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Doug….

March 14, 2008

In the 20 years since I was first called up to the big leagues I’ve played with exactly 2 players who’s presence in the clubhouse carried onto the field. Darren Daulton in Philadelphia, and Doug Mirabelli here in Boston.

Very few players have that ability, and when they have it you know it. 4am landing in Toronto after a sweep, quiet plane, get on the bus for the 40 minute ride to the hotel, dead silence and everyone is wiped. By the time you got to the hotel the entire bus was laughing and the day was behind you. It’s a gift and Doug had it in spades.

He’ll be the first to admit he wasn’t a challenger for the batting title, or a gold glover, but he had a specific job and he was pretty damn good at it.

The hard part of talking about a friend and teammate in this situation is that he is replaced by someone that is now a friend and teammate. Who ever that is, he’ll fit in fine, but the personal side of this is always the worst

He was one of the better friends in all of baseball and I’ll miss him immensely. I know I am not speaking for myself either.

In this market with all that goes on off the field guys like Doug have so much value beyond the 100 or so ABs they get each year, but people can’t quantify that, and many dismiss it.

Your race, religion, background, none of that mattered to Doug, he could and did relate to everyone and was a HUGE piece of the puzzle here over the past 5 years I’ve been here.

To say it was a shock to us would be grossly understating the impact. Guys were still shellshocked today.

By the way Douggie, Youk had a yummy yummy hand in cribbage today, just wanted to pass that along.

82 Comments leave one →
  1. sox4me permalink
    March 16, 2008 10:01 am

    As a Red Sox fan – the business side is always difficult to accept.
    Doug Mirabelli was such a big part of 04 and 07 – he will be greatly missed by most of us.

    I wish him another contract – in the National League [so he can’t burn us!]

    Curt – thanks for the ‘tribute’

    GOOD LUCK DOUGIE

  2. ajv523 permalink
    March 16, 2008 2:05 pm

    Whenever I think of Doug Mirabelli I think of these things.
    First I think of the battery, Wake and Doug, and Doug’s amazing ability to somehow control almost every floating knuckleball.
    Second I think of the 2004 World Series team, a team that I always wish could stay together, but has seemed to slowly break apart.
    Third, I think of “Dougie’s goin deep!” and that hilarious website about the
    ’04 team. I play in a wiffleball league in mass and every time my friend gets up to bat he’ll yell “Dougie’s goin deep!”

    One of my best memories of Mirabelli was when he came back to the red sox in ’05 during the first yankee game of the season. I was at fenway, it was Damon’s return and the atmosphere was incredible as always. Before the game began I heard people saying that Doug was in a cab on his way to fenway. Everyone started talking and getting excited, the anticipation of Doug’s return was just as big as the anticipation of Damon’s first at-bat. It really was incredible how much impact a backup catcher can have on an entire stadium. Doug arrived and everyone went nuts. I know I did. It was awesome. It’s those type of moments that make the Red Sox and their fans so special.
    Everyone will miss Dougie here in Red Sox Nation.

  3. ajv523 permalink
    March 16, 2008 2:07 pm

    THANK YOU DOUG

  4. riboflav permalink
    March 16, 2008 2:35 pm

    This move came three years too late. Sentimentality cannot stand in the way of winning — I’m afraid the pink hats learned this lesson at the end of 2006. Try to remember the end of that year.

    Releasing ‘belli will allow the Red Sox to better develop their catchers at AAA by freeing up the log jam. If fans cannot understand this, then a little more baseball acumen may be required before criticizing such a shrewd move. Theo continues to impress!

  5. danindelray permalink
    March 16, 2008 3:37 pm

    People think Doug is the best choice to catch Wake – fine.

    But anyone who thinks that the organization was “cold” or “cruel” in giving him his release now, in Spring Training, hasn’t a friggin’ clue about the game. If Doug wants to keep playing, he now has a decent chance to “catch” on somewhere. If the team released him on March 30th, every other team would have made its roster decisions at that point and Mirabelli would be out of luck, stuck taking a minor league deal to get a chance to play again.

    Personally, the only thing Doug had that Kevin Cash doesn’t is the ability to hit one off or over the Monster. And his hitting has been going downhill FAST for several years now. The fact is it was a mistake to panic and bring Mirabelli back in 2006; Theo is smart enough to recognize that he has better options today, in 2008.

    And I’m not trying to be critical of Doug, I appreciate what he did in the field and understand that the things Curt speaks of have real value to a team over the course of a season. But the team will hardly collapse without Dougie.

  6. datsamee permalink
    March 16, 2008 3:54 pm

    Ugh, that’s what I hate about baseball. I LOVE my team and feel personally insulted when a favorite player gets traded or sent down. But, I’ve learned to accept that I can LIKE the players and still LOVE the team. I will never forget the excitement of Doug’s return. It’s those special moments that make me love them even more. Good luck Doug, we’ll be cheering for you, wherever you go.

  7. March 17, 2008 12:38 am

    Hey Curt –

    My daughter was born on August 28 last year and it was our plan to come to spring training this year and have Doug autograph her jersey (which says Teagan with #28), unfortunately in North Carolina the tahoe and 23 foot camper trailer we were towing got caught up in the wind of a passing tractor trailer truck and we lost control and flipped over on interstate 95. So we didnt make it. Our vacation was supposed to be our first trip to spring training and instead my wife broke her back, my 6 month old Teagan was thank god fine, and I walked away with bruises and aches. Thank God. We were so excited to experience spring training for the first time, and also planned to watch our former summer ball players playing college ball around various Florida locations. Instead we learned how important life is and how thankful we are to have it. We have always loved and appreciated Doug and his abilities and importance to the chemistry of the Sox. We will miss him, and I really wish he could have signed my daughters jersey, he was a great guy and a great presence and importance to a team that really needed him. I am sure Kevin will do great, but as a Red Sox fan, I will miss Doug a ton and I hope he plays again for he is a consummate professional. We will miss him, and hopefully next year as we plan to try again for Spring Training we will hopefully be able to go see Doug somewhere to try to get him to sign Teagans jersey, but she will wear #28 with pride on her Sox jersey in 2008 and in the years to come. Thanks Curt and I really hope Mike is helping with your rehab and shoulder.

    Brian, Sarah & Teagan Sparhawk

  8. tricia2007 permalink
    March 17, 2008 8:25 am

    Curt,

    Could you please address the issue about Doug Mirabelli and Johnny Miller? It seems like we only hear bits and pieces and I always felt Mirabelli must have done or said something pretty insulting to Miller. Yet from what you post, it soesn’t sound like Mirabelli is like that.

    Any comments? Thanks.

    Totally unfounded and untrue. Anyone that knows both men can ask either of them, Doug and Johnny were and are very good friends and Johnny was one of the guys in our clubhouse and takes ribbing just like anyone else we like and respect.

  9. redsoxlady permalink
    March 17, 2008 8:30 am

    Shocked as well. Want to say thanks Dougie for all the memories. You will be missed. Just will not be the same. Good Luck to you and your family. You will always be a Red Sox to me.

  10. soxfan17881 permalink
    March 17, 2008 10:16 am

    On the off chance that Doug reads these comments… So long, Doug! You’ll be missed by many more than just Curt and Tim. Good Luck and God bless!

  11. gosocks permalink
    March 17, 2008 2:21 pm

    Here’s my 2 cents…Sign Dougie to a consultant contract, much like Rice, Evans, and so on. Have him be a special assistant to the catchers, so that his knowledge does not leave Beantown.

    And…put him in the pre-game show rotation with Eck and Rice.

  12. orrinh permalink
    March 17, 2008 5:29 pm

    Hey curt,

    That last line in your post made me feel awesome. I had always thought that you guys talked to each other like that.

    orrin

  13. tricia2007 permalink
    March 17, 2008 6:30 pm

    Thanks Curt, I’m glad to read that. Too often things get thrown out there and they stick, whether they are true or false. I appreciate your response and will take it to heart.

  14. March 17, 2008 8:47 pm

    It’s hard to believe that a backup catcher could be one of my favorite players, and yet that’s what Doug was to me. I admired the way he took one of the most unglamorous roles in sports and put his signature on it. Whenever he played, I was always pulling for him to park one in the net.

    While I never met him, he always came across as a pretty good guy. He was certainly the consummate professional. I’m going to miss watching him play.

    Steve Smith

  15. skinnyman2007 permalink
    March 17, 2008 10:23 pm

    Doug I will miss you. You were a great player catching Tim Wakefield. I wish you good Luck Doug when you sign with another team. You will be a RedSox no matter where you go Doug. Curt thank you for posting a blog about Doug he derserves all these Great Comments!!!!!!!!. Curt I wish you and all the RedSox fans and Doug A HAPPY EASTER next Sunday!!!!!!.

    Jeff

  16. djeter13 permalink
    March 18, 2008 6:57 am

    Curt, does it bother you that many of your teammates and players around the league dislike you so much?

  17. seattlesoxfan permalink
    March 18, 2008 9:16 am

    Awesome post Curt. THanks for sharing your feelings on Doug with us.

    As one sports-writer mentioned, Dougie was certainly a part of a lot a of very memorable moments in Boston.

    I’ll never forget the game where they flew him back from San Diego and motor-caded him to the stadium while he changed into uniform in the back of the car and he arrived in time for the first pitch. What a standing ovation that was!

    I’ll miss ya Dougie. You’ll always be welcome anywhere you go in Red Sox Nation! Cheers to you Doug!!!

  18. Ems Anxiety permalink
    March 18, 2008 10:39 am

    What is a yummy yummy hand in cribbage? I’ve been playing since I was four and have no idea what that is?

    We’ll miss you Doug. RedSox Nation never forgets!!!

  19. sdl1 permalink
    March 19, 2008 12:29 am

    I agree with gosocks. Keep Dougie with the organization!

  20. frodo1962 permalink
    March 19, 2008 7:57 am

    Curt:

    I understand the sentiment, he was your friend and teammate, and I may be in the minority here but I think Theo & Terry did the correct thing. Cash showed last season that he could handle the role defensively, catching for Wake and I’ve been concerned that we needed to go younger at the position. Hopefully Doug will catch on somewhere else to continue his career.

  21. frodo1962 permalink
    March 19, 2008 12:08 pm

    BTW – Kudo’s to you, Mike Lowell, Yuke and the rest of the players for what you did today for the coaches and trainers. You guys came out as a class act, MLB on the other hand … well, I can’t believe with the money that is generated that they would try to short change these folks.

  22. ryssee permalink
    March 19, 2008 6:37 pm

    I’ll miss him. He was cool. In addition to everything everyone else wrote….not too many of you guys stepped up for that silly Queer Eye for the Straight Guy show…remember that? Talk about being the ultimate team player.

  23. FireDannyAinge permalink
    March 19, 2008 7:57 pm

    Hey D Jeter, Does is bother you that the Yankees are now A-Rod’s team? and that you are a second class idiot?

  24. peteladdjr permalink
    March 20, 2008 1:41 am

    Thank you Doug for being a part of our fabric. I wish you were here and could have ended your career here. You will be missed, but, never forgotten.

    Thanks again,

    Pete

  25. March 20, 2008 9:49 am

    My wife and I had the pleasure of bumping into Doug, Tim and Brandon Donnelly at a Mexican restaurant in San Diego last year, during the road trip.

    They were eating, so we didn’t want to bother them – so when our pager went off for the table, we simply got up, looked at them and said, “Hey – good luck with the game tomorrow.”

    Tim and Doug both stopped eating, looked at us and said:

    “Thanks, we appreciate that. Enjoy your dinner. Have a great night.”

    It was awesome to hear, considering that Manny wouldn’t allow us to take a picture with him earlier in the day.

    They came across as human, which was nice to know.

    On a side note, we were there for the game that Wake pitched against San Diego – and I’ve NEVER heard a player booed more (including A-Rod or Jeter at Fenway) than Doug was that night.

    Pretty sad to hear…but the fans kind of filled us in on it.

    Anyway, wishing Doug the best.

  26. theclassofbasball permalink
    March 20, 2008 6:19 pm

    hey fire dannyainge

    i’ts take a real idiot to make a idiot statement like that,why don’t you go do something important, like count how many times the redsox lost to the yankees ………….moron

  27. mick60a permalink
    March 20, 2008 8:56 pm

    I could see that Doug was good for the team. Just watching him in the dugout cheering is teammates on when he wasn’t on the field.

    He will be missed for sure. But it’s part of the game.

    Maybe Management can hire him as a coach for the minors?

    I keep wondering does the Mass. State Troopers have an officer on constant stand by at Logan?

  28. dianesfastball permalink
    March 21, 2008 4:52 pm

    Losing players to a trade or just being released is one of the heardest things in this sport to deal with…I admit that I cried that last time they let Belli go and cried again when he was riding to the “rescue” in that trooper car….I think we as fans put our hearts and soul and some tears into this sport..we watch faithfully every day and when the business gets in the way of our hearts we are bitter..I am and it’s difficult to understand..I believe some of these guys deserve to retire here…Trot and Belli are two of them..I’m tearing up right now..I love you guys and what you gave to us..Thank you

  29. patrickomalley permalink
    March 27, 2008 5:35 am

    Curt,

    In case you care, you were missing a period at the end of the 4th paragraph in your article about Doug, after the word “worst”.

    Pat

  30. sdl1 permalink
    March 27, 2008 3:24 pm

    I was in Sarasota yesterday at the Sox/O’s AAA/AA squads games. A bunch of us Sox fans were talking about the release of Doug and we all agreed that Doug should stay with the organization..at the veery least as a player coach so if we see that Cash has trouble that he can come back or at the very least have him work with the young catchers coming up like Dusty Brown, John Otness and George Kottaras.

  31. mirabellifan permalink
    May 13, 2008 3:03 pm

    I know this may be a little late… but as a true Mirabelli fan, I find it still difficult to watch when Wake pitches these days. I have nothing against Cash, I think he is going to be a great player. Still I guess I always figured that Wake and Doug would leave or retire together.
    I really enjoyed reading the kind words Curt had to say about Doug, it’s refreshing to realize that it isn’t always “just a game”. That real friendships are made on the team.
    I check every day to see if anyone has picked Doug up. No luck yet but I wish him the best. I still wear my custom Mirabelli 28 shirt proudly! Thanks Doug!!!

  32. rs1064 permalink
    June 26, 2008 7:49 pm

    Curt
    I was so impressed to find this article. I am always looking for information on Doug . At this point he seems to be unemployed. I wish him well . I also hope you have a speedy recovery. We miss you!

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