Sunday, August 3, 2008

Thankful Thursday correction

Despite checking on ESPN's website 30 minutes after the trade deadline on Manny's status, there was nothing posted...then low and behold an hour or so after my post, I read that Manny was out and Jason Bay was in. Manny produced for the Sox over the years, but Manny was "being Manny" and was acting a bit of a spoiled brat of late. I was saddened with his departure. Probably not as much as Anne as I had gotten her a Manny shirt for Christmas, as he wears her number.

However, Bay will be a great fit in the Sox line-up (despite the depression of my in-laws in losing the best player on their Pirates). Here is a great story from the Vancouver Sun:

Bay plays hero at Fenway
Great debut for Trail slugger who grew up idolizing Rice, Yastrzemski
Gary Kingston, Vancouver SunPublished: Saturday, August 02, 2008

Jason Bay was too young to truly appreciate the Boston Red Sox onesie he wore as an infant or the Red Sox legends whose posters adorned the basement wall of the family home in Trail.

But now that he's about to patrol the most famous left field in baseball, the one in front of Fenway Park's Green Monster, his father's obsession with the Sox has brought a nice symmetry to his career.

David Bay kept that onesie, a bodysuit designed to go over an infant's diaper, even after Jason outgrew it.

"It has Red Sox on the front and Bay 1 1/2 on the back," David said from Trail on Friday. "When he had his daughter [Addison in 2006], I gave it to him."

"Still have it," Bay told reporters in Boston before scoring the winning run in Friday's 2-1 win over Oakland. "And I grew up my entire life with two big posters, one of Jim Rice and one of Carl Yastrzemski with the 'New England, I love you' saying underneath it.

"So I do understand a little bit [Boston's legacy of great left-fielders] just because my dad was a diehard Red Sox fan."

The right-handed hitting Bay, the 2004 NL rookie of the year with the Pittsburgh Pirates and a two-time all-star, was traded to Boston on Thursday in a three-team deal that saw future Hall of Famer Manny Ramirez shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"It's kind of surreal," said David Bay. "I left work early, but don't even remember walking home."

He said the Rice and Yastrzemski posters are still prominently displayed in his basement alongside a Jason Bay Pirates' poster.

"Now I'm going to have to superimpose a Red Sox uni on him. It's too bad Pittsburgh didn't work out. He really liked it there, but ultimately for an athlete, it comes down to winning."

Said Jason: "If I was a free agent, I couldn't have picked a better place to go to. The atmosphere, obviously the winning. That's something I'm really looking forward to."

He made sure the atmosphere was great Friday, tripling with two out in the bottom of the 12th and scoring on an infield single by Jed Lowrie.

Bay, wearing No. 44, received a standing ovation when he came up the first time in the second inning. He walked and later scored on a sacrifice fly.

He also made an inning-ending sliding catch on a sinking fly ball in the fifth and a fine backhanded grab on a soft liner down the line in the ninth.

Bay, an original draft pick of the Montreal Expos and a San Diego Padre briefly before being traded to the Pirates in 2003, moves from a team that never finished above .500 in his time in Pittsburgh to a defending World Series champion in the middle of another pennant race.

"It's tough to be removed from what I've known for the last four or five years, pack a bag, get on a flight, get here . . and go out there and play a game and all of a sudden have it click that you're submersed in the middle of a pennant race and have a chance to win a ring," said Bay.

"I don't think it's going to resonate that quick. I might need a day or two to let it sink in."

Bay, who turns 30 on Sept. 20, was hitting .282 with 22 home runs, 64 RBIs and a .519 slugging percentage before Friday, similar numbers to those of the petulant Ramirez (.299, 20, 68, .529). But he understands that he doesn't scare other teams the way ManRam does.

"I'm not going to be Manny Ramirez. I know that. I'm going to try to do what I can. Going through what I've gone through, I'm equipped to handle that. Understand that stuff's out there, but it's beyond my control.

"Where I'm coming from we had some guys who could swing the bats, but I think everyone would agree that there's probably a little more thump in this lineup. And who wouldn't want to be a part of that?"

Bay said he's looking forward to playing in front of the Green Monster, noting it should involve less running than he had to do at Pittsburgh's PNC Park where it's 411 feet in the left-centre gap and 383 feet to straight away left.

Bay was traded just days after his best friend on the Pirates, outfielder Xavier Nady, was dealt to the New York Yankees, Boston's bitter AL East rival.

"I talked to him last night, a little banter back and forth. Whether we like it or not, we're going to hate each other for a weekend or two."

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