Sunday, July 10, 2005

Living on a Prayer

She says: We've got to hold on to what we've got
'Cause it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not.
We've got each other and that's a lot
for love -We'll give it a shot.

We're half way there
- Livin' on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it
-- Jon Bon Jovi

Mercifully, after yet another road trip, the Sox reach the All-Star break in first place, the unofficial halfway mark of baseball's marathon.

The pitching staff has been living on a prayer, but we can hope that the young guns are coming. Craig Hansen is only megabucks away from a shot, Manny DelCarmen has been lights out moving to AAA, and the Jons- Papelbon and Lester are pressing for time. There's bound to be some deals in the making...

Sox fans remember the Ripleys, Remmerswaals, Rohrs, and Sprowls who were either rushed or too limited to become fixtures in the majors. We remember the catatonic but brilliant Rogelio Moret, and guys like Jerry Stephenson who never made it, and Don Aase who ended up having a decent career, without ever helping the Red Sox.

Maybe the hardest part of being a baseball fan is patience. Fans demand effort and consistency, all too often hard to deliver. But watching guys like Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez at the Futures Game, the Nation needs to avoid panic to allow the young 'uns to develop.

Meanwhile, back in the asylum, management and manager Terry Francona have to deal with guys who are potentially short-timers with big egos and demands. Like Gary Payton, Jay is history after Cedric Maxwell's 'night at the opera' performance ME-ME-ME. Kevin Millar, a force only in the clubhouse, needs to boost his performance and cap his complaining or he'll be looking for a new home. Mike Timlin has done yeoman work in the setup role, but let's hope that contract aspirations aren't cramping his team spirit.

Is it asking too much to ask players to play hard, and try not to manage the organization? Baseball requires enough concentration to keep players busy trying to maintain or enhance their skills, without interfering with the broad goals of the organization - winning and development, both on and off the field. If a player doesn't want to be here, and has only his interests in mind, have the decency to go to management and ask out, behind the scenes. A little class goes a long way.

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