Five straight to the Yankees at home. Nice touch. That represents a display of athletic futility not seen around these parts since 1943. Not exactly 1918, but it’ll do.
Yes loyal followers, the Red Sox you know and love are back! Young Theo altered the mix considerably to be sure, but the outcome remains the same. When has that team ever had a solid defense?
In the old days we saw a collection of slow-footed lumberjacks with swings “tailor-made for Fenway” whose defensive range was about as vast as if you parked four portable dishwashers in the infield and simply called it an automatic out if the batter hit the obstacle. The dishwashers would probably have had better hands, too. Certainly the infamous 1986 Billy ball would not have gone through the dishwasher’s legs, right?
While solid defense can aid and abet a mediocre pitching staff, it cannot cover for the inability to throw strikes or preclude a batter from launching it somewhere in the vicinity of 550 feet on the rare occasion the ball actually arrives in the strike zone. All will be well, though, as Mr. Beckett has three-and-a-half years and 30 million and change with which to find the strike zone.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend that money to find David Wells a new knee and throw him into rehab every once and a while in the off season to make sure his liver doesn’t give out on him. Would that we had bionics. I mean, imagine if Manny had a brain? Then again, perhaps the Alfred E. Neuman “What? Me worry?” attitude drives his success.
So we therefore are going to hang onto our good young arms given the premium price paid on pitching. That way we free up cash exploiting our pre-free agency phenoms, meaning we can utilize that cash to fill holes in the rest of the lineup. Theo wants us to take it in the shorts this year because he sees a bright future riding the young arms in the future.
Great. Let’s sign on for the punting. If management feels compelled to not put out the best product available in the near term, then why should they expect us to pay out the best average ticket price to watch the effort? If they want to throw in the towel in favor of a long-term vision, then let them. But if management expects the fans to take a hit, then let management take a hit.
Management knows, however, that Fenway Park itself draws many customers. They have managed to market the brand in a way that muscle-head lawyer John Harrington could not fathom. The dimwitted Yawkey sycophant worked from a 1933 cost basis for a team bought with someone else’s money. Terry Schiavo could have turned a profit with that cost structure. No wonder he dragged his heels selling the team from the estate. There’s no job in the world as cushy as the situation into which he ingratiated himself.
As for the new owners? These boys know numbers, and they know how to market. With one World Series under their belt they can back off the win-at-all-costs sense of urgency that pervades the fan base. And you can understand their thinking, right? We waited 86 years for the last championship, so what’s the rush?
They should be very careful with that strategy. Harry Sinden deployed it for his financially-driven owner, and we all know how well that has worked out for the Bruins brand.
So maybe young Theo knows better. But, how many “good young arms” have we seen flame out over the years? Calvin Schiraldi in the World Series and out of baseball two years later. Remember when we deemed Pavano and Rose untouchable a couple of years ago? One sits on the Yankee disabled list while the other is out of baseball.
Go ahead, Theo. Sell us on the idea that Reversing the Curse has not been reversed. Sell us on it being a short-term glitch. Just remember the adage “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Also remember you have the highest average ticket price in baseball.