Warped Perspective at the Phoenix

Happy 06 to all in YFSF land (and a special tip o’ the cap to my artful antagonist, SF). I passed this holiday weekend in Enemy Territory–and a pleasant time it was, though it’s good to be back in the Apple. (A suggestion from this sojourn a propos nothing: Sox fans may want to cross the Fens to the Gardner Museum for the Bellini show). Anyway, we did review the local press for word on our favorite subject. A story in the Phoenix–"Sports Wishes for 2006"–was indicative of the general mood.

#4: Johnny Damon season-ending injury in April
#5: Red Sox win World Series

That’s right. Boston’s leading lefty alternative is more interested in an injury to an erstwhiler hero than another WS ring. So sad.

42 comments… add one
  • Sure, Boston’s a great place to visit, and so’s Fenway, if you leave your Yankee hat at home.
    Here’s a Francona quote from the Globe

    Why the big deal about Damon? He is gone. Move on, I am
    tired of seeing him in a Yankee uniform on the Globe site. Why a
    telephone interview (which I did not listen to)? Let’s concern
    ourselves with a SHORTSTOP, FIRSTBASE, CENTERFIELD and Theo.

    Even
    during the season seems our announcers especially on the radio are just
    as concerned with how NY is doing. You do not get that on NY broadcasts.

    Anthony Sansone, Killingworth, CT

    A: That’s
    because Sox fans always seemed to be concerned with what the Yankees
    are doing, and it tends to be more of a one-way obsession. I think it’s
    true that we care more about the Yankees than they care about the Sox.
    Even after the magic of ’04.

    john yf January 3, 2006, 11:35 am
  • It’s a tough time for the Sox fan. The Blue Jays look like they’ll be the number two team to the Yanks this season and that pushes the Sox a little closer into Baltimore territory.

    walein January 3, 2006, 2:03 pm
  • Yeah, real tough. Please. Don’t make us into you guys (i.e. bi-polar win-at-all cost psychos who don’t understand the idea of a long view). The chicken littles scavenging around the AL East are, in fact, all the Yankees fans pronouncing the Sox dead in ’06 (and beyond), even as there are 4 months until the season begins.

    SF January 3, 2006, 2:14 pm
  • you and your long views: Haven’t the Yanks won something like 9 straight division titles. That’s a fairly long time, no?

    Nick January 3, 2006, 2:19 pm
  • It certainly is.

    SF January 3, 2006, 2:47 pm
  • The bi-polar psyc 101 trip works the other way around SF. For decades the Sox’s only consistency was their inability to capture a World Series’ title. Now that is gone.
    Welcome to the “Nut House” that is MLB. It’s a tough rough time trying to stay up above the water-line.

    Anonymous January 3, 2006, 3:03 pm
  • That last post was me…Having a hard time getting my ID to stick…didn’t want anyone to think I was being all Shadow Steinbrenner.

    walein January 3, 2006, 3:07 pm
  • I don’t wish to impugn the highly informed readership that makes up the SF portion of this blog, and I wouldn’t argue with SF’s contention that most knowledgable Sox fans are taking the Theo situation and Damon departure in stride, NEVERTHELESS my impression over a three day weekend in the Hub—from the media, from talking to fans and non-fans of various degrees of commitment/insight, is that the city is generally—and again, with exception, pretty much B-O-N-K-E-R-S over what is being interpreted as the demise of the Sox. Objective analysis of the general RSN emotional state came from Cousin of YF (a Mets fan whom we might call generally disinterested) now living in Beantown: “This place is going f*ing crazy.”
    Taking a walk around downtown—I wanted a peek at the Big Dig site—and then meandering through the financial district, it occurred to me that the route of this communal angst begins in the bars on virtually every corner of the city, mostly olde-style Irish saloons. The breeding ground of RSN.

    YF January 3, 2006, 3:42 pm
  • Ah, Sociology 101, from Professor YF. Nice field study. Does your non-random-sample-based investigation qualify you for a MacArthur?
    From my standpoint, I did my own simplistic study, as documented just after Christmas on this site, and I found the range of emotions to be, well, a range of emotions, non-generalizable. I simply don’t think it’s fair to over-simplify (my “bi-polar psycho” generalization was sarcastic, FYI) about the reaction of RSN. Read SoSH, scour the blogs, and I think you’ll find the gamut of reactions to be wide, and you’ll realize that citing a “generally disinterested” Mets fan as the arbiter of our collective conscious is like citing Nicole Richie’s thoughts on Per Se as expert gastronomic criticism.

    SF January 3, 2006, 4:01 pm
  • First of all, I found Nicole’s use of metanarrative and metonymic displacement in “The Truth about Diamonds” to be transgressive in a Volmanesque complex of modalities that we rarely see in contemporary hyper-realism. Her insights are always welcome.
    Second of all, if you can be simplistic, so can I–and let’s note that my missive was qualified so as not to include the well (or even mildly) informed fan. Face facts: Boston’s a little nutty.
    Third of all, bite me.

    YF January 3, 2006, 4:25 pm
  • William T. Vollmann!

    Nick January 3, 2006, 4:26 pm
  • You guys make it through all seven volumes of Rising Up and Rising Down? As brilliant as it is, I have to admit, I went the abridgement route… :)

    Spidey January 3, 2006, 4:49 pm
  • Vollmann. That guy owes me money!

    SF January 3, 2006, 4:55 pm
  • read the first 2.5, and then decided that I needed to hang out with my girlfriend every once in a while. My brothers got it for my birthday last year. It’s quite the collectible just sitting there on my bookshelf waiting to be finished.
    The fun thing for me (and completely irrelevant to most who read this site) is that I saw it in manuscript form (all 7000 pages or so)at a publishing house I worked at 3 years before it was picked up by McSweeneys. Ok, that wasn’t fun, but whatever.

    Nick January 3, 2006, 4:55 pm
  • I thought Richie said “the truffled poached oyster made me hurl…or maybe it was my index finger?”

    SF January 3, 2006, 4:56 pm
  • New York: not nutty?

    SF January 3, 2006, 4:57 pm
  • hehe…he said “nutty.”

    walein January 3, 2006, 5:24 pm
  • “At no time did Boras indicate he would take four years from Boston, and while Cashman made a stealth move — since in the end Damon wanted only the high bid — if the Sox had gone to even four years and $46 million, it wouldn’t have been enough.” (italics mine)
    Off-topic, admittedly, from Peter Gammons’ new ESPN burp.

    SF January 3, 2006, 5:33 pm
  • Now, back on topic (in re: the current state of the Sox), and from the same Gammons column – he really nails this one, I am quite happily surprised to say. I couldn’t agree with him more.
    Are [the Red Sox] better off now than the afternoon Epstein left in the gorilla suit? In terms of their pitching and positional team, no.
    How much would be different had Epstein been there? Very little. Not only has he served as an advisor to Hoyer and Cherington, but they have exhausted every avenue, to their credit refusing to try to make splash deals for their benefit at the cost of the long-term view of the team.
    If Epstein does return this month, how much was lost during the interim period?
    “Nowhere near as much as the perception,” Lucchino says. And, after all the self-congratulations that came in moonshadow of the 2004 world championship, in the long view the reevaluation and circumspection that has taken place these last two months may have been the best thing that could have happened to this ownership.

    SF January 3, 2006, 5:39 pm
  • Is Gammons on the Red Sock payroll? His spin is that the front office needed to go through a maturation process? What is Red Sock management? An adolescent boy.

    Nick January 3, 2006, 5:49 pm
  • It sounds like the high-school relationship that gets busted up in the middle of senior year and then they get back together right before they both go off to college.
    “These last two months away may have been the best thing that could have happened to this ownership.”
    And then Lucchino finds out Theo slept with some chick on the private Girls Gone Wild Island cause he was all “helping draft Lucchi baby! I was sad and partying…and we weren’t even together technically!” and everything goes to pot!

    walein January 3, 2006, 5:56 pm
  • Gammons has been accused (in the recent past) of being highly (perhaps overly) critical of the Sox’ front office, particularly once he left the Globe for the national beat. I have my issues with Gammons, as I have stated clearly on this blog, but in this case I think he’s right, substantively, about the direction of the Sox and their standing, long-term, with regards to re-tooling the team constantly over time.
    And in terms of “maturation”, I think it’s safe to say that since Henry, Epstein, Lucchino, et al took over (just 3+ years ago, remember) there has been a new attitude. And yes, these attitudes take time to settle in, “mature”, if you will. The mindset of team building changed when Harrington and the Yawkey Trust sold the team, greatly. Henry’s crew (previously Epstein, and currently James, Hoyer, Cherington, etc.) are working their way towards something different than that, for the long term, and that does take time.

    SF January 3, 2006, 6:13 pm
  • Going back 20 comments — SF, Francona is not a n MFY (one hopes). You can’t blame MFYs for his comments.

    john yf January 3, 2006, 6:42 pm
  • I’m tired of no baseball news — go for it Sox! Trade Manny!

    john yf January 3, 2006, 6:45 pm
  • A blast from the past drops in to say hello! It’s nice to see that SF’s posts remain oblivious to that commmon foothold all earthlings rely on called reality. 2006 AL East final standings: Yanks, Blue Jays, Devil Rays, Red Sox, Orioles. Over and out.

    JCL (YF) January 3, 2006, 11:18 pm
  • Wow, with what pitching are the DRays going to finish third, JCL?

    SF January 4, 2006, 7:01 am
  • JCL with the perfectly executed hit and run.

    SF January 4, 2006, 7:41 am
  • I think Sox fans are fooling themselves about the known strength of the Sox rotation. There are questions about Beckett in the AL East (think Pavano and Vasquez) and questions about his durability. Everyone talks about Schilling as though it’s 2004, when we all know he may never pitch like that again. Clement was a star in the first half of 2005, and then in the second half reverted to his usual .500 form: which will we see in 2006, if we see him in a Sox uniform at all. The young Sox arms may be good, but the pitchers obviously have to prove themselves. And how much will Wakefield miss Mirabelli? Statistically, he was much better when throwing to Mirabelli.
    Foulke’s arm and mental state are unknown. Outside of Timlin, the whole bullpen is an unknown. SF could be the pot calling the kettle black.
    YFs have been called idiots here for saying it’s tough to win every year and that on the present course, 2006 will be a down year for the Sox. But look at what Gammons and Theo have to say:
    “Epstein’s view is that without a $200 million payroll, it is practically impossible in the American League East to win 95-100 games every year. The goal is to be in position to make that run seven or eight out of 10 years, which means that about once every five years they have to step back and, in Lucchino’s words, ‘retool. Not rebuild, retool.'”

    john yf January 4, 2006, 12:06 pm
  • What’s the hype over Match Point? A nice movie, but the Woodman is definitely not back, contrary to what some say.
    Anyway, back to Gammons’ semi-sycophantish remarks:
    ‘”Nowhere near as much as the perception,” Lucchino says. And, after all the self-congratulations that came in moonshadow of the 2004 world championship, in the long view the reevaluation and circumspection that has taken place these last two months may have been the best thing that could have happened to this ownership.’
    I mean, seriously, who pays him: Luchinno or Henry? The failed and very publicly failed negotiation between Theo and brass was just that: a failed negotiation. Egos were involved, shit was said, yada yada. It happens often in sports. And when it happens between management and a man who helped deliver a world series championship, management usually gets reamed by the press. Agreed that Hoyer and Cherington and Larry have done a swell job in Theo’s stead. But to spin it as if it was a learning process for all involved grants management a level of humanity and sympathy heretofore not seen in sports writing. This same off-season, Steinbrenner and Cashman negotiate a contract wherein Cash is granted final word on all baseball personnel decisions. SF scoffs at the notion that Yankee management is, in some way, maturing, and, of course, no word from Gammons about how the Yanks are developing from a nice young boy to a young man. Why is this? Because, although Gammons is a great great baseball writer who brings passion and care to his work, he is a HUGE Sox fan, and he’s very much tied to Sox management. He does concerts with them for gods sakes. He hangs out in Beacon Hill with Henry (that’s my speculation). So, while he is probably right that Sox management has not skipped a beat after Theo’s departure (or is it a departure? Gammons as usual seems to tease us with inside information about a possible return. I guess management is telling him to hold it back for just a little longer before we’re all properly prepared or spun to take Theo’s return as a natural consequence of management’s maturation period), his reporting is still tainted by his fandom.

    Nick January 4, 2006, 12:24 pm
  • Amen to that.

    walein January 4, 2006, 12:27 pm
  • I gotta agree with Nick on this – that whole article is Gammons serving as a mouthpiece for Sox management. There really isn’t much balance to it. He seems to take everything they say at face value, and of course they’re going to put all that’s happened in a positive light. I can’t imagine they’d say “yes, the fact that we traded away our best infield prospect then got rid of our SS was kinda dumb; but we’ll muddle through with some subpar duded from the Rays, don’t worry”.
    Also, I take exception to the double standards that frequently goes on the media: any discussion of the Yanks pitching quite rightly starts with “Injuries and age permitting”. The Yanks have serious question marks over the age and health of at lest 3/5s of their rotation, true. But so do the Sox! I don’t think it’s acceptable for Gammons to blithely assume that Schill and Beckett will have injury-free seasons, or that the youngsters will step up and survive the monster mash that is the AL East.
    Just my two cents.

    Sam January 4, 2006, 12:42 pm
  • Boo f**king hoo, Nick (and Sam too). The substance of Gammons’ column is right on the money. Ignore the slightly syrupy humanizing tone of everything, and distill the piece. It’s a fine column, and I have been awfully hard on the Peter lately, har har.
    Sam: you accuse Gammons of “blithely” assuming that Schilling and Beckett will excel. He does nothing like that. He poses a hypothesis here: “If Curt Schilling comes back and Beckett builds off what he did in 2005 and makes 30 starts, with Papelbon the Red Sox potentially have three power right-handers who are made for Fenway because of their high strikeout numbers and enough gas to make hitters use the big part of the ballpark.
    Note the “if”. Does he also have to say “if they don’t do this the Sox are in trouble”? Of course he doesn’t, it’s self-evident in the qualification that he offers. You, as a writer, should understand this.
    As for John’s comments, I can only ask so many times what planet he is living on. What Red Sox fans haven’t acknowledged the risks attached to Josh Beckett? Where have we made assumptions that Schilling will pitch anything like he did in 2004? Where have Yankee fans ever been called idiots for thinking it’s tough to win every year, like you say? Who has ever said it’s nottough? Even with a $200M payroll, which gives the Yankees a tremendous advantage, it’s still incredibly tough. Where do you come up with this stuff, John?
    So: a question to John: why do you think you have artistic license to accuse us SFs of saying crap we haven’t ever said? Why do you feel comfortable leveling asinine charges against Sox fans, in this context, at this site, that have no basis in anything typed at this site?

    SF January 4, 2006, 12:50 pm
  • re: Gammons
    SF, then don’t bitch about Sterling’s rousing homerun calls. All you sox fan do on this site is complain about his impartial game calling, and it’s getting tiring;)

    Nick January 4, 2006, 1:14 pm
  • I’m with Nick on the crucial Match Point issue. Not a bad film, per se, but the “luck” theme was merely a thin veneer, and the whole plot seemed basically identical to any of his recent caper films, only stripped of jokes (and with a stripped Scarlett Johansen–THANKS!). With one relatively minor exception, you’re always four steps ahead of the plot, which is telegraphed practically from the first scene. Still in all, a professional looking film. Woody’s mastery of British argot was impressive. London never looked better.
    And, oh yeah. Gammons is toeing a difficult line here, but I’m not sure he’s stepped over into Judy Miller territory just yet.

    YF January 4, 2006, 1:19 pm
  • Hey, if Sterling screams “it is high, it is far, it is….goooone”, and it was a line drive over the wall, then he should be questioned, absolutely. ;)

    SF January 4, 2006, 1:19 pm
  • God, I would like to see MP but haven’t been to a movie in about 11 months. Thanks, Soxbaby!

    SF January 4, 2006, 1:21 pm
  • I’m not accusing Gammons of being Judy Miller – no one deserves that – but a bit of context would have helped. What do other GMs think about the Sox right now? Is there a sense that they’re moving in the rights direction? Read Buster Olney’s blog and he takes the opposite view. And I don’t think Rob Neyer is that complimentary to what the Sox have been doing.
    And I take your point, SF, but for Gammons to base his argument on everything turning out well for the Sox on an “if” – and a pretty big “if” at that – is, to me, blithe. And it wouldn’t have hurt to say “of course, if these things don’t turn out, the Sox will be chasing the Rays for third place in the AL East”!

    Sam January 4, 2006, 1:40 pm
  • Sam, Gammons isn’t making an argument that the Sox will be good: he’s saying what has to happen for the Sox to be good. Not rocket science, and this is the most useless part of his piece since it’s pretty much obvious what has to go right for them to be successful. But Gammons is not predicting anything, in my opinion. He’s not making an argument, as you term it. I think that’s an important distinction, since you use the context of this “argument” to reinforce your perception that he’s biased.

    SF January 4, 2006, 1:58 pm
  • My favorite line from Peter Gammons, real estate maven, in a chat at the Globe’s website today:
    “There’s no reason that Manny couldn’t move out to where Pedro Martinez used to live by the Arnold Arboretum and get all the privacy he needs.”

    SF January 4, 2006, 2:42 pm
  • Rays will finish third.

    JCL (YF) January 4, 2006, 3:29 pm
  • Well, let’s see, the day I said the Sox would be better off with Mueller than Lowell, I was told that obviously Beckett made the whole trade worthwhile and that “John is clearly posting out his arse today to get a rise with stupid comments.” Sox fans here talk as though Beckett has PROVEN he’s the next Pedro or Rocket.
    Well, as YF would say, Bite me.

    john yf January 5, 2006, 2:10 am
  • when did you guys start swearing on this site? all i know is i come here to read you 2 argue and now it’s filled with judy miller references and woody allen propaganda. am i missing something here?

    zey January 5, 2006, 2:27 am

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