Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You

    - Simon and Garfunkel, Mrs. Robinson

The Red Sox went quietly into the night. A team that led the majors in runs scored and OPS didn't hit. Seven runs and an OPS of .655 doesn't cut it. The team that was fourth in the AL in ERA (4.00) during the regular season clocked in at 5.04 in the playoffs. 

You can't argue about sample size. That's the playoffs, short series that you have to win. 

All that being said, I see no tears, feel little angst, and hear almost no discussion about collapse and failure. Why? 

The Patriots are 4-1 and Tom Brady is back at the controls. The Bruins will make the playoffs. Jeremy Jacobs promised. The Celtics have Brad Stevens, Al Horford, IT4 and a plethora of small ball ingredients that are in the 'top three' of the Eastern Conference. Is that the answer? 

After enduring the eighty-six year drought, the Sox won three championships in a decade. Sox fans got accustomed to if not spoiled by titles. The sense of urgency disappeared. "It's now or never" and "there's no tomorrow" morphed into "been there and done that." 

Yes, "Do it for David" would have been 'nice'. Nice does not win the World Series. A nice player seldom grabs the brass ring. A nice team doesn't ever win titles. 

Now it's the postseason and Dave Dombrowski has to retool. Where do you start? The 'first decision' was the fate of John Farrell. Major League managerial decisions for fans are much like the stock market - the market doesn't care what you think. A nonscientific poll of fans would likely yield a split decision. Supporters argue "they won the AL East" and opponents argue about in-game judgement. The alternative is Torey Lovullo who presumably ends up managing elsewhere. The Jessica Moran scandal produces bad optics but probably doesn't rise to the level of impeachment. Where is the chorus of Sox players' voices saying "it's great Skip is back?" First, the employees don't get to choose the boss. Second, maybe they're not so excited about having his back especially ones who early in their career didn't see him having theirs. 

Next up is Clay Buchholz and his option. 

Buchholz wasn't great. He was okay and better down the stretch. The Red Sox will probably be blinded by "recency bias" and pick up his option. "It's what you do." The high price of mediocrity tag firmly sits on Buchholz's shoulders. He may not be "Mr. Unreliable" but he's the next best thing. Ask Dave D. and he'd probably say, "is Henry Owens better?" 

They return the killer P's (Price, Porcello, Pomerantz) and Eduardo Rodriguez. The hope might be that Brian Johnson is physically and mentally ready. In the words of Joaquin Andujar, "they have a word for it in English 'youneverknow.' 

There's more ground to cover for another time. 

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