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Spring things: Winners win when they’re winning

Page 2 of 2 -- Speaking of Fossum, after letting in a couple of Kazmir's runs, he looked like the Koufaxian lefty we all thought he would be for a few batters. He got Manny Ramirez way out in front on a swinging curveball strikeout in the fifth. Four K's for Casey in his 2 2/3 innings of work yesterday.

Playing pepper

  • Justin Sherrod replaced Manny in left in the fifth and got crossed up on a double by Aubrey Huff, which put the Rays on the board. He more than made up for it later with a home run in the ninth off Jesus Colome that was the difference in yesterday's 6-5 Red Sox win.

  • In the bottom of the sixth, Manny Ramirez, Ortiz, and Renteria gave the fans on the left field line a thrill by racing between left and center field in a series of "sprints." At one point, Ramirez left early and Ortiz and Renteria just stood there and made him walk back to get a fair start in the race. As soon as Ramirez got back to the line, Ortiz and Renteria took off on him, leaving him in the back of the pack. Everyone got a good laugh and Ramirez yelled something in Spanish to the fans screaming his name behind the Sox bullpen.

  • George Lombard showed his speed on the basepaths yesterday, swiping two bases. The former running back may be the fastest player on the Sox this side of Dave Roberts. Most impressive was Lombard's steal of home, when Ramon Vazquez took off for second after Sherrod struck out.

  • The most impressive feature about the cement slab that is Progress Energy Park is that the "berm" tickets on the left field and right field lines allow fans to be a chain link fence away from the bullpen areas, which are just inside the outfield foul lines. Spring training fans can't get any closer to the players or the action anywhere else.

  • It's good to start a spring training game. Arroyo, Bellhorn, Bill Mueller, Millar, Manny Ramirez, Ortiz and Renteria left the park in the seventh and head back to Ft. Myers in a special purple van complete with a couple of large pizzas for the road trip. Renteria wore a white warm-up suit with light blue trim for the ride home. He must have North Carolina to win the tournament in the pool.

  • While the struggling Denney Tomori showed more pop than Kris Wilson and Tim Bauser in the bullpen warm-up yesterday, he nearly blew the game in the bottom of the ninth after Sherrod put the Sox up 6-5. Rays infielder Eduardo Perez led off the inning with an opposite-field double after being down 0-2. He soon found himself in a first-and-third situation with no out after walking Josh Phelps. But Tomori got the tough save by bouncing back with a strikeout of Delmon Young and getting Shane Halter to hit a double play ball to end the game. The Red Sox win. Theeeeeee Red Sox win. And Tomori survives to see another day in a Red Sox uniform.

  • Sports Radio 620, "the Sports Animal," in St. Petersburg was knee-deep in Buccaneer talk on the drive up. They are counting the 171 days until training camp starts and are convinced the Bucs have made all the right moves to "get back to the Super Bowl" again. Somewhere in Florida Bill Belichick is shaking in his boots. This is what happens when your baseball team has no shot before the first pitch is thrown. When one yahoo called in after the game, he was asking the host if he saw the Rays-Sox game in Ft. Myers last Saturday and if he noticed that "Manny lost a lot of weight ... he doesn't look half as big as he was at the end of October." Puhleeze. Manny's the same as he ever was. And this steroid witch hunting is getting out of control.

  • Speaking of radio, Real Rock 92.5 ran an ad in yesterday's Ft. Myers News Press telling you to listen for a chance to win Red Sox tickets. The ad featured a picture of a Sox player ... Derek Lowe.

  • Yes, the furry Tampa Bay mascot -- enemy of Wally -- Ray, did make an appearance yesterday.

  • And in case you were wondering, hockey is alive and well in Florida and making it on the cover of the sports page. The Florida Everblades, winning their sixth consecutive game, roasted the Victoria Salmon Kings 7-1 last night before a crowd of 7,082 at Germain Arena. 

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