The Boston Red Sox are back. Back in a corner with their tails between their legs. Back 10 games behind the Yankees in the American League East. Back six games behind the Twins and White Sox for the wild card. And the most miserable part of it all is that the player’s (and people in the front office’s) hearts are already back in their off-season homes, while all of us diehard fans get sick watching it unravel.
I’ve gotten used to the Red Sox losing. I’ve known that 2004 wouldn’t become an annual occurrence, and I’ve accepted that. What I can’t accept is how they have given up.
Sure, injuries are a big part of what knocked Boson out of first place and back six games in the wild card. However, it is the lack of determination that is keeping them out of the playoff hunt.
Six games out of the wild card race the Red Sox traded the big-game veteran David Wells to San Diego for average catching prospect George Kottaras. Replacing Wells and his 229 career wins in Boston’s rotation has been consistently inconsistent relief pitcher turned starter, Julian Tavarez, who is 2-4 this year with a 4.72 ERA.
This trade was done because Wells plans to retire at the end of the season and the organization saw an opportunity to get something in return for him by sending him to a playoff contender.
With 28 games still remaining at that point, and Boston still having three games to play against both the Twins and White Sox, how were they not still a contender? The Twins and White Sox also have to play three games against each other, along with games against the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers, and AL West leading Oakland Athletics. With both the Twins and White Sox having difficult schedules remaining, Boston was in no spot to give up one of the few proven starters that they had.
Trading Wells was the front office’s decision. Players getting extra days off, Manny Ramirez’s sore knee in particular, is a lack of caring. If a player is risking serious injury by playing, then I’m not saying he should be thrown out there. But if the Red Sox had been one game back instead of six, we would have seen Manny’s bat in the lineup and not have heard a thing about his knee.
Players aren’t even running out ground balls anymore, which is just as much the manager, Terry Francona’s, fault as anyone else’s. Francona, along with the rest of the organization, seems to have forgotten that six games have been gained on teams with less than 28 games remaining.
In Little League, children learn to never give up until the last out is made. I don’t know when many of the Red Sox forgot what they learned in Little League, but after the lack of effort that I’ve watched in the past two weeks, I’m starting to miss the Little League World Series already. At this point I would much rather watch children play the game like the pros should, instead of watching the pros play like children wouldn’t dare.