The Sox are one game up in the Wild Card race with 3 to play. And a day after Jacoby Ellsbury’s dramatic home-run that will hopefully inject some life into this team, all people are talking about is John Lackey’s post-game tirade against the press.
For those who don’t know, Lackey — who was seen swearing and showing up his manager on television when Terry Francona removed him from the game last night — went on a tirade against the media after the game because a TMZ reporter texted him 30 minutes prior to the game to ask him about filing for divorce from his wife, who is currently battling cancer.
Now Lackey, who continues to make Carl Everett look like Albert Einstein, has created a distraction in the final days of a season for a much-hyped team that is on the edge of crumbling. He may be the only player in Red Sox history who could make fans think JD Drew isn’t so bad. Between rolling his eyes when teammates don’t make plays, his historically terrible season, and cursing out his manager (who has stood by him all season) for taking him out of a close, must-win game given said historically terrible season, Lackey is making a strong case for most hated Sox player by Sox fans ever.
While we’re on the subject of Lackey, I know a lot of people think his filing for divorce is a terrible thing and feel so bad for his wife. And it is a terrible thing. But don’t feel bad for her because of this. That’s what you get when you marry somebody strictly for money. How do I know she married him strictly for money? Well, then, did she marry him for his good looks, his intellect, or his charming personality?
Meanwhile, this Red Sox team is arguably the least enjoyable Red Sox team of the last 16 years. Sure, the 2001 team had a lot of selfish jerks and that team imploded late in the season. But, at that point, the Sox still hadn’t won the World Series yet, and they had fought through an incredible number of injuries to key players like Pedro, Nomar and Tek to stay competitive until September. The 2006 team also imploded late in the season, but they were competitive for most of that season and we got to watch Papi’s push for the team home run record. But this team, with it’s huge payroll, superstar line-up and 100-win expectations were SUPPOSED to dominate this year. But right from the opening bell and their 2-10 start, this team has been a terrible disappointment, and hard to root for. Still . . .
So, I have not posted in a while. Truth be told, it has been hard to get excited during the first half of the baseball season the past few years. To this baseball fan, the first half has become the most boring part of the calendar year. Even when there is no baseball, it is still more exciting to be a baseball fan than during the first half. From Halloween through just after New Year’s, you have the Hot Stove, which, let’s face it, if your team is a player is the most exciting time of year outside of September and October. Then, after New Year’s, you have the excitement of pondering your team’s offseason moves, comparing them with the rest of the league, making predictions, and — most exciting of all — scouting for your fantasy team. But the first half? Like a straight-to-video Shannon Tweed flick, I just want to fast forward to the good parts.
I haven’t always viewed the first half like this; it is more the product of the Red Sox recent success. Back before the Sox started winning championships, a successful first half was reason to celebrate. In 1999, I was actually dancing with glee by Memorial Day. And who could forget First Half MVP Carl Everett’s Sox of 2000?
But nowadays, the Sox are supposed to be playoff contenders. You know they’ll be in the thick of it come September, so we often spend the rest of the season now thinking “just get there already.” I almost envy fans in Milwaukee, St. Louis, or Florida (if they had fans), who must be amped at where their team is right now. (Notice I didn’t mention Tampa in that last sentence? F them.)
But here we are finally at the midway point of the season. And now it gets good. Despite an unsensational performance over the first half, the Sox are right where they should be: In the thick of it. They have a ton of young talent to play with come the trade deadline, and are poised to make The Run in the second half. So, while I wait for that to happen, here are some thoughts about recent events:
- When the Sox got swept in Tampa Bay and left for New York, I said I still feared the Yankees more then the Devil Rays. And then yesterday I noticed the Sox were five games back. Today it is four games, but take a look at the loss column (six games back). I still don’t think Tampa will be there come late September, and I still fear the Yanks more, but if we continue to dig ourselves a hole . . .
- The game the Sox lost to the Yanks, when — down by one — they loaded the bases with no outs, and then had Crisp, Varitek and Lugo squander the game, was one of the most disappointing games in recent memory. I didn’t even watch Lugo’s at-bat.
- How good must the fans in Milwaukee be feeling right now? Plagued by injuries and a disappointing start, six weeks ago everyone was writing their obituary. Now, despite all of that, they find themselves just four games behind the first-place Cubs, who have enjoyed a great first half, and they just acquired C.C. Sabathia. And here’s a little secret: The Cubs aren’t as good as everyone is making them out to be. Pass it on. I am really looking forward to the Brewers winning that division.