Sam finally convinced me: He really has been that bad. Terrible, even. Atrocious, if we are to be painfully blunt.
Objectively, I can admit it. Okay, most of the time, I can admit it. Some of the time?
And as for the other players I ever-so-melodramatically referred to as having been "run out of town"? Many times there was a defensible, if not universally agreed-upon reason. A reason that, in retrospect, was validated. See also: Nomar, Pedro. Of course I'm not going to sit here and front like I don't know that.
With those two guys, I was fairly lucky. I appreciated their romance, sure, felt it like the next person, but there were people like Annette or Sarah, people for whom Nomar or Pedro provided a vital connection with the team, people who had to take time to get over it, for whom it was a much realer loss. I guess every sports fan experiences it at one time or another. Now is just my turn.
It's still there, the irrational need to defend, to obfuscate, to quibble over what the meaning of "is" is, in defense of a player who means...what?
I'm not delusional enough to think I know the guy. He isn't really a role model or idol for me. I think he's hot as fuck, but that has little, if anything, to do with my passionate need to defend his pitching performance to strangers. To the point of getting unnecessarily personal. Yeah. It's that bad. Pathetic, actually.
For some reason, I've projected something onto Keith Foulke. I don't know why and I don't know what. But I know that hearing criticism about him pains me and makes me angry--even though, as Sam shows, it's JUSTIFIED. It fills me with a sense of moral outrage that people are prepared to use him (for the World Series) and throw him away the next year when he struggles. But with any other player (see also: Edgar Renteria), my reaction would be, them's the breaks. Unless, of course, I was actually leading the railroading brigade myself. Yes, I am a hypocrite. I freely admit it.
So, I have no idea. No clue, really, why I have been so completely irrational about this. Or why I feel so profoundly depressed at the idea of Keith Foulke's probably short-lived career in Boston, depressed on a philosophical level. I have little in the way of insight to offer on my maniacal loyalty to a particular player, a behavior I have known to be dangerous, or why I have taken it even unto the point of blasphemy.
I guess every sports fan experiences it, at one time or another.