Why is this night different from all other nights?

August 31st, 2006 → 6:06 pm @

OK, so this isn’t different, but important: for all you going to the game, remember to cheer. These comments from Gordon Edes’s article in today’s Globe were incredibly dispiriting:

* “Oh yeah, they’ll be welcoming us with open arms,” manager Terry Francona said sardonically of the reception that awaits the staggered Sox.

* “Are you dealing with rational people?” said [Kevin Youkilis], infielder by trade, left fielder again by necessity. “I don’t know, they’re Red Sox fans. If they want to boo, what are you going to do? People boo players when they come into a game trying to win a game. Some people will, some people won’t. It depends on the radio, and what they’re saying. Even our parking lot attendants listen to the radio.”

So c’mon: welcome them with open arms. Pedroia, Youkilis, Loretta, even emergency start Julian Tavarez — it’s not these guys’ fault.

(Emergency starter Julian Tavarez, you say? Yup…because the on-the-verge-of-being-traded David Wells has been sent home to literally pack his bags and wait for a phone call. Up to the minute updates are are here; the Globe writers get paid for this, after all. I’m heading out to grab some food.)

Post Categories: David Wells & Red Sox Fans

The dean, the truth, and how to avoid looking a whole lot worse

August 22nd, 2006 → 1:08 pm @

For decades, Bob Ryan has been referred to as the dean of Boston sportswriting. Most of his renown has come from his writing on the Celtics — and deservedly so — but today he shows why he’s worth reading on almost any subject. His column, titled “Warning: These truths may hurt,” does a better job of encapsulating the disappointment with the 2006 Red Sox than almost anything I’ve read.

Ryan’s critiques can be more or less summed up as follows:

* The absence of a legitimate number 5 hitter
* The loss of Johnny Damon
* The disappointment of Coco Crisp
* The enigma that is Josh Beckett
* The failure of the bullpen
* The absence of a lefty reliever

I think Ryan’s right-on, both not only because these are obvious problems but because they’re all the result of legitimately second-guessable decisions. Unlike folks who were in favor of the Arroyo-Wily Mo deal when it happened, opposed to it when Arroyo put up ridiculous first-half numbers, and in favor of it during those first several weeks of August, Ryan’s raising serious concerns that could have (and perhaps should have) been addressed.

Ryan also points out – as Nick Cafardo did yesterday — the very real monetary difference between New York and Boston. (There are those who think that’s simply a result of the Sox’s pecuniary conservatism; I disagree, but that’s a topic for another day. Don’t worry: that day will come soon.) In spite of this, Ryan argues that Yankees are – dare I say it – a fun team. A team that, for those non-Red Sox fans out there, it’s pretty easy to root for. As painful as it is to admit it, it’s hard not to agree. Putting aside the question of buying a trip to the playoffs, the Yankees – from Melky Cabrera to Robinson Cano to Jeter to Damon to Williams to Mariano – are oddly appealing, Cabrera and Cano because they’re youngsters coming up big; Mariano and Bernie because they’re vets still plugging away; Jeter because he’s one of the fiercest competitors out there; and Damon because he’s growing a porn-star mustache and still loves his naked pull-ups. (Sheffield, Johnson, and A-Rod are most definitely not appealing; Dumbo, er Posada, is on the fence.)

But Ryan’s most crucial point comes towards the end of his column. He writes:

“The truth is that this is not a good time to be Theo Epstein. For two years running, he has been unable to construct a viable pitching rotation. (We haven’t mentioned Matt Clement, a very nice guy; no one is in a hurry to see him come back, because it’s clear he wasn’t cut out for Boston.) Theo was cut one year of afterglow slack, but overheated fans, already in a bloodthirsty mood, are downright rebellious now that the Yankees have humiliated their team with a five-game sweep. …

“The truth is that in this perverted sports climate, the other team is never just allowed to be better, even for a day, let alone a series or a season. No, no. Blame must be affixed. Heads must be severed.

“Once upon a time, losing brought a brief period of sorrow. Now it brings rage. The rest of the season, I fear, will not be much fun.

“The truth is we need to sit down and figure out what sports are all about. We’ve lost our way.”

Amen to that, brother. This is baseball, folks. This is a game in which senior citizens are asked to put on unflattering uniforms if they want to manage. The Sox have clearly made some mistakes and miscalculations; they’ve also had a lot of success. It sucked ass to lose five-straight to the Yankees. It sucked so much even my friends who are Yankees fans feel bad for me. But let’s not let a disappointing season result in hate mongering. It’s not going to make anyone feel any better. And it’ll make Red Sox fans look a lot worse.

Post Categories: Bob Ryan & Red Sox Fans