At The Ballyard ... with Steve Weissman

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Mental Lint on Ground Hog Day

– Thoughts Clogging the Cranial Vent –

Welcome Back, Kapler: The list of invitees to the Red Sox spring training camp includes one name that we all should be thrilled to see. After months of intensive rest and rehabilitation, outfielder Gabe Kapler appears poised to return to active duty, though it likely will be at least May before he sees any significant action. That he is anywhere near ready to perform again is testament to his conditioning and determination, for a ruptured Achilles’ tendon such as he experienced late last season is the kind of injury that has derailed careers completely. In an era in which hangnails seemingly are cause for players to take days off, it is remarkable and refreshing to see Kapler work so hard to get back. Never mind the clubhouse presence he has and the workhorse attitude carries onto the field: he also seems to be the kind of person we all ought to get behind. So welcome back, Gabe, and good luck!

Two Papers, No Waiting: The events of this off-season have left me with a renewed appreciation for the fact that Boston is a two-newspaper town. It was great fun to read the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe last fall because they had such dramatically different takes on the events leading up to Theo Epstein’s departure as Red Sox general manager – you may recall that the Globe had him staying put as late as the day before he eventually left, while the Herald called it the way it eventually turned out. Even today certain differences can be seen, as the Herald has a piece stating that shortstop-apparent Alex González has passed his physical and will soon be announced as a member of the club, while the Globe mentioned it only in passing. This could be due to something as ordinary as different deadlines or production schedules, or it may be that the Globe is waiting for official news lest it somehow be burned again the way it was in October. Either way, having two voices to listen to is a real luxury that fans in most cities don’t enjoy, and we here should appreciate it perhaps more than we do.

Spring is Springing: Pitchers and catchers report in two weeks and two days. Forget the ground hog – spring is nearly here!

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