It was with great interest that I watched current Red Sox GM Mike Hazen speak of the plans that were in place for the 2016 season. My ears perked up when he game to Hanley Ramirez’s name, hopeful that he would be the first Red Sox GM to listen to advice, and reveal his plan for moving Ramirez. Instead of those happy words, Hazen laid out a plan that included Ramirez moving to 1B. This will necessitate a move of one of the Red Sox budding young stars, because there simply is not enough positions on the field, not with Fat hanging out across the diamond. Continue reading Hanley Ramirez Is An Anchor For the Red Sox
Greed is good.
The above is a vast oversimplification of Michael Douglas‘ brilliant speech in the 1987 movie Wall Street. It also sometimes applies to our favorites sports teams, and the players who suit up in their uniforms1It without doubt is the mantra of one Scott Boras.. Sometimes greed can be good, because the thought of a big money deal will push a player to to perform above expectations, or perhaps even to expectations, because that athlete is well aware of the pay day at the end of the tunnel. Think Jacoby Ellsbury following his 2013 season or David Price this off-season, for starters. There are countless other examples across all major sports to suggest that this is not an uncommon trait amongst athletes, or people in any line of work, really. Greed can be good. Especially if it helps a favorite team to a Title.
|↑1||It without doubt is the mantra of one Scott Boras.|
When I read the news on Tuesday that David Price was going to sign with the Boston Red Sox for a nearly unbelievable $217 million over 7 years, I didn’t know quite how to handle it, at first. The first thought that came to mind once I cleared my head was not about the money, but how the relationship would be in the clubhouse between Price and the Red Sox senior man, and 3-time World Series Champion, David Ortiz. They have some history, after all. Then I considered the type of teammate that Ortiz has been throughout his career, and decided that he would find a way to get past Price’s punk attitude. Provided, of course, that Price delivers. If he doesn’t, and Ortiz doesn’t break him in two, I’d be disappointed.
Sometimes, I wonder if I am, indeed, more than a fan. After all, I moved away from the city where
all most of my teams reside.
The more I do this stuff, the pods, the writing, the live radio show, I wonder if it actually makes me less than a fan. After all, I’m taking on a stance of less subjectivity. In fact, if all the dysfunction and failure to see my teams reach the pinnacle doesn’t take away from my fanhood1You know, of the Cleveland teams., I’m not sure what will. I’ve come the conclusion that only an obligation, by way of occupation, the whole “no cheering in the press box” will deter me from the tears of joy. Who am I kidding? Cleveland only offers tears of agony.
My father once watched a childish demonstration2I’m not proud to admit he’s witnessed many of these immature displays, mostly when I was an actual child., and in the interest of full disclosure, it wasn’t that long ago that I pouted over a Phil Taylor offsides penalty that reduced the Browns chances of victory from slim to none against the Ravens, that begged the question, “I don’t know why he still cares so much”. I do care, and sometimes it brings me shame to show that, but it always defines my character. We see it so much, why do we settle for this shit show that is the Browns? My answer is simple…I ain’t got no place else to go. Could I shut down shop, and just root for the local Cardinals? Of course, I could, but it’s my decision not to. I don’t want to show my middle finger to my friends and family back home; I’d rather poke my own eye out3In the interest of full disclosure, I should reveal I like the Cardinals. Living vicariously through my local friends, I’m thrilled with their current success.
I could take the cop out, you know, that the “real” Browns left in 1995 and they aren’t coming back. Had I left before this ridiculous knock-off stepped onto the scene, maybe I’d have grounds to do that, not for the approval of others, but for inner-peace, but I don’t go that route.
Putting the Browns on the back-burner for a moment, they’re only a fraction of the agony of my fanhood. I have more history with the Indians, and I marry myself to them more than I probably should. I remember taking on the unfathomable plan of what exactly it was that I would do when they finished the job in 2007. It wasn’t even a matter of “if”, and that was before they’d put away the Yankees in a best-of-5, even before they took a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 lead over Boston in the best-of-7 in the American League Championship Series, where actuality revealed a much crueler fate for the Sons of Geronimo. I’d gotten married that summer4Ironically, it was on a weekend that saw the Tribe swept by the very Yankees they took down in the playoffs, but I spent more time thinking about renting the tuxedos and limousines to celebrate the Indians’ first World Series win since 1948 than for any of the particulars of my own wedding. There was going to be champagne, and there wasn’t going to be any concern for sustaining employment. I don’t know if it’s accurate to say a state of depression followed, but I promise a very un-Christian period of hatred for all-things-Boston culminated from that point. I have a very dear friend from Cape Cod, and quite frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t kick my ass to the curb in the aftermath of that ALCS and subsequent Red Sox sweep of the Rockies in that World Series, but he’s a fan too, so I’m pretty sure got it/gets it.
If you think it’s just Cleveland, you’d be wrong. I’ve grown an affinity for a few of my new home’s local teams, specifically the Phoenix-turned-Arizona Coyotes. After Game 7 of the NHL’s 2010 Western Conference Quarterfinals, things got weird with me and Detroit. I was a little more numb when the Winged CCCP swept my Desert Dogs out of the 2011 Stanley Cup Tournament, but when my hockey team actually started advancing in the playoffs, my hate, and I don’t use that word lightly, shifted to the Kings of Los Angeles. Phoenix had grown on me.
By 2013, I was a partial-season ticket holder with the Arizona Diamondbacks and a full-fledged Arizona State Sun Devil Football season ticket holder. That was the summer that Ian Kennedy put a pitch in Yasiel Puig’s earhole, which included a subsequent brawl that was the flashpoint for the Dodger ascent and Arizona’s fall to the bottom of the pack, a fall they’ve yet to fully recover from.
By the time the Dodgers clinched the National League West at Chase Field that September, I had such a low opinion of that organization, and all of Los Angeles, that the news/rumor of a few Dodgers players draining the main vein in the center field pool had me feeling like Jack’s complete lack of surprise.
I guess the point is, I don’t know how to do casual. I’ve adopted my wife’s Northern Illinois Huskies, and I sometimes feel guilty about not being all-in, not hating Toledo and Western Michigan head coach PJ Fleck5Fleck was a great receiver at NIU when they first stepped on to the national scene, behind the great running Michael “The Burner” Turner, earlier this millennium.. I guess I’m getting there, but I’m pretty far in for a guy that spent the early part of his adulthood just paces away from Kent State, with friends at MAC schools in every part of Ohio.
I think leaving Ohio is as much to blame for my passion as being from there is. I feel like I have some sort of obligation to serve as an ambassador, while 2500 miles from the place I called home for so long. I don’t know how to be anything other than passionate and loyal; while it destroys any hope for normalcy in my life, I feel it can be quite the virtue. If I’m a genuine sports fan, but fake at the other things I do in life, I’m exposed as a fraud.
With Yours Truly, there isn’t anything fraudulent to be revealed. I’m the genuine article, even if it means admitting that I’m not proud. Browns fan? Duh. Tribe fan? You know it. Cavs fan? With or without LeBron, you know I am, and I’m unapologetic for being so against him and the possibility of a return for four years, until it happened. If I want to leave a legacy of any sort, it’s that I root for the home team, just like my father in my love life. He says, if you like her, I like her.
It’s a front of the jersey thing. It says Cleveland, Phoenix, Arizona, or whatever’s important to me, I’m on board. Being a fan is cool; never be ashamed.
I never claimed to be brilliant, but I think that’s a principle that gets you through life, whether that concept is subject to scrutiny or not.
|↑1||You know, of the Cleveland teams.|
|↑2||I’m not proud to admit he’s witnessed many of these immature displays, mostly when I was an actual child.|
|↑3||In the interest of full disclosure, I should reveal I like the Cardinals. Living vicariously through my local friends, I’m thrilled with their current success|
|↑4||Ironically, it was on a weekend that saw the Tribe swept by the very Yankees they took down in the playoffs|
|↑5||Fleck was a great receiver at NIU when they first stepped on to the national scene, behind the great running Michael “The Burner” Turner, earlier this millennium.|
The 2015 Boston Red Sox season was a colossal failure, at least as far as the standings went. The two main culprits for their abysmal showing was Fat1Pablo Sandoval and Fragile2Hanley Ramirez. Between the two of them, they managed to have one pretty good season. They combined to hit 29 HRs, drive in 100 runs, score 102 times. Further, they were able to put together 46 walks against 144 strikeouts, and accumulated a joint .24684 BA.
They also earned $37,350,000 while averaging just 115 1/2 games apiece. Probably not what the Red Sox braintrust thought they were getting when they signed the pair to the most ridiculous off-season deals going, but they really have no one to blame for that but themselves.
From the I-should-have-talked-about-this-much-sooner-but-didn’t-because-I-kept-hoping-it-wasn’t-true department:
Don Orsillo will not be coming back to call games for the Boston Red Sox in 2016. Cable network NESN, which handles the television broadcast of Red Sox games1The Boston Red Sox have an 80% stake in the network allegedly decided to forgo a new contract for Orsillo in order to “…upgrade and ‘re-energize’ the team’s television’s broadcasts.”
|↑1||The Boston Red Sox have an 80% stake in the network|
As the baseball season begins its final weeks of its season, I thought it might be fun to look at a few players’ statistics, and see if it’s possible to match them up with their MLB salary for the 2015 season and beyond. For this exercise, I’ve decided to go the multiple choice route. All statistics are accurate entering yesterday’s games.
If anyone objects to this union, speak now or forever hold your peace.
Yeah, I didn’t exactly give anyone the chance to do that. It was one of two requests I asked of the Justice of the Peace that officiated our nuptials. The other, I stole from Spaceballs. We required the short, short version for our outdoor mid-summer Phoenix wedding. While I’m on the subject, allow me to tip my proverbial cap to Jen, my bride of eight years. Without her blessing to do this, we wouldn’t be here right now. As an act of gratitude, I may even unload the dishwasher or take out the trash.
For some reason, I’ve been trusted with the master key to all of More Than A Fan, and I have to tell you, this is all so surreal. I keep expecting to wake up and I’m actually waiting for someone to yell at me, to tell me what I can’t do. Don’t get me wrong, the ‘ghost’ of Josh Flagner will linger in my head, and it will haunt me if get out of line, but that isn’t my intention. In fact, my intentions are not a priority these days; my obligations are. Let me break those down.
First, it is paramount that we keep the lights on. I laughed about it in BASEketball, when Squeak went to turn off Doug and Coop’s gas, but it wasn’t very funny when the natural gas ceased to flow in my own residence. You’d think you could live with it, especially on nice spring days, but a week of ice-cold showers and painful shaves had me changing my tune. It’s a good excuse to grow a beard, but my mind hadn’t gone there.
I learned from a friend, who had little money and no power, how to rough it with easily bought neighbors, an extension cord, and a power strip. Unplugging the TV, to open an outlet, to plug in the coffee maker, to heat up the water to shave, well, that’s no way to live. It’s obviously not how you run a website. Keeping the lights on, in this figurative sense, it requires money, so you’re going to see advertisements and we might even do some things we’re not proud to do (but, hopefully not).
Next, I have an obligation to these fantastic writers, as well as our loyal readers. A glance around More Than A Fan reveals that Matthew Kline always sees something that could use tweaking or fixing in sport, Jared Andrews knows the peaks (present-day Blackhawks) and valleys (historically, the Cubs) of being a Chicago sports fan, and what a time for Britt Zank to be waxing poetic about his beloved Kansas City Royals!
Our resident Canadian, John Poulter is writing about and talking about his hometown Toronto Blue Jays at the right time. Let’s see how all of that plays out. When we get to football season, Jared may be slightly less elated to speak on the tragedy that the Chicago Bears have become, compared to the suddenly-inspired, Joe Maddon-led Cubbies. Outside of Arizona, there can’t be too many folks longing for the cold days of winter, but maniacal hockey fans probably have their countdowns down to the hour by now. Though his Maple Leafs are so cursed, they might as well be Cleveland’s fourth team, John still makes his way to the Air Canada Centre more than a few times a year, come win, lose, or shootout.
They do play their fair share of hockey south of Ontario, and our hockey staff has you covered with opinions from Anaheim to Boston, and everywhere between. As for me, my biggest NHL interests reside in the desert, specifically in a small-time city that generally seems not to care about at least one of its major professional sports franchises. Never a dull moment with the drama surrounding the Coyotes, my favorite hometown team.
It’s weird to say it and a little awkward to see it typed out, but Phoenix absolutely is my hometown. I’ve been here 14 years, later this month. However, if you know me at all, you know my birthplace and long-time home is a seldom-respected city of yesteryear in Northeast Ohio, known as Cleveland. As More Than A Fan and I are brought together once again, I remember our common bond, we were both born in Cleveland, as was the site’s founder. Deny it, as anyone might, that’s our home base. It’s where our original readers come from, and in February 2013, Daniel Zaleski and the rest of management decided those readers had earned their own page.
The voices at MTAF: Cleveland are different from what they were in the beginning, but the tone is the same. We’d be speaking out of turn to evaluate fan bases, but I personally understand the dedication of those fans, near the shores of Lake Erie. In some cities, the night ends when the games end. The 2-1-6 is different; they’re talking Browns on the 4th of July and the discussion about a 7:05 Indians game could well into the AM hours of the next day, both online and on the airwaves. We cannot understate how the Cavaliers are overwhelmingly the best team in town at the moment, but they aren’t the only basketball team in downtown Cleveland.
A few blocks from the Quicken Loans Arena stands the once state-of-the-art Wolstein Center, and while crowds are a far cry from what they used to be for Vikings basketball, the entire Cleveland State Athletic Department remains near and dear to the heart of the many alumni that reside in and around the city. I cut my teeth on underdogs and upsets when the ’86 hoops team knocked off Bobby Knight’s 2-seeded Indiana as a 15, and rooted hard for this mid-major that’s never lost an Opening Round game in the NCAA tournament, as they went toe-to-toe with Butler in the Horizon League, before Butler bolted for greener pastures a few years back. For everything else on Cleveland’s only Division I athletic program, I defer to our own Bob McDonald. He is the decided authority for all-things-Cleveland-State.
I’m the one who decided that, so take that for what you will. The bottom line is, for our readers from Cleveland to parts unknown, we know you have options. We owe you good content for following our crazy views on the wide world of sports, and we need to deliver it on a consistent basis. If that does not happen, I have failed in my role.
On that note, my last obligation, or really, my moral imperative is to take care of (MTAF Founder) Josh Flagner’s baby the best way I know how, by treating it like my own. He has an actual baby to take care of now, so he should appreciate that. Josh, I promise not to drop this thing on its head, feed it paint chips, or let it be a Brian Hoyer fan. All kidding aside, if there’s a better way for “my” More Than A Fan to pay homage to Josh Flagner (and co-founder Lisa Pitz) than to recognize their charitable efforts, I don’t know what it is.
Off the webpage and in the community, philanthropy is a big part of our mission statement. I want More Than A Fan to be more than a place that simply houses brilliant, unfiltered sports opinion, but good-standing members of society. This team should demand that of me, as well as of themselves.
We aren’t just more than fans in these parts. We hope to be more than readers, writers, editors and publishers, but a community that takes care of one another and looks out for our own. Together, we make More Than a Fan a place that we can all be proud of, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, ’til link-rot do us part.
It was just about 2 years ago when I wrote about how I was jealous of Kansas City Royals fans, because they were coming in to their time as a potential playoff team. The Red Sox were marching towards their 3rd World Series title in 10 seasons, and all was well in Beantown, at least for the moment, but still, there was a feeling of excitement building around the Royals at that time that was invigorating.
Ben Cherington’s future should have been known to him the moment that the Red Sox hired former Anaheim Angels GM Jerry Dipoto on as an *interim* off-season consultant to help evaluate and correct the current roster mess that exists within Red Sox Nation1Read: How much will it cost the Sox to dump the rotting carcasses of Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, and Rick Porcello on another or multiple franchises.. I know my hackles were raised, and I wasn’t the one whose job was clearly on the line.
|↑1||Read: How much will it cost the Sox to dump the rotting carcasses of Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, and Rick Porcello on another or multiple franchises.|