Thursday, February 17, 2005

Dirt Dogs (and other pressing issues)

"FOULKE REPORTS TO CAMP"

Those words appeared today on redsox.com. Are there any sweeter words in the English language? Spring has sprung! The onset of workouts in Ft. Myers has energized and motivated me to chime in on some of the hot "Rivals" topix of the day:

> Dirt Dogs

Andrew is technically correct of course- no one was a dirt dog before 2003. For fun, I was extending the concept back through my time machine. The guys at bostondirtdogs.com are the best ones to ask, but I think you just know when someone's a dirt dog - there are no gray areas. But to spur more conversation on this all-important topic, here is my attempt to put on paper the qualifications for being a dirt dog:

- Must be on the Red Sox and must be a gamer.
- Must be either rugged (Trot) or ragged (Pokey).
- Style of play must be aggressive enough to endear you to Sox fans.
- Must be covered in dirt and/or grass at the end of every game - blood is good too.
- Must take head first slides and dives at every opportunity.
- Must be in the middle of every brawl.
- Must be the type of player that does whatever it takes to win.
- Must be a role player, and, I hate to say it, but this is key: Once you're an All-Star you can't be a dirt dog anymore, i.e. Manny, Ortiz, Schilling. (Varitek is the exception that proves the rule. He has a lifetime membership.)
- Must hate A-Rod.

> Trot pops off about A-Rod

Trot's diatribe about A-Rod not being a true Yankee was, um, way out of right field. Spontaneous, hilarious, and eerily similar to what I wrote about A-Rod just last week. But two things are worth noting:

1. If you read Trot's exact comments, I think in a bizarre dirt-dog way he's trying to pay the Yankees a complement. He directly complements Jeter, Bernie and (of all people) Posada. I think Trot's saying the organization is classy with a proud history of hard work and achievement - and that, hey A-Rod, you'll never fit in if you do things like slap the ball out of people's mitts. And that's true... right?

2. HIS COMMENTS WERE SPECTACULARLY UNNECESSARY! So, Trot, we need to know: what prompted this outburst? Were you reading "The Rivals"? Do you hate A-Rod so much that this has been festering all winter and it just bubbled over? Anger management for you! One thing for sure: I think you should stop sleeping through those the media training sessions.

> So... is A-Rod a true Yankee?

Mmmmm, no. He's really not. But he can overcome it. And since it would be better for all of us if he is, here's some advice:

Lose the pretty boy thing - Jeter already owns that turf and he pulls it off better... Start playing like a dirt dog (see above)... Think Paul O'Neill - Yankee fans love Paul O'Neill ... Be a leader like Jeter - he's a winner... Respond angrily to Trot - start trash talking the Sox! ... No more mitt-slapping - one more desperation play like that and you're toast... And your quickest route to becoming a real Yankee: get them to the World Series... and be the Series MVP... twice!!

> Sheffield pops off about Giambi

Is this how it's gonna be? First you tell the world with a straight face that you "didn't know" you were using steroids - and now you call the guy who told the truth a crybaby? Is it just me? Were you in Trot's media class? (Boy, this is going to be a REALLY fun season!)

> Sheffield in the clutch

My bad. I read what I wrote and it was contradictory. To clarify: Sheffield was extremely clutch regular season and in fact was the scariest guy in the line-up... by far. But he was not clutch post-season, when he really really really needed to be clutch.

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