Happy New Year to our readers. While Yankee fans exult over this free agent season, Boston fans aren't exactly breaking out the champagne.
As promised, from the shadows of Fenway Park, here's Red Sox fan Bob Ekstrom's take on the Mark Teixeira signing:
After a Christmas week crushed under the carbon footprint of my visiting daughter and the gold thumbs of Hal & Hank Steinbrenner, yesterday was a good day. I got my daughter to the airport and the Red Sox finally signed a couple of free agents, so I've survived the holidays, albeit a little worse for the wear.
Waiting for 30-minute showers and $180-million contract talk to end can try even the most patient of father and fan, but the days when I was either are over. That bubble popped three years ago when I stood knee-deep in the wrapping paper remnants of my daughter's Christmas list, numbed to this paternal joy by the recent defection of Johnny Damon.
So there I was again this Christmas, seated in a hard wooden pew at morning service befuddled as to how Yawkey Way got jujitsued out of Mark Teixeira. The sermon was reveling in the purity of this day and urged us all to fight its exploitation by the forces of greed. Suddenly, its words shone brighter than my downstairs after my daughter got up for a snack in the middle of the night: the Yankees are killing Christmas and should be cast into Gehenna where there will be much wailing and grinding of teeth.
I'm sorry, Lisa, but if you prefer we drop the 'Evil' when referencing The Empire, you must first stop sabotaging our traditional New England Christmases. It's not enough for you to sign the winter's top three free agents. No, you have to grab the last just two days before Christmas. You've taken Whoville's toys, our ornaments, and now, with the Teixeira signing, our rare Who roast beast under the cloak of night.
Everyone knows Johnny Damon wasn't worth $52 million; signing the iconic idiot was just for the mantelpiece. Teixeira is another matter. He offers considerable worth to both teams, and Theo Epstein's inertia here is inexcusable. Theo fell in line with all those pundits lulled into complacency by Yankee smokescreens, and the whole band of them were sent wandering around December like Spinal Tap looking for the stage in Cleveland.
Maybe The Empire has had the better this offseason, but as long as there are Whos gathered round the tree on a barren Christmas morning, so too can Red Sox Nation rebound. And we have with the inking of Brad Penny and Josh Bard.
That's right . . . Penny and Bard.
Although he doesn't have the potential of an A.J. Burnett, it's even money that a healthy Penny will perform as well as Burnett for one year, making him a low cost countermeasure to the Yankee signing. Besides, as ERA goes, 6.27 is the new 3.75. He's also hit .231 over the last two seasons, making it easier to bring back Jason Varitek. Every fifth day, Francona can DH in the catcher's slot to avail himself of Penny's more potent bat.
Speaking of which, we now know how Theo could non-tender back-up catcher Kevin Cash, where those hairy green Empire fingers dropped from the fireplace to snatch him like some crumb too small for a mouse. Good friend Josh Bard - who was run out of town in 2006 after allowing ten passed balls in seven appearances with Tim Wakefield - is back again. It's not every day a catcher is pursued for his ability to play balls off the wall.
So pause, Evil Empire. Put your hand to your ear and hear the sound rising over the snow. The sound sounds merry, though it couldn't be so.
It's the song of Red Sox Nation, happy with the bare tree we stand around, hand in hand, celebrating our coupon-clipping GM.
Fah who for-aze! Dah who dor-aze!
To read Ekstrom's previous Subway Squawkers Hot Stove dispatch, click here.
What do you think? Leave us a comment! And have a happy - and safe - new year!