I’m not even going to sugarcoat this. Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe needs to be stopped. Seriously. Rarely am I ever so infuriated by an article as I was by the trash he regurgitated onto Boston.com this morning. In his latest disasterpiece, the Chief Troll proclaimed the Red Sox’s unworthiness of making the playoffs, and called upon Bud Selig to invoke the “Best Interests of Baseball” clause to keep them out. Yeah, you can’t make this stuff up. So in the grand tradition of what’s becoming Fire Joe Morgan Friday here at Fire Brand, I’m going to FJM the hell out this article–and no, I won’t promise I’ll play nice this time.
“With nowhere else to turn, I called baseball commissioner Bud Selig yesterday.
Left him a message:
Please, Bud. This is your chance to think outside the box. You have sweeping powers that enable you to make unilateral decisions ‘in the best interests of baseball.’
How about banishing the 2011 Red Sox from postseason play on the grounds of horsebleep play for the entire month of September?”
What an amazing coincidence! I left a fake message with Bud Selig yesterday, too! What are the odds? The only difference is that I asked him to envoke the “best interest of baseball” clause to keep you from ever being able to think, speak, or write anything about baseball ever again. Seriously, I mean, like wow. You know what they say about great minds… Oh wait…that doesn’t really apply here, does it?
“This is where we are with less than a week to go in the regular season. The math says the Sox are probably going to qualify for the tournament, but they should be barred on sheer principle and merit. Let the worthy teams participate in the playoffs. The Sox are not worthy.”
No Mr. Shaughnessy, you’re the one who’s not worthy. I wonder what he thinks about the 2006 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. The same Cardinals that stumbled through a 4-9 finish to end the year 83-78. An 83-78 record that, by the way, was worse than five teams that didn’t make the playoffs that season. If you want to talk about “banning” teams that don’t deserve to make the playoffs, you might want to add a little historical perspective. Baseball history is riddled with such examples. (See the 1973 National League Champion New York Mets.)
“And they are 5-16 in September. Unraveling. And now, according to Sox ambassador/Hall of Famer/Theo bandmate Peter Gammons, we’ve got new buzz that Terry Francona has fallen out of favor with Sox management and might be managing for his job (inside baseball you don’t hear much about on NESN).”
Those reports are completely unfounded. As much as I love Peter Gammons (butt Tweets and all), he’s basing his information off of a source that may or not be reliable. As we learned in Moneyball, the only reporter Billy Beane would talk to during the trading deadline was Gammons. Why? Three reasons: (1) he’s knowledgeable; (2) he occasionally shared information about other potential trades; and (3) he can be used as a pawn to spread misinformation. I’m not saying Gammons is in any way purposefully spreading misinformation. I’m only trying to explain that anonymous sources aren’t exactly the most reliable of people. CHB is using these rumors (because that’s what they are) to his advantage in criticizing the Red Sox.
“Can we please not make this about injuries? Every team has injuries. The 2010 Sox were truly decimated by injuries. Not this group. This is about underperformance. Most of the Sox stars have been here for the bulk of the season.”
Really? The 2011 team hasn’t been decimated by injuries? I think Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz, J.D. Drew, Kevin Youkilis, Bobby Jenks, Rich Hill, and Jed Lowrie might have something to say about that. While many of these players aren’t stars, you can’t win with just stars. If you could, the 2008 New York Mets would have not only made the playoffs, but also been odds on favorites to win the World Series.*
“This is about Carl Crawford’s pathetic 18-steal, no-production season. For $20 million a year, Crawford can’t get on base 30 percent of the time?”
Again, with the Carl Crawford misinformation. Yes, we get it. Crawford’s April was terrible, and it makes his season long stats look rather unfortunate. Still, if we remove April’s atrocious .155/.204/.227 (.196 wOBA), he’s hitting .286/.319/.457 (.342 wOBA) since May 1st. For the sake of comparison, a .342 wOBA is approximately 10% above the league average (when adjusted for park and league factors). Yeah, I know. The bum known as Carl Crawford has actually been better than the league average at the plate for most of the season. It’s absolutely amazing the kind of information you can find by doing just a tiny bit of research.
Furthermore, I find it amusing that Shaughnessy is blaming Crawford for the Red Sox’s recent struggles. After all, he’s only produced a .365 wOBA in September, and could probably be considered one of the team’s few bright spots right now. Instead of acknowledging that fact, CHB decided scapegoat Crawford for his own personal gain. I guess you should never let facts get in the way of putting together a good argument.
“No one in the Sox clubhouse is spared. Even Adrian Gonzalez has come up short when it counts. For all of his great numbers, the first baseman has been A-Gone against the Rays (.131) and Yankees (.186).”
Yup. I guess Adrian Gonzalez can’t handle the pressure of playing in a big market. They might as well just trade him now…
“General manager Theo Epstein gets his share of the blame pie for the inestimable millions spent on 1. players who aren’t here and 2. players we wish weren’t here. Erik Bedard has won one game since coming to the team late in July. The book on Bedard was that he doesn’t pitch in a pennant race and gets hurt in September. Check and double check. How can the Sox be surprised when a guy does exactly what he’s always done?”
Such is the life of being a fan of/covering a high revenue team. Get over it. As for Bedard, it’s amusing he’s still judging pitchers by W-L record. Despite his 1-2 record, he’s struck out 21% of the batters he’s faced and posted a very respectable 3.22 FIP since arriving on July 31st.
Also, while I’m not going to address the injury issues (I addressed them at the time of the trade), I would like to argue the “doesn’t pitch in a pennant race” point. Hey Dan, he pitched for Baltimore and Seattle. When in the last eight seasons have either team legitimately been in a pennant race? What was that? I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you. If your answer was zero, you’re correct. It’s not that he that he doesn’t pitch in pennant races, it’s that he’s never been afforded the opportunity. There is a massive difference between the two.
“And let’s not start on Bobby Jenks, Mike Cameron, and the raft of shortstop busts.”
Nope. I’m calling shenanigans on this one. First of all, you can’t bring up the “raft of shortstop busts” when the situation is pretty stable right now. Scutaro has been solid (albeit unspectacular) for two seasons now. In fact, he’s far outperformed his contract, and this month alone he’s likely played his way into getting his option picked up. You remember the bright spots I was talking about? Scutaro’s one of them. He has a .421 wOBA this month, thank you very much.
As for Cameron and Jenks, they were entirely defensible signings at the time they were made. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, but pointing out flaws in the aftermath doesn’t make you a genius.
“Oh, and let’s not forget that they’ve made 23 errors in 21 games this month.
Would it be piling on to reference the wild pitches, passed balls, and easy steals allowed?
Defensive indifference? Or just plain old indifference?”.
Wow. I’m surprised he made it this far before he finally pulled the lazy, unmotivated, indifference card. I have to admit, Danny Boy, I figured you would have pulled this card within the first 10 paragraphs. No, you’re a wily one. You strung me along until well into page 2 before showing your hand. Well played, Shaughnessy. Well played.
“Some of this has to come down on the manager. Maybe everybody is just a little too comfortable playing for Francona. Maybe the food spread should have been turned over in the clubhouse once or twice.
These Sox have simply been too fat and too happy too long. Maybe Francona should have called out Lackey once or twice. Maybe the Sox are going to take him down the way Patriots players walked over nice guy Pete Carroll.
There’s going to be blood in the water in New York. Epstein has put the word out there, and it ought to be an awkward couple of weeks around the Red Sox.” .
Two questions. One, if the players walked all over Francona during the 2-10 start to the season, and then again during the latest 5-16 stretch, what happened during the 81-41 stretch in between? And two, what word has Epstein put out there? The only words I’ve heard him say about other GM jobs is that he’s not interested. That may or may not be true, but I’d hardly classify entertaining offers as “looking.”
Oh wait, did I say drama?
“Even Schill gave up. Submitting the type of commentary he routinely railed against when he played, the Big Blowhard went on the radio and said he doesn’t think the Sox will make the playoffs. He went so far as to say he didn’t want to see them make the playoffs, given the way they were playing.
Once again, I disagree with the Big Lug. The Sox are going to make it. The numbers are with them. Like hopeless habitants of Shawshank, the Sox can watch the Rays and Angels lose, scratch days off the calendar, and inch ever closer to an inevitable playoff date with the Rangers or Tigers.”
Ah yes. My favorite part of any CHB column: his ode to “Big Blowhard,” Curt Schilling. Speaking of blowhards, does anyone find Shaughnessy’s nickname for Schilling to be ironic? Someone seriously needs to introduce the pot to the kettle on this one.
“‘Best interests of baseball’ is rarely invoked by the Commish. Bowie Kuhn did it when Charlie Finley was selling his stars in 1976. Bart Giamatti used it when he kicked Pete Rose to the curb. Most recently, Bud cited “best interests’’ to save the Dodgers from the House of McCourt.
Now it’s time for Bud to bounce the Sox from October baseball in 2011. If the Rays or Angels can’t do it, Bud should do it.
For the good of the game.”
Dear Bud – For the love hyperbole, ban Shaughnessy instead.
Categories: Boston Red Sox