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Posts Tagged ‘recession’


I grew up in the 2-time Money Magazine #1 City to live in.  Of course this was after I moved away (is there a correlation or causation there?).  I spent about 7 years in Orlando, FL.  My 10+ years in Winter Haven were small city-ish.  I now live in a large city again.  But my in-laws live in the middle of nowhere.

Seriously. Friends visiting us there asked where the town was.  “You’re in it.”  The only non-residential buildings I’ve seen are the Post Office, volunteer fire station and the church.  The school is 6 miles and 2 towns over.  The nearest Wal-Mart is about 40 minutes away, as is the nearest mall and actual movie theatre.  Cell-phone coverage?  About 9 square feet on the back porch.  There are only 2 gas stations within 15-20 minutes, and they are next door to each other.

Here in the middle of nowhere, we have chickens and guinea hens.  It is amusing to see a chicken running across the lawn.  Or to see a gaggle of guineas hooting their way around the yard.  This year we discovered a hen being followed by 18 chicks.  The days of mail order chicks may be done.  But there is talk of a highland (or furry) cow.

Mystery Animal

When you live in the middle of nowhere, one of the things you do for fun (read: entertain the kids) is visit petting zoos and alpaca farms.  Each year we make our pilgrimage to the Word of Life Ranch.  I say ‘hi’ to the llama with the offset jaw.  He’s a reminder to me that I am loved by God despite my own brokenness.  The young kids love the goats, sheep, rabbits, horses and more.

This year we stopped in on an alpaca farm.  What, you ask, is an alpaca?  It is part of the same family as the camel, and looks like a smaller version of a llama.  They are not beasts of burden, like the camel and llama because of their size.  Like sheep, they are shorn and their fur is turned into yarn.  Don’t tell the lady who raises them, and calls them all by name, but they are also raised for their meat.

They are fascinating creatures.  Unlike most livestock, they use a common “bathroom” to prevent predators from tracking them.  They are basically helpless.  Which is why it was so funny to watch 2 of them fight.  It was like two geeks trying to hit each other (I can still use the word geek, right?).  Their necks were intertwined (see the picture of the shorn alpacas) and they made camel like grunts while spitting.  See, there is a common denominator between the 3- spitting.  They roll around in the dirt to cool off and lay with their bellies exposed to the sun to soak up the vitamin D.

There's an alpaca under there!

Life here is very different from any life I’ve known.  This summer has been interesting in some new ways.  For instance, this was the first time we were up here for the 4th of July.  We often travel the 11 miles and 30 minutes to a beach a few more towns over.  We decided to head over there on the 2nd of July.  One of the kids’ cousins from NJ decided she wanted to spend birthday up here.  We went to the beach to play and have a cookout.  We didn’t realize it was [name of town] Day.  I guess each year they have their annual meeting, have a parade, covered dish BBQ and watch the fire works.  Could your town have a covered dish BBQ at the local park?  In the process of preparations, we had to move about 3 times on the beach.  We made sure our food was ready before the parade.

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Boston.com reports that John Henry cut 1/4 of the staff of his Florida investment firm.  He has taken some big losses in the market (most of us have, except my friend in prison who has been able to make money).

This makes me wonder about the Red Sox payroll.  In recent years they have not kept up with the Yankees’ payroll.  They have tried to integrate young talent, and have made some good deals to keep young talent at reasonable prices.  But where the Yankees have continued to expand their payroll the Red Sox have not.  The Red Sox no longer have the 2nd highest payroll, but are slowly sliding down the scale.

Our New LF?

As the Red Sox sought to extend Jason Bay, they just couldn’t seem to get it done.  They didn’t offer the money he wanted, and possibly the number of years.  Now that he is on the market, they probably won’t be able to afford him with suitors like the Yankees (unless they get Holliday), Mets and Giants interested in adding a big bat (4 teams, 2 big bats, you do the math).

Josh Beckett has approached the Red Sox about an extension.  But Peter Gammons notes that he may want Sabathia-type money, which the Red Sox are loathe to give a pitcher over 30.  If they can’t compete in 2010, they may trade him (or trade him to compete in 2010).  Otherwise, they may have to let him go and use the compensatory picks.

John Henry’s financial troubles may mean some cost-cutting down on Yawkey Way.  It may mean that the Red Sox can’t compete with other big market teams for top free agents and international players for a few years.  It just makes we wonder, is our ride of success just about over?

Case in point- Jeremy Hermida.  His role on the 2010 Red Sox was not defined in the press conference.  They talked about his potential, the potential that has had them interested in him for years but which has not turned into reality.  Of course, in Florida he has not been surrounded by good to great players that offer any protection (Hanley Ramirez’ stats truly are amazing in THAT line-up).  Truth be told, I was one of those sucked in by his “potential” a few years ago, drafting him in a fantasy league.  It was supposed to be his breakout year.  Theo is hoping this turns into his breakout year in a park suited to this swing and a team that might need him to swap sides of the field.  Yes, the Sox may still spend money since they generate so much money, but they may not be willing to spend the $18-20 million/year necessary to bring back Bay or lock up Holliday.  So Hermida may be a low-cost option in LF.  He might not, but he might.  Then again, he might be trade bait, as Harold Reynolds thinks.

The key signal to which way the Red Sox go is not just the free agent market, but whether they can get the Padres to trade Adrian Gonzalez.  He would be a monster, people think, at Fenway.  But after the uncertainty of whether or not ownership will use him to rebuild, there is the price to be paid and whether or not a suitable deal can be made.  Keep watching.

Update: MLBTradeRumors speculates that the Red Sox sign Jason Bay, oft-injured Rich Harden, Mark Scutaro, and Cuban hurler Aroldis Chapman.  I’m not sure I see them spending that much money, but I’d welcome most of those moves.

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