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Last night, I had the privilege of serving as a guest on Up On The Monster Radio, an extension of the web site I encourage you to visit, www.uponthemonster.com. The show featured a thorough review of the Sox farm system by Jonathan Singer, editor of Sox Prospects (www.soxprospects.com), another must-read web site for die-hard Sox fans who crave every bit of information they can get about the team’s future.
I was part of a panel discussion regarding how the Sox look for 2007. Fellow guests were Jeff Moon of Fenway Fanatics (www.fenwayfanatics.com), host Dave Devlin and a character named Jayhawk Bill from Up On The Monster. It was Jayhawk Bill who offered some questionable if not ludicrous opinions. I will not invest the time to list all of these remarks, but you can get the idea by just reading one – his view that you cannot pencil in David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez for 35-plus home runs and 100-plus RBI because they are reaching a point in their career where their numbers will start to slide. He justified this by mentioning their spring training numbers, which we all know is definitely a true indication of how the regular season will progress (I say with sarcasm).
Believe me, you can pencil in – make that, etch in stone – that Big Papi and Manny will surpass 40 home runs and 100 RBI this season. Ortiz is 31 while Ramirez is 34 (he will turn 35 in May). Both are far from done. Ramirez is one of the best all-around hitters in the history of the game. Gary Sheffield still swings a productive bat at 40. There is no reason while Ramirez can’t do the same, though it will likely not be in Boston, since there is room for just one DH, and Big Papi isn’t going anywhere. Spring training is a time when pitchers are ahead of hitters. Do you honestly think that Big Papi and Ramirez are on the decline, and that their spring training numbers are reason to worry? Like you, I don’t think so either, but Jayhawk Bill does.