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Wagner Joins Red Sox, Big Papi Back to Hitting Walk-Offs

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A weekly column taking a look at the sports stories that left us asking the question, “did that just happen?”
In no particular order…

Billy Wagner is traded to the Red Sox

Despite all of the debate this was potentially going to cause, apparently the Red Sox management thought it was worth it to trade for Billy Wagner and use him as a set-up man. Of course, this possibly means that we should prepare ourselves for fireworks or a tussle in the bullpen – Papelbon is known for getting over-excited about certain things, and he can’t be pleased that anyone is even thinking about taking away his position as a closer.

With Wagner in the mix, Sox release Brad Penny

So if the Red Sox wanted to play Billy Wagner before Sept. 1 before the rosters expand (if they want Wagner to play in the playoffs, he needs to be on the active roster before that time), the Red Sox needed to release someone to make room. With Tim Wakefield back in the starting rotation and pitching well, the Red Sox parted ways with the slumping Bad Penny (that’s not a misspelling). He was pretty decent in the first half but has fallen off a cliff since then with just one win in his last 11 starts. Rumor has it that three NL teams are interested in Penny…and who knows, he’ll probably pitch better than John Smoltz did in his first outing with the Cardinals. Speaking of which…

The Red Sox are finally rid of Smoltz, but he notches a win with the Cardinals

We all know what Red Sox Nation thinks of curses, and I might be ready to throw this in there with the rest of them – as soon as we get rid of Smoltz he pitches his best game of the season? It’s either luck, a curse, or he was too damn stubborn and tried to make it a point to be absolutely awful on behalf of the Sox. I leave the choice up to you.

Jim Rice calls MLB players “bad influences,” then tries to deny it

So Jim Rice was never great with the media, and this latest faux-pas proves it – Rice spoke out and named Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter as being bad influences for kids. Oh, but when he realized that didn’t go over so well with the general public, he told everyone that he was “misquoted.” Funny, he didn’t seem to mention the whole scandal regarding David Ortiz – apparently being called out on steroid usage doesn’t make you a “bad influence” when you’re a current member of the Red Sox.

Big Papi hits his first walk-off homer since 2007

No kidding. Watching this, I couldn’t remember the last time I saw the Red Sox walk-off a game; funny how just a few years ago it seemed so routine, while now it’s something I want to DVR and watch again (Ok, maybe not – it wasn’t like it was a playoff game or anything). Nevertheless I couldn’t believe it, but I’m glad David Ortiz is finally back to saving games.

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