More fake news in packs of 2018 Topps baseball cards?
On the heels of finding out that Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez might not really be BFFs, I found this other Topps Heritage card crediting Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez for finishing fourth in the American League batting title last year.
Although I love Hanley, I remember his season being rather streaky and lackluster. So I looked up his 2017 stats: He hit .242.
Turns out that it was Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez (.318) – the Ramirez with less interesting hair – who finished fourth in the AL batting race. The Ramirezes look absolutely nothing alike.
I hope Topps corrects the error and gives Jose his due. Even more so, I hope Hanley hits .318 this year!
On the 40th anniversary of “The Bad News Bears,” I tracked down once-chubby catcher Mike Engelberg for his observations on the “Fat Panda” controversy with overweight Boston Red Sox star Pablo Sandoval.
You can read my interview at The Hall of Very Good baseball blog.
In the classic movie, Engelberg got melted chocolate all over his uniform and the ball. 12-year-old actor Gary Cavagnaro wound up losing 70 pounds and gave up his movie career. The producers didn’t think a skinny catcher would be “funny” in the sequel.
Cavagnaro, now a 52-year-old sales manager for a multinational electronics company (we all have to grow up), is a fascinating guy!
P.S. I recently defended the besieged Sandoval in a WBUR column, “We Are All Fat Panda.”
P.P.S. The awesome 1977 Mike Engelberg baseball card at the top of this post was designed by the Dick Allen Hall of Fame blog.
Let’s get one thing out of the way before I go on my rant: Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts deserves to be playing on the American League All Star team. He’s the best clutch-hitting shortstop in the game this year.
But why the hell is the Massachusetts Highway Department encouraging motorists to text or tweet their votes for Xander? I just saw this hashtag appeal on electronic signs over Route 2 West and Route 3 North during my commute home tonight.
In New Hampshire, they just passed a “Hands-Free” law requiring motorists to keep their phones away from the steering wheel. In Massachusetts, they’re imploring us to visit Twitter instead of keeping our eyes on the tractor trailer in the left lane.
How many motorists must die before Red Sox justice is served?
P.S. This is more of a PR issue than a public safety concern, but the so-called “alliance” between the Red Sox and Dodgers to vote for each other’s players is pathetic and bordering on begging. Xander Bogaerts and Clayton Kershaw both deserve to keep their dignity.
Consider this: Every time that Erik and I have posed with the Dustin Pedroia height chart at Fenway Park, he has gone on the disabled list. Mere minutes after this photograph was taken, the Sox second baseman pulled his hamstring.
Granted, this has only happened once, but I wonder if we might be bad karma for the 2015 last-place Red Sox?
I say this despite once having the following riveting conversation with Pedroia in a hotel lobby:
Me: “Hey, good game tonight!”
Pedroia: (Making direct eye contact) “Thanks.”
That historic moment was documented on CNN if you’d like to learn more.
Dear John Henry:
This is my souvenir ticket stub from Tuesday night, Jon Lester’s second-to-last game in a Red Sox uniform.
I went to Fenway Park expecting no issues getting a seat to watch a last place team. I was so wrong. Unlike other evenings when I’ve purchased Standing Room tix, this game really was sold out. Wall to wall people — a wonderful sign of a faithful fan base.
The line at the Game Day ticket office on Lansdowne Street extended the full length of the Green Monster, meaning that I was guaranteed to miss an inning or two. I didn’t care. I was meeting a childhood friend who I don’t see often and the ballpark is my favorite place to hangout.
But Fenway’s charming atmosphere shattered the moment I handed over my credit card. After I signed the receipt and put the pen down, I heard the ticket agent behind the bulletproof banker’s window mumble something I couldn’t understand. I smiled at him, said “thank you” and started to walk away.
“I SAID, PUT THE PEN BACK UNDERNEATH THE WINDOW!!!” he yelled through the glass.
His angry facial expression and tone would be appropriate if I had been trying to steal something from the Red Sox gift shop. I told him to chill out and walked away, trying my best to forget this unfortunate “Welcome to Fenway.”
Oh, I still had a good time and have a thick skin, but even if I had tried to steal your employee’s 10-cent pen, do you think this is the first impression Red Sox fans should get when they go through the turnstile? Continue reading
The Red Sox Facebook tribute to the players they kicked out the door at yesterday’s trading deadline: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, Andrew Miller — and two guys they dumped earlier with little remorse: Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront. (Double click to enlarge)
Dear Boston Red Sox: These players were traded. They were not killed serving their country.
Don’t act as if you’re going to retire their numbers tomorrow.
P.S. You made a HUGE mistake getting rid of Andrew Miller. He would’ve made the perfect closer next year.
Want to mingle Red Sox Shortstop Stephen Drew With Your Other Lego Superhero Minifigures? Double click Drew’s face for details.
I can say this as the owner of a Curt Schilling figurine, a Weeble-like Manny Ramirez, a Pedro Martinez Jack-in-the-Box and the Mike Lowell and Johnny Damon autobiographies: This $13 Stephen Drew toy will be selling for a dollar next September.
Maybe even earlier if the Sox don’t resign him.
I’m not slamming Drew. I think his outstanding defense still saved enough runs to justify his atrocious 0-for-whatever batting average before Game 6 — and I was thrilled for him when he hit that World Series homer.
But I’m going to pass on this round of Red Sox World Series souvenirs. Being in the bleachers for Big Papi’s grand slam in Game 2 of the AL Playoffs and seeing Dustin Pedroia in a hotel lobby is enough for me this time!
As an aside, I’m still smitten by Jake Peavy’s World Series souvenir, his $75,000 Boston Duck Boat!