Dear John, Tom, Larry and Ben:
Thanks for these 2013 American League East champions.
"Another day closer to the parade," as Jonny Gomes would say.
You were given much of the blame for what happened in 2012. Fingers always ended being pointed upstairs, once the recriminations of the players and manager were complete. This season, none of you ever threw a pitch, scored a run, hit a walk-off home run or notched a save. But you all ran the show.
And thanks for not turning it into a show.
Or another made-for-faux-baseball spectacle.
"We didn't go after the $100 million free agents, but we deployed the money ... we didn't save it."
Indeed, Tom, you didn't.
You spent it.
And, as it turned out, incredibly wisely.
Better than you had in the past five years.
Worst to first.
"Wish we smart enough to provide for this in our astute business plan."
Thanks for your humility, Larry.
Ben, you didn't get nearly enough credit as this season progressed. Here's some extra credit to make up for it.
All added to the fold.
Daniel Nava brought up from the minors.
John Lackey brought back from the dead.
Hardly first-round picks on anyone's fantasy league team. But they helped to turn this Improbable Dream into reality.
The Nuclear Winter has melted into an Endless Summer.
You locked up David Ortiz for two years, eliminating any potential issues that always seemed to come up with his contractual status during the season. There was nothing you could do about that dugout phone in Baltimore. "I want to thank the owners for putting together a team that could compete," Ortiz said Friday. "We have great ownership who worried about getting this team better for the fans. We have everything we need."
Yes, you do, David. This season for sure.
You locked up Dustin Pedroia. You gave the franchise a face, barely visible through that beard which is bigger than he is. That deal signaled stability. It too raised questions, But it will undoubtedly be the best $110 million you will ever spend.
[The best $70 million you spent, at least out of John's pocket, was for The Parent Company of This Blog, followed closely by what you shelled out for J.D. Drew's grand slam in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS. Since we're on the subject, this space isn't always full of such effusive praise, just check out anything written here about the Red Sox during our first 18 months of existence. ]
Then there was John Farrell. The perfect anti-Valentine.
He was on the job from his first off-season press conference. He knew what Jon Lester needed to do to fix his delivery even before he was hired. His predecessor probably had no idea who Jon Lester even was.
From 69-93 to 94-61. And counting. Who'd a thunk it?
Not many of us, for sure.
Thanks for not doing too much. The players never gave up on themselves. And you left them alone. There was no meddling. There were no missives from above. No letters to the masses. The general manager general managed. The manager managed. The players played. And look what happened.
When a deal had to be made to shore up the rotation, you made it. You gave up a lot in Jose Iglesias, but you made the best deal possible at the time it needed to be made. The presence of Jake Peavy solidified the rotation while we all endured Clay Buchholz's very extended rehab.
The young GM was wicked smart, even though he didn't go to Yale like his predecessor. They know a thing or two about baseball at Amherst. He understood that physics matters in baseball as much as chemistry.
Thank you, John, Tom and Larry, for letting Ben perform the organ transplant that was disguised as the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers. Even if the Red Sox and Dodgers meet in the World Series, you did the right thing. We say that without reservation.
Beckett's best days in Boston were digitized on the 2007 World Series champions DVD. Gonzalez and Crawford were never going to win anything in Boston, not even a coin toss.
"Standing on that line in Cleveland, we knew we had a special season," your manager said Friday night. He was speaking about the day after the Boston Marathon bombing. Players stepped up, he said. The "Boston 617 Strong" jersey was placed in the dugout. It never left.
Thanks for backing off and letting this team take New England on a magical grass carpet ride through the spring, summer and into the first day of fall. Thanks for being subtle and showing class in elegance in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Thanks for using all those marketing skills to bring the city and all of New England together and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for The One Fund.
Thanks for letting Ortiz off the hook, like the FCC did, after he fired the "f-bomb" heard around the world.
Sometimes, all it takes is one "f-bomb" to sum up what everyone is thinking.
You probably know that after the past 23 months.
Thanks for sticking by Dempster when he plunked A-Rod, at least in public. He did what players and fans across the country wanted to do. The much-feared "Curse of the Dempstino" never materialized. Some of us knew it never would.
Thanks for not going overboard with fake beards and the new state-of-the-art Family Restroom at Fenway.
Thanks for realizing that wonderful baseball, clutch hitting, players who actually care, come-from-behind victories, strong starting pitching, a lights-out closer and the occasional grand slam are enough to bring Red Sox fans back, albeit with some reservations, to the team that once unconditionally held their hearts and souls.
We're likely never to bleed Liverpool red unless it's already in our blood, root for Roush Fenway Racing drivers if we don't like Fords or cheer for LeBron, ever. Thanks for your understanding.
Thanks for knowing that Friday night's spectacular, Bud Light-and-champagne fueled A.L East-championship celebration at Fenway Park is just the first of what millions hope to be three more celebratory parties. And this time, the Bud Light in the clubhouse, or being punted into the stands by Gomes, was not a problem.
You got it right this time.
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