Ken Davidoff's baseball insider

Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.

Annual visceral, small-sample-sized observations from spring training

Philadelphia Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon throws during practice at

(Credit: AP)

Upon returning home from my first visit to spring training, I always enjoy checking in with some mental snapshots, mindful that what I took away could prove to be hugely significant or, far more likely, wholly irrelevant. Here is last year's entry. I forgot that I had Johnny Damon on the record acknowledging how important reaching 3,000 career hits was.

Some spring trainings, I'll spend almost...

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Comment Winter Olympics: Mariano Rivera, Gary Carter and Bobby Valentine

As I drove around the state, switching from hotel to hotel, the judges worked diligently to find three award-winning comments.

Here they are:

--The bronze goes to FLong, who offered his or her two cents on Mariano Rivera's likely  retirement after this season:

If Mariano retires, the Yanks should use Soriano as the closer in 2013. Soriano has already been successful...

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The Red Sox and reading a clubhouse

Spent yesterday in Fort Myers with the Red Sox. Wrote two stories, one on Bobby Valentine and the other on Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.

Lester expressed considerably more remorse than did Beckett for what went down in the team's clubhouse last season - vis-a-vis the historic collapse - and that's going to generate plenty of discussion in the Boston yakosphere (trademark Neil Best).

Whatever....

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Joe Girardi and AL East verbal warfare

Yankees manager Joe Girardi speaks to reporters prior

(Credit: AP)

Spent a couple of hours yesterday at Yankee Stadium, as the Yankees held a food drive - they say they received a "record-breaking" 109,301 pounds of food - and lured the media there with appearances by Joe Girardi and Robinson Cano.

We led the story with Cano's enjoyment of hitting third - he's got to stay in the number three slot for 2012, doesn't he? - but what stuck with me afterwards was...

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Comment Winter Olympics: Bobby Valentine, Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols

Well, it was a busy week for me at the winter meetings, and a busy week for commenting, as well. Which is a great thing, no matter how much work that meant for the judges.

So without further ado, here are your medalists:

--The bronze goes to Islander505, who, when informed that I attended Bobby Valentine's news conference at Fenway Park, reacted thusly: How was the chicken? Regular...

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Bobby Valentine, Jose Reyes, Mariano Rivera and Heath Bell

Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine puts on

(Credit: AP)

Greetings, and welcome to another edition of "I'm back to work earlier than I said I would be."

Thursday's confluence of events had me in Boston, to cover Bobby Valentine's introduction as Red Sox manager.

Here's my news story on Valentine. I also wrote a column, in which I contended that the Red Sox, in hiring Valentine, validated the panic crowd of Red Sox Nation.

I've...

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Overrated and over-hated 2011

Goodness, is it Thanksgiving Eve already? Where does the time go?

We're on year five of this list, and I think it's more relevant than ever. We're so comfortable viewing topics through a black-and-white, great-or-awful prism, and that leads to people, places and things being either overrated or over-hated, rather than being regarded with more nuance.

Which do we overrate, and which do...

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The Red Sox and Bobby Valentine and the Rangers and Joe Nathan

Bobby Valentine met with Ben Cherington yesterday, and as I wrote, even before the get-together, Valentine and Red Sox leadership had discussed potential dates for an introductory news conference at Fenway Park.

This is a serious pursuit, although it's worth noting that, just last year, we thought Valentine was all set to manage the Marlins - until that deal fell apart. Furthermore, the Red...

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The Mets' cap flap

First, your updated playoff brackets:

AL: Yankees (1) vs. Texas (3), Detroit (2) vs. Boston (4).

NL: Philadelphia (1) vs. Milwaukee (3), Arizona (2) vs. Atlanta (4).

Thoughts: With the Brewers off yesterday, Arizona's victory over the Dodgers last night evened the Diamondbacks and Miwaukee with 86-62 records. Since Arizona won the season series, 4-3, it wins the tiebreaker if these...

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