My coworker friend Shamus and I got to chatting on IM about the Red Sox, and what we talked about covered pretty much every permutation of reaction to Jeff Passan's story that I would've wanted to write about in a blog, so I just decided (with Shamus' permission) to copy and paste the conversation here.
Warning: contains strong language.
Beth: They are awful.
Shamus: Yeah, I'm so done with this BS drama. The team's so shitty to watch... who cares about how they feel. I can't stand the sight of them.
Beth: I hear ya. It all went so wrong so fast.
Shamus: Actually, it's been a year -long death spiral…
Beth: I think things have been FUBAR since last September, and just haven't come back from that abyss.
Shamus: Yeah, Larry Lucchino is the real cancer, I think. He needs to go.
Beth: What makes you say that?
Shamus: Valentine was his call.
Shamus: Epstein left because of him. Some of the horrible contracts were his call. Crawford was a Lucchino move, wasn't it?
Beth: I'm not sure.
Shamus: I've never liked him. I've always heard he's difficult to work with. That he wears out his welcome. But since he's part of ownership, he's not going anywhere unless Henry steps up and recognizes the problem.
Beth: Doesn't seem like that's going to happen…I think Beckett, Lackey and Lester need to go, but that's probably not going to happen either.
Shamus: When a team goes searching for someone like a manager... that should be left up to the GM, not some business guy who's specialty is buildng parks.
One of them will go. Probably Beckett.
Beth: Yeah, but how are they going to get rid of him? Who's going to take him?
'This guy's a real shithead, and he makes a ton of money, but we can give him to ya for the low, low price of two prospects!'
I mean, yeah right.
Shamus: Sox will eat the contract to trade him. They always do.
Beth: Ugh. Though it may be the lesser of the evils.
Shamus: Just the sight of his face or Lackey's repulses me. I can't even look at them, let alone watch them pitch.
Beth: Yeah, Lackey is just a poor excuse for a pitcher / human.
Shamus: John Henry sending out emails to the media refuting the Yahoo! story was the last straw for me. That asshole needs to step in front of a camera and set things right. Instead he's hanging out on his yacht with his trophy wife sipping margaritas and day-trading on his fucking laptop.
Beth: I really put it at the feet of the players, mostly. Obviously I can't know everything that goes on behind closed doors, but really. Many of these guys are a disgrace to the uniform and the tradition at this point.
Shamus: The Red Sox are like a pack of dogs who've been tied up in the back yard with no food or shelter for months, while the owner sits on his couch guzzling beer and watching football. It’s his absenteeism that's led to this crap.
Beth: Should professional ballplayers really need hand-holding from ownership? Isn’t the manager supposed to deal with their day to day care and feeding, so to speak?
Shamus: Ownership sets the agenda. It’s Henry who took the meeting with the malcontents to hear them out.
Beth: Yeah, that REALLY sucks.
Shamus: Why wasn't Valentine in that room?
Beth: I know. But the players being malcontents in the first place is something that enrages me. Like, you fucked up last September, you have continued to fuck up, what the fuck did you expect?
Shamus: Valentine was an absolutely stupid hire. He’s known throughout the baseball world for being a complete asshole media whore. He'd been banished from MLB managerial jobs for 10 years for that very reason. Hiring him was on Lucchino, and by extension, Henry. If they wanted to get the clubhouse back in order, they should have hired a hard ass who could earn the players' respect, instead of a clown who belongs on Dancing with the Stars.
Beth: Well, okay, that's a good point. But I still think the players are supposed to be professionals, more professional than they have been, and they shouldn’t need 'adult supervision' in order to make that happen.
Shamus: They play a game for a living. And they've been told they're special all their lives, from little league to high school and college to the bigs. They were always the best player in town growing up, everyone kissing their ass. The odds are against them being mature and professional.
Professional athletes are spoiled by default. It’s only the really good ones who emerge from that with a sense of humility.
Even Pedrioa has shown his true colors now with this bullshit. Even he is an entitled asshole. I always thought he was above that, but put him on a team with a joke like Valentine for a manager and that inner spoiled brat creeps out.
Beth: Yeah, although he was also always Tito's boy. That's gotta factor into it too.
Shamus: Yeah, true. But he would have been more accepting of a Tito replacement if it was someone who wasn't such a fraud like Valentine.
Beth True. Conclusion: everyone involved here sucks.
But it seems like this time last year, with most of the same people, things were not so sucky. Then, suddenly, this mess started.
Shamus: Yeah, I don't get it.
Beth: Me either.