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August 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm ET
Sox Booth Intern Adam – Blog Post #4!
By Jon "Bernie" Albanese

Here it is!

Money, Money, Money by Adam Lowenstein

The last 15 of 16 World Series winners have had payrolls in the top half of all the teams in Major League Baseball.  Most casual sports fans could have told you that.  However, not too many people can state that in 14 of the previous 16 seasons, at least one bottom half payroll team has made the playoffs.  In the business of baseball, the goal of most teams is to advance to the postseason.  The MLB has the lowest percentage of teams making the playoffs (27%) out of the four main professional sports; the NFL has 38% of its teams while the NBA and NHL have more than half of their teams making the postseason dance.

Reaching the postseason is a significant measure of a successful ballclub in the major leagues.  Well-known Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane, who built his team with young players and low salaries, has said, “My job is to get us to the playoffs.”  He invented the ‘Moneyball’ approach that many teams have since adopted.  After Beane took over as the A’s GM in 1998, he brought a last place team in 1997 and 1998 to the playoffs in each of the four seasons from 2000 to 2003.  His new pervasive outlook on baseball has benefited many small market teams that cannot spend as much money as the wealthier teams.

There have been 7 seasons out of the last 16 in which at least 3 bottom half payroll teams have made the MLB playoffs.  This was best represented by the Florida Marlins shocking victory over the New York Yankees in the 2003 World Series.  The Yankees with the highest payroll lost to the Marlins, the team with the 25th highest payroll.  That should not happen according to conventional wisdom.  The Yankees, with 8 players with higher salaries than Florida’s highest salaried player, should have at least forced a Game 7 versus the lowly Marlins.  Still, the Marlins, behind the outstanding pitching of Josh Beckett, won the World Series in 6 games at Yankee Stadium with a payroll $100 million less than that of the Yankees.

In the 19 years that the Florida Marlins have existed, they have been good enough and ‘lucky’ enough to win 2 World Series Championships.  Although they had the 7th highest payroll in 1997 for their first win, from 1998 to 2011 the Marlins have kept their team payroll near the lowest in the league.  Florida has been successful because most of their young players and low-risk decisions have panned out.  For example, in 2003, the Marlins starting rotation of Josh Beckett, Carl Pavano, Mark Redman, Dontrelle Willis and Brad Penny garnered less than $7.5 million combined.  Most aces make much more than that in a year.  Those investments provided very high rewards for the Marlins.

Small market teams are hoping they can hit the jackpot like Florida did.  Most of them though have not fared as well.  Franchises like the Expos/Nationals, Royals and Orioles have had a lot of trouble succeeding.  Since those teams do not have the same resources that high payroll teams do, they have to depend on developing players through their farm systems.  Conversely, teams such as the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers and Mets can afford to take on many large contracts at a time.  Many say that Red Sox General Manger Theo Epstein has done a very good job, but having a large payroll allows him to make mistakes.  Since 2003 when Epstein began as the GM, the Red Sox have not had a payroll lower than 6th in the MLB.  Having a substantial budget gives him the opportunity to dish out risky contracts.  Since trading Nomar Garciaparra midway through 2004, the Red Sox have had a revolving door at shortstop, which has included the horrifying contracts of Edgar Renteria and Julio Lugo.  In 2005, Epstein gave $8 million to Renteria, who made an MLB-high 30 errors and did not even reach hitting 10 home runs at the plate.  Then a few years later, Epstein gifted a lot of money on Lugo, who had a .319 on-base percentage and .346 slugging percentage with Boston.  The Red Sox organization paid him over $35 million, which included $8.85 million of his $9.25 million contract with the Orioles in 2010.  Even with these questionable signings, the Red Sox have continued to make the playoffs 6 out of the last 7 seasons and have won 2 World Series in that time.

In 2011, the Boston Red Sox, with the 3rd highest payroll, are in a prime position for yet another postseason appearance.  In addition, as of today*, the playoffs would also include the Yankees (highest payroll in MLB), Phillies (2nd highest), Tigers (10th), Rangers (13th), Braves (15th), Brewers (17th) and Diamondbacks (25th).  This slate of teams includes 2 bottom half payroll teams, which is approximately the average number over the last 16 years.  It appears that a fourth of the playoff teams tend to be teams with lower payrolls.  Overall, money can lead to positive results in the MLB, but low-payroll teams can be successful in the business as well if they make the right decisions.

*Today: standings before games on Monday, August 15.

**The MLB expanded from 28 to 30 teams in 1998. For data from 1995 to 1997, top half payrolls are 1-14; for 1998 to present, they are 1-15.

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August 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm ET
By Jon "Bernie" Albanese

If you could bring back any former Red Sox player to play for today's team, who would you choose and why?

If you could bring back any former Red Sox player to play for today's team, who would you choose and why?

We did this text question during Saturday night’s Red Sox/Mariners broadcast.  Response was overwhelming, but one player stood out as the clear favorite (here’s a small sample):

Ted williams is always tempting, but this year i say bring back vintage pedro martinez.
– Tough choice but could imagine pedro of 2000 in this rotation? that would be a formitable force on both sides of the ball. -Dave, Maine
-Pedro Martinez = World Series
-Playoff Rotation: Pedro Martinez, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester.
-I would bring back Pedro Martinez. Then the Red Sox would have 1,2,3, pitchers to match anyone. Pedro,Beckett, and Jonny Lester. Go SOX!
-1999-2000 Pedro Martinez…. Best pitcher in the game in the middle of the Steroid Boom
-Pedro Martinez they need another reliable starter & his playoff experience
-Young Pedro. The best pitcher I’ve ever seen in person.We could use a dominate arm. Clay Gainsville, Fl
-I would bring back Pedro Martinez in prime… Back then if the sox scored more than 2 runs 95% of the time it meant a sox win… With this offense, we wo uld be planning our championship parade right now in early august
-Hi Joe & Dave. I’d bring back Pedro. When he was in his prime, he was DOMINANT! Leslie from NH

-Pedro Hello? Is it even a question?

Joe Castiglione sent a text message to Pedro himself  to let him know the amount of people who want to see him back in a Red Sox uniform, and Pedro responded to him earlier today.  Pedro wrote, and i quote:

"Best wishes Joe, to all of Boston:  the most loyal fans on Earth"

"Best wishes Joe, to all of Boston: the most loyal fans on Earth"

Pedro wasn’t the only player that you wanted to see back in a Red Sox uniform.  Here are a bunch of other texts we received:

352      I Would bring back Fred Lynn enjoyed watching him catch hard to catch hit ball. Syco lynn. T from Monson Ma 

401      John pesky! Red sox 4 life. Why not bring him back? 

207      MIKE LOWELL! 

413      I would bring back yaz he played the game the way it was intended!! Rudy Wilk Palmer Massachusetts
801      Hey guys.. besides the obvious of teddy ballgame or Pedro I would bring back kevin millar. Loved his personality. Rob in carver 

207      Jim Rice 76 to 79 was there a better hitter 

603      Feed Lynn circa 1975 

617     I think it should be curt schilling because this man is a real gamer

617 I think it should be curt schilling because this man is a real gamer

646      Dick ratitz (the monster) to save games 

781      Curt Schilling: bulldog tough & great in the big game 

503      What about big Mo Vaughn? Our last MVP! 

508      Nomar in his prime would be something 

860      Jim Lonborg, for his fearless style. 

413      I loved bill lee. He had a great Vegetarian lasagna recipe! He also hated the red shoes. maureen From Westfield 
617      id bring back jerry remy! 

603      Dave Roberts. Made all the difference.

603 Dave Roberts. Made all the difference.

603      Sean casey. The mayor 

413      Trot nixon. love that dirt dog 

617      Dewey … Because they need a RF who can hit for power, get on base, play every day and lead by example … 

860      Tony Conigliaro because he never got to play in the 67 world series & his bat wouldn’t hurt 

413      Kevin mallar! 

207      Rico Petrocelli, it just rolls 

413      Pedro, DUH! From Thomas 

    Trot and Millar… my favs! 

401      Dick Drago, need I say more!!!!! 

512      Why not Cy Young? I heard he could pitch pretty well. 

774      Ted williams the guy hit 400 what more could u want 

617      curt schilling post season record speaks for itself yankees suck 

860      2011 team + Pedro in his prime = championship. 

781      Lou merloni….Red sox legend 

207      Brian daubach no doubt 

603      Rem Dog why not 

860      I would bring back Nomar. The sox could really use a reliable shortstop right now. 

401      Curt schilling . he played with is messed up and I showed me I had a lot of willpower 

617      1995 Mo Vaughn 

413      Wade boogs 

312      Ted Williams because he made everybody better 

413      Bring back curt schilling 

413      Bob montgomery. Mr clutch 

207      Louis taint awesome starter and closer 

508      Oil can Boyd

508 Oil can Boyd

413      Dewey Dewey Dewey 

207      Dave stapelton! 

207      Curt schillings great pitcher CHAD IN MAINE 

401      tony c before he got injured just to see what could have been 

774      Wade Boggs lol 

781      Ted williams always 

617      Nomar … Because they’ve been looking for a SS since Nomar! 

774      Curt shilling. Best In the post season. Greg cape cod 

339      Tom brunansky 

603      Ah, Babe Ruth…winning duh! 

617      Oil Can. We need humor these days. 

785      Curt Schilling. Because right now, this pitching staff needs HEART! 

304      Manny or Jim Rice, ’cause they need a RH bat. Go Sox from Pat in WV. 

401      El Tiante!!! 

315      Bring back Babe Ruth as a pitcher. If he hadn’t become an everyday player, the Cy Young award might have been the Babe Ruth. Rich in Syracuse, NY 

413      The rocket before all the bull happen chris from myrtle beach south carolina 

401      Mike greenwell was pretty awesome 

508      Kevin millar because he was the coolest red Sox ever! 

207      yaz would get 180 rbis in this lineup 

413      Luis Tiant. 1975World series performance was incredible 

860      I would bring back Nomar. The sox could really use a reliable shortstop right now. 

617      Jim Lonborg alway need pitchers who win in the clutch 

609      The Spaceman, Bill Lee. He could pitch AND he was fun! 

603      Pre wrist injury Nomar 

401      Solidify right field with Dwight Evans… Crawford, Ellsbury & Evans would be a very feared outfield! 

860      Shilling super clutch 

203      Nomar! Nomar! Nomar! 

860     Johnny Pesky, he was great good lord beckett, whatta u doing??!!?

774      Jim rice. Hall of famer and brings a smile to the clubhouse 

207      Tonight i would take 07 beckett! 

207      The splendid splinter. .406 nuf said.  

339      Luis tiant .doesnt get enough credit. clutch and classy man. 

413      Easy Ed Romero 

603      Carlton Fisk circa 1975 nuff said 

603      Bring back Babe Ruth! Joe, Pelham, NH 

413      Carlton fisk. Just because. Solid player. 

415      Bill Lee-just for the interviews alone.

860      Dave Roberts – he saved a Nation….

 413     Best redsox player of all time Mo Vaughn no doubt 

 802     Bernie Carbon; now that he’s clean, pinch hit HR city 😉 

And my PERSONAL favorite……..


860      Sam malone from CHEERS

860 Sam malone from CHEERS

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August 12, 2011 at 8:09 pm ET
Sunoco Text Question – Real or Fake?
By Jon "Bernie" Albanese


Our Sunoco Text Question of the night is this:  Follow the link below and watch the video.  Is it real, or edited?  If you think it’s legit, should the Red Sox have the batter at Fenway Park for a demo?  Text us your answer to 8-50-8-5-0 during tonight’s broadcast to let us know what you think!

Real, or Fake Batting Practice?

Joe and Dave will mention some of your answers during the game, and I’ll post your responses here later on!

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August 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm ET
Joe St. Croix
By Jon "Bernie" Albanese

On Jon Rish’s first off-day in three weeks, he stumbled on this gem at the Natick Mall.  He can’t get away from Joe (kind of like me  when I go to Shaws)!!!!

Joe St. Croix
Joe St. Croix
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August 9, 2011 at 1:06 am ET
Sox Booth: Intern Nick’s Blog Entry #1
By Jon "Bernie" Albanese

Nicholas Bove is one of our interns here at WEEI.  As a student at BU,  he did a previous intern stint with, and wanted to try out the programming side of radio.  He’s been a top-notch intern for the Sox Radio crew this summer….and here’s his first Sox Booth blog post (sorry it took so long for me to post this, Nick!!):

If you’re taking the time to read this, then there’s no need to preach to the choir. Any one of us out there would do anything to have a paying job covering baseball on a nightly basis, especially in the largest and most devoted baseball market featuring the best team in the league. Unfortunately I don’t quite have that job – I’m a step just below it. I get to do all the fun stuff for free. I’m Nick Bove and I’m one of WEEI’s Red Sox production interns.

To a very, very small portion of you, I may be familiar. I wrote for the WEEI website last summer, mostly transcribing our big three radio shows (sorry Mikey) and putting together countdowns with a few features thrown in here and there. It was exciting, and heartbreaking, to help cover last year’s Celtics and Bruins as they pushed through the postseason. In the end however the Red Sox always made their way to the forefront and onto the front page. That’s what brings me here this summer.

I’m currently entering my final year at Boston University with a Broadcast Journalism degree, so this job is more my cup of tea. Being in Boston is a far cry from where I grew up in Schenectady, NY. It’s the Upstate heart of Yankee territory, but don’t worry, I can’t respect the organization and I can’t stand the fans (don’t get me started on John Sterling and Michael Kay). On the other hand, spending four years in Fenway’s shadow has really grown on me and I’m enjoying the atmosphere here in Red Sox Nation.

Of course this year, the Sox have been making themselves especially easy to love. As I write this, they’ve come off two consecutive walk-offs by Jacoby Ellsbury, bringing their total to seven walk-offs this season.

Even though the offices around here are pretty barren for night games, there’s still a slightly noticeable buzz when a walk-off happens. The few workers there are scramble to capture Dave O’Brien’s masterful commentary for the archives and rush to get a postgame show ready that was completely different five minutes earlier. And yet through it all there’s still a very calm demeanor of the professionals you don’t see in the studios and the ones you hear on the air. Everybody’s done this before and they know what they’re doing. It’s that kind of story I want to tell for the fans. Consider it scene-setting for those who can’t get through security downstairs.

I’m looking forward to giving you, the faithful, all the news you need and insight on what you might not know (or at least as much as Bernie will let me). Working behind the scenes has been a real eye-opening experience and I hope I can convey that excitement to everyone over the next few weeks here on the blog.

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August 9, 2011 at 12:56 am ET
Sox Booth: Intern Adam’s Blog Entry #3
By Jon "Bernie" Albanese

Adam whipped up this blog post over the weekend, and finished it up tonight…he touches on the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry from a different vantage-point:

A Decade-Long Tale of Two Teams by Adam Lowenstein
After the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees concluded their most recent series on early Monday morning, the two teams hit an important date in the season: August 8, 2011. Since the 2001 season, the team that is in first place in the American League Eastern Division beginning the day on August 8 has finished first 8 out of 10 times.
This season, the Red Sox (70 wins) and Yankees (69) have the most combined win total (139) on this date in the past 10 years.  The Yankees have previously had 69 wins in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2010 on August 8.  However, the Red Sox have not had 70 wins at this date in the previous 10 seasons. 
AL East Division Standings – before games on August 8
2001: NYY 68-46 BOS 64-49
2002: NYY 71-42 BOS 66-47
2003: NYY 70-43 BOS 67-48
2004: NYY 71-39 BOS 60-49
2005*: BOS 64-47 NYY 60-50
2006: NYY 66-43 BOS 65-46
2007: BOS 69-45 NYY 63-51
2008: TB 69-46 BOS 66-50 NYY 63-53
2009: NYY 68-42 BOS 62-47
2010: NYY 69-41 TB 67-44 BOS 63-49
2011: BOS 70-43 NYY 69-44
(Final AL East Champion in bold)
As you can plainly see, it has mostly been a two-team race over the past 10 years in the AL East; and this season is no different.  On August 8, both teams have had 60 or more wins in all 10 years.  The memorable 2004 season had the Red Sox down to the Yankees by 10.5 games on 8/8/2004, the greatest deficit on 8/8 in the past 10 years.
With 49 games remaining in the 2011 regular season, it should be a tight race to the finish line.  The current separation between the Red Sox and Yankees, 1 game, is the closest the two rivals have been in the last 10 years on this date.  While history says that the Red Sox will take the division, we should all hang on for a fantastic finish.
* In 2005, the Yankees and Red Sox finished the season with the same record (95-67).  The Yankees won the tiebreaker to take the division.


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August 1, 2011 at 11:30 pm ET
Sox Booth: Intern Adam’s Blog Entry #2
By Jon "Bernie" Albanese

While cutting Yankees/White Sox highlights from tonight’s game,  Intern Adam wrote up his new Sox Booth Intern blog…’s Adam with his opinion on the Home Run Derby held every year by Major League Baseball:

Derby Dilemma by Adam Lowenstein

Perennially, the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby is the most exciting event of the summer. While all the other professional sports are not in season, the MLB takes center stage and presents their best players during the 2011 All-Star Weekend. As the All-Star Game itself becomes less and less enjoyable as more players decline their invitations, the Home Run Derby steps up to the plate as the most electrifying MLB spectacle of the mid-summer celebration.

Unfortunately, players seem to hurt their swing by participating in the derby.  Every year, some of the participants experience an extreme offensive drop off after the derby.  Even a few players endure injuries soon after.  For example, after playing 13 games since the All-Star break, Rickie Weeks severely sprained his left ankle and is out for approximately a month. Last year, Hanley Ramirez played 86 of the Marlins’ 88 games in the first half of the season, but missed 18 games after the All-Star break due to an elbow injury.  And in 2009, Nelson Cruz missed 27 games in the second half of the season after only missing 7 in the first half. Also, in 2009, Carlos Pena played 88 of 89 first half games and then missed 26 of 73 after the derby.  Injuries can significantly hurt a team because these power hitters are very hard to find and extremely difficult to replace.

In previous years, the Home Run Derby has statistically hurt players much more than it has helped.  In 2008 itself, four of the eight derby participants had significant depletions in their hitting after the derby.  Lance Berkman went from having a first half of .347 AVG/.443 OBP/.653 SLG to a second half of .259/.384/.436.  2008 Derby winner Justin Morneau and Dan Uggla also had their struggles.  After the All-Star break, they both fell off by more than .050 in batting average, .040 in on-base percentage, .200 in slugging percentage and .13 in home runs per game from their first half statistics.  Chase Utley did not fair too well either with regard to home runs.  He had 25 HR in 94 games (.27 per game) before the derby; however, afterward, he had only 8 in 65 games (.12 HR per game).  What could be the worst incidents of ‘Derby Depression’ are Bobby Abreu in 2005 and Brandon Inge in 2009.  Abreu dropped from 18 HR and .307/.428/.526 in the first half to 6 HR and .260/.376/.411 in the second half after winning the derby with the best single derby HR total (41).  Inge was even worse: a first half of 21 HR and .268/.360/.515 to a second half of 6 HR and .186/.260/.281.

These horrendous collapses from Home Run Derby hitters are even apparent in the limited number of games since the All-Star break this year.  Before Rickie Weeks went down with his injury in the second half, he was hitting .217/.308/.413 after a first half of .278/.351/.486.  In addition, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Matt Holliday and Jose Bautista are all experiencing falls in their HR numbers after the derby.  Gonzalez has 1 HR in 15 games since the break (0.07 HR per game) after having 19 in 87 games (0.22 per game).  Ortiz has 1 HR in 13 games and neither Matt Holliday nor Jose Bautista has any HR since the derby.  Obviously, these players do have two months to turn around their power numbers in the second half of the season, but as of right now, the Home Run Derby is affecting all of them.

Being an exhibition event, the Home Run Derby should be an enjoyable experience for both fans and players.  Unfortunately, players are somewhat reluctant to participate because of the consequences to their hitting.  The majority of hitters reformulate their swing during the derby in order to hit as many home runs as they can.  Therefore, they must readjust to normal pitching after the 3-day All-Star break, which includes the derby.  This awkward situation presents the ‘Derby Dilemma,’ in which a good or even great home run hitter must decide whether to risk his second half power numbers by being a part of the Home Run Derby.

*All statistics are official as of games before Monday, August 1

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July 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm ET
Sea Dog Chris Balcom-Miller
By Jon Rish

RHP Chris Balcom-Miller is a 22 year old from California. The Red Sox got him from Colorado when they traded Manny Delcarmen to the Rockies last August. Balcom-Miller began the year with high A Salem where he pitched to a 2.34 ERA before being promoted to AA Portland. So far with the Sea Dogs he’s 2-4 with a 4.83 ERA through 10 starts. Combined he has 78 strikeouts in 85 innings pitched. The Rockies selected him in the 6th round of the 2009 draft out of West Valley College in California. Thanks to Portland broadcaster Mike Antonellis we have this conversation.

Mike Antonellis w/ Chris Balcom-Miller

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July 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm ET
Red Sox Radio Intern Blog Post #1
By Jon "Bernie" Albanese

Once in awhile here in the studio, our broadcast interns will write a blog post for us…here’s Adam’s first edition:

I am Adam Lowenstein, Red Sox Radio Network Senior Research Assistant and avid Boston sports fan from Wellesley, MA.  I am about to begin my sophomore year at Washington University in St. Louis and am currently at Harvard University while home for the summer.
On Sunday, July 17, the Red Sox and Rays displayed the lack of hitting that Major League Baseball has been suffering from for the last few years.  For some players, the reason could be the lack of performing enhancing substances; others say that the pitchers as a whole have caught up to the batters.  No matter the cause, the extra-inning affair served as a microcosm for the monumental fall of MLB’s high octane offenses.
Most offenses now have to resort to the National League-type of ‘small ball’ strategy.  This is becoming mandatory because arguably the most exciting part of the game, the home run (0.89 per game in 2011), is unfortunately at its lowest since 1993. Even with 96 outs to work with, neither the Red Sox nor the Rays could muster a home run during Sunday’s game.  Through all 16 innings, the two ball clubs put up just a total of 8 hits.  Thus far in 2011, the MLB has an overall batting average of .252 with 8.58 hits per game, both of which are the lowest averages for the league since 1972.
On the other hand, creating runs with speed and moving runners over is becoming more prevalent throughout the MLB.  Stolen bases per game (0.68) are the most since 1999.  Stolen bases have been on the rise for almost a decade now.  In 2003, the MLB had only 0.53 per game.  Therefore, more speedsters will find their ways into MLB lineups since young power hitters are becoming scarcer by the day.
If there’s one lesson to take away from Sunday night’s game between Boston and Tampa Bay, this could be it: the two teams combined for 2 stolen bases. That is 2 more than the number of home runs and 1 more than the number of total runs scored.
*All statistics are official as of games before Friday, July 22

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July 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm ET
Dale in France
By Jon "Bernie" Albanese

Dale Arnold recently took his AllStar vacation week and went to Paris, France…..little did he know that his hotel location would have a close connection to our Italian broadcaster, Joe Castiglione:



Also… they serve finger sangwiches at this bar?



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