Boston Red Sox Second Half Preview

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Can we get this tweet on a billboard above Fenway Park? Maybe it can go where the Coca-Cola bottles used to be, behind the Green Monster. That’s the only place that’s left anywhere near the park that doesn’t have some sort of advertising on it already anyway.

I can’t believe how profoundly screwed up the 2012 Red Sox are behind the scenes. The stories I am hearing in KC are just unfathomable.

— Bill Simmons (@sportsguy33) July 9, 2012

What a remarkably lovely first half that really was. 43-43 is the stuff of legends. Usually, words like profound and remarkable aren’t used to mean “atrocious” and “a complete f***ing mess,” but that’s the context we’re working with here.

The idea that this season is going to get much better seems like a long shot too, even with the impending returns of Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury. Check out Gorden Edes’ piece on today. The entire team HATES Bobby Valentine. The coaching staff HATES Bobby Valentine. Players and coaches alike go weeks at a time without even saying a word to their manager. That’s not an exaggeration. Everyone in the organization hates Bobby Valentine. It’s actually impressive. I’m almost not even mad. I feel like Bobby V just ate the whole wheel of cheese.

The team can deny, deny, deny all it wants that there’s a problem in that clubhouse, and the front office can pretend that everybody gets along like they’re in a children’s TV show, but the Gordon Edes’ and Bill Simmons’ and Buster Olney’s of the world are not just making up this idea that there is serious turmoil within the walls of that clubhouse. They’re not lying.

But that hasn’t stopped the Red Sox machine from continuing to plug away, and fit in some lies of its own. Have you seen the latest propaganda released today by Larry Lucchino? What an evil human being. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, it’s essentially a letter to Red Sox season ticket holders, thanking them for their support and telling them to get ready for a big second half. It’s so disingenuous though, that I bet Ben Cherington is being fitted for a gorilla suit as we speak.

Some highlights:

We have watched the team coalesce into a close group.  Personalities are enhancing the chemistry, such as the cheerful Cody Ross, the friendly Mike Aviles, and the inspiring story of Daniel Nava.

Nope. Lies. This team is not “close.” There is a rift between the pitchers and the position players, and – as I said up top – everybody hates the manager. Also, Jacoby Ellsbury hates everybody (he blew off reporters both before and after an optional workout on Friday).

On a side note, I do think Lucchino nailed his evaluation of Mike Aviles. I vote that Friendly Mike Aviles should be his name going forward. He certainly can’t hit or play defense, and he has no real spot in the lineup (although nobody does because Bobby V hates consistency), but god damn is he friendly. Look at that smile! Here’s to continued mediocrity in the second half from Friendly Mike Aviles.

The one constant on the field has been our beloved Big Papi, David Ortiz.  How thrilled we were that our gregarious leader reached the 400-home run plateau in a career that we hope will forever be with the Red Sox. 

Right, so that’s why you offer him one-year deals every single season – so he can forever be with the Red Sox. Got it. Also, I’m not sure “gregarious” is the proper way to describe Ortiz right now, who seems so offended by everything that happens on the team that he lashes out at the media at least once a week. But again, Larry, don’t let the truth skew your PR pitch.

As we begin the second half, we look forward to the return of the “varsity,” including Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, and the ever-dirty Dustin Pedroia. 

That’s not insulting or anything. I’m sure Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney, Nick Punto, Mauro Gomez, Cody Ross, Alfredo Aceves  and Ryan Kalish enjoy the insinuation that they are junior varsity players.

While this infusion of such talent in late July may make other General Managers green with envy…


What sort of twilight zone do you live in, Larry?

You can be sure that Ben Cherington and his Baseball Operations Staff will approach the July 31 trading deadline with their tireless work ethic.  If someone can further help this club, and if the deal makes sense, we will be aggressive.  

This one irks the hell out of me. The team should sell at the deadline. They’re not going anywhere, even if they somehow manage to sneak into the second Wild Card spot. They need to get younger, but they also need to sell off some of the pieces that are dragging the team down behind closed doors (Yes, Josh Beckett, that means you).

Instead, because everyone will still come to the ballpark and the sellout streak can continue if the team buys at the deadline, that’s what they’ll do. Or they’ll stand pat. But they won’t sell. They won’t put the long-term interest of the club ahead of the money-generating ways of the present. If they can maintain the status quo and dangle the fact that they’re still in contention, they’ll still make their money. And we’ll continue to have a mediocre team for the foreseeable future.

Theo always used to preach about having to take a step back before you could take a step forward, and that applies here. Or, we could just stand in place and win 85 games. Whatever.

Ready for my favorite piece of the whole letter?

Meanwhile, as you come to Fenway Park throughout this season, we hope you will come early—the secret to fully enjoying a sports venue.  Now “A Living Museum,” Fenway Park probably leads the league in bronze plaques and commemorative displays along the concourses.  Enjoy them at your leisure early, well before the escalation of excitement as game time approaches.  And as always, if you have reactions, suggestions, or ideas that will make the ballpark experience even better, we invite you to send them to [email protected]

Words can’t describe how angry that makes me. You’ll never miss a chance to plug your “museum,” will ya Larry? It’s good that the Sox lead the league in bronze plaques, because they sure as hell don’t lead the league in anything else. Well, except for greedy ownership.

This paragraph is so out of place in the letter that it almost seems like Lucchino slipped it in as a joke just to see how much stuff we could take. How dumb does Lucchino/everyone else in that organization think we all are? It’s such a slap in the face to plug your “statues”  in a letter masked as something to fire people up for the second half. Do they think we won’t see that? Does the team not think that we’re smart enough to see through this letter as a freaking advertisement?

But that sums up the 2012 – and really, 2011 and 2010 – Boston Red Sox right there. They can pretend it’s about baseball, and it’s about winning, but it’s not. It’s about them, and bleeding the fans, and putting a team on the field that has the ability to stay in the hunt. As long as that happens, they win.

Get ready for a second half filled with enough mediocrity to keep you interested. Anything more than that is simply a coincidence.

If that’s not good enough for you, Friendly Mike Aviles will be shaking hands after tonight’s game for a small $10 fee. Checks can be made out to Larry Lucchino.

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