Friday, March 7, 2014
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Celtics and Maine Red Claws on Holding Court
Subscribe to the
Holding Court RSS
These words came from David Ortiz:
“”I’m fine. I’m happy. People like to talk about what could have been, or what you could get if you would have signed (now) … I see things from a different position.
“I was born with nothing. Now that I have some, I’m not going to be picky about it. I just appreciate what I have. Anything you get that is good is a blessing from God.”
That came from a story I wrote back in 2005. It was spring training. The Red Sox were defending World Champions, and the Big Papi legend was in the making.
In Suday's column, we looked at the Yankees signing Japanese pitcher Mashiro Tanaka at a cost of $175-million. Coincidentally, the announcement of the colossal contract came at the same time that Boston signed free agent outfielder Grady Sizemore to a $750,000 deal (which can be worth more with incentives).
While the headline indicated that the Tanaka signing hinted at desperation, the story used a different word: Necessity.
Some of the reaction to the column, mostly via email, said it was the same old complaining from Red Sox followers that the Yankees are spending too much, even though Boston's payroll is not exactly thrifty.
But the column was not a complaint, simply a stating of history and the facts - something most New York writers have already articulated. Just as they did in 2008, the Yankees have reacted to not making the playoffs the year before by spending lavishly on the free agent market.
They are like road signs before the much-anticipated destination.
We have almost reached spring training, which means we have almost reached baseball season.
This Friday, two more events signal baseball's approach: The annual media day for the prospects that the Boston Red Sox believe are getting close to the majors leagues. And the annual Hot Stove Dinner, sponsored by the Portland Sea Dogs.
The Hot Stove Dinner on Friday night, before a sold-out crowd at the Sable Oaks Marriott in South Portland, will feature a couple players who took part in that media day in Boston last year - pitcher Brandon Workman and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
No one was surprised that Jacoby Ellsbury left the Boston Red Sox for a big-money contract. That was been expected for well over a year.
The question has always been: Who was going to pay abundantly for Ellsbury, an exciting player who has had his share of injuries (through no faujlt of his own)?
Who, but the New York Yankees, which reportedly is signing Ellsbury for seven years and $153-million.
The New York Daily News headline was funny: "The Ellbsury Doughboy: Sorry Sox! Yanks grab Jacoby ..."
Much is said about the Boston Red Sox pitching depth in the majors and in the farm system.
One certainty arises from such depth: You can't keep everybody.
The Red Sox decided that Brock Huntzinger was not among their up-and-comers. Boston allowed Huntzinger to become a free agent and he signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.
Huntzinger, 25, pitched most of the last three seasons with the Sea Dogs. he was promoted to Pawtucket at the end of the 2012 season but began the 2013 season back in Portland. Huntzinger had done nothing wrong, the Red Sox said, but depth had bumped him back to Double-A.