NEW WORDS TO INTEGRATE INTO OUR LEXICON, FROM READER KIRK JONES
A Bellhorn – Anytime a left-handed batter hits the right field foul pole. (Left-field right-hander is still a Fisk or Pudge.) “Down the line! Barry Bonds looking for number 755, just foul. Man, he almost pulled a Bellhorn!”
A Sheffield – Anytime someone shoots off their mouth and then falls into an abyss of failure painfully unable to back it up. “I pulled a Sheffield last night, I picked up this chick and all the way back home I told her I was going to rock her world but when we go there I was too drunk to perform.”
A Schilling – Whenever someone pulls a heroic performance while injured but will always be used with the phrase ‘almost a’ since it won’t be duplicated. “Did you see that Bulgarian gymnast do the vault on a broken leg? That was almost a Schilling.”
A Slap-Rod [or A-Rod] – Anytime an athlete takes a sissified approach to a physical confrontation. “I can’t believe Iginla [hockey player] pulled a Slap-Rod and sticked him in the back!”
Matsuied – Whenever someone is intimidated and disappears thereafter. “The little punk next door was playing his dance music super loud again so I went over and pounded on the door. He was so Matsuied he hid and didn’t answer the door and I haven’t heard any music since.”
A Yankee – A colossal collapse of the highest order. “Kerry would have to pull a Yankee to lose Massachusetts.”
BACKMAN TO MANAGE ARIZONA (AP story)
Wally Backman was hired today to manager the Arizona Diamondbacks, beating out Expos third-base coach Acta and ex-Mariners manager Bob Melvin.
“This is not a rebuilding program. I’m here to win. That’s what I’ve always been about and that’s what the Diamondbacks are about, and we will get back to the Diamondback ways of the past as soon as we possibly can. We will make some changes and this team will compete. That’s one thing that every team that I’ve ever managed does.”
“My style that I try to bring to the table is basically the same way that I played. I played for some great managers. There’s a piece of me in a lot of different people that I’ve been surrounded by over my career. It’s an aggressive style, an educated style. We will run. We will hit and run.”
Backman was named the minor league manager of the year, after leading Class A Lancaster to the best record in the California League. Backman has plenty of experience in the majors, spending 14 years in the majors as a second baseman.
It’s too early to see how Backman will pan out, but his track record has promise. What Arizona needs to focus on is not competing, but instilling values in the club. Winning games are nice, but winning them the right way is more important. This is a very young team, and they need to be taught to take responsibility for their actions and to execute the simplest of plays. I’m not too surprised Backman was chosen, because I think GM Joe Garagiola Jr. understands this. Melvin has been on the major league level as a coach for quite a while, and just came off managing an old team. Acta has been an Expos coach in the majors. Backman? Backman played, was not a superstar (and therefore not a full-blown ego, one would hope) and executed. He also has managed in the minors, which will help translate to his abilities to manage Arizona. If this was Boston, and we were the Diamondbacks, this would be a poor choice due the pressure cooker.
However, I believe it was the right choice for Arizona. They’re a long ways from competing, but I can see them nearing respectability in four years. This is assuming they don’t pull a Stienbrenner (there’s another word for you) and sign everyone in sight. Backman would work best with young people, not veterans.
HUNSICKER OUT, PUPURA IN (AP story)
An interesting development occurred today when Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker resigned. The man that got Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens, Carlos Beltran, and oversaw the farm system bear its fruits. Hunsicker had the job for nine years and was able to get the Astros within one game of the World Series. Hunsicker cites his resigning as a matter of Pupura being ready, and he believed ten years in one position was too long of a time. I am sure he would be willing to become a GM of another team (although he will be an adviser to the Astros next year). I have to believe Hunsicker thought there was nothing more to do.
“It has been an incredible nine years, and when I look back I will take with me a lifetime of memories.”
PEDRO CONTRACT OFFER?
According to Rotoworld:
Boston’s initial offer to Pedro Martinez could be worth about $25 million over two years. If a two-year contract is really a possibility, the Red Sox may want to go all the way to $30 million to get it done. However, it’s far more likely that he’ll end up with a three- or four-year deal after the Yankees and Angels get involved.
I have to think the Red Sox want to sign Pedro as quickly as possible so that 15-day window that teams have to resign their free agents does not expire, allowing other teams (like oh, the Yankees) to drive the price up. This is a very competive offer, as it gives Pedro 12.5 million. Pedro has gone on record saying that he would just like to be paid the same as other pitchers of his stature, money is not important right now. Pitchers of his stature get about 12-14 million, so this is at the low-end of the spectrum. I could see the final deal being 2 years and 27 million with a team option for the third, vesting automatically if he makes 30 starts each year.
Interestingly enough, Theo had a comment in the Bergen Record that Pedro might find inflammatory if it works its way to him: “Red Sox GM Theo Epstein has told friends that if Pedro Martinez pushes too hard for a four-year deal, he’ll look elsewhere and, in his words, “I’ll just find two pitchers who at least show up on time.” It’s that kind of resolve that has the Yankees worried.”
I pray that Pedro resigns. As a matter of fact, I’ll pray right here. And no, I did not make this up.
Our Papi, Who art in Fenway
Hallowed by thy team.
Thou kicketh ass,
On Yankee grass,
And at home, as you did in the Bronx.
Give us this year our shiny rings,
And forgive us our talk of curses,
As we forgive those who talk of curses against us.
And lead us not into extra innings,
But deliver us from choking.
For thou art the Schilling,
And the Pedro,
And the D-Lowe,
For ever and ever.