Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Enough is Enough

Ryan Kalish made his MLB debut this weekend and was involved in two walk-offs.  I'm guessing HE doesn't think this team is boring.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Ryan Kalish made his MLB debut this weekend and was involved in two walk-offs. I'm guessing HE doesn't think this team is boring. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

I visit other blogs occasionally, but there are a few storylines in Red Sox baseball right now that have been causing me to avoid them because I’m so sick of people doing nothing but complain about the team.

Mike Lowell: I dig Mike and I don’t blame any of this on him.  His situation is frustrating and disheartening for him, I’m sure.  While I don’t feel “sorry” for him (the reality is he’s making a boatload of money for sitting on the bench while I sit here trying to figure out how my bills are going to get paid and while I realize the comparison is a weak one, right now it’s tough to garner sympathy for that situation) I appreciate that he’s frustrated and feeling a bit useless.  Having written that, I think the Red Sox organization as a whole would be crazy to just let him go (although there’s a buzz that exactly that might happen today).  There being no spot for him on the starting roster doesn’t equate his not having value to them (Youk being taken out of the game last night with an injured thumb is a reminder of that) so I’m not ready to call the Red Sox evil for holding on to him.  In my opinion, the Sox are doing what is best for the team and, unfortunately, in this situation that doesn’t totally mesh with what is best for the player.    It sucks but that’s what it is.  There’s a reason Lowell hasn’t been traded and I sense it’s more about the reasons he hasn’t been playing full-time than it is some evil plot by the Red Sox to keep him on the bench until he retires.

Jacoby Ellsbury:  He broke his ribs.  Many of them.  Someone out there needs to explain to me what the purpose would be for him to not go back to playing with the team. So many seem to think he’s dogging it by staying on the disabled list.  Mike Lowell is collecting his paycheck and itching to get back on the field but people think Jacoby is happy just cashing his paycheck and hanging out watching baseball being played without him?  What sense does that make?  How many people out there believe someone would do all the work required to become a professional baseball player just so they could get injured and still get paid?  If the kid is still hurting, he’s still hurting.  I’ll say it again:  Let me break a few of your ribs and then see how quickly you go back to effortlessly doing your desk job.  If your argument is that he’s “soft” I encourage you to take those broken ribs I just gave you and do real physical work and tell me how easy you think it is.   I’d rather get Jacoby back when he’s 100% then get him as a loaner until he tweaks his injury again.

Mike Cameron: He’s injured.  He probably needs surgery.  Neither of these things means it was a bad idea to pick him up.  Maybe Theo should hire a medium who can talk to Haywood Sullivan and find out when everyone will get injured so he won’t sign the ones on the “going to get injured this season” list up in the sky?

This team isn’t exciting or fun: Ratings for Sox games have gone down.  Bill Simmons (and, honestly, many others) thinks they’re boring.  Who knew Jason Bay was such a compelling character?  Seriously, if you can’t find some joy in this team, even when they’re losing, you aren’t paying attention.  Heck, the “Will Victor Martinez try to rub Adrian Beltre’s head?” question after each of Beltre’s home runs is entertaining enough to stick around for on it’s own.   So there’s no Manny doing the wave in the outfield and the bullpen band seems to have died off…that doesn’t mean this team isn’t fun.  Even the new guys are exciting!  In his first MLB at-bat, Daniel Nava hit a grand slam and them went on a tear.  Darnell McDonald introduced himself to the Fenway Faithful by being involved in a few dramatic wins, including a walk-off.  Speaking of which, in the last four games the Red Sox had two walk-off wins and two late-inning surges that were thisclose to being wins.  THAT, my friends, is exciting and fun baseball.

I get that things are rough right now standings-wise.  Exactly a month ago, the Red Sox were a  half a game out of first place and today they’re 6.5 out.  While it’s still not insurmountable, when they lose games like last night, it sure does feel like it is.  I get that.  (On Twitter this morning, Daigo Fujiwara points out “Red Sox are 14-14 vs. Indians, Orioles, Royals, & Mariners, the bottom 4 teams in AL. Yankees: 23-8, Rays: 21-7.” ) These numbers certainly don’t inspire confidence.  Even so, I’m not ready to throw in the towel on August 3rd.  Which is probably why all the negative stories are making me stabby.  Is it so difficult to try and focus on something good once in a while?

At some point, I promise, the live chats will be back if people are still looking for them.  Right now, I have to put it off for another week.  Josh Beckett will have to find a way to get through this Tuesday night without us!

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August 3, 2010 - Posted by | 2010 | , , , ,

10 Comments »

  1. On Lowell…

    Okay, he’s a great guy in the public eye, and according to everyone he’s ever played the game with. He’s a holder of World Series rings and an MVP for one of them. He’s been a solid guy at third, and shown he can bop, earning the nae among Sox fans as “Doubles”. But in the life of all athletes, there comes a time, whether by age, injury or the two combined. As much as I admire him, and he’s killing it in the minors, he has no place on the Sox roster; he’s not what they really need and a waste of a roster spot. We know the media likes to whip a frenzy and cause a stir. Why fans take the hook is sometimes a mystery, but then again, who ever thought Flava-Fav would get his own reality series…

    On Ellsbury…

    Call the guy and start him. He’s played some Gulf League rehab, and a couple of Pawtucket games. He’s needed. The Sox might not be rushing him, but hurting? No, I don’t think so. Maybe between he and management there was a lot of misunderstanding, but this is no time for a classic Lucchino freeze out. With so many revolving players coming up to try and help, we really can’t do much worse. The Sox need his speed and he needs to reestablish himself with his teammates; I doubt the Sox are going to off load him. Simply too much upside for him and at reasonable expense.

    On Cameron…

    Ignorant fans who fault Epstein for the signing can kiss my ass. The guy has toughed out more games than anyone on the Sox in recent memory. He’s been playing with pulled abdominal tears, does not complain and has earned respect among his teammates and some fans. In a way, Cameron and Ellsbury have been tied at the hip, causing more controversy than is deserved. Right now Mike can’t help the Sox. People might rethink their harsh treatment of this guy and step back and realize just how much of a gamer he’s been.

    On the team as a whole…

    These bastards got no quit. I’ll take that, even if it means missing the playoffs. They have not rolled over, have not quit. Assholes who speak to the records against this team, or that, always seem to discount more than half the roster was laid up. And even in that, the Sox are not eliminated from anything. It’s a tough damned grind over the course of a season, but as it stands right now, the Sox are 60 – 46. What ever happened to the 50 – 50 – 62 thinking that all teams confront? Screw the wags. I have faith in the core guys and in their manager; they’ve more than earned it.

    Rant over

    Comment by Tru | August 3, 2010 | Reply

  2. I love how Cameron has tried to fight through his i9njury, really toughed it out, even though he knew it wouldnt get better until he had surgery. gigantic balls of steel. speaking of balls – beltre’s reaction to his head being touched. i think it’s hilarious how Vmart gets him going on that – though after seeing some footage, someone is gonna get hurt with him swinging that helmet around.

    i guess i question the folks that question theo’s abilities. his hit percentage on FAs has been damn good: schill, beltrem millar, mueller, ortiz, loretta, foulke, matzusaka (yes, he goes in the plus column), drew, etc.

    he has let the right free agents leave – lowe, damon, pedro

    name one young player he has traded – besides hanley (whose trade led to a world series ring, and theo may or may not have been involved with) – that has gone on to great success. kason? freddy sanchez did win a batting title, but did little since. josh bard? masterson? the outfielder we traded to the rangers whose name escapes me. really…who has blown up into a regrettable mistake?

    and trades have netted us some great players, like vmart, beckett, lowell,

    he has used the farm system to great effect: paps, bard, pedroia, youk, lester, clay, ells are all good to great starters

    we are 6.5 games back DESPITE not kicking the ass of lesser teams, DESPITE the fact we havent made major moves during the season, DESITE the fact that we have had so many injuries to key guys (and lackey is pitching like a 5th starter, paid like a 2)

    and bill simmons: this team doesnt have personality? maybe it’s hard to see from all the way out in cali, LA Boy.

    Comment by josh blue | August 3, 2010 | Reply

  3. I like it that you stick to your guns and that you defend the team. It’s a crying shame that so many would rather find fault and concoct trends and portents of doom from the midseason grind than write about the game. If they were not so overwhelmingly focused on where we are going to be when the season is over, they could as easily, I would think, capture some of the undeniably splendid moments of almost any professional baseball game, especially our team’s.

    In last night’s game, there were many moments to savor. The most memorable to me is the expression on Papi’s face when he was standing at the dugout watching Carlos Santana after that terrible collision. I had only just enough time to wonder where this young Cleveland player with the familiar sounding name was from when the camera switched to the dugout and I saw the look of concern on David’s face. Then I knew for sure that kid was from the Dominican Republic. I like it a lot that Papi looks very fit these days and is hitting well, but that is not everything. I think I like just as much that he is such a warm hearted person.

    I am glad Lowrie is back, in part because I think Ellsbury will be glad. I worry about Ellsbury and hope Beltre will stop running into guys and smashing them. I worry about Papelbon and his headaches and how he’s adjusting to being a young father. I worry about Drew and hope he keeps feeling strong and fit.

    I admire Tito and adore the way he stands up for his players, praising their positive moves and stressing his concern for protecting them when he even thinks they might be injured. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for Pedroia and Youk to be unable to play.

    The images in my mind of Lowell and Varitek over these past years are in such contrast to their absence from the field today that am forced to think that perhaps the game has already gone on without them. That hurts, as all losses do.

    I hope the organizations these days treat young players with respect and, in addition to their salaries (which don’t begin to approach greatness for several years into their MLB service) see that they are exposed to the necessity of planning for life after baseball. These boys of summer give the peak of their youth to the game. I’m glad more of them are going to college; I’m glad they get paid well; I hope they are not harmed by baseball.

    Another image I will take from last night’s game is the happy one of Tim Wakefield pitching his incredible knuckle balls on his forty-fourth birthday.

    Comment by Anita | August 3, 2010 | Reply

  4. Well, in the midst of all this topsy-turvy season…

    Here comes Mr. Doubles

    Is it true?

    Theo: “Somebody get me more duct tape, bubble gum and bailing wire!”

    Comment by Tru | August 3, 2010 | Reply

  5. And so, this waste of a roster spot comes back to Fenway and what does Mr. Doubles do? He does his Mike Timlin imitation and makes a complete fool of me.

    First pitch. Gone.

    Mr. Lowell, please accept my apologies.

    Roster on…

    Comment by Tru | August 3, 2010 | Reply

  6. Tru, I also came back here to comment on Lowell’s reappearance and say how happy I was to see him destroy that first pitch. This was a seriously entertaining game tonight.

    Comment by Anita | August 3, 2010 | Reply

  7. Now that you’ve got a new post up I will mention a personal thing about the picture in this post. I was at the game Sunday, front row loge (first time in years I’ve actually HAD a great seat instead of just moving to one late in the game). There was an unmistakable older guy in the back row of the field boxes right across the walkway from me. Long, gray ponytail and beard, Salty Dog shirt. Like an old sea-hippie, if that’s a term. Then, I look at this post and immediately recognize the same man in Kelly’s shot! His face has Kalish’s earflap covering the side of it and he’s stroking his beard. He must have been sitting closer at that point. Just so weird that the most memorable fan for me at that game reappears… (Unless it’s not him–but it sure as hell seems like it has to be!)

    Comment by jere | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  8. So glad Mike Lowell pretty much said ” in your face” to Tru.
    I love Tru, but he has to stop dissing Mikie

    Comment by Noni | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  9. Noni, Ciao Bella!

    Actually, you might misunderstand. I don’t think I’m ‘dissing’ Mike. The guy has had to deal with being a bench player all this season, while battling the realities of his status with the team. It has to be a tough transition for him, and we know something of that based upon his comments expressing frustration over his role.

    Before Youkilis injured his thumb, the real question was, had to be, where Mike fit with the big club. Were the Sox going to make a roster move to clear a slot for him? I seriously wondered about that, because IMO, the glaring need the Sox have, is to get a decent guy for the pen.

    As it stands, Lowell has lost a step on the pads, and his range is not what it once was. Can he hit? Yeah, we know he can. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s not just offense that the Sox would need from him.

    Now, the realities of the Sox fortunes have changed once again, as Youkilis is the latest casualty in season pock marked with injury. I wondered what the FO was going to about him, thinking he was going to go somewhere and get a lot more playing time; something he wants.

    So I’ll repeat my apology to him, no disrespect intended.

    I think you’re cool too!

    Comment by Tru | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  10. I’m cool Tru!
    Love you
    Noni

    Comment by Noni | August 6, 2010 | Reply


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