Jerry Remy

Someone thinks Jerry Remy shouldn’t come back to the booth

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We learned yesterday that Jerry Remy will return to the Red Sox booth for the first time since his son’s arrest in the murder of his girlfriend and the mother of his child, Jennifer Martel. Most sentiment I’ve seen since the announcement has been positive. Remy is an institution in New England and his absences from Sox broadcasts for health reasons and then last year’s tragedy were felt by a lot of people.

But not everyone thinks Remy coming back is a good thing. Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald has a column today in which he argues that Remy shouldn’t come back. Why? Because it may make some NESN viewers uncomfortable:

To watch a Red Sox game on NESN this season, and to see and hear Remy engage in his famously upbeat and entertaining banter with play-by-play man Don Orsillo, it will be difficult not to think of that brutal murder, difficult not to speculate about the trial, difficult not to think about that little girl . . . this is the sobering question that must be asked: What about the comfort zone of NESN viewers? If it’s true that watching a baseball game on television is supposed to be entertainment and escapism, how will it be possible to watch and listen to Remy this season without being constantly reminded of the nightmare that he, his wife Phoebe, their two other children, and, yes, the Martel family, are living?

I will note that Buckley quite obviously cares about Remy and the victims, living and dead, of last year’s tragedy. His column is not insensitive at all and, yes, there is likely truth to the idea that some people will be reminded of the murder when they hear Remy’s voice this spring. But it is simply incomprehensible to me that any such discomfort means that Remy shouldn’t be back in the both if he wants to be.

Is Remy supposed to give up his life’s work and the thing he specifically identifies as something which will bring happiness and normalcy back to his life because someone may, briefly, be reminded of the murder? Is he supposed to go lock himself up in his house and quietly, out of the view of others, await his death? To the contrary of Buckley’s premise, I think a lot of people in New England care about Jerry Remy and, given that they “know” him in that way we know people we watch on TV a lot, care about how he’s doing in the wake of the murder. They probably want what’s best for him and his return to the booth will probably bring people a lot of joy.

But whichever way that all cuts, who are we to criticize how a person moves on from such tragedy? That goes doubly for Steve Buckley given that, in the past, he has felt quite differently about such things. Here he is writing in 2012 after Johnny Pesky’s funeral. You may recall some in the media griped that not many current Boston Red Sox players showed up at the funeral. Buckley correctly thought those folks were out of line, saying “I don’t think it’s part of my job to legislate other people’s mourning rituals . . .”

Would that he felt the same way now about Jerry Remy.

Ruben Amaro is workin’ out and gettin’ ready to coach first base

Ruben Amaro Jr.
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One of the weirder stories of the offseason was Ruben Amaro going from the Phillies front office to the Red Sox, where he’ll coach first base. That kind of transition is almost unheard of but it’s happening with old Rube.

Today Pete Abraham of the Globe has a story about how Amaro is preparing for the role. And how, while it may look weird on paper, the move actually makes a lot more sense than you might suspect given the Red Sox’ coaching staff and Amaro’s own background. It’s good stuff. Go check it out.

On a personal note, it serves as a signal to me to keep my eyes peeled for reports about Amaro from Fort Myers once camp gets started:

Amaro has been working out in recent weeks with his nephew Andrew, a Phillies prospect, to get ready for throwing batting practice and hitting fungoes.

Could we be so lucky as to get the first-ever Best Shape of His Life report for a coach? God, I hope so!

It’s pretty stupid that athletes can’t endorse beer

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner celebrates after pitching the Giants to a 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild card game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) ORG XMIT: PAGP102
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One of the more amusing things to spin out of the Super Bowl were Peyton Manning’s little Budweiser endorsements in his postgame interviews. It was hilarious, really, to see him shoehorn in references to going and cracking a crisp cool Budweiser multiple times. It was more hilarious when a Budweiser representative tweeted that Manning was not paid to do that. Of course, Manning owns an interest in alcohol distributorships so talking about The King of Beers was in his best financial interest all the same.

After that happened people asked whether or not Manning would face discipline about this from the NFL, as players are not allowed to endorse alcoholic beverages. This seemed crazy to me. I had no idea that they were actually banned from doing so. Then I realized that, huh, I can’t for the life of me remember seeing beer commercials with active athletes, so I guess maybe it’s not so crazy. Ken Rosenthal later tweeted that Major League Baseball has a similar ban in place. No alcohol endorsements for ballplayers.

Why?

I mean, I can fully anticipate why the leagues would say athletes can’t do it. Think of the children! Role models! Messages about fitness! All that jazz. I suspect a more significant reason is that the leagues and their partners — mostly Anheuser-Busch/InBev — would prefer not to allow high-profile athletes to shill for a competitor. How bad would it look for Alex Rodriguez to do spots for Arrogant Bastard Ale when there are Budweiser signs hanging in 81% of the league’s ballparks? Actually, such ads would look WONDERFUL, but you know what I mean here.

That aside, it does strike me as crazy hypocritical that the leagues can rake in as much as they do from these companies while prohibiting players from getting in on the action. If it is kids they’re worried about, how can they deny that they endorse beer to children every bit as effectively and possibly more so than any one athlete can by virtue of putting it alongside the brands that are the NFL and MLB? Personally I don’t put much stock in a think-of-the-children argument when it comes to beer — it’s everywhere already and everyone does a good job of pushing the “drink responsibly” message — but if those are the leagues’ terms, they probably need to ask themselves how much of a distinction any one athlete and the entire league endorsing this stuff really is.

That aside, sports and beer — often sponsored by active players — have a long, long history together:

Musial

And the picture at the top of this post certainly shows us that Major League Baseball has no issues whatsoever in having its players endorse Budweiser in a practical sense.

Why can’t they get paid for doing it?

The Orioles signed Rafael Palmeiro’s son

Rafael Palmeiro
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Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.

Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.

As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.

This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”

Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock avoid arbitration with two-year contract

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock drives in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.

Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.