Terrible, fascinating Sox
My dad is an optimist, but the other night he sounded decided pessimistic. What were we talking about? The 2012 Boston Red Sox, of course. “I’m ready to turn the page on the Red Sox,” my dad said.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I said. “Even when they’re terrible, the Red Sox are kind of fascinating.”
“What’s fascinating about them?” my dad said. “The other night they gave up five runs in the first inning. I sat down to watch the game, and it was basically over after the first pitch.”
“Hmmm,” I said. “Maybe you’re right.”
Even so, I can’t quite bring myself to turn the page on the Red Sox. They’re not completely terrible, and there’s still a chance they could secure the second wild card slot. And I find their dysfunction weirdly compelling. Of course, I hardly ever watch the games. I mainly check box scores and shake my head over the futility of the pitching staff’s one-two punch of Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. Back in the day, I used to be fairly confident that the Red Sox would win if these guys were pitching. Now? I expect disaster. The fact that Lester will pitch against the Yankees this weekend doesn’t fill me with excitement. It fills me with dread.
This Red Sox team features a handful of players I really like — new third baseman Will Middlebrooks has been fun, and I’ve enjoyed Daniel Nava’s return, although his bat has cooled off of late — and a bunch of players I find irritating. Occasionally, a report surfaces indicating that the clubhouse has a poisonous atmosphere, and that the players all hate their new coach, Bobby Valentine, and I just roll my eyes. I have no sympathy for the players. If they wanted to keep Terry Francona, their nice, supportive, never-say-a-bad-word-about-anyone coach, they shouldn’t have fallen apart last September.
At this point, the Red Sox players remind me a little bit of the students in the classic children’s book “Miss Nelson is Missing!” Miss Nelson is a really nice teacher, who can never get her unruly students to behave. One day, a mean, nasty substitute turns up, and all the kids start wondering where the kindly Miss Nelson went, and talking about how much they miss her.
In my opinion, the Red Sox are just like these kids. They acted like a bunch of brats last year, and now, if these reports of dissension can be trusted, are pining away for a kindlier manager. Sorry, guys. Miss Nelson isn’t coming back. At least, not anytime soon.
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