Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Are Cubs Fans Scared by the 2012 Red Sox?

Or, are they encouraged?

The Cubs hired Theo Epstein to be their president based, I assume, quite a bit on his time with Boston. Really, who could blame them? Sure looked like he was doing pretty well as the Red Sox GM. Then, he left to go to the Cubs, and things sort of unraveled at Fenway Park for a bit. Was it because Theo left, or because of what Theo left?

The Sox are certainly making it seem like they needed to clean up the mess Theo ran out on. They traded away his two biggest free agent signings. Not just traded. Jettisoned. They cleared out Youkilis. Scutaro. Basically erased his time here. Does that worry Cubs fans? Do they look back and think the 2004 team was really mostly players he inherited. The MVPs of the two 2007 playoff series were acquired when he wasn’t GM. And, by all accounts, wasn’t a trade he would have made. Sure, he signed David Ortiz…but he signed him to back up Jeremy Giambi for crying out loud. Was it all smoke and mirrors? Was it luck? What did we get ourselves into?

Or, are they encouraged? Look at the mess that happened once he left! They couldn’t find a decent manager, once Theo stole their top choice. They traded away three great players once he wasn’t there to stop them. They even were able to dump an aging third baseman because of the young stud that Theo drafted. Clearly the rest of ownership was a bunch of clueless buffoons that only won two titles because Theo was there to steer the ship.

What’s going through their heads?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Making Reservations

The National League is the host of the 2012 World Series. The team that won the NL pennant would be the host for game one. Detroit won the American League pennant, and had to travel to the NL city. Problem is, the NL series wasn’t decided until game seven, two days before game one of the series. Detroit had about 48 hours notice to get to San Francisco.

How did they make their hotel reservations?

Sure, if I were going to San Francisco for a game in two days, I probably wouldn’t have much of a problem. I bet I could find a hotel room somewhere in the city. But, I only need one room. And, I don’t care if I end up at a Holiday Inn. The Tigers needed, what, 30 rooms? 50? Together. At a nice hotel. How did they do that?

Did they have rooms reserved in both cities? How long ago did they need to make those arrangements? Did they also get rooms in Washington? Atlanta? Did the Yankees? I think I remember a team being blasted once for making reservations for the Super Bowl hotels before the championship game was played. It was classic bulletin board material. “They’re so sure they’re going to win, they’ve made hotel reservations!” Does that mean most teams wait? The Sox caught some flack in 2003 for paining the World Series logo on the field before the ALCS was over. Did they already have hotel reservations for Miami by then? For Chicago?

Does MLB just reserve 50 hotel rooms in every city for whichever team needs them? Does it have a contract with a five-star hotel in every city that if needed, the hotel will clear a floor at a moment’s notice? Does each team have its own arrangement? Or, are hotel rooms actually not that hard to come by at a nice hotel? Are they all very willing to bump out the regular folk if a baseball team comes a calling?

I’m guessing it’s more complicated than calling Priceline.

Friday, October 26, 2012

List of 36

Red Sox Pitchers to Record a World Series Strikeout

1. Cy Young
2. Bob Stanley
3. Bronson Arroyo
4. Luis Tiant
5. Buck O’Brien
6. Keith Foulke
7. Bruce Hurst
8. Rube Foster
9. Josh Beckett
10. Joe Bush
11. Pedro Martinez
12. Bill Dinneen
13. Hideki Okajima
14. Dutch Leonard
15. Joe Dobson
16. Derek Lowe
17. Charley Hall
18. Reggie Cleveland
19. Gary Waslewski
20. Ernie Shore
21. Roger Clemens
22. Sad Sam Jones
23. Tex Hughson
24. Joe Wood
25. Jose Santiago
26. Carl Mays
27. Oil Can Boyd
28. Jim Lonborg
29. Hugh Bedient
30. Bill Lee
31. Daisuke Matsuzaka
32. Babe Ruth
33. Curt Schilling
34. Ray Collins
35. Mickey Harris
36. Eric Gagne

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

OK. Now That’s Settled

The Red Sox have officially gotten their man. I still don’t understand why we needed John Farrell so badly. But, they got him. The Sox wanted him last season, and were willing to wait as long as it took to get him. Looks like they lucked out and got him a year earlier than they thought. Great.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the choice of Farrell. I just don’t think he was much better than the other options that didn’t cost us a starting shortstop.

I even liked some of what he said during his press conference, and other various interviews he’s give since being announced. I’m sure some of it is stock answers, that any new manager would give. I like that he wants to run, but knows enough not to fall in love with a philosophy. David Ortiz, if he’s here, will not be asked to go first to third all that often. It’s important to know that different techniques work in different situations. You can’t say, “I don’t bunt.” because, sometimes the bunt is the right call. That’s something that Bobby Valentine said too. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.

Speaking of the former manager, he got himself into the news yesterday as well. He suggested that David Ortiz quit on the team once they made the stupid trade. Seemed like a reasonable comment to me. I thought the same thing. Ortiz saw the season was thrown away, so he took his sweet time coming back from his heel injury. What is startling to me is the reaction. I heard some radio hosts going on and on saying Bobby V had gone too far. How dare he, they screamed, question a player who was injured. Sure, Ortiz took longer to come back than the timetables we were given, but that’s the nature of the injury. Sometimes it just takes longer to come back than you thought. I realized they were right. I mean, the media has never questioned the dedication of an injured player. They have never said a player was slacking off when they didn’t come right back from an injury. They’ve never run a shortstop out of town because he was taking too long to return from a heel injury. They never forced a leftfielder out of town because they didn’t believe the severity of his injury. Not once have they questioned the toughness and commitment of a center fielder that seemed to be on the DL longer than initial reports would have us believe.

Wait. They do that ALL the time. So, what’s the difference with Ortiz? Why does he get the benefit of the doubt when Nomar, Manny, and Jacoby didn’t? It couldn’t be the string of great quotes that Ortiz gives the media. It couldn’t be because he makes their job easier.

Surely they have more integrity than that.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Banner Day

Not long ago, I got an e-mail from somebody who had a great tailgate idea for me. Now, I don’t generally tailgate before Red Sox games. Since I almost always take the T in, they tend to look at me funny when I set up the barbecue in the parking garage. But, I checked out the e-mail anyway. The e-mail was from Banners-on-the-Cheap. They wanted to provide me with a banner to talk about here. It sounded like it would be fun, so I gladly accepted.

What a great process. I went on the website to custom-design my banner. This was the only problem that I had. Since I didn’t have a specific purpose in mind for the banner, it was hard to narrow down all the choices available. What a problem to have! I’m sure that if I knew I wanted a banner for a baby shower, or that it had to be the length of my living room couch, I could have narrowed things down a lot faster. Thankfully, the site had some standard categories, so I was able to just pick something to get started. For the size, they suggested a 3’x8’ banner. What a big one! But, if you’re going to do it, might as well do it big. I’m glad I did.

Once I had the size narrowed down, I had to decide what to put on it. Again, if I had a purpose in mind, this would have been easier. I would have known I wanted it to say “Welcome Home Andrew!” or “Showers of Happiness Holly!” So, the message took me some time. But, the site made it easy to try different sayings out. I could type in my words, and move and stretch them until they looked the best. I could also do previews along the way to make sure I knew what I was doing.

The last choice was to add the hem and grommets to help in hanging. I’m really glad I decided to go for that, since I’m not sure how I would hang it otherwise.

I really couldn’t be more pleased with the results. When I first opened the box, I was a bit concerned about durability. I was worried that the vinyl material would be susceptible to showing creases and bends. But, after spending the weekend moving it around, trying it in different locations, carrying it from here to there, it has held up wonderfully. Obviously, once it’s hung up, it’ll just stay there for a while anyway. It’s just great.

If you want a banner of your own, I’ve added a link to the site on my sidebar. In addition to the banner website, there are links to three other websites in the “on-the-cheap” family. I haven’t tried those yet, but can only imagine they’d be as much fun as the banner was.( Car Magnets Cheap Signs Photo to Canvas Vinyl Banners)

For now, the banner looks great hanging in my Red Sox room. I’ll have to come up with some ideas on how best to use it.

Anyone have any fun suggestions for it?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Card of the Week

1986 Topps Traded Don Baylor #6T

Boy, this is what a card should be. Everything you want is right there, front and center. Who is the player? That's easy to figure out. It's literally there in black and white. No glossy foil. You don't need to tilt the card to the light three different times to read the name. It's right there. Big and bold. And, speaking of big and bold, can you tell which team Don Baylor plays for? Yup. Couldn't be more obvious than that. How about the position? It's a little bit harder to find. But, the colored circle still lets it pop out for you. So, name, team, and position clearly stated right on the front of the card. Perfect.

What about the other important element? The picture? This card has that down too. It's nice and big. It's not squeezed in because of an enormous border. No graphics obstructing it too badly. It's just right there for you to look at. This one is also nicely cropped to keep Baylor the focus.

Now, Baylor's focus? That's another thing. What's with the grumpy face? Is something bad happening on the field? Is that just the way he looks? The questions are never ending.

Even with Grumpy Gus, this is a great card. It's a great example of the clean look cards can have, and how that can work.

Nicely done.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Managing Expectations

Not long ago, I wondered what the qualities of a good Red Sox manager would be. At the time, the Sox had a manager, so the question was hypothetical. Now, with the search for a new leader underway, I hope the Sox have the answer to the question written down somewhere.

Everyone seems to have an idea of who might be a good manager, but not a lot of specifics as to why. I hear names tossed out here and there. This pitching coach, or that bench coach, or that announcer. I guess to me, they all seem to be one in the same.

There are really a few different ways you can look at a manager. What do you need from them? What do you want them to do for you? Is managing the game the most important thing? Is it dealing with personalities? Is it handling the media? Do you want a stats guy? A player’s guy? A mixture of them all?

How much of that are you getting out of an interview? Do they sit the guy down, like they did in Little Big League, and ask him what he’d do in different scenarios? There’s a guy on second with one out, and Sabathia pitching. What do you do? Jon Lester is pitching a one-hit shutout in the eighth inning, with a 1-0 lead. But, he just threw his 101st pitch. What do you do? Is the answer to that question different now than it will be in June? Or next October?

So, Tony Pena sounds like a fine choice to me. He’s managed well before, although those KC teams he had may have had more talent than he’ll have with the Sox. He’s been in NY for a while, learning how to handle media. That’s nice. Don’t see a reason not to hire him.

Brad Ausmus sounds like a good choice. He’s young, and eager. He’s apparently pretty smart. He’s local. He has the Terry Francona thing where’s he’s been both an all-star and washed up. So, he should be able to relate to both. Don’t see a reason not to hire him.

Which, I suppose, is why the John Farrell thing confuses me. He’s done a nice job in Toronto. He knows the area, and some of the players. Don’t see a reason not to hire him.

Oh, wait. Yes I do. The Sox would need to give something up to get him. Why is this an option? What makes him so far above everyone else that he’s worth giving up a player, any player, just to give him a shot? Why not try one of the guys you can get just sign? What is it that we’re all looking for in a manager that Farrell has more of than any of the other guys?

It’s not like Francona came here with a stellar resume.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What Does it Mean to Have a Tough Fan Base?

Maybe the better question is, “What should it mean?”

That question has come to light quite a bit this season. People in Boston seem to take pride in creating a tough place to play. Carl Crawford, they say, just couldn’t cut it here. He couldn’t handle such a tough fan base. Don’t sign Zack Greinke, they warn. He’ll never be able to handle playing in a place like Boston. The media certainly wears it like a badge of honor that they can make lives miserable for players.

But, they seem to have lost sight of the real goal. There’s a difference between a demanding fan base, and an annoying one. There’s a difference between a media that holds players to a high standard, and one that requires a thick skin.

There’s an interview by Nomar that pops up in a few Red Sox DVDs. He’s commenting about his 1999 season. Basically, late in the season he was hitting close to .400, and feeling pretty good about it. Batting .390 in August, or whatever it was, was a pretty good accomplishment. Then he heard a fan yell to him, “Come on Nomar…let’s go!” Clearly, the fan wasn’t happy with the .390. The fan still wanted to see Nomar go for it. Nomar concludes the segment by saying that even though he was surprised by the sentiment, he appreciated it. He was glad that the fans wouldn’t accept sitting back and coasting.

That’s being a demanding fan base. That’s expecting a lot out of your players. That’s demanding a high quality of play every day, no matter what you did the day before. That’s the kind of attitude you can be proud of.

If that same incident happened in 2012, would it have been different? I suspect that this year instead of yelling “Let’s Go!” The fan would have yelled, “Have you checked out?” “You went hitless today, are you sure you want to be here?” The media would write a four-page story on how Nomar was only hitting .390 because he was slacking. He looked paunchy to them. Was he as dedicated as he was the year before?  (Ok, so they don’t write four-page stories anymore. How about a tweet?) If Nomar’s average dipped from .395 to .390, they would hound him after every game?

Is that the same thing as being demanding?

I didn’t think so either.

When did being a tough fan base stop meaning that we hold players to a higher standard, but instead hold our media to a lower one?

I get being a rabid group of fans. I like being a rabid group of fans. I get the dedication required to recognize a player at the grocery store. I understand that players can walk freely in the malls of San Diego because fans out there don’t watch enough games to know what the players look like. I want to be at a game and see people keeping score. I want people to question managerial decisions. I’m OK with passion.

It just needs to be directed better.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fenway Park DVD

Recently Cyn, the fine author of Toeing the Rubber, held a contest. I was lucky enough to be one of the winners of the Fenway Park: 100 Years as the Heart of Red Sox Nation  DVD. I was pretty excited to be able to remember some fond Fenway memories after this season went into such disarray.

The DVD features two parts. There’s the Fenway documentary, and there’s the replay of the 100th birthday celebration. The celebration is the replay from April 20th showing the on-field festivities. One of the complaints I, and others, had at the time was that the players didn’t have their names on the screen as they walked onto the field, so you couldn’t tell who some of the players were. They either had to be ones you recognized, or you had to happen to catch the back of their jerseys. I’m told that NESN later aired a version that did flash the player names, but that’s not on the DVD. Watching the ceremony again, though, I’m actually glad the names aren’t there. This is one of those occasions where the name on the front of the jersey is much more important than the name on the back. I liked how the lack of names turned it into an endless stream of Red Sox history. They were all connected, with the only differences being the style of jersey they were wearing. You really got the sense that it wasn’t a collection of players and stars. It was a single team celebrating its ballpark.

The documentary itself is also great. I was surprised to see lots of footage I don’t remember seeing before in other places. I’ve seen enough Red Sox DVDs that all the stock footage has been used to death. It was refreshing that this DVD found some new angles. My one complaint was that a DVD on the history of Fenway didn’t focus on Fenway itself enough. It seemed like 75% of the video was a history of the Red Sox. I’ve seen that already. While the DVD did show other events that happened at the park, it could have been a lot more. I understand that the Red Sox are mentioned right in the title. But, this was a chance to go beyond that. The Patriots played there for a few years, with barely a mention. I would have liked to hear about playing football in a baseball park. What did it do to the field? Was it a good place to watch the game? What goes into holding a concert there? How did they put a hockey rink on the field? A soccer field? There is a lot of information about non-Red Sox activities that was glossed over. A missed opportunity.

But, naturally, this was still a great DVD, and I’m glad I was able to see it.

Thanks to Cyn for the contest!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Paying Papi

There’s been some discussion lately about the future of David Ortiz with the Boston Red Sox. Should the Sox sign him? Should the Sox sign him to a two-year deal? How much should the Sox pay him? Do the Sox overpay him as a thank you for past performance? Those are a lot of questions. Thankfully, there is an easy answer.

Give the man a blank contract, and ask him to fill in the numbers that he thinks are fair.

Here’s the problem for the 2013 Red Sox. They don’t have any talent. Ok. They have Ellsbury. That’s it. (And, no, I don’t count Quotes as talented.) So, if the Sox don’t sign Ortiz, they’ll have Ellsbury leading off, and then have eight other guys hitting behind him. Not only will that be dreadful to watch, it won’t be very productive. They need another bat in the line-up. That shouldn’t even be a question. So, should that bat be David Ortiz?

Well, I think a fair question is, whom else did you have in mind? Which player is going to come in, play DH, and give you the numbers Ortiz will give you? Mike Napoli? There’s a reason Ortiz was the lone Red Sox all-star in 2012. He’s the best option.

So, if Ortiz is the best available, why isn’t it an easy signing? Because of money?

It’s not about the money.

People are always concerned about overpaying. You can’t overpay for talent. It’s that simple. And, you need talent on your team.

I know someone who won’t overpay for anything. He has a number in his head for what something is worth, and won’t pay more than that. If a car is priced more than his figure, he doesn’t buy it. If a furnace is priced more than his figure, he keeps looking. If a store charges more for a candy bar than he thinks it’s worth, he moves on. And, it’s worked. He hasn’t overpaid for anything. He certainly has money, and flexibility. You know what he doesn’t have? A new car, a working furnace, or a candy bar. Is that what the Sox want? Lots of flexibility, but no talent? Just to stop from overpaying? The only way “overpaying” hurts you is if it prevents you from signing a better player. With all this wonderful flexibility the Sox now have, that shouldn’t be a problem at all.

Sure, some people are saying. For one year, bring him back. But, they can’t sign him for two! Why not? Are you planning on having more stars in 2014? Will he be holding back the development of the next great DH? What’s the fear behind the second year? That he’ll be hurt? Yeah, that’s a risk. That’s the beauty of the newfound flexibility…isn’t it? That’s what I’m told it is. So, take a flier on a known star. We know he can play. We know he can play in Boston. Even 27-year olds can get hurt and miss most of a season. Sometimes you just need to take a calculated risk. Plus, the team needs something on the field worth watching.

Signing Papi should be a no-brainer.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Scored!

July 15 2006

Here’s a game from early in the lost 2006 season. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but what a ridiculous scorecard this is. Sixteen batting positions, but only nine innings? Three pitcher’s spots? No wonder I made my own card.

Checking out the three pitchers, we see that Curt Schilling got the start. That’s a good sign. His line shows that he pitched a fine game. Seven innings of scoreless ball is something the Sox will take every time. Especially with the line-up that they used that day.

Kevin Youkilis was sitting at the top of the order, ready to get on base for everyone behind him. He was only able to do it once that day, but it led to the second run of the game. The heart of the order was just as you’d like to see it. Ortiz, followed by Manny. Nixon was in an odd spot. But, he made that lefty-righty-lefty thing that Terry Francona adored. Plus, if you want a good fastball hitter to get a lot of fastballs, that’s a good spot to bat him. Lowell took up the sixth spot. Those guys provided all the offense for the Sox that day. They drove in six of the seven runs, and scored five of them. Exactly what you want from the big bats.

The star of the game? Manny had a great game, but I’m going to go with David Ortiz. He went 2-4 on the day with a homer, and drove in three runs.

The goat? Toss up between Jason Varitek and Coco Crisp. At least Varitek got hit by a pitch to get on base. But, he did strike out twice to end an inning. Which would you choose?

In the end, the dual goats didn’t matter. The Sox scored runs, and got the pitching to make them count. All that led to an easy win.

And the scorecard shows how it happened. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Red Sox 1-36: 14 is for…

Jim Rice’s retired number 14

When I was growing up, there was a time when Jim Rice was my favorite player. Really, he and Dwight Evans flip flopped for a while there. He was probably my first favorite Red Sox player. It’s a little odd, really, since I’m just a bit too young to have followed him in his prime. When I really started to follow the Sox, he was past his best years. I guess I just latched on to what he was.

And, what he was is pretty impressive. One of the most feared hitters in the AL during his prime. He finally ended up in the Hall of Fame, which isn’t too shabby at all.

I often wonder if the steroid era hurt or helped Rice’s chances in the Hall of Fame ballot. It would be easy to say that during the time he was eligible, all the numbers the juiced players were putting up made his talents look pathetic. But, his first years on the ballot were before the true steroid era came into play, right? The mid-nineties? Shouldn’t Rice have had a few years where he was only compared to the clean athletes? Once he got four or five years in, I can see how the Bonds and McGwire results would dwarf his accomplishments, and hurt Rice’s chances. But, I do think the steroids helped him get in on that last ballot. I think voters were scared. I think they saw that lots of great players who were on the juice and tarnishing their stats. They didn’t want to look foolish in years to come. If they suddenly threw out every stat from 1998 on, would Rice be a sure HOFer? They didn’t want to risk it, so they put him in.

It’s possible Rice deserved it all along. Like I said, I missed his prime years. I’ll leave that debate to people who know more about Rice in his era. But, I think it’s interesting that he didn’t get in during those first few elections.

Whatever the verdict, he was a fantastic Red Sox.

14 is for number 14, Jim Rice.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thanking the Fans

This weekend, the Red Sox are allowing their season ticket holders to take batting practice at Fenway Park as a way of saying thank you for their support. I think that’s a great idea. It’s a fabulous gesture from the team to the fans that support them the most.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. They’re just trying to distract everyone from the horrible season. They just had a bunch of food left over since nobody went to games in September, so they’re trying to get rid of it. Those statements may be completely true. But the fact remains that they didn’t have to do it. The fact that they cared enough to put together the event tells a lot, I think.

Besides, this isn’t one of those “bribe” giveaways. I’m sure that nobody bought their season tickets hoping they’d be able to take batting practice. Nobody is going to keep their season tickets next year just in case they can do it again. This isn’t a bobblehead giveaway where the team gets you to buy a ticket by offering something you want more. These are season ticket holders. They’ve already taken the bait. But, the Red Sox have always felt it was worth giving them just a little bit more.

Take a look on eBay, and you can see examples of all kinds of surprise giveaways from the Red Sox to their season ticket holders. There are baseballs commemorating their milestone sellouts. There are Christmas ornaments. There are posters. There’s no direct benefit to the Sox from these presents. Nobody is thinking to themselves, “I wasn’t going to drop a couple thousand dollars on season tickets…but they give away $20 baseballs…so I’m in.” That would be crazy. But, the Sox are just giving a little bit of a good feeling. A simple, “That was nice of them” is all they’re really gaining. But, they consider it worth the effort.

They do it for non-season ticket holders too. They often have presents for people attending games. Again, these aren’t bribes. They often aren’t even announced. A quick look at the Red Sox pocket schedule only lists one giveaway day in 2012. A magnet schedule on Opening Day. That’s their only bribe of the year. (Although, I doubt they’re selling any extra tickets to the home opener just so people can get a magnet schedule.) The rest are surprises to simply spread goodwill. They might give away cotton candy. Or baseballs. Nothing earth shattering, but a nice gesture nonetheless. It shows that the organization at least cares a little about their fans. (And before you say it, don’t give me the “If they cared as much about having a good team as they did about giveaways…” line. We all know they are completely different people with different funding.) They also know that if a simple thing like giving away cotton candy makes me tell people I had fun at a game, that’s good for them too.

This also isn’t something new. They had the same surprises when they were defending champs as they do now when they finished in the basement. It is an example of a long relationship with the fans. It’s really one of the reasons they bought the team in the first place. They saw a loyal fan base that was basically being spit on by the previous owners. They knew that if they treated the fans decently, things would get even better. They were right.

I'm sure it's been appreciated.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I’m Completely Confused Now

So let me see if I get this timeline straight…

In the middle of 2011, the Red Sox are the best team in baseball. Then, they lose their #3 starter. They’ve already lost their #5 starter for the season. Their #2 starter is being a gamer and pitching even though he needs Tommy John surgery. Then they lose their third baseman. The Sox decide that they have a decent lead in the WC race, and hope to ride out the injuries to the playoffs. It’s not a terrible strategy. It’s the same one the Yankees used this season when their injuries struck. Both teams ended up losing eight games off their lead late in the season. The Sox, unfortunately, only had seven to play with.

Because of this, the Sox decide that they need to replace their manager. It can’t be the injuries that are to blame. He must have just lost control of his players suddenly for some reason. So, if Terry Francona can’t get through to the players, bring in his exact opposite. Enter Bobby V.

Bobby starts the season with high expectations. The team is healthy, and ready to make it back to the playoffs. Then, he loses two thirds of his starting outfield a week into the season. Then he loses his back-up outfielders. Then, the Sox trade the wrong third baseman, because he doesn’t get along with Bobby. Their second baseman gets hurt, and screws the team by trying to return too early. Then, the Sox trade away all their talented players because they weren’t Bobby guys.

Then they fire Bobby?

So, now the team is left without the talented players and the talented manager? They can’t both have been the problem? Either it was the players who weren’t performing and needed to be replaced. Or, it was the manager who needed to go. You don’t get rid of both.

So, what’s the story?

Are they deciding that it was the players all along? That they ran the old manager out of town when it wasn’t his fault? Are they going to simply admit that an historic run of injuries derailed a season and a month? I wish they had done that before they dumped all the talent from the team. Because, now what do you do?

Rehire Terry Francona?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Exactly Did Bobby Do Wrong?


I’m really asking.

Sure, he’s made a decision or two on the field that didn’t work out. Every manager does that. But, if you’re in the camp that insists that he needs to be fired yesterday, what exactly are you basing that on? Were you also in the camp that insisted Beckett needed to be traded because he was the cause of all the unrest? Can you be in both camps?

Maybe a better way to ask the question is, “Which qualities are you looking for in a next manager that Bobby doesn’t have?” I understood that after a “player’s manager” like Francona, people wanted a sterner voice. I didn’t really agree with it, but I understood. So, do we now want to go back to another “player’s manager?” Did we decide that Bobby wasn’t the stern voice we needed and want a different stern voice? How much of that is his fault.

Are we asking for a manger that won’t allow text messages to be sent to the front office? Seems to me that ownership would need to be the ones to stop answering the texts, right? Besides, didn’t we already trade away all the players who were complaining to ownership? Shouldn’t that problem be solved? If it’s not, is that something a new manager could fix?

Are we asking for a manager who the pitching coach will talk to? Again, that seems to be more of an ownership issue. They need to hire coaches that will talk with whichever manager is in the chair. If they don’t do that, it doesn’t matter if it’s Bobby Valentine or Dick Williams at the controls. It’s up to the coaches not to lie to him.

Are we looking for a manger that conforms to what the organization wants? It sounds like Bobby has been doing that. He apologized when he joked with players. He didn’t hold infield practice. Or, are we looking for a manager that doesn’t listen to the rest of the organization?

Are we looking for a manager who can win games with players who couldn’t play in AA? That seems to be all that Valentine has to work with these days. Can a new manager win with Pedro Ciriaco as the full-time DH? Which new manager would that be?

Which may be the biggest problem with getting rid of Valentine. Who, in their right mind, would come to the Red Sox? They’ve traded away all their talent. They have no chance of winning next year, but fans will still expect you to. Nobody of any quality will want to do that. Sure, you’ll get a new manager who’s willing to take any job offered to him just to finally be a manager. Is that really a better idea than sticking with Valentine another year?

After all, you’ve already crafted a team in his image. They traded away all the talented players that disagreed with him. Do you really trade away the players who don’t like the manager, and then fire the manager? They fired the pitching coach that disagreed with Bobby. The one that they forced him to have in the first place. So, do you fire the pitching coach you want and go with the one the manager wanted…and then fire the manager?

Or, do you keep Valentine around another year? Do you realize that it’s not his fault every outfielder in the organization was hurt all year? Do you realize that by centering all the attention on him…the media annoys the players a little bit less? Do you stop blaming him for not winning 100 games using a team with no talent left?

In July, everyone was begging for the Sox to “blow up” the team with no plan in place. Just get rid of the players who aren’t winning games. That doesn’t exactly look like it’s worked. So, now we need to fire Bobby V for the same reason? Maybe it’s time to stop using the “blow it up” line like it’s an actual solution or plan. Maybe it’s time to look at things objectively. Maybe it’s time to think before leaping.

Maybe it’s time to see if Valentine has really done anything wrong.

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