It is terrible, what these Red Sox have done to me. Because at first I felt a surge of joy reading this:
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- David Ortiz's distress at the breakup of a World Series winner, most notably the departure of Johnny Damon to the Yankees, has not shaken his desire to prolong his own stay with the Red Sox. Ortiz said last night he believes there is a good chance he will sign a long-term contract extension with the club before the start of spring training.
Thinking, thank God for some good news, finally.
Almost immediately on the heels of my relief, though, came a surge of dread. Because for whatever reason, it seems the very beginnings of a player falling out with the Red Sox is usually the "I want to stay in Boston and I expect to sign a contract extension" comment. Nomar did it. Pedro did it. Johnny...well, Johnny never said he expected to sign, but he also stated emphatically only a couple days before making his move to the Evil Empire that he could "never play there."
In some ways the Yankees have also shown this trend in their history. During his public feuds with Steinbrenner, Billy Martin's firings usually coincided with an "I have the utmost confidence in Billy Martin" statement from the Yankees front office. Roger promised he'd retire as a Yankee and even accepted a Hummer from the Boss just before signing with Houston.
And so I can't help but wonder: is this the "I have the utmost confidence in Billy Martin" statement from Ortiz?
According to Papi, H and W have "shown great interest" in an extension but "haven't said for how long."
Come on. How often has this happened to you? "We're greatly interested in having you in for another interview. We're interviewing other candidates right now, and will let you know when the time is right to come back in."
Those of you in my audience who have had more than one job before, raise your hands if you know what that means.
"We found your book / song / short story greatly interesting but at this time cannot commit to publishing it. We will let you know at a later date when we might have some space available."
"You're a great employee and we are greatly interested in giving you a raise, but we don't know how much we could give you or when we could make that bump in our budget. We'll let you know..."
Pessimistic? Definitely. But so far in an off-season filled with the impossible, I've somehow been waiting for Ortiz' name to come up. Because after Theo, losing Papi would pretty much be the only way the Red Sox could hurt me even more, and it seems this off-season they're hell-bent on doing everything in their power to crush our spirits as fans. Losing Papi is the worst-case scenario--I know I'm a tough cookie and all that, but I really think if that happened so soon after everything else that's gone wrong this off-season, it might just destroy my soul.
In baseball and in life, meanwhile, I always try to plan for the worst-case scenario. It's a defense mechanism--and right now after seeing the Globe report via Bostonist, all my shields are raised.
Who knows, maybe I'll come out looking like a boob when they sign Ortiz to a four year extension. But can you really fault me? After all, the last time the Globe reported someone was staying, all that followed was pain.
P.S. Ben Roethlisberger's latest photo gallery, however, cheered me up greatly.
P.P.S. Especially this one.