July 29, 2008
6-Pack Analysis: Todd Benzinger Edition
Lately i've been thinking of old Red Sox alums. Guys like Jody Reed (he always appeared abnormally sweaty on his cards), Ellis Burks, Glenn Hoffman, and Todd Benzinger. Burks was always my favorite, and it deeply saddened me the day he left as a free agent. But I can see why he left.
Boston's a funny place to watch sports. Maybe I should rephrase that. The dynamic of sport in Boston is funny to follow. Baseball has always been a soap opera here, from Ted Williams feuding with the writers, to Buddy LeRoux failing to send Carlton Fisk his contract, to the seven-year Manny Ramirez trade rumor, every game is analyzed as if it were part of postseason play, every players scrutinized for every at-bat, every throw, and every bullpen session thrown.
And I'm not just talking about the writers or talk radio. I'm talking about every fan. Even those who are not fans knows someone who lives and dies with the fate of the Red Sox. And if it's not the Red Sox, then it's the Bruins. Or the Celtics. Or the Patriots. And don't forget the Revolution. And we haven't even gotten to college sports yet.
Watching games in a pressure-cooker atmosphere is not for the faint of heart, and I can only imagine how the players feel. Every game is the biggest game of the year. At least players can keep an outsider's perspective. They can call their families in other cities around the country (and the world) and share a laugh over the crazed attitudes of rabid New Englanders.
It's not surprising when a player like Manny Ramirez decides he wants out. Especially a player who's lambasted daily by one Dan Shaughnessy (as a side note, Shaughnessy is the only one of his generation of name sportswriters at The Boston Globe not to land a job on a major television network. Jackie MacMullan, Bob Ryan, Will McDonough, and Peter Gammons have all gained (or did gain, in McDonough's case) national prominence as a national network television sports analyst. And yes, I'm counting ESPN as a national network.), he of Curse of the Bambino fame (I believe Shaughnessy also helped coin the now ubiquitous term 'Red Sox Nation').
So it's funny that I've been thinking of those old Red Sox, because as I opened Pack 5, I got a card of Todd Benzinger Incarnate.
Jeremy Bonderman That's a six-syllable name, for those of you counting at home, and the first of two white guys with long last names to start the pack.
Chad Billingsley I hope Chad's first name is really Chaddington. That would make my day.
Carlos Lee So much for the streak of white guys with long names. We'll have to start a new streak, this one of All-Stars named Carlos.
Carlos Guillen Current streak alive at two, which in itself is impressive. I had a 2 in 399 chance of getting an All-Star Carlos. It's too bad I already got Beltran in another pack; I could've pulled the trifecta.
Mini World Leaders: Mirek Topolanek, Czech Republic What kind of card back is this? I don't even get Topolanek's career highlights? Boo!
Matt Holliday/Oklahoma How many more years before the Mantle comparisons come out? I mean, the fact that Matt Holliday is from Oklahoma pretty much cements that it will happen eventually, right?
Nyjer Morgan The name 'Njer' comes from the Latin 'Nyjerious' or 'to languish on a team that itself belongs in Triple AAA.'
Clayton Kershaw Todd Benzinger is Alive and Well and Pitching in Los Angeles.
Pack 5 Success Rate: 50% (4/8)
Good: Holliday, Guillen, Lee, Topolanek
Bad: Billingsley, Morgan, Bonderman
Look for Pack 6 tomorrow!