Our new favorite player
Ten free minutes for me, 10 free mysterious gyroballs for you . . .
1. I've been reading Gammons since I was eight years old, and this little anecdote from a recent ESPN.com column might be my favorite line he's ever written. It's from an item on Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur and how the lifelong Sox fan is looking forward to playing in Boston this season:
Talk about a perfect personality for Fenway Park . . . Team USA players like to tell the story of Francoeur confronting Alex Rodriguez during the WBC for trashing a clubhouse kid who brought him the wrong sandwich.
Seriously, how funny is that? You can practically visualize A-Rod lambasting the kid: "Dammit, kid, if I told you once . . . MR. A-ROD DOES NOT EAT TUNA FISH! NOW GO GET MR. A-ROD SOME *%&$*#*#*#&$&& HUMMUS ON FOCACCIA! NOW, SON!"
2. I'm sure Tom Brady finds the thought as intriguing as we do, but I have to believe there's a better chance of Donald Hayes being hired as the offensive coordinator than there is of Randy Moss playing for the Patriots next season. Not only did he set a league record for dogging it last season, but more than a few scouts think his once-supreme talent is in rapid decline due to neglect.
3. Old friend Antoine Walker is shooting a sizzling 39 percent from the free throw line this season for the Heat. Might be time to ask Shaq for some pointers.
4. After 10 spins on ESPN.com's very cool NBA lottery generator, I had the Celtics ending up with Greg Oden twice, Kevin Durant twice . . . and Joakim Freakin' Noah six times. I've said this before, and I'll say it again. If the Celtics end up with bust-to-be Noah, there's a good chance the next time you see me I'll be dangling from the Garden rafters with a noose fashioned out of one of the retired numbers. (Probably LOSCY).
5. So I guess Peter King's assertion that Belichick's role in the sad Ted Johnson saga would prevent veteran players from coming to the Patriots was just one more of his weekly Dumbass Things I Think I Think, right? Adalius Thomas certainly seems to have no qualms about his new coach's personality.
6. Hmmm, I wonder who Peyton is taking to the prom. (Oh, of course: Chesney).
7. I feel really good about this Sox team - like, say, 98+ wins and a memorable playoff run good. But if I had to rank my list of concerns, it would looks something like this: 1) Closer, obviously. Joel Pineiro seems set to play the role of Chad Fox. 2) Mike Lowell's bat. He was fortunate in the first half and feeble in the second. 3) Jason Varitek's health/durability. Because the less Mirabelli, the better. 4) Julio Lugo's glove. Yeah, it's early, but from what I've seen so far, he's going to be a lot closer to Edgar Renteria than Alex Gonzalez defensively.
8. There are no new "The Office" episodes for another month or so, meaning we'll have to get our pathetic fanboy Beesley fix from insightful articles like this one. Rumor has it that a couple TATB readers were in attendance at this thing, though I'm still waiting for them to report back. You don't think they were charged in violation of my restraining order, do you?
9. In his 2007 Handbook, Bill James projects Manny Ramirez to finish his career with 691 home runs. That's 221 more than he has right now, at age 34. Seems a little iffy to me that Manny will average over 30 homers per season from now into his 40s, but I wonder if this means James is pushing the Sox to pick up his option years.
10. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:
Say it ain't so, Craig Hansen. Give us a reason to believe you're not the second coming of Wes Gardner.