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The preemptive breakup

Well, now that Frank Deford has weighed in on the Damon saga we can all relax; the burning bush has spoken.


Absolutely. As a reader, there's nothing I enjoy more than being talked down to and treated like an imbecile by nationally syndicated columnists, be it regahding sports or why nobody wants to play candy shop with smaht women.


Yeah, I'm so glad Frank Deford lays a schoolin' on us about baseball history … Only thing is Babe Ruth didn't leave the Red Sox of his own volition to chase the biggah bucks. No, he was sold, totally out of his control, but, you know, why let something as trivial as facts get in your way when you're trying to make a biggah point for your column.


Meanwhile, if a schmuck bloggah wrote that he or she would be immediately corrected by a half dozen readahs within minutes of posting. But, you know, blogs have no ovahsight or anything, unlike the pros with their layahs of fact checking and editahs and shit.


Yeah, like in Wilbuh's Globe blog when he refers to his turnaround regarding thinking the Blue Jays are the team to beat in the AL East and writes, " I’d like to say a gun-toting Canadian put me up to it, but we all know those don’t exist."…


You know considahring a 15 year old kid was shot dead in Toronto the othah day in a gunfight in the middle of downtown, that might be considahed, er, a bit insensitive — But, you know, it's the Globe and not some web fanboy with a blog, so it's all okey dokey.


Yep, as long as the MSM is on the job, we can rest assured that everything is above board, you know? … So Manny and Clement for Tejada?


Yeah, I think it's gonna happen. The more the Orioles front office insists there is "no deal they find acceptable," the more I'm convinced it will happen.


I've finally reached the emotional spot where I actually hope it happens.


I thought you said Manny was your favorite playah and you'd go on a hungah strike if he were evah traded?


I did, but I can no longah take the daily psychological stress of wondahring whethah he'll stay or go. It's killing me. It's like when I was dating that hot chick from the Cayman Islands, remembah her?


Leila? Ohmigod that chick was wicked supah fine!


Yeah, an 11 on a scale of 10, but that's just it … whenevah we'd be out and I'd go to the bathroom or something I'd come back and find her surrounded by 5 dudes all chatting her up and she'd be totally lovin' the attention.


I knew it wasn't a question of if she'd cuckold me, but when. I couldn't take the fucking presshah of it all, so I had to choice but to trade her for lessah prospects. And that's where I'm at with Manny. I adore the guy. He's the 2nd greatest hittah evah to don the red stockings, but I can't take it anymoah.


Happy New Year everyone. Next strip: Tuesday, January 3, 2006. - H.B.

Author's Notes:

The "play candy shop" reference in Doug's 2nd speech is an allusion to the song "Candy Shop" by 50 Cent:

I'll take you to the candy shop./ I'll let you lick the lollypop./ Go 'head girl dont you stop./ Keep goin' 'till you hit the spot/ WOAHHHHH

The name "Leila" for the Cayman Islands chick, is taken from the main character in Caryl Phillips' novel The Final Passage


Nice novellah-length strip today, h.b.

Tejadah sure would soften the blow of everyone else being tossed aside.


Nice novellah-length strip today

Figured I'd go longer than usual to help cover taking tomorrow and Monday off. Typically, the Manny/Tejada conversation would have been its own strip.

Doug is definitely speaking for me today regaring Manny. I can't relax and enjoy "Manny being Manny" as long as I'm wondering how much longer he'll be with us.

Manny AND Clement for Tejada? I'm sorry, but that's a bad deal for Boston. Manny for Tejada even up I could tolerate, although the O's should toss in a PTBNL to be fair.
I know everyone is down on Clement for his 2nd half and his abymssal start vs. the WSox, but if the FO wants to get rid of him, they should insist on more in return for him than a sack of Campbell's Soup labels.

Oh, while Ruth was traded and his move to the Yankees was technically beyond his control, his demands for a hefty payraise, not unlike Manny's demands for a trade, made it a foregone conclusion that he would be moved. So it was not totally beyond the bambino's control that he was sent out of town.

I used to really like Frank Deford but he's really become the Frank Tanana of sports columnists. Once he lost his fastball, he's been forced to get by on guile and junk.

I actually get tomorrow and Monday off, too. Still doesn't make up for the eleven vacation days I lose starting Jan. 1. Oh well, at least I get paid for five of them. Hey, my best bud Robert actually took a post I wrote yesterday (here or Surviving Grady, I don't remember) and wrote a song around it. he started recording it last night at my home studio. The chorus goes something like (sing sort of Dylan-esque, with a speedy folk tempo):

The Yanks' Johnny Come Lately
He's our Johnny Go Lately
Shouldn't come as any big surprise
He was a Johnny Go Lately for the A's and K.C.
Before he ever met our eyes.

(Insert Gibson ES-150 solo here.)

Happy New Year everyone! Here's hoping when we get back together Jan. 2, the Red Sox lineup looks a little more set.

Oh, while Ruth was traded and his move to the Yankees was technically beyond his control, his demands for a hefty payraise, not unlike Manny's demands for a trade, made it a foregone conclusion that he would be moved. So it was not totally beyond the bambino's control that he was sent out of town.

True, but that alone isn't the full story.

Glen Stout, the modern authority on Red Sox history, offers the following:

Frazee sold Ruth for reasons beyond money that stemmed from the fact that from the moment Frazee bought the Red Sox after the 1916 season, American League president Ban Johnson tried to drive him out of the game. Johnson ran his league like a private club and Frazee hadn't asked permission to join. Over the next few years everything Frazee said and did went against the wishes of Johnson -- among other things he wanted the league presidents replaced by a single commissioner -- and everything Johnson did was designed to run Frazee from the game.

Yet Johnson disliked Frazee for an even less savory reason. Just as an unwritten gentlemen's agreement kept baseball white, a similar policy prevented Jews from buying into the American League. Like many in the game Johnson looked at Frazee's New York-based theatrical background and assumed he was a Jew. Thereafter Johnson and Frazee's detractors sometimes referred to him in code, criticizing him for being too "New York," and referring to the "mystery" of his religion. Few observers at the time missed the inference.

In fact, Frazee was not Jewish. He was Presbyterian, and a Mason.

During World War I Frazee's Red Sox won the 1918 world championship and star pitcher Babe Ruth caused a minor sensation with his slugging. The next season, in 1919, Ruth wanted to hit, not pitch. The Sox agreed but Ruth slumped over the first six weeks of the seasons and the Red Sox fell out of the pennant race. Although Ruth recovered to hit a record 29 home runs, over the course of the year he became increasingly problematic, lobbying for a new contract, undermining the manager, flaunting team rules and then jumping the club in the final days of the season. The 1918 world champions finished sixth. At the same time Frazee angered Johnson by shipping suspended pitcher Carl Mays to the Yankees and lobbied for Johnson's removal. All parties ended up in court and the league split into two factions, with Frazee, the Yankees and White Sox a minority.

The ensuing sale of Ruth in late December took place in this context. ... Over the next few seasons every American League team but the New York refused to do business with Frazee. His option was either to deal with New York or make no deals at all. But the resulting trades were not considered one-sided at the time by a consensus of the press in either New York or Boston or by the players of either the Yankees or the Red Sox. A sophisticated statistical analysis of the deals by Steven Steinberg and presented at the 2002 convention of the Society for American Baseball Research in Boston came to the same conclusion.

From A 'Curse' born of hate.

While I totally agree with your cuckold sentiments, hb, I think Doug's being a little harsh in implying Manny-for-Tejada would be trading him for 'lesser prospects' (although it's a funny panel) Tejada's total game is just what the Sawx need, and inandofitself, his offense would not be that dramatic a dropoff from Manny. Add his love of the game and I don't see how the team can't go for this deal. I have no problem with including Clement, either- I can't remember a single game last season he was pitching that I felt truly comfortable with the prospects, and that includes the first half. My fear is that the FO will have to throw some $$ at the O's to make the deal, which would then put it in the ridiculous column.
Anyway, a safe and Happy New Year to you, hb, and to my fellow Soxaholix. Many thanks for the provocations, insights, and ruined keyboards/monitors. See y'all on the other side.

While I totally agree with your cuckold sentiments, hb, I think Doug's being a little harsh in implying Manny-for-Tejada would be trading him for 'lesser prospects' (although it's a funny panel) Tejada's total game is just what the Sawx need...

Absolutely! In fact when I wrote the "lessah prospects" line I almost changed it because I didn't want to imply that Tejada was somehow lesser when he's not at all. But I wanted more to reflect Doug's own feelings in that he'll most likely never ever go out with a woman as hot as his "Leila." So kept it.

Thanks for mentioning it as it gave me a chance to clarify.

Happy New Year to ya'll (translated "you guys") except lurker Yankee fans. Until English develops an adequate plural you, I have to resort to whatever regional option available, although for obvious reason "Youz Guyz" is always Out! Hoping for a year without any more catastrophes, especially weather or baseball related. Thanks, H.B.

P.S. www.homegirlsboston.com has good shirts for Circle and they're not pink.

I'm muy on-board with the Tejada trade. Papi will be protected, and the left side of the infield will be shored up.

As for a link from yesterday's strip about Clay from Northampton (MASS)who was switching to the Dark Side for a year...I have a response for Clay:

As a Northampton-native (born, breed and educated), a 3rd generation and life-long Red Sox fan; if you go to the Dark Side, just like JD, you are dead to me. If you cross over, there is no crossing back and you get what you deserve. What would have happened in the great conflicts of good vs. evil, if, at the first sign of adversity, or poor leadership, folks gave up and went over to the enemy? Clay, no self-respecting Northampton-native would ever switch to the Dark Side, let alone post it on the Internet. My the Almight have mercy on your soul!

I'll admit temporary panic at the loss of Theo, followed by JD. Although the loss of Bill Mueller was really tougher to take for me. And say what you will about Millar, but he was the mouth/prankster/media darling first and at least as entertaining. But I'm over it now - over all of it. My current mindset is to think about how cool it will be to see Ortiz totally kick ass no matter how many new characters are in the lineup and see him have fun doing it. (This new attitude partially inspired by my little daughter's packing for a trip to NYC - she made sure to take the Sox jersey.)

Happy New Year to all y'all soxaholix

Second-best hitter ever to wear the red stockings?

So which of Ruth or Williams is Manny better than, pray tell?

//So which of Ruth or Williams is Manny better than, pray tell?//

While Ruth was a good hitter while with the Sox, he wasn't the Sultan of Swat yet. Part of the reason he was sold was because he wanted to focus on hitting versus pitching. He became a truly great hitter with the Skankees.

Yep. Ruth didn't fully blossom as a hitter until he went to the Bronx.

So it's 1) Teddy Ballgame and 2) Manny

Nice strip today HB. Frank "Edsel" DeFord has been in the breakdown lane for a few years now I think. I'd rather read a 10-year-old prospectus for a tech stock IPO than another column about Babe Ruth. I'm with Tito-ista on the darkside journey. I'd rather just ignore baseball altogether than root for the MFY. Hopefully, Johnny Damon will enjoy collecting his $13 million a year a lot more than the Skankees enjoy paying it to him.
Don't trade Manny. And if you do, make sure Miggy doesn't leave his Vitamin B behind in Baltimore. But just don't trade Manny.
Happy New Year to all the Soxaholix.

So if the Sox pull the trigger on the Manny/Clement deal, who do we have playing center and left?

Shoring up the left side of the infield is dead-on. I don't like Mike Lowell manning the hot corner, and I sure don't like his bat in the lineup. But who knows, maybe Papa Jack can squeeze some blood from that stone. I think if Tejada comes here we could get by with some defensive specialists in the outfield, which goes against my theory that good teams can have bad offensive outfielders but great teams have to have them.

Does anyone know how much seasoning Marte really needs? Seems to me a top prospect in the Braves organization is, by definition, pretty damn close to the big times.

I'll certainly miss Manny's stealthy outfield assists if he goes. Speaking of which, here's hoping Kapler's heel heals up and they sign him so we can see that cannon tossing guys out at home.

// don't like Mike Lowell manning the hot corner//

Isn't he a Gold Glove third baseman? (I agree about his hitting. Ouch.)

Like I read somewhere else, Miggy is one of the few players out there who would abate the sting of losing Manny. Manny and a starting pitcher (and cash?) for miggy, though, is what has been termed by those much smarter than myself as a "dumb trade". Option #1 would be to keep Manny and fill our gaping holes with lesser caliber players. We've led the league in runs scored the past three seasons and have one championship to show. As long as we have the Papi/Manny combo and a couple guys to get on base in front of them (Loretta- on base machine), that's all the offense we need. As the cliche goes, "Pitching and Defense Wins Championships". Pitching- Beckett, Mota, the return of Timlin, and a healthy Schill and Foulke are a great start. Defense- can't go wrong with a gold glover in the hot corner and almost anyone is sure to commit fewer errors than Rent did last season. I agree with your assesment of Marte, Dewey's bastard, but from what I've heard he's been heavily tinkering with his swing in the Dominican Winter League (and hitting about .220- ouch). I'm sure he'll see time with the big club this year, but he's probably a year or more from being an everyday player.

Happy New Year all- May your right hand always be stretched out in friendship (except to those damn MFY fans) but never in want (unless it's for Torii Hunter).

Trades don't have to be equal anymore, unless the salaries are equal also. If we unload Clement and Manny, we have an extra $29M per year to spend. If Miggy makes $12M of it--and more to the point if we don't have to subsidize any more of the Man-child's future earnings--then we have beaucoup dollars to spend either on FAs or, more likely, in sweetening trades with teams of more modest.



It's true that freeing up $'s provides the front office with additional resources to plow back into the roster in other areas, but given the few remaining free agents of quality, it doesn't seem like the opportunity would be there this winter to redeploy those $'s from a Manny/Miggy swap. Unless they've got a small-market team looking to deal a great player with a huge contract on their radar screen. Or they're planning on giving it to Clemens...which seems like the longest of long shots to me.

h.b.: Thank you for another excellent year of strips. Happy New Year!

I don't think it's going to happen. I would love to have Manny stay and shut up, but Tejada looking pretty good right now. Of course, being a sox fan, its pretty much mandatory that I have faith in these foolish dreams.

Also, if you like that article by Deford, then you're gonna love Waxman's about how everything is going to be fine, and if we everything goes perfectly, we'll win the East.

Man do I envy those guys.

Really liked this strip, h.b.

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