“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): Papi’s last ride is a bit more complicated

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. Today, the Red Sox and David Ortiz.

Every year, it seems, there is a player who is going on a farewell tour. And this year, it’s David Ortiz.

But this year, the farewell tour is a bit more complicated. Because David Ortiz is more complicated. Yes, he is one of the most beloved figures in 21st Century baseball, and seems to be a pretty cool guy. But there are some things that will make this farewell tour a little uneasy.

First, there’s the steroid talk. David Ortiz has never officially tested positive for anything in his career, but he reportedly was one of those who tested positive when MLB did preliminary testing in 2003 to get an idea of how many MLB players may have been using PEDs before true official drug testing began in 2004. Again, this is not official, but it’s been said to have happened. And Papi himself has admitted that at certain times in his career he wasn’t 100% sure what he was putting in his body.

Secondly, there were his comments this spring on domestic abuse. They were utterly tone-deaf, and a reminder how far baseball- and society- has to go in handling and dealing with these issues.

And lastly, and by far the least important, is how he was on the field. David Ortiz was a good, and often great, player, but he was no slam-dunk Hall-of-Famer like some previous people who got retirement tours, such as Cal Ripken, Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

So will David Ortiz get a retirement tour? Yes. Will he deserve it?

That’s less clear.

Next: The A’s.

 

 

Fenway can survive the Apocalypse: Baseball in the Fallout 4 Trailer

There is a video game series called Fallout. It is a good video game series. It basically takes the idea that all of the 1950s “World of Tomorrow” optimism had happened, but then it got nuked. Centuries after, civilization slowly starts to pick up the pieces, and you have adventures.

Well, the latest game in the series, Fallout 4, was just announced (it’s technically the 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th installment, depending on how you count). And it takes place in Boston. And, guess what, folks? Fenway’s still standing after WWIII!

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.21.37 AMOh, sure, it definitely has been updated and changed with various post-apocalyptic armor and stuff being added, at least partly so that they don’t have to pay royalties, but that’s definitely meant to be Fenway. There’s even a statue of a ballplayer in front. Oh, and what’s more, elsewhere in the trailer they show some sort of post-apocalyptic market built nearby filled with baseball-named establishments, presumably Yawkey Way and/or Kenmore Square- or, actually, probably inside Fenway itself (“Diamond City”). A nice touch by the developers to pay tribute to Boston’s love of baseball. Rest assured, when the game comes out, I’ll make sure to do a Bizarre Baseball Culture looking at the baseball elements in Post-Apocalyptic Boston.

Trailer below:

“30 Teams, 30 Posts”: Happy Evacuation Day, Boston Red Sox (and a look at their off-season acquisitions)

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, I celebrate Evacuation Day by talking Red Sox.

On March 17, 1776, as the Colonial forces reinforced their siege with cannons taken from Fort Ticonderoga, the British decided that their position in Boston was too threatened to be sustainable. So they left. And there was much rejoicing. In fact, to this day, Bostonians celebrate “Evacuation Day”, a city holiday that totally wasn’t chosen specifically as an excuse to give the heavy Irish-American population of Boston an excuse to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without coming up with an excuse to leave work.

So, in honor of St. Patri- err… Evacuation Day, today we are talking Boston. Red Sox, that is.

To be more exact, let’s talk about the guys they acquired this off-season:

First off, the big guy (pun only somewhat intended): Pablo Sandoval. Some Red Sox fans, upon seeing him in spring training, thought he was overweight. Well, maybe he is, but that’s just Kung Fu Panda. He’s always like that. However, that hasn’t stopped him before, and he has the reflexes needed for third base. And he can still hit, of course, and with him now in the AL, he can DH at times, although of course David Ortiz will usually be in charge of that.

Next, Hanley Ramirez. He’s finally returned to Boston, after being traded by them way back in 2005 in the Josh Beckett deal. Now, he’s going to be a left-fielder. This could be interesting, seeing as how Hanley Ramirez has never played outfield before, much less had to deal with the odd bounces of the Green Monster. This will really be something to watch.

Wade Miley, acquired from the ever-anonymous Diamondbacks, is in some ways as anonymous as the team he came from. He’s good, but not great. He had a great rookie year in 2011, but has been middle-of-the-road since then, with a 3.94 ERA. Still, maybe a change in scenery will do him good and get him back to his rookie self.

Rick Porcello also has joined the Red Sox, acquired in the Cespedes deal, as well as Justin Masterson, signed the same day. Alexi Ogando and Craig Breslow also signed. Porcello should be a fine addition, but Masterson, Breslow and Ogando will have to bounce back from injuries and off-years.

How all these deals work out may determine how Boston does this year in the AL East.