Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back to the Future? 2010 #RedSox have alot in Common w/ Their 1987 Incarnation

 No, he is not Dan Shaughnessy's son

The very first team I followed from spring training on was the 1987 Boston Red Sox. Coming off of a season where they were 1 pitch away from winning a World Series, the expectations were high, most of the team was coming back to town, and most felt that the '86 Sox weren't a one year wonder. Instead, the Sox stumbled out of the gate. They were 6-7 on April 20th. They were over .500 for the last time on April 22nd, at 8-7. The rest of the season was a crapshoot, and the highlights included breakout years for Mike Greenwell and Ellis Burks, the debuts of Jody Reed, Todd Benzinger, the late John Marzano, and the immortal Sam Horn. Was it a great season? No, they finished in 5th place. They did, however, win 2 of the next 3 AL East Titles (1988 and 1990), and Burks, Greenwell, and Reed were key pieces of those runs (Benzinger was also part of a trade that snagged Rob Murphy and Nick Esasky from the Reds). Needless to say, a lost season was changed up because of the youth  movement, giving a franchise and it's fans some hope moving forward.

Fast forward to 2010. Bill Hall has not been relevant since 2006, Mike Cameron and his freak medical issues have shown up right on time, Jacoby Ellsbury is hurt but STILL not on the DL, the bullpen has been awful, the off-season concerns about the offense have not only been confirmed, but amplified. Yet, Bill Hall has 11 at-bats, just one less than Mike Lowell (so much for the "Tito cherishes his veterans" argument), and runners steal bases on the V-Mart/Varitek combo at will (there has been ONE caught stealing this year, runners are 22-for 23 in stolen base attempts). This might not be easy to hear, hell, it might even be a little early, but it's time to change the atmosphere in Fenway. The Ortiz's, the Drew's, the Hall's, there is a lot of veteran dead weight on this team. Names that come to mind in terms of call-ups include Daniel Nava, Josh Reddick, Dusty Brown, and Aaron Bates. Hell, even Michael Bowden and Adam Mills could be given shots in the bullpen. Regardless, if this season keeps unraveling, it's time to see what you have on the farm, because it's becoming increasingly obvious that this team, as it is currently constituted, is not a contender for the division title. The Yankees and Rays aren't going to slow down, and they only get to play the Orioles 19 times. This isn't the AL West, if you get off to a slow start in this division, go home, kiss your babies, and we'll see you next spring. It's been a good run, Sox fans, but it turns out this really might be a bridge year, and you have to keep from jumping off of it.

Matt Boutwell is the Publisher of The CMSB, co-host of the Weekend Warm-Up on the Big Jab, and a lover of Moxie.


foresports said...

Matty- Forgot what a youngster you are. The thing I'll remember most about the '87 Sox was a game they blew in Yankee Stadium in June. Clemens, in his prime, no less, couldn't hold a 9-0 lead. New York came back with 11, the Sox rallied to tie it and I think it went extras before the Yankees (of course), won, 12-11. That team could hit the ball and Clemens rallied to win the Cy Young, but it was a big-time disappointment. At least that team had some characters though. This team is lifeless and I agree, there needs to be a change in culture. Drew's horrible. His signing was egregious. Ortiz is close to done, if not outright done and Theo should be chastised for so irresponsibly ignoring the team's needs in the offseason. The season is far from over on 4/20, but all the medical marijuana in the world won't help if there aren't some major changes. Fast.


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