ThEnEiLsHow sits down with Jared Carrabis from SoxSpaceNews.com to talk about the Red Sox.
Neil Bristow – Over the off season the Red Sox tried to revamp their bullpen by adding some pretty good arms with names like Bobby Jenks,Dan Wheeler etc. Has Red Sox GM Theo Epstein done enough to improve the bullpen and how so?
Jared Carrabis – Theo’s definitely made his bullpen ten times better than it was last year, and deeper, but of the five guaranteed arms to make the bullpen out of spring training (Papelbon, Bard, Jenks, Wheeler, Wakefield), none of them are left-handed. To have a successful bullpen, you need a left-hander in your pen that can shut down lefty bats. It remains to be seen what the Red Sox will do to address that void.
Neil Bristow – 2004 was a pretty big year for the Boston Red Sox and Red Sox fans. Could you tell us a little bit about the moment you had when the Red Sox won the World Series over St. Louis that beautiful night?
Jared Carrabis – There really aren’t any words to describe just that one night. I had to write a whole book about it to do the feelings justice, because you have to build up from the year before, all the way through the whole 2004 season, and all through the playoffs to really get a feeling for what it felt like. Luckily, I got to share the moment with my family, and in the days after, the family who is no longer with us. In the cemetery, tombstones were covered with newspaper headlines, pennants and t-shirts celebrating the victory. It was a win for generations of Red Sox fans.
Neil Bristow – The Red Sox on paper have a pretty strong line-up top to bottom with the additions of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford. Do you see any holes in the line-up that have a cause for concern heading into this season? Could you talk a bit about that?
Jared Carrabis – The biggest hole, if any, is going to be at the catcher position. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is being given the keys to the Red Sox starting catching position without any experience as a full-time catcher in Boston, and his backup, Jason Varitek, will be 39 in April. If Salty flops, and Varitek goes down, catcher is a position that the Sox are pretty thin at. I think the Red Sox will ride out Salty regardless, as they did with Dustin Pedroia in his rookie season when he struggled, but it’s undoubtedly the weakest spot in their lineup.
Neil Bristow – A story out of spring training that I read yesterday, caught my attention. It is rumoured that the Red Sox investigated and “creeped out” Carl Crawford.http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/mlb/news/story?id=6148268 what is your take on the story?
Jared Carrabis – I had never heard of anything like this before with any other team or player, but I can see where they’re coming from. Crawford’s deal with the tenth largest contract in baseball history by total value at seven years, $142 million, so it’s only fair for them to want to know what kind of person he is when he’s away from the ballpark. You don’t want to make that big of an investment in a guy who’s a big party animal or has a tendency to be a heavy drinker. I’d say it’s fair game, and the story was just blown out of proportion because it’s spring training and there’s really nothing else to talk about.
Neil Bristow – Can this year’s Boston Red Sox be able to hammer out 100 wins this season?
Jared Carrabis – Sure. If healthy, they’re capable of winning 100 games, but I don’t think that will ultimately happen. That’s not necessarily a knock against the Red Sox, as much as it is a compliment to the rest of the American League East division.
Neil Bristow – What does Daisuke Matsuzaka have to be able to do better this year in order to rebound from his “off season” last year in your eyes?
Jared Carrabis – First thing is to stay healthy. That’s always been an issue with him. Next is that he needs to start attacking hitters. With Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey ahead of him in the rotation, the expectations of a fifth starter aren’t exactly the 18-3 numbers he put up in 2008. His problem is that he tries to nibble on the corners too much, and that’s what makes his walk totals shoot up through the roof, and that’s what increases his pitch count so that he can never make it out of the fifth or sixth inning. If he learns to start attacking hitters, keeps the ball down to avoid the long ball and start inducing some ground ball outs by trusting the defence behind him, he’ll start having longer outings and being a more productive starter.
Neil Bristow – The Tampa Bay Rays seemed to have lost a little edge with their team, losing some pretty big names on their roster. Would you agree with that statement? how come?
Jared Carrabis – I’d agree that they’re not as good as the teams they’ve put on the field since 2008. It’s just about impossible to replace a Carl Crawford, but I will say that they’re being given less credit than people are willing to give. They’re still a good team, and it still won’t be easy to take two out of three at Tropicana Field this year. Their rotation is still young and on the rise, and Evan Longoria is one of the premiere hitters in the game.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
NB-The starting rotation on opening day?
JC- Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka
Lineup: Pedroia 2B, Crawford LF, Gonzalez 1B, Youkilis 3B, Ortiz DH, Drew RF, Scutaro SS, Saltalamacchia C, Ellsbury CF.
Nb –Can Jacoby Ellsbury stay healthy?
JC- I think so. A rib injury is usually a one-time deal. It’s not something that will linger. According to him, he’ll be 100% by Opening Day, so there’s no reason to believe he won’t be ready to go. If there’s any concern for a Red Sox player’s injury from 2010 to linger into 2011, I could make a case for Dustin Pedroia, but I’m hoping that won’t be the case.
NB- Scutaro or Jed and why?
JC- You can count on Scutaro being the starter at shortstop on Opening Day, but I think it’s only a matter of time before Lowrie takes over the starting role. Lowrie’s numbers against left-handed pitching were phenomenal last year, and Terry Francona can only keep that bat sitting on the bench for so long.
NB-Greatest Red Sox in your eyes and why?
JC- Ted Williams and Pedro Martinez. If you look at the all-time records in all of baseball, you’ll see their names everywhere, and they’ll both be wearing Red Sox caps in the Hall of Fame together some day.
NB- More stolen bases…Ellsbury or Crawford? And how many?
JC- I’m gonna have to go with Ellsbury on this one. I’ll say 65 for Ellsbury and 57 for Crawford.
NB-Predict the final AL East standings at seasons end?
JC- Red Sox, Yankees, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Baltimore.
NB-Game you most looking forward to this season and why?
JC- Definitely that Cubs series in May. It’ll be the first time that the Cubs have been back to Fenway Park since losing the 1918 World Series to Boston. Of course, the Red Sox would have to wait until 2004 to win another World Series title, and Cubs fans are still waiting for theirs, as they haven’t won a World Series since 1908.
NB-Are you on Facebook or Twitter? If so, how readers find you?
JC- I am. On Facebook, you can find me at www.Facebook.com/SoxSpaceNews and I’m on Twitter @Jared_Carrabis
Neil Bristow – I know you wrote a book about the Red Sox called “One fan’s Story: If this hat could talk” http://www.soxspacenews.com/book .Could you tell the readers a little bit about the book and how you came to write it?
Jared Carrabis – The book is basically the story of the Red Sox through all of my personal experiences. I was born on Opening Day, so it starts on Opening Day 1989 and works its way through the end of 2008 through all of my personal experiences with the team and going to games. When I started writing it, I wasn’t writing it as a book, but more of a “thank you” letter to my readers, and then when it became too long to post on the internet, I decided that I’d like to turn it into a book, so I did.
Neil Bristow – Can you tell me the story about you wearing a Red Sox cap and jersey for 1,400 days in a row?
Jared Carrabis – I’m guessing you got the “1,400 days” from the picture I have on Facebook from when I was on TV. I was only 18 back then. I actually still wear a Red Sox shirt every day (not the same one) and it’s now been 2,716 days. I started doing it back on September 20, 2003 as a way to rally behind that ’03 team, and I just kept doing it after they ultimately lost to the Yankees.
Neil Bristow – Your website SoxSpaceNews http://www.soxspacenews.com/ was just voted Best Red Sox Blog by New England Sports Blog Awards. Could you tell us a little bit about your site and what winning the award again means to you?
Jared Carrabis – Yeah, SoxSpace started out on MySpace, hence the name, and it’s evolved a great deal since then. I won Best Red Sox Blog in 2009, which was probably the happiest moment of my life, then just a couple of weeks ago (there was no awards in 2010), we won Best Red Sox Blog again in 2011, and Best Overall New England Sports Blog. The Best Red Sox Blog was voted by the fans, which means a lot, but best Overall New England Sports Blog was voted by other Boston sports bloggers, so it really meant a lot to have won such an award that was voted on by my peers.
Neil Bristow – I would suggest to any Red Sox fan out there or baseball fan to check out Jared’s website also check out his book. Thanks a lot Jared for giving me the time to ask you some questions. Enjoy the season man and Go Red Sox Go!!
I would like to thank readers for checking out this interview. I am beginning to get into baseball interviews with media and players this season and hopefully NFL in the fall as well as continuing to follow the NHL. It’s very time consuming so bare with me. I thank you for reading my first interview out of the hockey realm.