Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Paint Scheme for JJ at Texas

Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowe’s Chevy Impala will have a special paint scheme for this weekend’s Samsung 500at Texas Motor Speedway. The scheme will be called “Tough Tools for Cool Schools” and will result in a new partnership with Kobalt Tools and SkillsUSA. Lowe’s and Kobalt Tools will help a new generation of skilled trade professionals by donating approximately $300,000 worth of Kobalt tools to more than 500 SkillsUSA building and construction trade classes and labs across the country. Just in the state of Texas along, there are 1,000 SkillsUSA chapters and serve over 15,5000 students.

Jamie McMurray in need of $$$$

Jamie McMurray, driver of the #26 for Roush-Fenway Racing, is trying to gain access to five investment accounts that are frozen in a multibillion dollar fraud investigation of Stanford Financial Group.

According to a motion filed in a Dallas federal court, some of the funds in these accounts are used to pay expenses associated with his racing team, including employees. Also, in the documents filed, McMurray will likely not have enough cash to take care of his income taxes by April 15th. The motion filed late Friday, says he did purchase one of the problematic CDs from the Stanford International Bank, but it is held independently from his frozen accounts. A total of more than $308,0000 was deposited into two of his accounts on February 17th and 18th. These were direct cash deposits in connection with McMurray’s employment as a NASCAR driver and are not connected with the alleged fraud. A February 16th court order froze all of Stanford International Bank’s accounts. Because of these frozen accounts, McMurray will likely have to file an extension on his income taxes because he doesn’t have enough cash available otherwise.

Several Major League Baseball players including Yanee outfielders Johnny Damon and Xaier Nady, Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey, and former Rangers Darren Oliver and Robb Nen are also liked to froze Stanford accounts.

Just to let you know--Jamie McMurray did NOTHING wrong here. He has just been caught up in an unfortunate situation.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Kevin Harvick wins at Martinsville

Kevin Harvick passed Kyle Busch with nine laps to go and held on to win the rain delayed and caution filled Kroger 250 from Martinsville Speedway. Even though the crowd was sparse for the race, they still saw one hell of a race.

Kyle Busch led 139 laps before Harvick got to the inside heading into the Turn 3 and pulled ahead after dueling side by side to the flag stand. Harvick’s pass came after several laps running his Chevy right on the bumper of Busch’s Toyota. After a crash brought out the 13th of 14 cautions Harvick outran his teammate, Ron Hornaday Jr on the restart on lap 249 until another crash allowed him to coast to the victory under a caution. The victor is the 4th for Harvick in 97 starts in the Camping World Truck Series.

Busch, the series points leader, was forced to pit after losing the lead when he drove over the line that obligates a driver to visit pit road. He finished 17th. Clearly unhappy with NASCAR’s rules, he climbed from his truck, ran down pit road, climbed over the outside wall, and left the track.

Top 10:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Ron Hornaday
3. Mike Skinner
4. Johnny Benson
5. Rick Crawford
6. Stacy Compton
7. Dennis Setzer
8. Brian Scott
9. Matt Crafton
10.Ken Schrader

The next race for the Camping World Truck Series is April 25th, from Kansas Speedway. Coverage begins at 5:30pm/eastern time on Speed.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bungee Cord helps Dale Jr get a Solid Top 10 finish.

Trouble didn’t take long to find Dale Jr earlier today at Martinsville Speedway. He was reminded of it constantly, when he shifted gears. From Lap 43 on in the 500 lap Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500, Earnhardt's shifter was held together by a bungee cord.

When it first popped out of gear, he feel all the way back to 38th. It appeared to be a long day for the Jr Nation. Instead, Dale Jr maintained his composure and told his team “I can deal with it. Let’s just work on getting some of this track position back and I’ll take care of everything else.”

Dale Jr battled all the way back until he was running third at one point before settling for an 8th place finish in the race won by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson.

This isn’t the first time this season Dale Jr’s day was hinged by the threads of a bungee cord.

He still remains a long way from where he wants to be this season, but he did climb in the pint standings. At the start of the day, he was 19th. At the end, he was 16th.

Dale Jr told the media that he was proud of the way his No. 88 team worked hard on pit road. Since qualifying was rained out on Friday, Dale Jr didn’t have a great pit stop which made getting off pit road in a timely fashion a difficult task.

Dale Jr also said to the media that seeing Johnson win his first race of the season was encouraging. "I am happy for Rick [Hendrick] that they got a win. I'm especially happy for the company. I am glad to be a part of it," Earnhardt said. "This is excellent equipment. We've just got to know what to do with it.

"We've got to get a little bit better as a team to compete. The stuff is right there in front of us, man; we just gotta figure out what to do to make it work."

That includes figuring out what went wrong with his shifter so early in Sunday's race. He would like to avoid another date with a bungee cord in future events.

"I was pretty upset because we've had it happen a lot this year, and we haven't found what the problem is," Earnhardt said. "Hopefully, we can find what the problem is, because we damn sure don't need that happenin'. Poppin' out of gear as you go into the corner is not a lot of fun."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kenny Chesney

Happy 41st Birthday to Kenny Chesney! Kenneth Arnold Chesney was born to Karen and David Chesney at St. Mary’s Hospital in Knoxville, TN on this day in 1968.

Here is video of Kenny Chesney and Peyton Manning, QB for the Indianapolis Colts, singing David Allan Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” at Sloppy Joes in Key West , FL on March 15th.

And since it's his birthday....NO birthday post is without one of my favorite KC songs:

Happy Birthday KC! Keep on Rockin' Out and looking HELLA FINE!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

John Smoltz's 1st Pitching Session

A little after 9am this morning, John Smoltz walked to the mound to begin his first session of Sprint Training for the Boston Red Sox. Boston pitching coach John Farrell said “Ladies and gentlemen the most celebrated bullpen session in Red Sox history” as Smoltz got on the mound.

Actually, this is first time Smoltz has pitched since 2008, when his season ended way too early due to his shoulder injury. Now his days will be decided by when his next throwing session is instead of vital rehab and strengthening exercises that have taken up his time for several weeks.

Smoltz threw 40 pitches this morning, all fastballs. He estimated that he was throwing 70% intensity. When it was all said and done, he wanted more. "I went in with the right approach, but I left with the wrong approach, because I wanted to do so much more, Smoltz said, then when I had time to really think about it, I finished my workout, I was like, 'That wasn't so bad.”This one the second time in eight months that he has had spikes on. He now has to get used to all the components that deal with the mound including the height. He says these are things that he took for granted.

Smoltz will be back on the mount Saturday and on an every three day progression for the next two weeks. After that he will progress to facing hitters and eventually a schedule of rehab starts. Nothing has changed since the Red Sox signed John Smoltz back in January. The still envision him to take the mound at Fenway Park somewhere around June 1st.

Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, the team’s Nos. 1 and 2 starters, sat on the bench to watch Smoltz work out.

There was one funny moment during this pitching session. It came on Smoltz’ 11th pitch. It fell right out of his hand as he completed his delivery. It definitely gave Beckett a good talking point with his new teammate when the session was done. "Josh said I made a nice adjustment on the next pitch, probably the best adjustment he's ever seen anyone make," chuckled Smoltz.

John Smoltz definitely looks forward to Saturday. This is the day he will bring back his well known breaking ball. And in the side session after that, he’ll find another challenge to concur. At this point in his comeback, the hurdles are more mental for Smoltz than physical.

Sprint All-Star Race XXV

NASCAR’s annual Sprint All-Star Race will end with a 10-lap final segment this year. This year’s winner will earn a $1 million payout. This new segment is aimed at bringing back the excitement and some of the most spectacular finishes. Some of the races most memorable moments have come during the final 10 laps, including Dale Earnhardt’s “pass in the grass’ during the 1987 Winston All-Star Race.

The 2009 format is as follows:
* Segment 1: 50 laps with a mandatory green-flag pit stop on Lap 25 at which time teams must pit and take on four tires. Following the end of Segment 1, the caution flag will be displayed for an optional pit stop.
* Segment 2: 20 laps with the caution flag displayed at the end of Segment 2 for an optional pit stop.
* Segment 3: 20 laps with a 10-minute break at the end of Segment 3. Teams may make normal adjustments to their cars during this break. The finishing order after the third segment determines the final starting positions for the fourth and final segment.
* Segment 4: 10-lap shootout with only green-flag laps counting.

Eligibility for the event have not changed. For entry into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race drivers must be a race winner from either the 2008 or 2009 season [through May 9th] or be a past champion of the event or NASCAR Sprint Cup Series over the past 10 years. In addition, the top-two finishes in the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap preliminary race scheduled for 7:30pm/eastern time, and the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote will advance to the BIG Show.

Drives in so far:
-Ryan Newman
-Carl Edwards
-Kyle Busch
-Denny Hamlin
-Jeff Burton
-Jimmie Johnson
-Clint Bowyer
-Kasey Kahne
-Dale Earnhardt, Jr
-Kurt Busch
-Greg Biffle
-Tony Stewart
-Matt Kenseth
-David Stremme
-Casey Mears
-Joey Logano
-Bobby Labonte
-Jeff Gordon
-Mark Martin
-Kevin Harvick

The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race XXV is set for Saturday, May 16th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. The Speed Channel will carry all the action starting live at 7pm/eastern time. Last year, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Budweiser Dodge, got into the Sprint All-Star Race thanks to the fans and ended up taking the checkered flag in this event.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let's get ready for Martsville and the famous Hot Dog!

No track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit is closely identified with a concession stand offering than Martinsville Speedway is with its hot dog. The track maybe the only one in NASCAR which fans relish [hehe-excuse the pun] the thought of paying for, and ingesting other than beer.


A Martinsville hot dog doesn’t look appetizing. In fact, if you inspect it closely, you’ll see that what appears to be red dye from the meat has soaked into the bun.

Sometimes it feels soggy to the grip and its not that big. A couple of good bites and you’re finished. It can’t be good for your health. No doubt the cholesterol count rises with every bite. Your arteries SCREAM for mercy.

Yet people don’t care. They plop down good money for a few hot dogs-because can’t just have one Martinsville hot dog-which is a boiled Jessie Jones hot dog, wrapped in what is more of a roll than a hot dog bun then topped with chili, mustard, onions, and vinegar based slaw. The concoctions are the wrapped in some wax paper and left in a steamer to keep warm. Alterations to these yummy hot dogs can be made, but you will be considered a traitor. Once fans order their dogs for only $2 each, they are able to enjoy a fine dining experience…43 cars beating and banging for 500 miles.

Fans, drivers, crew members, media members of and team owners dig the famous creations. When the speedway was purchased by International Speedway Corp., the concession arm of ISC decided to change the legendary hot dog by having the customer put on the toppings themselves. Soon every member of NASCAR demanded to bring back the old, but good, recipe.

Last time the NASCAR boys were in Martinsville, Bootie Barker and the #66 crew each ate 8 of these delicious hot dogs PER day. “This is straight from the Lord to you,” says veteran motor sports journalist Dick Berggren, shaking a wrapped dog. During one Friday afternoon practice, Dale Earnhardt Jr said he ate 3 as soon as he got to the track that early morning. He even remembers eating 10 at one setting. He even went on to say “I got an iron gut.”

But not everyone likes the Martinsville hot dog, of course. They don’t understand why others do. Dale Jarrett quit eating them back in 2002, but will still buy them for people.

But I guess it’s like this: For those who don’t understand the lure of a Martinsville hot dog, no explanation will do. For those who do, no explanation is necessary.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Curt Schilling Retires

One of the finest and most clutch pitchers of his generation, Curt Schilling, announced is retirement today on his laptop. Schilling revealed the end of his 20-year Major League career via his blog on at

On his blog, Schilling wrote “The party has officially ended. After being blessed to experience 23 years of playing professional baseball in front of the world’s best fans in so many different places, it is with zero regrets that I am making retirement official. To say I’ve been blessed would be like calling Refrigerator Perry ‘a bit overweigh’ The things I was allowed to experience, the people I was able to call friends, teammates, mentors, coaches, and opponents, the travel, all of it, are far more than anything I ever thought possible in my lifetime.”

Schilling(42 years old) last pitched in 2007. His last performance was a win for the Boston Red Sox in Game 2 of the World Series, helping pave the way for Boston’s four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. Shoulder problems hindered Schilling from pitching a single inning in the 2008 season, during which he was under a one-year contract with the Red Sox organization.

Schilling is retiring with a record of 216-146 and pitching 3,116 strikeouts. In the postseason he went 10-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 starts. He was part of three World Series championship teams--the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and the Red Sox of 2004 and 2007. He also pitched for the NL pennant winning Phillies of 1993. Schilling is the ONLY pitcher to win a World Series for three different teams.

He will be remembered for boldly saying that he was coming to town to help snap an 86-year World Series drought and then playing a crucial role in doing just that.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kyle Busch dominates at Bristol

The last two time Kyle Busch dominated at Bristol Motor Speedway, he was denied a trip to Victory Lane. Today was a completely different story. Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Snickers Toyota, led 378 of the 502 laps for his second victory of the season. It was definitely a sweet victory for Busch, who lost his power steering while leading last spring and was bumped from the led in August by Carl Edwards after he led 415 laps. And you can’t forget yesterday. Busch was on his way to victory yesterday in the Nationwide race when his crew let a tire slip away on the final pit stop.

In Victory Lane on Sunday, Kyle Busch said "We should have won here last fall, we should have won here [Saturday]. This place probably owes me a few. But you can never ask a race track to pay you back. You just have to just keep working on it."

No one could touch Busch during the Food City 500. Denny Hamlin, his own teammate, finished 2nd. This definitely showed some dominance by Joe Gibbs Racing.

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 FED-EX Racing Toyota, has had his own heartbreak at Bristol. He led 98 laps in the spring when a fuel pickup problem cost him the victory. He finished third in that race, behind Busch[who finished 2nd] back in August.

2009 NASCAR Spring Cup Champion, Jimmie Johnson finished third in a Chevy to tie his career-best Bristol finish. His teammate, Jeff Gordon finished 4th. Kasey Kahne was fifth in a Dodge followed by Ryan Newman. Mark Martin finally had a good day finished 7th. Defending race winner Jeff Burton was 8th, followed by Juan Pablo in 9th. Marcos Ambrose, who has been in the spotlight since his gas man chased a tire across pit road at Atlanta two weeks ago, finished 10th.

Busch’s family has been getting use to Victory Lane. A Busch brother has won the past three races. Kyle Busch at Las Vegas earlier this month and Kurt followed it with a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kurt, a five-time Bristol winner, finished 11th on Sunday.

Other notables:
13. Clint Bowyer
14. Dale Earnhardt, Jr
15. Carl Edwards
16. AJ Allmendinger
17. Tony Stewart
19. Elliott Sadler
23. Reed Sorenson
24. Casey Mears
26. Martin Truex, Jr
29. Brian Vickers
30.Kevin Harvick
37.Jamie McMurray
38. Joey Logano--Engine
39. Greg Biffle--Engine

Next week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup series takes on the paper-clip track, Martinsville Speedway. Last year, Denny Hamlin won at his home track. Race coverage starts at 1:30pm/eastern time on Fox. See ya there!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Harvick makes it happen at BMS.

He finally did it. Kevin Harvick proved just how strong KHI is on Saturday by winning the Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Harvick led 44 laps in the Kevin Harvick Inc. owned Chevrolet. It was the first victory in a car fielded by the race team he built with his wife, Delana.

In Victory Lane,Delana Harvick said “It is very emotional, he’s tried so hard, so long in his own stuff. Today was his day.”

Sure, Harvick has won three times in the KHI truck(2002. 2003, and 2008), but he has never won a race in the Nationwide Series for his own team. Tony Stewart has won twice and Bobby Labonte once.

He had a clear shot to win after Kyle Busch was taken out of contention by a penalty on the final pit stop.

“It feels pretty good to get our car into Victory Lane,” Harvick said. “Finally we got this out of the way. Delana and I built this company from basically dirt. It started as a hobby. It’s been a tremendous amount of pressure that I’ve put on myself … but it was well worth the reward today.”

During the 300 mile lap, Harvick had to deal with an alternator failure, that made his cockpit extremely hot has he rolled to the checkered flag.

Both Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer even came to Victory Lane to congratulate Kevin and Delana Harvick. Bowyer even went as fair as joke around with Kevin in VL.“It’s been a long time coming,” Bowyer said. “Obviously, Kevin is qualified to win races. I knew it was only a matter of time. But forget him, I’m bummed I didn’t win.”

Speaking of bummed, you can’t forget Kyle Busch. He lead 157 laps only to be taken out contention when his crew let a tire slip away during the final pit stop. NASCAR Officials sent Busch to the tail end of the longest line as his punishment. He was 14th on the restart with 41 laps to go.

“Ahhh, man, that’s frustrating,” Edwards said of Busch’s penalty.

“Was he mad?” Bowyer deadpanned.

Was he ever.

Even though he diminished 6th, Busch appeared furious after the race. He stopped his car in Turn 3 and walked directly to the pedestrian tunnel to leave the track. Not before he through his HANS and earplugs.

Carl Edwards lead in the Nationwide Standings was stretched to 114 points over Harvick and 124 over Busch, who still gained two spots in the standings despite the setback.

Top 10:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Carl Edwards
3. Clint Bowyer
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Justin Allgaier(Rookie of the Race)
6.Kyle Busch
7. Steve Wallace
8. Scott Speed
9. Joey Logano
10. Jason Leffler

Other Notables:
12. Brad Keselowski
14. Kenny Wallace
19. David Ragan
21. Brendan Gaughan(Pole Winner)

The next race for the NASCAR Nationwide Series is April 4th at Texas Motor Speedway. Coverage begins at 2:30pm/eastern time on ESPN2.

Brendan Gaugh gets pole for Bristol Nationwide race

NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie Brendan Gaughan, driver of the #62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevy for Rusty Wallace Racing, starts on the pole for today’s Scott’s Turf Builder 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The rookie clocked a time of 15.209 and a speed of 126.162mph for his qualifying run. Starting alongside the rookie is the #60 of Carl Edwards. His time was 15.253 and a speed of 125.798mph. This is Gaughan’s first pole since jumping into the Nationwide Series. The Scott’s Turf Builders 300 will start at 2:30pm/eastern time on ABC.

Other notables:
4th Kyle Busch
6th Matt Kenseth

7th Clint Bowyer
13th Kevin Harvick
15th Brad Keselowski
19th Scott Speed
23rd Joey Logano

Drivers who failed to qualify include: #96-Dennis Setzer, #70-Mark Green, #49-Kertus Davis, #26-Brian Keselowski, #55-Brad Teague, #31-Stanton Barrett.

Friday, March 20, 2009

2 in a row for "Old Man" Mark Martin.

A week away from a NASCAR track didn’t slow down Mark Martin. Mark Martin, driver of the #5 for Hendrick Motorsports, made it two in a row Friday capturing the pole for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He got the pole with a lap of 125.773 around the "world's fastest half-mile". This is the first time in 20 years that Martin has gotten the pole in consecutive races.

Just two weeks ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the 50 year old Martin became the second oldest driver in NASCAR to win the pole. That pole was the first one since May 5th, 2001.

“It’s the (No.) 5 car,” Martin said in giving all the credit to his Hendrick Motorsports crew. “We have learned so much through each individual event that man, I feel good. We unloaded here rolling.”

Winning two poles is just the morale booster the #5 team needs. The engine blows at California and Las Vegas, and then the cut tire at Atlanta has caused the team to be 34th in the Sprint Cup Series standings.

For the second race in a row, Scott Riggs and Jeremy Mayfield were sent home. Been a tough couple of weeks for these drivers and teams. Hopefully Martinsville next week will bring them some luck

Sunday’s race will start at 1:30pm eastern time on Fox.

Top 10 for the Food City 500
1. Mark Martin
2. Ryan Newman
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Greg Biffle
5. KaseyKahne
6. David Reutimann
7. Reed Sorenson
8. Dave Blaney
9. Jamie McMurray
10. Jeff Gordon

Other notables:
19. Kyle Busch
20. Martin Truex Jr.
24. Denny Hamlin
26. AJ Allmendinger
27. Brian Vickers
34. Dale Earnhardt, Jr

Dale Jr says: Leave Tony Jr alone.

Season isn’t even a month in and Dale Jr is already feeling the pressure. Today in the Media Center at Bristol Motor Speedway, Dale Jr told the fans to lay off his cousin. He has taken full blame for the way the 2009 season has started even though thousands of Dale Jr fans have been throwing Crew Chief, Tony Eury, Jr under the bus. Dale Jr comes into Bristol ranked 24th in the Sprint Cup standings and just one top 10 finish through the first four races. While addressing the media Dale Jr said;

“The guy that I feel bad for is Tony Jr. He gets criticized so badly. Everybody in this room, and some of you have criticized him, know how smart a guy he is and that he’s a good mechanic and a solid crew chief. He just wants to do this for a living, just like I do. I’ll take the fall. I’d rather be crucified than him. Every time I read in the paper that people are on his case I feel like I’m sending my brother to jail for a crime I committed.”

In a way he is right. Tony Jr had nothing to do with the two pit road mistakes and he wasn’t in the driver’s seat when Earnhardt’s car made contact with Brian Vickers during the Daytona 500. Plus the engine failure at California wasn’t his fault either. After the first two races, Dale Jr and the 88 were in 36th place and had fans screaming for Tony Eury Jr’s head. Even after finishing 10th at Vegas and 11th at Atlanta, it didn’t shut the critics up.

The two Junior’s have been together in some form since Dale Jr came into NASCAR in 1996. Their only time apart was when Teresa Earnhardt split them up during the 2005 season because of the bickering between Dale Jr and Tony Jr. The split was a disaster. Sure Eury was happy with Waltrip, but Earnhardt failed to earn a sport in the Chase for the championship. With 10 races to, Teresa moved Eury, Jr back to the 8 pit box. Still, the 8 car finished a career-worst 19th.

With the Jr’s back together, 2006 was another up and down season. Sure they won a race and made the Chase, but they failed to even contend for the title(finished 5th). 2007was filled with distractions for everyone associated with the #8 Budweiser Chevy. Dale Jr was announcing he was leaving DEI for HMS. Eury, Jr promised to stay with Dale Jr no matter what.

When asked about working with Dale Jr, Tony Eury, Jr said that he didn’t care what he did as long as he worked along side with his cousin. He just wanted to be a part of Dale Jr’s adventure at Hendrick Motorsports.

Everyone at HMS still believes that Tony Eury, Jr is the best man for the pit box. “It’s unanimous still to this day that Tony Eury Jr. is the guy for Junior and possibly the only guy for Junior,” teammate Jeff Gordon said. “Their relationship and how they communicate is second-to-none. We all know that it’s easy to get through the good days. On the tough days, although those guys scream and yell, at the end of the day they still smile and joke about it and seem to only get closer.”

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tony takes on the ARMY!

Tony Stewart is use to going 180mph at NASCAR tracks throughout the country every weekend, so a vehicle that only goes 45mph wouldn’t scare him. However, that is false because Tony isn’t use to driving around in an Army tank. On Thursday, Tony Stewart and NHRA driver Tony Schumacher spend the day getting the taste of Army life. The two drivers spent the day firing guns, driving tanks, and getting the chance to meet some of the Army’s finest men. Army tank drivers use electronic displays to give them a readout of the terrain. Stewart and Schumacher got the chance to play with those simulators.

“We’re used to looking out a windshield being able to see what’s going on,” Stewart said. “These guys are using monitors and trusting electronics to guide them along. I can’t imagine being a 19-20 year-old kid doing this.”

Tony’s favorite party of the day was sitting in the Humvee simulator. He was the driver-of course. Stewart decided to chase members of Schumacher’s NHRA team across the training course. The chase included a game of chicken. Care to guess who won?

“We didn’t have a head-on collision, which I think was all driver skill there,” Stewart said. “I think we got a little tired of stationary objects so we were going for the advanced training.”

Other Army training included a stop at Fort Knox’s 50-foot rappelling tower. Schumacher quickly challenged Stewart to join him at the top. Getting there was a challenge. Both drivers had to be fitted with the proper equipment: helmets and rope harnesses. Someone joked with Stewart that he “suck it in.”. Without missing a beat, Stewart came back with “I do it every day to get in the car.”

Neither driver was intimidated by the 50-foot drop. Stewart managed to navigate it as quickly as it takes to get around Bristol Motor Speedway. Schumacher said the teamwork showed by the Army soldiers’ helped him overcome his fear of heights.

Rest in Peace Aunt Margie(Crowder)

Margie H. Crowder, age 83, of Tuscaloosa, died March 17, 2009, at home. Graveside services will be 1 p.m. Friday at Tuscaloosa Memorial Park with Dr. Herb Thomas officiating and Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel directing. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the cemetery.

She was preceded in death by her father, Jessie G. Hughes; mother, Venie Smith; sister, Darthey Wigley (Wallace); and brother, Ray Hughes (Noney).

Survivors include her husband, James L. Crowder of Tuscaloosa; daughter, Debbie K. Crowder of Tuscaloosa; son, Jerry L. Crowder (Valerie) of Talladega; sister, Geraldine Townsend of Tuscaloosa; and brothers Robert E. Hughes (Mildred) of Northport, Tommy J. Hughes (Linda) of Raleigh, N.C., and Sammy V. Hughes (Sue) of Tuscaloosa.

Margie retired from BellSouth Telephone Company after 39 years of service, in Wash., New Orleans, La., Birmingham, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa.

Pallbearers will be Bob Hughes, Sammy Hughes, Tommy Hughes, Debbie Crowder, Jerry Crowder, Kyle Baswell and Mike Whitten.

--My Aunt Margie’s passing doesn’t bring tears of sadness, but instead tears of joy. She has been sick for a very long time now. Now she is in heaven and isn’t in pain anymore. She will be missed by everyone who knew her. She was a wonderful woman who loved being around her family and close friends. After reading from the online guest book, she touched a lot of people's lives. Rest in Peace, Aunt Margie! I know you're looking down on us and smiling. You're with God and Uncle Don Ray now. I'm sure you two have a lot of catching up to do.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Red Sox Update!

It seems as if the Josh Bard era in Boston has come to a close for the second time. However, this time he never got the chance to step on the field at Fenway. Earlier today the Red Sox organization officially released the catcher that was brought to Boston to take some of the workload off Jason Varitek. With Bard’s release, George Kottaras will be named the number two catcher for the 2009 Red Sox season.

The two Boston backstops aiming to take the backup catcher role had 14 at bats each during spring training. In Bard’s 14, he hit .429 with 1 homer, 5 RBIs, and a .529 OBP. In Kottaras, the switch hitter hit just .286 with 1 homer, 2 RBIs, and a .375 OBP.

Bard’s numbers were far more impressive then Kottaras’. However, it came down to one thing: catching a knuckleball. Do not count out the possibility that the Sox may look for another catcher to increase their depth via trade.

Red Sox have already announced that Jason Varitek will be the starting catcher for the Red Sox on Opening Day, which is just 18 days away. Yesterday, ‘tek was just one of four Sox to belt a homer against the twins. Joining in on the St. Paddy’s Day fun was Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, and Jason Bay. Red Sox beat the Twins 9-5.

Since coming back from a disappointing exit from the WBC, David Ortiz is 3 for 8 in three games. Two of those hits have landed somewhere outside of the ballpark.

Another great story this spring has been the pitching of Junichi Tazawa from Japan. The right-hander hurled two perfect innings against the Twins yesterday. Tazawa has logged 7 innings this spring giving up just one run on three hits for 1.29 ERA. He is also third among Red Sox pitchers this spring racking up 8 strikeouts. Although he will start the year at Double-A Portland, if he keeps up he will not be there long.

Josh Beckett pitched 4 innings to earn the victory on Tuesday. The ACE did give up three earned runs on six hits, but he managed to pitch his way out of jams to keep the game from going crazy. Beckett now leads the Red Sox pitching rotating in pitching the most innings and his ERA. Since the start of Spring Training, Beckett has pitched 13 innings with a 2.08 ERA.

Like I mentioned on Sunday, Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo had surgery on Tuesday to repair the damage in his right knee. According to Terry Francona, Lugo will NOT be ready to play on Opening Day. Jed Lowrie will be starting shortstop.

"It looks like he’s certainly not going to be ready to start the season," Francona said. "That’s stating the obvious." The recovery process will take anywhere from 3-4 weeks, which sets up Lugo's return for some time in late April.

In my personal opinion, Lowrie should not feel like this starting position was "handed" to him. His numbers speak for themselves. Lowrie has had the third most at bats on the team, and in those 35 at bats, he has hit for a sizzling .429 batting average with 2 HR and 7 RBI. With a strong spring and hopefully an even greater start to the regular season, Lowrie can prove to the organization that he is the man for the job, which could ultimately resort Julio Lugo's role to being a $9 million utility man.

In one of the best finishes yet to be seen in the World Baseball Classic, Team USA stormed back after being down 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Team USA would not have been that close if it weren't for a 2 out solo home run off the bat of Red Sox first baseman, Kevin Youkilis, in the third inning.

"To me, the fan support was the best it's been the whole entire tournament," Youkilis said. "I think that it was unbelievable, the feeling of the 'USA!' chants, and it just actually felt for once that we were the home team, and that was a great sign."

The thrilling three-run comeback in the ninth was capped off with a clutch two-run single by David Wright to move Team USA forward and send Puerto Rico packing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kiss me, I'm Irish!

St. Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá ’le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is the annual feast day that celebrates Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is generally celebrated on March 17th. The first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was organized by the Irish Society of Boston on March 17th, 1737. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in America by Irish and non-Irish alike. Americans celebrate this holiday by wearing green and drinking green beer. The tradition is that if you don’t wear green, you will be pinched.

The longest-running Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in the U.S. are:
Boston, Massachusetts, since 1737
New York City, since 1762 (248th Consecutive Parade in 2009)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, since 1771
Morristown, New Jersey, since 1780
New Orleans, Louisiana, since 1809
Buffalo, New York, since 1811
Savannah, Georgia, since 1813
Carbondale, Pennsylvania, since 1833
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, since 1843
Chicago, Illinois, since 1843
New Haven, Connecticut, since 1845
Saint Paul, Minnesota, since 1851
San Francisco, California, since 1852
Scranton, Pennsylvania, since 1862
Cleveland, Ohio, since 1867
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, since 1869
Kansas City, Missouri, since 1873

Major League Baseball also gets into the St. Paddy’s Day festivities. Even though spring training is during this time, some teams wear Green hats or uniforms. The first team to start the hat trend was the Cincinnati Reds back in 1978. Then in 1990, my Boston Red Sox followed suit. Green Uniforms came into play in the 80s by the Phillies. Nearly every MLB team now produce some form of St. Patrick’s day merchandise: including hats, jerseys, and t-shirts.

How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year? Since I am sick…I’ll be watching the Red Sox-Twins game and trying to catch the parade from Chicago on TV. No green beer for me this year, which stinks!
An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Shalom and amen

He was known for his trademark ending to the prayers he said before every Daytona 500 for 46 years. Rev. Hal Marchman was known to every race car driver and to hundreds of thousands of fans. On Sunday, after fighting years of dementia and memory loss, Rev. Hal Marchman passed away. According to his daughter Anne Marchman-Jones. it was a sudden bout of illness that ended his life. Marchman was a Georgia native who moved to Daytona Beach to run a grocery store after World War II. In 1959, after returning from Seminary school, that Bill France asked Rev. Hal to deliver the invocation before the inaugural Daytona 500. He became the unofficial chaplain through 2004.Robin Braig, president of DIS said on Sunday evening that Hal was a true friend to the speedway and will be missed. After giving the invocation, Hal would always stay at the hospital area to be available for drivers’ families if anyone was hurt. Darrell Waltrip broke into tears when he received the news of Hal’s death. He says he imagines “Marchman in heaven with Bill.” Marchman’s death affected many, but his contributions will live on in the Daytona Beach area. Marchman will always be known in the religious community for inviting divorced people into his congregation, while other spiritual leaders were shocked. In politics, he’ll be remembered as the man who worked hard on important issues such as education, substance abuse treatment, or just encouraging involvement in the community.

God, I ask that you would be with the family of Rev. Hal Marchman. I ask that you grant them peace and comfort in this time of grief. I thank you for Hal's life and for all the work you did through him. May his life story ever be a testimony to your glory. In Jesus' name I pray...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Injuries everywhere for Red Sox.

Boston Red Sox second baseman and 2008 American League MVP, Dustin Pedroia was sent home from Team USA at the World Baseball Classic on Saturday. On Sunday, he spoke to the media and downplayed his injury. He sent out a message to the Red Sox Nation: “Tell them to calm down. We’ll handle this. We’ll be all right.” On Saturday night, Pedroia was examined by team medical director, Dr. Thomas Gill. It was originally believed that Dustin had a strained left oblique, which is a slow healing injury. However, Dr. Gill said it was a strained left abdominal muscle. Red Sox manger said he was encouraged with the diagnosis, sand they they will give him whatever he needs and will let him slowly come back. Everyone at the Boston Red Sox organization was worried it was an oblique and breathed a sigh of relief when they learned it was nothing major.

Pedroia told the media that he tried to swing a bat before the press conference and that he felt some pain. He was told by the hitting coach not to do anything else and to take it easy. Dustin said he wasn’t concerned with the pain but wasn’t sure on when he’d be back and playing. Everyone is taking a cautious approach to the injury. Francona said “We don’t need him on the field for the next 3 or 4 days, so we’ll get him completely healthy and then we’ll get him back on the field.” Since Dustin has left Team USA, he is no longer eligible to play in the World Baseball Classic. Francona and Epstein do not blame the injury on the WBC. They both have said that it could have happened in the batting cages.

However, Pedroia’s double play partner, shortstop Julio Lugo is expected to h ave surgery on his knee Tuesday in Boston. Lugo played one inning in the field against the Yankees on Friday night before being removed from the lineup and sent for an MRI on his right knee. General Manger of the Red Sox, Theo Epstein says that Lugo could have a tear in the meniscus cartilage. Doctors will know how long Lugo will be out once they go in on Tuesday. Usually its 3-4 weeks.

Also sidelined with an injury is Outfield Jonathan Van Every. He has been sidelined since suffering a sprained ankle Thursday against the Cardinals. He is still pretty sore, and bruised. Trainers believe it will be a couple of more days before Van Every is back on the field.

Look on the bright side, at least the injuries are happening now instead of at the start of the season. Plus, the Red Sox beat the Yankees on Friday night. Only 21 more days til Red Sox Opening Day. The Red Sox will be taking on the 2008 American League Champions Tampa Bay Rays. First pitch is at 2:05pm eastern time and can be seen on the MLB Network.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Changes to the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Event

The NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star race will have a different format in May. Yesterday during a press conference at the track, Marcus Smith(President of Lowe’s Motor Speedway) refused to elaborate but said it would be interesting. The main point of the news conference was to promote the 2nd Annual Burnout Contest and to announce that former WWF superstar Ric Flair would be the honorary all-star race director. After the conference, Smith talked very brief about this year’s all-star format. He kept referring to it as a 100-lap event, instead of the traditional 4 25-lap segments. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston refused to comment on the changes. This years event will be televised on SpeedTV and will be on May 16th. This year it is the 25th running of the All-Star event, and will include a free concert for ticket holders before the race with special guests Montgomery Gentry.

As of today here are the drivers racing in the 25th NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star event:
-Ryan Newman
-Carl Edwards
-Kyle Busch
-Jeff Burton
-Denny Hamlin
-Jimmie Johnson
-Clint Bowyer
-Kasey Kahne
-Dale Earnhardt, Jr
-Kurt Busch
-Greg Biffle
-Tony Stewart
-Matt Kenseth
-David Stremme(because of Ryan Newman winning the Daytona 500 last February)
-Casey Mears(because of Clint Bowyer winning at Richmond last May)
-Joey Logano(because of Tony Stewart’s victory at Talladega)
-Jeff Gordon
-Bobby Labonte
-Kevin Harvick
-Mark Martin

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

NASCAR has indefinitely suspended another crew member who was in violation of the substance abuse policy. This is the second time in as many months that a crew member has been suspended. NASCAR officials say the findings confirm the integrity of the sport and its zero tolerance policy.

Ramsey Poston, NASCAR spokesman, said on Wednesday “We made a good program even better, and what it shows is everyone is going to be tested. And it removes all doubts that the competitors at the track are clean.”

John Boyd, crew member of the 23 Nationwide Series team, will now join Paul Chodora, a former Sprint Cup Series crew member, as the first two people to test positive under the new and improved policy.

Both crew guys were apart of the mandatory testing for all drivers, crews, and officials during the season opening Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway last month. However, Poston said Boyd’s drug test results weren’t confirmed until this week.

Under the new NASCAR policy everyone is required to take part in the massive preseason drug test and then a series of random tests will be held during the each race weekend. Names of the ones participating in the weekly tests will be generated by a computer system. So far, no one has been found in violation of the random tests.

Before this new policy, NASCAR would test based on a reasonable suspicion with no formal format. However, last year when Aaron Fike(a former Camping World Truck Series driver) was arrested and told NASCAR that he had competed in a 2007 race while under the influence of heroin. This raised a few eyebrows and got some of the biggest names in the sport to take a stand. Kevin Harvick, who owned the truck Aaron drove that race, was shocked. He had no clue and was really embarrassed.

Seven drivers have been suspended since 2000, but only four were found through the previous random testing policy.

“When you put it into perspective and look at the thousands of people we’ve tested, this confirms that the sport is extremely clean in terms of substance abuse and we’re very proud of if. This is a very small percentage.”

This brings me to my question:
With NASCAR having the new policy, how many more do you think will be suspended this '09 season? Certain drugs stay in your system for a while. However, do you think with the suspension of 2 crew members already, have the other guys been scared and will straighten up?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What is a SOXASM!

You know that feeling you get when Ortiz hit’s a grand slam in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs and the bases loaded, or when we get a hit off Marino Rivera, or how about when your team wins the World Series?

If your familiar with any of these feelings then you’ve experienced a SOXASM. It’s a natural high that has no better word then that…SOXASM

So, now that we know what that means…how about we get into the symptoms of having one:

-Jumping Up and Down
-Hugging friends and even strangers
-Standing in awe!
-Rapid Heartbeat
-Feeling a release of anxiety

Ok, now that we all confirm having one…how about we spread the word.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Barbie.

Barbara Millicent Roberts debuted at the American Toy Fair in New York on this day in 1959. Her creator, Ruth Handler, guided her production into toy history. Millions of Barbie dolls have been sold and she continues her prominence in spite of ambitious competitors in the fashion doll arena.

Barbie has changed tremendously since her inception. Well, her inception, which is down played, is actually the Bild Lilli doll that Handler brought over to the States from Germany.

The original ponytail Barbie in that black-and-white striped swimsuit has transformed to represent different ethnicities, different countries and had many different careers. Barbie has even run for President of the United States.

Barbie has accomplished a lot in her 50 short years on the planet. As her legend continues, it’s crucial that little girls understand that Barbie’s message is more about her accomplishments --- teacher, astronaut, CEO, physician, businesswoman, paleontologist, Marine, veterinarian, prima ballerina, etc. --- than her measurements.

She’s also represented countries around the world and has even promoted learning sign language and understanding people who are wheelchair-bound before it was politically correct.

Barbie’s first fifty years have been awesome; wonder what’s in store for her next fifty years?

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lawmaker Wants to Ban Barbie Dolls

West Virginia Lawmaker Wants to Ban Barbie Dolls

So Barbie has always been a big deal.

I remember some years ago, some lady got upset that her daughter thought Barbie was prettier than her.

And now a lawmaker from West Virginia, the state that contains the fattest city in America, as well as the city that consumes the least amount of rice, but the most amount of Mt. Dew, is trying to tell us that "such toys influence girls to place too much importance on physical beauty, at the expense of their intellectual and emotional development."

"I just hate the image that we give to our kids that if you're beautiful, you're beautiful and you don't have to be smart," said Del. Jeff Eldridge, (D) Lincoln County (which is about 20 minutes from Huntington).

"I think that there are other ways to promote confidence and instill values in your daughters other than the toys that they play with," said Smith. "I don't have a problem with Barbie."

What do you think about Barbie? Do toys like Barbie and the Bratz dolls promote an unhealthy image of beauty? Should we look at toys as role models?

Read more about this: Article 1, Article 2

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It's Kurt's turn now!

Kurt Busch drove to a dominating victory today at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He led 234 of the 330 in the Kobalt Tools 500. Busch, driver of the #2 Miller Light Dodge, survived a couple of scrapes with the wall and a late caution. His margin of victory was only 0.332 seconds over Jeff Gordon. Mark Martin, who had the pole for the race, had another disappointing day. He cut a tire, smashed into the wall, and finished 31st and 14 laps down. Want to know how dominating Kurt was today? He led more laps today then he did all of last season. For his victory lap, he got the checkered flag and drove background around the 1.54-mile quad-oval. In Victory Lane Kurt said “This car was unbelievable. I guess good things come to those who wait.” If that’s the case, maybe Jeff Gordon will get his victory soon. He hasn’t won since 2007. However, he is still on top of the Sprint Cup standings after another strong run. The most dramatic moment of the day came on lap 67 when a tire rolled away from Marcos Ambrose’s pit box and Jimmy Watts, gas man, took off after it. He ran halfway onto the grass to retrieve it causing NASCAR officials to throw a yellow flag and toss Watts out of the pits for the rest of the race. There were no serious wrecks today. The first multi car clash didn’t come until 204 when Sam Jr lost control into turn 2 and collected Bill Elliott. It was a very tough day for the locals. Reed Sorenson, from Peachtree City, spun on the second lap of the race and finished 33rd, completing just 264 laps. Martin Truex, Jr was back behind the wheel just a day after being taken to the ER with kidney stones. Martin Jr passed the stone late last night and drove to a solid 10th place finish. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off next week. They race again on 3-22 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Top 10:
1. Kurt Busch
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Carl Edwards
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Brian Vickers
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Kasey Kahne
8. Tony Stewart
9. Jimmie Johnson
10. Martin Truex, Jr

Other noteables:
11. Dale Jr
13. Denny Hamlin
18. Kyle Busch
30. Joey Logano

Another stat of the day: 13 lead changes among 8 drivers and 11 caution flags for 54 laps.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Kyle Busch Wins Again.

Kyle Busch, the 23 year old star, won his second straight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race today. He held off Kevin Harvick, driver of the #2 Charter Chevrolet, on the final lap at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Busch started from the pole for the American Commercial Lines 200, and was dominate in the early part of the race. Kyle has won the last two races, adding to his victory at California two weeks ago. Kyle has been REALLY dominate at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He has won 4 of his last 5 truck starts. After the win, Kyle was quoted as saying "The truck was not great, but good." So far this season, Kyle has won at every NASCAR venue. He captured one of the qualifying races at Daytona, took first in both the Nationwide and truck series races at California, and picked up his first Sprint Cup win of the 2009 season last weekend at Las Vegas. Now you can add Atlanta Motor Speedway to the ever growing list. When the media informed Kyle of his 2009 stats so far, he said “That’s pretty cool. Definitely the best time of your life is to win a race, so this is pretty awesome. It’s just having good equipment, the guys being smart enough to work on it and me being smart enough to know when to race and when not to race. It’s awesome to win at every venue so far. I can dream of winning at every single one of them to make it 36, but I don’t see that happening. It’s awfully tough to win in this sport.” Kyle Busch's victory was a bit of good news for his truck owner, Billy Ballew, who on Wednesday night was arrested for drunk driving on the speedway grounds. Kyle Busch refused to comment on this issue. The next race for the Camping World Truck Series is the KROGER 250 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. The race will start at 2pm eastern time on Fox.

--Here Daniel, I hope you're happy :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mark Martin wins pole for Kobalt Tools 500

Mark Martin, driver of the #5 Kellogg’s Chevy Impala for Hendrick Motorsports, claimed the pole for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday night. This is the first pole for Martin since Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway. The 50 year old qualified with a speed of 187.045 mph. Martin is the 2nd oldest pole winner ever [Harry Gant was is the oldest at 54 years, 7 months] This was his 42nd career pole. Kurt Busch will start from the outside of the front row for the 2nd time in 2 weeks. Forty seven drivers took part in qualifying for Sunday’s race. Todd Bodine, Scott Riggs, Jeremy Mayfield and Geoff Bodine failed to make the 43-car field.

Rounding out the Top 10:

Points leader, #24-Gordon will start 16th and #88-Earnhardt Jr. will start 20th. Green flag for the Kobalt Tools 500 is at 2:15pm eastern time on Fox.


No, this isn't how much a Powerball ticket is worth this weekend. It is the number of people who are unemployed in this country as of last month. 651,000 jobs were cut in February. Continuing a steep drop that raised the country's unemployment rate to 8.1 percent, the highest its been since 1983. Since December 2007, 4.4 million people have lost a job.

12.5 million is more than the number of:
- people watching ABC's "Lost" this season
- women attending college
- male scientists and engineers
- Americans who grow herbs
- people who played tackle football in the past year.

Companies eliminating jobs since February include:
Construction companies eliminated 104,000 jobs
Factories cut 168,000 jobs
Retailers sliced nearly 40,000
Professional and Business services got rid of 180,000
Financial companies reduced payrolls by 44,000
Leisure and hospitality firms chopped 33,000 positions

Government and Health Care Service jobs have seen a big boost in employees.

--Looking at these numbers and facts, I've noticed that I am one of them. I am currently without a job because I was one of those Construction workers that got laid off. It stinks! I can't collect unemployment because I was paid under the table. So here I am almost 25 years old and unable to find a job because no one will hire an Orthopedic Tech without experience. I keep filling out applications and sending my resume to different companies but never hear anything back. It's a depressing time right now. I hate having to ask for handouts and for help. All I really need is prayer and the strength not to get too sick and worried over this. There are plenty of people in this country who have a family to support, and are without work. My thoughts are with them! Hopefully this recession will end soon. Obama said he'd help! He better get on it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Love and Passion

The first time I met you,
I know what I wanted to do;
To be with you, forever.
You gave me your heart,
And I'll always keep it safe.
Every time you look at me,
My heart feels really different;
Love and passion!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Just $5 Million

Unless you're a bear and have been hibernating in a cave all winter long, you've at least heard that the Los Angeles Dodgers have been hot on Manny's trail since the final out of the National League Championship Series.

With just about a month remaining until the Major League season is set to begin, Manny Ramirez and his agent, Scott Boras, have finally agreed to terms with the Dodgers on a 2-year, $45 million deal.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, only a physical stands in the way of the completion of Ramirez returning to Dodger blue.

While the fans are thrilled out west at the news of Manny's return, some fans back home in Boston are less than thrilled, and more so, soured. There will be some fans that could care less what Manny does for the rest of his career, but then there are fans like me that keep an eye on Ramirez from afar.

It's almost like an ex-girlfriend. Boston fans had a great relationship for seven and a half seasons. We had many ups, but we certainly had our downs. From MVP-like numbers to exciting finishes, from World Series rings to World Series MVP's, Ramirez gave us something to root for every single time he took the field.

When things ended for Ramirez in Boston, as abruptly and ridiculous as they did, fans felt as if though Manny Ramirez had turned his back on them. It was a feeling similar to a breakup with a longtime lover. Manny's demise here in Boston was well thought out, all with one reason in mind, more money.

If Ramirez could escape his contract with Boston, in which he had two $20 million options remaining for 2009 and 2010, his agent, Scott Boras, most likely led Ramirez to believe that there would be a 4-year, $100 million offer waiting for him in the off-season if his numbers met the asking price.

Manny split for Hollywood where the slugger hit .396 with 17 home runs, while averaging an RBI a game after driving in 53 runs in 53 games for LA. Certainly these numbers opened many eyes throughout the baseball world, but most eyes remained reluctant to tamper with the risky and unreliable outfielder.

Leaving $40 million on the table in Boston, Ramirez entered a free agent market that had all the potential in the world of making him a $100 million man, if he had any business being a free agent market in the first place. Not honoring the contract that he signed with the Red Sox back in December of 2000 arguably cost Ramirez the contract in which he and his agent were in search of.

Boston fans feel like we were wronged, and rightfully so. The Red Sox didn't trade Manny Ramirez to make the team better, they traded Ramirez because there was no other option. In the end, Manny got what he had comin' to 'em. The right-hander flopped on his team and the fan's that worshiped the ground that he walked on for almost a decade, and for what? Five million dollars.

Say it with me now, five...million...dollars. This may seem like a lot to you or me, but $5 million is a vacation deposit to Manny Ramirez. After agreeing to terms with the Dodgers on a $45 million deal, $5 million more than what he would have made with his pair of $20 million options here in Boston, Red Sox fans have every right to have their jaws hanging low.

You mean to tell me that he couldn't have gathered up $5 million between the money you are rewarded for making the All Star team, potentially winning a World Series and endorsements? The thought is almost ridiculous, but we've all since moved on. Ramirez is no longer our problem, but the aftereffects of the trade still linger as a bitter taste in our mouthes to this day. Hopefully this contract will teach Ramirez the lesson that he needed to learn.

But don't let my opinion speak for the entire fanbase. There are some fans that have said, "Good riddance" from the second he left town, then there are fans like me that are still in awe that a player like Manny Ramirez could have done what he did to a Nation of fans that gave him everything he ever could have asked for. Regardless of which category you may fall into, today, in my opinion, finally puts an end to the end of Manny Ramirez in Boston. I was interested to see exactly how much more he would made elsewhere, instead of here in Boston.

The answer: just $5 million.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Déjà Drew

In the middle of February, manager Terry Francona was quoted as saying, "He said he feels fine and he’s ready to go. That’s really all I can tell you," when asked about his starting right fielder, JD Drew.

While Francona refrained from sounding too alarmed with his words, he kept the same mindset on Tuesday when the The Boston Globe caught up with the manager to get his thoughts after word had gotten out that Drew boarded a plane to Boston. Once in Boston, the outfielder was given an injection in his back that was earlier described as “fine”.

Still being careful with his words, Francona told the media that, "The reason we did it was kind of -- I want to explain this right -- kind of precautionary.

Francona elaborated by saying, "We have some time right now because it's so early in March, and J.D., through getting looked at by some different people, though this could be a benefit to him. If it worked, we think we thought OK, good. If it didn't seem to do anything, OK, well it's March 3 or March 2. I just think we kind of did to, if we run into a problem later this year, maybe we know a little bit quicker where to go.

Drew is scheduled to return with the team by tomorrow and will be set to take batting practice on Thursday, before being inserted in the lineup this Friday.

To add the to list of misconstrued quotes, let’s talk about how Brad Penny told us, “I feel 100 percent.” Pitchers at 100% normally don’t have to cut their bullpen sessions short due to “shoulder fatigue.

This past Sunday, Brad Penny did not complete his scheduled bullpen session due to soreness in his shoulder. Penny was on schedule to be making his first start of Spring Training this Thursday, however, it looks as if though that start is quite unrealistic.

"I don’t think the shoulder strength was quite where it needed to be yet for the work load I was doing," Penny told WEEI. com. "It’s better to take it easy right now than to get out there in the first week of April and have it flare up on me. I’m just stay on the shoulder program, play catch and try to get my shoulder strength to where I need it to be.

The Boston Herald is reporting that Julio Lugo will be scratched from the lineup on Tuesday due to food poisoning, though he is expected to return to action this Thursday.
Sounds like Jed Lowrie got to the Red Sox’ cafeteria way before Lugo, huh? (joking)

The Red Sox pitching staff remains as being the strongpoint this spring. On Sunday, Josh Beckett made his first start—that wasn’t against College kids—against the Minnesota Twins. Beckett, once again, hurled two perfect innings. The Boston ace has yet to give up a hit or walk a batter in his four innings of work down in Fort Myers.

With Brad Penny’s health now in question, Justin Masterson is getting the same workload that starters are this spring, as opposed to relievers. On Monday, Masterson threw two scoreless innings to keep his spring ERA at 0.00. While the Red Sox would likely prefer having Masterson setting up Jonathan Papelbon in the eighth inning, the shoulder of Brad Penny could lead to the Red Sox needing some help in the rotation. Boston will more than likely insert Masterson into the rotation before Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden.

If, however, Penny can rebound and remain healthy enough to stay in the rotation, the Red Sox bullpen would be stacked.

With an array of right-handed and left-handed pitching that can get both right-handed and left-handed hitters out, the Sox’ bullpen has the potential to be the most devastating force to close out a ballgame in all of baseball. With the likes of Manny Delcarmen, Javier Lopez and Hideki Okajima in the earlier innings, your options only get juicier as the game gets closer to the ninth. Takashi Saito, (my personal favorite) Ramon Ramirez, and Justin Masterson to patrol the eighth, all with one goal in mind; get the ball with the lead to Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth.

Keeping up with old friends:

Pedro Martinez, now 37-years-old, is now nine years removed from the season in which he capped off his second straight year of winning a Cy Young award here in Boston. With the New York Mets seemingly geared up and ready to go as far as pitching is concerned, the three-time Cy Young award winner is without a job.

In his prime, his fastball clocked consistently around 95-97 MPH. Now? Not so much. Martinez has expressed that if he is to play in the Majors next season, it will most likely be in the National League. His reasoning? He has already won a World Series with an American League team. Pedro, I love you and all, but we all know that your reasoning is because the American League offense is way tougher than the National League.

When asked if returning to Queens was out of the question, Martinez responded by saying, "I don’t know really.

The eight-time All Star elaborated, "The season hasn’t started. I’m not really worried about what they do. I’m just getting ready. For sure I’ll be ready. If I’m healthy, anybody would have a bargain—if I’m healthy. If I’m not, well, I’ll go home fishing. My boat is waiting for me.

Speaking of former Red Sox All Stars with questionable health issues, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that our old pal, Nomah Garciaparra, is close to signing a deal with the Oakland A’s. Garciaparra’s role would consist of being a utility infielder to back up both first and third base, while getting some extra at bats at the DH position.

If the one-year deal gets signed, Garciaparra will join former Red Sox shortstop, Orlando Cabrera, out in Oakland. Cabrera was brought on board on Monday as the team’s primary shortstop and it will be the very first time that Garciaparra has played on the same team as the man that he was traded for back in July of 2004. Certainly Red Sox fans wish the best of luck to them both out west.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

It was March 2nd, 1904 that Theodor Seuss Geisel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Today we pay tribute to Dr. Seuss' 105th birthday.

While most commonly known for his children's books (he wrote over 60 of them), “Dr.” Seuss was both the editor-in-chief of the college newspaper and also drew more than 400 political cartoons in two years for a New York daily newspaper. It was as a college student at Dartmouth that he started signing his work “Seuss.” Once he graduated, he started signing his work as “Dr. Seuss” when submitting it to a humor magazine. After marrying, he continued to write humor and illustrate. When World War II started, he began his political cartooning. Eventually he designed and illustrated posters to support the war effort, and joined the U.S. Army where he was the leader of the animation department.

Still, it was his children's books that have helped beginning readers and have been enjoyed by families for several generations.

What's your favorite Dr. Seuss title?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

1st day of March brings SNOW!

Gotta represent for the JR Nation!

Ron's Tractor.

The woods covered in snow. Such a gorgeous sight!

Tiki torch in the snow. Hehe!

Fozzie is really enjoying the snow.

I’ve been wanting some snow for a while, and boy did I get a great surprise this morning.

Tuscaloosa was blanketed with between 2 and 4 inches of snow on Sunday morning, the highest snowfall total in the city since 2000. James Spann says it started snowing in Tuscaloosa at about 2am, and stopped about 11am.

Around 5:30am, I heard the wind blowing and had to turn on the tv. What do I see? WHITE on the radar! I was happier than a Make a Wish Kid at Disney. So I decide to bundle up and sneak outside the front door so I could be the first person in this house to see the snow. It was so pretty. It was still dark out and the snow was falling very hard. About an hour later, my sister and TK woke up. The three of us had to go outside and throw snowballs at each other. Been a while since I’ve been involved in a snowball fight. Since TK lives in Mobile, he hasn't seen snow since he was in the 3rd grade(he is 21 now).

Around 9:30, mom decided to cook some breakfast so we all sat around the kitchen table and enjoyed the snow. This is exactly the kind of snow I like. It started, gave us time to play, and now it is almost gone. You can look our my back door and not see anything, but we still have a lot of patches of white in the front yard.