Friday, February 13, 2009

It's A New Dawn, It's A New Day

Respect The Tek is a steroid-free zone. We are not writing under the influence of any blog-enhancing drugs. If you know where blog-enhancing drugs can be acquired, please kick some our way.

Honestly, though, we've reached our limit with steroid talk. We don't want to hear about it anymore, or care about it anymore. Oh, yes, we believe that roiding is cheating, and that there should be aggressive testing and harsh penalties in order to keep baseball safe for the likes of a certain Most Valuable Midget. We think that cracking down now is worthwhile, but trying to ferret out everyone who used during the long, sordid era when Major League Baseball was out having lunch and getting its nails done is pointless. At this point, it's sadly necessary to assume that more people did it than didn't, and that nobody is guaranteed clean*. And it's also true that there's always been cheating in baseball, Gaylord Perry, and that we've never been stat freaks**, so we can't get all worked up about 'purity of the numbers' arguments.

So, we humbly ask our fellow Red Sox fans to cool it with the A-Rod steroid heckling this season, because there are plenty of reasons to loathe the Yankees that are less likely to kick us in the karma.***

Moving to new business: Paps'n Cap'ns (and the rest of the pitchers and catchers) have reported to spring training as of yesterday--this is like Valentine's Day for those baseball fans among us who think that Cupid can totally suck it. We can't decide which is our favorite sign of the coming spring:

Ah, but who are we kidding? This right here is our favorite thing. Our favorite, damp, sinewy, glove-totin', oversized-shorts-wearin' thing.

Who needs truffles and diamonds? Our hearts are already full.

*We're divided on the subject of those who tested positive in 2003. We're dreading the spectre of all those names trickling out one by one and ruining a whole lot of days for a whole lot of people, but at the same time, it's not fair to compensate for one violation of confidentiality by doing it a hundred and three more times. Mainly, it all just makes us want to see Frank Thomas roll up on Bud Selig and the MLBPA and knock some heads.

**This is why Nate Silver will never hang out with us. (Yeah. This is why.)

***And no, making fun of Leigh Teixeira is not acceptable, either.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Truck Day!

It all started with the postseason. We'd write a couple of sentences, play around with them for a while, but in the end we'd erase every last word on the off chance it could in any way be construed as a jinx, a hex, bad luck. Healthy? No. Sane? Certainly not. But we couldn't help ourselves. What if our (admittedly brilliant) one-liner about grilled cheese sandwiches made Mikey Lowell's bad hip even worse? What if that comment about high fastballs made Pap blow a save? We couldn't risk it. Anyway, fast-forward to the off-season, which has featured a hot stove with a frightening similarity to our old electric stove at home: which is to say that it is cold, cold, cold, on fire, cold. And you know you should probably move your hand off that burner--hmm, that smells a little like burning flesh, doesn't it? wow, and it kind of hurts--but you just can't.

So we stopped posting. And kept not posting. And then we didn't post some more. And, as is the case with so many things in life, the longer you actively avoid doing something the easier it is to justify your decision.

But today we are back. We won't promise it's for good--it's entirely possible that tomorrow morning we will come up with a batshit crazy explanation for broken bats that involves the twenty-third sentence of this post that will drive us back into hibernation; hell, we put off posting this until after Tek passed his physical because we were afraid of, well, things we aren't going to mention because then they might happen--but hopefully for a little while. Maybe even until pitchers and catchers report.

Which brings us to our regularly scheduled programming on this fine Friday evening: catchers. As in: the Red Sox have pretty much failed to develop &/or trade for a catcher of the future (CoF), thus bringing us to this point in time when they had to overspend on a 37-year old in the hopes that Joe Mauer a) actually hits free agency (we're dubious, to say the least) and b) doesn't get scooped up by the Yankees. As in: look, we're not stupid. We know that Tek's bat speed has deteriorated to the point that he can't catch up to a Paul Byrd fastball, and he couldn't throw out Sean Casey stealing second most days. That said, we don't care. He's still our favorite. Maybe it's nostalgia, fond memories of the days when he'd glove A-Rod in the face in the morning and get a few hits in the evening. Maybe it's the thighs.* Maybe it's the fact that, to a man, the pitching staff went out of its way to casually mention that they wanted him back, and we always want Jonathan Papelbon to get what he wants.** But, no matter the reason, that's just the way it is. We all have our favorites: sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don't. Joe Posnanski once wrote a post on this very subject (or was it someone else?), and were we less lazy &/or down for the count with the TD Banknorth Flu, we would search it out and link to it.

So, yes, before we get any further, we confess: we are happy Tek will be back, all logic and statistical analysis be damned. We are those people. (Of course, we are also those people who like to imagine that Andy MacPhail will go even more loco and hand us the Wieters for Daniel Bard,*** a Johnny Pesky autographed baseball, Julio Lugo, and a pack of chewing gum. What? It could totally happen.) We want Tek back, and we want a CoF to magically appear without costing us Clay Buchholz.**** We want Ted Williams to come back to life, a million dollars, and a pony.

We want this exchange to happen during spring training:

Tek: Hey, Salty.*****
Salty: Teach me all you know, Yoda.
Tek: Okay!
Salty: YAYS.
Tek: Now, the first thing you gotta know is that all our pitchers are insane. Especially Pap...

And so on and so forth, etc.

Mick Jagger would tell us that we can't always get what we want. He would tell us that maybe we'll get what we need. To this we say, "Hey, Mick, stick to the tight pants and dancing! Tell Charlie we love him! And, hey, you guys should tour again. We'd buy overpriced tickets in a heartbeat."

So, Theo, now that you've arranged for the first part of our little fantasy to come true, it's time to get the rest of it done. Call Texas &/or Arizona and convince them that the Red Sox prospect they really want in exchange for one of their catchers is a little-known RHP named Craig Hansen and forget to mention that he's no longer with the organization. Explain, very carefully, that you'd be willing to throw in Julio Lugo as a sign of good faith--free of cost, of course, ain't no one dumb enough to pick up that salary--and sweeten the pot with a couple of Fenway Franks. Offer up a free Pearl Jam concert if you have to, just get it done.

*We like to think we're above such abject objectification, but. Well. We're not. Deal with it.

**Unless what he wants involves hookers, blow, or anything else favored by the 1986 Mets.

***Codename: Hamlet. Think about it.

****Look, when your team acquired not only your long-time catcher/captain but also the dude who won all three clinching games the year they won the World Series for the first time in a gazillion years by trading away that year's Eric Gagne, well, you develop unrealistic expectations about how trades are supposed to work.

All glibness aside, however, we really are curious: who would you be willing to part with for a CoF? Does it differ if they catcher on offer is Saltalamacchia or Teagarden? Montero or someone else entirely? Inquiring minds want to know!

*****Feel free to substitute Teagarden, Montero, or your own personal favorite CoF flavor for Saltalamacchia. We've just had a soft spot for Salty for a while, is all, so we went with him. Also his name is fun. We here at Respect the Tek like fun names (We'll miss you, Coco Crisp! Have fun in Kansas City!).