Keith Choses Boston ... Foulkin' A! What Theo wants, Theo gets. Keith Foulke will wear red socks in the 2004 Boston bullpen after agreeing to a 3-year, $21 million deal this afternoon. ... Pedro Martinez held a long interview with Michael Silverman of the Herald. The Q&A is fantastic. Some snips about dealing with the media:
Q. You don't seem to like Yankees writers too much.
A. Boston writers are tougher. Boston writers are a lot rougher than New York writers. At least New York writers write in favor of their team all of time, not against them.
Q. So what happened this year - you didn't talk to us for most of the year?
A. Why? Because you guys misused my quotes. When all of you know I've been honest and always explain everything I spoke about in the proper way. (Some of you) somehow manage to write the things the way we meant them but evil people, evil writers - they have to be evil to try to misuse a person that's never done any harm to anybody, to try to make him look like an (expletive) in front of so many good fans, someone that has earned his respect by doing his job, by being so cooperative with all of you, being misused like I was. It made no sense for me to keep talking when I did the best I could. ...
Q. What needs to happen with the media to get you talking again?
A. Just be professional. I don't need to know how you do your job, I'm not going to tell you how to do your job. What you have to do is write exactly what I'm saying. ...
The Alex/Manny talks are being put on the shelf for a few days while the Red Sox resume extension discussions with Nomar. ... Steve Buckley in the Herald: "The balance of power in the American League East hasn't merely shifted, but shuddered with the force of a rock slide. ... Right now, as these words are being written, the Red Sox are the overwhelming favorites to capture the American League East in 2004." ... Jeff Nelson and Paul Williams both testified about their roles in the ALCS bullpen fracas -- and (surprise!) their stories don't match.
Jack Curry has a hilarious look at the "increasingly obsessive" George Steinbrenner: "... a Yankees official had told him that Steinbrenner had sometimes acted so single-handedly and haphazardly that, if he did listen to someone about pursuing a player, it was just as likely to be an accountant as a scout." ... Are the Yanks going downhill? ... Word is Fat Billy from Ohio is thinking about joining workout partner Andy Pettitte in Houston. Since F.B. has never uttered a promise he couldn't go back on later, I'm not surprised. What's funny is that Billy is concerned that if he plays ball in 2004, the Yankees will ask him to return the SUV he received as a retirement gift.
Finally, Dan Shaughnessy ends his column today with this sentence: "This could still be the most important Red Sox offseason since 1919-20, when the best player in the game was traded away from the Red Sox." ... Memo to CHB: When one party trades a sack of money for an item, that is not called a trade, it is called a sale. I don't say I traded for a jacket at the store, I say I bought a jacket. The store sold it to me. Babe Ruth was sold! It was a cash transaction! It seems like half the media and fans make this mistake about the most famous transaction in baseball history, which is bizarre enough, but you'd like to think that the guy who pimps the Curse at every turn would actually know how the deal happened!! ... If he was traded, who did Boston get? Which players? None, that's right. Because it was a SALE! ... David Heuschkel of the Hartford Courant gets it right: "As baseball's winter meetings begin today in New Orleans, the Red Sox are in position to make their biggest deal since the sale of Babe Ruth in 1919."