A Song for the Season

At the beginning of every season Phil Jackson would give his players a book to read that sent them a deep message about themselves and the season ahead. Today, I assign each of the Red Sox players a song as we inch closer to the 2013 season.

Alfredo AcevesCrazy (Gnarls Barkley) As a general rule of thumb, anyone who chooses their number as a tribute to Dennis Rodman has a screw, or two, lose. Aceves is certainly not an exception.

Andrew BaileyEverybody Hurts (REM) Every player gets hurt sometime, but Bailey is one of those players that seemingly gets hurt every time. Can he make it through the entire season without a DL trip?

Daniel BardFix You (Coldplay) Change your arm slot, only throw fastballs and sliders, pitch exclusively from the stretch…everyone thinks they have the answer to fixing Bard, but can John Farrell and Juan Nieves actually do it?

Xander Bogaerts

“‘Cause I will wait, I will wait for you…”
(Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net)

Craig BreslowSmarter than You (The Undertones) What’s it like to be the smartest guy on the team? This Yale alum would know.

Xander Bogaerts I Will Wait (Mumford & Sons) Other than the sneak peek at Xander in the WBC with the Netherlands we will continue to wait to see the arrival of the most anticipated Boston prospect in years.

Clay Buchholz Is This It? (The Strokes) Have we already seen all that Buchholz will be? Is this it, or does he have another level?

Mike CarpI’m Shipping Up to Boston (Dropkick Murphys) A spring training trade finally filled the 1B/OF spot the club had been openly worried about for weeks when the Mariners shipped Carp to the Red Sox. Did his arrival signify that players like Lyle Overbay and Daniel Nava would not be starting the year on the 25 man roster?

Pedro CiriacoStarry Eye Surprise (Shifty) A career minor league journeyman, Ciriaco was a huge surprise last season, breaking out with a .293 average and 16 SB.  Even more than that, he became a certified Yankee killer (.413/.436/.566, 5 SB, 0 CS in 14 games) and instantly endeared himself to all of Red Sox Nation.

Ryan DempsterThe Long and Winding Road (The Beatles) 13 years ago he was a solid frontline starter for the Marlins. 8 years ago he saved 33 games for the Cubs. Now in 2013 he’s starting his first full season in the American League as the Red Sox only significant starting pitching acquisition. It’s been a long, strange ride for Dempster.

Felix DoubrontWhere We Gonna Go from Here (Mat Kearney) Prince Felix made an oustanding jump last season. What’s next for him? Does his trajectory continue or is he a one year wonder? How many innings can he throw and stay healthy?

Stephen DrewNot My Brother (Harper) I had to dig deep into the musical archives for this one, but Stephen might as well have a “Not JD” sewn on his #7 jersey next to “Drew”. I won’t call him JD until he starts taking too many strikeouts looking.

Jacoby EllsburyGold Digger (Kayne West) I’m not saying he’s a gold digger, but he’s not re-signing with Boston for a dollar less than he can get on the open market.

Jonny GomesAmerican Idiot (Green Day) Only on the Red Sox can being called an idiot be a compliment, but Gomes seems like a guy who would have fit right in with Kevin Millar and the boys back in the day.

John FarrellRespect (Aretha Franklin) After the circus sideshow experience of Bobby Valentine last year, Farrell will (and already has, ask Aceves) leave no doubt who is in charge of this team and what he expects and demands from his players.

Lackey

“I want you to want me. I need you to need me. I’d love you to love me.”
(Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net)

Joel Hanrahan – Heart Attack (Demi Lovato) Hanrahan is the kind of closer that gets the job done far more often than not, but he will also cause you to do awful things to your finger nails every time he comes out for the 9th inning.

John Lackey I Want You to Want Me (Cheap Trick) Did you see how jovial Lackey was in his Spring Training opener against the Rays and with the media afterwards? He hasn’t just undergone a weight transformation, he’s attempting to make a personality transformation. He’s a kinder, skinnier, happier, John Lackey! #LackeyOptimism

Jon Lester – Under Pressure (Queen) No one comes into this season with more weight on their shoulders to turn things around. If Lester doesn’t make last year’s individual performance a fluke, it’s highly unlikely that the club’s downturn will be a one year bump either. He is this team’s ace, for better or worse.

Will Middlebrooks — Next Big Thing (Vince Gil) The Will Middlebrooks experience was the highlight of 2012, and expectations really couldn’t be higher for the young third baseman.  Until Xander arrives, Middlebrooks undeniably wears the crown as “The Next Big Thing.”

Mike Napoli – Hips Don’t Lie (Shakira) I know, I know…this one was too easy, but the bottom line is Napoli’s hips cost him between $26 million and $34 million depending on how the upcoming season goes.

Daniel NavaOutside Looking In (Jordan Pruitt) I’m rooting for Nava to make the club, and I like what he brings both at the plate and in the field, but I think that Joe Reilly is right, he’s going to be the odd man out.

David Ortiz — My Generation (The Who) With Kevin Youkilis busy being the mole on the Yankees, Big Papi entered camp as the last man standing from the 2004 Championship team. Can the next generation of the Red Sox replicate the success of his generation?

Dustin Pedroia – All the Small Things (Blink 182) No, this isn’t (just) a short joke. Dustin does all of the small things right as both a player and as a leader. For some major leaguers the longer you watch them play on a day to day basis the less you enjoy them, for Pedroia I just end up liking and respecting the guy even more with each passing season.

Saltalamacchia

“Cause I want it all…or nothing at all.”
(Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net)

Jarrod Saltalamacchia — All or Nothing (O-Town) Salty broke out for 25 HR last year, an outstanding total for a catcher. He also struck out 139 times, a bad total regardless of his position. Is there any hope left that his powerful swing develop into something a bit more discerning with time and experience?

Ryan Sweeney — Stronger (Kayne West) How does a guy who is 6’4”, 225 lb. hit for absolutely no power? (No really, no power as in 3 HR in the last 3 seasons, combined.) Will his new approach make a difference?

Junichi Tazawa – Don’t You Forget About Me (Billy Idol) In 37 appearances last year, Tazawa had a 1.43 ERA and a stellar 9.00 K/BB ratio. Now with Uehara and Hanrahan in the fold and Bailey (allegedly/temporarily) healthy, it may be hard for Junichi to find many high leverage opportunities to pitch.

David Ross — Slow It Down (The Lumineers) For years teams have run wild on the base paths against the Sox (ranking between 11th and 14th since 2009 in the American League in percentage caught stealing), but we finally have a catcher who can stop the track meet. Ross has thrown out 37.5% of would be base stealers in the last 8 seasons, trailing only the other-worldly Yadier Molina in that category.

Koji Uehara – Control (Janet Jackson) Uehera’s 14.33 K/BB ratio was #1 overall in MLB. The guy just throws strikes. He’s like the anti-Dice-K.

Shane Victorino — Bounce Back (Juvenile) The Flyin’ Hawaiian was really awful in Los Angeles. Can he bounce back and be the dynamic player that made an impact at the plate, on the bases, and in the field for the Phillies?

Allen Webster & Rubby De La Rosa — Stolen (Dashboard Confessional) De La Rosa hit 100mph in his first outing of the spring and Pedro thinks that the kid is something special. Webster hit 99 on the gun and struck out Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, J.P. Arencibia and Brett Lawrie in a row. Let’s all agree to never forget that we got these two players while dumping $260 million in salaries. If the LAPD hasn’t issued a warrant for Ben Cherington’s arrest yet, then we know that theft is not a crime in Los Angeles.

Categories: 2004 World Series Alfredo Aceves Allen Webster Andrew Bailey Ben Cherington Boston Red Sox Brett Lawrie Clay Buchholz Craig Breslow Daisuke Matsuzaka Daniel Bard Daniel Nava Daniel Nava David Ortiz David Ross Dustin Pedroia Edwin Encarnacion Felix Doubront J.D. Drew J.P. Arencibia Jacoby Ellsbury Jarrod Saltalamacchia Joel Hanrahan John Farrell John Lackey Jon Lester Jonny Gomes Jose Bautista Juan Nieves Junichi Tazawa Kevin Millar Kevin Youkilis Koji Uehara Lyle Overbay Mike Carp Mike Napoli Pedro Ciriaco Pedro Martinez Rubby de la Rosa Ryan Dempster Ryan Sweeney Shane Victorino Stephen Drew Will Middlebrooks World Baseball Classic Xander Bogaerts

I'm a native Mainer and life-long Red Sox fan living among way too many Yankees fans in New York. I spent most of my childhood convinced that Spike Owen was going to be awesome, sooner or later. The last time I punched a wall was October 16, 2003. My bucket list included personally thanking a Red Sox player for 2004, something I was finally able to check off when I met Trot Nixon. Follow @JK7_

5 Responses to “A Song for the Season” Subscribe

  1. Joe Reilly February 28, 2013 at 3:50 PM #

    Awesome column, Jack. Gold Digger for Ells was absolutely spot on.

    • Jack Keller March 1, 2013 at 12:29 PM #

      Thanks Joe, I appreciate it!

  2. Injunsteve March 1, 2013 at 7:55 AM #

    Don't You Forget About Me is by Simple Minds

  3. phil March 2, 2013 at 10:25 AM #

    Thanks, great fun. Learned of this from my brother John Monroe.

  4. moe March 4, 2013 at 5:49 AM #

    Its naive to think that Tazawa will not work frequenly pitching significant innings considering the state of the starting pitching. That bullpen would rarely have a day off the whole season.