A friend and colleague from Chicago is a diehard Cub’s baseball fan, the poor bastard. He writes this to me a bit tongue and cheek.
A Cub Fan Speaks: I’m sure you’re getting tired of all the championships by this time. It’s ok for the Sox to share one with the locals on the north side over here. From what I saw, there’s nothing that leads me to think they’ll be any less impressive next year. I agree Ellsbury will probably leave, perhaps to the Cubs. Having said that, I don’t think he’ll ever be better and, in fact, his best years are probably behind him even though he’s not that old. Most of the other guys like Napoli and Gomes and Drew are rent-a-player types, although Napoli looks good in that lineup. Not a chance the Cubs will win the WS next year, the year after, or the years that follow.
And I reply:
Many people who don't follow the Red Sox on a daily basis won't realize how bad Ellsbury was last year. He was hurt most of the year nursing a sore hip. I could tell this year Ellsbury was not just concerned about what you pointed out, but actually scared. A lot of this year he was out nursing a sore thumb. A sore thumb? I don't believe ti was a thumb, it's his hip again and he knows that the front office knows and everyone knows and that means his dollars are not going to command a Pedroia level contract. He knows the writing is on the wall with longevity and he's been put on notice by the Heavens above that his day to steal home plate is behind him. His hitting wasn't all that good during the WS. His fielding was not spectacular, he was not diving to save a hit, and he was saving himself for the post season negotiations.
Stephen Drew is a marvelous fielder; his abilities with the glove are stellar, but his hitting sucked beyond description. While he's not grim faced he is without personality and that indicates to me he's not happy being in Boston. He had really only one hit the entire WS and it turned out to be a home run, but even he knew that was not enough to impress any scout or even his agent for that matter. I suspect he is his own worst critic. He's probably never going to forget the fan hazing he took after pushing Iglesias out of the clubhouse and down the road to Detroit. I'm sure Iglesias isn't forgetting it. He seems like a clam with some sand still in it. You can put him on the plate but he's never going to taste just right as the sand grinds between your molars and you cringe until it is over with.
Pedroia is vintage New England. Out of college we gave him the chance he thought he deserved and he's going to give us every ounce, every hop, every jump, every minute of his baseball existence to reward us with his love for the Game. He will be inscribed indelibly in our minds as will David and Yaz.
Most of the other guys on this team are just like the legion of Boston fans and the Fenway circus we call the green monster and the Red Sox Nation. That Irish Green just gets in your blood and turns on the loyalty switch. We are all quirky and loyal to each of our players, till the day they die so long as they are loyal to us. These guys Gomes, Napoli, Victorino, they are all journeymen, scrappers and hard headed ballplayers who just love to play ball and who ask for nothing more than for baseball to love them back as much as they love baseball. And that's the real Boston. That's vintage Fenway. It's as New England as clam chowda and fried clams. It's Mike's cannoli from the North Side and the Boston Haarbar!
We are born into being a Red Sox team with mothers who sit and sew while in front of the television listening to the game. Our mother’s teach us early on about Yaz, lobsta roll sandwiches at the Pahk and ‘the Bums’. We are taught never to speak of the Yankees out loud for fear of October.
We are born with the sea in our lungs, fish in our veins and we love those who love us back and who allow us to be as imperfect as they are themselves. We are all as imperfect as the finish on the Green Monsta. We all have dimples created by crashing into one another while making the sound of a hard ball pinging off our soul.
We are, simple put, an imperfect but beautifully loyal Red Sox Nation. We are all New England strong.
So eat that Papelbon; you missed out on another World Series ring. Sorry Igliesias I really liked you.
Time to watch Moneyball or maybe Trouble With The Curve.... I haven’t seen Love Of The Game in awhile, you just never know. And be happy you're not a Cardinal's fan like Todd.
Cheap suits, bad haircuts, smoking on our way to lung cancer, a war we fought with little more than tanks and guts, no money, no savings, low pay, no retirement and crappy insurance, but everyone had a smile and a story about Yaz. A big smile and a Narragansett Larger Beer in hand. Our relatives had each other and the love of the greatest game known to mankind. That's baseball and that's the Red Sox Nation.