Admit it. You like ripping people behind their backs. We all do. Yes, I happen to be one of those rare cases where it’s just as much fun to do it square to my face, but be that as it may, you’re still going to have a rare opportunity here the next couple of weeks.
I’m taking some time off. It’s July, and that means that big pile of sand 30 miles to the south of Cape Cod is beckoning. I’ve often said that Red Sox games have become so gentrified that Fenway feels like the fast ferry to Nantucket. Most people assume I mean that in a bad way. Au contraire.
Anyway, the d-bag mailbag will remain. Kirk Minihane is taking over. He’ll field your insults directed towards me, him or anyone else. Fire away with whatever you’ve got at email@example.com. Kirk’s got game. OK, Rob made me say that. The best thing I can say about Kirk is that, unlike my boss, he doesn’t have a grotesque, unkempt mangina on his chin. And that’s worth something.
Subj: Appreciating Varitek
Last week on your Comcast show with Gary, you asked the guest if he agreed with all the moves Tito made in that 11-10 fiasco in Baltimore.
I was not a big fan of Varitek especially after the 2008 season. But while watching that game, after Varitek was taken out, I realized the huge value he brings to the table with handling pitchers. I didn’t see any analysis of this, but I don’t think it was a coincidence that the bullpen imploded after Kottaras came into the game. It’s especially true of Okajima; Varitek makes him look so good. I could see that it just wasn’t the same with Kottaras handling Masterson, Okajima and Papelbon.
So, if you were to ask me, that was the move that Tito made that cost them the game. I will never criticize Varitek again, even if he hits .150.
A: A lot of fans said the same thing, Bill. And then Kottaras entered the game the very next day in the ninth and caught the last three innings as the Sox pen retired nine consecutive batters. Varitek is no doubt better at handling the staff than Kottaras, but does he make that big of a difference? I can’t imagine he does. That 11-10 game was just one of those nights.
Tim Wakefield doesn’t deserve to be an All-Star because he’s a swell guy. He deserves it for how consistently valuable he’s been over his career. Joe Madden gets it. Call it a lifetime achievement award if you want. Is Wake one of the best 10 pitchers in the AL? Absolutely not. Does he deserve to go more than a star who doesn’t want to be there and has the doctors note to prove it? You bet your ass.
Pink hats don’t seem to get it and think he’s inconsistent. Wake has been better than the league average in ERA in six of the last nin e years and pitches about 180 innings every year. At worst that’s the best fourth starter on any team. He has stretches where he’s an ace, which makes him the only fourth starter who can make that claim.
When I hear someone say he’s so inconsistent, they are instantly filed in my book under pink hat. Where’s Gammons when you actually need a ``go watch the games’’ drop to promote learning and not just as a smug shot from a baseball fossil who belongs in a wax museum. Hey Pete, A-Rod doesn’t need you to cradle his steroid shrunken kiwis, he has trans-america hookers for that, and we could really use you over here.
I’d like to teach the pinks a Beckett-style, oops-it-just-slipped-out-of-my-hand-and-flew-at-your-head-type lesson. You don’t mean inconsistent, you mean unpredictable. Power pitchers show fatigue, give up a couple of gap shots, a couple of loud outs, maybe a home run then get pulled. Wake looks unhittable and then has an inning with two strikeouts, a passed ball, two walks, two stolen bases, a single and a home run. Like a sock full of quarters to the back of the head, you don’t see it coming and can’t get out of the way. It can happen in any inning which makes it unpredictable. This gets translated to the buzz word ``inconsistent’’ and then you run around repeating it like little pink lemmings. If it was happening with any regularity, the guy wouldn’t have a lifetime 4.32 ERA. Either let the numbers tell the story, or watch enough that you know what is really happening out there.
They’re the same people who couldn’t accept that Nomar couldn’t field anymore after wrist surgery -- like it was Millar’s fault throws were sailing into the dugout nightly. The same people who told you Manny was a good fielder and that he was untouchable only to see him put on irrevocable waivers and have ZERO suitors. If the Sox put Wake on waivers today how many teams you think would jump at that? He is also the guy that the pinkies always want to move for a shiny new prospect or veteran pitcher.
Paxton Crawford, Frank Castillo, Casey Fossum, Bronson Arroyo, Jeff Suppan, Abe Alvarez, Matt Clement, Wade Miller, Clay Merideth, Julian Tavarez, David Wells, Clay Buchholz, Bartolo Colon, Byung Hyun Kim, Paul Byrd, Jon Smoltz, Brad Penney. All these guys were going to move Wakefield to the end of the rotation, or the bullpen or a retirement home until in an unbelievably consistent turn of events: Wakefield pitched every last one of them into the bullpen, the minors, another job or retirement themselves. The above pitchers were consistent. Consistently not as good as Wakefield.
This guy does it every year and you call it inconsistent. If you were really watching you’d know better. You say you’re not pink hats. Butch Sterns says, ``I’m not so sure about that.’’
A: I don’t want to burst your bubble Jake, because that was a good e-mail (as usual) and a tremendous tribute to Wakey. There’s not a dry eye in the house right now. But in the postseason, he’s a career 5-7 with a 6.75 ERA. In his one playoff start last year, he gave up five earned runs in 2.2 IP in a 13-4 ALCS loss to Tampa. He also made one playoff start the year before, a 7-3, ALCS loss to the Indians in which he gave up five runs in 4.2 IP. I like him, too. But you can’t pitch him late in the season.
In the fantasy world, every championship team is full of the Bruschi’s, the Ray Allen’s and the Mike Lowell’s. But the reality is every team in every sport is going to have a couple of guys we don’t love. I wish the GM’s in this town could build all of the teams with character guys who are great citizens, but you and I both know in the sports world it’s IMPOSSIBLE. The key is to make sure you have more character guys than a-holes so they can keep them in check -- and Danny is doing that masterfully. This will not work if Wallace doesn’t behave. They will not change him. He is who he is -- but as long as he does not hurt the team and follows KG’s lead, this move will be brilliant.
A: I don’t disagree with a word, Rick. And I’ve said all along that the odds of Rasheed getting with the program in Boston are decent. Probably better than that. But that doesn’t mean I like or respect him as a pro athlete. And if fans were being honest they’d admit that up until two weeks ago they never liked him either.
For once the Green Teamers are 100 percent right. Rasheed Wallace is a perfect fit for the Celtics. Rasheed has been a flaming, raging pain-the-butt during his entire NBA career, so he’ll fit in great. He will be on the floor with Kendrick Perkins, a surly, belligerent oaf who is amongst the league leaders in technical fouls, Kevin Garnett, a foul-mouthed lunatic who rants and raves like a madman throughout every game, Rajon Rondo, a petulant little problem-child during both his college and pro career, and Paul Pierce, a scowling, whining MVP wannabe who wanted to quit on this team for years.
This is the legacy of Arnold Red Auerbach, himself one of most arrogant, obnoxious, and reviled figures in NBA history and the reason the Celtics are amongst the most hated franchises in sports. GO ‘SHEED!!
A: Danny Ainge has been remarkably consistent on this score. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about a player’s reputation (Marbury), how they act off the court (Tony Allen) or what fans say about them (Wallace). He doesn’t care if a player is a pain in the ass (Rondo) or a diva (Ray Allen, Garnett). Ainge is about one thing and one thing only: talent. That philosophy worked in 2008. It didn’t in 2009 (if the Green Teamers in the media were being honest, they’d tell you the chemistry in the locker room got a bit sticky there at the end). We’ll see about 2010.
I just wanted to say I appreciated your interview with Stephen A. this week, as you did something nobody else does on EEI programing. You asked follow up questions to a ridiculous statement. Specifically:
a. Him calling R. Wallace the ``ultimate team player’’ and you referencing the elimination game in 2007 where he was ejected.
b. Him calling Boston a racist city and you insisting he give an example, and it turned out a group of drunk guys harassed him once 10 years ago.
Stephen A. sounded even more ridiculous in his rebuttals. I find Stephen A. to be a racist himself and am tired of his act. Thanks for not letting him get away with that crap.
A: I like Stephen A. on the radio. The guy says stuff and doesn’t mind being challenged. In other words, an anti-BBWAA member.
Felger You DB!
Was it me or did Stephen A. Smith really say that Rasheed Wallace wasn’t being “selfish” when he took all those techs -- it was that he can’t control himself? So are we really so desperate for championships that we are now willing to embrace totally unstable mental cases as long as they can ball? Seriously? Where do fans draw the line? If he was still alive and money from the perimeter would the Green Teamers be urging the C’s to sign Big Shot Pol Pot? In the mean time, I just hope the Celtics can use Sheed’s lunacy to petition the NBA for a medical exemption for extra time outs. Like the parents of bratty kids already know, those time outs may be River’s only tool to get Sheed to behave like a big boy.
Why does it not surprise me that they picked you to go toe-to-toe with Curt in a Car on WEEI’s Slugfest? If I could pick one person on this station who wouldn’t kiss the sock and really conduct a no-holds-barred literary throw-down, it’s my favorite DB. And of course I was not disappointed. Full disclosure here Mikey, I love the Steelers. I grew up idolizing two pro athletes, Steve Grogan and Mean Joe Green. I know that won’t sit well with many around these parts, but if you think about it, the current blood feud is a recent development. The Steelers and the Pats didn’t really cross paths in a meaningful way until the Tuna years, and when the two teams go head-to-head I always pull for my Pats.
Now, just because I am a fan of the team doesn’t mean I’m blind either. Did Curt really say they had no drug scandals? I’d say some of the accusations levied by Steve Courson and Jim Hasslett, among others, about the teams of the 1970’s were pretty scandalous. And I’d have to say that the whole brouhaha with team doctor Richard Rydze getting caught buying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Steroids and HGH in 2007 was just a tad suspect as well. Rydze’s story, that he was only giving them to elderly patients of his, is very dodgey, and even doing that wasn’t kosher according to the FDA. Unless the geriatric crowd in the ‘burgh are throwing around olympic plates like it’s a Greek wedding, I’m guessing some of those goodies went to players. Curt must have been patrolling the wilderness of Everquest when Bam Morris was caught driving around in Cheech and Chong’s van, so I’ll give him a mulligan there.
And if we’re talking about the Steelers fans, the topic begins and ends with this tee shirt. I might have selective memory, but after Big Ben’s motorcycle incident, I didn’t see any Pat’s fans peddling ``Chrysler New Yorker Fan Club’’ tee shirts.
And while I will say it was nice to see you and Curt make up, I don’t think the pat on the tush will lead to any bromances down the road. I have it on good authority that he’s more of a tall and furry kinda guy. Watch out Fred!
A: First-ever Pol Pot reference in the history of the d-bag mailbag. Congrats, Mike. Is Mean Joe still alive? So he’s the one. And that Everquest image? Wow. I think Curt is a good candidate for our Web Sox Nation segment on the Baseball Show.
Subj: Michael Jackson, Newsweek agrees with you
In the new issue of Newsweek, there’s an article on Michael Jackson that totally agrees with your point that he wanted to look white and much have had an issue with looking black to have the surgeries he did.
A: Don’t forget what Quincy Jones had to say.
When I said to Holley a couple of weeks ago that Jackson tried to become whiter as he got older, I honestly didn’t realize it was still up for debate.
To: Dennis and Callahan
Date: Wednesday, July 8
Subj: Felger....Knock it off
Look guys, I’m home on vacation, eating breakfast at the kitchen table with my wife and listening to you donks. Felger goes on his rant about MJ. that’s when the wife starts yelling at me for what Felger is saying. Look, I can deal with getting yelled at for the stupid (expletive) I do, but I don’t need this aggravation because of you, FELGER. If you need to rant about something, rant about Larry Fitzgerald’s BUTT.
A: Getting other people in trouble for things I say is one of my favorite parts of the job. Do you realize how many times Dickerson has been lambasted by Danny Ainge on the team plane for stupid crap I’ve said? Those are the moments I know it’s all worth while. Otherwise, you’re saying the wife would be into Larry Fitzgerald Ass talk?
To: Dennis and Callahan
Date: Wednesday, July 8
Subj: MJ funeral
I couldn’t agree more with Michael Felger and his comments about the Jackson funeral being disingenuous. The whole coverage of his death and funeral just disgusts me. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t believe this freak did not molest those children or many others who did not come forward. It irks me that his death is being treated as a national tragedy. I’m tired of hearing everyone tell me that I have to separate the music from the man and that he ``allegedly’’ molested children. An innocent man does not pay $20+ million to make it go away. To me, supporting the music is supporting the man and I can’t do that. I just hope that when OJ Simpson get shanked in the prison lunch line that ESPN will tell me I have to separate the athlete from the man and celebrate his accomplishments on the football field. After all, he only ``allegedly’’ murdered two people.
A: How dare you attack the best father you could ever imagine like that, Melissa.
Only a BU Graduate (moron) could write the following phrase ``(Fans said) Asante Samuel gave up winning for the money -- and he ended up in the NFC title game while the Pats were home for the playoffs. So much for that.”
What are you talking about? You might have a point regarding Asante, but to use that statement as proof is ludicrous, even for hooked on phonics spelling mofo like you. I guess that makes sense if you forget 1) the Patriots lost the best player at the most important position in the game 10 minutes into the season, 2) the feebles play in the JV Conference (NFC), 3) you don’t include the fact that the Eagles went 9-6-1 and made the playoffs while the Pats went 11-5 and didn’t, and finally 5) realize the Eagles lost to the Cardinals in the NFC Championship, a team the pats beat 47-7 (granted after they had clinched) a month before.
Stop typing your columns after the Wood has gone to bed when you are on your third wine cooler of the night dreaming about the day Jack Parker shoved you out of his way on Commonwealth while he was on his way to (unprintable sex act) another fifth-year prep school hockey star from Lawrence Academy at center ice in the Agannis Center during a recruiting visit.
A: Good e-mail, Ron. But you obviously don’t know my drink of choice is a lot harder than wine coolers. Try Miller Lite on ice. Go Eagles.
Subj: Rating the GMs
I think your article was right on. You’re absolutely correct about Ainge: he pulled off a veritable miracle. The challenge for Ainge going forward is to try to pull another miracle out of his posterior. Your analysis of why teams win championships in the NBA is dead on. That’s why the NBA sucks. The Magic beating the Cavs this season past was an aberration. Of course, Kobe beef wins in the end. Like you pointed out, the team with the best player wins it all. The NBA is like playground hoops for spoiled brat millionaires, or worse: the WWE, where the winner is all but decided prior to the contest. That’s why I think it’s hard to become a fan of the NBA. The other sports feature success/underdog stories like the Pens (who were out of the playoffs before the coaching change), the Arizona Cardinals, the Rays or (gasp) the Giants beating the Pats. Kudos on another great article. It’s too bad most of your colleagues aren’t as insightful as you are.
A: Agreed on all points, Aaron. Especially the last one. Anyway, about the closest thing in my lifetime to an unpredictable NBA champion was the Heat, and they had Wade and Shaq. Not exactly the little engine that could.
I like your analysis on the GMs, but even if you account for trades, salary cap management, etc., I don’t think it changes all that much. Ainge’s obstacles aren’t any less, Belicheck doesn’t gain any ground based on trades that haven’t been great other than the Welker and Moss ones, and Theo has the advantage of being able to spend more money than any other team other than NY (which in MLB also helps you in the draft and was a huge factor in being able to get Bay for Manny last year) and he still hasn’t fixed the shortstop problem (though he should get credit for bringing in Cabrera in ‘04). Theo’s still done a good job, but given the advantages he has, Chiarelli might even be able to surpass him because he seems to be righting a franchise that was in worse shape when he took over. Sorry, I don’t have any thing negative to say, so this probably doesn’t= help you with your mailbag, but I just thought you made some good points that you won’t get much credit for.
A: You’re right -- your e-mail doesn’t help the cause here at the d-bag mailbag. What do you think this is, Ask Fluto? If you want to play kissy face I suggest you try the Hagg Bag.
Subj: Someone call PETA
This monster killed a snake. Who cares that it had just killed a girl. PETA will be all over this. Hopefully the pit bull owners step up and condemn this useless killing of what was, prior to this attack, a well behaved snake.
A: There’s no doubt that we’ve misunderstood the nature of killer snakes and unfairly maligned their character. You know what they say -- it’s not the killer snake that’s the problem. It’s the owner. Did you know that, on average, Yorkie Terriers are far more likely to bite their owners than killer snakes are to strangle two-year-old girls? So if you’re going to round up all the killer snakes, you might as well go after the Yorkies, too.
I think that covers all the pit bull talking points. ... Oh wait, I forgot one: I’ve owned a killer snake all my life and he wouldn’t hurt a flea.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me state that I’ve never been a fan of yours. To list all of the many things that I dislike about you would take several pages. I was appalled that you were chosen to participate in the Baseball Show. However, I listen because I value the knowledge and opinions of the other three participants.
I’ve learned to ignore virtually everything you say and the one positive contribution that you seem to make is to screen out the so-called celebrity callers and boring one trick ponies. It’s nice to know that I can listen for three hours and not hear Danny from Quincy, Frank from Gloucester, Bill from NH, or any of Mustard and Johnson’s horrendous callers. You were doing a good job, until last week, when you let the biggest (expletive) caller in the history of WEEI, Steve from Fall River, on your show.
Just when I found one positive thing about you, you screw it up.
A: You obviously don’t mind Jeff in Watertown. Consider yourself in the minority, Jack. Overall, though, don’t you give me credit for denying Buck the opportunity to investigate the life’s history of every caller from Maine? Do you realize that we go entire shows without him mentioning Yaz or Fred Lynn once? I don’t know about you, but I consider that my greatest accomplishment.
I heard a caller on ‘EEI the other day predict your probable (posthumous) legacy as that of a flea on the anus of a rat. I would shorten it to anal rat flea (ARF!). I want to be the first to suggest this acronym replace the overused and very dated DB. ARF also plays into your love of all things canine. Imagine the serotonin kick you’d get as adoring Felgiacs (both of them) start ARFing you in unison. Must make you goose-pimply just thinking about it.
A: Or how about “CHB Jr.,” as Schilling called me this week? It has a certain ring to it, but I don’t know why you folks would want to mess with the pure, simple brilliance of the DB moniker. Let’s stick with it. I don’t want to change my monogrammed pajamas.
How did it feel to be stuck in the studio with Dickerson this week? Did you call Ordway for advice on how to avoid getting shanked during the flash, or did you rely on the cat-like reflexes that have been honed from your hours of fending off attacks from the BBWA on the Baseball Show?
A: You know what they say. Nothing like a little Dickerson in the morning.
Good luck, Kirk. They’re all yours.
Felger can be seen on “Sports Sunday,” on Comcast Sportsnet, Sunday nights at 10 p.m. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.