Spring Training is officially here and, as a person who could be wearing a Red Sox Spring Training jersey while typing this, my feelings on the matter should be clear. Unless I'm wearing a giant lobster costume, in which case my feelings would be muddled. But you'll never know!
The balmy breezes are blowing softly off the bay and wafting over sleepy Fort Myers, all while the Florida sun simultaneously bathes everyone in its warm glow, serving strengthening the pulse and enlivening the soul. But over at the Providence Journal, Tim Britton is ruthlessly harshing our buzz by *GASP* bringing up Andrew Miller. That's the same Andrew Miller who, as Mr. Britton freely admits, wasn't a good enough pitcher to help a team desperately in need of pitchers. Not being pitcher enough for the September version of the 2011 Red Sox is much like being a glass of water, offering yourself to a man stranded in the desert, and getting refused. Mr. Britton's piece is well done (obviously, else I wouldn't be linking to it here), but if new pitching coach Bob McClure can turn Andrew Miller into a pitcher with some semblance of a notion of a feeling as to the whereabouts of the strike zone, he deserves a Nobel Prize in everything they give Nobel Prizes for.
In other news, Larry Bird is not walking through that door. Partially because he's Larry Bird and he's not anywhere near that door, and partially because that isn't a door, it's a wall. But that shouldn't dissuade us from co-opting the phrase and reusing it on one Roy Horatio Goatcabin Oswalt. No, as Rob Neyer details, Oswalt is not walking through that or any door (or wall) anytime soon. Instead, Oswalt has decided that he'd like to pitch for the Red Sox sooooo much that the only thing he prefers is to avoid pitching entirely. So Oswalt will sit out the beginning of the season and wait for the first popping sound on either the Cardinals or Rangers starting staffs to signal his return. Good luck with that, Roy.
Sporcle is a quiz site and they have assembled the ultimate test of the current Red Sox fan. Can you, dear reader, name every single one of the 65 Red Sox players who will attend Spring Training? I sure as heck can't. Let's see, I got Ted Williams, and then Wade Boggs. After that I'm pretty sure Babe Ruth... or was that Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Aw, shoot.
This being a Red Sox site, we won't be covering the Ryan Braun saga too closely, but it's absolutely worth pointing you towards this article by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. It's the definitive work on the topic as of this moment.
The fine folks at Steal of Home write about baseball. I know because their title sub-heading told me. But they do more than just write about it. They also compile things. Like for example all the prospect rankings from about fifteen different sites. They've done just that, in fact, and have assembled the list of lists and the rankings of rankings. Plainly, they've combed all the prospect rankings there are in internetland and compiled them into one overall list that gives a 'wisdom of the crowds' ranking for the Red Sox farm system. It's quite useful and interesting.
Over at Fire Brand of the AL, Chip Buck dives right in to Nick Carfardo's mailbag at The Globe. Mmm, yummy mailbag.
At the AV Club (The Onion's serious pop culture site), Noel Murray has an article titled, "What entertainment reporters could learn from baseball geeks." This is ostensibly about baseball but mostly it's just good read'n.
The indomitable Alex Speier has a piece up at WEEI.com that details the immense speed with which new closer-candidate Andrew Bailey works. He's super fast.
Finally, if Jonathan Papelbon's Xtreme Cereal sounds good to you, you likely have a problem that is incurable by modern medicine. I therefore recommend a good bleeding.