The Red Sox want to serve more liquor in Fenway. What could possibly go wrong?

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As a rule, I’m pro-liquor. But then again, I don’t have to police 40,000 Red Sox fanatics 81 nights a year, so this may be a big fight:

As the Boston Red Sox prepare for their April 8 home opener at Fenway Park, the team is moving to expand the sale of mixed alcoholic beverages throughout the historic ballpark, drawing concerns from Boston police and Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Representatives of the Red Sox told the Boston Licensing Board last week that the team wants the right to sell mixed drinks, in addition to beer, “at a limited number of stations’’ throughout the 37,000-seat stadium and on Yawkey Way. Currently, hard liquor is available mainly at refreshment stands serving fans with upper-level premium seats.

Doesn’t seem fair that the richies have it already but the unwashed masses can’t.  At the same time, everywhere I’ve ever seen liquor at sports venues — at least outside of the club level — it’s been in the form of sugar-laden froofy frozen drinks and other obnoxious concoctions, more often mixed by machines than man.

Boston drinkers I have known are a fairly discerning bunch. When it comes to liquor, they prefer it simple and close to straight, and it’s not as if the Sox are going to set up a conventional bar with Jameson’s bottles on the shelf.  As such, I doubt this will turn into a big problem or, for that matter, a particularly desirable product.  For the most part you’re still going to hear “Hey! Beeah guy! We’re wicked thirsty heah!”

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.