It kind of sucks in this day and age that as a Boston sports fan you have to start any complaint by addressing our region’s recent success. I’m definitely sick of it. I can’t blog about a player, a team, or anything else related to our teams without first saying “look, I get we’ve racked up enough hardware the last two decades and change to make Tim the Tool Man Taylor blow six loads, but…” The bottom line is that it is fair to hold past and present success as your standard as a fan or consumer. Not regardless of, but due to, recent success, we’re allowed to fucking gripe about the state of our teams when they fall off that path to championships. So consider this my preface for this blog. I’m sure I’ll have to do it again less I’m hit with a million O QUIT YOUR FUCKING COMPLAINING ERULDUWTYTIEO.
This Red Sox franchise, in its current state, is the most unlikeable Boston sports franchise of my lifetime BY FAR. I honestly can’t think of an argument against that. Sure, the Jacobs Brothers basically operated as the mob throughout the last part of the 20th century, but the B’s still made moves as often as possible to try and eek out some wins despite their penny pinching owners. The Patriots were an unmitigated disaster for the first third of my life (that was a tough one to say), but that was less them being unlikeable and more Kraft still figuring out how to put together a football franchise. Not exactly Rollercoaster Tycoon. The Celtics were an atrocity for most of the 90s but basketball can sort of swing that way sometimes via the draft lottery/the draft in general, one or two bad signings, NBA players hating multiple feet of snow, etc.
None of that. Noneeeee of that. Compares to this Red Sox franchise, which is to say, for the most part, this Red Sox ownership. Now, Chaim Bloom and the front office are not completely blameless. Why, do you ask? Well they could simply walk the fuck away from their jobs. They don’t have to be the Fenway Sports Group’s trigger-men. They choose to be. So yes, fuck them too. But in the end it is indeed the ownership’s decisions and methods that have got us here.
Things started out well with John Henry and his gang. Despite the fact that he reminded me of “the stiff” that was hanging around Sigourney Weaver in the first “Ghostbusters” movie, what with his sickly pallor and awkward way about him, he turned things around initially. They honestly seemed like they wanted to win. Which was cool. We hadn’t done that, until 2004, since 1918. So ya that was sick, we liked that. We won again in 2007, 2013, and 2018. Each one felt special in its own way. We had now won across a couple of generations of Red Sox teams. We were (we thought) here to stay. In reality, we were the fuck not.
It starts with pure miserdom. Yes, that is indeed a word derived from “miser”. Read a book. The Fenway Sports Group, led by Henry and Tom Werner – side note: did Lucchino die? I honestly don’t know – simply have decided they are broke. They aren’t of course. The Red Sox are worth more than they ever have been. Between all his interests Henry is worth about $2.5b alone. So ya, he’s just fine. They’ve just simply decided they no longer want to pay for any kind of talent. Which is to say, they don’t want to pay to win. As baseball players generally don’t feel so great about playing for free this is an issue. There were smaller examples of this that peeved me but that I can’t remember out of pure frustration. I know that’s a shitty argument but there’s good reason. And that reason is Mookie Betts. A home-grown franchise player, once-in-a-lifetime talent who they simply jetisoned rather than spend the cash, which they definitely had, to keep him. And before the two usual dumbassed fucking arguments come in let me address them off the bat. 1.) There is NO PROOF Mookie Betts EVER said, thought, believed, uttered, considered or whatever else that he didn’t want to “be here”. None. Zilch. That’s a fabrication. Just one of those, “Ya but I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who talked to him.” No they did not. I don’t know if people pass this idea around to make themselves feel better about losing him, which I empathize with, or honestly believe it. But there’s nothing there. The second is some bullshit about him not wanting to take a hometown discount for “not much less” money. Ok, ok. So if someone offered you ten million dollars. And another person offered you twenty million dollars. You’d take the twenty right? Who cares how much more or less. The Dodgers were willing to pay him more to play fucking baseball, which he does really well! The ownership did not give a fuck about keeping him. That’s the bottom line. Deal with it.
After that deal that sent Mookie to LA it became REALLY hard to root for this franchise. The same team that we cried with after losing to the team from New York that hasn’t won since God knows when in the 03′ “Cowboy Up” year was now just unlikeable. We didn’t even recognize it. From naked pull ups and fried chicken to not having a soul. And it’s all because they simply don’t care about baseball anymore. I get teased a bit for being somewhat of an anglophile. I like Britsh TV, some music, and books. But at least I don’t stop caring about my friends here because of it. John Henry did. He bought a soccer team in England and simply stopped giving a shit about the Red Sox. He doesn’t want to spend any money that might, I don’t know, help the team. And this is the most basic level, who we are supposed to root for? When we root for the Red Sox to succeed we are rooting for their ownership to succeed, which makes my stomach turn. If you want further evidence, look at the dumpster fire of a team we trotted out for last year’s shortened season. I couldn’t name a single reliever. Our starters were ass. Our lineup was deteriorating by the minute. And no one at the top cared. And yet we’re supposed to still cheer.
Yesterday marked yet another moment in “fuck these guys” history. They traded Andrew Benentendi to the Royals in a three-team trade and received back a bag of baseballs. Please don’t start with defending this trade. Somewhere along the lines, I don’t know where, maybe it was as everything Belichick permeated our sports culture, Boston sports fans decided they were all the smart guys in the room. They decided that “this deal makes sense” for every fucking deal ever made. And they don’t. Not with the Red Sox in particular. We traded a 26 year old defensive stud who once hit in the .290s with I believe 16 dingers for jack shit. That is not a good trade. I get he hasn’t played up to snuff recently but HE’S 26. So no, this was not a good move. No, this deal does not make sense. No, this team does not care about you.
This ownership group simply does not want to spend a dime, in Mookie’s case, or consider spending a dime in the future, in Benintendi’s case. They don’t care about putting together a quality team. They don’t care about winning. And yet we’re supposed to still tune in? And show up to the ballpark? Somehow we are supposed to still root for such a loathsome group of individuals, and it’s almost impossible at this point.
The worst part about this whole thing is that I don’t see this turning around any time soon. The Sox are too valuable for the Fenway Sports Group to sell any time soon. And they aren’t going to start caring any time soon. So we’re saddled for mediocrity at best for the next few decades.
Let’s just hope it isn’t 84 years.