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La Isla Bonita

Steve:
Seeing the gargantuan presence that is David Ortiz wearing the Dominican uniform while hammering homers gave me a sense of what it must be like to be a fan a team the Red Sox are facing when Big Papi strides to the plate. And that feeling is fear. Absolute total fear.

 

Doug:
Absolutely. When he's on your team, he's the lovable, gentle giant, clutch mastah, and embodiment of all that is Red Sox goodness. Looking at Ortiz from the othah side and he's all like some murderous club wielding Orc from Mordor.

 

Steve:
I still can't believe the Twins just released Ortiz and any team could have claimed him but it was our own uber-savvy, young Theo Epstein who swept him up and changed the course of baseball history forever.

 

Doug:
You know, legend has it that it was Petey who alerted Epstein to Papi and that's why the Red Sox nabbed him.

 

Steve:
I so heart the Dominican Republic.

 

Doug:
Forget Cabo, forget Cancun, and St. Kitts, and Jamaica and the rest — from now on, New Englandahs looking for a wintah getaway or honeymoon or whatevah should forevahmore consider only one place: The island nation of the Dominican Republic to whom we owe so, so mucho.

 

Comments

Excellent, positive work, h.b.
Celebrating and giving props to all that is good about the game, a guy like Ortiz who is always smiling, except when he steps in, and those assassin's eyes make any pitcher crap himself. The same w/the late Kirby Puckett.
This, in 180 deg to Barry Bonds, and all that is wrong with sports in general. I know Bonds is 'innocent' until proven guilty, but is there anyone who truly belives that his, Mac's, Sosa's and Palmeiro's records were earned?
Again, great strip today.......

I spent a week in the D.R. this January, it's absolutely beautiful. As soon as anyone who lives there finds out you are from Boston their face lights up and they scream Big Papi. Beautiful country, beautiful people, beautiful baseball swings, and beatiful strip today H.B.

*looks outside at the typical March about-to-snow weather in Denver*

*looks at http://www.visiting-the-dominican-republic.com/dominican-republic-picture.html*

Shit, sign me up right now.

And check this out from the same site:

#

The Dominican Republic is not only one of most affordable tourist destinations, it is also a dream for real estate investors. Not everyone realises that the Dominican Republic also offers -

# Tax free banking

# Virtually no property taxes

# The opportunity to live comfortably on around $2,000 a month

I swear, if I were ever to reach a point where I'm just blogging full-time, I'm moving to the D.R. to do it.

I'll confirm it: he's an ugly mofo.

//I'll confirm it: he's an ugly mofo//

Oh p...wait, nope. It just isn't worth it.

I love that the best Yankees fans can come up with is that they think Papi is ugly.

ugly = clutch
pretty = A-Rod


Ahhh- nothing like a springtime (almost) Ode to Papi. Funny thing about what Doug says about seeing Ortiz from "the other side"- we really haven't had that experience. Granted he was on the Twins for a while, I never really heard of him before he came to Boston. Now it's all sunhine and gumdrops and 500' home runs whenever he steps to the plate.

As a personal added bonus, one of my buddies in SD is from Mankato, MN and is a 'hardcore' Twinkies fan. Every time Papi does something miraculous, I call to tell him how grateful I am the Twins had their blinders on.

He usually hangs up.

uber-talented? Did we get another GM?

Theo is incompetent, and the Papi pickup is the only good thing he's ever done. Other than that, he was bailed out by Cashman's incompetence.

Fire Theo, Worship Papi!

Wow, incompetent? Really? You conceded Papi. What about Schilling? What about being bold enough to pull the trigger on Nomar to get Cabrera and Minkie? The 2004 Series would not have happened without all three of those moves. There's more...re-signing Tek? Giving us the deepest pitching we have had in a decade? What leads you to the incompetent conclusion? Seriously, I'd love to know, because I don't see it at all, and I am usually willing to look at both sides of an issue (like the Soxaholix themselves).

SeanSeanSean...

(shaking head)

So, theo picks up a bunch of obvious choices (does anyone think it's a difficult decision to spend a ton of money on Schilling, Foulke and Varitek?), signs Seanez for too much money, signing Tavarez even though he's only questionably useful, and he's a good GM?

What about throwing away Matt Murton, the Cubs' starting left fielder this year? What about wanting to sign Contreras and Pavano before Cashman saved his ass? What about paying too much for Renteria, a player who can't hit righties, when everyone who knew Rent said he'd fail? What about trading away our future in Andy Marte for a CF who doesn't solve any of our problems? What about signing Halama, Mantei, and Ramon Vazquez last off-season for our backups?

I don't see why he's a genius. I'll give him Papi and Graffanino, and I guess schmoozing Schilling, but everything else wasn't a great move. Meanwhile, his bad moves, or almost bad moves, were horribly stupid.

Also, NV in SD, your phone bill must be freaking huge if you call your friend every time Papi does something miraculous. Isn't that at least once a day during the season?

The DR is a bucolic, serene place. There is poverty, but like many Caribbean nations, the composure and attitude of the inhabitants stands out immediately. People who have been wearing the same clothes for 2 years walk down the street with a quiet dignity, perfectly groomed....the freshly scrubbed kids walking to Catholic school in their uniforms...people who sit at a desk and roll 70 cigars in one day who haven't missed work in 10 years...it's a remarkable place.

I'll give him Papi and Graffanino, and I guess schmoozing Schilling, but everything else wasn't a great move

Both were injury-laden bench players that turned out to be great when they put on a Sox uniform. The criticims you give (Seanez, Batshit Tavarez) haven't even put on their whites at Fenway yet.

It's a beautiful spring day, sit back, drink the Kool-Aid and thank your lucky stars for Hart Brachen. Great Strip today, h.b.

How come no "Orc from Mordor" link? I had no idea what you were referring to. Did a Google search and found this link, hence my orc name. http://www.thelandofshadow.com/mordorgate/darkdownloads/blackspeech/orcname.htm

Love the strip.

Definitely should have linked the Mordor bit. I forget not everyone is a sci-fi/fantasy dweeb.

Now as for Sean O's gripes about Theo, I must confess he loses lots of general credibility with this line:

"Also, NV in SD, your phone bill must be freaking huge if you call your friend every time Papi does something miraculous."

Ah, Sean, step into the 21st Century, man. Ever heard of VOIP and apps like Skype?

It's no wonder you yearn for the pre-Theo days if you're as anachronistic about baseball strategy as you are telecommunications.

I'm just sayin'... :)


Having big papi is the biggest blessing for rsn from god! As a sox fan, it's kinda strange to feel as good as I do when he comes to bat. Great strip hb

Soxaholix and H.B. in the Herald today (re: the new 1986 movie). Nice!

Since I'm actively rooting for the DR to take this (too many players on the US team that I don't like, too few that I do), I didn't get that scared feeling about Ortiz.

Ortiz's OPS so far this tournament: 3.467 (!!)

Wow Sean- you have offically stepped into a whole new level of ignorant statements. Let's see here...

"What about throwing away Matt Murton, the Cubs' starting left fielder this year? "
Uhhh- we have a starting left fielder- he's pretty good.

"What about wanting to sign Contreras and Pavano before Cashman saved his ass?"
I'll give you Contreras (and Renteria), but anyone in the league would've love to have had Pavano at the beginning of last season. I'm surprised you didn't throw Jaret Wright and the Big Eunuch in there.

"What about trading away our future in Andy Marte for a CF who doesn't solve any of our problems?"
You need to get over your unhealthy obsession with Marte. Two words- unproven commodity. How about two more?- balky elbow. Our future is Covelli- let it go. Have you seen him in spring training? How about the last two months of last season? Let's see- our problems were that we needed a CF and a leadoff man. Coco= both. Problem solved. Or did you have a better solution?

Since you seem to be so hot on predcting a player's future worth, how about Theo's drafts? Lets see- Pap, Lester, Hansen, Delcarmen, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Moss, Murphy...

Honestly Sean- some of the crap you spout off about is worse than what Babe or Jason O says. And btw- my phone bill is fine- my buddy lives in the same town I do, and they're called cell phones.

Two more bits-
We don't trade away Murton, the OC/ Minky/ Nomar deal dosen't go down and we probably don't win win the WS.

As far as Halama, Remlinger, Neal, etc goes- name one team who is stacked with a pen full of consistent, reliable arms. Everyone hiccups- even whoever you think is a far superior GM to Theo.

My brother visited the D.R. once. He wasn't at the beach 5 minutes before somebody ran off with his shoes, shirt, towel, sunglasses, etc (he had stashed his cash at the hotel).
He enjoyed it there though.

Brachen, have the Soxaholix characters riffed on the difficulty some Red Sox fans might have rooting for Team USA, what with all those New York Yankees greats (Jeter, Rodriguez, Damon, Clemens, heh!) representing this blessed nation of ours?

And...you're telling me signing Mueller and Millar weren't great vlue moves? Say what you want about Millar last year, but for what he was getting paid, and what he gave them in 03 and 04, he was fantastic value--even if you discount the role he played in making Manny happy here. I assume I don't need to tout the wisdom of signing The Pro fairly cheaply.

How about signing Timlin? He's been lights out for the past couple years, we don't have the run we did without him. hell, trading for Williamson in 03 turned into an excellent move in the playoffs, when he and Timlin were unhittable. We go to Timlin and Williamson in game 7 of the ALCS in '03, and history's a lot different right now...

And hat about the policy of strictly holding the line on trading our top pitching prospects? You have any idea how many offers the Sox have received for Papelbon or Lester? If you're so pissed about trading away Marte, then you'd better give Theo credit for hanging onto our young pitchers in the face of a hell of a lot of offers. You know damn well that every team the Sox talk trade with begins their wish list with those two.

In all your time on this site and on Surviving Grady, I don't think I've seen one post from you that wasn't the most pessimistic, negative doomsday scenario I can imagine. Every post is either giving up on the season, lamenting how screwed the team is, or just bemoaning our continued fate. Obviously, objectivity is good, but I don't think I've ever seen anything from you with a happier tone than being relieved that Armageddon has been postponed another day, and we're not quite as screwed as you had though. How the hell can you enjoy the game like that? I feel exhausted just reading your posts.

NV -

To be fair, quite a few of the solid prospects in the current system or sent out recently were drafted pre-Theo - including one Jon Lester, who was to be included in the ill-fated ARod deal.

That doesn't mean Sean O is right - in fact, it appears he drank the Bill Simmons Kool Aid here, in that he's buying into all the crap BSG has spouted against Theo but without much backup.

Murton would be the 4th OF on this team, and though he would be useful I'm not sure he'd be better than Dustin Mohn in the "Mash LHP, Ride Pine" role (and there's no evidence that deal goes through w/out Murton).

Sure, Theo was 'in' on the guys you mention, but bailed when the price was too high - or do you think the current organizational philosophy is some sort of fad, too? I'm not going to rub Theo's crotch or anything, but you're being a bit nitty with your complaints, while ignoring the positives: much better roster construction, a stronger philosophy on spending, an improving farm system, strong drafts, a commitment to international scouting, competing during this rebuilding period, and a world title.

Here's the end-all to this argument, Theo was the first GM in 86 years to bring this city a World Series Trophy, yes some of the team was signed and here before he came, but his moves had the sox in the playoffs all three years he was here.

I haven't been following the World Bowling Congress much at all, but I love that picture. Papi's strolling away from the plate like he's got the next half-hour to flip his bat to the batboy and the catcher is standing up looking straight ahead in shock, so you know he just hit one.

Natalie: deepest pitching we've had in a decade?

I'm 53. Let me tell you; the Red Sox in 2004 had the best pitching they ever had had in my lifetime. And after 20 years living in the Chicago area and talking to the locals who predate me, I can make the same comparison for last year's White Sox. Anyone who watched the WS winners these last two years and doesn't understand the importance of pitching vs. hitting vs. fielding cannot claim to understand baseball.

Hopefully this year's Red Sox edition won't be too far behind 2004. Or even ahead!

RonF- Awesome! I wanted to preemptively agree with you, but didn't want to sound too hyperbolic in my rebuttal as I am not a stathead and go off my personal impressions- which, as I am in my mid-20s, only go back so far :)

Just to show what a good job Theo has done as GM, let me quote you a paragraph from the latest "Pawsox Patter" received in the mail yesterday:

"In what may be one of the most anticipated Pawsox seasons in recent history,t he Pawtucket Red Sox appear certain to open the 2006 campaign with more talented young players than they hav e in years. The names read like a roll-call of some of the top starters in the game: lefty starters JON LESTER and ABE ALVAREZ, relievers MANNY DELCARMEN, CLA MEREDITH AND CRAIG HANSEN, infielders DUSTIN PEDROIA AND ALEJANDRO MACHADO and outfielders DAVID MURPHY AND BRANDON MOSS. .... closer JERMAINE VAN BUREN, reliever CRAIG BRESLOW and RHP DAVID PAULY along with familiar names LENNY DINARDO AND ADAM STERN."

I know this is the in-house propaganda sheet, but I get it every year and it has NEVER been this optimistic with the preseason edition. The folks at McCoy Stadium are very excited about the team they'll be putting on the field this year. We know the BoSox have a playoff-caliber team this year, with potential to make lots of post-season noise if key people stay healthy. Meanwhile, all the young talent coming up through the system means the Sox should have a great team for years to come. So what exactly is the problem with Theo? I agree that many fans are way too worshipful of the boy wonder, but he still has done a good job.

Uhm, I don't read Bill Simmons, and I don't even know his opinion on Theo.

The point is, Theo is incredibly overrated, and for all the flak they took, I wish they'd let the Wonder Twins keep it up rather than undermining them the second Theo decided to return.

About Murton, yeah we have a left fielder, but how many people think Trot's coming back next season with his injury concerns? It'd be nice to have another young outfielder who could hit .300. Also, can we say with even assumed accuracy that we don't win the championship with Nomar? There was no reason we should've given up more than Nomar in that move, and I can only assume the Van Buren theft this offseason is payback for something that went wrong in that trade.

The other point is, people think Theo is a genius for making relatively sane, normal moves. No GM is a genius for picking up proven, good players. Should I consider him a genius for picking up Millar, who hit 314 .374 .557 in '01, and .306 .366 .509 in '02? Or Timlin who had a 2.51 and 3.7 ERA before coming to us? Or Mueller who had a .295 .403 .448 in '01 and a .266 .355 .402 in '02? Or Schilling who had a 3.23 ERA in '01 and a 2.95 in '02?

These make him a servicable GM, not the wunderkind everyone thinks he is. And there was no reason to believe Pavano would be a success, who really only had one good season in his career after many cut short by injury. Contreras, same thing, we didn't know enough about him and what he needed. And Renteria was a mess, along with Clement.

And I guess I don't understand why we keep Lester, a fly-ball lefty destined for Fenway (not a good sign; how many lefties have dominated at Fenway for a career, Lefty Grove?), who has a higher trade-bait price than Marte. TINSTAAPP.

I just have no faith in our GM, and think many others could've done a better job. I don't see these genius moves everyone talks about.

Regarding Theo, I think many fans, me included, use the term "genius" as applied to Theo in a tongue-in-cheek way that as much makes fun of the Theo/Moneyball hype as it does laud him.

I'm pretty sure Epstein bristles at the term himself and would be the first to say he's just doing an "OK" job at GM.

Of course he's not perfect. And you're quite probably right that there are better GM's out there "in theory." But so much of what makes Theo good is he can handle the the whole "Boston thing."

Just as many players can't handle the Boston market (Renteria anyone?) or can't handle the NY market, the same goes for GMs.

Heck, sometimes I can't even handle being a fan surrounded by other Red Sox fans and I grew up here.

The volume is always at an 11, but sometimes, you know, all that does is leave your ears ringing...

Ok, if I can take a minute out of everyone calling me an idiot, the WBC game between Cuba and Panama has to be an early entrant into the game of the year. This alone, along with Papi's bombs yesterday, make the entire thing worth it.

Haven't been that into a ninth inning for a long, long time.

I will be landing in Santo Domingo exactly one week from today. No winter league to see, but make no mistake, a-game-hopping I will go.
If anyone has some recommendations for my 2 week trip, I'd love to hear them.
Rum, Cigars, Baseball and Tropical Beaches... here I come.

You call Theo "incredibly overrated" and you refer to Ben and Jed as the Wonder Twins? Holy shit.

"Also, can we say with even assumed accuracy that we don't win the championship with Nomar?"
Absolutely- and I bet if you asked 100 Sox fans the same question, 99 would say the same.

All I can say Sean is have fun shouting in the dark. I'll maintain Brian's question- how can you have fun watching games with an attitude like yours?

I love that the best Yankees fans can come up with is that they think Papi is ugly.

It's not the best I can come up with, it's just the truth. I was confirming what one of the characters said.

I love it that Sox fans have such a chip on their shoulder that they think Yankee fans waste time trying to figure out how to insult the Sox and their fans.

I read Soxaholix because it's a funny blog, not to insult the Sox.

That's pretty funny to say Theo has made some bad trades, Sean. Theo's got a bit of a pedigree now, and his trades are strategically designed to produce top offensive teams and create an environment where the Sox will be in the playoffs 8 out of every 10 years.

Whereas Cashman is:

- a previous boy wonder who constantly gets undermined by a Boss who is 30-70 at best in getting productivity from player acquisition.

- someone who cannot trade propects quickly enough to refill the minor league clubs.

- a person who has a penchant for picking up broken down aces for $15 mil per season despite win shares that would put them in the $3 - $6 mil range.

- good at sniffing out the most steroid-laden husks of ballplayers out there and putting them on the field, as though their accomplishments were not based on chemical enhancements.

- presiding over the longest sustained payroll in baseball ever, in inflation-adjusted dollars, without a world series ring to justify the outcomes.

- frightening to be around based on his well-defined anxiety disorders, addicted to the very drugs he sold on the street during his rise to the position of general manager of the Yankees, corrupt on the level of a Nazi concentration camp officer, a cannibal who regularly preys upon the children of third world countries, a predatory lender who cheifly goes after the retirement accounts of the elderly, a seller of rancid meat to school lunch programs, a nafarious slumlord whose tenements are a key driver in the infant mortality rate in New York City, an outspoken proponent of mandantory sterilization for all minorities and an SPCA volunteer who does it so he can euthanize puppies and kittens.

(Okay, that entire last point was a complete lie. Maybe except for the anxiety disorder part.)

Sure, both GM's have done things others find controversial (like Cashman signing up for another tour of duty as Steinbrenner's whipping boy), but only one GM has guided his club to a World Series appearance in the last 6 years.

The difference between Cashman and Epstein is the difference between a dart and a javelin. Sure, you can chuck a javelin a hell of lot farther and it is going to mess up whatever it does hit, but you have a much better chance of hitting the sweet spot with a nice, precise dart.

Glad to have Theo where he belongs, no matter how much time he took finding the mark. Go spend some money and leave Theo alone.

M

7-0 Canada over US in the 4th. Good. I want this team to lose. I am rooting for the DR as powerhouses go, and basically any unexpected country otherwise (Korea would be great, South Africa, Australia). No, Babe, mostly (mostly, mind you) not because of the Yankee presence. Mostly because the US is, you know, the team that's supposed to win, and is all big and bad. The guy at the table with all the chips. So kind of like the Yankees in that way.

...and ADAM STERN is 3 for 3 with 4 RBIs while batting NINTH for Canada.

OOPS! AN IN-THE-PARK HOME RUN. 4 FOR 4 WITH 5 RBIs!!!

I saw that too pawsoxpop. My question is who the hell is Loewen and how did he thorw a three hitter over almost four innings? Give that guy a contract!

Where are Mr. Damon and Mr. Rod? Did Team USA think Canada was going to be a cakewalk? Were they out partying all night?

'Tek is coming up with bases loaded. This is cool.

All right, so I really pumped my fist when Mr. V-Tek hit the grand slam. I'm not *that* much against the US.

WOO WOO!

And throws out Koskie trying to steal second!

I'll try not to go too nuts with the comments here, h.b.

Oh Captain, my Captain!

Hey Oy! I do not have a *&%$ing chip on my shoulder.

Stern's isnide the park shot, Tek's granny, Tek's bullet to nail the runner at 2nd, Stern's catch. Fucking sweet sweet mucic to my ears.

How are the yanker WBCers doing? heh.

Damn- if only I wasn't still at work...

It could only have been a bit more perfect if A-Rod had made the final out to Stern--this close. O Canada!

Whoa ... we were figuring that it'd be Papi raining on USA's parade and it's Sterno the Stove? Whattup, Adam, eh?

Ortiz 2 HR, Timlin W, Tek GS, Stern near-cycle ... good show so far, fellas!

I love how the rest of the community bitches for months between Theo leaving and Theo coming back, saying how the team is screwed while I defend them, and now I'm the only one who's wrong. That's freaking hilarious.

About the Wonder Twins comment, I was being facetious. I once thought Red Sox fans had at least some sense of humor, but obviously I'm mistaken.

About Cashman, by "bailing out" Theo, I mean that Cashman's total lack of sense has kept the Yankees from winning ten straight. Even with the moves I reasonably consider him having made without the boss looking over his shoulder, he's horrible at his job.

And the defense you can really come up with about the Cabrera trade, instead of stats, or money, or any other objective basis, is "99 out of 100 sox fans think it's true?" C'mon.

I find it odd that Sox fans, and rightfully so, trash Yankees fans for worshipping Jeter's "intangibles" (side note: his intangibles are helping the US this week, aren't they?), while turning around and lauding everything Theo does. I'm shocked people don't realize how many horrible moves he's made, and how often he's narrowly averted some terrible moves.

Side note: Stern's performance tonight, magnificent. And right before Tek launched it, I just realized Tek never had a grand slam before. Awesome, while the Yankees continue to choke.

Didn't Varitek hit one (a grand slam) last year during the summer sometime? I think he'd had zero up to that point.

I think Jeter being called "Captain Intangibles" might be mildly overblown (though it *is* funny). He's certainly a sub-par defensive shortstop from all stats, but he's a (*checks*) .314 lifetime hitter with no full season of less than .291. Pretty tangible. Same lifetime average as Manny, albeit with lots less power.

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