Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington speaks with reporters prior to a game against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
Some Red Sox fans, apparently so upset by the team's 12-17 start and undoubtedly still furious over the way last season ended, have proposed blowing up the team. They're bad, so the thinking goes, so the organization should sell off the best players, accept some losing years, and hopefully look to be successful again in 2015 or whatever.
If Red Sox fans can't stand 12-17 with unfulfilled expectations, how are they going to handle 9-20 with no expectations whatsoever? Answer: they aren't. Like most fans, they'll walk away. Red Sox fans aren't fair-weather fans, but Red Sox fans are fans and fans don't react well to losing. I know. I'm a fan.
April sucked and May hasn't been any better. Some pessimists are gluing this season's results to last September's, coming up with a really horrendous record, and then shouting "They're awful, see??!" You can do that if you like, but it doesn't serve any purpose other than making people ill*. This team isn't the 2011 Red Sox. Easy as it may be -- they have similar names after all -- the two teams can't be mashed together any more than [put your similar sounding but actually completely different events here] can. See? That's how you make a point!
* If you're including last September's results, why not include last August's results? And then you may as well add June and July too, a touch of ginger, and a dash of what the hell are you doing?
In that same vein, the season is just a crappy 29 games old. You can't blow up the team and the organization over 29 games when there are 133 more to go. So how do you handle it?
You live with it.Fans who are eager to blow up the team, to trade Youk and Buch, to trade Beckett (and trade the snitch too while you're at it), to fire Bobby V and Benny C, need to recognize that isn't happening. This isn't fantasy baseball. The real world doesn't allow you to work like that. We have to live with it, to live with the team we have now.
Sure, there will be changes on the margins, relievers coming and going, new players stepping in for those who fall injured, but for the most part, this core, this group of guys, they are the 2012 Boston Red Sox whether you like it or not for better or worse. As fans, we have two options: live with it, or do yard work. Live with it, or change the station. Live with it or find a different way to spend $150 on four colas, two beers, two hot dogs, a t-shirt, and a bucket of cold popcorn.
The organization is no different. Picking up Marlon Byrd to sub for Jacoby Ellsbury was as big as they could go, so they went and did that. Oh, sure, they could have picked up Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, but they didn't want to part with Chris Balcom-Miller who gets lots of grounders in Double-A. To throw yet another cliche at you: the die has been cast. Ben Cherington may not have signed some/any/most of these players, but they're here now. The payroll is huge and the team is under-performing.That's a tough combination to fix through action. And by "tough" I mean "pretty much impossible."
Mr. Cherington has two choices: live with it, or get fired after making a series of stupid moves to over-compensate for a crappy start to a long, long season.
Nobody likes the way the season has started. Adrian Gonzalez, Daniel Bard, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Dustin Pedroia, those are just some of the guys I've seen show visible emotion on the field in the last week, and you've got to figure it's much more than that because I can't stomach watching entire games. The players want to win. They're trying. The organization wants to win. They're trying. The injured players want to win. They're trying.
Waiting for injured players to return isn't sexy. Waiting for under-performing players to stop sucking and play better isn't headline-grabbing. But it's what we have right now.
Live with it, or do something else. It's your choice.