Saturday, March 03, 2012

Let The Beatings Begin

The Red Sox entertain Boston College and Northeastern today. In a gathering which should provide a lifetime of memories for players, families, and friends, the Sox get out of the box quickly. If only they could have beaten up on the Orioles so easily at the end of 2011.

Speaking of beatings, we'll be getting an insufferable number of comparisons between Terry Francona and Bobby Valentine soon enough. How can the media extol the retiring Jason Varitek for his meritorious service marked by great preparation, and condemn (or even hint at) Valentine for excessive work on fundamentals?

"Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" might have been a popular book, but the players who don't give away an at-bat, who take the extra base, hit the cutoff man, play better positional defense, avoid collisions in the field, and hold runners on base might actually steal a game or more over the season.

The clubhouse 'scrubbing' takes time. And everyone knows, had the Sox won a couple more games last year, that the gradual erosion of order and discipline in "America's Most Beloved Ballpark" would never have come to light.

I discussed the situation with an unnamed Fenway Park employee recently, asking for his opinion. His answer? It's not hard to see that once many players get their set-for-life contracts, they don't care as much as they did previously. While that's human nature, I doubt many Sox fans feel that way about the team. Like Shakespeare, they may want more of the "lean and hungry look". 

How many times have you seen some baseball travesty (horrible bunting, running into outs, defensive miscues and errors, 0-2 fastballs down the middle) and said, "I'll never watch them again." And the next night, like some incorrigible heroin addict, you're back watching NESN. Admit it. You're hooked...incapable of  NOT watching a children's game that all-too-often becomes as watchable as cricket. Start getting your dose know you will.

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