Papelbon changes tune on Wagner, not a Rhodes Scholar

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Remember all that stuff about Jonathan Papelbon not wanting the Red Sox to acquire Billy Wagner? Well, either he changed his stance or the Red Sox forced him to change his public stance, because general manager Theo Epstein revealed yesterday that Papelbon “went out of his way to make sure Billy knew that he was more than welcome here.”
Here’s what Papelbon had to say after the trade went down yesterday afternoon:
I think the biggest thing is he’s going to bring some competitiveness to the ballclub, not just to the ballclub, but to the bullpen. Hopefully, he will help us in that stretch run towards a championship. I know the only reason he’s coming over here is to win a championship, and that’s something everybody’s on board with.
I’ve watched him throughout the years. The biggest thing is he pitches with heart. I love guys like that. I like guys who go out there and they wear their heart on their sleeve, and with that “I’m going to get you or you’re going to get me” type of attitude. I’m actually looking really forward to him coming here and kind of picking his brain, seeing how he works, and maybe picking up a couple things from him.

Quite a change from just a few days ago, but then again as Epstein aptly pointed out: “I think Pap feels like he was misunderstood. He’s not a Rhodes Scholar to begin with, obviously.”

Someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey after a vigil

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09:  Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on July 9, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.

That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”

The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.

 

What Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher would you ask to pitch today?

Mike Mussina
Associated Press
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In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?

The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.

My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.

If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.

Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.

So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?