Tom Jones, he of the St. Petersburg Times, came up with a novel idea for a column today, and - God bless him - he followed through on it.
Reminds me of this.
Anyhow, far be it from us to point out a few inaccuracies, but here they are*:
“Red Sox Nation? They weren't even known as "Red Sox Nation" until they started winning championships.”
Boston Globe feature writer Nathan Cobb dropped the phrase in 1986. That’s 18 years before 2004. Next?
“Before 2004, Red Sox fans were like Cubs fans: lovable losers. You felt sorry for them when Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner and Aaron Boone happened. Then they won a World Series and then another and now they, including all the bandwagon jumpers, parade around like they invented the game.”
This can not be denied.
“Yeah, Red Sox fans are all peachy with Bill Buckner, the supposed goat of the 1986 World Series, these days. But from 1986 until the Red Sox won in 2004? They treated Buckner like dirt, running him out of town and making him live in shame all because the Red Sox didn't have the jam to hold on to a 3-0 lead in Game 7 two nights after Buckner had the audacity to let a grounder skip between his legs.”
Now I'm confused where everybody is supposed to stand on Buckner.
“The Patriots, despite their Super Bowl loss to the Giants, still have had football's best team over the past decade and probably will win the whole thing next season. The Celtics pull a rabbit out of their hats (actually two — Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen) and go from one of the worst teams in the NBA to a record 17th NBA title. The Red Sox have won two World Series in four years and are the favorites again this year. That's just not fair. No city should have that much fun.”
Yeah, we’re sorry. But let’s not forget that Tampa itself has had two parades this decade. Not too shabby. In fact, of the four major sports, only Boston, Detroit and San Antonio can boast more titles since 2001 than they can in the Tampa area, tied with Anaheim and Los Angeles for that honor (depending upon, of course, exactly which zip code you want to consider the 2002 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). The other Bay Area, the one on the left coast, can complain about the current title drought of their sports teams. When you’ve got two titles over the past six years, you’re not yet eligible.
“Think of some of the legendary names in Red Sox history: Ted Williams, Carlton Fisk, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice. Know what two things they have in common? They were all great players. And they were all crotchety, cranky and ornery cusses.”
Maybe. But I’ll take ornery over the wild card that was Elijah Dukes, no?
“Oh yeah, sure, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, right, is a genius. It takes real brilliance to recognize that Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell are, uh, pretty good and we should write them a check from a limitless bank account.”
Theo Epstein didn’t make the deal, or at least, wasn’t at the forefront of the deal. The Beckett trade was made during the winter prior to the ’06 season, when the Red Sox GM was on leave from the club. But that’s beside the point. While Beckett was the centerpiece of the deal, the Red Sox had to swallow the remaining two years on the contract of Lowell, who was coming off a season in which he hit .236 with eight home runs, a .298 OBP, and a career-low .658 OPS. That’s not, uh, pretty good. Lowell’s career was in serious downslide, and he certainly wasn’t an attractive extra to have to take on at the time. Not to mention, the guy the Sox surrendered in the deal is a perennial MVP threat.
“No, genius is trading away a player like Delmon Young for Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett.”
Delmon Young is a nice player, but seriously, this was a swap of former first-round picks. It’s not like the Rays Bagwelled the Twins in this deal. Bartlett’s .578 OPS is dead-last among major league shortstops, but when you’re looking at a 24-year-old possible No. 2 starter for the long-term future, isn’t it worth even a player of Young’s stature? Kinda like, oh…Hanley Ramirez. Genius.
“Don't act like you're the organization with all the sharp baseball minds who built through the draft and shrewd waiver-wire pickups with a tiny payroll. That's the Rays, not you guys.”
On the current roster, here are the players the Red Sox have built with through the draft: Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Brandon Moss, Jonathan Papelbon, Chris Smith, Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, Manny Delcarmen, and Craig Hansen. Among the “shrewd waiver-wire pickups” is a fella named David Ortiz.
On the Rays’ current roster, Tampa drafted BJ Upton, Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Jonny Gomes, Shawn Riggans, Dan Wheeler, James Shields, Andy Sonnastine, Jason Hammel, and Jeff Niemann. Among the “shrewd waiver-wire pickups” is a fella named Carlos Pena.
I count 10 homegrown on both sides.
Boston is fourth in payroll this season, behind the Yankees ($209 million!), Mets, and Tigers. That’s still not denying the vast discrepancy in payroll, but to chalk up the team’s success to solely money and not understanding what the draft has done for the current state of the Red Sox is foolhardy.
*FJM style duly noted.