Breaking down Larry's letter

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Breaking down Larry's letter

Everyones talking about Larry Lucchinos letter to Red Sox fans, so I figured Id have some fun with it. And by have some fun, I mean be mean and sarcastic.

Enjoy!

Dear Season Ticket Holder:

Ooh, very intimate.
As we cross the midpoint of our 2012 season, we thank you for your loyal support thus far. We met many of you at our new spring home, JetBlue Park at Fenway South, and renewed more acquaintances as we opened the 100th Anniversary season at Fenway Park.

Wow. Major upset! It took him 42 words to mention the 100th Anniversary. I had 12 in the office pool.
We sensed that the nostalgia touched you, and we hope to continue to celebrate this special anniversary from time to time throughout the year.

Hmm, this a little creepy. Ok, Season Ticket Holder, now show us on the doll where nostalgia touched you.
Our play on the field has at times tested the mettle of the faithful. It could be maddening one day, enthralling the next day. Along the way, we have seen our bullpen gel, young players emerge, and veterans lead.

He had me until veterans lead. Was that just a throwaway line, Larry? Did you need that third article and think: Aw, what the hell? Lets just say veterans lead! If so, its too bad because it takes away from the message and the fact that the first two things are actually true.
We have watched the team coalesce into a close group. Personalities are enhancing the chemistry, such as the cheerful Cody Ross, the friendly Mike Aviles, and the inspiring story of Daniel Nava.

Cheerful and friendly? Larry, you can do better than that. Especially for two guys as gritty as Aviles and Ross. Friendly and cheerful are good words for the girl who walks around Fenway balancing the case of Poland Springs on her head, or John Henry after a couple glasses of Chardonnay. Not two tough-as-nails baseball players.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia has shown power, in the clutch, worthy of an All-Star. And as the talented Will Middlebrooks forced his way into the lineup, we bade farewell, with gratitude, to Kevin Youkilis, who helped us win two World Championships.

Not sure why it bothers me so much when people refer to Kevin Youkilis as having helped Boston win two World Championships. I mean, the guy did enough for this city on his own merit to get credit for crap he didnt really do. (i.e. contribute in the 2004 playoffs.) But whatever. Not a big deal. Thats in the past. We already bade farewell.
The one constant on the field has been our beloved Big Papi, David Ortiz. How thrilled we were that our gregarious leader reached the 400-home run plateau in a career that we hope will forever be with the Red Sox.

Vintage Lucchino. Over-the-top to the point of insincerity. "What? What do you mean Big Papi doesnt like the way we treat him? Didnt he see my letter to the Season Ticket Holders?!"

The one constant off the field is that we have had a veritable All-Star Team on the disabled list. As we begin the second half, we look forward to the return of the varsity, including Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, and the ever-dirty Dustin Pedroia.

Hmm . . . whats a good adjective I can use for Dustin Pedroia . . . lets see, Ive already used friendly, cheerful and inspiring . . . Ive used clutch, talent and gregarious. Oooh, how about ever-dirty? Oh yes. Thats it. Youve done it again, Luchhino! Muahahahah!"
While this infusion of such talent in late July may make other General Managers green with envy . . .

Oh yes, Im sure there are tons of GMs out there thinking: Aw man . . . Cheringtons getting back a 31-year-old, out-of-shape outfielder who needs Tommy John surgery and a closer who will be hurt again in two weeks . . . no fair!
. . . you can be sure that Ben Cherington and his Baseball Operations Staff will approach the July 31 trading deadline with their tireless work ethic.

Which I will undermine with weasel-like weaseliness . . ."
If someone can further help this club, and if the deal makes sense, we will be aggressive. We want to play October Baseball this year.

Good news, guys. The Red Sox are only going to make a trade if it helps the team and makes sense. And some good news for you, Larry. The last game of the regular season is on October 3. October Baseball, baby!

But on a serious note, I think the key phrase from this section is makes sense. Because I have a feeling that what might make sense to people who actually care about this team, might not be what makes sense to Larry Lucchino.
Meanwhile, as you come to Fenway Park throughout this season, we hope you will come earlythe secret to fully enjoying a sports venue.

Enough about the playoffs . . . lets get to the good stuff!
Now A Living Museum, Fenway Park probably leads the league in bronze plaques and commemorative displays along the concourses.

Sigh.
Enjoy them at your leisure early . . .

Don't you just know that Larry pronounces "leisure" in way that rhymes with "pleasure."
. . . well before the escalation of excitement as game time approaches. And as always, if you have reactions, suggestions, or ideas that will make the ballpark experience even better, we invite you to send them to fanfeedback@redsox.com.

Dear fanfeedback@redsox.com, I have one reaction, one suggestion and one idea.Reaction: Horror, at the sight of what ownership has done to this team.Suggestion: Fenway Sports Group should sell the Red Sox.Idea: Fenway Frank "Pigs in a Blanket"

By the way, if were in your neighborhood for a visit during Acts of Kindness Month this month, please come over and say hello. We enjoy listening to you, and we enjoy talking baseball with you. Were your biggest fans. So, on behalf of John Henry . . .

Who's currently reading over my shoulder.

. . . Tom Werner

Who's currently napping.

. . . our partners

LeBron James and Liverpool F.C.
. . . and our entire organization

Except for Wally. He says to go screw.
We thank you again, and we look forward to seeing you at Fenway Park.

But even if you don't come, we're still going to tell everyone that you did.
Keep the Faith,

And buy a brick!
Larry Lucchino

and Rich Levine

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.

All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.

I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.

What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.

All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?

"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''

Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.

Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
 
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.

“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.

Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.

In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast appears daily on CSN.

Know Thine Enemy: A complete breakdown of the Ravens

Know Thine Enemy: A complete breakdown of the Ravens

After a 3-0 start, the Ravens dropped a 28-27 decision to the Raiders in Baltimore. That started a four-game skid for Baltimore which included back-to-back losses at the Jets and Giants. But they got back on track against the Steelers and have won four out of five with their only being to the Cowboys. It’s hard to get a clean read on who they really are. 

They had narrow, early-season wins over crap teams like Cleveland and Jacksonville. They had a narrow loss to an outstanding Raiders team and were close with the Cowboys but got run over late with Dallas scoring on its last five possessions. They are coming off their most impressive team win, a 38-6 triumph over the Dolphins. 

This game is a big one in the AFC race not just because it’s a divisional leader but also because it will be a common game between the Patriots and Raiders. The Raiders already beat Baltimore. 

The Pats need to keep pace in a tiebreaker they currently trail. Weird schedule quirk? The Ravens have had only one road game that required a long commute since September. That was the game at Dallas. They just played six of their last nine and four of their last five at home.

LAST 5

Ravens 21, Steelers 14
Ravens 28, Browns 7
At Cowboys 27, Ravens 17
Ravens 19, Bengals 14
Ravens 38, Dolphins 6

OFFENSIVE STATS TO CHEW ON

More than half of Joe Flacco’s 323 completions have gone to three players: tight end Dennis Pitta (61 catches), wide receiver Mike Wallace (57) and wide receiver Steve Smith (54). Those players are 31, 30 and 37 respectively so it’s a veteran group.
Flacco is 114 of 159 (72 percent) with nine touchdowns and three picks in Baltimore’s last four games. He has 15 TDs and 11 picks this season.

The Ravens don’t run it much: 502 pass attempts, 287 rushing attempts. Terrence West and Kenneth Dixon are the lead backs. West has carried more than 15 times in a game on three occasions this season.

Rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley has been playing very well as has the rest of the Ravens offensive line in recent weeks. Still, Baltimore is just at 34.1 on third down conversions.

DEFENSIVE STATS TO CHEW ON

The Ravens have allowed 207 points this season, tied with the Patriots for lowest in the AFC and just behind Seattle (194) overall.
Baltimore’s allowing just 33.3 percent conversions on third down and only 3.4 yards per carry.

Opposing quarterbacks are completing 64.1 percent of their passes and have 21 touchdown passes and 14 picks against the Ravens defense. Ten of the Ravens 14 picks came against the Browns, Jaguars and in last week’s rout of Miami.
 
WHERE ARE THEIR HEADS AT

"I just think they've got a great team. They've got Tom Brady. They've been the best team in the conference, and it's going to be our toughest challenge of the year." – John Harbaugh, Ravens coach, on Monday night’s matchup