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.