Saturday, September 09, 2006

All This Negativity Sucks

I think I may be a fair-weather blogger. It was awfully fun to post every day when we were contend-ahs. Now, with all this team has been through, it's a tough slog. A slog blog.

Let's see. Since we last left you, the Sox lost the series finale to Chicago, as the White Sox bats awoke against Kyle Snyder. Thursday was an offday, and then the boys welcomed the Royals into town for three. When last we saw KC, their fans were gleefully brandishing brooms as the Royals swept the free-falling Sox.

Last night's game was a tough one - they battled back from an 8-3 deficit to take a 9-8 lead in the 8th (on a Papi 'beat the shift' single to left, no less) and the crowd was electric. Then Timlin came in for the save (with Papelbon out) and proceeded to blow it -- giving up a walk, hitting a batter, and giving up a double to Joey Gathright that gave the Royals a 10-9 lead and deflated the Friday night Fenway crowd. The beers in the Back Bay didn't taste so great last night.

I wanted to quickly opine on a couple of issues that have been in the news lately: the boobirds at Fenway, and the incredible Red Sox Alumni All-Star team currently barnstorming across MLB.

The booing thing intensified this week when Julian Tavarez walked off the mound to a rousing standing ovation Monday night and he refused to tip his cap. His explanation after the game was that these fans had treated him and his bullpen mates pretty badly all year long (Hello, Rudy), and he wasn't about to forget that in exchange for acknowledging the famously fickle Sox fans. At least he didn't resurrect the BK Kim salute (above). Anyway, Tavarez went on to say that he didn't understand how fans could boo their own players when the team is 5 or 6 games up in first place. "They need to know that we're out there trying to win all the time," he said. "Sometimes, we're going to fail." Again, I agree with Tavarez that players shouldn't be booed strictly on failure. Hitters are successful if they get three hits out of 10 tries. That said, there are times to boo. Boo when Manny chases a liner like he's trying to catch a pigeon, or when he saunters down to first, or doesn't even attempt to break up a double play. Boo when Coco Crisp quadruple-skips the ball into second base like he's skipping stones at the beach. (Note: I once booed Ivan Calderon when he bounced a ball into the infield, and I'll never forget the death stare he gave me. I'm still shaking.) But when a guy goes 3 for 45, or makes a crucial error -- the booing is unnecessary. They feel like shit already. Instead, hit 'em with silence. I still wish the whole place went dead silent during Johnny Damon's first return at-bat.

The second thing concerns the Sox Alumni All-Stars, which got a little harder to take this week after seeing multiple replays of Hanley Ramirez clinching Anibal Sanchez' no-hitter against Arizona. Bob Lobel's "Why can't we get guys like this?" line has never been more appropriate. Freddy Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Gonzalez, Anibal Sanchez (hmmmm... keep the guys with z's in their names?), Bronson Arroyo, Josh Bard, Cla Meredith, David Wells, and oh yeah, Johnny Damon -- it's all right here in Rob Bradford's story from earlier this week. It's downright ugly, and it really boils down to the fact that whoever gets the final evaluation call isn't doing their job. I'm not ready to pile onto Jed and Ben for the Beckett/Lowell for Ramirez/A. Sanchez deal. I'm more worried about Ramirez blossoming into a 30/30 guy than I am about Anibal being the next Greg Maddux. In terms of what we got, Mike Lowell has played Gold Glove-caliber D at third - really, the best defense we've seen at third since Wade Boggs - and while Josh Beckett has certainly been a disappointment this year, he's still young, he's still learning, and when he puts it all together he could be scary.

But the other deals are inexcusable. The question is - is anyone doing anything about it? My guess is probably not, not with marshmallow owner John Henry at the helm. Maybe Henry hit the nail on the head during the Theo press conference when he famously said 'maybe I'm not fit to be the owner of the Boston Red Sox.' Maybe you're not, John. Maybe you're not.

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