I’ve spent most of today doing research for a longer piece I’m going to write when it hit me I didn’t write anything yesterday. I’m hoping to stop the alternate day posts and get back to posting every day…so here we go!
* Tony LaRussa announced today that he’s retiring. I have absolutely nothing good to say about Tony LaRussa so I’ll just say goodbye.
* If Terry Francona became the manager for the Cardinals, I wouldn’t mind terribly. I’m hoping when he does eventually get a job it’s with the national league. (And given the Cardinals hiring practices, the hatchet job Tito got in October shouldn’t hinder his ability to get a job with them.)
* I’m still very bitter that Mark McGwire will have a World Series ring
(I hadn’t intended this to be all about how much I dislike the Cardinals but they make it very easy. I’m happy for their fans, who seem like a decent group, but that’s about it.)
* Derek Lowe has reportedly been traded to the Cleveland Indians. He was never one of the “25” that I expected to last this long. What do I know? The sad part of the trade is that the Braves are getting a single A player and $5 million toward the $15 million left on his contract. Ouch.
Last night’s game was the first in this series that I was able to watch in its entirety. Which, ultimately, was a good thing since the last three innings (including extras) were fun and exciting even if the majority of the game was extremely painful in it’s defensive ineptitude. The fan bases for both teams got more than their money’s worth at the end, though, which is how this game will be remembered. We got some fun (if not good) baseball and if you are one of the many who visits Twitter during game time you know it turned into a giant sports bar as it often does the days of big games. So last night was a good night for baseball fans.
Like many of you, I am no fan of Joe Buck. I don’t like his broadcast style, I don’t like his personality and I don’t like his snarky derisiveness when it comes to baseball and especially the Red Sox.
But seven years ago tonight, I heard Joe Buck say the most amazing words I have ever heard a broadcaster say and because of that every time I hear Buck’s voice during a World Series game, just for a few moments, I love him. I was reminded of this tonight when I turned on Game 6 of the World Series. When I hear him say something baseball-related over a visual of the World Series, I’m suddenly in my den on October 27, 2004 watching Edgar Renteria hit the ball “Back to Foulke”.
I think I wanted to be mad at him. On the surface, he’s bolting just as the team is under fire from all angles. The Boston sports media is destroying them, fans are screaming about how embarrassed they are by the team and the players, for a while, seemed to be having a daily “Who can sound like a bigger jackass” competition. Bailing on the team he’s been with for nine years seems like taking the easy way out.
But then I think about everything that happened prior to the September collapse. This was a good, strong team in spite of some injuries hitting them hard. If not for their failings in September, we might be watching them beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series…again. So even though emotionally I want to say “Theo’s leaving us in shambles!”, it’s not really how I feel.
So it’s official. Theo Epstein is the new President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs. The announcement came around 10pm last night and the press conferences from the Cubs and Red Sox will come on Tuesday, the next off-day for the World Series. I thought I’d feel different than I do.
I thought I’d be fine with Theo moving on, and part of me is. Part of me believes that if the team is going to make changes this time why not go whole hog? Although I suppose it could be argued that moving from Theo Epstein to Ben Cherington (a move that hasn’t been made official yet) isn’t that huge a change. I feel some comfort in having Cherington in there….like a small piece of Theo is still around I guess…but I woke up this morning to discover that I was a little sad about Theo going. I feel like my younger brother just left home and I know he won’t be calling, not even on Sundays or holidays.
There will never be a way to fully describe how the Red Sox victory in 2004 changed my life. Some call it hyperbole, but it truly did (and there are many folks who understand because it changed their lives too). 2007 was the cherry on that sundae and for those two things I don’t think there will ever be enough ways to truly thank Theo…but I do. I thank Theo Epstein with all my heart for helping bring this area some joy and some peace.
So I’m okay with him moving on but not as okay as I thought I was…if that makes any sense. I wish him happiness in Chicago but not luck. And that has nothing to do with him. I just can’t wish luck to a team whose fan base did what the Cubs fans did to Steve Bartman. I keep tweeting about it and I wrote about it over the summer, but the film Catching Hell has forever tainted how I feel about the Cubs fans and I wish them another 100 years of losing.
There is also a part of me not too happy that Theo is bailing on the team with a year on his contract and leaving us with the mess that he is leaving us with…but I suppose in a post written to say “thank you” and “goodbye” I shouldn’t dwell on that too much. We have a good four months to flesh that one out.
Ultimately, my strongest emotion right now is relief. I feel like once they get a general manager in there they’re that much closer to getting a manager and that will bring us closer to moving the hell on. Tuesday can’t come soon enough.
For the love of all that is good in the world could we just get some closure in the Theo Epstein saga?
I’m begging here.
I didn’t think anything would be worse than the “They’re close to a deal….they aren’t close to a deal” stories coming out every ten minutes…but now we have the “They’re close to announcing the deal…they aren’t anywhere near announcing the deal” and I just sit here and shake my head. Do it, don’t do it…at this point I couldn’t care less I just want the Red Sox to be able to move on. With or without Theo, at this point it makes no nevermind to me. Just freaking do it.
Although I will say this, the one aspect of this that I’m enjoying is how, seemingly, the Red Sox aren’t rolling over for the Cubs. Theo is the one who is breaking his contract, the Cubs are the team getting one of the best General Managers in baseball, so the Red Sox absolutely deserve something more than a little cash or a few throwaway players. There is a part of me, though, that will just be happy for it to be all over, regardless of what the Red Sox get for Theo. (But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d consider it well worth it all if somehow John Lackey is pitching somewhere that isn’t Fenway Park.)
Wasn’t it nice back when none of the players were responding to the criticisms brought about by Bob Hohler’s article? Remember those halcyon days?
Now we have Jon Lester personally calling just about every sports writer in New England, Josh Beckett and John Lackey releasing statements, yesterday was Jason Varitek fielding softballs from Greg Hill on WAAF and today we get Clay Buchholz on WEEI at 1pm with Lou Merloni. Hooray for mass communication!
While the players all say that drinking in the clubhouse during a game isn’t a big deal, apparently drinking in the dugout is, as that report is what got Beckett and Lackey to speak up. Essentially the players are saying, “Sure we drank in the clubhouse but we wouldn’t dream of bringing those cups of beer into the dugout! The horror!”.
Personally, I find there to be no difference. If you’re drinking during a game, whether in the clubhouse or dugout, you’re drinking during a game. It would be nice if these guys would spend more time trying to break down exactly what happened in September since they’re so certain it had nothing to do with drinking or a fractured clubhouse. My interpretation of what is being said is “We just sucked and there is no reason for it”, which, frankly, doesn’t fly.
All through September I wrote about (and argued) how I absolutely didn’t believe that the team just “stopped caring”. It was unbelievable to me that a team of professionals could not care about the outcome of the games or the season given how hard they worked. I still feel like there were plenty of players who didn’t just give up but I feel like I still have to eat my words because frankly, the quotes these guys are tossing out there right now pretty much feel like they’re saying they didn’t care…and that is much more disappointing than the team losing.
I hope Tito is having a cup of green tea this morning, reflecting on what an amazing run he had with the Red Sox and thanking God that he’s away from the mess they have become.
Seven years ago today, the Red Sox won game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, beating the Yankees and confirming their spot in baseball history. All of this ridiculousness won’t change that but it sure makes me long for those days.
I wake up this morning to an email alerting me to Mike Giardi’s piece at Comcast Sports New England about how what Jon Lester told, seemingly, every reporter in New England yesterday was only “part of the story”.
Now, in case I didn’t make this clear in my previous post about him, I think Lester is a spoiled, arrogant ass. But what is becoming more disturbing for me is the increasingly common use of the anonymous source for just about every article that gets written about the Red Sox these days.
I’ll make this brief and to the point: If people want to keep writing these stories geared to upset the fans and shake up the Red Sox, the need to start demanding that their sources go on the record. As much as Lester annoyed me yesterday, at least he put his name to what he said. Not only do I have no respect for people whispering gossip in the media’s ear but insisting on anonymity, but the media reporting all this information without any credible name on record as a source is getting out of control.
I’m sure some will think I’m just a conspiracy theorist nut with this next sentence but I’ll say it anyway: I’m not entirely convinced everything we’ve heard has come solely from people who work for the Red Sox. I would not be surprised to find out some of the “sources” feeding these articles are the Boston sports writers themselves. They’ve been waiting four years to be able to start trash talking this team in print and now they have their chance. I find very little comfort in a writer covering the Red Sox telling us their sources are “impeachable” yet refusing to name said sources. They haven’t done anything over the last, oh fifty years maybe, to give me any indication I should trust them and I’m getting very tired of reading “Anonymous sources said…” in every piece that’s being written right now.
Since I’m ranting, let me just add Jerry Remy to my list of people surround the Red Sox who are pissing me off. Nothing like taking advantage of the fans any way you can, Jerry. I received an email today from a PR representative wanting me to share the news that Remy’s Bar and Grill is having a bitchfest on Wednesday. They literally sent out a press release to let people know there is an “Open Mic Rant” from 5-7pm….and don’t forget they’re selling $5 burgers too! Apparently they are doing everything they can to ensure I never step foot in there again. They’re calling it “Occupy Fenway” which would be cute and maybe even clever if it wasn’t so stupid and annoying.
So they got their wish, anyway. I mentioned it on the blog.
I’m at the point where I hate pretty much everyone but the fans right now (because, honestly, for fans who get so maligned, I think most of the Red Sox fans thus far have handled all of this the best out of anyone dealing with it).
I spent most of today offline, working on a family project that will take up a lot of time and bring me much joy. I need the distraction from the world of baseball right now. So when I finally jumped back online this evening I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Jon Lester had spoken at length about the accusations coming off of Yawkey Way right now.
That was before I actually read what he said.
There are plenty of places to read the quotes by Lester. I suppose I should say “good for him” for speaking out but I’m just not feeling it. Sure he came out and said the reason they lost had nothing to do with ownership, Theo Epstein or Terry Francona and placed the blame all on the team but he also blew off the talk of the pitchers not being on the bench and instead being in the clubhouse drinking and said that as much as he was fond of Tito it was probably time for him to go.
Let me get this part out first because I keep reading people making jokes about anyone getting up in arms over a few baseball players having beers on days they aren’t playing and I feel like it’s getting overlooked or, really, just ignored for the sake of keeping up the narrative.
I don’t think there is anyone who begrudges anyone else a beer. And I’m sure that having drinks in the clubhouse after the game is common but there is no scenario I can imagine where it’s appropriate for a clique of pitchers to leave the dugout during a game and have beers instead of acting like part of the team. Having written that, it seems to me that the bigger issue isn’t specifically that they were drinking beer but that in doing whatever they were doing in that clubhouse (which, even by Lester’s account, was drinking beer) was disrespecting not only their teammates but their manager. I really don’t care how you defend the beer drinking, being a group of entitled asses segregating yourself from the rest of your team and ignoring your manager is unacceptable.
Here’s what Lester said about Terry Francona:
But there comes a time when your authority is no longer there. You kind of run your course. People knew how Tito was and we pushed the envelope with it. We never had rules, we never had that iron-fist mentality. If you screwed up, he called you on it. That was how it worked.
“I never saw guys purposely breaking rules or doing the wrong thing in front of him and rubbing it in his face. But this particular team probably needed more structure. Tito was the perfect guy for this team for a long time but I think he got burnt out.”
Let me break down his tripe:
* But there comes a time when your authority is no longer there ~ The only way I will grant Lester this is if the clubhouse was full of new players who hadn’t played under Tito before. It makes no sense that Tito’s authority would suddenly be gone with players who have worked for him previous to 2010. Now, I don’t find Tito blameless in all of this. If the stories are true it’s very possible he let his private life get in the way of his doing his job properly. But this is a two-way street and players, ADULTS, who have worked for him before should have the maturity to treat him with the respect he deserves.
* People knew how Tito was and we pushed the envelope with it ~ You don’t push the envelope when you’re in your late twenties and early thirties. You are grown, professional men and you’re admitting you acted like teenagers taking advantage of your single mom working nights.
* This particular team probably needed more structure ~ This quote makes me want to kick Lester repeatedly. How many men on that team are over the age of 25? How many are married men with children? Again, we’re talking about adults who should not be whining that they need “more structure”.
* I think he got burnt out ~ No, Jon, you burned him out. And all your talk of what “good guys” you all are is falling on deaf ears over here. Good guys don’t act like idiots. Good guys don’t force their manager, one of the best at his job and the most successful ever on your team, to quit the job they love. Good guys don’t blame the media for a witch hunt when the things they are reporting are accurate.
Plenty of people are writing or talking tonight about how great it is that Lester came clean and took the blame for what went on. I’d love to feel that way and was hoping that was the case. But his words about Tito really come across harsh here. Tito treated this guy like a son and his way of repaying all of that is to disrespect him and chalk it up to Tito being burned out. I’m disgusted. I mean, I was already disgusted but this media blitz, which I’m sure he was hoping would make everyone remember that he’s Jon Lester and everyone gives him a long rope, only enhanced my disgust. I’d love this all to go away but it seems obvious now that we’re going to have to deal with more of these interviews from more players before we get finished with this garbage.
The Cardinals versus the Rangers? I’m not sure there could be two teams I’m more disinterested in watching than these two.
I was hoping for Tigers/Brewers, but both teams seem to have just worn themselves out throughout the playoffs and now I’m stuck (“I’m”…like no one else is watching) with Tony LaRussa and Ron Washington…on Fox no less. I’m disappointed that I am genuinely not looking forward to the World Series with any kind of excitement or even interest this year and it isn’t even because of Red Sox drama.
I’m hoping my feelings will change when the Series begins. February is far away and I’m not looking forward to being entirely baseball-free.