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Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz at Fenway

Fans at Fenway Park had the opportunity to see Pedro Martinez, one of the greatest pitchers not only in Red Sox history, but in Baseball history get his number 45 retired during a pre-game ceremony Tuesday night. The event took place just prior to the Red Sox facing the Chicago White Sox.

The recent Hall of Fame Inductee was honored at the ballpark and fans were given a miniature Hall of Fame plaque detailing some of his career statistics as well as player history. During the event a video highlight was shown on the jumbotron giving fans, players, and coaches a chance to admire Pedro’s supremacy on the mound and his charisma in the dugout and clubhouse. The video also featured Martinez career stats, which got the crowd roaring before he even took the field. So many of the numbers are staggering however a few that got a rise out of those spectating included the following: The 313 strikeouts in 1999, which was Pedro’s single-season career-high and a Sox franchise record. His 1.74 ERA in 2000, which was ridiculous, keeping in mind the juiced-up players he was fanning on a nightly basis. Then, last but not least, the .760 winning percentage (117-37) with the Red Sox between 1998-2004, best in the majors in that time span.

Martinez, accompanied by his wife and children, waited excitedly as Red Sox legends came out to congratulate him on his accomplishments. It all started with a video message from Nomar Garciaparra, who recalled being inducted into the Latino Hall of Fame with Martinez, he was asked to use two words to describe the sensational ace and said, ‘The Best,” which may simply be the most accurate description.

The ceremony was led by the voice of the Red Sox, Joe Castiglione, who called on Sox greats such as Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Dennis Eckersley, and Carlton Fisk to present Pedro with gifts and memorabilia. One unique gift was a bronze mold, covered in gold, of Pedro’s huge hands and freakishly long fingers. It was, after all, these fingers that allowed him to force righties out of the batters box, waving at that up and in, high-rising fastball and then make most who faced him look foolish with a one of a kind change up. Martinez was also presented with a laptop computer full of video highlights of his career from teammates Curt Schilling, Trot Nixon and Orlando Cabrera. A special thank you and a call to review ‘El Tiante’ Luis Tiant all-time numbers for further accolades was made by Pedro during his speech. He also thanked former Expos manager Felipe Alou as well as Ralph Avila, the scout who first discovered Martinez at a young age in the Dominican Republic. Sox favorite Tim Wakefield made an appearance and presented the Martinez family with a donation to his charity. Pedro also took time for heartfelt gratitude aimed at all the fans in Red Sox Nation.

It was David Ortiz that set in motion the unveiling of #45, which will now forever be a part of Fenway Park and the Red Sox organization and never again be worn by a Sox player. Ortiz spoke to the Fenway Faithful to address Pedro’s amazing career but also his genuine personality that New England came to fall in love with during his time in Boston.

Before Martinez could finish his speech, he brought out his catcher Jason Varitek to share the moment with him calling it “his moment, too.” This was apparently off script as Varitek was to come out for the first pitch, to this Martinez said, “Hey, this is Pedro,” and, much to the delight of the crowd, referred to the celebration as “my party.” The Hall of Fame pitcher took the mound for the final time in front of a standing ovation as he threw out the first pitch, high and tight of course, to his battery-mate Varitek.

In Pedro’s career he was voted onto eight All-Star teams, and won three Cy Young Awards while piling up 3,154 strikeouts, 219 wins, and a 2.93 career ERA. Pedro recently received 91.1 percent of the vote to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining this years class of baseball legends. Whether it was blowing away the side or taping a player to a post in the dugout, Martinez was as integral a part of the Red Sox as there was at the turn of the millennium. Pedro dazzled all those who watched him with his electric fastball, majestic change-up and infectious smile. His dominance as a pitcher and his leadership in the clubhouse helped Boston reverse the curse and win the 2004 World Series. Pedro’s role on that team, and the greatness of his Red Sox career will never be forgotten, and now remembering is just as easy as turning your head toward right field.

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Price waits for Ortiz to touch 'em all (Jim Davis/Boston Globe)

The 2015 season has highlighted the harsh reality of the Red Sox pitching staff: it lacks an Ace, or really any time of frontline starter. This is the need that Ben Cherington seriously needs to address in the immediate future, either at the trade deadline or in the offseason. There is absolutely no way the Red Sox can expect to contend in 2016 if they still have anything resembling their pitching staff in 2015. Several options exist to make that reshaping a reality, though some options are better than others.

There have been rumors over the last year and a half of a potential deal for Phillies lefty Cole Hamels, but it now seems that he is likely off the table for the Red Sox. Despite their insistence that they are contenders, the Tigers have been allegedly considering a trade of David Price before he hits free agency after the season. Some have speculated that Price would be a good target for the Red Sox, assuming they could keep him beyond the 2015 season. Price is a very good pitcher, but he is not a match for the Red Sox and should not be pursued under any circumstances.

Continue reading (David) Price is Wrong for Red Sox »

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Brock Holt could be moved before the trade deadline. (Photo Courtesy of the Boston Herald)

With the trade deadline action in full force, the Red Sox need to take a serious look at the players on their roster and their roles in the 2016 season. Shane Victorino was the first Sox player to be dealt, but there are more moves to be made in order to best develop a functioning team for the spring.

While flexibility is a great tool for any team, opportunities exist for Boston to deal All-Star utility player Brock Holt to a contending team. Holt can fit on any roster, and with the Royals taking Ben Zobrist off the market, the only similar trade option is Martin Prado. The Sox could attempt to capitalize on this unique market by exchanging the 27-year-old for a low-level prospect, which may be a better move long term. Continue reading Small Deals Can Make a Big Impact on the Red Sox »

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In a surprising move, Robert Kraft stepped to the podium before coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday and came out strong against  a league office that he believes unfairly punished his team as well as Tom Brady. When Belichick stepped to the podium, he deflected all questions related to ball deflation or Brady, saying that he was on to training camp. Video of Kraft in full is below as well as Belichick deflecting Brady questions.


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Tom Brady is the obvious choice to wrap the five most important Patriots heading into training camp series. The quarterback is entering this season amid something he has never dealt with before, a swirl of controversy. He is currently under a four game suspension and will sue the league in Federal Court to attempt to get the suspension wiped out. Even if he is exonerated in court and plays all 16 games, this story will not leave him anytime soon.

If he does have to serve any time. focus will switch to second year back-up and potential Brady heir Jimmy Garoppolo. If that situation occurs, Brady will have to help prepare Garoppolo while also coming to terms with the fact that he is guilty in the court and public’s eyes and will have to miss time. Brady is also cognizant of how he got his job in the first place, replacing a quarterback who could not play when Drew Bledsoe was injured in 2001.

Brady will have to deal with all this while also attempting to lead his team to a repeat as Super Bowl Champions. He also no longer has Shane Vereen or Stevan Ridley as well as a question mark at left guard. He is also one year older and not far removed from the September 2014 talk of his physical and performance decline. Of any quarterback in league history, Brady has done the most with less. However, 2015 will be his biggest test.

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I’m firm on this — if Tom Brady is unsuccessful in battling his ridiculous suspension in federal court, which may mean he won’t be in Gillette Stadium for the NFL opener. If that’s the case, then #NoBradyNoBanner!



Head coach Bill Belichick is always essential to the Patriots success, but the 2015 training camp will provide him with potential challenges that are beyond the norm. First, his team is fresh off a Super Bowl win in 2014 and will have to remain hungry and focused as the rest of the league is now working to take them off the top of the NFL mountain. Second, he still does not know which quarterback will start opening night and unlike other teams with that issue, this is not by design. Belichick has the best quarterback of all time on his roster, but as of now will not have him in September. He also has a defense with some major changes and an interior offensive line that is not quite figured out yet.

Belichick has always been a master as keeping his teams focused and turning any slight, real or perceived, into a mountain of motivation. The 2015 training camp will be a busy one for the hall of fame coach, as all the moving parts mentioned above will need to be squared away before the Thursday night opener against the Steelers. As of now, it looks like the NFL is going to uphold Tom Brady’s suspension (via ESPN), which will likely mean a court battle. This added distraction will be unlike a Belichick coached team has faced in a season. Although the Patriots fought through controversy in 2007 and 2013, they did not have their best player suing the league with a potential suspension hanging over his head.

If not handled properly, any one of the issues above could cost the Patriots games this season. There is little doubt that of all NFL coaches, Belichick is most likely to handle these situations well. The intriguing part of the 2015 training camp is that Belichick not only has coaching challenges (secondary, offensive guard), but major mental and off the field challenges as well.

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