Love Letters: Fenway Park, Opening Day (and Alaska) edition

It's been too long since I've dipped into the mailbag. How long has it been? The price of stamps on the Internet has gone up! ...

FROM: Frank D.
Re. In 100 years of memories, Ted Williams still steals the show

Awesome article on Ted Williams. In my opinion, it was your best ever and certainly the best article ever written on this site.

Wow, thanks. Now excuse me while I go clip and send your note to Gregg Doyel.

FROM: Steve


This story is what literature is all about.

I assume you're talking about my reference to John Updike's classic "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu." But I'm going to pretend you're talking about me.

FROM: Larry L.

Wonderful article on Fenway and Ted Williams, Scott. The Splendid Splinter may never be approached again in baseball. Thank you.

No, thank you Larry -- and thank you to everyone who took the time to send me some very nice notes.

FROM: John S.
Re.: Weekend Buzz: Ozzie is a stooge, but he's the Marlins stooge

Ozzie said nothing incorrect or stupid about Fidel Castro. Why do all journalists, including you, follow the reactionary line on these topics? Miami Cubans hate Castro. Not all Cubans do. Many in Cuba love him. Many people around the world respect him. Ozzie has to APOLOGIZE?? Really. Free speech is going away fast.

I'm a fan of Ozzie. I'm a fan of free speech. But you've got to know your market. And Ozzie screwed up. He's got to be more sensitive to the many, many citizens in his backyard who were abused by Castro, or whose family members remain in Cuba under Castro's thumb. 

FROM: Trevor
Re.: Tigers will win World Series, Verlander bags Cy

I just have a minor point about your MLB season predictions. Alaska has easily the most coastline of any state; Alaskans tend to take it poorly when people forget that we're part of the US.

Doggone it, you're right. What I should have written was "Michigan has the most coastline of any state in the CONTIGUOUS 48." I just forgot that last part. And now Alaskans think I forgot them.

FROM: Bruce S.

Actually, Scott, Alaska has the most coastline. But if you'd limited it to the lower 48...great piece of trivia!

Who knew there were so many folks living in Alaska?! Apparently, I should have watched Northern Exposure far more than I did.


Ryan Braun is NL MVP and deserved it! Or do you have something against small market teams. Just show some respect for Braun!!

Big fan of small-market teams. Truth be told, I like 'em better than large-market teams. They're much cuter. But poor explanations for failed performance-enhancing drug tests smell just as badly in a small market as in a large market.

FROM: Ryan

This is unbelievable. You have the Reds coming in 3rd in a weak NL Central. To anybody that knows anything about baseball they are clearly the most talented team in the division even with Ryan Madson getting hurt. I cannot believe that you have them coming in 3rd. If you could just give a logical reason as to why you think this that would be great.

Not sold on their rotation -- don't trust Mat Latos and Homer Bailey quite yet. The Madson injury dents their bullpen. Not sure about Scott Rolen's longevity over the long haul of a season at 37. Taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the two rookies up the middle, Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco (though I did pick Mesoraco as my NL Rookie of the Year). Really think the Cardinals remain exceptionally talented and well-balanced, even without Albert Pujols. Really like Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke in Milwaukee's rotation and the one-two punch of Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford in the bullpen. Now, on that last part, during the season's first month, I'm way wrong. K-Rod and Axford have been terrible. But bottom line, Ryan? They're just PREDICTIONS. Not only have I been wrong before, I've been horribly wrong before. The Reds still can win even if I had 'em third, believe me.

FROM: Marty R

Hi Scott,

Do you really think that Yu Darvish is an upgrade from CJ Wilson? I mean, in a completely stacked year, C.J. still finished sixth in the AL Cy Young race and has gotten better every year since being converted to a starter. I think you are COMPLETELY off base with that. Darvish hasn't faced major league hitters in a game that counts yet. Pitchers coming over from Japan have a history of starting strong and then once the hitters figure them out, being rather ordinary or worse - see Irabu, Hideki.

Know what Marty? You could be correct. I just remember the way C.J. faded last year, particularly in the postseason. That trend was alarming. But see my answer to our friend Ryan on his Reds, above. Believe it or not, every now and then, one of my predictions actually goes awry. I can guarantee you this, though: It's going to be awfully entertaining watching Wilson and Darvish this summer and debating this issue over and over.

FROM: Frank D
Re.: Ever positive, Wright relishes role as Mets standard-bearer


I'm glad to see you rightly spotlighting David Wright. However ... you went a tad overboard in ripping this team and its direction. For once, they're doing things right because Sandy Alderson, unlike Slomar [Omar Minaya], understands how to run, not ruin, an organization. The Mets have Wright, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy, Johan Santana, Jonathon Niese and Jason Bay. All are very talented and many were homegrown. They have revamped their pen with Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez and Frank Francisco. Bobby Parnell has been pushed back in the pen which should help him greatly. ...

OK, OK, uncle! Seriously, Frank went on for another 400 or so words beyond this with a very knowledgeable and very enthusiastic critique of his Mets and why he thinks I went overboard in ripping 'em. He may be right. The way things have played out so far, he's got to be feeling good about his thoughts. But Frank, I'll be watching, my friend. And I'm not cutting you any slack. ...

FROM: smarcovsky
Re.: Pirates Camp Report: McCutchen up next, doesn't want to disappoint

Hey Scott,

Allow me to correct an obscure but nonetheless inaccurate assertion in your McCutchen article: the Pirates did not discover Roberto Clemente, the Dodgers did and signed him in 1952. The Dodgers were trying to hide him on their Montreal AAA team by only playing him on a part-time basis, but the Pirates acquired him in the 1954 Rule 5 draft.

Yep, that is right. I included Clemente in the column because, still, the Pirates were savvy enough to steal him away from the Dodgers. For anyone reading, a great source on Roberto Clement is David Maraniss' "CLEMENTE." Great book and fun read.

Likes: Philip Humber due to deliver the Top Ten list on David Letterman's show tonight. ... You know who's really, really fun to watch right now? The Texas Rangers. Best team in the game. ... Day baseball games the first couple weeks of the season. The players hate 'em, I love 'em. Baseball in the afternoon, baseball at night, it's all good. ... If you answered "Matt Kemp" to that previous question, I'll accept that as a correct answer, too. ... Things have slowed down enough after spring training and the season's opening weeks that I'm finally catching up on the new season of Mad Men. Only through the first two shows, though. ... Did I tell you how much I liked The Three Stooges: The Movie? And my wife really loved that I saw it with someone else. ... Boys & Girls, the debut disc from Alabama Shakes. Highly recommended.

Dislikes: So I've got this cat that (again) developed feline acne bad enough that I had to take him to the vet this week for, like, the third time with this same issue. The vet looked at his chart, noted that each occasion has come during this time of year and diagnosed my cat with spring allergies. So now what, stock up on Kleen-ex and Claritin?

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Crazy about you baby, but I just ain't got the price
"Crazy about you baby, but I just ain't got the price
"You're a high class mama, so I guess it ain't no dice

"Goin' back home, and get my old gal Sue
"Goin' back home, and get my old gal Sue
"She ain't the caviar kind, just plain old kidney stew

"Old kidney stew, old kidney stew is fine
"Old kidney stew, old kidney stew is fine
"You can save your money, and keep your peace of mind"

 -- Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Kidney Stew Blues
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