Four Amazing Words

Pitchers and catchers report.  There are few other occasions in February where four words put together mean more than those.  Those words signal the end of the baseball offseason, and offer a fresh start.

Coming off a season with high expectations and an epic collapse, there may be no team that is looking for a fresh start than my Red Sox.  I’ll admit that I was, against my own better judgement, starting to line up the postseason rotation on August 31.  And then September happened.  The Sox underwent a lot of changes this offseason as a result.  Gone is Theo Epstein to the Cubs; if he delivers a World Series title to them like he did in Boston, he will be treated like a king there and may just punch his ticket to Cooperstown.  Gone is Terry Francona, the victim of being too much of a player’s manager and ultimately being taken advantage of.  Gone is Jonathan Papelbon, taking his intensity to Philadelphia.  Retired is veteran Tim Wakefield, a steady presence in the clubhouse for 17 seasons.  Up in the air is the status of Jason Varitek, but all signs point to him retiring as well.

I am not sure what to expect from the Red Sox this year.  I would like to believe that they will play with the proverbial chip on the shoulder and shove it to the rest of the league.  Jon Lester is a stud pitcher.  Josh Beckett is still great, and is even better when he feels like he has something to prove.  Clay Buchholz keeps getting better and was missed in the rotation after he went down in June.  After that, though, the rotation is a little less set in stone.  I think Daniel Bard will transition well and be the number four guy, and Alfredo Aceves deserves a shot at starting as well.

The lineup is a question mark.  Carl Crawford will miss the first few weeks of the season most likely; when he comes back, I expect a return to form from him and for him to show that 2011 was just a bad year.  If Kevin Youkilis can stay healthy, the lineup will be better for it.  Big Papi has something to prove after not getting his multi-year deal.  Pedroia will be Pedroia, and Ellsbury should continue to get even better.

Opening Day is six weeks away!



One Response to Four Amazing Words

  1. Can’t wait!!!! A better picture would have been Beckett throwing from the mound on Friday…just sayin 🙂

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