I find that in regards to baseball, at least around here, the season never really ends. They all just kind of meld together. The winter sees no on-field action, but there’s action aplenty everywhere else. The last few days around the league has been a headspinner, both for the hometown Red Sox and for the rest of the league.
First off, the Montreal Expos finally found themselves a home in Washington, D.C. recently. They had a splashy coming-out party, named themselves the Washington Nationals, unveiled their logo and colors, starting staffing up, put tickets on sale and planned to reveal their new uniforms today in a ceremony. Then, more or less out of nowhere, the D.C. Council chairwoman introduced a vote for half of the new stadium to be privately financed. The vote won and you could almost hear the screeching of the brakes. The uniform ceremony? Cancelled. Tickets? You can get a refund. Staffing: put on hold. There’s even a chance that there will be no baseball in D.C. this season. What an absolute embarassment for everyone involved here.
The Red Sox have made plenty of news themselves. I love the Edgar Renteria signing, but there’s one problem: last time I checked, he can’t pitch. Yesterday Pedro Martinez introduced himself to Shea Stadium. Good riddance, amigo. I was really hoping he’d sign back on with the Red Sox for 2-3 more seasons – they really could have used him – but I give all the credit in the world to the Red Sox for not bowing down (or bending over, perhaps?) to Martinez’s asking price. I think, oh, about three seconds passed after word of the deal came down before the Red Sox front office was waving goodbye. A good move to deliver the message to the Dominican Diva that there was no coming back. They played it beautifully. I would have never signed him for that long or for that much and the Mets seem to keep falling into the abyss each offseason with their mystifying approach. The problem here is that the Sox are down two very important arms in their rotation, and David Wells is not the answer.
What I find funny is that the Red Sox are so “talk to the hand” on Derek Lowe. Why? He undoubtedly has shaky confidence, but does anyone realize what he’s done for that team, especially in games that matter? If you step back and think about it, he’s a poor man’s Tom Brady. Serviceable during the season, invaluable when it counts. He’s most definitely not an ace, but man, I don’t get the aversion. I always think about that pitch to close out Oakland in the 2003 playoffs – that moment was as captivating as any.
The rest of the league is the usual ferris wheel of player movement. The Mariners spent $80 million dollars – yesterday. Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre are now Mariners. Sexson’s a good choice, Beltre, I don’t know. One season with big numbers….I’d be careful there. Tim Hudson was traded to his hometown Atlanta Braves yesterday – that was a hell of a move by Atlanta. Hudson has long been one my favorite pitchers, mostly because I claimed him on my fantasy team one month before he was called up to the majors a couple of seasons ago. Yes, I am bragging. The Diamondbacks are just idiots for signing Russ Ortiz.
The signing that is most mysterious to me, however, is Carl Pavano. He had a great season as a Florida Marlin this year, can’t take that away. But up until then, he’d been kicked to three different teams, been plagued by injury, and his overall record is under .500. Is his one season enough to justify the money he got? Time will certainly tell.
Anders Parker here in Boston on Sunday night. I’ll post a slideshow.