Back to the future, alternate universe edition (I know I’m supposed to come up with a wrestling headline here)

August 17th, 2006 → 10:26 am @ // 56 Comments

The Red Sox have lost 12 out of 20 games. David Wells — who not long ago said he wanted to blow up Fenway — has become the team’s ace. The combined salaries of Keith Foulke and Matt Clement are higher than the Florida Marlins’ payroll. Mike Timlin discovered there are not one, but two i’s in his last name. And it’s beginning to feel like any time David Ortiz doesn’t hit a ball out of the park, the Sox lose. (For anyone wondering, that’s not technically true.) It’s been a grim stretch, and one that would depress any team — the Royals, the Devil Rays, even the Cardinals. Last night’s win over the Tigers didn’t alter the fact that the Sox have the feel of a team with the wheels coming off. Remember interleague play, when it seemed as if the Sox were incapable of beating themselves? For the last month, it’s been the opposite: time and time and time again, the Sox have handed away wins because of mental lapses or stupid moves or plain old bad execution. It hasn’t been fun, and it hasn’t been pretty.

I understand that people get testy when their team loses. I also understand that reality is starting to settle in; for the first time in four years, the Red Sox don’t particularly feel like they’re a team that deserves to make the playoffs. Could it happen? Sure: if Beckett morphs into the pitcher he’s shown glimpses of being; if the middle relief stops coughing up runs as if they were party favors; if Manny and Ortiz once again carry the team on their backs for the last month of the season. But last year, and especially the two years before that, not making the playoffs would have been a slap in the face: those were teams that were too good not to be playing ball in October. The 2006 Red Sox feel like a good team with some flaws and a lot of bad luck. Unless you’re in the National League, that’s usually not good enough.

What I don’t get is people insisting the Sox would be running away with the division if they’d only kept Pedro/Damon/OCab/Dave Roberts/Nelson de la Rosa. By this point, I know all too well that there’s no sense arguing facts when emotion is involved. (See: the Red Sox really are like world politics!) But there are a few things I want to remind people of:

1. This year Pedro was 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA versus AL teams; the Mets were 1-3 in his three AL starts. (Last year he was 1-1 (the Mets were 1-3) with a 3.21 ERA.*) He started the season with a toe injury. He was out for all of July with a strained hip. He’s back on the DL with a strained calf. Pedro Martinez would not be an all-purpose savior. If the Red Sox had Pedro Martinez circa 1999, they’d be running away with the division. They’d also be running away with the division if they had Nomar circa 1999, Yaz circa 1967, or Williams circa 1941. Those players are gone. (Not to beat a dead horse, but Pedro did not have a four-year offer from any team in baseball until the night he signed with the Mets. Fernando Cuza told the Sox what Pedro needed to return to Boston; the Sox gave it to him. Pedro used the Sox’s offer as leverage with Omar Minaya. If you want to read more about this, it’s in pps. 318 – 325 of my book. If you want to go to your grave thinking this was a Carlton Fisk-like screw up, there’s nothing I can say that’ll make you feel any differently.)

2. Ten million dollars a year for a 32-year old center fielder with a lifetime .290 average (.784 OPS) and a throwing arm that requires a daisy chain of cutoff men is not an insulting offer. Regardless, Scott Boras told the Red Sox not to bother making Damon any other offer if they couldn’t match his imaginary six-year, $72 million contract. Instead, the Sox ended up with a player with very similar career numbers who happens to be six years younger and $10 million cheaper. (If you want to read more about this, it’s in pps. 389 – 392 of my book.)

3. Over the past half-decade, the Sox have had a half-dozen superstar-type players, (and Johnny Damon makes this list more because of his cult status than anything else). If they’d held on to all of these players, this is how between half and three-quarters of the team’s 2008 payroll would be spent (players’ ages are in parentheses):

Pedro Martinez, $13 million (37)
Johnny Damon, $13 million (35) (also owed $13 mil for 2009)
Manny Ramirez, $20 million (36)
Nomar Garciaparra, $17 million (35)
Jason Varitek: $10 million, (36)
David Ortiz: $13 million, (32)
Curt Schilling (not under contract for 2008)

That’s six players with an average age of 35 and an average salary of $14 million, for a total of $86 million. The only one of those players who has a chance to be worth that kind of money that far down the line is Papi. I’d say it’s even money as to whether Nomar and Pedro will still be in the game. (And for those who want to exclude Nomar from this list, you can’t pick and choose which one-time greats you want to keep in town after you see how it all works out.)

***

Yesterday, Bill Simmons took an odd, passive-aggressive swipe at me in his ESPN column. To wit: “I could spend the next 3,000 words ranting and raving about the unacceptable performance of the Henry/Theo regime since they won the World Series…but I don’t want to ruin my chances of getting a key to the office next season. So let’s just say that everyone did a swell job and I fully support every moronic decision that was made. Now where’s my key?” I say odd and passive-aggressive because instead of just calling me out he threw in a coded reference that’d make sense only to people who not only knew about my book but knew a lot of the details about its writing. I have no idea what my access in 2005 has to do with what I write on a blog in 2006. I hadn’t written a word about the Sox when the team and I agreed that I’d write a book. And nothing I do (or don’t) write now is going to get me a key (or any access) in the future; that ship has sailed. (Another side note: Apparently, people only like complaining about the so-called negative Boston media until they get upset…and then they want to complain about the lack of negativity.) For the record, there’s plenty about the last few years I disagreed with, at the time and in retrospect. I didn’t like the Renteria signing when it happened, and when members of the front office told me last year that their scouting on Renteria indicated that he was a better defensive player than he ended up being, I felt like asking them what their eyes had told them: in 2004, Renteria looked like a good defensive shortstop the way Derek Jeter looks like a good defensive shortstop. A lot of the front office, and Theo in particular, thought a more mild-mannered team would make it easier for the players to deal with the media frenzy and fan adulation that comes with playing in Boston. I thought differently, although to be fair I’m not totally sure if that’s because it’s fun to cover — and watch — a bunch of Johnny Damons than a bunch of Mark Lorettas. And I’m at a loss to explain how a front office that is so smart and so hard-working have a seeming inability to put together a reliable bullpen.

But like I said, the personal swipe isn’t what really bothers me. (It’s hard not to take some perverse pride in being the only writer in America who’s disliked by both Bill Simmons and Dan Shaughnessy.) What does bother me is complaining about today while ignoring both yesterday and tomorrow. It’s that attitude that results in shortsighted moves. The Red Sox are not the Yankees. (Thank god for that — if the Yankees had made good decisions, like, say, signing Carlos Beltran instead of Randy Johnson, it’d be a hell of a lot harder to compete with a $200 million payroll. And maybe it’s just me, but I have more fun rooting for a team when it’s not so painfully apparent its m.o. is to just go out and try to buy championships; I’m into the smarts and nerve stuff, too. I love baseball because of the way it mirrors life, and sometimes life is unfair. Sometimes Matt Clement gets hit flush in the side of the head with a line drive after being named an All-Star; sometimes David Wells takes a ball off his balky knee the day he comes off a trip to the DL necessitated by his balky knee. And sometimes you break a leg just before you’re supposed to go skiing in the Alps. When that happens, you need to deal with it; you don’t get to go buy a new leg.) I wish August 2006 were more like August 2004, too. But I’m glad the Sox have made some unpopular decisions over the past few years — letting Cliff Floyd walk, signing David Ortiz, trading Nomar. I’m also glad that, come 2008, I won’t be watching a team hamstrung by a bunch of bloated contracts. Could the Sox have made a trade deadline move? Sure. Do I wish they had? Yup. When I think of Timlin, Delcarmen, and Hansen do I say to myself, as Simmons does, “ALL OF THEM SUCK!” Nope. Do I think the plan is to “go to war with a one-man bullpen for the next 10 weeks?” Nope.

Then again, when Hansen and Delcarmen are helping to nail down the playoffs in a year or two, I’ll be watching the games instead of ordering my second venti latte of the day. (How’s that for passive aggresive?)

* Edited after correction by aro13 in comment #42.


Post Categories: Bill Simmons & Dan Shaughnessy & David Ortiz & Feeding the Monster reactions & Nomar Garciaparra & Pedro Martinez & Theo Epstein

56 Comments → “Back to the future, alternate universe edition (I know I’m supposed to come up with a wrestling headline here)”


  1. crimsonohsix

    7 years ago

    oh snap. you go girl!

    Reply

  2. Bill Pratt

    7 years ago

    Let me provide Simmons style comment for you -

    That’s it. We need to have celebrity sports writer boxing on Spike TV. It was obvious there was not enough emotion in the Danny Bonaduce vs. Barry Williams match-up. But can you imagine something like Mnookin vs. Simmons as an undercard to Shaughnessy vs. Lupica? I mean were talking “The Thrilla on Manila (folders)” with these pundits. Literally the canvas would be a bunch of manila folders stapled to the real canvas. The unintentional comedy scale from the flailing alone would be through the roof. The obvious spin-off would be a wanna be blogers amateur version like “The Contender” (boy, that was some self deprecating passive aggressive upper cut).

    That reminds me, I’m actually a civil engineer that needs to get back to work with important field visits to perform and boring deadlines to meet. I feel you need to know these things.

    You guys need to settle this like real men. The next guy to throw out the first pitch at the soonest game in Fenway from today…. WINS (it doesn’t matter if either of you have already done it once, twice, etc. – your just beginning to make your way to the 5 timers club like Tom Hanks joining Paul Simon on SNL). I mean, come on, Peterman from Seinfeld probably has already got one up on at least one of you.

    Gentlemen, start fishing for your key.

    Reply

  3. rog

    7 years ago

    I had to stop reading Bill Simmons shortly after the 2004 World Series because he became unbearable. After they won, he said something about him not complaining about anything for 5 years, then that winter he immediately starts writing these diatribes against Theo and the Sox for letting Pedro go and questions everything from the BK Kim singing to putting Manny on waivers the previous year. Huh?!? Time flies, I guess, because I could’ve sworn that not one single pitch had been thrown in the 2005 season before Simmons started his negative whining about the Sox. He’s also incapable of writing anything that doesn’t have to do with Boston sports, which makes it seem like he knows less about sports and more about Boston. But I do look forward to reading his columns again in two years when Papelbon, Lester and Delcarmen are in the rotation, Hansen is closing, Ellsbury is in cf and Pedroia is at second base. And they’ll have plenty of payroll flexibility to get a free agent catcher and whatever else they might need. And Bill Simmons will still be a Hollywood hanger-on wannabe writing bad jokes on a bad talk show (I’m originally from LA and I can tell you that the most annoying stereotypical Hollywood imbeciles are all from the East Coast…listening Sports Guy???). Dude, you win by a mile.

    Reply

  4. Retire_Number_14

    7 years ago

    Seth, I wouldn’t take Mr. Simmons’ words too seriously. Nobody really does, he’s more of a “sports as a pop culture writer” than a pure “sports writer.” I mean, he just wasted about 10 minutes of my life last week when he wrote about the movies he’s watched this summer. Not too many esteemed scribes regularly do 4,000-word epics about playing blackjack all night, fictitious fantasy leagues and MTV’s Laguna Beach, either. Take him, and his words, with a grain of salt. I like his thing, whatever it is, but it’s limited him (even though some of the other hacks at espn.com are blatantly copying him and his style. Eric Neel, anyone?). He’s got talent, and he’s funny, but being called out by him, even in this strange sort of way, might be some form of a compliment. I read his column yesterday, and I didn’t react to it the same way. It’s one of those “you know you’ve arrived when … ” moments. I definitely relate to his stuff, as he’s an unflinching Boston fan, but I read him for comic relief, not for real information. Please do the same. Your book is high quality journalism, his is a by-the-seat-of-your-pants, stream of conciousness tome that could have been called “Chicken Soup for the Red Sox Fan.” Don’t worry.

    Reply

  5. blackbears30

    7 years ago

    Seth,
    Forget about Bill Simmons. I used to enjoy reading his stuff, but I’m getting tired of him dragging on the Boston media all the time, saying how much more relaxing it is to follow the team from out West. Screw him. He’s nothing more than a blogger, a glorified comedy writer who wore a blue polo short to a celtics playoff game. Hello Bird jersey or something green. He doesn’t go into locker rooms or do any actual reporting, much less spend a year entrenched in the front office. No insider knowledge besides what the everyday fan sees on NESN, so who is he to criticize anybody? He has no idea what the real story is.

    oh, and my buddies gooch bench jonny and tim the toolman agree. thought you’d need to know

    Reply

  6. StuckAtTheCask

    7 years ago

    Great blog, as always, Seth. One edit:
    “I wish August 2004 were more like August 2004, too.”
    Should probably read “I wish August 2006 …”

    Let’s win 3 out of 5 this weekend, huh?

    Thanks — and fixed.

    – Seth

    Reply

  7. 2004_champs

    7 years ago

    Theo screwed up with the Pedro Martinez thing, and anybody who makes excuses for Theo for this can suck my nuts.

    Reply

  8. mhaof5555

    7 years ago

    The funny part of this little spat is the reason you both disagree is the reason why people like reading you. Simmon’s gig is as the irrational fan that goes on tangents and says things that even he knows aren’t true in the heat of the moment. He offers the fan perspective of being excitable and irrational at times because of how into it he gets. It makes for good reading.

    Your style is rooted in calculated evaluations and the rational conclusions that come out of them. As a fan, it brings you back down from the excitable moments and keeps you grounded in what is actually logical and factual.

    This is why people read both of you. Your styles are supposed to cause you to disagree. If you both wrote in a style somewhere in the middle it would be the same boring old stuff and wouldn’t add anything to the experience of following the team or create any more fun debates.

    I hope you both keep it real and look forward to the next time you wildly disagree on something.

    Reply

  9. 2004_champs

    7 years ago

    Theo’s mishandling of the Pedro situation was a blunder that will define his tenure. He won with Duquette’s guys, then his EGO caused him to dismantle.

    Mnookin is nothing but a Theo apologist, the worst type of sports fan.

    FIRE THEO!!

    Reply

  10. Jack

    7 years ago

    Seth, I just saved your blog to my Bookmark main toolbar (I think you bumped the WSJ down into the pulldown menu).

    Keep up the great work and keep tweaking Shaughnessy and Simmons.

    Reply

  11. 2004_champs

    7 years ago

    You are a Theo apologist.

    Reply

  12. 2004_champs

    7 years ago

    I love how you censor the comments that you allow in your blog now. Anything that doesn’t praise you or Theo is not allowed.

    Theo screwed up. His ego and arrogance got in the way. We’d be better if we still had Pedro, we could have won it all last year if we still had Pedro, we would be contenders this year if we still had Pedro, yet you are in denial because Theo is your boyfriend!!

    Sorry, man — my Spam filter had blocked you because it assumed that many messages saying exactly the same thing couldn’t be coming from an actual person. In either case, I wish you’d be clearer about exactly what it is you’re trying to get across. Did you want to bring back Pedro, or not?

    – Seth

    Reply

  13. Mike Fortuna

    7 years ago

    Seth, good points about the offseason of 2004, but please don’t cherry pick or misuse statistics when discussing Pedro Martinez’ potential value to the 2005 and 2006 Red Sox.

    In 2005 Pedro Martinez threw 217 innings and had an ERA+ of 148 for the Mets. For the 2005 Red Sox those innings would be good for second on the team, and his ERA+ would be good for the best on the team.

    Furthermore, you cite that the Mets were 0-3 in his starts against the AL and that he had a 4.76 ERA against AL teams. This ERA isn’t really relevant. It was only three starts.

    How about looking into the games that he pitched against the AL?

    May 20 vs NYY: 7 IP 4 H 1 BB 8 K – Billy Wagner blew a 4-0 lead in the 9th inning. That surely was Pedro’s fault that the Mets lost that one.

    June 17 vs BAL: 7 IP 8 H 3 ER 1 BB 5 K. Three earned runs in seven innings is a good start. Probably good enough to win the game, wouldn’t you agree?

    And then of course there was the Red Sox debacle when he pitched injured and promptly went on the DL following the start. By most accounts he shouldn’t even have pitched in the game due to his hip injury.

    Why not look objectively at the facts? 2005 Pedro Martinez and healthy 2006 Pedro Martinez is better than anything the Red Sox have. The mistake wasn’t that the Red Sox didn’t give him a four year deal, it was that they played around with insulting two year offers and never guaranteed a third year until the Mets were in the picture. You can spin it any way you want, this was a colossal mistake.

    Reply

  14. masshole

    7 years ago

    I read Simmons blog and I don’t get at all how that was a shot at you. It was clearly a refernce to you, but it seemed like it was a shot at the Sox, if anything. Lighten up

    Reply

  15. jeters_calm_eyes

    7 years ago

    Hey, stop bashing Simmons!
    When I can’t get a copy of US Weekly, I turn to his column for the latest on Lindsey Lohan and the cast of Laguna Beach.

    Reply

  16. Xristafer

    7 years ago

    In all fairness, Simmons did admit the latte comment was a throwaway line in the very next article he published on Page2. As well as receiving the most grief he’s ever gotten for a throwaway line.

    Whether you believe him or not is up to you though.

    Reply

  17. Craig

    7 years ago

    Entries 2-4 are spot on. Simmons panders to his audience, whereas your opinions are objective and sound. I appreciate the wonderful insight you bring to the Sox.

    Reply

  18. masshole

    7 years ago

    I think you are just getting sick of being beaten up by the local media, the sox, etc. It does get tiring defending mistakes over and over, so you are probably just hpyer defensive. My advice is to ignore the “critics” or you will start to see them everywhere.

    Reply

  19. rwdoherty

    7 years ago

    Simmons’ comments appear to agree with you while taking a swipe at the Sox. You chose to be in the public eye so you probably need thinker skin or a bigger binkie.

    That being said, I enjoy your site and insights. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

  20. lcavanagh820

    7 years ago

    I echo the sentiments in Post 2 almost exactly, and would like to add a little more. I like Simmons, but generally cannot STAND when he writes about the Red Sox. I think there are many criticisms to be made (as with all teams), but his are short-sighted and lack depth, AS DO his praises (such as stating in no uncertain terms that Papelbon deserves to be compared to Mariano Rivera after two great months as a closer. MARIANO MOTHERFUCKING RIVERA?!?! AFTER TWO MONTHS? And he expects to have credibility when it comes to baseball? I love Papelbon like a brother, be he wasn’t even worthy of an Eric Gagne comparison at that point, let alone Rivera.)

    The next time he openly accuses you of being a shill for Red Sox management, remember this: If the Celtics drafted Terry Schiavo to play point guard next year, he’d find a way to put a positive spin on it and predict that they’ll win 48-51 games. This is a guy who preaches against “sports bigamy”, and then attends every Clippers home game while wistfully reminiscing about Celtics championships in his childhood. He called U2 his favorite band for christ’s sake!

    Socrates he is not…

    Reply

  21. redsox1971

    7 years ago

    First of all, loved Feeding The Monster & agree with you on many issues. All I really got out of Bill Simmons book was that I agreed too that the Red Sox should have kept Dave Roberts. Really, there is no comparison between you two. Keep up the great and very interesting writing.

    Reply

  22. Nordberg

    7 years ago

    Seth, I disagree with your assessment of the bullpen signings.
    Sort of. Because, yes, they suck.
    But there wasn’t much available.
    I was giddy when the Yanks signed Farnsworth because he’s a head case. Somehow he’s kept that under control this year.
    I was just the opposite about Tavares because he’s a head case.
    A wash.
    I didn’t understand Seanez because he’d been a flop here in the past.
    Anecdotally speaking, relief help is as much a crapshoot as anything. There are few middle relievers who have been solid for long periods. Mike Timlin is one of them.
    Most middle relievers are guy who are not good enough to start, not good enough to close, in the twilight or the beginning of their careers. Translation: Not circumstances that breed reliability. You can do your homework, but in the end it’s about luck, too.
    Look at Embree. One of the best lefty set-up men in 2003-04, and then he just collapsed.
    I don’t want this to be translated into me as a Theo apologist. I just don’t believe there was much out there.

    Reply

  23. Retire_Number_14

    7 years ago

    I am Vince Clortho, keymaster of Gozer. Are you the gatekeeper?

    Many ways to look at Pedro and his potential value to the team, but it was a business decision on both sides, and while the team could have done more to sign him, you can’t really fault the logic. I loved Petey, and I’m even rooting for the Mets a little bit this year in hopes of a Sox-Mets WS rematch. His BP, urrr, I mean, his outing, at Fenway earlier this year was great television. I believe it was his prerogative to use the Sox to drive up the price for Minaya, as I believe it was the prerogative of the Sox to place a value on him and not exceed it. A four-year deal did seem like too much, but three at big money did not. But, I mean, look at Schilling’s contract. Think he’ll win 20 next year, the final year (enacted by winning the WS in 04)? So, I’m on the fence with Pedro. Loved to watch him, he’s a great competitor, big-game guy, and appeared to be a clubhouse favorite. But his best days are way behind him. And I’m sure his act wore thin with some guys on the team who show up every day, but on the other hand, in this day and age of prima donna pandering, i.e. Roger Clemens and his comfy schedule, can’t you stretch the rules a little bit for a guy who, if healthy, can shoot for 20 wins each year? Would Pedro do it today against the AL? Maybe not. But he can’t be any worse than Matt I Want To Go Home, Daddy, Clement. Did he even give the Sox a fighting chance to sign him? It doesn’t appear that way. So, 2004 Champs, I feel you. But let’s all move on. Let the ERIC HINSKE era begin!!

    Reply

  24. JIMLETENDRE

    7 years ago

    This is the first time that I have ever read your blog. I think the main defference between you and Bill Simmons is that he has a column on a popular website and you have a crappy blog. I am a Simmons fan and was blown away by some of the stuff I read that was posted by people on this blog. He is one of the only sportswriters that actually tell you how it is. He is the voice of the fan. You sound like a person that should be hanging around with other Boston suck up’s. Simmons is one of the most intelligent writers around. Knows more about the NBA than almost anyone, and as far as Boston sports goes he has more knowledge and passion than anyone. I think you were the guy in high school that played Dungeon & Dragons and didn’t talk to girls or know anything other than your basement. Get some talent and kiss a girl. Hack.

    Reply

  25. Shalomar

    7 years ago

    WHERE IS THE COCO CRISP LOVE? Coco has taken a lot of heat this season for having an admittedly sub-par offensive season. But he is really coming on and that Wall double last night was a HUGELY clutch hit. If the Sox make the playoffs, his (anticipated) offense in Aug-Sept will prove to be a significant factor. A hand injury obviously has lingering effects on hitting at a major league level. And as a former all-county defensive outfielder (please hold the adulation), let me tell you that the catch he made against David Wright of the Mets earlier this year was one of the hardest catches for an outfielder to make – great jump, great speed, and he dove sideways and backwards. By the end of the season, Coco will be up to .300 and his speed will continue to create havoc.

    Reply

  26. 2004_champs

    7 years ago

    I love Mnookin’s fuzzy math:

    Matt Clement: $9 mill (34)
    Edgar Rented Error: $10 mill (32)
    Manny Ramirez, $20 million (36)
    Jason Varitek: $10 million, (36)
    David Ortiz: $13 million, (32)
    Curt Schilling: $13 mill (48)

    $75 mill committed for 2007 instead of $82 mill. You act like Theo saved a bunch of money by dismantling.

    LISTEN, THEO SPENT PEDRO’S MONEY ON MATT CLEMENT AND A CRAPPY SS UPGRADE RIGHT AWAY. IF HE HAD MONEY FOR MATT CLEMENT, HE NO DOUBT HAD MONEY FOR PEDRO. STOP THE EXCUSES.

    If Pedro would have handcuffed the team so bad for the future, what the heck is Clement doing right now? If we can afford to have Clement suck, we could have afforded to take a risk on Pedro (who will still be pitching in 2008, don’t know who you are kidding saying this is his last year).

    And Nomar was not part of the championship team, so do not include him when calculating the cost of retaining the champs rather than Theo’s plan of dismantling.

    Glad you stopped censoring your blog. At least you have the balls to respect free speech.

    Reply

  27. 2004_champs

    7 years ago

    Mike Fortuna is correct. That 2 year offer Theo lowballed to Pedro was disrespectful, and just another example of Theo letting his arrogance and Ego ruin things for Boston.

    We don’t need a celebrity guitar playing GM. We need a GM who realizes that $13 mill for Pedro is better than spending $9 mill on Clement.

    I mean, seriously, if we can piss away $9 mill on Clement, or $10 mill on Edgar, how can you tell us that Pedro at $13 mill was too much for the Sox? Makes no sense.

    You defending that move makes you sound like a typical Theo Apologist. I’m going to start calling you Pete Sheppard Jr.

    This is your sixth post in the past two hours. It’s your 11th post on the site, and that’s not counting the five you wrote under the screen name “Bring Back Pedro.” (I know you took the time to sign up for a new email. The same IP address gives you away.) Every single one of them has said the exact same thing. Unless you have something new to add, you’re done.
    – Seth

    Reply

  28. tjrsfca

    7 years ago

    Hey Seth,

    I like the breakdown of the age/salary of all these guys Red Sox Nation thinks would take us to the next championship. For the record, I am way more in agreement with you than not. But here’s the question: say we mortgated the near future by retaining those guys or we sold off the “untouchables” for similar big guns, and just for fun say we won it all this year, would that be worth a few lion-in-the-winter years in 07, 08, and maybe 09?

    Counterpoint: the Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson trade in 1990 is a howler that is used as an example of the “worst ever” kind of trade. Exactly the kind of “mortgage the future” move that many seem to wish Theo had done this year. Remember we did make it to to the ALCS in 1990 – so in the near term one could say the trade was justified. But in the long term we were rewarded with Bagwell highlights… for the Astro’s… for a decade. Ouch.

    It’s fun to debate the what-if’s, but the for-real analysis all depends on if Hanson/Delcarmen/Pedroia etc contribute significantly next year. And the year after. Etc.

    Reply

  29. WendellKim

    7 years ago

    Seth, there seems to be fewer and fewer writers who are even remotely bearable when it comes to covering the Sox, and you have quickly become my favorite. Keep up the great work! What I truly dislike about sports coverage these days, and more specifically Red Sox coverage, is the instant analysis the talking (and writing) heads so quickly spout off. The departures of Damon and Pedro, the Arroyo trade, the lack of deadline trades, and most recently the criticism of the young sox bullpen are perfect examples of the unfairly short sighted and negative approach so many of the Boston writers employ. One key component of the current Sox front office that no one other than you seems to grasp is the long term plan Theo and company currently have in place. Since when have long term financial responsibility, farm development, and prudent trade evaluations become unsound management philosophies.

    While I do find Simmons to be extremely amusing, his criticism of the Beckett deal is a perfect example of unfound criticism. Signing Beckett to a three year $30 million deal was in my opinion a perfect example of Theo taking advantage of an undervalued asset (because of Beckett’s recent struggles) to sign him to a sub market value contract. Pitchers with Beckett’s natural ability and potential are nearly impossible to come by, and $10 million is surely not more, and probably less, than he would have eventually commanded on the open market. If Pedro in 2008 is worth $13 mil, then $10 mil for Beckett is surely not a mistake.

    Reply

  30. GlennW

    7 years ago

    Bill Simmons is the guy who in his own words gave up on the Red Sox and– even worse in my mind, as a supposed true fan– on baseball altogether early in 2004, only to return and make a small fortune with a collection of old essays packaged and sold under the guise of celebration of his eternal reward for lifelong faith and devotion to the Red Sox. He’s not in my list of the top 100 writers who “deserved” to pen the most popular literary catharsis of that glorious moment, but bully for him for being in the right place at the right time. With that said, the “swipe” in his latest piece seems rather tame, Seth. It’s just sarcasm, using you as a symbol for his displeasure with fawning media types and the supposed untouchables in the front office. It’s a totally misplaced sentiment if he’s been paying any attention at all to the Boston media and talkshows (however wrong they and he might be), but I wouldn’t take it personally– that’s just his style. Simmons came back in 2004 after similar illogical griping, and he’ll be back again for future successes.

    Reply

  31. jpa_lp

    7 years ago

    Mknookin, you need to do a head-to-head email exchange with Simmons (those who read him regularly have seen him do it with other columnists and even David Stern). I think it would make for an interesting piece, and shit, it can only drive more readers your way…..

    To the guy throwing Simmons under the bus about his Clippers fandom – easy dude! the guy lives in LA, loves basketball, and needs some fodder for his columns…I don’t think he ever abandoned the Celtics or proclaimed his undying devotion to the Clippers. Take all the shots at Simmons that you want, but nobod – I mean nobody – captured the collective emotions of Red Sox Fans (I refuse to call it RSN) during the 2003-2004 rollercoaster ride.

    Reply

  32. timmah1

    7 years ago

    Is 2004_champs Kevin Millar or something? Does Pedro at 13$ million for two more years after this make sense with him breaking down 4 times a year? No. Everyone thought Clement could handle the AL (including the Yankees), so that is a moot point. Also, trading Nomar was instrumental in them winning the World Series. With out the new blood on that team (and superior defense), they don’t get by the Yankees. No way.

    Where is the credit for all of Theo’s other moves? Big Papi comes to mind. Oh Mark Bellhorn helped some, so did/does Timlin, Mueller and others.

    Boston fans generally understand what the team is doing. It’s just the few who don’t understand, but don’t understand loudly that is the problem.

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  33. jpa_lp

    7 years ago

    “I think you were the guy in high school that played Dungeon & Dragons and didn’t talk to girls or know anything other than your basement. Get some talent and kiss a girl. Hack.

    Comment by JIMLETENDRE”

    Actually, I think Seth spent most of high school doing drinking booze & doing smack; right Seth? http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/qa/multi_1/documents/04256147.asp

    Sorry, couldn’t resist that one. The book was excellent (there, did I redeem myself, if only a little bit?)

    Reply

  34. yazdog8

    7 years ago

    I wouldn’t worry too much about Simmons. His writing seems to have “jumped the shark” when he left Boston to work for Kimmel. Whatever valid points me makes (that Theo and Co. have had a difficult time building a decent bullpen the past few years) are completely lost with his CHB like rantings in the WE GOTTA WIN NOW vein. Memo to Bill…the Sox broke the “curse”. Time to lay the groundwork for a dynasty.

    Reply

  35. Bill Pratt

    7 years ago

    It would be more impressive if Seth actually played Dungeons and Dragons, caught an STD from the home coming queen, drank booze, and did smack in high school. What the hell, throw in being the guy holding that long pole in the marching band.

    What everyone is missing is that the Red Sox need to control the press the way that the Patriots control the press.

    See Post #34 for why.

    And thanks for putting the choke chain on 2004_champs. Maybe there is something to controlling the flow of information.

    Reply

  36. sampath_dps

    7 years ago

    “I have more fun rooting for a team when it’s not so painfully apparent its m.o. is to just go out and try to buy championships”

    Seth, do you think you are rooting for the Minnesota Twins or pehaps the KC Royals from the late 70s?
    Did you root for the ’04 Sox team that had one player from the farm (Schilling does not count)? There really is little difference between the $120-$140 million payroll of the Sox and the $180-$200 million payroll of the Yanks. They both exist in the same plane far way from the rest of baseball. Let’s not pretend that the Sox are not trying to “buy” a championship.

    Reply

  37. anonymouseducator

    7 years ago

    I could go on and on about how terrible Bill Simmons is: the endless rhetorical questions (which he has now started answering), the tired jokes (“Coco Crisp” is like a breakfast cereal!), his not-so-secret aspirations of being a “real” writer (witness his observation on the elusiveness of the creative process), etc.

    But what has infuriated me of late is how he has started to whine about criticism of his subject matter (the NBA). Yes, Bill, the column is free. You readers still have the right to voice their opinions. You don’t have to take their advice, but for God’s sake don’t complain about it.

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  38. Ned Martin

    7 years ago

    Simmons act has been old for a few years now. In addition to passing shots at real writers, I’ve grown tired of the Shawshank references, running diaries while high on caffeine and sour patch kids, his buddy Bish, and his transendence from Vegas neophyte (when he was the typical east coast fish out of water) to steely veteran. His time has come and gone.

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  39. anonymouseducator

    7 years ago

    Oh God, he and his buddies are the Kings of Vegas. Reading his explanation of why Bug’s jokes are funny makes my eyes bleed.

    Reply

  40. HFXBOB

    7 years ago

    I used to like Simmons but now I realize he’s an overgrown frat boy. I’m enjoying all the heat he’s taking here. Right on to the people who are accusing him of being a two-face. Five year grace period indeed. The Sox and Theo do not deserve this kind of slagging. In my opinion the only blatant mistake Theo has made was the ‘out with Cabrera in with Renteria’ move. As for Simmons (and Eric Wilbur) throwing in the towel, the only thing I would say is that the other contenders like the Yankees and White Sox wouldn’t be as quick to write us off because there are still a lot of games to play. Only credit to Simmons is his finshing line about the reverse jinx. He is still a fan, give him that.

    Bob McNeil
    Halifax

    Reply

  41. Mike Greenwell MVP

    7 years ago

    I loved Feeding the Monster, and I enjoy reading Seth on this blog. But Bill Simmons has been my favorite writer to read for quite some time now. After the heartbreak of the 2003 ALCS, Simmons was the only thing that kept me from a complete emotional breakdown. Had it not been for Bill’s hillarious/ smart work, I might have not left my room for a month rather than just a week. Anyways, lets come together here and put the drama behind us. Like Red Sox and Mets fans agree on hating the Yankees, can’t Simmons and Mnookin disciples agree on hating Shaugnessy. I mean seriously Shaugnessy is the devil with a bad hair cut and a smug smile.

    Anybody pumped about Eric Hinske??

    Anybody???

    Me Either…

    Reply

  42. aro13

    7 years ago

    Not to get in on the argument but a clarification of fact:
    In 2005 against the AL
    Pedro Martinez made 4 starts
    7 6 3 3 4 3 ND versus the Angels
    6 9 4 4 1 7 L versus the Mariners
    7 4 1 1 1 6 ND versus the Yankees
    8 6 2 2 2 3 W versus the Yankees

    That is a record of 1-1 with a 3.21 earned run average.
    Discounting his start against the Red Sox this year against the AL he is 1-2 with an earned run average of 2.79 in two years.

    Reply

  43. hameljaime

    7 years ago

    as BSG would say in the 3rd person:

    BSG Has Lost His Fastball

    The boys at the hernia went after BSG this week..

    http://www.thesportshernia.com

    Reply

  44. aro13

    7 years ago

    Just to clarify. Last year against the AL Pedro Martinez made 4 starts.
    7 6 3 3 4 3 ND versus the Angels
    6 9 4 4 1 7 L versus the Mariners
    7 4 1 1 1 6 ND versus the Yankees
    8 6 2 2 2 3 W versus the Yankees

    That equals out to a 1-1 record with a 3.21 earned run average.
    If you discount his start against the Red Sox this season his record is 1-2 with a 2.79 earned run average.

    Reply

  45. s1c

    7 years ago

    Haven’t read the book so I can’t say much about what is in it. As for Renteria signing, if you remember O Cab was the one who started that fiasco by saying he wanted Renteria money in 2004. Well, if you can get the person that was the baseline for the SS’s then you get him. Unfortunately, he couldn’t handle the spotlight in boston so he bombed in the field and because of his fragile ego he carried that over to the plate. I hated the Clement signing, was glad to see Pedro go because I was tired of the prima donna act. I still think that Beckett will be a good pitcher down the road as he continues to learn how to throw his curve and change up with new grips that will cause fewer blisters. Remember he is still in the same age range as Papelbot. As for the offense, well Coco finally seems to be over his injury and is starting to produce at the plate and lets not forget that this is the best infield defense that I have ever seen of the Sox (THEO if you want to make me happy sign Gonz to a three year deal now), and I have been watching this team since 1975. As for Simmons, I am not so sure it was a shot at you as it was his typical glib comment adding a couple of lines to his paying gig.

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  46. starchy_1

    7 years ago

    I’ve only been reading this blog for about a month, but I don’t perceive Seth to be so much defending the acquisitions the F.O. HAS made in ’05/’06, but more like agreeing about the guys that they allowed to move on.
    1) Arroyo’s a nice innings eater, which they could use in hindsight, but if they do develop WMP, it’s no contest. Too early to call a winner or a loser.
    3) Pedro’s gonna cost the Mets $1M per win this year. Exactly what the Sox wanted to avoid.
    4) J.D. could’ve easily taken the same $10M per year deal that Varitek did, which would’ve been a $9M raise over his last contract. Oh lord, the insult! Does anything think that Damon is worth more than Varitek?

    I’d rather watch the Sox develop their young talent, too. AND stop succumbing to Pitino-itis at the same time. Let’s all get along the next 4 days to collective hate the Empire with all our might…

    Reply

  47. julio_valdez

    7 years ago

    Seth, just consider the source. Simmons is a guy who openly bitched about all the Red Sox books that were flooding the market following the ’04 World Series, while working on a book himself. Well if you want to call it a book. Just a collection of his old columns which he had the balls to call a book after bitching about writers that did the same thing. The guy is a hypocrite, but as he would say, that deserves its own column.

    As for Simmons’ criticisms, he is unrealistic.

    And for whoever said that Simmons captured the emotions of Red Sox fans, you are fooling yourself. He captured the emotions of a SEGMENT of Red Sox fans: the whiney, non-sensical, lets-trade-Loretta/Nixon/Seanez-for-Albert-Pujols, fans.

    Reply

  48. Nordberg

    7 years ago

    Seth, please don’t censor 2004_champs.
    I constantly am amused by his ignorance of the facts, insistence on making the same argument despite substantial contrary evidence and willingness to pretend that his beloved is in line for the NL Cy Young even though he’s on the DL for the second time this season. Never mind that he topped out at 82 in his last start and could be done for his career.
    Oh, and his refuse to acknowledge that Petey lied to the Red Sox front office about contract offers.
    When 2004_champs comes back, his handle will be “Computer Geek.”
    It’s my bet that 2004_champs is Pedro himself, Pedro’s mom or Nelson de la Rosa.

    For the last time, did Theo make a mistake with Clement?
    Yup. He took a chance in a weak free agent pool and lost.
    But Petey was riskier and costlier.
    Did he make a mistake with Renteria?
    Yup. He took a stab at what appeared to be a franchise shortstop and lost.
    But he also has kept his eyes on the long-term future of the franchise, something previous management refused to do.
    AND HE WON THE WORLD SERIES!

    Reply

  49. MorningZ

    7 years ago

    I so wholeheartedly agree with #41…. his spin on the 2003 ALCS really did a good job of softening the blow, and i still read (and enjoy) his columns today as I have since the beginning….

    And while I did immediately catch/understand his keys-to-the-office comment, I as well didn’t see his comment/reference as an insult… and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he has actually read your great book….

    Reply

  50. HFXBOB

    7 years ago

    In reply to #45 re Cabrera/Renteria. Sorry to beat a dead horse on this, but I don’t agree with the comments about Cabrera starting the fiasco by asking for Renteria money. The fact is Cabrera was looking for about $8 million a year and that’s what he got from the Angels. Theo messed up badly on this one, not so much because he miscalculated how poorly Renteria would handle Boston, but because he miscalculated how well Cabrera HAD handled it. Cabrera did nothing but put up solid numbers and big plays in his 72-game stay. All you have to look at is the ALCS. 11 hits, 5 RBI’s, flawless fielding and plays like the hit he took from A-Rod in game 4 11th inning. Frankly what more could you want? Somehow Theo got lost in the printouts on this one.

    Bob McNeil

    Reply

  51. JIMLETENDRE

    7 years ago

    HEY MY BAD. GETTING DRUNK AND DOING SMACK IW WAY BETTER THAN PLAYING DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS. MAYE SIMMONS SHOULD DO SOME H.

    Reply

  52. JIMLETENDRE

    7 years ago

    MY BAD. MAYBE DOING SMACK IS BETTER THAN DUNGEONS AN DRAGONS. I AM GONNA GO AND DO SOME H.

    Reply

  53. CT

    7 years ago

    So is everyone enjoying the long term plan?
    : )

    But seriously, it’s nice to talk about being a “$100 million player development machine”, but when young players like Beckett, Crisp, Lester, Hansen don’t show any improvements with experience (and some are regressing), you have to wonder how good the “player development” part of this “machine” really is.

    Pretty disheartening.

    It’s too bad we’ll never find out how good a starter Papelbon could have been, but since Theo sucks so bad at building (and drafting) a bullpen, it appears they have no choice but to leave him at closer for the rest of his Red Sox career.

    Say goodbye to another prime year of David Ortiz & Manny Ramirez. Not too many of ‘em left in my opinion.

    Just think, 4 years from now when the “long term plan” begins to reach reality, we will wake up and David Ortiz & Manny are gone or in steep decline. Then the Red Sox can tell everyone to be patient for a few more years because they can’t find anyone to replace them.

    Good times!

    Reply

  54. chappee11

    7 years ago

    I agree with the post above that talks about the Sox “buying” a title. The Sox do this the same way as the Yankees, but it’s STILL $100M less in payroll to work with.

    It’s not like the Yankees only make great moves: Giambi was a terrible contract, Pavano was a DISASTER, the jury is still out on Randy, A-Rod, Damon etc… But the Yankees can clearly afford more bad moves (and at more dollars) than the Sox can. Losing Clement has really hurt the Sox this year, while the Yankees missing Pavano is barely noticeable.

    I like the idea of developing talent from within, but the Red Sox are always going to have to spend over $100M to stay close to the Yankees (Toronto recently realized this). And it is the Yankees who have developed Wang, Cano & Melky for cheap money to supplement their bloated payroll. Other than Papelbon, the Red Sox can’t really say the same thing.

    The move that is the real killer this year is not making the Yankees pay more for Abreu. The Sox (or Angels) should have AT LEAST driven the price up for a premier (yet expensive) talent like Abreu. The Yankees got him (and a serviceable starter in Lidle) without affecting their major league roster. This shows the real power of the checkbook! Even the Red Sox couldn’t compete with the Yankees on that one….and it’s too bad!! How many days until the Pats opener?

    Reply

  55. miles44

    7 years ago

    I couldn’t agree with Seth more. You can’t pick and choose which moves you like, stitching together what moves worked out in hindsight. Letting Pedro and Damon go? Gotta reverse those. Getting rid of Nomar, Millar, and Bellhorn? Still OK.
    Acquiring Clement and Crisp? No. Acquiring Loretta and Pena? Fine for now. Or within one trade — Lowell yes, Beckett no. Or even within one player — we’ll keep 2004 Foulke, but throw 2005-2006 Foulke under the bus.

    The best hysterical line was Hench saying Hanley Ramirez is better than Miguel Tejada right now. Hanley may be a great player some day, but right now statistically he’s not even better than Alex Gonzalez, never mind Miggy.

    Reply
  56. [...] I guess 135 comments sounds like a lot, but earlier this month I got more than 50 comments on one post in about 24 hours, and I’m not running what amounts to a water-cooler site for lawyers and law students around the country. Were these 135 comments made up of a dozen or so people posting a dozen times each? Were the posts attributing the one-year drop to any particular cause, or were they, as Breyer, Souter, and at least some of the relevant data indicated, just a random fluctuation? Readers of the article will never know. Greenhouse’s piece was presented as a front-page news story (printed under the rubric “Supreme Court Memo”), but, with the Volokh Conspiracy comment board the only example of any actual debate or discussion, it looks more like an op-ed written by a reporter with a history of political activism: In 1989, Greenhouse participated in a Pro-Choice rally (in violation of Times policy) and in a recent speech, she described crying at a Simon & Garfunkel concert because the war in Iraq had convinced her that her generation was “mak[ing] the same mistakes” in running the country that previous generations had made. The Times has drawn fire in recent years for pushing agendas in its news pages. Without any context, this has the appearance of another example of that type of reporting. [...]

    Reply

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