Boston Sucks!!! Boston Sucks!!!
Boston. We have arrived.
Just three short years after Theo Epstein began his reclamation project to tear down our beloved Idiots and build a better Bronx Bombers in Beantown, Theo has succeeded in infecting us with the madness of King George. Corporate culture has officially replaced clowns like Cabrera, Millar and Damon. Now we have drones like J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo approaching each at bat in the most officious (if not efficient) manner and the front office couldnâ€™t be happier.
Ahhhh, those long, lost Idiots. A more retched hive of scum and villainy youâ€™d be hard pressed to find outside of Mos Eisley or Chelsea. How a pack of JD swilling sad-sack losers ever managed to come back from an 0-3 deficit against the feared New York Yankees and proceed to sweep the Cardinals and carry home the first World Series trophy in 86 years, Iâ€™ll never know. Hey, Theo will tell yaâ€™. You put enough monkeys in front of enough typewriters and let them pound away on the keyboards for enough decades and eventually youâ€™ll get Pride and Prejudice. Or at the very least, Carpoolers.
Theo surveyed the landscape ahead and realized he had to make a quick decision – jettison these jokers (and their midget bowling buddies) and issue a mission statement that the time had come for a little â€˜organizational restructuringâ€™ or load up the bullpen with enough Booneâ€™s Farm to drop Big Papi, let Youk grow his grill mullet (goatee is too French for these guys) and pitch Johnny Damon in that Cavemen show (Finally, a purpose for Tom Warner!!!).
The choice was clear. Theo picked the route of Gordon Gekko over Geico. Rather than reward star performances by the workman players on his team (from the Orlando Cabreras of then to the Mike Lowells of now) through a slightly inflated bump to their pay grade, he overvalued underperforming stars on other ball clubs. Thus O-Cab got the hook (and as payment for his services â€“ he was able to leave town under cover of a clandestine whisper campaign that there was something more there (which the team would not cop to) that precipitated his dismissal) and derailments like Rent-a-Wreck (Edgar Renteria), JD Drew and Eric Gagne were courted with a mountain of cash and all the Rem-Dawgs they could eat. In short, like Steinbrenner, he was building his fantasy team at our expense.
Just so long as they all got a haircut.
Donâ€™t believe me. All you had to do was listen closely to Tuesday nightâ€™s Fox telecast of the ALCS Game 4, where late in the 4th inning (just mere moments away from Bostonâ€™s patented Fifth Inning flame-out), a tweaked rendition of a familiar refrain grew loud enough to drown out â€˜Billâ€™ McCarverâ€™s breakdown of â€˜Billâ€™ Wakefieldâ€™s knuckler.
Boston Sucks!!! Boston Sucks!!!
In the stands, Theo smiled. The project was complete. He was the proud owner of the neo-New York Yankees. The ribald refrain, co-opted from our own tired taunt of that hated Evil Empire, was just the icing on the cake – the punctuation on the point Theo has been laboring to make all these years. Animal House antics have no place in the boardroom â€“ well, that is unless you need to doff the monkey suit in favor of gorilla garb in order to duck the press when you decide to run home to Mommaâ€™ when your little power play doesnâ€™t take hold and Capo Lucchino calls you out as the overrated stats geek you truly are.
I apologize for the foul mood but Theo and his soulless band of ciphers have gotten to me. Heâ€™s not the boy genius the Red Sox-owned media would have you believe he is.
Matsuzaka. Drew. Gagne. Lugo. There it is. The Cleveland Indians payroll rolled up into four players and itâ€™s these four vastly over-paid players who have conspired to rid me of any enjoyment and interest I have had in the ALCS. And all 4 are Theoâ€™s darlings. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are two of the four reasons the Sox have made it this far. Somewhere Digital Dan is 101010101. And you canâ€™t even counter the argument by tossing Beckett and Lowell at me as Beckett was signed when Theo was off playing Donkey Kong and Lowell was tossed in as a rider to Beckettâ€™s contract. And rumor has it, Theo never approved of the Beckett deal. Lucky Larry and his acting-GM Craig Shipley inked the deal.
I guess you could argue Okajma but we all know he was only brought into the mix to provide Dice-K with a new best friend to go along with the personal chef, masseuse, trainer and ice sculptor offered to the Dice man in order to bring him to these shores. That Okey-Doke ended up being as good as he is, is one of those happy little accidents that Theo will likely take credit for. To quote Michael Scott, weâ€™ll call it his “grand brainchild.”
The one compliment I can toss Theoâ€™s way is his masterful handling of the farm system â€“ although the fact that he dealt two hot prospects and a bucket of cash away for the privilege of carting off the Texas Rangersâ€™ damaged goods in the guise of Gagne does temper that statement a bit. I guess Kason Gabbard should have thrown a few more meatballs and lowered his trade value. Weâ€™ve said it before. Weâ€™ll say it again. Why canâ€™t we get guys like that? Suddenly, the 11th inning of a 6-6 ballgame doesnâ€™t look so dicey when you have the G-Man ready from the stretch.
Admittedly, Theo has had luck with some other rookies. The problem is, the organization doesnâ€™t want to use them. Red-hot Clay Buckholz was given a cold shower under the shady explanation that he needed rest for his tired arm. (If tired arm was rationale for benching pitchers, weâ€™d be starting each member of The Dropkick Murphys during this ALCS. You win us the pennant and weâ€™ll call that penance for Tessie!!!)
And now we have Rookie Sensation Jacoby Ellsbury riding pine while Coco Crisp plays the role of NL pitcher.
Iâ€™ll say that again and louder.
AND NOW WE HAVE ROOKIE SENSATION JACOBY ELLSBURY RIDING PINE WHILE COCO CRISP PLAYS THE ROLE OF NL PITCHER. WHAT THE F@%K!!!
Ellsbury gives you the same â€“ if maybe a slight dip â€“ in defense as Crisp and what little defense drops, he overcompensates in offense and speed on the base paths. Yes, I know Coco is a speedy little devil as well but here lies a key difference, the use of the phrase base paths. See, in order to set the new land speed record along those lanes you actually need to get on base. So while Coco is wowing us with wind sprints in practice, Ellsbury is scoring from First on a Lugo dribbler down the left field line.
Ellsbury also has the offensive pop that Coco completely lacks. And he has high marks in that one stat that Theo and his fellow Bill James disciples covet most â€“ a high OBP. In fact, Ellsbury reached base in 33 of the 35 games he appeared in. Those arenâ€™t Starts. Appearances!!! Meaning, when he was called upon to pinch hit or pinch run or provide defense, he found a way to make a difference. Too bad he couldnâ€™t pinch manage.
So when I hear Francona towing the company line, or more to the point, Theoâ€™s line (letâ€™s be clear about this â€“ there is a division in that organization between the offices of Baseball and Business) â€“ anyway, when I hear Francona on WEEIâ€™s Dale and Holley show proclaiming that he will likely stick with Drew and not start Ellsbury because â€œweâ€™ve worked all season to get our line-up back to the order in which we originally envisioned it and Iâ€™m not about to mix that up nowâ€, it drives me crazy.
Sure you plan for things, but I would think in of all places, the game of baseball, a manager would realize that sometimes youâ€™re sitting on fast ball and life throws you a curve. The current order that you worked all season to put in place is not working. Your lead-off batter has reverted back to April and is pressing. #2 is adequate, although he has come through with big hits in non-key spots. 3 through 5 is Aces. And the rest are the Kansas City Royalsâ€™ farm system.
What more is he waiting for? On the topic of dropping Pedroia from the lead-off spot, Tito said, â€œHe had a real tough April but we were patient and he got it together and came through big through the rest of the season. I know I can be accused of being loyal to a fault but sometimes you have to have patience.â€
A must win â€“ do or die game â€“ is probably the one time in your life where the last thing you need is a little patience. Forget your Guns and Roses. We need Bombs and Mannyâ€™s HR Poses. Blow it up. Mix it up. Toss it up. Drop Pedroia. Boot Drew. Slot in Ellsbury. The very worse thing that can happen is you lose the game but you took a chance of calling an audible when the team needed it most. Our town has a long, sad history of stubborn managers whose fierce loyalty led them to one place only â€“ the unemployment line. The worse case scenario here, if Ellsbury comes up blank, yaâ€™ still have Drew or Coco on the bench.
Those are the reasons why Iâ€™ve opted to sit out tonightâ€™s Game 5, aside from some sneak peaks at the score. Yes, itâ€™s a Beckett performance, and the guy has come as advertised but Iâ€™m done screaming at my TV. I love the damned thing too much.
Thatâ€™s more than I can say for my beloved Boston Yankees.