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Monday, February 13, 2006

Hope Springs Eternal on Truck Day...

With the Red Sox equipment truck beginning it's journey down south today, I was thinking about the current state of the Sox and you know what? I think our team is in pretty good shape right now.

The Sox got the best player they could to replace Johnny Damon in CF with Coco Crisp and they signed a high quality SS in Alex Gonzalez. They got a very good defensive 1st baseman in J.T. Snow and a former Gold Glove winner in Mike Lowell to man 3rd Base. I have a feeling that both of those guys will be responsible for several wins this year simply from their infield playing skills.

This may be a football term, but I think it applies in baseball too. Defense wins Championships.

Looking at our pitching staff, on paper at least, we've got a quality rotation with depth in the bullpen. Of course, there are some big 'ifs' that have to be answered before we find out exactly how good our rotation really is, but looking at the names on the list, Wake, Beckett, Paplebon, Arroyo, Wells, Shilling, Timlin, you can't help but get a little bit excited to see how this year's pitching staff is going to do.

There is a good mix of experience and young, up and coming pitchers there. I am looking forward to watching Jon Paplebon's ongoing development as well as seeing how Shilling and Foulke look this year in Spring Training.

I am admittedly bi-polar when it comes to The Red Sox, and I threw some tantrums over some of the Red Sox off-season escapades this year that would have made my kids proud. In general though, I tend to maintain a positive outlook towards The Sox and the players on the team. I always try to be supportive of the team and I rarely get down on a player, unless they are in an extremely prolonged slump or have done something totally stupid to piss me off..

Take for example Keith Foulke and Curt Shilling. I get the feeling from some of the things I have read over the off-season that a lot of people have written those two players off. Two of the heroes of the 2004 Championship season had a down year last year, so they have been cast aside, thrown in the trash heap.

Personally, I have never understood the Shilling-bashers. I think Shilling is the balls. I honestly don't see how you can't like the guy, but I guess he is one of those 'love em or hate em' type players. Count me in the 'love em' group. I have a feeling Shilling is going to dig down this year and remind people why The Sox went out and got him in the first place.

I have a good feeling about Keith Foulke as well. He's got something to prove too, not only to Red Sox Nation, but to himself as well and I am backing him all the way.

After all the ups and downs this past off-season had, I think things have turned out pretty good for the '06 Red Sox and as you can see, I have a good feeling overall about this team as we head into Spring Training.

Players came and went, Theo left and returned, but with everything that happened, The Sox managed to keep things from falling apart. Now that this tumultuous off-season is coming to an end, my feeling toward The Sox could best be described as 'serene'.

Pitchers and Catchers report this weekend and something tells me that this is going to be a pretty good year for the Boston Red Sox... I'm looking forward to feeling the hot sun on my face and listening to some some enjoyable baseball games.

Guess I should start reminding my 'sources' to keep me in mind for tickets...



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