pedro martinez

News Archive for April 11-20, 2002
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April 20, 2002

Links to stories about Pedro's Friday start against the Royals.

Rumblings & Grumblings
Jayson Stark,

It's obvious Pedro Martinez continues to pitch better than he did Opening Day, that four-run first inning against the Yankees last Saturday notwithstanding. But listen to the words of yet one more scout who watched his best game of the year, against the Orioles:

"He was fighting for his arm slot the whole game," the scout said. "He had a couple of different arm slots. Once he found it, he was fine. But it tells you it's bothering him a little bit when he's out of the right slot. He always moved it up and down in the past. He could drop down a little bit when he threw his changeup. But that's harder for him to do now. His stuff now isn't nearly as dominant. But it's still better than most."

We should never put anything past Pedro. And he'll still no doubt have his moments. But it's hard to find any independent observer who has seen him this year who thinks he's the Pedro of old.

Report roots for Fenway renovation
Scott Van Voorhis, Boston Herald

Fenway Park may be the oldest and smallest ballpark in the country, but the aging, 1912 spiritual home of Red Sox Nation is also one of the top revenue producers in baseball, contends Save Fenway Park! in a report released yesterday. ...

Wilson's group finds that Fenway Park is No. 4 in the league when it comes to churning out revenue, at $119 million in ticket sales, concessions, parking and inside-the-park advertising, and other revenue sources. Only the Yankees, the Seattle Mariners and the San Francisco Giants pulled down more ballpark revenue. The 90-year-old ballpark pulled in more money in 2001 than a slew of new stadiums, including famed Camden Yards. The Baltimore ballfield brought in only $82 million that year.


April 19, 2002

Will wonders cease for Martinez?
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

It has come to this in the remarkable career of Pedro Martinez. He has wandered into what he portrayed as ''wonderland.'' ''I'm just out there wondering,'' the three-time Cy Young Award winner said of his outings, the next of which is scheduled for tonight against the Royals. ... "'I wouldn't say it's hard, but it's a little bit different,'' Martinez said of no longer knowing if he will have his killer stuff. ''I just don't know what's going to happen, just like I don't know if I'm going to pitch a no-hitter or a perfect game. ... I feel fine. It's only been three outings, so it's hard to judge. But I believe I've gotten better every time.''

"I'm in Wonderland": Even Sox ace unsure which Pedro will show up
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

The sight of approaching reporters made Pedro Martinez recoil like a frightened batter forced to duck one of his brush-back pitches. "Why do you want to talk to me?'' he asked, surveying the open notebooks and microphones being thrust in his direction. "I don't want to talk about my outings every time. I just want to sneak by. Did you talk to (Darren) Oliver (on Tuesday)? I'm just another player now. ... I'm not Cy Young anymore. The Cy Young last year was (Roger) Clemens, although it should have been (Mark) Mulder. I'm an old goat now.''

Next Step For Pedro Is Tonight
David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant 

The season is less than three weeks old, so it's too early to classify games as big. But it is fair to say every game the Red Sox play with Pedro Martinez on the mound qualifies as important, given his shoulder problems last season. Martinez makes his fourth start tonight against the Royals, a team that has never beaten him. ... As Martinez continues to work his way back, other pitchers have stepped up. ... "One hundred percent positive. They have picked up the slack, along with the team. I'm really proud of them because I haven't been able to do much for them. I'm just glad they're there for me. I hope I can return the favor for them."

Martinez's mates are shouldering early load
Sean McAdam, Providence Journal

Change is a constant with the Red Sox this season, from the owners on down, so perhaps it's not surprising that it has reached the team's pitching staff, too. Thirteen games into the season, it's as if someone had flipped the club's starting rotation on its head. Pedro Martinez, the team's indisputable ace since his arrival before the 1998 season, has been the least effective and dependable pitcher so far this season. ... Boston's starters sport a 2.92 ERA, but take away Martinez's three starts (1-0, 6.91) and that number would sink to 2.01.

Sox look to 'old goat'
Phil O'Neill, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Despite their fast April getaway (9-4) and the early success of their questionable starting pitching, the Red Sox don't figure to be around for the finish this season if their ace, Pedro Martinez, doesn't make like Cy Young again. ... You get the impression he feels he's going to become the best pitcher in baseball again, but he isn't quite sure. And there's a sizable section of Red Sox Nation that dreads he's going to break down again this season. That's why he tried to fluff off a crowd of writers yesterday anxious to make him the subject of their off-day stories.

Skipper won't skip starts
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

Martinez will be making his 300th major league appearance tonight when he faces the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. He needs only three strikeouts to become just the eighth active pitcher with 2,000. The others are Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Chuck Finley, John Smoltz, Curt Schilling and Kevin Brown. Little said that Martinez has shown signs that he is ready to return to his dominant form due to the ongoing improvement of his right shoulder. "There's no more pain, so now he can go to work on the command and delivery of his pitches,'' Little said. "I'm not worried anymore.'' ...

One of the most highly anticipated baseball books of the summer is "Shut Out: Race And Baseball In Boston,'' by Yankees beat writer Howard Bryant. The Boston native worked on the book for more than three years and it details the checkered history of the Sox since Jackie Robinson's infamous tryout at Fenway in 1945. The book, which is due to hit the shelves Aug. 9, offers parallels between the team's history and city's racial struggles.

Fired-up fireman -- Urbina has burning desire, emotion
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

It made no sense, someone knocking on his motel door in New Britain, Conn., in the peaceful hush just before dawn. He was barely 20 years old, spoke precious little English, and his only friends in town were his teammates on Montreal's Double A affiliate in Harrisburg, Pa. Lord knows, they had to be sleeping. Ugueth Urbina opened the door - and his life changed forever. ... Urbina's father was dead, shot by bandits at his Caracas home less than a year after the young pitcher had named his first child, Juan Manuel, after him. ...

''He's very, very aggressive, like he will do anything,'' said Pedro Martinez, who has known Urbina since they pitched together for the Expos in 1995. ''That's why I don't dig too much into his personal life: Because you don't know why, but he's not afraid of anybody. ... I got into all kinds of trouble with people charging the mound [in Montreal], and he was right there for me. He was the man who took control, not me. ... He's a very nice guy, but just don't get on the bad side of him. I hope we never get into a fight because he's hard to control."

Daily Prospectus: On the Other Hand...
Joe Sheehan,

A lot of people have written in to express their astonishment over Joe Morgan's latest ESPN column. Reduced to its essence, Morgan argues that the ability to reach base isn't the most important skill for a leadoff hitter, nor even the second-most important. The column is filled with old-baseball-player wisdom, and the rationale behind it pretty much comes down to, "because I'm a Hall of Famer, and I say so." ... I figured one way we could test Morgan's ideas would be to see how well certain statistics correlate with run scoring. ... It wasn't even close. Leadoff OBP correlates better with run scoring than stolen bases or stolen-base percentage.


April 18, 2002

Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

No sooner did the Yankees lose three of four to the Sox at Fenway than David Wells drew a provocative conclusion, the New York Post reported. ''From what I've seen of what we have compared to what they have, we come out on top any way you look at it,'' Wells said. ''Everything will work out for us. They just don't have as many weapons as we do, and that's why we're better.''

Trot Nixon: ''He can say whatever he wants to say. The fact of the matter is, we have to play our game and they have to do what they need to do. '' Reminded that Wells once said he disliked Fenway so much he wished it were blown up, Nixon said, ''That's because he hasn't had any success there."

Loose lips sink ships
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

"What do you expect from a guy like David Wells?'' said Trot Nixon, Boston's de facto captain. "You could have a verbal confrontation in the newspapers, but I'm not going to do it. When you get in a (gang) fight, there's always one guy mouthing off, but he's the one who's never prepared to fight. It's the one who's quiet who you have to watch out for and we're going to be quiet.''

Comments Appreciated
David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant

The way Pedro Martinez sees it, Yankees pitcher David Wells did the Red Sox a favor. Wells told the New York Post the Red Sox don't really pose a threat to the Yankees. "It's OK," Martinez said. "We appreciate those comments. We do appreciate them. Because that way if we happen to sneak by, it means that they weren't focusing on us." The Red Sox took three of four from the Yankees last weekend at Fenway Park. The teams play 15 more times. "I know what we're capable of and what we can do and we're a better team than they are," Wells said.

Boomer: Bosox Are No Threat
Dan Martin, New York Post

The Yankees may have lost three of four in Boston over the weekend, but according to David Wells, the Red Sox don't really pose a threat to the Bombers this year. "It's pretty simple," Wells said before the Yankees took on the Orioles last night at the Stadium as they began a six-game homestand. "I know what we're capable of and what we can do and we're a better team than they are."

The Yankees found numerous ways to lose at Fenway, from poor offense, to shoddy starting pitching, to a bullpen that coughed up a lead. While no one would expect anyone on the Yankees to panic so early in the season, they didn't really show that they were necessarily the team to beat in the AL East.

"As long as everything holds up, the way I look at it, we're still the best team out there," said Wells, who was hurt by the bullpen failures in the series, preventing him from earning his third victory of the season. "We should never have lost those three games up there. That just isn't the way we play."

Unfortunately for the Yankees, that's the way they have been playing all too often during this young season. They dropped five of six entering last night's game and have cooled off considerably since their seven-game winning streak. Not to worry. All of that will change soon enough and the Yankees should knock off their competition, Wells said. "If people don't want to believe me, that's fine," Wells said. "It's just my opinion. But from what I've seen of what we have compared to what they have, we come out on top any way you look at it."

Which made the four-game set that left the Yankees behind Boston all the more frustrating. "We can't give games away like we did," Wells said. "It hurts that it's them, but it doesn't really matter who it was against. If it was Detroit, it would bother me, too."

Still, Wells believes that these struggles won't matter much as the season progresses. "I see what we have and I see what they have," Wells said. "Everything will work out for us. They just don't have as many weapons as we do and that's why we're better."


April 17, 2002

An extra precaution
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

Grady Little said Pedro Martinez, who is scheduled to start Friday against the Royals, will get another five days of rest before his next outing, the following Thursday against the Orioles in Baltimore. The manager said Martinez may go on four days' rest for the first time this season after the Baltimore start unless Dustin Hermanson is ready.

Pedro still fuming -- But Red Sox ace not ready to fight over Jays manager's comment
Steve Buffery, Toronto Sun

Boston Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez says he respects Blue Jays manager Buck Martinez as a manager and a person. Just not as a guard dog. Pedro Martinez still was smarting yesterday over comments Buck Martinez made during the first week of the season after he wandered into the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park where the Jays were preparing for their game against the Sox. ... "We live in such a modern era where fighting is not an issue anymore. I realize that my time is so short (on earth). Why would I waste it fighting? I don't want to fight. ... Buck was probably angry at the time. I understand it and I don't hold any grudges. I still have respect for him and I don't have anything bad to say."

Castillo keys support staff: Unheralded hurlers step up for Sox
Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald

His team is putting up favorable numbers on the scoreboard and in the standings, but Red Sox manager Grady Little continues to refrain from putting numbers on his starting pitchers this season. Twelve games into the 2002 campaign, however, an amusing truth persists. Pedro Martinez has some catching up to do. And he's not alone. "They're picking me up,'' the Red Sox ace said of his fellow starters last night at SkyDome after the Sox pasted the Toronto (Black and) Blue Jays by a 14-3 score. "That's the way it should be.''

From August 16 Mac & Sid Show (WFAN)

Sid Rosenberg: The Red Sox probably are not going to battle you for that division but, after leaving Fenway after these last four games, would you say that you and the rest of the club is impressed with this Red Sox team, that this is a team that may contend somewhere down the stretch?"

Wells: "Not really, not really... to be honest with you, I'm just sayin'... ...they've only got a couple of guys in that rotation that people would go 'Hey, we gotta bear down'... it's just the Yankee Mystique, this team finds a way of winning... three games (in Boston) we shoulda won, no question we shoulda won three of those games, but we didn't... I don't see ourselves chasing that team, there's other teams that we may be chasing, but not that one."


April 16, 2002

Yeah, It's Early, and Disturbing, Too
Jon Heyman, Newsday

Sure, my calendar says it's only April, and not much usually matters to the Yankees until October arrives. Sure, the Yankees will probably win their division. To think otherwise is not only blasphemy, it is just plain nutty. Still, I am worried.

Yankees realize they're in a race
Bob Klapisch, Bergen Record

This was supposed to be a year of Yankee dominance - so unconditional, the Bombers' tentacles would be wrapped around the East by mid-May at the latest, squeezing the air out of the Red Sox. But just two weeks into the season, the Yankees are learning there's a wide gulf between rotisserie-league reshuffling and conquering the fierce Sox game by game, inning by inning. Are the Yankees really this vulnerable, losing three of four to Boston? Probably not, but Bernie Williams has a clear vision of a difficult summer ahead.

Yankees' dynasty isn't over yet
Bob Klapisch,

Yes, we agree, the soldiers of the anti-Yankee army have every reason for renewed faith today, having witnessed a mini-coup at Fenway. The defending American League champs didn't just lose 3-of-4 to the Red Sox, they looked vulnerable -- no doubt fueling a fantasy that the Sox really can go chest-to-chest with George Steinbrenner's $124 million machine. There's no escaping it, the Yankees have problems ... But anyone who seriously believes the Yankees are in decline should stop, exhale slowly and re-introduce themselves to reality. The Yankees still have a huge talent-advantage over the rest of the East, and a two-week slump hardly represents the end of the golden era.

Delivery man Lowe helps Red Sox send a clear message to Yankees
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

Since Patriots Day is all about sending messages in honor of Paul Revere's ride to warn of the British incursion, the Red Sox yesterday launched a slew of them. To their fans. To the Yankees. And to the baseball world at large. ... ''This is probably the best game I've ever pitched in my career, meaning just the magnitude of the game and the lack of success I've had against this team,'' Lowe said. ''It was a test for me.''

A boost for Hillenbrand He may bat fifth against Blue Jays
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe

By last Patriots Day, Manny Ramirez was on his way to becoming the American League player of the month in April. Thirteen games into the season, he was batting .396 with a home run and 13 RBIs, as he carried the Sox on his mighty shoulders. This month, the role of Manny Ramirez is being played by Shea Hillenbrand, who yesterday was running ahead of Ramirez's pace of a year ago. By going 2 for 3 and driving in two runs to help edge the Yankees, 4-3, Hillenbrand improved his average to .405 and his RBI total to 14. He also has four home runs in 11 games. Hillenbrand is so hot, in fact, that manager Grady Little is poised to move him into the fifth spot in the order behind Ramirez tonight in Toronto.

Rivalry returns: Red Sox send message to NY
Steve Buckley, Boston Herald

In a Q & A with Karen Guregian in Sunday's Herald, Sox president Larry Lucchino was surprisingly candid about his feelings toward the Yankees, saying, "I've come by a genuine disdain. Maybe that's not strong enough, but for lack of a better or more vulgar word, I'll stick with disdain.'' Asked yesterday if he was serious when he made that statement, Lucchino didn't back down a bit. "I meant every word of it. They've very easy to dislike.''

How long can good times last?
Lenny Megliola, MetroWest Daily News

Four down and 15 Boston-New York mini-dramas to go. Johnny Damon's loving it but it comes with a risk. "We'll all have gray hair by the end of the season if they're all like this," said the new Boston center fielder. "But wow!, what a series." ... Much has been made of Hillenbrand's work with Dwight Evans. Hillenbrand had watched Nomar Garciaparra's great success as a first-ball, free swinger. He tried to duplicate. Didn't work. So now Hillenbrand's a patient hitter, just as likely (well almost) to take a four-pitch walk. He's seeing more pitches, and the patience has become a major element in the maturity. ... Could this kid be the summer version of Tom Brady?

Diamond Dust
Bill Ballou, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

The Red Sox have won two straight Patriot's Day games here vs. New York. They are 51-38 at home on Patriot's Day. Since 1970, Boston is 12-19. ... The Yankees lead Boston all-time, 1,028-839 but the Sox have the edge in Fenway Park, 417-413. New York's record on Patriot's Day here is 8-17.

The Science of Pitching, Redux
Steve Kettmann,

The Oakland A's have probably the best young pitching staff in major-league baseball. Their pitching coach can see that better than anyone else. By using technology to map and analyze the pitching motion as it has never been mapped before, Rick Peterson is making sure young hurlers Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito increase their chances to dominate hitters. And he's redefining the job of a major-league pitching coach in the process.

Reason for ball toss lost to history
Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle

In every major-league game, each time the side is retired and the first baseman trots off the field, someone in the dugout tosses him a ball. It is the infield warm-up ball. Here's the question, posed by baseball fan Patricia Pollard: "Why does someone throw out the baseball (to the first baseman)? Why not wait until he gets into the dugout and just hand him the ball, or have a basket full of balls and he just picks one up?"

The Week In Quotes, April 8-14, 2002
Derek Zumsteg,

"He's not the walk-master that a typical leadoff hitter is. But we don't want him to be, because of how explosive he can be." --Joe Torre, Yankees manager, on infielder Alfonso Soriano

"Oh, great. There's nothing like eating at 'IHOP' and having peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches every day." --Jim Parque, White Sox pitcher, on how he's doing at Triple-A Charlotte

"The bases seem to get further and further apart every year." --Edgar Martinez, Mariners DH, after being caught stealing

The gum to savor the longest
Darren Rovell,

A piece of Bazooka bubble gum, supposedly chewed by Luis Gonzalez in a spring training game, sold for $10,000 at auction. Curt Mueller's $10,000 bid Monday ended a frenzied two-week online auction for not one, but two pieces of game-used gum chewed by Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Luis Gonzalez. ... Mueller said he doesn't "know Gonzalez from a bale of hay," but nonetheless he bid $4,500 for the gum. Within hours, he upped the ante to $10,000. ...  "I thought it could be worth in the millions," Jason Gabbert, who placed the original wad of gum up for auction, said. "A full-page ad in USA Today costs about $100,000, but readers aren't guaranteed to look at it. With this type of thing, everyone is going to pay attention because people want to know who is going to buy this."

An ongoing discussion (111+ posts) of Bill James's "Win Shares" at Baseball Primer.


April 15, 2002

Red Sox Notebook
Steven Krasner, Providence Journal

Pedro Martinez said he was feeling only normal stiffness yesterday after having started Saturday's game.

Want to speed up baseball? Take away the home run
Allen Barra, Salon

"The time has come to straighten out baseball. It is an exceedingly slow game full of dead spots and ridiculous delays -- what in show business are called stage waits. It is especially dull when you watch it on TV." This quote is from a story written by Rex Lardner for the New York Times Magazine, July 25, 1967. ... The funny thing about stories like this ... is that they go on being written over and over and over, the same dire predictions expressed and then forgotten and then revived again. ...

[A]t the end of ESPN's March 31 "The Sports Reporters," Mike Lupica said, "Only in baseball is the Players Association more greedy and arrogant than the owners." Even allowing for any possible degree of TV hyperbole, I think Lupica's statement is nothing short of despicable. ... Mike Lupica has benefited hugely from being a free-agent superstar sportswriter in an era of unparalleled sports media prosperity. When it comes time to negotiate with newspapers or glossy magazines, or when Lupica's TV contract is up, does he use an agent -- like the players do -- to negotiate his offers? And does this agent accept the lowest or highest bids for his client's services?

Fenway model a mini masterpiece of love
Chris Fusco, Chicago Sun-Times

Steve Wolf's passion for making ridiculously realistic models of ballparks once cost him a job. ... He's looking for a deep-pocketed buyer for what he considers to be his masterpiece: an almost finished miniature Fenway Park, built using the stadium's original blueprints. The Fenway at Wolf's Buffalo Grove carriage house includes hand-airbrushed pewter seats, a working Green Monster scoreboard and seven miniature light standards with a total of 650 bulbs. It all sits on a base that's 5.5 feet by 6 feet. ... "The only thing that's missing is plumbing--and 33,420 Boston Red Sox fans."


April 14, 2002

Links to stories about Pedro's Saturday start against the Yankees.

Dive team strikes out: Babe Ruth's piano as elusive as Loch Ness monster in Willis Pond
Matthew Fisher, MetroWest Daily News

The "Curse of the Bambino" remained intact yesterday after divers again failed to find a piano baseball legend Babe Ruth may have pitched into a the murky waters of a Sudbury pond 84 years ago. Armed with high-tech sonar equipment, the South Shore Neptune Dive Club searched Willis Pond for six hours near the dock where Ruth supposedly hurled the piano during a party in the winter of 1918.

Showdown...Sort Of
Joe Sheehan,

About two years ago, the Red Sox appeared to have caught the Yankees on talent. While the core of the Yankee dynasty was intact, the supporting cast was showing its age. ... Then Garciaparra felt a twinge in his wrist. Then Pedro Martinez felt a pain in his shoulder. At that point, the Red Sox window of opportunity closed, and it's possible that this edition of the Sox will never again be so close to a championship. ...

Martinez is not remotely the same pitcher he was just a year ago, and it's not likely that he will be until he undergoes surgery to repair the damage to his shoulder. If Pedro Martinez pitches fewer than 175 innings--and that's what is going to happen--the Red Sox cannot contend for anything. .. The Red Sox, without Martinez, are just another team, one that will land somewhere between 78 and 84 wins. ...

In fact, given that his contract expires after the 2003 season, I believe the Sox would be best served to shut him down, allow him to undergo surgery, and try and bring him back a year from now. ... The Sox can probably get 220 innings out of Martinez before his deal is up; they'd be better off getting all of them in one year.


April 13, 2002

Martinez ready to take next step
Jim Greenridge, Boston Globe

When Pedro Martinez takes the mound at Fenway Park this afternoon against the Yankees, he will be looking to progress one more step in a season that has begun tentatively. ... "I feel comfortable with that additional weight.

I got that by doing plenty of lifting. I did a lot of swimming, worked out with the medicine ball, as well as with my aerobics. This is the first year when I've lifted weights. ... I know myself. The people who are wondering just how good I am don't love me more than I love myself. It's going to happen again, and I'm going to do it without pitching in pain again."

Pedro on up and up
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

Grady Little said that Pedro Martinez will have his pitch count upped to 100-105 pitches today, when he faces David Wells at Fenway. Martinez threw 84 pitches on Opening Day and 85 last Sunday.


April 12, 2002

Yankees frustrate Pesky
Garry Brown, Springfield Union-News

As Johnny Pesky, 82, pulled on a pair of baseball pants for the zillionth time, he contemplated a very familiar foe. "Am I ready for the Yankee series?" he said. "Yeah, I'm ready and I hope we beat the bastards. I hope we score 10 runs every time we play them."

Pedro Shoulders Burden
Joel Sherman, New York Post

With the vintage Martinez, the Red Sox could be an AL East factor. Anything less and the Yanks just may clinch in July. We learn a little more tomorrow, when Yankees-Red Sox at Fenway is the sideshow to the most important player not just in this storied series, but the whole darn sport.

Other side of the fence
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald

Red Sox pitching coach Tony Cloninger had a unique view of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry during his 10 years as a New York coach. He spent nine seasons as the Yankees bullpen coach and witnessed the venom of the bleacher fans up close. "It will be the friendly confines of Fenway Park for the first time. The fans here were always cordial toward the coaches. It was the players they were on. We called that fence behind the bullpen the Steve Howe fence because he got into it with a fan out there once, and the next time we came in, that fence was up.''

Oliver twist: Yankees hype kind of comical
Ken Powers, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

It's only April, not to mention the eighth game of the season, but the Yankees are in town, so that makes it different. If you don't believe it, just ask Darren Oliver. ... Oliver was surrounded by at least 15 members of the media yesterday. All were huddled in front of his locker wanting to talk about you-know-who. He was asked if that ever happened before. “Yeah, the day before I pitched a playoff game [in 1996],” said Oliver.

Henry changes stripes in Sox-Yanks renewal
Rich Thompson, Boston Herald

Red Sox principal owner John Henry has seen the Boston-New York rivalry through the prism of pinstripes. But Henry will get his first look at this storied intercity competition from a different perspective when the Red Sox host the Yankees in a four-game, Patriots Day-weekend series beginning tonight. ... "It's just the greatest thing. There is nothing greater in sports than a great rivalry and this is truly one of the greatest rivalries in the history of all sports. I wouldn't call it overly obsessive, but I would call it great fun and a great challenge. We are joined at the hip as franchises.''

For Henry, A New View -- First Yanks Series From Sox Side
David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant

The question did not come out of left field. It was more like the right field roof at Fenway Park, where the retired numbers hang. Since no Red Sox player has worn No. 21 since Roger Clemens, principal owner John Henry was asked whether there had been any discussions to retire it one day. "No," Henry said.

Bill James is back with "Win Shares"
Rob Neyer,

For a lot of people, you say "Bill James" and the first thing they think of is "statistics." There's a much smaller group of people who will say, "I know about the numbers, but what's always attracted me to Bill is his writing." And what I say is, "How can you separate one from the other?" Bill's a brilliant analyst, but there are a fair number of brilliant analysts. Bill's a fantastic writer, but there are a fair number of fantastic writers. What makes Bill special is ... he combines two rare abilities: the ability to write beautifully (in a populist, Stephen King/William Goldman sort of way), and the ability to think about baseball as very few of us have. Many of you already know all of this. But I present the above as a public service for everybody else reading, because you don't know what you're missing. You really don't.


April 11, 2002

Soaring Byrd feels Pedro's pain
Mike Shalin, Boston Herald

Paul Byrd hopes Pedro Martinez is smarter than he was when dealing with an injured right shoulder. The Kansas City right-hander, who beat the Red Sox with 7 strong innings at Fenway Park last night, said he waited too long before shutting it down in 1999 and then getting surgery a year later - and seriously hopes the Red Sox ace isn't doing the same thing.

"I'm not saying he's hurt. I tried to pitch through an arm injury. Him trying to pitch at 90-91 miles an hour is better than me when I'm 100 percent. But Pedro, as good a pitcher as he is, his command is the key, his location. It's hard to pitch up here without command. It's a tough call. Even though he's not on my team, I'm pulling for the guy. I know what it's like."

Sox to rest Nomar
Garry Brown, Springfield Union-News

Not even a four-game series with the New York Yankees will keep the Boston Red Sox from resting their prize shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra. Garciaparra will sit out Saturday or Sunday as a precaution against overextending himself as he comes back from a 2001 season lost, for the most part, to a wrist injury that required surgery.

Cone Eyes Bleacher Encore
George King, New York Post

David Cone liked sitting in the Yankee Stadium bleachers so much last Friday that he plans to spend tomorrow night and Saturday in Fenway Park's right-field bleachers while the Yanks and Red Sox play the first two games of a four-game series. ... While Cone was treated like a god in the right-field bleachers of The Stadium, it will be interesting to see how Fenway's denizens react. ... Of course, Cone could change a few Boston minds by starting the first "Yankees [stink]!" cheer tomorrow night.

Ten things we've learned -- so far
Phil Rogers,

It's only April 8 but the American League East race is all but decided. After watching the Yankees for a week, the only question is how big of a threat they pose to the 116-win record set by the 1906 Cubs and matched by last year's Mariners. "There is no telling how many games the Yankees can win," one MLB executive said on Sunday night. "It is positively scary."

Gonzalez will chew new piece of gum for auction
Associated Press

Luis Gonzalez won't have to give DNA samples after all. No more gumshoe detective work is necessary. The Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star has decided to end any controversy over the authenticity of a piece of already-been-chewed-by-Gonzo gum being sold at auction on the Internet. A no-longer-amused Gonzalez said he would chew a new piece of gum in front of witnesses Thursday morning in Denver. "This thing has kind of gotten out of control. It's not like we're trying to find out who the father of a baby is or if I'm guilty of a crime or something. It's just a piece of gum."

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