-- Seeing as the Red Sox have always been a major backer of the Jimmy Fund, I've got a fundraising idea sure to be a hit with the fans. The Sox brass donates a $1000 each time Curt Schilling issues a "no comment." The Rooster, for one, would be glad to donate to that cause.
-- If David Ortiz isn't convinced that Barry Bonds took steroids, who are the baseball reporters to argue? In the land of the talking heads and knights of the keyboards, there's an eery silence surrounding the physical validity of a certain soon-to-be 45-year-old who's returning and throwing in the 90s. I guess we're to assume these gifts are natural, fellas? The journalist silence on this is reminiscent of the lack of digging that occurred when Bonds broke the McGwire's single-season record. (Oh, and in related news, George Mitchell just ordered a steak at Abe & Louie's.)
-- Because he has been the era's most dominant closer (and player perhaps), the tendency is to assume that Mariano Rivera will, of course, bounce back from his early season troubles. But there are some troubling signs for the Yankees. Namely, when you faced Rivera in his prime -- well, even just last year -- and you went down two strikes early in the count, you knew what was coming: the high fastball. And was it the most unhittable pitch in the game. This year? Not so much. Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro (Marco Scutaro!) have already beaten Rivera in the ninth with home runs off the high heat and our own Jason Varitek repeatedly fought off the two-strike high heat in the Bronx (as big an indictment of the pitch as you'll find). It says here that the Yankees' fortunes the rest of the way will be tied more closely to Rivera finding that pitch than they will to Roger Clemens giving them five innings every fifth day.
-- Tom Caron is to NESN what Ernie Johnson, Jr. is to TNT.
-- Yeah, Year One was frightening, but how's Year Two of the Hanley Ramirez trade treating you? Beckett's 7-0 and Mike Lowell is on pace for a career year (making his feared $9MM salary a bargain). Meanwhile, Anibel Sanchez was just sent back to AAA by the Marlins. Props to you, Theo. (Now about that Arroyo deal ....)
-- This just in: Floyd Mayweather likes money.
-- There's a rumor floating around the NBA that if the Suns flame out against the Spurs, they are going to make a run at the No. 2 pick and Kevin Durant, sacrificing their first round pick (which could be as high as No. 5) and any player outside of Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. This, of course, could raise some interesting possibilities for the C's. Would you sacrifice Durant and a player (Gomes?) for the No. 5 pick and, say, Shawn Marion? I would. The scary part of this, however, is that the decision rests with Danny Ainge. While Danny has drafted well, he consistently has been fleeced in trades. This draft -- and subsequent off-season of moves -- is culmination of three years of playing the young'ns and building their value. Make the wrong moves now, and it will be devastating for the franchise. The lottery is May 22.
-- It's great to see old friend Christopher Trotman Nixon go 8-for-10 in back-to-back games against Orioles. Not so nice: seeing that SS Alex Gonzalez has 7 dingers for the Reds. I'm not so sure we will see a better defensive shortstop suit up for the Sox in our lifetimes.
-- Finally some sad news to report: I went to get me some ribs before a Sox game last week and discovered dust gathering on the tables and chairs at the Linwood Grille. Yup, the barbecue has been shut down for good. Apparently, it is going to re-open as an "American grille" at some point. Like we need more of those ... Bastards.
Red Sox 3, Rays 4: Sox fight back, but fall in extras
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