There aren’t two Shane Victorinos in baseball, are there? The Red Sox didn’t sign the other one this off-season, right? It’s still the same Victorino they signed before the 2013 season, right?
I remember that one.
He was the star of the 2013 World Championship. If he wasn’t their best player during the season, he was certainly in the conversation. He was so good and so beloved that his walk-up song became a cult feature of Fenway Park. It brought the stands to their feet like Pedro was on the mound. Then, while he struggled a bit in the playoffs, he certainly made his hits count. How important was every single run that he contributed to? Where would the Sox have been without him on the team? I shudder to think.
Then, last year he was injured. Much like the rest of the team, it seems, he missed significant time as the team sunk to the bottom.
Same guy, right?
So, why is he suddenly this big drain on the Red Sox with a terrible attitude that the Sox just need to be done with?
First, he caught some flak before Spring Training started for suggesting that since he was now healthy, he was the starting right fielder again. Twitter went nuts! How dare he assume that he had the job!
Why wouldn’t he? He’s the starting right fielder. Much like Pedroia’s the starting second baseman. Or, Napoli is the starting first baseman. Napoli missed a lot of time last year too. Nobody thinks he came to camp fighting for a job. All of them contributed to the 2013 championship. All, rightfully, assumed they had the starting jobs waiting for them in 2015. Why is Shane the only one getting slammed for it?
Then, Victorino made the correct statement that if you can get Cole Hamels in a trade for prospects, you should do it. Again, he was right. He didn’t say for any prospect. He didn’t say for a specific prospect. He just said you should trade for Hamels. And, really, if anyone should know how important Hamels can be to a team, wouldn’t it be Shane? The guy who was a teammate when Hamels led the Phillies to the World Series title? Again, he’s right…and he should know.
But, people instantly twisted his words. He’s trying to dump Mookie! He’s worried about Mookie taking his job! What a crappy teammate that is! Of course, people overlooked a few very important things. First, Shane never said Mookie’s name. But, beyond that…
Mookie isn’t competing with Shane for a job. Victorino’s a right fielder. Mookie plays center. Yes, Mookie’s playing insanely well this spring. But, that doesn’t affect Shane any more than it affects Dustin Pedroia. (Actually, since Mookie is a natural 2B, it should technically affect Pedroia more. After all, Mookie is the best performing 2B in camp.)
Most important, Mookie’s not a prospect. Go ahead and check out the Red Sox top prospects list. Mookie’s not on it. Much like Bogaerts, they’re young major leaguers. Not top prospects. So, Shane couldn’t have been talking about Mookie. Why did everyone assume he was?
Add to that the fact that nobody has been a bigger advocate for Mookie and all the controversy wasn’t just flat out wrong, it was crazy to even consider.
So, that’s twice now that Shane has made a correct comment that people went out of their way to twist into something controversial.
Now the Sox have pretty much made his starting job official by demoting Castillo and Bradley, Jr. Again, twitter went crazy. Shane got the job just because Farrell said so. He shouldn’t have just been handed the position without having to earn it. You know. Like Pedroia and Napoli. Oh, wait, they were handed the positions. Do you think Castillo could DH? Too bad Ortiz was handed the position. I bet Castillo could play left. Too bad Hanley was handed the position.
Oh, right. They’re starters. They don’t compete for their jobs. I guess Shane’s the only one why has to do that. When did we start hating Shane Victorino?
And, why did we start?