"I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?

I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?

Comin' down on a sunny day."  Pete Seeger

(Play it while you read this.)

The Boston Red Sox are not just the best team money can buy.

Granted, their payroll of $143 million is higher than Zimbabwe's GNP, and a little on the spending-heavy-side compared to their playoff foes--Angels, $109.2 million; Indians, $61.6 million; Rockies, 54.4 million. The Boston Red Sox are a team with balance and built for now and the future, and the best example of stocking a baseball team analytically rather than by hunch and gut feeling.

Rookies Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, both only 24, are two players most teams would die for. Both play outstanding defense and can hit. With just 116 ABs in ' 07, Ellsbury, playing behind the veteran Coco Crisp,  hit .353, and like Chase Utley, has captured the hearts of every young lady this side of puberty.

Something tells me Ellsbury will be the Red Sox opening day centerfielder. Pedroia hit .317 with 8 HRs in 520 ABs, earning possible AL Rookie of the Year honors. He hit a home run in his first at bat in Game One of the World Series.

 The Sox have other home grown players too, including Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester, Manny Delcarmen, and Clay Buchholz, giving them young talent but also giving them payroll flexibility so they can go out and get $103 million Japanese super-pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. And of course, the beloved JD Drew who is not to be confused with W.C Fields who said, "Here lies W.C Fields. I would rather be living in Philadelphia." Of course Fields also said, "I drink, therefore I am," and my favorite, "I cook with wine and sometimes I even add it to the food."

It has been recorded that Drew once said, "Are they Eveready or Duracell?" And we are sure he said it in Philadelphia somewhere near the intersection of Broad and Pattison.

I don't know if Boston has a bottom-feeder like Radio 610, I'll have to consult my New England Advisor Officer Jim Looney to find out, but if they do, Drew's name would be ringing up and down the Charles River: One if by land, two if by sea, and for $70 million over five years...three if JD hits only 11 home runs in a season, which is exactly the number he  hit in ' 07: The boos at Fenway will make Philly look like the Honey Bee Festival in Drew's hometown of Hahira, Georgia.

But Drew certainly redeemed himself in the first inning of the sixth game of the ALCS with a grand slam, at which point a collective moan could be heard up and down the Schuylkill River: "Oh, hell no."

Or, as Alexandra The Great, my Interational Advisor would say, "Cet incapable Drew est encore une autre erreur."

Like every team in baseball, the Red Sox have free agent decisions to make, and you can bet it won't be done on hunches and gut feelings, but in number crunching and scouting reports. Curt Shilling, Tim Wakefield, and third baseman Mike Lowell: Will they return for another season, or be let go?

And of course there's A-Rod. Check out his numbers and cry, because baseball is all about numbers. Will the Sox resign Shilling? No. Will they resign Lowell? He's coming off a four year, $32 million contract which, at age 33, paid him $9 million in ' 07. You can bet he'll parlay a very good regular and post season into more money and more years. Of course, why do you think they have good years?

Alex Rodriguez was paid $27 million for ' 07 and opted out of his contract so he go stratisphere: A $300 million, 10 year deal. He will get it, but will he get if from the  Red Sox?  

Boston GM Theo Epstein won't decide on sentiment, but on examining every number produced with the possibilities of producing big numbers again. And with that you can be sure that JD Drew and the Boston Red Sox will again be playing baseball next October. 

Notes: Who would have throught that the Eagles would have the same number of wins as Temple at this point in the year? Penn State is grooming Al Golden for head coach when Joe Paterno retires by letting him work in the minor leagues for a while. If he can win at Temple this year and next year, watch out.

The Inquirer's Jeff McLane had a story in this morning's Inquirer that hit Paterno below the belt, in my opinion. My question is, who the hell is McLane? He must be new, I don't remember seeing his byline before. Here is one of the lines from the article: "There's a significant number of Nittany Lions fans who just don't want to hear the excuses." What is a significant number?

I think there is also a significant number of fans who think he's a hell of a coach and want him to continue coaching. Here's another one of his brilliant lines: "Before the 2005 season, Spanier (Penn State's President) and Curley (AD) famously visited Paterno to gauge the notion that he should perhaps, maybe, please? think about stepping down in the near future." Two questions for McLear. 1) Were you there? 2) Did you speak to anyone who was there?

If not, how do you know all this? Get a life.  

 Here are two questions for you: Do you know Donavan McNabb's uniform number? Do you know what AYP means?


 

The Inky is a reflection of the ownership change a year and a half ago with many new, conservative white bread guys on the staff replacing minority writers and anyone who isn't right leaning. They got rid of Stephen A Smith in August and McLane is probably his replacement. Your observations on him are right on, Ron.

As my spouse, my father and I all went to Temple U., Al Golden is the best thing to hit that campus in 30 years. I hope he stays around a little while.

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