News Alert: Red Sox Not Fuzzy Enough

Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press helpfully informs us he’s tired of the Red Sox:

So, too, has a team that in just a few short years has gone from the scrappy underdog that never could to the team that almost everybody outside the Red Sox Nation will be rooting against in the playoffs. Once mildly amusing because of their 86-year record of futility, the Red Sox aren’t so cute anymore now that they spend money and win much like their rivals in pinstripes did so successfully for so many years. …

There’s not a lot to love about the Red Sox anymore, either, not when compared to the team that did the impossible in 2004 and beat the Yankees before sweeping St. Louis in the World Series.

That team had Johnny Damon leading off with hair flying everywhere and Big Papi and Manny Ramirez combining for 84 home runs. It had Curt Schilling’s famous bloody sock and a rotation that also included Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe. …

There’s nothing warm and fuzzy about this team, not even anything terribly interesting. Manny is gone, David Ortiz’ home run totals are plummeting, and their hopes of repeating as champions rest a lot on an imported pitcher they got only because they went all Yankee and spent more than $100 million to acquire and sign him.

As we all should know by now, winning at the game of baseball is not as important as being scrappy, or gritty, or getting your uniform dirty. The Red Sox have clearly failed in this instance by sacrificing WFP* for OPS.

* Warm Fuzzy Points

What makes the Red Sox’ recent success all the more egregious is that they have the gall to spend money to win games, thus satiating and consequently enlarging their fanbase. Good marketing and satisfied fans are the true hallmarks of a terrible team.

Much better, obviously, to be like the Pirates or Royals. Those teams don’t win, but they don’t spend money either, and that’s the key. They’re underdogs, they’re warm and fuzzy, they’re cute and cuddly. If they were a stuffed animal, they’d be those giant pink bears sold at Wal-Mart each year around Valentine’s Day. The Red Sox, and by extension the Yankees, are not. They’re like being eaten by a velociraptor. Not cute and fuzzy. Or, worse, they’re like listening to Sarah Palin explain her position on the Wall Street buyout.

We certainly need to reshape our view of baseball and dismiss such outmoded ideas as "winning" and "losing," except as contexts to determine whether a team has enough WFPs. See, it was OK for the Red Sox to use their money and talent to trade for and/or sign Johnny Damon, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling and Derek Lowe and make them their core in 2004 — they were losing, so therefore it was cute. But now, the Red Sox are decidedly uncute, even with a homegrown core of Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon, because they’re winning.

I know it’s complicated, but with a few more lessons from Mr. Dahlberg, I’m sure we will all understand exactly why our teams are not worth our allegiance, and why we should be despised for reveling in their successes.

20 comments… add one

  • Welcome to the dark side. Nobody likes you and everyone roots against you…It’s a tough adjustment, but the winning helps.

    John - YF September 30, 2008, 3:48 pm
  • Best thing on this site in ages. Bravo.

    YF September 30, 2008, 3:59 pm
  • so… it is just as annoying to read these things when they aren’t about your team.
    wake me up when sidney ponson is a free agent.

    Yankee Fan In Boston September 30, 2008, 4:05 pm
  • Mr. Dahlberg doesn’t understand that water ballons without water are just pieces of flaccid rubber. Fill’em up before you throw’em, Tim!

    SF September 30, 2008, 4:22 pm
  • “Put some pinstripes on them, though, and they’d look suspiciously like an empire.”
    Welcome to the neighborhood!
    I love it.

    John - YF September 30, 2008, 4:37 pm
  • now that they spend money and win much like their rivals in pinstripes did so successfully for so many years.
    When was this “success” he refers to?!
    ;-)
    Hasn’t the frustration of many Yankee fans been based on the lack of success in the postseason with such a massive payroll? Wasn’t the late 90s Yankee juggernaut (pre-“Evil Empire”, which really began with the Contreras war in 2002-3) much more like these Sox teams than the Yankees of the past several years that this writer seems to be referring to?
    This Dahlberg guy is a trip!

    SF September 30, 2008, 4:50 pm
  • “Hasn’t the frustration of many Yankee fans been based on the lack of success in the postseason with such a massive payroll?”
    Frustration due to lack of success in the playoffs is correct, but it has nothing to do with the “Massive Payroll.” The lack of success in the playoffs would be upsetting REGARDLESS of the payroll.
    This guy Dahlberg is a genius!

    John - YF September 30, 2008, 4:55 pm
  • The lack of success in the playoffs would be upsetting REGARDLESS of the payroll.
    Right. I meant that the money isn’t proving to be a successful route to a championship (as Dahlberg seems to imply), not that the spending is what pisses off YFs. I think both fanbases are happy as hell that our teams choose to sink money back into the clubs.

    SF September 30, 2008, 5:09 pm
  • Hey, YF, Paul’s “That’s a Wrap” post from earlier today was damn fine, too!

    SF September 30, 2008, 5:17 pm
  • I’ve mentioned on this site before that I derided the Yankees as a teenager as “buying their championships,” while knowing deep down that I’d love for the Red Sox to buy their championships. Instead we got Dan Duquette and John Harrington lying to us about Boston being a “small market.”
    So I’ll gladly take the slings and arrows that come toward the Red Sox and their fans. It’s far preferable to being the Rays or the Cubs. We did that dance in 2004. Turns out, the grass IS greener over here.

    Paul SF September 30, 2008, 5:48 pm
  • OMG PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF THE RED SOX?!?!? the HELL you say.
    where can i sign up for “people who are tired of people who are tired of the red sox”?

    beth September 30, 2008, 6:19 pm
  • “We did that dance in 2004. Turns out, the grass IS greener over here.”
    so you’re saying yanks fans understood the Truth before sox fans! Works for us.

    Nick-YF September 30, 2008, 6:28 pm
  • If they were a stuffed animal, they’d be those giant pink bears sold at Wal-Mart each year around Valentine’s Day. The Red Sox, and by extension the Yankees, are not. They’re like being eaten by a velociraptor.
    Ahahahaha!

    Atheose September 30, 2008, 6:56 pm
  • It’s true: the Red Sox have been spending money for years, but doing that and making the postseason a few years in a row, and winning it all a couple times, means they aren’t fuzzy at all. In fact, they seem to be pretty well defined these days.
    Rooting for two teams that can outspend half the league two-fold is hard to square with my otherwise avowed preference for underdogs, but I don’t mind at all admitting that the inability of the Rays, Pirates, et al., to make and spend money should be considered a bug, and not a feature.

    FenSheaParkway September 30, 2008, 7:05 pm
  • “…Wasn’t the late 90s Yankee juggernaut (pre-“Evil Empire”, which really began with the Contreras war in 2002-3) much more like these Sox teams than the Yankees of the past several years …”
    yeah sf, in other words, the yanks actually spent less to win their championships than the sox did…oops…
    and another thing, boy have you guys changed your tune from the “evil empire” days…fun stuff

    dc September 30, 2008, 8:14 pm
  • you’re right, i always thought the ‘evil empire’ stuff was fun. it wasn’t meant to be taken literally, was it?
    the 96-00 Yankees weren’t the evil empire that larry lucchino et al were poking fun at. it was the mussina, giambi, sheffield, matsui, rodriguez, sierra yankees. the team that clemens created a gateway for, in a way. the “lets build a behemoth and we’ll be SURE to win the world series” or (from the player’s point of view) “once i’m a yankee, i’ll be SURE to get that elusive championship.”
    i always took the ‘evil empire’ talk two ways: 1) Sour grapes, but also, and not insignificantly, 2) a jab at the illusion of invincibility. whether you preferred to take the reference as one of the Cold War, or Star Wars, in both cases, the evil empire turned out to be quite vincible indeed.

    FenSheaParkway September 30, 2008, 8:56 pm
  • Off-topic a little bit, but if Joe Mauer goes 0 for 7 tonight (if the game goes into extra innings) then Pedroia will win the batting title, .3262 vs .3259.
    I can dream, right?

    Atheose September 30, 2008, 9:16 pm
  • Great post FSP, that’s some deep insight.

    Atheose September 30, 2008, 9:20 pm
  • Two things:
    1. I credit Mr. Dahlberg for writing “86-year” and then not following it with the word “curse.”
    2. Please, please, please, even though my in-laws and so, so many friends are fans, please DO NOT LET THE CUBS WIN. ROOT AGAINST THE CUBS!! DO ANY OF YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MISERABLE IT WILL BE AROUND HERE IF THEY EVEN GO TO THE WORLD SERIES?
    3. “so you’re saying yanks fans understood the Truth before sox fans! Works for us.” Yes, nick, that’s what we’re saying.
    4. “and another thing, boy have you guys changed your tune from the “evil empire” days…fun stuff.” Yes, we have, DC.
    5. I certainly hope Mr. Dahlberg isn’t suggesting that Tampa is a team you can snuggle up to at night. To me, they did it the wrong way, losing and losing and losing and losing, at an embarrassing rate, compiling only dick vitale as a fan along with umpteen top 3 draft picks. Jesus, with that method, a GM could eventually roll out of bed and have a roster full of good young players. Imagine NYY and/or BRS if they had had those draft picks.

    I'mBillMcNeal October 1, 2008, 8:29 am
  • Jesus, with that method, a GM could eventually roll out of bed and have a roster full of good young players. Imagine NYY and/or BRS if they had had those draft picks.
    I sometimes have wonderful dreams that Scott Kazmir is on the Red Sox, and our batters don’t have to face him. I wake up cold and sweaty, and go forth into the harsh reality that he’ll be a Yankee in a few years.

    Atheose October 1, 2008, 8:46 am

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