My family has a long history with the Red Sox. My paternal grandmother told stories of attending games with her father when you could get in to Fenway for literally pennies, and chat up Babe Ruth before and after the game. (they did, by the way – many times) I have been a Sox fan since I attended my first game at the Great Green Church of Baseball in the summer of 1974. I was 12 and a half. Dad and Grandpa took us. I remember the Sox played the Cleveland Indians and won. I don’t remember the score. What I do remember really is feeling energized in the atmosphere of that tiny ballpark. I’m borrowing from Robert DeNiro in ‘The Untouchables’ for a minute to describe the attitude of the players I saw:
“Part of a team. Teamwork… Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don’t field… what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? I’m goin’ out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins.”
The players were there to play – there was none of that Diva bullshit on the field. And nobody really heard about it if there was any off the field.
1975 – Spent most evenings and weekend afternoons glued to the tube watching my boys, or listening on the radio. (there’s something so nostalgic and almost romantic about that, isn’t there? – listening to a game on a summer evening) Yaz, Pudge, Dewey, Freddie, Bernie, Rico, Jim, Rick, and Butch – to name a few. My bedroom walls not only had posters of David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman; but my beloved Team also. I had major tween crushes on several of them. And Oh, that Magical October night my Pudge waved the ball fair and took us to Game 7!
The ’78 Dent Debacle (still can’t discuss this one rationally) ; Billy Buckner 1986; The huge disappointment of the 2003 ALCS…. ( we came SO Close) The INSANITY of the 2004 ALCS playoffs. Everyone in New England was seriously sleep deprived that week. We beat the Goddamn Yankees in a REVERSE SWEEP. My boys “cowboy-ed up” and the world series win against the Cards was almost anticlimactic after that incredible playoff turnaround. It was after midnight when the final game of the 2004 World Series ended. My oldest and I were jumping around the living room screaming. The phone rang – it was our west coast relatives happily congratulating us. The phone rang again. It was my dad. “GO OUTSIDE NOW” he said. We did. Church bells ringing in the dead of night. Car horns blaring. Somebody dug their (illegal) fireworks out and set them off. People yelling and screaming at top volume all over town. It was profoundly AMAZING and WONDERFUL to be part of the Red Sox Nation at that time. We finally did it and they brought home the trophy. Jeter went home to play golf. This was waaayyy better. Then whoops – we did it again in 2007.
So what the HELL is going on with this team the last few years???? There is no Red Sox baseball TEAM anymore. There’s “Chicken n Beer-Gate” which Mr Valentine assured us would “never happen on his watch” but apparently is still occurring with Jon Lackey double fisting brewskies in the clubhouse while on the DL. Hey Jon – news flash – if you show up at the clubhouse dude, you’re on the job -DL or not – and DRINKING ON THE JOB IS BAD FORM at best. Bobby, he just made you a liar. So much for integrity. The Sox are in 5th in the AL East and playing .476 ball with a 60-66 W-L record. This is unacceptable. Sox fans are paying top dollar not to watch what should be a premiere first rate baseball team do its thing; but instead – to watch a huge slow motion car wreck in progress. NOT COOL. A good hard Gibbs Slap is in order. And perhaps some major ass-kicking.
And now on to what I’m terming “Pesky-Gate”. Johnny Pesky spent the majority of his baseball career with Boston. There’s a frickin foul pole named after him! He will remain the Red Sox Goodwill Ambassador as long as I’m drawing breath anyway. He gave his all, and spent most of his adult life with and for the team. So how come only 4 current players and the manager attend his funeral services? Hmmmm…..? Thank you David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Vincente Padilla and Bobby Valentine for showing some class and attending the services for your teammate and ambassador. Several of these players did not know Pesky – or knew him only a short time so their respect is appreciated I’m sure.
Let’s get with the program boys. This is BOSTON, baby – and you need to be doing it better than everyone else. Lord knows you get paid enough to do that. Clearly, you all have talent or you wouldn’t be in The Show. Your ability is not the issue. Your attitude (collectively and individually) would seem to be. Let’s remember that you are a team, that your actions or lack of action reflect on the other members. The job that you are well paid for is to be part of the Boston Red Sox Baseball Team. As part of that team you are there to support each other – and that includes upbraiding or chastising team members who are not on board with attitude etc. (Are you listening Mr [S]Lackey?) That includes supporting teammates and their families through tough times. That also includes Team Owners who should be setting examples and enforcing rules and a code of conduct instead of coddling a bunch of Generation Me self-entitled Divas with piss poor attitudes. Mr Lucchino -hold your TEAM accountable. Set the rules and enforce them. I suggest getting back to the basics and go back to the beginning (Little League) for some inspiration. Follow these commandments for a change:
TEN COMMANDMENTS OF SPORTSMANSHIP
- “Golden Rule”– Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
- Enjoy yourself and promote enjoyment for others.
- Be responsible for your actions.
- Have an open mind to others’ weaknesses and have a forgiving attitude.
- Have pride in one’s performance and one’s team.
- Be a friend, not an enemy, and create a positive environment.
- Encourage others to do or be their best.
- Sportsmanship should be contagious.
- Remember it is a privilege to participate.
- Practice sportsmanship in all situations at all costs http://sammamishlittleleague.countmein.com/AboutUsSportsmanshipStatement.aspx
A team is only as good as its weakest member. The US Navy SEALS know this, and they support and train all their teammates to be their best. Boston: respect yourselves, respect each other, support each other. Follow your Teams rules and codes of conduct and expect your teammates to do the same. Get your heads out of your asses and play some goddamn baseball! Otherwise I will have to come to Fenway, “Gibbs Slap” you all and become an Orioles Fan… Don’t make me do that….Jussayin.