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Being World Champions Repeats on Red Sox
2004-12-16 01:22
by Mike Carminati

[The Cautionary Tale of Denis Leary's Left Nut]

The Red Sox coterie are waking up to what it means to win the World Series as evidenced in this high-larious MasterCard mock-u-mercial from the Comedy Central Site

The Mets are preparing to say hello to Pedro Martinez's little friend to the tune of $52 M over four years. Martinez apparently used the Red Sox's final offer to extract more from the Mets and then went back to the Red Sox indignant that the couldn't or wouldn’t offer more. According to Tom Verducci, "Every eye is dry today on Yawkey Way." He also claims that no other team was interested in Martinez.

I may be in the minority, but I don’t think Martinez will be that bad over four years. Yes, he is extremely fragile, and reports are that he is a he is an injury time bomb. Yes, he is a head case. Yes, he is coming off his worst year since before leaving Montreal (remember when they had a team). But Martinez was still a very good pitcher this past season (ERA 25% better than the park-adjusted league average), he'll be just 33 this year, and for all his fragility and inability to pitch on short rest, he did throw 217 innings this year.

Sure, he could become the next Mo Vaughn, but what do the Mets have to lose anyway? They probably don't have the offense to contend. So why not grab a few headlines away from the Yankees. And the Mets fans, eternal optimists they, will probably ride the free press to increased season ticket sales.

On the other side of the coin, the Red Sox really have nothing to be proud of. They let the situation fester and finally allowed Martinez's eccentricities overshadow the fact that they were losing a big factor in their championship and their success over the recent era.

Then the Sox turn right around and pick up Edgar Renteria, whose team they drubbed in the Series, to play short for a handsome chunk of change (four years $40 M). For all the talk of the Sox's David beating the Yankee Goliath, who's the one acting the mercenary? Meanwhile, Renteria is coming off an atrocious year (.327 OBP, .728 OPS—10% worse than average) following two very good ones. He'll be just 29 this year, but I find it hard to believe that he will perform at his 2002-03 level rather than the level this year and in his first six seasons.

While one can argue the merits of spending for Renteria instead of Martinez, there has to be some concern about how this little band of "idiots" who shave their heads, this little franchise that could, along with their fans is set to discard its former stars (can I get a Nomar Garciaparra, anyone?) in such a cold, uncaring manner. Where's Clarence Beaks, er, I mean Orlando Cabrera, anyway? Sayonara.

This is just a year after we were told by most of the media—Tim McCarver made it a personal crusade—and almost all the fans that it was a moral imperative for the Red Sox to finally beat the Evil Empire Yankees. And before you think I'm Sammy Maudlin getting all choked up unnecessarily, I know it's a business. I don't care if the Sox let the rest of their voluminous free agents walk and attempt to get an upgrade for each one. That's fine.

Just don’t tell me that they are the next coming of the Bad News Bears. The Red Sox are a big market team with a big market payroll. As far as I am concerned, they should be in the proverbial crosshairs of every other major-league team for the entire season. They are the champs after all.

So let's cut out all this "Aw shucks" crap. I'm sick of the disenfranchised fans who have suddenly leapt wholeheartedly onto the Red Sox bandwagon perched on the moral high ground. I'm talking about the guy at work who suddenly dons a Red Sox cap. It's too late to become a fan after a team has won a championship. I'm sick of the overt rooting for the Sox from Tim McCarver and his mediamates. And I'm sick of them getting a Mulligan on seemingly every major transaction that they’ve made since John Henry took the helm.

They get no more special treatment, no more favors, no more rhapsodizing in the press that the world would be a better place had the Sox gotten Alex Rodriguez instead of the Yankees. They have to own their success now. They're just like everyone else. They implored the gods of baseball for the ring. And someday they might realize that the pound of flesh it exacted from them was more costly than even Denis Leary's sacrifice.

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