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Blue Jays win American League East’s best Super Bowl party 02.08.16 at 10:02 am ET
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With football season officially over, big league baseball players will begin to really flock toward Arizona and Florida in preparation for the coming season.

But it never hurts if there some sort of segue to help the transition. The Red Sox had their Winter Weekend, but that was still in the heart of the NFL playoffs.

Well, when it comes to making the most creative bridge from one sport to the other, the Blue Jays won the day.

That’s right, the Blue Jays had a Super Bowl party in which admission was contingent on wearing onesie pajamas.

When contacted by WEEI.com for comment on his group’s get-together, Toronto manager John Gibbons sent this along in a text …

“I was at a party where my daughter’s band performed pregame. But I would have loved to watched it in PJs.”

Read More: Blue Jays, John Gibbons, Super Bowl 50,
Curt Schilling on D&C: Cubs ‘could set themselves up to kind of be the Patriots for the next 10, 15 years’ 10.14.15 at 9:29 am ET
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ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Wednesday to talk about the playoffs and explain his controversial tweet about Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential candidates debate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

During the Democratic debate, Republican candidate Donald Trump tweeted: Who is winning the debate so far (just last name)?

Responded Schilling: ISIS.

Not surprisingly, the critics went after Schilling for the sarcastic remark, especially considering Schilling’s last ISIS reference on Twitter ended up with him getting suspended by ESPN.

“Somehow people were saying, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you support ISIS.’ I swear to God,” Schilling said. “I was like, ‘Wait, what?’ I thought it was a joke, but then they started getting liberal and vile, so I figured it wasn’t.”

Added Schilling: “First of all, I didn’t see one minute of the debate. So the answer was going to get that way no matter what. I was watching the game. But I thought, ‘I know who’s up there. And I know what they’re saying. So I know who’s going to win.’ ”

Turning to baseball, Schilling said he’s not cheering against anyone in the postseason out of respect for the challenge they face, but there are teams and players he would like to see advance.

“The matchup I would really like to see in the World Series is Cubs-Blue Jays,” he said. “But I’d like to see the Mets, because I’d love to see that pitching. I’d love to see the Dodgers because I’d like to see [Zack] Greinke and [Clayton] Kershaw if they can do it. There’s a lot of really cool stories now. The Astros. I’m not rooting against them, but I really don’t want to watch the Royals. … In the context of championship-caliber clubs, I think they’re boring. There’s no 40-home run guy. … [The Astros] have I think the best young player in baseball at shortstop. This kid is absolutely breathtakingly good. I love to watch [Jose] Altuve play the game, because I appreciate guys that are built like that and play like that. I like [Dallas] Keuchel. [Collin] McHugh concerns me today that he’s not a swing-and-miss guy and he’s got the [Blue Jays] lineup that never strikes out. But they’re interesting. They’re fun.”

Schilling is impressed with the Cubs’ attitude, crediting veterans like former Red Sox catcher David Ross for keeping the team focused.

“They’re not done,” Schilling said. “They’re playing on house money for everybody else. But to them, they believe that they should be holding the big trophy at the end. That’s a deadly combination.”

Schilling also noted that team president Theo Epstein has freer reign than when he was in Boston.

“If you look at what’s happened there, I don’t believe the Ricketts family will meddle in baseball ops. You know that’s one of the reasons Theo left here,” Schilling said. “I think they will leave him to his vices and let him do what he’s going to do. And left alone with the people he’s got, now he’s in a market where — and Joe Maddon‘s managing a team where he doesn’t have to maximize value for five years and watch a guy walk. That’s a deadly combination for me. They could set themselves up to kind of be the Patriots for the next 10, 15 years. With that much talent, and the money, new stadium.

“If they win it this year, it’s going to be — Theo Epstein, what does he do next? Does he go to Cleveland? And then win there?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: clayton kershaw, Curt Schilling, David Price, Donald Trump
Red Sox notes: Shane Victorino’s health status still up in the air 04.30.13 at 7:44 pm ET
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TORONTO ‘€“ The Red Sox are still banking on Shane Victorino getting better.

While the outfielder was out of the lineup for a fifth straight game due to back spasms, the Sox were still hoping his ailment takes a turn for the better before their series at Rogers Centre is done.

“He’s showing some improvement. He went out and hit in the cage off the tee. He threw. He went through some not only treatment but other exercises in the gym, and while he’s not unavailable tonight, there is some improvement continuing to be made,’€ said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Asked about a possible stint on the disabled list, the Red Sox manager said, ‘€œWe’re hopeful there’s a chance. As we get through the end of this series, though, we may have to consider some roster change. But based on the improvement that he’s shown, we’re still hopeful.”

The Red Sox are 14-5 with Victorino in the lineup, with the right fielder hitting .292 with a .677 OPS, three stolen bases and 12 runs.

‘€œWe stated before that it would be great if we could get him to the point that he was ready go and then maybe give him one more day to ensure that,’€ Farrell added. ‘€œWhile he’s making progress, we’ve got to be cautious at the same time that it flared up twice in an eight-day period. Every step along those lines are being taken.”

– With their 9-17 start, Toronto manager John Gibbons came under a pointed line of questioning prior to the series opener.

Regarding the Jays’€™ attitude: ‘€œLet me tell you, the attitude of the team is great. That’€™s not a problem. We’€™re just not winning games. We’€™re playing a lot of close games, we’€™re just not winning them. As far as the attitude, sure, they’€™re pressing a lot. But there’€™s absolutely nothing wrong with our attitude.’€

Does the team have enough swagger?: ‘€œI’€™ve got no problem with that. What does swagger get you? It’€™s making a pitch, getting a big hit, making a defensive play. That’€™s what wins it for you. Swagger? I swagger but I was born that way. It’€™s bad genetics.’€

Can the Jays still make the playoffs?: ‘€œYes, otherwise we wouldn’€™t be here. I don’€™t know if you ever concede anything. You have to remember when guys get to this level they’€™re a little bit different now. They’€™re at the top of the game. They play to win. You take your knocks along the way just getting here. You don’€™t expect it to be easy. We’€™ll see. We definitely have to play better.’€

Regarding the heat he might be taking: ‘€œI’€™ve been here before, now. Let’€™s be honest. That’€™s just the way it goes. I can deal with it. I totally understand the frustration. Like I said before, they’€™re not near as frustrated as we are. That’€™s the point. But a few wins can cure a lot of things, so hopefully we get those.’€

Read More: John Farrell, John Gibbons, Shane Victorino,
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos explains how David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez influenced his decisions 11.23.12 at 1:28 pm ET
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Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos joined the Red Sox Hot Stove Show on Thursday night to discuss his extremely busy start to the offseason. He discussed the decision to pull the trigger on a blockbuster with the Marlins that netted Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes, the move to sign outfielder Melky Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million deal and the move to hire John Gibbons for a second-term as Toronto manager.

Interestingly, he cited a pair of Red Sox power hitters on multiple occasions during the interview while he explained some of the motivations that have guided Toronto’s ambitious decision-making this offseason.

Asked if he was concerned that Reyes will earn $66 million between 2015-17 over the last three years of his contract (with a $4 million buyout also looming on a $22 million option for 2018), Anthopoulos cited the eight-year, $160 million deal between Ramirez and the Red Sox from 2001-08 to explain his comfort level with the contract.

“The example I can use is that Manny Ramirez, for years everyone thought may have been overpaid when he was having [MVP-caliber] years for Boston at $20 million. Maybe he was worth [$16 million] at the time or [$14 million] or [$17 million], but Boston at the time would rather have the player than not have the player. I think that’s what it comes down to with us,” said Anthopoulos. “I think he’ll be 34 in the last year of the deal. There’s no question it’s obviously a higher salary. I think that’s part of what makes it available. But I think with the way the game is going and you project how things are going to move, I think revenues are clearly starting to climb. You look at some of the TV deals. … I do think the needle is starting to move on some of these players and where the contracts are going. And I do think our payroll is set up to handle that type of contract.

“That’s the only large contract that we have that’s for five years starting in 2013. We don’t have any seven- or eight-year deals. Might Jose Reyes at the time be worth $14 million or $18 million or $17 million? Absolutely. It certainly can happen. But there is a certain point in time where you’d rather have the player than not have the player. Because it’s a premium position player — shortstops are such a scarce commodity to begin with, then you add in the fact that he’s a leadoff hitter, by themselves a leadoff hitter is so hard to find. Then you bring in the component of stolen bases, contact ability, doesn’t strike out much. Does have, I think, actually pretty good power for a smaller guy. You look at the ballparks he’s been in with the Mets and Marlins and now coming over to our ballpark, I think the power will play up a little bit more. And probably more important than anything else, I think the energy that he brings will rub off on his teammates, and I think that [Emilio Bonifacio] is the same way. We really wanted to try to get more high-energy players on this roster.”

Ramirez again emerged, in concert with longtime lineup partner in crime David Ortiz, in discussing why the Blue Jays thought that the timing was right to pull the trigger on a considerable financial commitment to the roster by making the deal with the Marlins. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2012 Hot Stove, alex anthopoulos, Blue Jays, David Ortiz
Potential Red Sox managerial candidates to succeed Terry Francona 09.30.11 at 12:52 pm ET
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UPDATE: The Red Sox and Terry Francona have agreed to part ways with the team not picking up the two-year option on the manager’s contract.

While one might assume that Boston would look to hire a veteran major league manager with a background of success, John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino have hired one manager with no MLB experience (Grady Little, who was hired one year before Theo Epstein became GM) and another with a losing record (Francona). When Francona was hired, he was selected over Joe Maddon, who did not have any big league managerial experience at the time, while other candidates (DeMarlo Hale, Glenn Hoffman and Bud Black — the latter of whom declined to be interviewed) had never managed in the big leagues.

It is clear, then, that track record is not necessarily the most important thing to Boston’s front office.

Here are are some possible candidates to inherit the reins from Francona.

Dave Martinez ‘€” The bench coach for the Rays, Martinez played for nine MLB teams between 1986 and 2001. Considered one of the better defensive outfielders in the game during his career, Martinez was amongst the league leaders in assists and fielding percentage several times in his career. He was hired by Tampa Bay as bench coach in 2007.

DeMarlo Hale ‘€” As the Red Sox bench coach for the past two years, Hale would be the most logical in-house hire. Hale has managerial experience at the minor league level. He was named Minor League Manager of the Year by several publications in 1999 when he led the Double-A Trenton Thunder to a 92-50 record. Hale received interest from several MLB teams in the 2010 offseason as a possible managerial candidate.

Ryne Sandberg ‘€” A Hall of Famer, Sandberg is the manager of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. Spending nearly his entire 16-year career with the Cubs, Sandberg posted a .989 career fielding percentage, first all-time among second basemen. He was a perennial All-Star and Gold Glove candidate.

After spending most of his minor league managerial career with the Cubs organization, Sandberg moved to the IronPigs in 2010 when he did not receive the Cubs’ managerial job following Lou Pinella’s retirement. He interviewed with the Red Sox for the job of manager at Triple-A Pawtucket last year, but accepted the Lehigh Valley job before the Sox had made a decision about a managerial post that went to Arnie Beyeler, who had spent the previous years managing in Double-A Portland.

Torey Lovullo ‘€” The first base coach of the Blue Jays, Lovullo spent time in the Red Sox organization as manager of Triple-A Pawtucket during the 2010 season. Lovullo has been interviewing for managing jobs since 2006, when the Dodgers considered him for their open manager spot. He was also a candidate for the Pirates’ job in 2007, but it went to John Russell.

Bobby Valentine ‘€” Perhaps the most high-profile candidate, Valentine is a baseball analyst for ESPN. Valentine, of course, would bring plenty of managerial experience. He managed the Rangers from 1985-92, then took over as manager for the Mets from 1996- 2002. Valentine led the Mets to the NLCS in 1999 before taking them to the World Series in 2000, when they lost to the Yankees in the Subway Series. After two subpar seasons, Valentine was fired in 2002. He went on to manage in Japan before landing at ESPN in 2009.

Tim Bogar ‘€” The third base coach for the Red Sox, Bogar should be able to make the transition to manager smoothly. Bogar has experience as manager in the minors. He was named Best Manager Prospect in the Eastern League in 2006. The Red Sox hired Bogar in 2008 as first base coach, and he moved to third in 2009.

John Gibbons ‘€” Gibbons was the manager of the Blue Jays from 2004-08. During his time in Toronto, Gibbons was known for his feuds with players such as Shea Hillenbrand and Frank Thomas. He was fired in the middle of the 2008 season. Gibbons was then hired for his current position as bench coach of the Royals in October of 2008. Gibbons does have a connection with the Boston area, as his mother is from Gloucester.

Read More: Bobby Valentine, Dave Martinez, demarlo hale, John Gibbons
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