup guy. (I still distrust anyone that the Yankees let go.) Michael Bowden will see more action and he'll be allright. Daniel Bard will be the closer and have a better season than Papelbon has in Philly.
So that's what I think? Any thoughts? I'd love to hear them.