September 18, 2007

I’ve been getting a lot of flack through the back channels about my post from yesterday – seems I’m a “traitor” and a “fair-weather fan” for abandoning the Red Sox after they humiliated themselves at the hands of the dreaded New York Yankees this past weekend. Well, call me what you will; all I can say is, if that wasn’t bad enough, the Sox continued to falter tonight, losing to a crappy Toronto Blue Jays team while the Yankees were beating the Baltimore Orioles to close within 3 1/2 games of the once-again pathetic Sox.

If you don’t mind, a quote from yesterday’s post:

“I’m sick of J.D., I’m sick of Manny, I’m sick of Schilling, and I’m sick of knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and his dopey loyal battery-mate stooge Doug Mirabelli.”

And who were the heroes of tonight’s loss? Well, let’s just take a look-see:

* Manny Ramirez, who continues to enjoy his sabbatical from late-season play, even though he’s being paid a cool $17 mil to produce runs out of the clean-up slot…

* Manager Terry Francona, who’s carrying Manny’s water while he takes September off. Tonight he says Manny “might be ready to hit in about four days”. I got news for you, Fran-coma: in 4 days your team could be in second place. Talk about a manager with no balls…

* Tim Wakefield, ‘Mr. Knuckleball’, who served up two bombs to Frank Thomas in his 6 innings of work; sure he’s 16-12, but the Sox have scored a ton of runs to save him a number of his wins this year. If they had given Dice-K anywhere near the same kind of run support Mr. Gopherball has been given this year, he’d have 20 wins by now.

* J.D. Drew, who has returned to his typical hitting funk after showing minimal signs of doing something last week. Tonight, 0-3. Hope GM Theo “The Former Boy Wonder” Epstein is happy about that $14 mil investment that’s really paying off when the team needs it. One final thought about J.D. – is there anyone who has as much of a girly-man swing as he does? How the heck did he ever hit all those home runs in the National League?

Again, here’s my problem with the Sox. They had the Yankees down by 14 games in the middle of the season, now it’s down to 3 1/2. And what do you see? With the exception of Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury, a team with no spark, no balls, and no emotion. No one’s stepping up when the team needs it most; they’re just collecting their huge paychecks, oblivious to the freight train from The Bronx charging up their asses. If they lose this lead, it’ll go down in baseball history as one of the bigger collapses of all time. But even then, you won’t see Francona say anything except how proud he is of his team. What a crock of bullshit! Someone needs to light a fire under these sleepwalkers, but I’m not holding my breath. I hope Theo is happy with what he sees, because many Sox fans like me are decidedly NOT.


On the other hand, you have the New England Patriots. Consider: all around them throughout the week swirled a cloud of controversy and criticism. Any team could be excused if they were to have allowed it to effect their game preparation, but what did they do? They just went out there and bashed the San Diego Chargers, one of the expected class teams of the AFC. They didn’t need no video cameras, just a solid game plan and some big-game performances by – get this, Francona – the players that were signed and expected to step up and get the job done when it is needed most. Consider this from John Tomase of the Boston Herald:

The Pats are coming off consecutive 38-14 victories against playoff teams from last season. Quarterback Tom Brady [stats] has thrown only 12 incompletions, with Randy Moss and Wes Welker even better than advertised and Donte’ Stallworth probably only a week or two from busting out. The defense has held 1,000-yard rushers Thomas Jones of the Jets and Tomlinson to 42 and 43 yards, respectively. The Pats have scored electrifying touchdowns on defense (Adalius Thomas 65-yard interception Sunday) and special teams (Ellis Hobbs [stats] 108-yard kickoff vs. the Jets).

You see, for some teams – disciplined teams, proud teams, teams with a kick-ass and take names mentality – when the going gets tough, the leaders step up. On both sides of the ball, no less. Tom Brady. Randy Moss. Adalius Thomas. These guys love to play and absolutely hate to lose. Look, I know comparing baseball as a sport with football is not necessarily fair, for a variety of reasons. But, that being said, one need only compare the way the Patriots stepped up and stepped on the throats of the Chargers while at the same time the Sox were wilting like a corn field in a drought while it’s highest-paid slugger takes yet-another late-season siesta. As a fan, it makes you sick, and I prefer to no longer invest my emotions and my energy watching a team with no spark and no leadership. I’m no Pats fan by any stretch of the imagination, but you have to admire them for what they did this weekend.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:30 | Comments Off on A Tale of Two Teams
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