Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Damon returns, the Sox lose, Hyzdu leaves, and the rest of today's news

A freshly shaved Johnny Damon returned to the lineup last night after sitting out a week's worth of games with cellulitus. Damon went 0-3 in the 6-4 loss against the Cincinnati Reds. Tim Wakefield's knuckler wasn't knuckling and he was roughed up for 8 hits, 3 walks, and 6 runs in less than 4 innings of work. The bullpen pitched a perfect reset of the game including 2 1/3 innings of perfect ball from Keith Foulke. David Ortiz hit a monster shot to center for a solo home run and Bill Mueller added two RBI's with a double, but it just wasn't enough.

Before the game Adam Hyzdu was sent to the San Diego Padres for right hander Blaine Neal. The second section of this article talks a little bit about the team. The move likely means that Dave McCarty and Kevin Youkilis will both make the team. Neal has a decent shot at making the team with both Curt Schilling and Wade Miller starting the season on the DL leaving two open spots on the team for pitchers. I like this deal. It's unlikely to have a huge impact on the season, but it can't really hurt either. Hyzdu is a career minor leaguer who I was pulling for to make the team, but likely wouldn't have done much to contribute. Neal has had three seasons of experience in the majors; one good, one bad, and last year, a mediocre one. He has a fastball in the 93-94 range and throws a good slider. Judging by his stats the guy will at least be average. His control and ability to keep the ball in the yard are both decent and his K/9 ratio is a little bit better than average. It is possible that he could be a very effective 11th pitcher on this team for the whole year.

Mayor Thomas Menino said yesterday that the city of Boston can not afford to offer any financial aid to the Red Sox and their efforts to improve Fenway Park and the neighboring area. The Red Sox never did ask for a specific financial commitment. There is a press conference today at 12:15 on NESN to talk about what the Sox would like to do.

An Acton elementary school wants the Red Sox and Yankees to shake hands before the Red Sox home opener on April 11th. The school came up with the idea last October when the rivalry went a little too far in the school yard between Red Sox fans and Yankee fans. A Yankee fan teacher came up with the idea and the school has actually gained the support of George Steinbrenner and Terry Francona. Both say that they support the idea, but it is up to the players on whether or not they want to do it. I'm torn on the issue. I do realize that good sportsmanship, setting the proper example, and all that other junk are supposed to be good things. But that's not really want I want to see. I like seeing rivalry. I like seeing hatred. The two bench clearing brawls that the teams have had in the last two years are things that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life and things that I find extremely entertaining. I don't want to see Trot Nixon and Alex Rodriguez shake hands. I want to see them throw punches. Maybe that makes me a bad person. A thug. Classless. Whatever. I realize it's "just a game", but when baseball is brought above the level of "just a game" like most intense rivalries have a way of doing, it makes the game even better. I won't be disappointed by any means if the two teams do decide to shake hands, but then again I won't be disappointed if they don't either.

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