January always seems to be the low point of the offseason; the holidays are over, the distractions are gone, and weeks of cold and snow remain before pitchers and catchers report. But we have our ways of coping!
Here in Boston, the Boston Baseball Writers‘ dinner has been a beacon of hope, a promise that baseball and spring will come along in time. Hot Stove Cool Music brings both a roundtable discussion of baseball and a concert or two. The Jimmy Fund has now put on four events as “New Stars for Young Stars” to raise funds to combat cancer. In conjunction with the Red Sox Rookie Development program, the Team Store holds a signing event that brings in money for the Red Sox Foundation while showing the rookies what lies ahead for them in terms of us crazy fans. Throw in team dinners for the Spinners and Sea Dogs, and January’s not such a bleak month at all!
Here are a few of my shots from the BBWAA dinner on Thursday, January 8:
Dustin Pedroia laughs.
Jim Rice chuckles.
Sean Casey with a real smile…
… and a posed one, as Jeff Bailey signs. (Thumbs up for Bailey’s silver vest and tie!)
A highlight of the evening was the confirmation that Rocco Baldelli had signed with the Red Sox for 2009.
Rocco got his standing O’s, but for certain, the hope that Jim Ed Rice will be voted into the Hall of Fame on Monday got the crowd up and yelling, too!
On Friday, January 9, we reluctantly passed on the Sea Dogs dinner to go to Foxboro to see Bronson Arroyo and his band play. Sadly, I have no photos of Bronson, Elan Trotman or the fine band, because Showcase Live security decided I had a professional camera which could not be allowed into the hall. I wish. Trust me, I wish. But I’m old enough to know that security folks are folks you don’t argue with. Also sadly, this necessitated missing the Team Store signing. The things I’ll do for my friends and a lanky blond righty…
… But fortunately the rookies were out again as Saturday, January 10 brought this year’s edition of New Stars for Young Stars:
Josh Reddick and Daniel Bard.
Lars Anderson. “Hey, can you get that flash any brighter?” (I’m admittedly not very good with the flash, but Jillian’s is a tough place to shoot: all bright windows and dark corners!)
Justin Mas–hey, wait a minute…
And that’s not Michael Bowden!
Now correctly labeled, Michael Bowden feigns innocence while Justin Masterson acts like he has no idea what just happened. ^_^
I’m not sure Tito’s either a new star or a young star, but we love him regardless!
NO TRADING. Do you hear me, Theo? Keep these guys. NO TRADING.
George Kottaras with a dubious look.
Jason Place, another victim of my over-aggressive flash.
Meanwhile, back behind the official New Stars roster, the rest of the Rookie Development Program participants got to bowl a few games!
Mark Wagner. (I got to chat with Mark for a while–very friendly, personable guy. One of the best things about meeting the pups in the minors is that you find folks you really, really want to see succeed, and this was a terrific group.)
Kris Johnson. Memo for next year: more bowling shots!
Argenis Diaz graciously indulges me in my quest to get one of them eating ice cream!
It’s snowing in Boston right now, but after the last few days, I can almost feel that Florida sun!