Salty Will Play for Peanuts


Image Mr. Saltalamacchia’s Paycheck Endorser

When the Red Sox declined to offer Jarrod Saltalamacchia a new contract after one of his best seasons, eyebrows were raised higher than roofbeams, carpenters.

Now with several catchers signed on the dotted line for the next few seasons, Salty remains the unsalted peanut still out there on the limb, waiting for squirrels.

It should follow, and has followed, that a national writer now hints that there is a mysterious medical condition lurking in Saltalamacchia’s MRI.

When Salty’s agent must issue a deniability statement, you know there is fire lurking behind the smoke screen.

Having played in over 120 games during the regular season, Salty made a mental blunder or two and found himself sharing a doghouse with Stevan Ridley.

And like Ridley, Salty is now looking for a permanent doghouse beyond the confines of friendly Fenway where he has few friends among the upper administrative levels.

What mystery illness ails Saltalamacchia? America’s got talent, but the gong is sounding all too often on an answer.

Can there be a version of Bard disease making its way among the Sox? We had no idea that lack of confidence was catchy among catchers. It may be the disease has gripped Ben Cherington who has lost his faith in Salty. Come  March we can likely presume that Cherington will rush into the negotiations with a one-year contract on the lines of Jason Varitek’s Waterloo.

If Salty doesn’t agree to return for peanuts, he may be buying Cherington lunch every day this season to win a chance to play.


Relive the thrilling days of the championship season by reading RED SOX 2013: NAKED CAME THE LINEUP.  It’s now available at in softcover and ebook.

Will Middlebrooks Bides His Time Till Spring Cleaning



Fair to Middling Prospects for Middlebrooks?

Only one Red Sox player seems to be having a worse time in the waiting room of off-season torments than Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and that is limbo-dancing Will Middlebrooks.

It would seem the Red Sox are still negotiating with Salty and could bring him back—if he really wants to return to a place that seems lukewarm toward him.

Other franchises are hot on his trail, leading us to wonder what offense against Ben Cherington is Salty guilty of committing.

Whatever he did, it seems nothing compared to the punishment being readied for Will Middlebrooks, once the darling of the Boston’s sports media prognosticators. This season Will fell to the middle of the pack while fording another deep brook.

As breaks go, the brooks are carrying the young third baseman into other corners of the diamond. If he doesn’t end up at first base, he may end up on the trade block.

Middlebrooks has become the last option on the train to the end of the line. If you ever wanted what it is like to ride the rails, young Middlebrooks may have the answer before the new season begins. He is being railroaded out of town as if he were Jose Iglesias reborn.

His fate is final only upon settling the dusty, windblown fates of Stephen Drew, Xavier Bogaerts, Mike Napoli, and anyone else who is deemed top priority on the Red Sox. That’s where you stand when you are low man on the totem pole.

Middlebrooks could be at first base if the chips fall out of the bag for Cherington.  Alas, for Will, he has no bargaining chips at all. He will blow where the winds of fate take him.

As for now, he is locked up with no particular job and no place to go.

For the holiday season there is no greater gift than RED SOX 2013: NAKED CAME THE LINEUP, the only book on the Sox fortunes that followed them week by week and month by month all season. You won’t find scorecards, box scores, or many numbers in this book (outside the corners). It’s all about human interest. Now available on in softcover and ebook.

Man Without a Red Sox Nation: Saltalamacchia




Jarrod Saltalamacchia stopped short of making a declaration like Philip Nolan of “The Man Without a Country.”

After having his best season ever and spearheading the pitching staff to a World Series, he found himself damned and benched in the post-season push.

Worse, he appears to be the first casualty in the cast-into-exile roster of Sox players.

Philip Nolan was a backstop for the U.S. government and worked for Aaron Burr. He famously said, “Damn the United States. I wish I never heard of it.” For that Tea Party style transgression, he was set adrift for the rest of his life.

No one could mention the country to him as he sailed on a series of ships off shore, a prisoner in an iron mask.

Now Saltalamacchia is wondering if he has been set adrift by Ben Cherington. He was the only free agent winner on the team not to receive a qualifying offer of $14+ million for next year. There’s nothing like feeling unwanted.

You can understand why he felt like his punishment was about to send him at the peak of his career into a series of short-term seasons with so-so teams. No one would ever mention the Red Sox in his presence again.

Philip Nolan became a superpatriot for being sent into exile, and Saltamacchia may be waiting for Red Sox Nation to offer some kind of apology—or decent compensation.

In a world where Red Sox teams used to chop off their nose because it offended them, the treatment of Saltalamacchia is rubbing salt in the wound.


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Boston Red Sox: the New Glass Managerie


Pardon us if we begin to call the 2013 Red Sox by another sobriquet: The Glass Menagerie.


We tip our hat to Tennessee Williams as we steal another of his ideas. The plot of this update centers on a timid fan that is afraid to criticize Red Sox ownership.


This fan collects delicate cut-glass animals and makes her captive zoo. If you begin to see the parallel to the Red Sox, you know this animal habitat features some of the most delicate of all baseball animals.


The unicorn must fall and break off his horn for the magic to wear off.


So far, every unicorn on the Red Sox seems to be ready to shatter. The latest unicorns are Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino. They already have exhibited cracks in the mainframe this season, but are out again. If you want to see them, go to the zoo of the disabled animals.


That’s the place where you find Andrew Bailey off and on, Joel Hanrahan, the Davids Ortiz and Ross, Stephen Drew, and the Hall of Fame members of the Glass Menagerie: Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Napoli. We know they’ll be put out to pasture sooner or later.


Unicorn horns are not the problem. On the Red Sox menagerie, you will find assorted players with sore backs, twisted arms, concussed brains, and foot problems.


Whether bad physical training, bad medical prognosis, or just bad management by the front office is responsible, we cannot tell. But, smarmy Ben Cherington seems to have the biggest collection of blown glass in the entire zoo league.


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Cherington’s Folly Follows Bad Idea Track



A plethora of riches is the worst enemy of the Red Sox.


Once again history repeats itself at Fenway Park, and it does not bode well for the team put together by King John Henry VIII and his minion GM Ben Cherington.


The Red Sox like to take the extra step, even if it pushes them into the realm where enough is enough.


Years ago the Sox forced upon manager Terry Francona a new powerhouse closer. His name was Eric Gagne. He couldn’t find the plate and, when he did, he was shelled.


The Red Sox installed him as their closer, but installations are for popes. And, this pitcher was no miracleworker. Years later he admitted he used banned substances to convince the Red Sox he was the real deal.


The Sox brought him in right before trade deadline to win the pennant. It was not to be.


He proved to be the biggest bust since the gold panned out in Alaska. They had the money, the wherewithal, and they added a sure-fire reliever. It was a disaster.


Now the Sox have brought in Joel Hanrahan who looked doughy and defeatable in spring training, and now he is costing them in every key game he enters.


The ace is one step below a deuce in this game. The Sox have dubbed him their closer, despite having a wealth of others who could do the job.


The Sox know better than anyone else watching their team. They will be the last to admit they have made another huge blunder in a long history of huge blunders. Joel Hanrahan is folly.


Fans can only pray that the damage can be repaired before the season goes into high gear.


Red Sox Do Not Shoot Off Their Mouths


Red Sox have started Spring Training with guns blazing.

Red Sox hot prospect Bryce Brentz shot himself in the leg last month while cleaning one of his myriad weapons.


Though this sort of careless gun care is usually reserved for NFL players at discos and NBA players on airplanes, the Red Sox have broken new ground with a player who said he was cleaning his gun and, surprise, it went off.


The Red Sox have told the young prospect named Bryce Brentz that he was extremely lucky. Actually, the luck all belongs to the Red Sox. This lame duck could have killed a teammate or even himself.


In an age when gun control is at the top of the list of everyone wearing a pink hat, Brentz has won fans from the diehard list.


The Sox admitted they have no policy for shooters on the team. Avid sportsmen often shoot themselves apparently, and no policy is needed.


Brentz will not be at spring training, and some wags have suggested this was his way to avoid having to play on a team that has shot itself in the foot several times in recent seasons.


The NRA has come to Brentz’s defense and demand he be placed on the roster and be allowed to wear a holster in the dugout.


Until now Sox players have primarily advocated concealed weapons. The lineup generally has concealed all weapons in every game.


Ben Cherington, oblivious and supercilious GM, seemed unfazed with nearly having a dead rookie on his hands.