So there has been a rumor going around about the Red Sox possibly signing David Wells to a one-year deal. Of course, there are the usual caveats about this sort of rumor, especially at the winter meetings, where last year A-Rod was all but in a Sox uniform.
And really, if you can't trust Theo, who can you trust?
I can hear your eyes rolling. Of course I only dislike him because he was a Yankee. And it is true that there have been several players that I have, perhaps shamefully, disliked for only that reason. Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte come speedily to mind--now that they're both pitching for the Astros, I wish them well.
But David Wells bothers me. He even bothered me as a member of the San Diego Padres--probably the furthest from our "blood rivals" you can get while still playing major league baseball. Even in that fugly tan uniform, he bothered me. He's a loudmouth. He's cranky. He's even downright cantankerous at times. And frankly, he looks at times more like he should be driving the team bus than starting on the mound.
Don't get me wrong--the man can pitch. Although he's 10-10 lifetime at Fenway Park.
My question is, why? Out of all the pitchers out there we could shore up our rotation with...why David Wells?
The Associated Press apparently feels that
Wells would fit right in.
The boisterous lefty missed three starts in late May and early June — costing himself $1 million in incentives — after tripping over a bar stool at home, knocking a bottle of wine onto the floor and landing on it and a glass he was holding. He severed a tendon in his right wrist, requiring surgery, and cut his left palm.
Wells had back surgery before signing with the Padres last year. He has also been involved in several off-field incidents that make him a natural fit for Boston's frat house atmosphere.
In January 1997, while in San Diego for his mother's funeral, Wells got into a street fight outside a bar and broke his pitching hand. In 2002, he was punched in the face by a man during an early morning altercation in a New York diner and lost two teeth.
In '03, Wells wrote a book titled: Perfect I'm Not! Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches and Baseball. Besides detailing how he grew up in the middle of a Hells Angels gang in a gritty San Diego neighborhood, he contended that he was "half drunk" when he pitched a perfect game in 1998 for the New York Yankees after partying until just a few hours before the game.
I don't think I could disagree more. The antics of the 2004 Sox were mostly harmless. No one was breaking or slashing their pitching hand. No one was having brawls outside of bars. And though much has been made of the "Jack Sox" incident (something I've worked hard not to even give any space to on this blog, and which I hopefully won't ever have to refer to again), "half-drunk" is not how I'd describe 25 highly athletic, fairly large men after taking a sip of Jack Daniel's.
I suppose it's easy, from a national perspective, to lump Wells--who is scruffy and rough around the edges--in with the Boston Red Sox--who last season were scruffy and rough around the edges. But there was an extreme difference in tone, there. The Sox were scruffy, yes, but their mood was generally light. Throwing David Wells into the mix seems like putting a Hell's Angel on the Patridge Family Bus.
Plus there's the little matter of Wells' age (41) and previous injuries, as well as (should I bring it up again?) his difficulty at Fenway Park, about which he was once heard to remark, "I hate this fucking place."
Oh, yeah, welcome to the team, David. *Eyeroll*
All of this leads me to believe (or perhaps hope?) that the acquisition of Wells, if actual, might be one move in a chain to get someone else.
But what if he does come to Boston? What do I do then? With the way the game is played today, fans have no choice but to be loyal to the uniform rather than the men who occupy it. Of course I'd root for Wells--or anybody--with a red "B" on their cap. But something about him will always turn me off.
We all have our things like that, though, I suppose. My father can't stand Manny Ramirez. He even told me he hated Carl Yazstremski. Go figure.
And speaking of cognitive dissonance, this weekend in football brings up another dilemma for me: the schedule says NYJ @ PIT.
I've been educated as to the Yankees / Giants - Mets / Jets split, but since the Giants are out of sight and out of mind in the NFC when it comes to Boston's football team (although I did have the memorable experience of attending the Patriots' ugly, muddy slugfest against the Giants last year, in the midst of the ALCS, which brought some interesting visiting fans to Gillette Stadium, to say the least), the Jets are the team to whom Boston fans can best address their New York hostility.
So, under no circumstances do I ever root for the Jets. The Patriots must drink their beer, make out with their women, and slap their mommas. Fuck New York. Fuck the Jets.
Problem: the Steelers and the Patriots currently have matching records. Should this continue, there's a chance the Patriots would lose homefield advantage in the playoffs (and we know they're at least making the playoffs at this point), given the Steelers' dominance in their head-to-head matchup.
So at this juncture as a Patriots fan, it falls to me to root for two teams: the Patriots and whoever's playing the Steelers.
That's going to present some wrenching difficulty this particular week...but if I want what's best for the Patriots, I'm going to have to force myself to say, if only this once: