First Pitch: Friday, September 2

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First Pitch: Friday, September 2

By ArtMartone
CSNNE.com

Welcome to First Pitch, aquick spin around the world of Major League Baseball . . . or at leastthe corner of it that most concerns the Red Sox. For a complete wrapupof Thursday's action, check out Craig Calcaterra's AndThatHappened(hardballtalk.nbcsports.com).

'IT'S NOT BASEBALL': You're on the Mark, Teixeira. (New York Times)

Let's give the Yankee first baseman the floor for just a little longer:

"If I was a fan, why would I want to come watch people sitting aroundand talking back and forth, going to the mound, 2-0 sliders in thedirt? Four-hour games cant be fun for a fan, either."

There's a Tex message that baseball really ought to listen to.

The Red Sox and the Yankees did it again last night, a coma-inducing 4-hour-and-26-minute torturefest that featured more than 300 pitches, an umpire who refused to call strikes on borderline deliveries (until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth Boston Herald), pitching changes, trips to the mound, you name it . . . everything except crisp, exciting baseball, the sort of thing that made us all fall in love with the game in the first place. To put it in perspective: The Patriots and Giants, playing a typical three-hour NFL game in Foxboro on the same night, started 20 minutes after the Sox and Yanks and finished an hour earlier.

And the final score was 4-2. It wasn't like there were tons of runs and loads of runners, the sorts of things that you'd expect (and accept) when a ballgame lasts that long. Tim Britton of the Providence Journal provides a great breakdown as to why it all went as long as it did . . . and very little had anything to do with things that make a baseball game exciting or suspenseful or dramatic.

David Schoenfield of ESPN -- while acknowledging that he's not looking forward to Sox-Yanks playoff games ending around 12:30 or 1 a.m. EDT -- thinks "the hand-wringing about baseball's pace is mostly a bunch of nonsense" and warns that if they meet in the postseason, the "baseball haters will no doubt come out in full force". Sorry, David. I love baseball as much as anybody, but Teixeira is right. This isn't baseball. No 4-2, nine-inning game should last 4 12 hours.

In the end, this can't be good for the sport. It can't be. Because no one except the most diehard of diehard fans is going to sit and watch "people sitting aroundand talking back and forth, going to the mound, 2-0 sliders in thedirt" on a consistent basis.

Believe me. I'm the most diehard of diehard fans. And I'm about at my limit.

AGREED: Old friend Craig Calcaterra is singing the same tune, even though he doesn't seem to be as fed up as me. (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)

HERE'S THE REAL PROBLEM: The strategies that drag out the game? They work. (New York Daily News) It was one of the reasons the Yankees beat the Sox last night. (si.com)

OH, YEAH, THE GAME: The Yankees prevailed, 4-2, on a night when Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard, two of the Red Sox' most consistent relievers, failed them. (Both stories csnne.com) The Yanks, who got a rare good outing from A.J. Burnett, were happy about the whole thing (New York Daily News), especially since it pulled them within a half-game of the Red Sox in the A.L. East.

WITH THE GOOD COMES THE BAD: The Yankees may be without Teixeira for a bit, after he took an Aceves pitch off the knee. (New York Daily News)

IS THERE ANY OTHER GAME HE PLAYS? J.D. Drew says his injured finger is forcing him to play "the waiting game". (csnne.com)

WAIT'S ALMOST OVER: Cbssports.com's Evan Brunell looks at some players for whom September could be their career swan songs, and Drew (not to mention Tim Wakefield) makes the list.

PUT ME IN, COACH: Yes, that was Phil Mickelson taking batting practice at Fenway. (csnne.com) And as you can see by the video, he's not too bad.

I GIVE UP: Big Bad Baseball's Don Malcolm can't decide between Jose Bautista, Adrian Gonzalez and Curtis Granderson for American League MVP, so he suggests splitting the award three ways and being done with it.

PHEW! The Red Sox will miss C.J. Wilson this weekend. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE WEIRD TURN PRO: Just when you thought the saga of the Dodgers couldn't get any stranger, the Chinese government comes along and reportedly offers cash-strapped Frank McCourt 1.2 billion for the team. (Los Angeles Times)

MY BAD: And here I thought the ownership squabble in Los Angeles had already been settled. (hbo.com)

FAMILY AFFAIRS: Chris Johnson, son of Red Sox first base coach Ron Johnson, is back with the Astros (Houston Chronicle) . . . Andrew Romine, son of ex-Red Sox outfielder Kevin Romine, has been called up by the Angels. (mlb.com)

OLD FRIENDS: Hanley Ramirez is considering shoulder surgery (Miami Herald) . . . Dustin Richardson (remember him?) has been outrighted to Triple-A by the Braves. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

AND FINALLY . . . Funny, but "Stop bullying me!" isn't one of the top five things I'd expect to come out of Keith Hernandez' mouth. (Yahoo!)

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.