Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Unpopular Post

I'm sick of Red Sox fans.

Let me rephrase. I'm sick of Red Sox fans who blame every little teeny tiny thing, like a five-game sweep, on every single possible outside force or reason, without really understanding that all the blame lies with the Red Sox owners, management and players. I'm sick of the persecution complexes and the conspiracy theories and the out-and-out whining. I'm sick of being surrounded by people unable to have a discussion about baseball because they can't see past their own hurt feelings and sadness. I'm sick of the act of being a baseball fan being relegated simply to throwing sand in the eyes of someone you don't like. I'm sick of baseball not being fun.

Ask my wife: nobody has ever hurled as many off-color, impossible-sexual-move-suggesting, vulgarities at Derek Jeter as I have. Because he makes me madder than just about any baseball player who has ever lived. And you know why? Because he's really, really fucking good. And he's really fucking clutch. And he has won a lot. At our expense, especially. But he's a great player, having maybe his best season yet. The idea that you can string together 2,000 consecutive "cheap" hits to create this fraud of a career is a pathetic notion, one that discredits anyone who makes this assertion look like they've never been a real fan of baseball. So Pokey's catch was better (and it was); does that make Jeter's catch bullshit? No. So Papi and Manny put up their own huge numbers; does that make Jeter's numbers or contributions to his team meaningless? Of course not. Guess what folks...Papi's not gonna let you put his MVP trophy on your mantle at home. Neither's Manny, if he even took the time to go pick it up if he won. The Red Sox have fans who celebrate Manny's consistently selfish, lackadaisacal play and plaster "Manny Being Manny" on t-shirts and signs. That's bullshit. McAdam in the Pro-Jo today said that Manny was so upset about what he thought was a hit Friday night being scored an error that he lobbied MLB to change the call, and threatened to sit out Saturday's game in protest. In the middle of a fucking pennant race. That is fucking embarrassing to anyonoe who has ever worn the scarlet letter.

The Red Sox are fronted by three conspiratorial, thin-skinned whiners, general managed by an overmatched and overrated "whiz" kid, and managed by an apologist of the biggest kind. Nothing's ever anyone's fault. Cano's double yesterday shines the biggest spotlight on the difference between these two teams right now. He pulls a ball in the whole between first and second, hustles all the way; Loretta makes his usual 110% effort to get to it, it gets by, and there's Pena, loafing in right field, not aggressively backing up the play. And it turned a single into a double. If Pena's charging hard on that ball, anticipating that it might get by Mark, then he probably holds Cano to a single. And Abreu doesn't drive him in from first with his hit. But there it is. Cano took the chance, was agressive and heads up, and caught us slacking. So who's gonna step up and say to Pena, "What the fuck, dude?" My guess is no one. Somebody will say, "Well, you know, Loretta makes that play 9 times out of 10, and you know, it's Wily's bat that we need right now, and you know..."

Theo had a chance to step up and take responsibility for our horrendous pitching staff. Did he? Not really, he sort of deflected it on to the Holy Grail of RSN, the salary gap. Did he say, "Ya know what, when it comes to pitchers the last two years, maybe we haven't really been as good at evaluating talent and value as we thought. And that's my fault." No, of course not. Because it's not his fault, right? He just can't spend as much money. Not that the idea of just spending the money you do have more wisely has anything to do with it. Maybe not throwing $40 mil at Edgar, or whatever ungodly sum we're paying Clement, or maybe being able to see the anomaly that Seanez's numbers were in the NL last year and not overvaluing Tavarez's contributions to another NL team. Maybe not throwing what will most likely end up being a horrific contract extention at the dumbest pitcher in MLB, Josh Beckett. Maybe keeping a half-decent minor league catcher in reserve who can actually, I don't know, catch the ball, and maybe hit .250 in the process. Maybe not undervaluing key members of your own team, and I'm gonna finally come out and say this: losing Damon was a colossal mistake, not just because of how he played this weekend, but because of what he meant to the team. Of course Crisp makes the whole thing look much worse by comparison, but still, we are developing this pattern of low-balling key people, and then spinning them off as traitors when they leave. Dr. Charles makes sure the Red Sox look like the spurned lover, left at the alter for the richer enemy. Spin control like that makes sure nobody upstairs has to take responsibility for shitty personnel decisions.

With all that hot air coming from Yawkey Way, it's no wonder that such a large portion of our fans end up spouting the same worthless rhetoric. When did it become so hard in America to admit that somebody is just plain better than you? We rail on people like DaaaaYankeesWin, who is obnoxious sometimes, but sounds like a baseball fan, making salient baseball points. When did the dialogue become so poisonous? I have several Yankee fan friends and yeah, we trash talk, but we talk about the game mostly; the numbers, the trends, we argue for our favorite players, and rail against the ones we despise. But when they make a great point, or when their team just flat hands our ass to us, we make a point to acknowledge the other team's accomplishment. We don't just say, "Yeah, ok, you swept five in a row, but you know, you suck because your starters' ERA was high." Who cares if the Yankees starters' ERA was around five for the series; WE JUST LOST FIVE GAMES IN A ROW TO OUR MOST BITTER RIVAL.

It hurts. But don't blame it on anything other than us getting out-pitched, out-hit, out-hustled and out-managed for five straight games. Don't blame it on money or injuries or umpires or annoying rival television announcers. And don't diminish or refuse to acknowledge the accomplishments of the victor, because it comes across as cheap whining, sore losing and it diminishes your stature as a fan of the game. It relegates you to the sort of fan we always decry, the one who only roots to be on the winning side, not one who roots for the love of a the best game there is. We've all been guilty of being the former; would it kill us to remember how much fun baseball can be when you concentrate on being the latter?


Blogger Peter N said...

To be a true Sox fan means, to me, that much of the time you're NOT on the winning side... To truly root for a team, heart and soul, has nothing to do with whether you have a choice to pick. It means that the team you root for is in your veins, flowing and unchangable. I am AB negative, and a Sox fan. Both the blood type and the allegiance are tamper- free. GOD GIVEN.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Peter N said...

And I give thanks, everyday....

3:39 PM  
Blogger Jere said...

I think it's popular to say the Sox have been stinking lately. They totally have. And there's your reason right there why I, at least, am not gonna start bowing down to the Yanks. They only won 5 in a row because of how shitty we played. They're starting a rookie tonight. Besides, what's so impressive about them being 6 up on us, when their payroll is a hell of a lot greater than 6 games better than ours.

Then again, they're a playoff caliber team because the rest of the league stinks, too. But, by that logic, we can still make the playoffs, too.

And I watch Jeter almost every night. They are cheap hits. Very cheap.

12:04 AM  
Blogger MattySox said...

So by that logic, we only won in 2004 because they stopped hitting in games 4-7, right? It wasn't us, it was them? I don't buy that.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Jere said...

Well it's always a mix of both, but I'm just saying that to claim that they're some juggernaut based on this particular series... with all the other problems they have, specifically pitching, well, that's, that's, that's just sentencewithoutendy.

And, just in general, when they are really good, it's only because they can afford taking on huge contracts, as we know. The Yanks aren't smarter than anyone else. Every team would've taken Abreu. NO other team could afford to pay 22 million dollars for him for a year and 2 months.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Michael Leggett said...

As I've noticed where I couldn't get tickets, for ANY games in September, suddenly tickets are opening up all over the place @ Fenway Park:

I wrote an informative opinion piece on my blog, in regards to teams just 2 years after the World Series;

It is the top who sets the tone & last year was sheer Chaos @ the Top, contributing to this year's instability.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Michael Leggett said...

By "Manny Being Manny", he's just being a self-centred asshole.

6:45 PM  
Blogger MattySox said...

But we know all this going in to every season and every off-season; they will take the chances no one else can, and some work out, like Abreu is doing (called here first by me when I said he'd be the Corey Dillon of the Yanks- just explode), some don't like Pavano. They aren't smarter; but we aren't either, even though so many people think we are. Our front office needs to be more proactive in locating value; yeah, the A's haven't been past the first round, but they've done a hell of a job; if we scouted that way, with even more money, we should be developing more, and cheaper, talent that what we're seeing on the free agent market. The fact that we're rushing young arms to the majors because we're jettisoning the very poorly chosen free agents and trades we've made does long term harm to the team. That's what I find frustrating; instead of working smarter, we just say, "oh well, we can't keep up financially," and while that may be true, it's a lame crutch in my book, because there's many teams that can say that about us, some of whom are better than us now.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Muse said...

I completely agree with the Manny being Manny = self centered asshole - especially after the quotes MAtty read me from his Feeding the Moster book last night.

I really don't see how saying the Yanks have some good talent and used it well is bowing down to them.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Michael Leggett said...

C'mon over to the blog, where I have a funny TOP 10 list;

It'll take your minds off this latest season of gaffes galore.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Peter N said...

Such drama!! What would we do without it?

9:32 AM  
Blogger Jere said...

Bow down meaning to act like because they swept us in 5, they are dominant, and we are weak.

We're still close to the playoffs despite a million problems, and they've got plenty of problems themselves.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Jere said...

Michael, I don't know about your ticket theory. I follow that all year, and I don't see evidence of a lot of tickets becoming available. You get usually get singles, which you still can. But getting two together is still nearly impossible. You could've checked right after a "dump." I don't think people are giving back their seats just yet.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how you call Beckett the dumbest pitcher in the major leagues. I'm pretty sure you'd do a bang-up job if you took your big brain out there to pitch to that Yankees line-up, with the worst catcher in the world not helping you out one damn bit and 30,000 people screaming at your ass. Please show us how it's done Mr. Wizard. This is why people hate Red Sox fans. I'm sure you'd be thrilled if a million people just announced on their blogs that you were the dumbest person at your job.

12:09 PM  
Blogger MattySox said...

And if I did it anonymously, would that make it better you cowardly piece of shit? I didn't just get a $30mil contract extention; either the man can get the job done or he can't, and all evidence to this point points to him being stubborn and not very intelligent in the way he approaches game-planning and in-game situations. Does missing Varitek hurt? Of course, but he gets paid an awful lot of money to get people out, regardless of who he is facing or how much noise the crowd is making, and right now, he's not hacking it. The fact that you can't even step up with a name for yourself makes me irritated I just wasted 90 seconds typing a rebuttal to your drivel.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Jill said...

Great post. I'm not a baseball fan, but appreciate your points and can say we can translate them to any sport. Grow up and appreciate a well played game and athletes that do a great job. Even if it is a Jeeter.

7:20 PM  

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