Fire Brand Turns Two!

Today is the second anniversary of Fire Brand of the American League. Fire Brand was born December 31st, 2003, when I espoused that “There (was) No Such Thing as the ‘Curse of the Babe’.” We all know that curse was vanquished in 2004, quite a first season for Fire Brand to have into the archives. The second season brought a different season entirely for the Red Sox, and also one of change. On September 17th, Fire Brand welcomed Zach Hayes and Andrew Lipsett as partners. I think I can say easily that Andrew and Zach have helped make this site an amazing resource for Red Sox fans to come to. It may not have the humor of Surviving Grady, or the quick bites of Joy of Sox (both of who do these things extremely well) but Fire Brand doesn’t strive for that – it strives for analysis of the Red Sox to bring you coverage of the Red Sox you don’t quite find elsewhere.

I just want to thank everyone who has visited, whether it’s once or a regular visitor. I appreciate it, and I never thought it would get this far with this many people reading. I don’t know if I’ve made you smarter or if you’d miss me if I closed Fire Brand, but I’ve had fun doing it.

The first year, Fire Brand was housed on the Most Valuable Network, and in the logo, it had Tim Wakefield. When the one-year anniversary came around last year, I decided to change the logo from Tim Wakefield to Bronson Arroyo, so that every year, one Red Sox was honored as the Fire Brand of the American League. So today, that person changes again. With the move to All-Baseball.com, we can’t quite change the logo, but we can add the 2006 Fire Brand of the American League to the right, where Arroyo and Wakefield occupy prime space.

The Fire Brand of the American League is a Red Sox player who exhibits character under pressure, an unassuming man who leaves the spotlight for other people but makes his indelible mark on the past season’s Boston Red Sox. A piece most people take for granted, but whom we would have missed dearly.

All of our bullpen woes were terrible, except for one person. This person threw 80.1 IP for a 2.24 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and .277 Opponents Batting Average. He also re-signed immediately after the season was over, inking a one-year deal for $3.5 million (but only $2.75 million will be paid in 2006, the rest is deferred with 0% interest), a scant amount when you consider the contracts signed by starting pitchers and relief pitchers this offseason. He also had 13 saves (alas, five blown). We are of course, talking about Mike Timlin, who donates $500 to the Angel Fund every time he appears in a game. If you ran into him outside of the park – or even in the park – you might not know you’re speaking to a 14-year vet of the majors, a three-time World Series winner, with a career ERA of 3.50.

The Fire Brand of the American League is a Red Sox player who exhibits character under pressure, an unassuming man who leaves the spotlight for other people but makes his indelible mark on the past season’s Boston Red Sox. A piece most people take for granted, but whom we would have missed dearly. The 2005 Fire Brand of the American League is Mike Timlin.

Happy New Year!

Oh, and could you head over here to Red Reporter and vote for Fire Brand as the best MLB site? I have no illusions about winning, our partner on All-Baseball (The Cub Reporter) has that in hand, but it would be nice to get over 100. Andrew, Zach, and I have put a lot of effort into Fire Brand, it would be nice to get a small kudos by getting over 100 votes. Voting closes tomorrow, so make haste! Thanks!