Tea For Two

Here is a nice article in the NY Times about how the venerable tea bag is getting an industry makover. As part of the article, it notes that Lipton will be making over its tea bags to use nylon instead of the mesh/paper it currently uses, and it will also use longer leaf tea.

As an avid tea drinker (can’t stand coffee), I think that its about time! I regularly purchase teas like Yorkshire Tea, Twinings, and other brands from the U.K. because brands like Lipton are not as robust, strong, or tasty. Now if we can teach restaurants in this country how to serve tea properly (lose leaf, in a pot, instead of in a crusty mug with an unopened tea bag and lukewarm water. Hell, I’d take just a pot of hot water and tea bags), we’ll be making real progress.

My 9/11 Post

Today is just a sad day. There is no other way to describe it. I was not going to write anything today. But watching all the tributes on TV really hit home.

Five years ago, I was sitting in a conference room at Lycos in Waltham, MA about to embark on a full day’s worth of mind-numbingly boring training on an irrelevant subject I can not for the life of me remember. Soon after the session started, the instructor came in and informed the class that the US was under attack. We all went into another conference room and watched the day unfold in stunning reality.

I did not want to be at work. I went home to be with my wife and my then 2 month old daughter Rebecca. I sat in front of the TV and just stared in stunned disbelief. The rest of the week and the rest of the year was just a blur, a surreal and sobering time.

To this day, it still so hard to comprehend. The images looked like they were from a bad terror movie. But they weren’t. I can not begin to imagine what it was like that day in Lower Manhattan. Five years later, I now work in Lower Manhattan, about 200 yards from the big hole in the ground that is “Ground Zero”. People I work with were there that day. I don’t mention it unless they bring it up. And even then, its awkward. I walk past “Ground Zero” every day as I go to and from work, and do my best not to dwell on what happened at that site. Because when I do, it is just too overwhelming. And I did not even lose a close relative, a close friend, or a loved one.

I don’t know what it was, what it is, like to lose a loved one in such a horrid manner. I don’t know what its like to have to rebuild your life after such loss. All I can do is provide my support and encouragement to those that were directly impacted by that day. Their strength is humbling.

One day, I hope soon, the idiot politicians will figure out what to build at that site, and maybe, just maybe, the collective “we” will be able to have some minor sense of symbolic closure.

Today is a sad day.

Yahoo Sports Beta?

Wow, that is a rough design.

Looks as though there may be a Beta release happening at Yahoo Sports. I was on the site checking out my fantasy football and baseball teams (I think their Fantasy sports suite is just fantastic. And my football teams were actually doing pretty well. Thanks for asking. :-) and saw this yellow banner just above the blue “Today in Sports” headline. The two links on the top right read “Beta Feature Index” and “Send Feedback”. When I clicked through the “Beta Feature Index” link, it went to a Yahoo branded error page. When I clicked through the “Send Feedback” link, it went to a feedback form. In navigating the site, I did not see any BETA features. I’ll be interested to see what they plan on doing on the site and to see if it’s going to compete more directly with ESPN in look, feel and volume of information. No matter what they do, the site definitely needs an upgrade.

Giving Away The Farm

I am not a terribly big fan of Murray Chass, the sports writer for the NY Times, primarily because it appears from the tone of his writing that he takes great pleasure in bashing and belittling the Red Sox and Red Sox Nation. However, in an article in today’s Times, he hits home a point about the Sox and the Sox management that I too have been contemplating since Anibal Sanchez threw a no-hitter for the Florida Marlins on Wednesday September 6th.

Sanchez’s no-hitter got me thinking because he, along with several other highly talented and productive players (including the Marlins’ starting shortstop Hanley Ramirez) have been traded by the Red Sox over the past few years. In fact, the amount of talent and production that has been traded by the Sox is actually quite alarming, especially when you consider the state of the Red Sox current pitching staff and their place in the standings. As a fan, you have to really start to question the “cybermetric” decision making being done on Yawkey Way these days. To quote from the article:

Care to consider some other moves the Red Sox made?

After letting Johnny Damon go to the Yankees as a free agent, they needed a center fielder and acquired Coco Crisp for Andy Marte, the young third baseman they obtained from Atlanta for shortstop Edgar Renteria. Crisp, a .300 hitter for Cleveland last season, has turned into Rice Krispies for the Red Sox, hitting .266.

The night before Sanchez pitched his no-hitter, Bronson Arroyo, the pitcher the Red Sox traded to Cincinnati because they thought they had enough pitching, pitched a three-hit shutout against San Francisco for his 12th victory to go with his 3.33 E.R.A., the fifth lowest in the N.L.

The same night that Sanchez pitched the no-hitter, Cla Meredith was the winning pitcher in San Diego’s 2-0 victory against Colorado in 11 innings. Meredith, a 23-year-old reliever, went to the Padres on May 1 when the Red Sox were desperate to reacquire Doug Mirabelli to catch the knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

In three relief appearances with the Red Sox last season, he gave up seven runs in two and a third innings. With the Padres this season, he has allowed 3 runs in 36 innings over 33 games for a 0.75 E.R.A.. He has given up no runs in his past 29 innings over 25 games.

Through Wednesday, the Red Sox bullpen ranked 10th in the American League with a 4.30 E.R.A.

Because it was Sanchez who pitched the no-hitter, we are reminded of Freddy Sanchez, whom the Red Sox, desperate for pitching then, too, traded to Pittsburgh at the trading deadline in 2003 for Jeff Suppan. For good measure, the Red Sox included Mike Gonzalez in the deal.

Gonzalez has become the Pirates closer (24 saves in 24 opportunities this season), and Sanchez, hitting .344, is on his way to becoming the N.L. batting champion.

I acknowledge that the National League is a bit weaker than the AL these days, and many of the players noted above are playing in the NL which may make their numbers seem a bit inflated but that arguement only goes so far.

It is highly unlikely that the Sox will come back and make anything of this season. And the Sox brass keeps on saying that they are building for the future. But if they are building for the future, then they need to commit to that and not try to compete with the big boys at the same time. That’s an equation that will not work. Have they been so focused on protecting their young players that they have unknowingly mortgaged a great deal of their future already?