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Monday, August 21, 2006

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did you get hit over the head or something? suddenly i agree with everything you're saying. something must be wrong. :-)

Beth, I am glad we agree. But I haven't been hit over the head or anything like that. In fact, my position on this "perspective" issue has been pretty consistent over the months and years. I may have more reactionary tendencies with regards to tactical errors and managerial idiosyncracies than you do, and that's where most of my venom sources from (and probably why you think this post represents some sort of sea change in my attitude), but when talking about long-term strategies and the privileged position of the Red Sox within the overall Major Leagues, I have always understood that failure is expected (failure as in "not winning the WS"), that the Sox are fundamentally "successful", and that we have to take a longer view of things.

This series must have been intensely traumatic for you SF. You've went on thru the looking glass and the "peace of mind" you're manifesting is something akin to Leonard Cohen post the 70s.
The calm is eeeeery and you're totally freaking me out.
;)

It's not new. Seriously.

See this post, from last year.

http://yanksfansoxfan.typepad.com/ysfs/2005/10/the_mourning_mo.html#more

My game-to-game rantings are that: game-related, and usually about tactics. And sometimes those tactics are obviously about longer-term issues. But for the most part I have been consistent in my perspective about things.

Gimme a break. Finishing second? I can live with that, though I don't like it.

But swept five games in August by the Yankees, in the most embarrasing fashion possible? When we entered the series just 1.5 games out of 1st?

That won't be acceptable, if that's the outcome today.

Gotta agree with Hudson on this one. I've long accepted that this team might not be good enough to win the Series or even make the playoffs. But the performance this weekend was terrible, absolutely pathetic.

Maybe it's an anomaly. Maybe the Sox will come back and sweep four in New York. But this kind of play wasn't just failure. It was abject and utterly laughable failure. So my perspective is that sure, we may pay this back in spades next year, and that'll be great. But a $100 million salary to get embarrassed in late August by the Yankees in a five-game series? Somehow, I don't think that was part of the vaunted long-range plan.

Five in a row! Good to see the Sawx tent fold and SF conceed as well.

Still the season's not over and of course the danger of a letdown on the coast is real. Then there's the Tigers, Twins etc. next week. Torre's got to keep on keeping the squad focused. Also got to rest those bullpen arms!

GO YANKS!!!

i have often wondered how david ortiz has so often "performed in the clutch."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chKa0F6V1wk

(via deadspin.com)

also, this isn't a knock at papi. i respect the man. and god bless him for making a buck. he's got a kid to feed.

...it is still amusing.

Paul, you've hit on something that has been on my mind since game uno. It's crazy to have that payroll, charge more than any other club for tickets to get into a game, make money hand over fist throughout the year, and expect us to sit around quietly while they spew stuff like "the future" and "long term plan philosophy". I'm so sick of it I could puke, and this Yankee meltdown is just the straw on my back.
The Yankees came into Fenway, and had four bad pitching performances, but somehow the Red Sox managed to send lifetime loser Jason Johnson, and rookie John Lester to the mound to face the Yankees? C'Mon. I know the deals were there, and shame on the Red Sox for not pulling the string on one of them. By doing this it shows that they were being greedy, unconnected to the fan base and the real needs of the team, and not concerned with anything other than this year's bottom line.
While I don't think they should have gotten Abreau (because I'm sure he'll come back to earth and be the same hated player he was in Philly at some point) - that move is what put the Yanks over the top for this series, and there was no answer for it from Boston.
As much as I'd like to give credit to the Yankees for winning this one - all the blame goes to Boston, Larry Lucchino, Theo Epstein and the rest of the decision makers for leaving players like Ortiz, Schilling, and Manny out there to sink with the rest of the ship.
PS - Timlin sucks, so let him go now before he causes any more damage to what little respect this team has.
If this team doesn't go out and buy up every bit of pitching they can this year, and leave the infield alone for once, I'm going to throw myself off my house. Come December this team better have contracts on Zito, Schmidt, and some bullpen guys because they have absolutely no reason not to. Outside greed, of course.

Paul - you, Brad, and Hudson, who are some of the best regulars here at YFSF, with all due respect, have to get some perspective. Getting swept by the Yankees sucks, of course it does. But acting like it's the end of the world is just silly. The end of the world was being a Sox fan in 2003 when Boone hit the homer, or in '78 when Yaz popped out, or in '86 when Gedman couldn't handle Stanley's palmball, or being a Yankees fan in October of 2004. The end of the world is not a regular season sweep at the hands of a superior team, which is what the Yankees are right now. And I say this as one of the biggest diehard fans of the Sox that is out there, one who lives in the heart of NYC, who has to deal with a**hole Yankees fans on a daily basis, and who hates them more this year than I ever did, even when they ripped my heart out on my tenth birthday in 1978. We shouldn't act as if the Sox, because they have a big payroll and a nice park and a great fanbase, are pre-ordained to win. They're not. Particularly not when the Yankees have a bigger payroll, a huge revenue stream, an Owner who will spend anything, and a competent front office and management staff.

Also, saying to the players that they are worthless is a hollow charge. You don't think that the Sox' players have such pride that this doesn't really sting? The Sox got what they deserved. The Yankees were better. It was a fair result. All these broad swipes at the Sox players and the front office (who are not at all exempt from criticism) comes off as (and I really hesitate to say this) babyish. Honestly, you guys sound like Yankees fans.

SF-
A: I'm correct in everything I said. I don't feel that it's a birthright to win, however I do feel that I have the right to demand that some of the money being spent by millions on the team actually goes back into the team. I myself have spent well over a grand to go see the Sox this year, and for what?
B: Timlin does suck, so there's no sense in arguing that point. I know losing Varitek hurts him, but he's been around long enough to know where to put the ball and if he can't do it, then get out of town. I owe him nothing, and that includes a longer than normal leash on his performance.
I said I'd give Beckett a year, and I will, but there was no excuse for what happened this weekend with the other 13 pitchers. The Yankees are not as good as they made them appear, and it's disheartening to watch it.
C: I'm not sounding like a Yankee fan, and I hope you bite you tongue later for saying it, but I do think that I have the right to offer up my own constructive opinion at what I appear to be a huge ball drop on behalf of the Sox organization. It reeks of a team taking a year off to really cash in, and I know I'm not alone in thinking it.

PS -
I STILL don't think this season is over for the Sox, and I would not be surprised to see a huge kick in the arse for them this next week and exactly the opposite of a letdown for the Yankees against the Angels and Mariner. I didn't forget that the Sox have the easier schedule at home, and a four game set to still be played against NY, but this one stung - a LOT.

SF, You've read quite a lot into things I didn't say here, and in turn jumped to conclusions I never made and.

I never called the players worthless, I never said it's the end of the world, and I've tried (maybe not hard enough) to avoid sounding like I felt the Red Sox were pre-oordained to win.

I'm OK with finishing second. I would have been OK with losing this series. I'm OK with the philosophy of losing now to win later -- even believe in it. I don't think, as Brad does, that we should have just made a deal happen, or that Mike Timlin or any player "sucks" and should be immediately released based on this series.

I was there in 2003, too, and I know what end-of-the-world feels like. This isn't it. It is deep-seated frustration with two months of shabby play from a team that should be playing better than this. It's frustration that the Sox for another year couldn't come up with a workable bullpen. But it minimizes this disaster of a series to say, "Oh well, it's a failure, and failure usually happens in baseball." That's letting people off the hook to whom tough questions should be asked. It's saying that any regular-season loss, any bad stretch during a regular season is unimportant because, hey, it's not the playoffs and thus not the "end of the world."

At some point during this season, this team broke. No one fixed it. Whether that's part of the plan, the fault of the front office, the manager, the players, plan ole' dumb luck and injuries, it's far from acceptable, and figuring out why and how to keep it from happening again is how to win championships in the future.

It's especially surprising that you'd count me in among those saying it's the end of the world, considering by recently posted losing-stretch post, in which I detailed what terrible teams the Sox had in the past. As I said in that post, "Clearly, we live in fortunate times." That's still true, but that doesn't mean we can't be disappointed, frustrated and angry when a $100 million team "built to win now AND in the future" fails to win now.

A team that has the second largest payroll in the sport doesn't give it back to the fans enough. A team that has spent a ton of money to NOT move out of a beloved and historic though antiquated, undersized stadium (unlike a team to the south that sells out an antiquated, beloved, and oversized stadium) somehow doesn't consider the desires of the fans. A team that went out and got several players that we all thought would excel now AND later doesn't think about the current and future. A team that suffers injuries, major ones, to their starting center fielder, their captain and catcher, their starting right fielder, their setup man, and their third, fourth, and fifth starters, somehow is still in second place, and you guys say that it's an abomination, that we're somehow being gypped by our club? What are yous smoking? Serously.

To whom are you referring that question? All those statements were made by one person. Please refer to that person when insulting their inteeligence, and not all of us who have separate concerns...

The only thing sweeter than a 5-game sweep of Boston is listening to Sox fans turn their guns on themselves. Schadenfreude is a dish best eaten warm, right outta the oven!! :)

Embarrassing? Check. Frustrating? Check. Maddening? Check. Exaggerated by the fact that this happened against the Yankees? Double check. But to use this series and this season, considering all the injuries and the rosters and pursestrings of the teams around them, and considering the generally high quality of teams we have had to root for since Henry took over, to use this weekend and red-cross heavy year to condemn the Red Sox organization as Brad does, is, to me a joke.

You're right, SF. I don't mean to question your supremely intelligent analysis of the situation. I forgot all about Rudy Seanez, Julian Tavarez, the new seats at the Park.
Whatever, man. You sure take it better than I do.

I'm done with this for the day. Hope everyone's night is better than the four nights before it. Of course, if you're a Yankee fan and your owner did what it takes to win late in the year, your night can't possibly be better than those that came before it.

This is like after a horrible loss in High School football, and afterwards in the locker-room, the players are going at each others throats. Tough loss, lots of baseball to be played, chill out guys.

Hey, if we wanna say injuries are the reason this team fell apart like it did, then we have to just move on and hope for the best next year. I'm inclined to that direction myself. All I'm saying is that this series was too horrible to just say, "Hey, it happens." Stock needs to be taken.

If we (fans, media, me, whatever) decide nothing could have been done -- Theo was right to move on with the plan, Tito could have managed like John McGraw with no different outcome, the players played their damndest and it just didn't work out -- then OK. We lost, we work on next year, we move on.

I'm not sure that's entirely the case, and even though we as fans can't really do anything about it, it seems that such a brutal loss deserves more than a shrugged shoulder without at least figuring out what led to this and how we can avoid it later.

The bottom line, I think, is that you can't contingency plan for your contingency plans. There's only so far you can go as an organization, even one with deep pockets. And that's what some people are basically accusing the Sox of doing: not planning for utter disaster. The front office had contingencies for injuries and poor performances, but not for this combination of poor performance and certainly not this many injuries. Pena was the backup to Nixon, but then Pena got hurt. Lester was the backup to the #5 starter, probably meant to spend four months in AAA, but #s 3, 4, AND 5 went down. Hansen was the backup plan if Seanez or Tavarez sucked, or Foulke didn't recover, not the backup for all three guys. Bard was the backup to Varitek, but he couldn't catch the knuckleball, so was offloaded, and then Varitek got hurt.

I refuse to hold the front office responsible for not planning backups for backups, and in some cases, backups for backups for backups. I also refuse to accuse them of not trying hard enough for us fans. Sorry.

Um, SF - Hansen was the back up in case Foulke didn't recover or Seanez or Tavarez sucked. Okay, sure. The fact that all three happened should be dropped on thee FO's doorstep. They signed two incredibly sucky relievers, and Foulke was not only hurt last year, he starter moaning about not wanting to play in Boston - maybe not someone you should be banking on.

As for your three starters - Wake is no spring chicken, Clement has a history of injuries and Wells is defying all medical opinion by still pitching well at his age and the way he's treated his body over his career. Again, these breakdowns are hardly unforseeable.

Even if you're willing to defend that and let it all slide, what about this idea of investing in the future to ignore the present? Whoever upthread said that the payroll is large enough, and ticket prices high enough, that SFs should expect a competitive team this year. Well, according to the Boston press, the Sox could have got Oswalt (via Andruw Jones) if they'd been willing to trade Lester. They weren't. To me, that's a no brainer. Oswalt would not only help this year and for the next few years, I think, as I've said on this site before, that you should keep in mind that Schill, Manny and Tek aren't getting any younger. Winning now should be on the agenda, and trading a promising young arm for a top 10, if not 5 big league pitcher who himself is 29 must be done.

The fact they didn't makes me wonder whether the mantra of "win tomorrow" has gone too far, or perhaps the Sox just don't want to spend more money.

Disappointing weekend no question about it. But there's still over a month left. Many things can change. This is baseball, after all. The greatest game there is. I'm not ready to throw in the towel. Let's see what kind of fight this 2006 edition has.

according to the Boston press

Dude, first crack in your argument. You obviously don't know the Boston press. What's next, Steve Phillips said it was true?

And Sam, you can't be serious about all this. You're telling me that the Sox should have had contingency plans for all the players that went down? None of us know the Sox' books, but it should be apparent that they will not spend like the Yankees. Hem and haw all you want, but it's true: the Sox do not have a payroll of $200M+, and they won't. $70M buys a lot of insurance. We can complain about that all we want, about how greedy they are, but it's a simple fact. They operate within that limitation. And it ends up being a limitation, particularly when certain things don't pan out or key players get hurt. We're spoiled, I think, to complain that our 2nd largest payroll is evidence of our team stiffing the fans. That's not to say the FO didn't make some bad decisions. They did. But those bad decisions were compounded by injury, and, well, that's a recipe for a bad season. We've come to the point now where a bad season is not Kevin Kennedy managing an 80-82 squad, but the third year in a run with a contending team that has won a Series, finished in virtual tie for first, and until Friday was a game out of first. Boo-fucking-hoo.

And it is clear that your logic system is that of a Yankees fan, hence you don't understand (maybe you can't understand) what other teams' limitations might be. Let me guess: you root for Manchester United, too.

Gotta agree with SF generally here, but I think Sam is right to fault the team's original plan, as well as its contigency plan, with respect to the bullpen.

This is the 2nd straight season where the team's offseason approach to the bullpen was to bank on a crop of aging journeymen, rather than bringing in a higher profile guys. Having 4 rookies and 4 questionable veterans strikes me as bad planning from top to bottom.

(With the benefit of hindsight, FWIW, signing BJ Ryan to close and using Papelbon in the rotation sounds pretty damn dreamy right now. Yeah, Ryan costs $9m, but these days quality relievers are so scarce...)

I'm not saying this is the team's only problem, but it is a major one, and the fact that it's a rerun of last year's problem makes it particularly frustrating.

SF, you took one point I made and leapt all over it without addressing my other points. Who signed Seanez and Tavarez? Who refused to trade Lester for what ultimately would have been Roy Oswalt? Who put their faith in suspect #4 and #5 starters?

Fact is, the Yankees are also flawed this year. Definitely beatable. But they've taken moves to address that - they brought up Melky and traded for Wilson, Lidle and Abreu. And the signing of Farnsworth has worked out much better than the two major bullpen signings that Theo made.

For these reasons, I think the other SFs on this site - and the YFs who wish to add their two cents - have a right to be miffed at what's going on, and simply saying "it ain't so bad" or "wait till next year" is not enough. Bad signings were made, trades weren't made and that's why the Sox are now 6.5 games back.

Or not. Frankly, I could care less. I hope you people finish behind the Yanks every single year.

Well, according to the Boston press, the Sox could have got Oswalt (via Andruw Jones) if they'd been willing to trade Lester

And Sam, to be fair to the Boston press, I believe what was reported was something on the order of Lester, Hansen and two starting position players for Oswalt. Had it been Lester for Oswalt straight up there's absolutely no question Theo would have made that trade. That's my speculation, but I would be willing to bet just about everything I own that a one-for-one deal was never offered by the Astros and certainly not rejected by the Sox. Regardless, that speculated deal was not quite what you presented, was it?

Sam, if you're going to make a point with facts, at least get the facts straight. Is that so much to ask?

If I made some sort of claim like "how could the Yankees not have dealt for Albert Pujols at the deadline when all the Cardinals asked for was Aaron Guiel" but the actual report said that the Cardinals asked for Aaron Guiel, Scott Proctor, Phil Hughes, and Robi Cano, I'd think that you'd take offense. Particularly if I made that non-trade as a main point of my argument about why the Yankees' front office wasn't with it.

And you never clarified who you root for in the EPL? Was I wrong? Do you root for Portsmouth?

Interesting developments out of Boston.

Wells is placed on waivers, Hansen demoted to Pawtucket.

Is someone going to take Wells? Are we really looking at trading him or is Hansen being demoted for his current stretch of problems or just a chance to get the kids confidence back after being slapped around the last few weeks.

I really am dissapointed, however I do know that every year you cannot win it all. Not meant as a barb or antagonistic remark, but the Yanks have tried to buy it the last few years and it still has not worked out. Was it a lack of vision for this year or vision of the next few years I am not sure. The asking price for some of our young talent was pretty steep. Granted the Sox are not done yet, but the first part of this (Wells and Hansen), has the FO waived the towel and said enough for this year?

Wells cleared waivers, that's actually a great thing. It means the Sox can move him to a (true) contender and possibly get some half-decent value for a guy not in their future. If nobody wants him, he keeps starting.

Hansen going down is also a good move - he needs to learn more, obviously, and probably get some confidence back. Both moves are good ones.

I agree SF, are they conceding though?

Granted, something has to be given to us worth something to trade Wells.

SF - so still in your mind it seems the FO is not to blame for this shambles. Fair enough. I guess that's more reasonable than a knee-jerk "fire everyone" reaction.

About Lester, what I read was that he was the dealbreaker for the Sox, that's why I emphasized him.

As for my EPL team - yes, it's Manchester United. I'm a proud fan since 1985, back when Liverpool dominated England. And yes, we are usually reviled in England, but not as much as money-is-everything Chelski fans, and just as much as I'm-too-smug-for-my-glass-of-Chardonnay Arsenal fans. Know ye of them?

I also wouldn't go so far as to say the FO doesn't try hard enough. I would argue the Sox would have been better off with Bard than with Belli/Lopez, but that's just one move. Pena really was down only as long as nixon was healthy, so I think that scenario worked out quite well. You can question the wisdom of counting on Wells returning well from his knee problems, though clearly he was when he got hit with the line drive, and he's returned well this time around too.

The rest, though, yeah. Wakefield was a blow. Clement was just horrible, then he went down. The backup to Wells/Clement, DiNardo, went down. Foulke/DiNardo/Delcarmen/Timlin all went down and the latter two have been ineffective since returning. Crisp, I feel, is only now returning to normal from his injury, and he's still pressing too much.

I agree there's no way they could have planned for that. I'm not really a fan of bashing the FO at this juncture until we see how all those kids we just couldn't trade do next year.

Most of the players have had good, if not great, seasons -- so I wouldn't blame them either. At least not in the calmer, cooler light of day.

So maybe it is just the injuries -- together with the inability to cobble together a decent pen. I'd like to believe it's just the injuries. It'd make me feel better, anyway...

Sam:

Of course the front office is to blame for "the shambles". But I think I have a beef with the definition of this as a "shambles". It's been a terrible weekend, but I just can't render an absolute judgment on whether this is a disaster as the reason it transpired is due to both injuries and, more importantly, plans which involve more than this weekend. I do agree that the Tavarez/Seanez signings were disasters, but I, along with a ton of other fans, saw them as worthwhile. I was obviously wrong, and so was Theo. So far he has been unable to put together a bullpen, though he did obtain Foulke, who despite these last two seasons was worth every penny of his contract.

Oh, and Arsenal rox.

It took me all afternoon to get that post together, what with work deadlines. Now I see the thread has passed me by :-P

The Oswalt trade was indeed Lester/Hansen/position, at least from the reports I read. Iffy trade for sure, considering it would have left another hole in our lineup and another one in our pen, while not adding any starters.

I think the bullpen is the significant weakness of this FO. Whether it's because Theo is obsessed with finding good castaway talent cheap (a la Papi and Timlin), or because relief pitching is nearly impossible to predict, I don't know. But Seanez's and Tavarez's relative sucking isn't terribly surprising considering their histories. Unfortunately, I -- like the FO -- glossed over that and figured they'd do great before the season started. Depending on Foulke was a bad idea, but that's what we were doing. So was depending on Schilling. The only difference: Schilling worked out, and Foulke did not. Overall, the Sox made out better overall with that calculus, but it hurt the bullpen for sure.

The mismanagement of the bullpen on the FO's part is a big problem, but it's a problem that was exacerbated by starting injuries. If the starters had been healthy, we could have gotten by with Delcarmen/Timlin/Papelbon and probably never seen them (Papelbon excepted) implode like we have.

It's great that the Sox this year will probably finish with a better record than the Sox that won the division in 1995. That team was indeed a mess (Canseco, Vaughn and Clemens drama every other day) and won the division only because the Yankees were more so. We're certainly lucky to have the luxury to consider a season disappointing when it ends in 95 wins and no trip to the playoffs.

But considering the talent and potential of this club, I'd say a little re-evaluation is in order. Injuries were a huge part, but someone needs to figure out how to get a bullpen together...

This is assuming of course the Sox don't turn this around miraculously and end up winning everything, and then wouldn't we all look stupid?

God would I love to look stupid.

Indeed.

We also have the great pleasure of allegiance to a team that delivered on (arguably) one of the greatest/finest moments in sports that we'll not likely see again in our lifetime -- the 2004 ALCS. Frankly, while I would love to see a repeat Yankee choke of epic proportions, I'm good for a few years. Really. Something that us SF's will always have that really has no peer moment in baseball.

I think we're in some sort of agreement, SF (except about Arsenal), so I'll lay off the FO bashing.

However, in terms of defining shambles, let me remind you that the Sox are right now 53-53 vs the AL this year. That's about more than this weekend.

For a YF, this thread is interesting. I'm surprised SF is so easily willing to write off Brad's salient point about the Sox FO not putting up the financial backing to make this team a winner, right now. We don't know the Sox books, so all we can do is speculate about what they are or are not putting in the bank. I'm also not quite sure I understand the rather fatalistic "this is not a real disaster" attitude. It seems plain that this was, in fact, a disaster. I enjoy baseball for the game itself, and after the great 90s run my soul has not been sated to the extent that I am not utterly crushed when the Yankees have been knocked out of the playoffs. HOWEVER. Losing hurts a lot. That's part of the fans bargain, no matter who you root for. And if I rooted for the Sox now, I'd be mighty unhappy.

As for the blame game; it seems reasonable to ask why no moves were made to bolster this club. Was it an unwillingness to give up future prospects? Financial considerations (and if so, could we please see the books)? Were the players available just not useful? These are reasonable questions. It's also reasonable to evaluate the off-season moves, but in doing so it's necessary to look at those moves contextually: did they seem like good moves at the time? For the most part, the Sox's off-season moves were endorsed on this site. It's fair to hold the FO accountable for failed moves, but if those moves were considered prudent at the time, well, there's only so much an executive can do.


A lot of overanalysis here.

Everyone here should just avoid baseball for a week or so until we get our heads back on right. Most of us are still way too wound up over what happened to be objective.

Until then, I submit:

1. Red Sox FO (well, Theo, anyway) wasn't playing for this year
2. Sweep based more on bad Red Sox than good Yankees
3. We all are best served looking at these five games in the context of the season, not these five games
4. Theo's worst moves were of the subtle variety (letting Myers go, not getting Villone)
5. NYY not good enough to win WS, but will make impressive run
6. Good free-agent pitchers were in short supply in the off-season
7. Red Sox are out of it, period, barring a miracle (and there will be no miracle)
8. Theo had better start making concrete plans NOW for 2007
9. Holy shit, can NYY score a lot of runs off bad pitching
10. NYY deep pockets give them huge advantage over the rest of baseball
11. Baseball needs better salary restrictions and a more level playing field

There is hope until the Sox are mathematically eliminated. It's a very slim hope right now, but it's still there.

I remain much on the fence about the whole "FO didn't want to win this year" argument. On the one hand, we have the 2nd largest budget in baseball, and with that comes certain expectations and responsibilities. On the other, it's still a budget. And my memories of the 2005 team's slow and often agonizing death reminds me that old teams rarely go on to do great things. Too much injury risk, too much decline, too much money, and often too much drama in the clubhouse.

The problem with baseball is that it's a "what have you done for me lately?" sort of world. We won't know whether or not hanging onto the young players is going to pan out or not until at least a few seasons from now when they've had time to settle in and grow. Patience is hard to come by in this market, which is why so many pundits have said that young players can't survive in Boston. I want those idiots to eat their words, but as I read some of the various reactions around the 'net, I'm starting to think that the pundits are right. We aren't patient around here. It's almost like we've gained a sense of entitlement about winning, and that, frankly, bothers me a great deal. Too Yankee-ish.

More often than not, I find I have to give Theo and the FO the benefit of the doubt, because they have the numbers, the scouting reports, and access to lots of other information that we don't. It's easy to say they were wrong about something NOW, when it's been proven, but I remember plenty of optimism around these parts back in April. No one complained about anything during the 12-game winning streak, that's for sure.

The future is unknown, so we fans tend to not think about it. But I think a successful franchise must consider the future as much as the present in order to maintain its success.

We don't know the Sox books, so all we can do is speculate about what they are or are not putting in the bank

And that kind of ends the discussion, I hate to say. It's all speculation, as you say. We don't know how much it costs to re-build Fenway, but as an Architect I do know that construction costs are outrageous across the board at the moment, so how do we know that the Red Sox did not have to re-adjust their payroll to finance this construction, when in fact they planned on buying players rather than bricks and steel? How do we know what the Astros really asked for? I just don't see good evidence to show that the Red Sox haven't tried to field a competitive team now, with eyes towards the future. We simply don't know all of the internal issues that face the Sox financially, and some of the external issues should be relatively obvious. We can assume they are making money, but that's their right and, more importantly their fiduciary obligation to their limited partners (can we please not forget this?). The team is not "ours", truly.

I don't think the Front Office is off-limits for criticism from a personnel standpoint, and certainly not considering the relatively expansive "limitations" that Theo has with money. He has definitely made glaring mistakes. But it sure seems convenient right now to decry their "lack of effort" or their seeming incompetence when most of us felt the moves made were very strong, forward-thinking, and competitive. If Theo was wrong, then we were really wrong, on numerous levels, and by just now calling them out, this month, for either not making enough of an effort (not just at the trading deadline, but as a whole) or for being incompetent because we can finally recognize the moves' failures doesn't say a whole lot about our own critical skills. Worse, it makes us out as almost comically fickle.

Lastly, the fact that YF says this: "after the great 90s run my soul has not been sated to the extent that I am not utterly crushed when the Yankees have been knocked out of the playoffs" says quite a bit about his maturity level and his own lack of perspective or understanding about the difficulties of running a baseball team, and he shouldn't project that onto anyone else or act shocked when there are others who don't share this kind of exagerrated emotion. People react differently to the results of games played by others. Some let it ruin their day. Some let it ruin their month. Some let it ruin their year. And some realize it's a game, a game that is really fun to watch, to discuss, to analyze, one that can get you emotional. But in the end, it's not worth this kind of hand-wringing (particularly from Sox fans, at the moment), it's not worth letting it "utterly crush" you. Particularly not when you root for a wonderful team, with a wonderful park, with a wealthy ownership that spends money. Remember, we could all be rooting for the Cubs.

From the Providence Journal, an article by Sean McAdam (entitled, funnily enough, Sox lose games and perspective) :

"On Friday night, in the fifth inning of the disastrous day-nighter that would set the tone for the Lost Weekend, official scorer Joe Giuliotti determined that Manny Ramirez had reached on an error by Derek Jeter. Jeter had gone into the shortstop hole to backhand a hard grounder, only to have the ball glance off his glove and roll into shallow left.

On the play, teammate Mark Loretta, running from second base, was thrown out at home by Yankees left fielder Melky Cabrera.

Ramirez was enraged by the call, and was so angry about it the next day that he had to be talked into playing the Saturday afternoon game. On Sunday, Ramirez sought out an MLB official to try to get the call reversed.

Think about that: In the middle of the Sox' three most dispiriting losses of the season, suffered at the hands of the team's archrival, Ramirez sulked about losing credit for a meaningless single that didn't even involve an RBI.

That's perspective for you.

(To give credit where it's due, Ramirez had an otherwise monster series, making one out in the course of five games while reaching base in 19 of 20 plate appearances. He hit two homers and knocked in seven runs)."

That's amazing to me. So much so that I wonder if it's even true.

That's a lot of BS SF. I should note there's an obvious mistype in my comment, which should read, "after the great 90s run my soul has been sated to the extent that I am not utterly crushed when the Yankees have been knocked out of the playoffs." so much for writing at 12:30 after a long day. but the point remains that, even if not utterly crushed, were my team to get absolutely bombed by its primary rival, i'd be pretty unhappy about it, and there's no lack of maturity there, regardless of how nice a place fenway is or how good a show the FO is nice enough to put on for you.

What's BS, YF? The economic complexity of running a ballclub? Or the criticism that I say the Sox rightfully deserve? I never, ever said I wasn't unhappy. All I said was that there are different degrees of unhappy, particularly in baseball, and that a little perspective is in order. Not exactly controversial, I would think.

Or is the BS the part where I was supposed to mindread that you meant exactly the opposite of what you typed? You say your mistype is "obvious". That, I hate to say, is pure crap. So when and if I type "the Yankees suck" and you react to that statement, and then I come back and say "but I meant the 'Yankees don't suck", feel free to call me on it.

Alright. Peace. I think we're basically in agreement.

My point on the economics front is not that the Sox don't deserve a profit, but that until we get to see the books, we don't know if they're raking in an Exxon-style exploitative profit. This is a broader beef with MLB; when they need something from the fans, they present the game as a national pastime for which they are custodians in the public interest; when the fans want something back, it's a business. There's no transparency, and that's a big problem. It's not a Red Sox issue, per se, but in this case, with the fans upset, I have a hard time blindly accepting the "we can't afford it" argument. Let them prove it.

My hunch is that the Red Sox could probably afford lots of things. But I also understand that to afford these things would (likely) cut into profitability. And this profitability is something they have a responsibility to protect for their limited partners, whether we like it or not. Often times, it ends up being "not". But we can't dismiss this fiduciary responsibility that they do have. I am not sure how the Yankees are structured, but if they have limited partners then there is a legal document that spells out the rights of these partners, and Steinbrenner has some sort of obligation to them. His financial decisions are likely made with these obligations in mind. I would love to know more from an attorney with experience with these limited partnership agreements about the actual legal responsibilities of Ownership to their limited partners regarding the finances and profitability of the clubs. Anyone know someone on the inside?

Well there's always the great line about Steinbrenner: "There's nothing more limited than a limited partner of the New York Yankees."

Limited partners are probably more interested in general franchise value than operating profits, and i suspect the greater portion are more interested in simply telling their friends they "own the red sox." So the response as to why haven't the Sox put another 10 mil into salaries at the break can't be "limited partners"--at least not if we're not shown the books. No effing way. Otherwise, "we have a financial responsibility to our partners" is just the default response to anything.

General franchise value is a loose term, and it is tied to many items, of which profitability is just one. Real estate is another, licensure another, etc. I don't mean to imply that the Sox should be allowed to default to the response you cite (they shouldn't), and the transparency issue is, as you state, a huge one, but I also don't think it's all that informed to make a statement such as "don't tell me the Sox can't spend another $20M on players" (not that you yourself said this, but statements like this are all over the place) when we really have no idea what that means for the financials of the club. Do any of us know how much of Fenway's renovation were financed, how much the Sox have leveraged other assets, how much cash they have to sink into the team on an annual basis, to continue to increase general franchise value? We don't. We don't because baseball has no transparency, as you say. But we also should be careful not to oversimplify the situation, either. The Red Sox have the second largest payroll in baseball. They have done wonderful things with Fenway to keep it viable. They do care about the fans. They made some bad personnel decisions this year (had just one of Tavarez or Seanez even barely panned out or Tek nto gotten injured perhaps we might not even be having this discussion, that's how tenuous this characterization of the Sox is, IMHO), and they had injuries. It's not all that hard to explain why they are in trouble right now. Acting as if the front office is a bunch of miserly, Scrooge-ish evil capitalists is a caricature of the situation and not entirely useful, at least not to me.

YF writes:
"It's not a Red Sox issue, per se, but in this case, with the fans upset, I have a hard time blindly accepting the "we can't afford it" argument."

You must remember one thing: For better or worse, the Red Sox have a budget, the Yankees do not. The Red Sox plan to stick to their budget. The Yankees plan to spend, spend, spend.

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