Monday, November 21, 2005


That's how I feel about the proposed/consummated Josh Beckett trade, for a few reasons. I know Josh Beckett is an amazing talent who has more than succeeded at the highest level. I know the Sox need another ace in the rotation. I know there is a chance that neither Hanley Ramirez or Anibel Sanchez reach their "ceilings". But I also know that Josh Beckett is kind of an asshole.

Sure he's 25, and most people are assholes at that age, and sure, several of his assholicious moments have come at the expense of the Yankees (which is nice), and sure, when an asshole is OUR asshole I tend to tolerate them a bit more (this is a lie; I am all things intolerant) - but can you see the fireworks between this kid and Schilling? Is this not the worst-case scenario for the clubhouse, and best-case scenario for Dan Shaughnessy? I don't know, maybe I overrate these things. But I like to see guys pulling for each other, I like a harmonious clubhouse. I think in a town like Boston where you can never get away from the office, it helps to like the people you work with. This is the only town in baseball where the clubhouse is your quiet time.

All the above being said (rather laboriously, but still), I have no trouble at all with the acquisition of Beckett. Rationally, I don't even have a big problem with the price we paid. You always go with the proven commodity, and Beckett is an historical Yankee-killer, although those were the pre-juice-poster-boys Yankees. No matter how you look at it, at 25 years old, with killer stuff, he has a lot to offer this ballclub for years to come. He's an ace.

Here's the thing though: I was so looking forward to watching these kids come up. Tracking Hanley and Sanchez (et alia) through the Sox farm system was(is) tremendous fun; it was like gambling with no downside. Now they're gone, and Lester is the last remaining blue-chip prospect with all-star talent who is close to the bigs. I love Pedroia, he's a gamer and I know he'll be a successful ballplayer, but it's not quite the same with him. He's a fait accompli; some of the romance is missing for me. With the others we had a chance to watch three exciting could be-should be gems blossom, and just possibly catch fire simultaneously - can you imagine what if? And now it's gone, pending physicals. Alas, that's the business, and that's the game. I wish them well, and will soldier on.

OK, ok, realistically I understand that Hanley is most likely the latest in a long string of guys with sports bodies and gas station brains (no offense to the pump jockeys out there; I've done it). What can you do? For whatever reason, some guys never quite "get it". Sanchez, based on what I have read, projects to be a pretty useful major leaguer. But will he be Josh Beckett? I don't know that I'd fly to Vegas on those odds.

So the Sox get better. The Mike Lowell question remains to be answered, and at the price tag, it might have some impact on the Manny question. Since my behavior in these matters is to focus on the underdog aspect of the game, I am hoping they keep him, he comes back to have a monster year, and Youks becomes the greatest first baseman since, er, Kevin Millar. I like to ignore likelihoods.

You see, if I have to have a point, this is it: it's fun to hope for crazy shit.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Me for GM

Have you ever attended a holiday party where they did a Yankee swap, and there was something there that everyone thought was crappy, but you really wanted it? So you snatched it up on your turn? And since you didn't realize that it was so crappy you waited with bated breath, praying that no one would take it away from you when their turn came?

An example of this might have been one of those wax nose and moustaches, which as kids we mistakenly took for candy. Or, it might have been plastic fake vomit. Or, it could be the position of General Manager of the Boston Red Sox.

The trouble with the Yankee swap was that it was so fast that you hardly had a chance in the whirlwind of events to really look at what you were picking. Rational thought rarely entered into it. In the current Sox GM situation, however, guys appear to have that one extra night to realize that the job would suck ass. This is trouble for the team.

However, as Gail Nokes states in Raising Arizona, "I'd rather light a candle than curse your darkness". So, I have a solution. I will take the job. I'm not rational or sensible. I have shown no ability to wrestle with authority in any of my prior positions in the workspace. I am physically incapable of sucking up (leading to a conversation with management at B of A that included the phrase "don't let the door hit you in the ass"), but nobody likes a good suck-up. I toady painfully. So I'm a personality fit.

On the baseball side of the house, I was a star in little league, all the way up until I lost almost total interest in living my dad's projected dreams. So I understand the game, -ish. Where I make errors in talent evaluation I will almost certainly balance them by getting guys that make up for a lack of ability with a blue-collar, "dirt dog" attitude. I will not trade for any truly fat players unless they have ironic nicknames. If a player is completely insane I will make sure that they are also injury-prone so we only have to put up with their shit on the field until a hammy blows out. I'll get one decent year out of every reliever I sign. I'll over-spend on somebody every year, because I can. Basically, I will encompass years of Boston General Management in one devil-may-care package. Why not?

Best of all, I come cheap. They can lowball me, I don't care. I'll be there for the fans, not the Apprentice wanna-be owners. And when Larry starts to get on my nerves and acts like a craphound, I'll show them by drinking watered-down Fenway beer on the job. It will be perfect.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Waiting Game

Could it suck any more? Waiting in the dark, wondering what the hell will happen.

Will we get Theo back, will we get a new GM, will the new GM destroy the franchise (for reference, see Jim Bowden), will Manny be back next year being Manny, will Christ be back being Captain Caveman, etc., etc.,....there are so many things hanging over our heads, and yet we know nothing, just little tidbits of dried news crumbs that are fed to us, and which do not sate our hunger. This is a dramatic re-enactment of the past week and a half, in which each day I wonder if something good will happen to the olde towne team, and go to bed the same way. I'm simultaneously bored, and going insane.

Theo being gone is obviously bad. That being said, Moore's resume thus far looks pretty spiffy, as evidenced by the astonishing player development in recent years in Atlanta. So I hope they sign him, although I liked the Kim Ng angle alot too, largely due to my belief that since she currently resides in Southern California she is extremely hot and probably shoots adult films on the side. This is not abnormal thinking either, trust me.

It's bizarre, the half-life of the offseason. On the one hand, I like the guys we've got, and want to see them succeed. On the other hand, I'm a Boston fan, capable of turning savagely on any player who takes a statistical dive (see Kevin Millar, 2005), so I've got to wonder about Manny and Christ and The Pro, and think rationally about getting some younger, cheaper blood in there. On top of it all, I sometimes just like getting new guys in, it's almost like buying new shoes or a new car. The novelty of rooting for somebody new, giving them a fresh start, gives me a little boost. I was dying for Petagine to get a chance last year, because all the evidence pointed to him being able to flat-out hit. I hope to do that again this year.

The key is getting new guys that aren't stiffs. Nobody likes fresh blood that sucks. (Well, that might not be true. Cubs fans do, God love them. The boo is like crack rock to the average Cubbie fan. It endears them to the players.) Hell, in Boston we don't like fresh blood that's standard issue. If you're not awesome, you do suck.

So what am I saying? Nothing, obviously. I've got no compass, no direction, I'm just hanging here, waiting, waiting for a glimpse of what's to come, some sense of who I'm rooting for next year. I'm waiting, and I hate it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Danger, Will Robinson!

Click above to throw up in your mouth

There is no way in hell that this can be true. Let's look at this glancingly - just glancingly, because to stare at it directly might cause permanent synaptic damage.

The Red Sox will trade Manny Ramirez, arguably the best RH hitter in baseball without 100+ million dollars in guys hitting behind him, for an $8 Million Dollar man made of papier mache, and a guy who is paid 8.5 million dollars next year to (assuming no regression) completely suck ass. Why on earth would they do this, unless the plan is to gut the payroll and sell the team? This would be, bar none, the worst trade since a guy named Larry Anderson was involved. I refuse to believe this is true. The repercussions among the fan base would have to be given one of those friendly hurricane names like "Stan".

The only way I could see this happening, even remotely, would be if they simply released Erstad outright once the deal is done. Of course, that provides no solution for the gaping hole at first. Crap, I have no point here. I am just making shit up.

Ok, actually, I have one point here. There is no way this trade gets done unless the Sox get pitching back. End of story. I will not be proven wrong on this.

(Please God, don't let me be proven wrong on this)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Theo, We Hardly Knew Ye

But we really, really wanted to. I guess that's one the factors here isn't it? Not just to Theo but to a lot of the ballplayers - Foulke, Manny, Wells, the list is probably much longer - who complain that they can't get any privacy in Boston. No matter where they go, there are people in their space, usually just congratulating them or wishing them well, sometimes asking for autographs, probably sometimes being asswipes and bitching about some stupied play that happened a couple nights back. Boston fans.

There is a large contingency (and a very small part of me) that says "tough crap". These guys make millions of dollars a year. The play a game for a living. They have everything they want. They can suck it up and be nice to the fans - the fans pay their salaries! I can understand the logical argument being presented but largely this is a bunch of bullshit. Every human being has a right their privacy. By stating that when they are out they are in the public eye and therefore belong to the public, you're dehumanizing these people, turning them into little puppets for you to play with because you're bored with your life and want to grab a tiny piece of what they have. Not only is it not right, it's despicable.

When ballplayers are at the ballpark, they should be held accountable - that is their workplace, it's why we love them; because they step into the arena and do what we cannot. When a guy makes millions of dollars a year and reports to camp out of shape, shame on him. When a guy doesn't run hard on every single ball in play, shame on him. When a guy sits out because he's tired or has a ding, shame on him. But when a guy complains because he took his kids to McDonald's and they got molested 45 times by total strangers, he has a right. If you can't respect other people, no matter what their job, shame on you.

So, so long Theo. I know working with Lucchino, a true douchebag in the moistest sense of the word, surely hastened your departure. But knowing that most of us think our bosses are tools, I suspect that the killer was - you could never escape the job. Where would you go? When I get to the point that I want to kill my arrogant megalomaniacal overlord (strangely, I have one too), I can leave and do something that relaxes me, or nothing at all. I don't think Theo had that option. I think that at 31 years old he wasn't ready to be owned, not even by this team that he truly loves. Not even by this public who adores him. So he's walking away, and it's probably the right decision for him.

That's what we loved about Theo right? He could make the hard decisions. He could analyze, assess, pull the trigger, and not look back. It separated him from us. For us, the hard decision is to look at the man you admire, the man you maybe love in a strange way, and leave him the hell alone. Admire him from a distance, and take some pride in your reserve. That's the team play. I hope we learn to make it.