Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Anti-Dave: NESN and the Propaganda Arm of the Red Sox

Home on the Range

Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

NESN is not an independent voice, nor should it be. NESN is the broadcasting and propaganda arm of the Red Sox. And the skies are not cloudy all day.

Dave O'Brien, the Sox play-by-play announcer, is the Minister of Propaganda. He is the Anti-Dave (above). And the skies are not cloudy all day.

The sky is not falling; nor is the hyperbole. Yes, the Red Sox have enjoyed some outstanding performances this season - the timeless David Ortiz, the rebirth of Dustin Pedroia, the youthful exuberance of Mookie Betts, and the Comeback player of the century, Rick Porcello. 

My 84 win projection will fall far short of the Sox 2016 totals. But all is not well on Yawkey Way. Frankly, as Evan Longoria's homer sailed majestically out of Fenway last night, I practically expected Minister O'Brien to remark, "And Buchholz has just participated in an engineering spectacle!"

Some broadcasters might have cautioned, "Evan Longoria is the one guy in the Rays' lineup that you can't allow to beat you." I'm sure that if Bill Belichick were watching something other than Arizona Cardinals game film that he would say that.

Maybe it's nitpicking to criticize hyperbole and Homeric platitudes from broadcasters. But we're regularly reminded about the sophistication of baseball fans of Ye Olde Towne Team. Fans hear about Sandy Leon ready to become the next Yogi Berra and throwing out over forty percent of baserunners. We know that David Price is in the E.R.A. Top Ten since July first.

But we're also plagued by, in Richard Pryor's words, "lying eyes." We see JBJ and Travis Shaw baffled by hard stuff upstairs and offspeed pitches downstairs. We watch Xander Bogaerts flail at outside sliders reminiscent of Will Middlebrooks. We're baffled by John Farrell's use of the Sword of Damocles bullpen.

It's perfectly fine to remember what Mom told you, "if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all." Maybe I'm going too much Shaughnessy, "I'm a columnist, not a reporter." But when you can't unsee reality, lying eyes aren't going to heal Red Sox Nation.

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