Monday, March 27, 2006

The four stories of the off-season

The off-season is rarely a good time. I mean, unless Theo Epstein is having Thanksgiving dinner with Curt Schilling or Josh Beckett is searching the classifieds for a place to stay in Boston, there's not a whole lot to like about it. There's no baseball on TV, the weather outside sucks, and the littlest issue becomes a front page story. This October-March the headlines were littered with stories about Theo Epstein, Manny Ramirez, David Wells, and Johnny Damon. I avoided most of those stories because I, quite honestly, don't care. For the most part they were, and still are, non-issues. But they were a part of the offseason and I did say that I was going to give a little review of the offseason, so here we go. I'll give you four paragraphs about the offseason's four big stories.

Nobody actually thought that Theo Epstein was going to leave the team. We all figured that it was a sure thing that he'd be back. The deadline was approaching and the papers were reporting that a deal was close. So we were all pretty surprised when Theo said that he wouldn't be back. Why? We never did get any clear reasons. We all blamed Larry Luchino and the curly-haired boyfriend, but we were never given any actual reasons as to why Theo and the Sox parted ways. Theo Epstein was the only GM in the last 86 years to bring our team a World Series win so it was only natural that most Sox fans were getting a little nervous. Personally I saw no real reason to worry. Epstein has done a great job with the Sox, sure, but he's not the only guy in the front office. He has the final say, but he has surrounded himself by so many intelligent baseball people that his departure was not the end of the world. The only time I was even a little nervous about our situation was when the Jim Bowden rumors were floating around. When the Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington were promoted I was pretty happy. They were part of the team that advised Theo. They're both smart guys who know what they're doing. They know the system, they know the Red Sox philosophy, and they weren't about to turn the bus around and go in the opposite direction. They would've done just fine. Then Theo came back. Whatever. As far as I'm concerned, everything is back to normal and all the stories and all the whining done on WEEI was for nothing. The two GMs made several moves while Theo was away and they were all good ones. The question came up, "How would things have been if Theo had never left? Would he have made those moves?". The answer to those questions is easy and obvious. Things would've went the same as they did go. And Theo would've acted just as the dual headed GM monster did.

What about Manny? Personally I don't like the guy. The whole "Manny being Manny" thing makes me sick. His lack of hustle, constant mood changes, kid-like tantrums, and even his hair are a disgrace. He does have one saving grace, however. His swing. I'm glad he wasn't traded. I never actually thought that he was going to be traded. He only has a few more years left on his contract and the money he's still owed isn't a huge deal to the team like the Red Sox. But there are few teams out there who would be willing to take it on. Any deal that involved moving Manny would've left the Red Sox getting less than face value in return and I really don't think that the Sox were willing to do something like that. He's one of the game's best hitters and he can single handedly turn an average line up into a good one. When the line up is already good as the Red Sox line up is he makes it a great one. Boston took a few hits to their offense during the offseason, but they're still one of the top run scoring teams in the game and a large part of that is thanks to the return of Manny Ramirez. As for him not showing up to spring training with the rest of the team...well, you have to be a real jackass to actually care that he showed up on time, a few days after the rest of the team.

Johnny Damon sold out. Anyone surprised? I'm not. Have you ever read the guy's book? I do not recommend it. I received it as a birthday gift so I figured I might as well put it to use. I read it and I was amazed at how absolutely dumb this guy is. The team was going around saying "we're just a bunch of idiots" and in Johnny Damon's case it really was true. The guy is D-U-M, dumb. Not to mention he is so incredibly full of himself. If you asked him to list the top ten players in the major leagues he'd name himself ten times. He believes that he is one of the elite players in baseball and he believes that there is nothing he can't do. For a man with his lack of intelligence and belief that he's the greatest thing alive it wasn't much of a surprise when he just took the offer that gave him the most money. Sure he told us many times that he'd never play for the Yankees, but morals and decency don't mean much to a guy like him. Obviously baseball is a business. The players don't owe the team or the fans anything. And the Sox/Yankees rivalry means a lot more to the fans than it does to the players. But Damon really is a despicable human being. I can't wait to be there for a Sox/Yankees game. I will be one of 35,000 people to boo him until we are all blue in the face. And he will deserve every boo.

So, David Wells doesn't like Boston. He doesn't like all the attention he gets and he'd rather be on the west coast. So why, exactly, did he love playing for the Yankees so much? And why did he sign with the Red Son in the first place? He finally takes back his trade offer after realizing that no one will give Boston anything in return for a 300 pound 43 year old, and what does he do? He starts calling everyone from Terry Francona to Bud Selig idiots. He also has a big issue with starting the year on the DL, something he'll tell anyone within earshot. He's becoming a distraction and, despite a solid track record it's only a matter of time before his weight and age make him a liability on the field. The one bad thing about the Arroyo trade is the fact that David Wells wasn't dealt instead. With all that said, I don't mind Wells so much. He's actually a little entertaining. While Damon's stupidity and attitude was a bit annoying, Wells' stupidity and attitude is pretty amusing in a "Carl Everett doesn't believe in dinosaurs" kind of way.

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