Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What can I say about the Red Sox in the last few days? It was nice to see them struggle so mightily against the Devil Rays Scott Kasimir (probably misspelled his name, but who cares?). Then there was last night's media circus for the return of Doug Mirabelli. Imagine if he'd been a .300 hitter or an every day player?

It was a big coup for America's Prom Date. I wonder how much it cost the city, and will John Henry reimburse the tax payers?

Of course, Johnny Damon returned to the Fenway for the first time, and was lustily booed. A lot has been made of whether or not this was justified, since he did contribute so much to the team in his tenure with the Red Sox. Personally, I don't think the fans owed him any more than he owed them. I do, however, wonder if there might be more than the casual fan (or the die hard who drinks 30 beers in the stands) perceives to this situation.

Could the dramatic attention paid to the return of a very average role player have been a smoke screen on the part of America's Prom Date? Could he have his own covert reasons for trying to distract the fans from Johnny Damon's first appearance in Fenway as a Yankee?

I couldn't help but notice that Damon, who I was told thrived in hostile environs as a member of the Red Sox, may as well have left his bat in the dugout when he went to the plate for all the good it did him and his team. He also played the field as though he'd never set foot in the stadium before. I don't know whether he'd have caught the Ortiz homer if he'd have been better positioned or took a better line to the ball, but at least it might have been easier to watch the ESPN shows today if he had.

Then there was the fly ball that Jeter overran. It was somewhat amusing to see Manny, whose defensive inconsistencies have been beaten to death by this point, helping Wily Mo Pena track down fly balls in center field. It was somewhat surprising to see Damon, who had enjoyed a reputation as a solid defender (except for the fact that he throws abysmally), found himself out of position at times and was less than helpful to his teammates. I imagine one could attempt to explain this by bringing up the fact that Jeter is a Gold Glove winner. He is also a veteran of many games in Fenway, whereas Wily Mo is brand new to the team, the stadium and a natural right fielder.

I don't mean to insinuate that he was part of some deep seeded conspiracy with America's Prom Date and John Henry (who would have some nickname based on his bizarre Howard Hughes like obsession with neatness on his yacht if I had the time to think of one). Actually, I do mean to insinuate that, but I mean it jokingly. He had a bad game. I imagine he was nervous coming back to Fenway, and the boos and money thrown in his direction rattled him just a little bit. I seriously doubt that Theo, Damon and JH are a new Trilateral Commission. Among the three of them, they don't seem to possess the intellectual capacity or the moral turpitude.

Every once in a great while, I find myself sharing something with the citizens of Red Sox Nation. This past offseason, it was a profound sense of disappointment that Johnny Damon was leaving town. I believed (and still do) that he was old and injured. I don't think he'll be the same player he once was. I really wanted the Red Sox to overpay for him. And then the Yankees got into the picture. I was not pleased.

I am not a Yankees fan, but I don't think they're the Evil Empire either. As a native Bostonian, I never liked New York teams, but because I hate the Red Sox and the vocal, oppressive contingent among their fans, I found myself warming up to the Yankees. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, as the old saying goes.

I also found it slightly hypocritical of Larry Lucchino to come out and call the Yankees the Evil Empire after they out-overpaid (not a word, I know, but sometimes flagrant abuse of syntax is required to remind Red Sox fans of recent unpleasantness) for Jose Contreras. Lest we forget that the Red Sox booked every room in the hotel where Contreras was staying to try to corner the market on him.

The Red Sox aren't exactly the Twins or the Pirates, after all. They spend as freely as their means allow, like the Yankees do. The real issue between the two teams is that Big Stein has a bigger stadium and better infrastructure for raising revenue from his team. And if you don't believe me, watch the bidding war that will develop over Clemens if the opportunity arises.

That is just one of the reasons I hate the Red Sox and the majority of their fans. They sit there and swallow the organization's hypocrisy as though it were their job. Like all hypocrites everywhere, I hate little more than I hate hypocrisy. I think the blanket generalizations and wild allegations I have made against the Sox in the short history of this blog are ample evidence of this. Nor do I anticipate that I will stop such behavior. But I admit that I am a hypocrite, which makes me less hypocritical than. At least that's what I tell myself.

Since I lost whatever narrative thread was supposed to tie this post together, I think it's time to sign off. But before I go, I think it's good to go out on a more positive note. I was watching the TNT Basketball Half Time Show tonight during the Chicago-Miami game, and I heard one of the best lines Charles Barkely has ever delivered.

Kenny Smith was wearing a velour suit with some kind of rhinestone trim. And whenever he moved in his seat, the things would bump into the desk and make noise. During one of Barkley's monologues, he was distracted by that noise. So Sir Charles turned to him and hit him with the line: "Where did you get that suit? Toys R Us?"

I thought it was quite funny. I also enjoyed the follow up: "What did you buy it at TJ Max?" And I think he hit the mark when he complained of some of the fouls called on Shaq by saying: "After all, this isn't the WNBA."

Good night and go Blue Jays.

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