Thursday, December 1, 2011

Einstein is the world's coolest horse

In honor of Bobby Valentine's big day, I'm going with a post on Einstein, the world's smallest stallion. (Because Bobby V is a stallion, right?) Little Einstein was born in Barnstead, N.H., on April 22, 2010 and stood only 14 inches tall. He soon became a media darling, appearing on Oprah and shows around the globe. At one point, both Shaquille O'Neal and Paris Hilton expressed interested in purchasing the pint-sized pinto. However, he is not for sale, rather living a wonderful life with beastie friends Lilly the dog, Eleanor and Isabelle (goats) and Charlie the donkey, who is a friendly ASSistant. The Disney Hyperion book, "A Friend for Einstein," ranked No. 2 on the NY Times bestseller list.

Einstein, who is now fully grown, munches on a carrot while enjoying the afternoon with my daughter, Ella Rose, and a goat earlier this week. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mailbag: Bobby Valentine reaction

Since Bobby Valentine became the leading candidate to become the next Red Sox manager, most everyone I spoke with -- fans, scouts, those who've only seen him on ESPN -- had reasons to dislike him. There was this eye-opening column by Murray Chass, who says "V is for Loser," and others treating the selection with dread.  I found some balance with e-mails, the first from Mets fan Jim Wrynn in New Jersey:

Mr. Gray, upon what do you base your statement that Bobby Valentine is "loathed by Mets fans...?"  Valentine led the team to two post season appearances, reaching the World Series in 2000. He is second in wins to Davey Johnson and third in winning percentage to behind Johnson and Willie Randolph (and why exactly did the Sox not interview Randolph?).  When the Mets were searching for a manager last year, there were many long time fans who wanted Valentine to be interviewed. I think the loathing of Bobby Valentine came not from the fans, but from the media.  Valentine might place a false mustache above his lips, he does not place his lips on the back side of the media.  As to quoting Steve Phillips, I will let Mr. Phillips character speak for itself.

And this email from Jerry Rowan: 

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who attended my first game in 1974. Despite the fact that my family moved to NH in the early 80's, I'm still a Mets fan and manage to make it down to Queens for 6-7 games per year. As such, I feel I'm uniquely qualified to offer a correction on the article you wrote in yesterday's paper (11/27)...Mets fans do NOT "loathe" Bobby Valentine. I would say Bobby is revered by roughly 75% of the Mets fanbase and there was a substantial amount of fans who were clamoring for his return last fall (before we hired Terry Collins). Bobby is a tremendous manager who will out-think, out-work, and out-prepare most of his colleagues. He'll also wear out his welcome (sooner or later) with management and members of  the press because of his frankness and ego (check out Joel Sherman's article in the 11/27 edition of the New York Post). But the ride will be fun, entertaining, and successful. If you guys actually hire Bobby... I might actually watch a Sox game for the first time since 1986. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Alumni List

Fifty-two Fisher Cats graduates who've reached the majors, courtesy of team historian Bob Lipman: 2004 -- Kevin Frederick, Gustavo Chacin, Brandon League; 2005 -- Aaron Hill, Tyrell Godwin, Dustin McGowan, John-Ford Griffin, Shaun Marcum; 2006 -- Casey Janssen, Steve Andrade, Francisco Rosario, Edgardo Alfonzo, Zach Jackson, Ryan Roberts, Davis Romero, John Hattig, Kevin Barker, Adam Lind; 2007 -- Jamie Vermilyea, Jesse Litsch, Howie Clark, Brian Wolfe, Curtis Thigpen, Jordan DeJong, Lee Gronkiewicz, Josh Banks; 2008 -- Jesse Carlson, David Purcey, Robinzon Diaz, Scott Richmond, Travis Snider; 2009 -- Ricky Romero, Robert Ray, Brett Cecil, Brad Mills, Marc Rzepczynski, Kyle Phillips; 2010 -- Sergio Santos, Fabio Castro, Rommie Lewis, Erik Kratz, Wil Ledezma, J.P. Arencibia, Shawn Hill, Justin James, Kyle Drabek; 2011 -- Tim Collins, Brad Emaus, Jo-Jo Reyes, Luis Perez, David Cooper, Trystan Magnuson, Eric Thames. Zach Stewart, Henderson Alvarez, Joel Carreno, Darin Mastroianni, Adam Loewen, Danny Farquhar, Chad Beck.

Ode to "Jero" (pronounced Jay-Row)

If Brian Jeroloman gets a break, he'll embark on a long catching career in the majors, taking a Sal Fasano-like journey through The Show. He's one of those fundamentally sound backup types (excellent catch-and-throw to second base) with strong communication and leadership skills. He gets on base, hits a little. Everyone likes him. And now Jero is back following a wild paper ride that sent him to Pittsburgh, then DFA'd, and re-acquired on waivers by Toronto. Now that Toronto lost Jose Molina to free agency, Jeroloman might have caught that break. Conceivably he could backup JPA until Travis d'Arnaud arrives.

Twins 3B Luke Hughes, Ethan Gray, Brian Jeroloman in Manchester, N.H.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Who's ready for the Bobby Valentine Show?

Bobby Valentine is a bridge to John Farrell. That's how the Red Sox will end up playing this out, after the Bobby V Era ends in a year or two. Not a good fit, as I wrote in today's "On Baseball" column in the Newt-endorsing New Hampshire Union Leader: "Valentine will make a splash, all right ... He'll win the press conference one day and turn a small brush fire into a raging inferno the next."

The Red Sox really missed Farrell as their pitching coach in 2011, when starters went rogue on their Beer and Wings Tour, and they'll be longing for him to return as manager. Farrell is under contract through 2013. The over/under on Bobby V in Boston is 1-1/2 years ... For a fleeting moment Sunday night, it appeared Houston's Brad Mills might enter the picture and become the No. 1 seed for the Red Sox job. Twitter was abuzz with Mills-to-Boston talk after Ken Rosenthal reported GM Ed Wade is about to be fired in a house cleaning. However, it's now sounding like Mills is staying with the Astros. Interesting!