Super Sunday, then Manic Monday

Let’s dispense with the Super Bowl — Steelers 31-10, book it — and look forward to the instant change of seasons.

There goes football, and here comes baseball. Monday kicks off the Caribbean Series and, not coincidentally, the MLB Network’s first crack at live game coverage.
I look forward to the cameras capturing the passion and zeal of Latin American fans — while hoping not to see any undue fire out of Jose Offerman, who will be managing the favored Licey Tigres from the Dominican Republic.
Offerman is  still on probation for his bat-attack of pitcher Matt Beech during a 2007 Atlantic League game. …
ONE GOOD thing about last week’s controversial previews of Joe Torre’s forthcoming book: totally obscured was the release of another book that deserved being ignored. Kirk Radomski, the former Mets clubhouse guy at center of the game’s steroids mess, authored “Bases Loaded: The Inside Story of the Steroid Era in Baseball by the Central Figure in the Mitchell Report.” …

THIS JUST in: ”There is really reason to believe that baseball is gradually dying out in this country,” reported the New York Times — in 1881! … 

HATED TO learn that Mike Mussina calls out Mariano Rivera in “The Yankee Years,” which will be released on Tuesday atop the New York Times’ bestseller list. Moose tells co-author Tom Verducci that since he joined the Yankees in 2001, Rivera “has accomplished nothing in comparison to what he accomplished the four years before,” and holds him accountable for losing the 2001 World Series to Arizona and the 2004 ALCS to Boston. … 

STILL LAUGHING over Albert Pujols’ suggestion that his buddy Manny Ramirez may be affordable to the Cardinals because “he could give them a discount because St. Louis is a great city that supports its players.” Yeah, just the other day Scott Boras tried to say “discount” and needed the Heimlich maneuver to resume breathing. … 

BORAS, incidentally, totally misfired in his original approach to trying to land a four-year deal for Jason Varitek. The agent dismissed Varitek’s offensive shrinkage last season by saying, “It must be a 36-year-old thing for catchers,” a reference to similar declines by Carlton Fisk and Bob Boone.

Only one problem with those analogies: Fisk hit .231 as a 36-year-old, then .238 and .221 the ensuing two seasons; Boone, a .202 hitter at 36, didn’t raise his average  above .248 until he was 40.

It sounded like a negotiating ploy for exactly what Tek had to accept to return to the Red Sox — a “discounted” contract. This one is still stuck in Boras’ throat.

And here’s a suggestion for Varitek that could again make him a force at bat: Simplify. In the case of the switch-hitter, that would mean sticking to the right side. Varitek has always had more pop from the left side, but last season’s splits (.284 right-handed versus .201 lefty) have been typical for the last six years.

Since 2002, Varitek has been a .294 hitter from the right side, and .249 from the left. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bill James, on the Red Sox’s payroll, hasn’t already repeatedly made the same suggestion to Tek.

3 Comments

I couldn’t agree with you more! Tek has got to stay with hitting from the right side. And it is very sad whole long it took his whole contract to be worked out.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Change for a Nickel… that’s rich. Awesome name.
http://themax.mlblogs.com

Huh! Thanks Max – actually was the name of an online column I wrote briefly in the late ’90s … seemed too good not to revive.
— Tom

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