Out With The Crowd: "You are not Herb Brooks"
In this installment of Out With The Crowd, I talked with TN/baseball regular commenter — and level-headed Red Sox fan — BSD about Cherington agonistes, chicken tattletales, and stabilizing douchebags. We spoke on April 21 from the middle of a bottle of Malbec.
Sarah D. Bunting: BSD is talking to us about the Red Sox.
BSD: I don't know why, but yeah, we'll talk about 'em.
It is maybe little late to be asking these questions, but what was your favorite acquisition for the team in the off-season?
To be honest with you, they really haven't made any acquisitions in the off-season that I can speak highly of; I think the only guy that's actually done pretty well so far is Ryan Sweeney? That they got from Oakland, that was part of the trade where they received Andrew Bailey, who was supposed to be our new closer.
Ohhh yes. Okay.
And they also gave up a kid that everyone that's a Red Sox fan actually liked a lot last year, a young kid named Ryan Kalish, who they traded away to Oakland, to get Bailey, and also to get Ryan Sweeney to replace Kalish in right field. So Sweeney's actually been okay this year, but for the most part the acquisitions they've done this year have been nothing to write home about.
Okay, so that's my next question, is what's your least favorite acquisition from the off-season?
I mean, you make two trades, in which you're going to strengthen your bullpen: one of them, Andrew Bailey, gets hurt, breaks his thumb and is out for four months, he's supposed to be our new closer –
When is he supposed to be back?
But when'd he break his thumb?
Like two weeks — since the beginning, like from halfway through spring training.
So not 'til the All-Star break.
Not 'til the All-Star break, at least. At the very least. So you have him, and then you traded Jed Lowrie to Houston, in another move that was supposed to strengthen your bullpen, and get Mark Melancon, and they've already sent him down to AAA, 'cause that's how good he's been.
He's already been sent down to Pawtucket. So, so far the acquisitions standpoint has not been very good.
Okay, so what about de-acquisitions, or dudes you got rid of that you were psyched about? What was your favorite dude that got shipped off or retired?
You know, it's funny, it's weird to say that now, looking at the state of the Red Sox bullpen being so bad, at least he would have been a stabilizing force, but he was also stabilizing douchebag as well, so seeing him leave was not necessarily a sad thing on my part, plus they're gonna get some decent draft-pick compensation, in this year's draft, for him, so hopefully they'll be able to restock the farm system a little bit by his moving to Philly.
And was he actually that shit last year?
I feel like he was shit the year before; I feel like it was 2010.
No, he kind of mirrored the Red Sox last year; they started off crap, then they went on a roll for four months, and then obviously last month of the season, everyone deteriorated and he was right there with them in regards to doing bad, and Daniel Bard, kind of the same way. He had a terrible September as well.
Okay, so by the same token, what is your guy you're missing the most? Your favorite absence or departure.
The guy we're missing the most — I know he had a bad year last year, but I still think Carl Crawford. Even on his…he had a bad year last year and he still batted like .260 or so? And you look at what's going on in the outfield right now, three guys who you didn't even know who the hell they were at this time last year, Johnny Repko ["actually Jason, and he went on the DL himself the next day" -- Ed.], Ryan Sweeney, and…I can't even remember the third one now, but at least Carl Crawford — oh, Jacoby Ellsbury! Well, Jacoby Ellsbury we're also missing; he's probably the number-one guy we're missing, now that he's hurt, but Crawford, if he had started the year this year, I think he would have been a little bit more relaxed, more used to Boston, more used to the media pressure and such, and I think he would have had a rebound year. So I actually miss him more than Ellsbury right now.
When is Crawford due back?
I think in about a month, or so. I think he's back down in extended spring training, working out and such, so I think he's only about a month away from coming back.
And then apparently — what was it, Marlon Byrd, you were just reading?
Right — update!
Breaking news, right. … From what I'm reading on Twitter, and Nick Cafardo from, I think he's from the Boston Globe, is reporting Sox are close to acquiring Marlon Byrd from the Cubs. No word on what they're giving up yet, so, hopefully it's Andrew Bailey. And his broken thumb.
It's kind of amazing that the Cubs are already shedding talent in April.
At this point in the season, what is your biggest worry for the team?
The bullpen. The bullpen's the biggest worry, right now. Because still think the starting pitching is going to be stabilized; I mean, I know they haven't had the greatest start. Bard has started off pretty decently for his first time as a starter since college, Beckett's second start was pretty solid, Lester's been bad but I don't expect that to continue, Buchholz…hasn't started off too well, but I think he's too good of a pitcher for this kind of thing to continue. And dare I say it, Matsuzaka is gonna be making his first start in the minors in Salem this weekend, so he might be coming back in a month.
God, I forgot about that guy.
Yeah — and I think the fact that he hasn't lived up to his contract I don't think necessarily means he's been a terrible pitcher; it's just that he hasn't lived up to his contract. But I'll take him as a number-four or -five starter any day.
There was no living up to that contract, and especially the pre-contract — like just the right to talk to him –
Exactly. The negotiating rights.
Fifty million dollars –
I think it was eighty!
No, it's impossible.
So when Dice-K comes back, I think the starting pitching will stabilize, but the bullpen's just been horrid — again, losing Bailey, the horrid start by Melancon, you know, you have Aceves, who should be a middle reliever slash spot starter, now having to close out games, and the fact that he's not even happy about that, he wanted to be starting, all through spring training that's what he was aiming for, and now he's like, "Oh, you're our new closer."
Right — and all the psychological mishegas that went along with that as well, that can't be helping. But you just don't have the bodies, it sounds like.
Not at this point.
You're bringing people up from — forget Pawtucket, it's like —
It's all the guys from last year that everyone hated — the Matt Alberses and the Scott Atchisons that are actually trying to hold the fort down right now.
I think that guy used to be a part of the Met bullpen, which is not good.
Who, Atchison? Yeah.
So where do you predict your team finishing this year?
Right now, it's looking like fourth, to be perfectly honest with you.
"Thank God for the Orioles."
Yeah, well, the Orioles are actually better too! So, but I actually put Toronto ahead of them, Tampa Bay — I think Tampa Bay is actually the favorite. I think their pitching is that good, I think they're actually gonna win the East, and I don't mean that as a Red Sox fan having to be a Yankee-hater or anything, I just think the Yankee starting staff is a little shaky right now; I think Tampa Bay's is just so solid; I can't see many teams being able to outhit them too much. I like Tampa Bay a lot.
And the Jays can cause people some problems.
A lot of problems, absolutely.
So that's your prediction for the division also, is Tampa?
I don't think I –
Was that the next question?
What, the division? Yeah — but I have to confess that I don't think I understand the new wild-card playoff one-game arrangement.
I might just have to go on Wikipedia and get my shit straightened out.
But do you think that that team is going to come out of this division? Out of AL East?
It could. But I think Cleveland could be a wild-card team; when you look out west, I think Oakland is better, I don't think they're great, but I mean, you pretty much take the West and say, "Texas has it."
You know, no one else really out there is that solid, so why couldn't a second team like an Oakland just kind of come in under the radar and creep into second — and because they're not playing teams like the American League East are playing like nineteen times a year within division, why can't they come out with more wins than the third-place team in the American League East?
Right. Yeah, I guess they could do; I feel like I've been hearing that the A's are super-bad, that they're, like, down there –
I think they're gonna be a surprise, actually. I do.
Huh. Okay. I guess we'll see; you never know, it's a long season. Who do you think goes to the World Series?
World Series, I'm going back to Texas again.
I think it's gonna be the Rangers once again, and…in the National League? Although I don't follow National League as much, and I don't want to say San Francisco is going –
Following the NL does not help you predict this.
No, it doesn't.
You can say who it's not gonna be, but that's about it. Like, it's not gonna be the Astros! It's not gonna be the Mets!
It's not gonna be the Braves.
No, it's probably not.
No, they're not having one of their better seasons, to say the least. They've lost too many players. Although their pitching is okay, but –
And I think there's still something wrong with Jason Heyward; it really makes me sad to see.
Yeah, I mean, for all intents and purposes it could be the Cardinals again, who knows. I don't want to call a rematch, that would be absolutely silly. Why not the Marlins? I'm gonna go with the Marlins.
Yep, I'm gonna go with the Marlins. They added all those bats. In the off-season, they added a lot of players. Although you know what, the Nationals wouldn't be a surprising pick either, 'cause they've got good pitching now. And they've added a lot of bats, as well.
And they're sort of like where the Royals are allegedly gonna be in a year. Alllll those picks.
Are coming up. Strasburg has looked pretty good so far; they've got…what's-his-nuts, attitude-problem hitting guy, what's that kid's name? Bryce Harper.
Bryce Harper, yes.
I mean, I don't want to hang out with him –
Sports Illustrated cover boy for, like, three years now? It's unreal.
Seriously. Okay, so your World Series is Rangers/Marlins.
I'm gonna say Marlins. Why not?
Why not. Any pleasant surprises so far this season?
Your beloved New York Mets! Playing — until today, playing really good fundamental baseball.
Well, they won, since the San Francisco Giants also failed to understand how to throw a baseball.
No, I'm gonna go with the Mets; I'm really really happy to see that they've had a really really good start. And can I say "really really" one more time? …I'm pleasantly surprised; I always thought their starting pitching was good enough, and now it seems like they've got these blue-collar hard-working kind of guys — um, not flashy, if you will. Not saying that Reyes was that kind of guy. Well, okay, yes he was, but you're seeing guys that are playing good fundamental baseball. Just looking at the dugout environment, looking at the dugout atmosphere! It looks like a dugout where these guys actually like each other and like playing with each other and are playing hard for each other. And you know, I'm not saying that they're gonna be one of the wild-card spots or anything like that, but –
They're not, but they're playing good, and it's good to watch and I hope the fans start making their way out to Citi Field again. I hope to get out there a couple times.
Yeah, it's a good park, and I think once we get rid of some old contracts, like, I think we're finally done paying fuckin' Bobby Bonilla next year.
And you know, it depends — Johan is back —
Johan is back. Looks good.
Jonathan Niese I think has a chance to be a solid two or three starter, like, you know, in a real division.
Like on a real club he would actually be legit good, and there's some of the kids — like, let's face it, Duda and Murphy need to be traded to the American League –
So they can Edgar Martinez their way into the sunset and we can get some fuckin' defense.
I wish they hadn't traded Pagan. It is what it is! I don't think it's gonna be that bad. ["I'm transcribing this after the Mets just got swept by Houston. Hargh." -- Ed.] It's gonna be bad. I don't think it's gonna be that bad.
And we just watched Mike Pelfrey throw eight really solid innings today, too.
Yeah. And then get NDed. That sucks. ["…HARRRGH!!" -- Ed.] Hey, Frank Francisco: don't do that to the head case.
Although today would be the Tejada/Nieuwenhuis combination of how not to play in the outfield/infield.
And the Terry Collins double-clutch. When I post this I will try to find a little animated .gif of Terry Collins.
Yes, that was a phenomenal reaction.
Trying not to shit his pants. Um, any un-pleasant surprises this season, either your team or someone else's?
Unpleasant surprises…ooh, wow. Hmm.
I don't even know what my answer would be to this one.
Yeah, this is tough. The fact that I've even said anything that is –
Braves, I would say. I mean, I don't think it's a huge surprise. It's just been unpleasant.
I don't want to — I guess I can say the Red Sox; I didn't expect them to have a great season this year, but four and ten, already, is really really bad. I mean –
Well, the Ellsbury thing has got to be –
It's so, I mean, that was a knife to the heart, from the start of the season forward.
That's not a good injury, for –
For the guy who, if the Red Sox won Game 162 last year, may have won the MVP. He was right there.
I think he got a lot of votes, too. I don't know how that finished, but –
Yeah, so, I mean, it’s not that I was expecting the Sox to have a great year this year; I was expecting them to be, you know, fighting for the wild-card spot? But the fact that they're not close to it right now is just really disappointing, the injuries and everything, and the fact that I've gone through all this not even mentioning how much I hate Bobby Valentine? That's the most disappointing thing — that I've gone this far without saying how much I hate Bobby Valentine already.
That is our final question…
Oh, what a segue!
"Dear interviewee, Tell the manager of your baseball club one thing."
Just one? You're limiting me to that much. Okay.
That one can be a bullet-pointed list.
Right. Here's what I would say to Bobby Valentine.
"Shut the fuck up."
Yeah, for one, shut the fuck up — okay, is that it? Was that my one thing?
I feel like you can get a lot in under that umbrella.
Well, one thing, first of all, make sure you sign a contract with a Boston radio station to do a weekly radio interview before you sign up to do one with frickin' Michael Kay on ESPN New York radio; that's the first thing that I would say to you. The second thing that I would say is, you are not Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 Miracle on Ice U.S Olympic team, and what I mean by that is this: supposedly he has alienated the dugout already, the clubhouse, he's got everybody lined up against him. But supposedly that's a managerial technique for bringing your team together and everything. Herb Brooks only had to do it for four months; you need to do it for — how long is your contract? five years? It may work for hockey in the amateur, Olympic sport; it doesn't work in professional baseball. That's what i would say to Bobby Valentine; you've got to be able to learn to actually communicate with some of the players in your dugout, and not alienate all of them, which you have already done so far.
Well, and being united against a common enemy is great, but that probably shouldn't be your field general, and extra innings — please share with us that Youkilis was Francona's stooge.
Yes. So apparently, from what I've heard, from my inside sources, i.e., things I've read on the internet –
"America's inside source."
Exactly. Obviously last year the Sox season culminated with this disastrous final month, and then when the season ended, every story was about "oh, they're eating beer and chicken in the locker room while the games are still going on" and such, and everything that I've — well, not everything, but the word that I have been reading about was that it was Kevin Youkilis who was actually the voice in Terry Francona's ear letting him know what was going on in the locker room.
The chicken tattletale?
Now was he tattling all the time, as things went on, or he tattled later?
I honestly don't know that; I don't know. But that was the reports that I've heard. And Kevin Youkilis might be the hardest-working guy on the Red Sox team, and the fact that when Bobby Valentine just called him out, Dustin Pedroia, who now basically is the unofficial captain of this team, was like the first one to rush to his defense, basically tells me that you know what, maybe the people in the Red Sox clubhouse really don't have such a thing against Kevin Youkilis. You know? So to call him out as being the person that's supposedly the snitch, if you will, just seems like a move right out of Larry Lucchino's mind.
It's one thing to be snitching to Francona, but — Francona's gone.
So I'm not sure how pertinent that is anyway.
Yeah, and it was made perfectly clear that Francona was gone yesterday when they introduced his name at the one-hundred-year Fenway Park celebration and he got a huge ovation, and then they announced Bobby Valentine and he got booed mercilessly — which basically just goes to show where the two of them stand.
I don't think Valentine is a terrible managerial choice in certain situations, but I think in this situation — like, I absolutely don't understand why he would go there, or why they would hire him. I don't get it from either side.
Can I go into the eleventh inning real quick? For one quick comment.
My overall feeling, in regards to what's happened with the Red Sox from the end of last year to this year, and I'll make it quick, is in regards to how ownership has just botched everything, from the day that they let go of Francona to today. You don't let Terry Francona go and start bad-mouthing him immediately and leaking these stories to the press about how he's got a drug problem and how there might be women on the side. So poorly handled.
Then you basically hire a general manager in Ben Cherington, and the first move that he's supposed to make is to hire a manager, and Larry Lucchino oversteps him and hires Bobby Valentine.
That's some Wilpon shit, is what that is. I can tell you right now it's not gonna work.
Right. And then you go into this off-season and you make these trades that so far have not worked out in any way shape or form — you know, again, I was all for letting Papelbon go, but then you make these two trades and they're working out disastrously. It's not a good start for this — I look at it as, it's the same owners, it's the same president and everything, and yet I still look at it as kind of a new regime –
Because they're able to big-foot Cherington in way that –
That they couldn't bigfoot Epstein, apparently.
Exactly. And now they're getting their way, and now it's biting them right in the butt.
I feel that I should add, even though this is not my interview, that now that Papelbon is gone from the Red Sox, Andy Beckett — and Varitek retired –
Josh Beckett…what did I call — why do I always do that?!
You did it last time!
I always call him "Andy Beckett." He looks like an Andy.
Is that a Shawshank Redemption name?
His name was Andy but his last name wasn't Beckett. What was his name? …Dufresne.
"Dufresne! You're puttin' me behind!" Who is Andy Beckett? We're gonna look that up. The point is, whatever his first name is, that pube-chinned chicken-eating fuckwad has been promoted to my Most Hated Red Sock.
Now that Varitek has retired.
Andy Beckett is the Tom Hanks character in Philadelphia. BSD is a character his own self, and you can follow him on Twitter, @mikeyWMfree.
Tags: Alfredo Aceves Andrew Bailey Angel Pagan Ben Cherington Bobby Bonilla Bobby Valentine Bryce Harper BSD Carl Crawford chicken digs the long ball Daisuke Matsuzaka Daniel Bard Dustin Pedroia Edgar Martinez Frank Francisco friends Herb Brooks Jacoby Ellsbury Jason Heyward Jason Repko Jason Varitek Jed Lowrie Johan Santana John Lackey Jon Lester Jonathan Crapelbon Jonathan Niese Jose Reyes Josh "Andy" Beckett Kevin Youkilis Kirk Nieuwenhuis Larry Lucchino Lucas "Camptown Ladies Sing This Song" Duda Maniel Durphy Mark Melancon Marlon Byrd Matt Albers Michael Kay Miguel Tejada Mike Pelfrey Nick Cafardo Out With The Crowd Red Sox Ryan Kalish Ryan Sweeney Scott Atchison short dudes shut up Wilpons Stephen Strasburg Terry Collins Terry Francona Theo Epstein there's totally crying in baseball and that's okay