Sports Opinion & Analysis

Valentine’s Day Massacre: Why the BoSox Need to Rethink Their Mess

In MLB on May 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm

It’s only May, and if you’re a professional baseball team, panicking about your team’s record at this point is sort of like freaking out about your report card after the second week of school. But, if you’re the Boston Red Sox, especially after today’s loss, maybe your feelings aren’t so far-fetched. Maybe it might be time to take your team back to the drawing board.

And I mean a completely blank page.

2012 Boston Red Sox team photo.

First draft: You trade Youkillis, Ortiz, Beckett, Lester, Gonzalez and Pedrioa. See what you can get Sweeney. See if you can get anything for Ross. Purchase a “Whacky-Waving-Inflatable-Arm-Flailing-Tube-Man,” and host an “Everyone Must Go” fire sale outside Fenway. Afterward, burn down the stadium and file an insurance claim. Relocate the team to Oklahoma City and rebrand yourself “The OKC Corrals,” but only after ruling out “The Storms,” as a possible name. Change the team’s colors to orange and blue.

After stepping away from the drawing board for a while, you take a few deep breaths, calm down, and approach the table once more.

Second draft: You admit your mistake and fire Bobby Valentine.

You put the two drafts side-by-side and judge each draft’s merits. You realize you have a team loaded with expensive talent and a new manager you hired to replace the manager you fired after he won you two World Series following an almost ninety-year drought. Valentine was supposed to bring discipline and order to your franchise, which was falling apart after losing last year’s playoff spot on the final day of the season, but has instead so far only isolated himself in a clubhouse filled with pissed-off players whom he pissed-off and isolated.

You consider your options. If you truly believe that Valentine’s leadership is the future of your club, you need to wipe the slate clean and get rid of everyone associated with the last regime. You need to go so far as to get rid of players like Gonzalez, who despite playing only one year with the former manager  (who will be referred to as ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’), is still tainted by the influence of ‘He Who Must Not Be Named.’ Everyone must go, even players like Ross, who despite joining the team just this season, has still been corrupted by the lingering influence of the past. Burn the thing down and rebuild.

Or:

You realize you made a miscalculation by hiring Valentine. You realize that maybe the tactics of the former manager (who isn’t nearly as bad as Voldermort, but your still not ready to say his name) weren’t so bad, and that maybe the club really did respond to that type of coaching, and maybe you tried to put a candle out with a waterfall. You consider that maybe Bobby Valentine is like R.L. Ermey’s drill instructor from ‘Full Metal Jacket‘ and your team’s like Peter Pan’s Lost Boys, and no amount of discipline and yelling is going to make them stop with their imaginary fried chicken, beer, or golfing on days they’re supposed to be injured. It’s just not going to happen. The two styles can’t mesh together and they never could.

“How many more losses until I can go back to Baseball Tonight?”

So after some thought, you call up your manager, assure him it’s not him, it’s you, and that you hope you can still be friends. Then, you log on to Match.com and see who’s available (One of the many compatible matches that pops up first is that of Bob Brenly, who’s stuck in a broadcast both over in Chicago. After going through his profile, you see that he not only has a World Series pedigree (against your hated rival, no less) but he did it by getting a bunch of expensive underachievers to play up to par, all while famously throwing out the rulebook imposed by the former manager, Buck Showalter, an infamous control freak himself).

Whomever you choose, make sure he’s compatible with you first. You’re the Boston Red Sox of course, and there’s no shortage of suitors who would love to nestle up to your East Coast-elite deep pockets. Make sure you’re compatible first, and then give it some time. These things don’t happen over night, after all. And if it doesn’t work after that, then you can go back to considering that first draft.

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