Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wheel of Misfortune

Local baseball fans have a long and passionate relationship with our baseball team. After wandering in the baseball desert for eighty-six years, the Red Sox delivered a pair of World Championships using pluck, pitching, and "Moneyball".

Somewhere, amidst ballpark restructuring, expanding the Fenway sports empire to include NASCAR and soccer, signing overvalued players to enormous contracts, and the death of player accountability, Red Sox Nation became a house divided. 

Even players like the redoubtable Dustin Pedroia chirped "that's not the way we do things around here." 

Well, in Parcellian fashion, "you are what you are." Post All-Star break the Red Sox are 17-23, eleventh in the AL, eight games behind Seattle during that time, and the Red Sox are closer to last place than the Wild Card. OPS, the Holy Grail of "Moneyball" has dropped to .733 during that time, the province of Minnesota and Kansas City. 

With concerts, Soccer at Fenway, Picnic in the Park, as well as other value-added events for the Red Sox Foundation, management seems to have taken its collective eyes off the ball and affixed them to the almighty dollar. Vanna White has become the centerpiece of the organization. 

Now, challenging the old adage "you can't replace the whole team, you replace the manager," they're embarking on doing that, exiling Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford and much of its debt obligation to SoCal for a raft of prospects. Whether Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury get their marching orders remains to be seen. 

Hard to know whether the team improves, but the enterprise value rose. 

Some of the players argue, it's become about a soap opera, not about baseball. We could talk abominable baserunning, mediocre defense (a.k.a. defensive miscues and errors in Fielding Bible parlance), lack of offensive patience, absence of clutch hitting, and so forth, but obviously prefer to talk chicken and beer. 

Fortunately, school starts soon and we can watch athletes who, win or lose, actually care. 

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