Bloody Sox Laundry - 8/19/09

At least the offense knows their way around Toronto. Maybe Beckett and Papelbon can ask our friends for some help - it appears they don't mind answering questions from Sox:

Fading Jays Look to Play Spoiler Down the Stretch - NESN.com

Tom Dakers of [SB Nation blog] Bluebird Banter joined us to answer a few questions about the Blue Jays, as they host the Red Sox for the final team this season.

Now for some more confusing stuff - for one, how much did the man most of us consider baseball's version of Satan make off the poor kids who sold their soles to him? For that answer, look here:

What Was Boras' Commission For First Round Signings? - The Biz of Baseball

Of course, it's not like Boras is selling livestock. If you thought he was, maybe you should study up on the type of contracts these kids are agreeing to:

Quick Primer On Major League Contracts - U.S.S. Mariner
Dave Cameron gives us the rundown of how the contracts the draft picks agreed to work. Highly recommended, especially if you're going to discuss it with other fanbases or want to know when to go FJM on a TV network.

Unfortunately, today created a lot more questions than answers. How many more names from the Red Sox are going to be revealed from the PED tests of years past? When will some of our injured players come back? Who's going to be in the farm system for the next few years? We'll see what we can resolve after the jump.

Oakland’s Jack Cust calls Mitchell Report ‘a joke,’ wonders why Red Sox players weren’t named - projo.com
And... there's why we don't want him, Randy. In addition to the whole "swing hard at everything, even if you're on defense" thing.

But seriously, I get that there was a huge lack of Red Sox names from the Mitchell Report. Chances are George Mitchell didn't exactly do the most impartial investigation, but is that really the first thing that a player jumps to when he's accused? Not defending his name, by proving he never used any sort of PEDs (including those that don't turn up on tests but could be found by asking around), but accusing the investigation of finding names only in places where it didn't hurt the investigator's interests?

Time for some more science! I'm sure you've all heard about the investigations that are delaying international signings (it was in the Laundry a few days ago) - they're all about establishing that the prospects are who they say they are. This is done through several techniques, but DNA testing is one of the more reliable tests, just like in establishing an identity of a crime suspect - until now:

DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated, Scientists Show - NYTimes.com

With fabricated blood or saliva, "you can just engineer a crime scene," said the lead author of a new study.

Aside from the other problems, this could make the international prospect market a lot less reliable. If the middle men are/were willing to lie about a prospect's age before, why wouldn't they be willing to manufacture the DNA necessary to pass through the investigation? The MLB's going to have a very difficult job ensuring that they aren't being duped, in my opinion. I hope I'm missing something obvious here that will make this seem a lot less troublesome.

Speaking of panicking - I'm sure you've all glanced at the comments on the mainstream media sites that make you want to chug arsenic. Fortunately, there are a few who have the comedic ability to make this a laughing matter; the perfect example can be found here:

Fun With Panicked Commenters - Center Field

But the Globe commenters aren’t alone- in the wake of Sunday’s loss to the Rangers, the commenters at the Herald have also joined in to help create a giant tizzyfest. Some people (erroneously) look at those comments and assume they are an accurate barometer of what all Red Sox fans are thinking. They are not. What they are, however, is an excellent source of comedy. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Of course, not everyone has the patience to write a funny piece when faced with the crazed fans. Some people get fed up quickly and turn to anger to make a point:

Enough With The Pink Hat Whining - Sox vs. Stripes

The idea that because Boston is currently just a game out of the wild card spot they should fire their most successful manager ever...how stupid are you people? And by "you people" I mean the entitled pink hats that think a team should win a title every year. Well, this sounds like it's going to end well.

Good to see that we're all on the same page of the results-based analysis vs. process-based analysis. *sigh* I'm not saying we should kick Theo off the team bus on our way back to Fenway - I'm just saying that there is legitimate reasons for fans to be concerned with how Tito's running the team. Cue the calm people telling us how Tito's one of the best managers, blah blah blah - there's still tons of room for improvement.

Onto another position that needs some improving - umpires.

Measuring the umpire’s effect on the game - THT Live
Awesome use of Gameday's Pitch F/X data by Nick/vivaelpujols to find some interesting data for umpires, pitchers, and their "gift rates."

Umps don't just affect a single game, they can change a series if they eject a player after, say, a confrontation at the mound between a hit batsman and the bean-ball pitcher.

Baseball errs with lax penalty on pitchers who take aim at hitters - The Boston Globe

The time has come to look hard at the policy of Major League Baseball with regard to pitchers who deliberately throw at the head of batters and the managers who order them to do so. As the 89th anniversary of the death of Ray Chapman at the hands of a pitcher has just passed, it is important to remember how soft Major League Baseball has been on this life-threatening practice.

Of course, you can't force a team to change their opening day lineup, so that's usually a good indicator of the best a team has to offer (before the trades and waiver wires start up).

Historical Opening Day Lineups - The Remy Report
Cool tool to see who was starting at each position on Opening Day each season.

But which players will be filling those spots in a few years? (programming note: USG's 2013 series has just started)

The Sox New Prospects - Fire Brand of the American League

With the conclusion of the 2009 MLB Rule 4 Draft signing period, it is time to look at the Sox final bounty. Listed below are the Sox' top 10 picks and their respective signing bonuses.

But that's not the only place to get young talent - as mentioned above, teams are going to be looking at the international market closer than ever. Good to see the Sox are still picking their kids at will, seemingly:

@SoxProspects

Confirmed: #RedSox sign Venezuelan 16yo LHP Richardo Betancourt and Brazilian 16yo RHP Iago Januario. Latter is club's first Brazilian.

Those kids won't help us much this season or next though - the injured guys will.

Dings and dents - Extra Bases

Tim Wakefield threw another bullpen session before the game, and Victor Martinez caught him. It's still hard to say when Wakefield will return. Manager Terry Francona said "there's a pretty good chance" Wakefield will make a rehab start Friday in Pawtucket, adding that Wakefield's nerve injury in his back will likely require surgery at some point.

Get well soon Wake. Something mentioned but kind of passed over in the article: Vic caught Wake's side session - does that mean he'll be getting less starts at catcher than Varitek? And who will either be responsible for? Based on yesterday's game, this article poses a good question:

Will Beckett Miss Varitek? - Full Count

I'm sure they'd be better with more time working together, but Vic seems to have Buchholz and Wake on his list already - could he handle Beckett along with the crazy young kid and the knuckler? Feel free to tell us they're major leaguers, Sandy.

And finally, some stuff that will make you feel better:

Former Sox pitcher Craig Breslow: 'The Smartest Man in Baseball' - projo.com

Drew's Clues - Surviving Grady

Journey with us, friends, as we venture inside the mind of J.D. Drew Friday's ninth inning comeback win in Texas.

Alright, that's all I've got. You know the drill - find story, make link, post comment. Don't be afraid to start a subthread for any topics that may come up during the day, whether in this post or not.

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