It wasn't long ago that former Red Sox manager Terry Francona claimed he wasn't going to attend Fenway Park's 100th anniversary celebration, as his feelings were (understandably) hurt over the way things ended between he and Boston. Since then, though, he's had a change of heart. It doesn't seem to be because he feels he owes it to the Red Sox, but instead, it sounds like Francona doesn't want to disappoint the Red Sox fans who continue to appreciate him for his successes and tenure with Boston.
As much as I (and I'm sure others) wish he had just joined in the first place with that same reasoning, it will be good to see Francona back in Fenway Park. It's a shame how his Red Sox career ended -- especially since someone went out of their way to make him look bad -- but that's in the past now. For better or worse, it's the Bobby Valentine show now.
Speaking of Valentine, Buster Olney went on WEEI to discuss the former ESPN personality and current Red Sox manager. In a nutshell, Olney discussed how there were players who didn't want Valentine around, and that, because of that attitude, he was on "double secret probation" from the start. Calling out Kevin Youkilis publicly didn't help the players who were already on the fence about him any.
Olney also discussed how there are players who are still upset about both September and the coverage of it, much like former manager Francona. This isn't surprising, especially since the team isn't sitting pretty in the AL East right now, giving them something else to focus on.
Kevin Youkilis is one of the five players that Jim Bowden believes is making general managers nervous:
At the plate, his bat speed is way down, as evidenced by the fact that he has struck out in almost a third of his at-bats and has just one extra-base hit. This could be from a nagging groin injury, but it's certainly not because of a lack of effort. It could be that he'll be fine in a couple of weeks after he has more time to heal and get his timing down.
Bowden doesn't go so far as to say that Youkilis is done, but he included him in a list of potentially-worrisome players for a reason.
Wondering how David Ortiz started to hit lefties? ESPN has tried to figure it out, too, and have used a whole lot of splits and charts to dissect his recent performances against his fellow southpaws.
Jacoby Ellsbury is focused on rehabbing his shoulder, in order to avoid surgery on the dislocated joint.
The 2011 draft class of pitchers could be historically good, and Red Sox farmhand Matt Barnes is part of it. By the way, Matt Barnes is absolutely killing it at Single-A.
Tired of your regular jerseys? How about jerseys with special powers? Is that enticing? Grant Brisbee has a field guideto exploring the cheaper, knock-off market, where super powerful versions of plain jerseys seem to reside.