You can't sweat out . . .

Posts Tagged ‘Rocco Baldelli’

Now starting in centerfield, a member of my buddylist

In The Sporting Life on January 8, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Since we met during the summer of 2002, I have been virtually guaranteed at least two semi-apologetic text messages from Cali (the friend, not the state: please refer to the JSF About page if confused) during the stretch from October-February, always after the Yankees sign one of the best free agents on the market.  This year has been no different, with the Yankees taking home the trophy for yet another off-season.

Their off-season signings of CC Sabbathia (best pitcher available) and Mark Teixeira (best player available) were a blow to me as a Red Sox fan transposed in New York, but 1/8/09 will go down as the day that the Red Sox made me believers in their off-season plan.  Not only did they sign one of my favorite pitchers (like many others in the TBS generation, the Braves were my favorite team not playing in Boston), John Smoltz, they also inked Rocco Baldelli to a one-year deal to be… their fourth outfielder.

Sure, on paper the Yankees have done the most to add to last year’s team in order to challenge Tampa Bay (I can’t believe I just wrote that) for the AL East title next season, but here’s why I’m excited:

John “The Elder Statesman” Smoltz:
While Sabbathia is entering his prime in terms of age, he is crossing into the realm of people who can’t even use the industrial size scale at the doctor’s office.  He hasn’t proven he can win in the playoffs, and the Red Sox always hit him well.  On the other hand, John Smoltz has old balls.  He has been pitching for 21 years, is coming off surgery, and has never pitched in the American League.  But as either a fourth or fifth starter or Jonathan Papelbon’s set-up man, he has the ability to be, in a Boston accent, wicked freakin’ huge.

Rocco “The Rhode Island Rocket” Baldelli:
After coming in third in the 2003 Rookie of the Year voting, Rocco has had some medical set-backs and hasn’t been able to achieve the stardom that many expected of him.  That’s all about to change now that he is a Red Sox.  I’ve dreamed of this moment since discovering that Baldelli was high school classmates with one of my best friends and college basketball teammate, Yak.  While living together during our junior year, I was able to pry Yak away from diligently studying at his computer (and by that I mean he was housing Papa John’s pizza in the living room) long enough to acquire Baldelli’s IM name.  The screenname is still in my buddy list, though he has not been online in years.  I mean, it was cool enough when I had a Devil Ray’s screenname, but the fact that I have the (perhaps former) screenname of a BOSTON RED SOX is enough to make me giddy.

Old Man River (Reliever and Spot Starter) + Rhode Island’s Finest (Back-Up Outfielder) = Championship in ’09!

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