I'm Gonna Make You Love The Sox "Tessie!" Nuff Ced McGreevy shouted "We're not here to mess around!" Boston, you know we love you madly Hear the crowd roar to your sound Don't blame us if we ever doubt you You know we couldn't live without you Red Sox, you are the only, only, only --"Tessie", Boston Red Sox Fight Song
It is the end of February. Pitchers and catchers are getting into form. The position players have reported to Spring Training. Florida and Arizona are abuzz with the buzz surrounding the return of Major League Baseball to their cities and towns.
Yes. His name is Charles Bronson Arroyo. He was named after Death Wish series star Charles "Bad Motherfucker" Bronson. I am not making this up. For that reason alone, he is loveable.
For the record, he goes by "Bronson". Bronson Arroyo.
Bronson was the guy who got stood up at the Senior Prom by a Sophomore, and decided he was gonna get all buff and hot as hell so that Said Sophomore would rue the day she ever dissed him.
Bronson was a promising young pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Now, the Pirates are and have been a hurtin' baseball franchise for many years now. So they brought Bronson up to the big leagues a little early. In his first two years in the Majors with Pittsburgh, he struggled mightily.
Three years ago, the Pirates grew impatient with him, and neglected to offer him a contract.
The Red Sox front office said, "Hey, this guy's got talent. He was rushed to the big leagues before he was ready, and didn't do so well. Let's pick him up and see what he can do."
So the Sox let him pitch in Triple-A for a year in 2003. (Triple-A is the highest level of baseball's minor leagues.) All Chuck-Bro did was go 15-6, pitch a perfect game, and get named Triple-A's International League Pitcher of the Year.
In 2004, the Sox threw Arroyo into their starting rotation. And he was stellar. He put up better numbers than most of his more-heralded contemporaries. He didn't get hit. He struck a lot of guys out. He didn't walk many of ‘em. That shows that he has great stuff on the mound, and good command of it.
2004 was his first season back in The Bigs as a full-time member of a starting rotation. And Charles Bronson kicked some serious ass.
Imagine what he can do in 2005, with a full year of his best stuff behind him.
Also, when Bronson does his hair up in cornrows, he looks just like Justin Timberlake.
He wants to rock your body. And he will. Just ask Yankee Alex Rodriguez, who Arroyo unintentionally whacked with a curveball (You don't intentionally hit someone with a curveball. You nail ‘em with a fastball.) sparking a bench-clearing brawl that turned the Sox's 2004 season around.
2. The Fat Boys
I'm talking about Curt Schilling and David Wells, who will go #1 and #2 in the 2005 Sox's starting rotation.
I admit, at first, it was tough to get used to the idea of David Wells starting for the Boston Red Sox. After all, Wells was a Yankee. He defined himself as a Yankee. He grew up idolizing Babe Ruth, and even bought himself The Babe's old Yankee hat. He wore that thing when on the mound when he'd pitch for the Yankees.
Those days are over now. Wells feels like the Yankees disrespected him, and now he's signed himself up with the Boston Red Sox, to shove it to former friends and bosses George Steinbrenner and Joe Torre. The man is pissed. And hungry.
Did I say hungry? Wells is pushing 300 lbs. He's also 42 years old.
Ah, Matt Mantei! The Sox picked him up on the relative cheap this off-season.
On and off from 1998 to the Present Day, Matt Mantei has been one of the most dominating relief pitchers in baseball. He comes in at the ends of games and blows opposing hitters away with his 100 mile-an-hour fastball.
There's only one problem. That arm that throws the 100 MPH fastball? Well, it keeps blowing up. A lot. Two major surgeries since 1998 on that thing. One minor surgery that kept him out of action for most of 2003.
That's the bad news.
The good news? Doctors (reportedly) finished cleaning out most of the arm damage during the surgery he had last year.
Mantei has reported to camp, and he's throwing the ball pretty damn hard according to sports reporters who get paid to do this kind of thing. His arm feels good, and if he's healthy, he'll shorten games. Get the starting pitcher out before he tires, and turn it over to Mantei and the rest of the Sox's relief crew.
Jason Varitek is America's greatest invention since the Cotton Gin. Jason Varitek, catcher, calling games for pitchers behind the plate, can turn the guy who won the Spelling Bee Championship into a Cy Young (Major League Baseball's Pitcher of the year) contender. It was also reported that before game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees, Varitek turned the Poland Spring cooler into a wine cellar. The Sox drank from it, and it was good. They went on to win the ALCS in 4 games straight after facing elimination down 3 games to 0. Jason Varitek is also the Virgin Mother of Christ.