Browsing the James 'bible'
Page 4 of 4 -- "Services for her will be Monday," said Mother Celine, "and you can be sure on the back of the program, "there will be a picture of Sister Solange in a Red Sox cap and holding a bat."
Cleaning out the bullpen
The Sox, who let bullpen coach Euclides Rojas go after he refused a reassignment to Double A Portland, also have let go of bullpen catcher Dana Levangie, a local product who had served in that capacity for eight years. Levangie, a Brockton native and former Division 2 All-American at American International College who played five seasons in the Sox minor league system, was caught by surprise by the move, according to friends.
The honeymoon's over . . . already?
So, you thought Theo Epstein made some personal sacrifices last Thanksgiving when he gave up dinner with the family to dine at Chez Schilling in a successful attempt to sign an ace pitcher? Well, how about David Forst, former star shortstop and captain of the Harvard baseball team who is Billy Beane's assistant general manager in Oakland? Forst recently returned home to be married -- on a Saturday -- and on the next night was on a plane to Florida -- not for a honeymoon, but for the GM meetings.
An expansion team in Los Angeles
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt appears to be taking a cue from the Red Sox by adding four rows of seats between the dugouts, increasing Dodger Stadium capacity by about 1,600. Foul territory will decrease, but otherwise field dimensions will not change.
Fisher Cats go Hollywood
The crack PR staff of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats announced last week that the NBC series "The West Wing" will use memorabilia from the team, a Blue Jays affiliate in the Eastern League, in upcoming episodes. Future storylines apparently revolve around a primary campaign in New Hampshire (the president played by Martin Sheen hails from a small town in the Granite State). The Fisher Cats sent hats, T-shirts, pennants, bumper stickers, and other materials to the producers of the show for use on the set.
Chadd planted the seeds on the farm
He will be long gone before his labors truly bear fruit, but the contributions of David Chadd, the scouting director all but handpicked by John W. Henry in 2002, in replenishing the Sox farm system should not be overlooked. There were signs that Chadd, who left to take a similar position with the Tigers, might have had philosophical differences with Epstein, who favors the "Moneyball" approach of drafting college players over high schoolers. Nonetheless, it appears Chadd scored well in 2003, which was really his first draft, with David Murphy, Abe Alvarez, Mickey Hall, Jon Papelbon, and Jeremy West, among others, showing promise. And if Epstein hadn't been able to package Nomar Garciaparra with one of Chadd's signees, outfield prospect Matt Murton, he might not have pulled off the four-team deal that netted Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz. Chadd came to the Sox from the Marlins.
Meet him in St. Louis?
Just wondering: If the Cardinals are in the hunt for Randy Johnson, is it reasonable to suspect that before it's all said and done, they may throw their hats in the Pedro Martinez ring? While Martinez has said he wants to come back to Boston, he's heard a lot of love from the Yankees. And he and Alex Rodriguez are close; last winter, when A-Rod was contemplating coming to the Sox, Martinez called him and assured him that he would stay long-term in Boston if Rodriguez came. Martinez also has made no secret of his preference for the National League style of play, where he wouldn't have to face a DH. Compared with the Unit, who is due to make $16 million this season and may require a year or two extension, Martinez might be a relative bargain.
Take it from someone who has done it when there were three feet of snow on the ground in Cooperstown: Winter is a great time to visit the Hall of Fame. There are two fresh reasons to make the ride into Leatherstocking Country. The Hall has a special exhibit honoring the Sox World Series triumph, and there is an exhibit showcasing the record-setting season of Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.
Reordering things in Seattle?
Carlos Delgado, longtime cleanup man for the Blue Jays, reportedly has told the Mariners he would be willing to bat third, perhaps in front of another prospective Seattle signee, Troy Glaus.
A little out of his area
Here's a bit of a head-scratcher. Writers in Minnesota voted the Dick Siebert Award, as top big league player from the Upper Midwest, to Sox closer Keith Foulke, a native of Rapid City, S.D. Foulke was indeed born in Rapid City but grew up in Texas, where he went to high school.
Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.