February 8, 2004

Dateline Ft. Myers. Mike F has filed his first spring training report from Florida (2003 reports here): "Not much going on that is available to the general public. The Fantasy Camp is utilizing the Edison Complex and other than the occasional word with one of the instructors it's not that interesting for the Nation. There are an increasing number of minor leaguers and probably some NRI hopefuls. Thought I recognized Andy Dominique across half the field but none of the others. ... Best I can do for openers is to relate bits from an interesting interview between DLowe and a local sports talk show guy.

"Derek feels that there is a feeling of urgency this year among the players there being 20 of the expected members without contracts for 2005. He emphasized (my choice based on voice sound not DL's reiteration) urgency not pressure as he feels this "last chance" to win it together. ... After being introduced as the best buy for the buck on the Sox this year, Derek said that when he signed the contract he well knew that if he performed well he might well be underpaid on the back half. ... Asked whether Pedro or Curt would be the #1, he deftly ducked the issue essentially saying: It might be more important to Pedro than Curt, but having two #1 starters was a good thing, not a contentious issue. ..."

Chris Dial: "What effect will the change in defense have on Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte?" ... Paul DePodesta: "The Genesis, Implementation, and Management of New Systems." ... According to Lee Sinins, here's some evidence that the Angels' bullpen could be very scary. I also notice that there is only one starter on this list:
Best ERA vs. the league average, among pitchers with 100+ career IP


1 Brendan Donnelly 2.69 1.82 4.50
2 Mariano Rivera 2.22 2.49 4.72
3 Scot Shields 1.96 2.55 4.51
4 Pedro Martinez 1.87 2.58 4.46
5 Billy Wagner 1.77 2.53 4.31
6 Troy Percival 1.70 3.00 4.70
7 Rafael Soriano 1.54 2.96 4.50
8 Damaso Marte 1.52 2.97 4.49
9 Bryan Harvey 1.51 2.49 4.00
10 Trevor Hoffman 1.50 2.78 4.28
Gordon Edes: Schilling "thought Fenway Park was too much of a home run park for him to feel comfortable in -- until the Sox showed him that the numbers proved otherwise. In "The 2004 Bill James Handbook," Fenway Park ranked just 10th in the AL in ballpark index ratings for home runs ... For lefthanded hitters, the ballpark index ratings for home runs has Fenway Park last in the league. ... That apparently convinced Schilling, who ranks ninth on the list of home runs allowed by active pitchers (263, 67 fewer than leader David Wells), that the Fens would be more hospitable than he thought."

Tony Massarotti on the future of Nomar Garciaparra: "The Red Sox are saying little. Garciaparra's camp is saying less. And all things considered, one must assume that to be a relatively good thing. ... [Nomar's agent Art] Tellem and Sox part-owner and chairman Tom Werner have an excellent relationship ... Yet indications last month were that Epstein and Sox president Larry Lucchino were the point men in discussions with Tellem ..."

Mazz also answers some mail: "I don't believe you liars for a second. The only time (Manny Ramirez) said anything about going (to New York) was when he told Joe Morgan that he knows he has five more years here, but after that he wonders what it would be like to play in his hometown. ... I happened to run into (agent Jeff Moorad) this winter and all he said was, 'Don't believe everything you read.'" ... Mazz replies: "Dear John, Don't believe everything you hear from an agent. (Trust me on this one.)" ... Fine, Tony, but what about addressing the substance of the email, which was Manny's quote?

Some quotes from a lengthy feature in the New York Times entitled "Red Sox Picturing the Parade":

John Henry: "We haven't won a championship in 86 years. Given that we have undoubtedly the most ardent fans in baseball, this is our mandate. ... It's an epic saga that plays out over every single day, 365 days a year, in Boston."

Theo Epstein: After the ALCS, "we instituted a 24-hour rule. For 24 hours, we allowed ourselves to moan and feel sorry for ourselves and yell, 'Five more outs!' and things of that nature. And we stopped after 24 hours. ... I think it became a 36-hour rule, actually. ... We consciously used the frustration over the outcome of that game to really motivate us to have a good off-season."

Henry: "There will be the longest celebration in the history of baseball over a Red Sox world championship. That is one thing we can be sure of."

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