Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Red Sox 2009 preview; brought to you by 'Out of sight', the movie (1998, I know, '98, seriously!)

I like 'Out of sight'. Don't care what anyone says. I like it. It's a smooth movie, and goes down easy like a Jack Daniels on a warm summer's night. From the assured direction of Stephen Soderbergh, to the smooth acting of George Clooney, to the chilled grooves of Irish musician David Holmes, the movie is a slick, fun experience.

Although nobody, and I mean nobody, that I know would ever admit to liking it, I know I am not totally and utterly alone in my appreciation of it. Why do I say that with such confidence? Easy! Rottentomatoes.com gives it a very respectable 92% on it's respected tomato meter!

It wasn't a summer blockbuster (like the ridiculous New York Yankees) and it was never anointed the second coming of Jeebus (like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays), just a solid, fundamentally sound, enjoyable flick. 'Out of sight', meet the 2009 Boston Red Stockings. You guys play nice.

The guys who swing the bat

Karen Sisco; ''You mean, did he try to jump me? No, but he was kind of talkative.''
For Dustin Pedroia. Goodness gracious is this young man confident or what? More power to the lad, he is a hard worker and has broken the size barrier to make it in the Major Leagues. Pedroia is one of the clubhouse comedians, to use a beautiful old Irish saying, he certainly has the 'gift of the gab', Pedroia could talk until the cows come home, and then come back for more. As a Red Sox fan, you pretty much know what you are going to get from Pedroia in 2009. A stack of runs scored and doubles, hard nosed, gritty defence and a small army of striking quotes.

Click here for a superb, must read article on Pedroia from Boston Magazine.

Daniel Burdon; ''There's a couple of points I keep wondering about have to do with the two guys that grabbed you. Buddy is it? And this fella Jack Foley. I swear the man must've robbed two hundred banks in his time.''
For Jacoby Ellsbury; The sky is quite literally the limit for Ellsbury in 2009. Coco Crisp is gone, and thus there is no need for any sort of platoon out in center. Jacoby is fit, healthy and ready to go. He is playing for a manager you famously gave Dustin Pedroia the chance to literally hit his way out of a horrific months long slump and onto the cover of every baseball publication in America. No doubt Jacoby, if he starts slow, will be afforded the same patient approach. So how many bases can this lad swipe? 40? 50? 60? More? The sky is the limit.

Jacoby Ellsbury

Karen Sisco; ''Why, are you famous?''
For Jed Lowrie. Do you think people even recognise Lowrie in the street yet? My vote, not yet.

Jack Foley: ''I wonder...say we met under different circumstances and got to talking, say you were in a bar and I came up to you...I wonder what would happen.''
For Rocco Baldelli. Rhode Island's finest has looked good in limited time at the plate this spring, and every scout in the land is aware of his natural skills. Obviously there are questions about his health though, so we might end up wondering, what if Boston and Rocco had met under different circumstances..

Buddy Bragg: ''You want to take her to my place, get cleaned up, come out of the bathroom with your aftershave on, and she goes "Oh! I had you all wrong."
For JD Drew. What's it going to take for the average citizen of Red Sox Nation to begin to really appreciate JD Drew? Yet another crucial post season blast for the ages, perhaps? Or maybe he just needs to wear a little aftershave, like Jack Foley. You heard it first here, JD drew has a monster 2009. You had him all wrong.

Maurice "Snoopy" Miller: [realizing his gun is empty, as Foley points one at him] ''You don't have an extra clip I can use, do you?''
For Mike Lowell: That's the big question for Mike Lowell. Does he have an extra clip at this stage of his career? Signs in spring training are that he will be a serviceable player for the Sox in '09. Lowell will benefit from batting down the order and just being asked to knock in 80-90 runs and knock 20-25 bombs, if he can manage that and submit his usual stellar defense at third, then 2009 will be a great season for both Mike and the Sox. If Lowell goes down, if his veteran body can't stand the rigors of another 162 game MLB season, then Youkilis will be moved the third and Red Sox Nation will get a look at hot prospect Lars Anderson. That's not a horrific insurance plan in any shape or form.

One of Mike Lowell's finer moments

Karen Sisco; ''You know, this isn't gonna end well, these things never do.''
For Julio Lugo; Poor old Julio Lugo. There is no way you can paint him as one of baseball's bad citizens, on the contrary, word on the street is Lugo worked really hard this recent off season to try and win his job back with Boston. Sadly for him, this is not going to end well. The short stop position appears to be Jed Lowrie's to lose whether that is fair or not. Indications must have been poor for Lugo, as the Sox made tentative approaches to Florida about Hanley Ramirez. That's never a good sign for the incumbent.

[Snoopy's prison bodyguard, Himey, threatens Jack] Jack Foley: Uh oh. Maurice "Snoopy" Miller: You're fucked up now, man. That's Himey. Protege of mine. Ranked number thirty-two in the federal prison system. Jack Foley: Thirty-two? Maurice "Snoopy" Miller: That's right.
Jack Foley: Outta what? Twenty?
For Jason Varitek. So what way do we take Jason Varitek's spring. He came on strong at the end, but for the general course of Spring training he was batting a buck forty or whatever. Glass half full or glass half empty? I suppose we are about to find out. Here's hoping Varitek's hard work over the winter rolls itself into a decent offensive season.

[Ray is wearing an "FBI" t-shirt] Marshall Sisco: Hey Ray, do you ever wear one that says "undercover"? Ray Nicolet: [pause] No.
For Kevin Youkilis. Much like Ray in out of sight, Youk plays the game with his heart on his sleeve. His 100% effort style and brash demeanour may not be everyone's cup of tea, but hey, at least you know what you are going to get. Give me Youk's game over some clown sticking his bat on his shoulder against Mariano Rivera in a huge late season ninth inning show down. Yeah, I am still bitter.

Hey Ray, do you ever wear one that says "undercover"?

Jack Foley; ''You've probably heard of me.''
For David Ortiz. Big Papi is now the lone figurehead in the Sox lineup, the player opposition pitchers have nightmares about, the constant threat of the three run home run. With Manny gone to the left coast, will the Sox batters around Papi provide enough protection? Will opposing hurlers just pitch around him?

Jack Foley: You were in Leavenworth? Hejira: For a time. Jack Foley: What's that mean? Hejira: Means, when the time came, I left. Jack Foley: You broke out? Hejira: I prefer to think of it as an exodus from an undesirable place.
For Jason Bay. And for 'undesirable place' read, 'Pittsburgh'.

The guys who throw the ball

Jack Foley; ''Yeah, right. Anyway, that scene where Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway get shot? I remember thinking at the time it wouldn't be a bad way to go, if you have to.''
For Takashi Saito; Maybe Saito can help the Sox in '09, maybe age and injury will catch up with him. Any which way you look at it though, Saito has a chance to pitch in the best division in baseball against some of the best players in the game. He also has a chance to play a bit of ball with a couple of his fellow country men, something that has to be enjoyable for him at this stage of his career. Initial reports from Spring training indicate Saito might be an extremely deadly secret weapon for the Sox in the late innings.

Coming to a Fenway Park near you

Jack Foley; ''Time I was convicted in California? FBI told me I'd robbed more banks than anyone in the computer.''
For Jon Papelbon. Is it just me or can you absolutely see Papelbon, aged 89, sitting on a porch talking to a brash young reporter from the Globe, maybe via a futuristic hologram communication system, saying 'time came when them reporters told me..' (takes a swig from a bottle of Jack Daniels) '..they told me I had more saves than anybody on their computers' (grunts).

Marchall Sisco and Karen Sisco talking about Karen's scum-bag new FBI boyfriend (brilliantly played by Michael Keaton (what in blazes happened to his career?!)
Marshall; ''He's still married though, huh?'' KAREN ''Technically. They're separated.'' MARSHALL ''Oh, he's moved out?'' KAREN ''He's about to.'' MARSHALL ''Then they're not separated, are they?'' Karen Sisco ''Can we change the subject?''
For John Smoltz. Wait, John Smoltz is pitching for Boston? Really? Does Atlanta know about this?

Maurice "Snoopy" Miller: ''Come on, Glenn, if I say this my car you know this my car, you just get yourself another one. If I say we in on this Ripley shit, we in on it, with or without your punk ass. If I say you gonna walk up in this house and do this motherf**ker, so I can see if you got any balls or not, guess what else you gonna do. Tighten up your panties, boy.''
For Josh Beckett. Much like Maurice Miller, this is Josh Beckett's world, we just live in it.

Josh Beckett auditions for '''Out of sight II''

Maurice "Snoopy" Miller: ''I've, uh, vertically integrated myself. You know, diversified and shit, and now I'm into the occasional grand larceny, home invasion... (stuff) like that.''
For Jon Lester: The kid has added an impressive changeup to his arsenal of various fastballs, cut fastballs, curveballs and 'stuff'. The change helps him in certain situations and looked sharp throughout the spring. Diversification, pitching style.

Jack Foley; ''Yeah, well, if it turns out I get shot like a dog, it'll be in the street, not off a goddamn fence.''
For Brad Penny; Penny has had nothing but bad press the last couple of seasons, ear marked as a guy who is not going to manage to get past his injury problems. Now Penny has a chance to prove those nay-sayers wrong, from the relative comfort of the 5th spot in the Red Sox rotation. Protected by the big arms in Boston's stable, Penny can just work on picking up wins and quality starts generally without worrying about going up against the oppositions best pitchers. Penny will get a chance to go down swinging (well, throwing), in the street, not off a goddam fence.

Glenn Michaels: ''What are you going to do with a hatchet?''
For Manny Delcarmen; Seriously, what is Manny Delcarmen going to do with that hatchet in 2009? Delcarmen can still be passed off as 'young' however he now has a bit extra experience under his belt. The home town boy has serious stuff, a blazing fast ball and decent offspeed pitches, and just needs to 'win' the mental aspect of the game to become another serious weapon in Tito Francona's bullpen arsenal.

Her finest moment, right? Surely?

Jack Foley; ''But, man, it's a long run to civilization. A hundred miles to Miami? I'm too old to start acting crazy, try a stunt like that. You make it out, send me a postcard.''
For the oldest Major League player in Boston Tim Wakefield; The seasons keep on coming and Timmy Wakefield keeps on pitching. The final remaining link to those, well, colourful mid nineties Red Sox teams, Wakefield is both an important clubhouse figure and also a potentially valuable innings eater.

Jack Foley: ''Is this your first time being robbed?'' [Loretta nods]
Jack Foley: ''You're doing great.''
For Daisuke Matsuzaka: Perhaps because of that crazy big 'posting fee' the Red Sox had to pay, perhaps because of his WBC pedigree, Matsuzaka tends to be expected to produce veteran MLB pitcher results on the mound. This might be the year he does that, after another terrific WBC. Hopefully Matsuzaka won't be plagued by 40 pitch innings as last year, where the viewer would wonder, is this his first time on the mound? You heard it here first, 21-6 with a sub 4 era.

Glenn Michaels: ''Oh, man, if I wasn't stoned there is no way you would have talked me into this!''
For Justin Masterson. This young lad could start for a host of Major League Clubs, heck, he would be a second or third guy in the rotation for plenty, and would be Kansas's ace, no doubt. Somehow, however, he appears totally happy to pitch in the seventh or eighth inning for Boston. Is Theo keeping him sedated, or stoned, or something along those lines? Or is he genuinely just happy to be a successful part of a potentially explosively good 2009 Sox bullpen? You want a piece of Masterson, Saito, Okajima and Papelbon? Didn't think so. Lights (potentially) out.

Playing us out, David Holmes with the mellow 'No more time outs' from the excellent 'Out of sight' soundtrack.


Brian said...

Brilliant as usual!

Shane said...

I liked 'Out of sight' too. I didn't realize people out there didn't.

Cormac said...

Thanks so much, really appreciate those comments.


Jaime said...

Great Article but

Justin Masterson. This young lad could start for a host of Major League Clubs, heck, he would be a second or third guy in the rotation for plenty, and would be Kansas's ace

of course Zach Greinke hast the potential to be the Ace of the Boston rotation. 3 of his 5 season with ERA+ greather than 120, Beckett has only done this in 2003 and 2007 (interestingly both years ended wirh World Series)

Cormac said...

I like Greinke BUT he wouldn't even be third starter in Boston, actually, Beckett, Lester and Dice-K are all vastly superior. Greinke is decent, definitely, not exactly 'ace' material, however. Talk to me when he has his first 20 win season.

Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

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