Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas to all who stop by this blog: I appreciate all of you taking the time out of your busy lives to read the ramblings of a madman shaking a geranium.
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So the Red Sox have lost their way, have they? They lost Johnny Damon. They lost out on signing Kevin Millwood. They lost out on trading for Troy Glaus. Excuse me, but for those salaries, how can you call the team that signed the player the winner in the deal?
Millwood signed for basically a five year $60 million contact, which is simply insane money for such an inconsistent starter with shoulder problems. Of course, after the moolah that was thrown at Pedro Martinez by the Mets last year, I guess that it is par for the course. Johnny Rock Star, as we are all aware, went to the Yankees for roughly the same amount of money that Vlad Guerrero recently signed for after the 2003 season. What does that mean? I would say it means that the Red Sox are putting themselves in position to compete every season with a reasonable payroll. Like the Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves, and the Los Angeles/Anaheim/California Angels, the Sox are attempting to build the team with young pitching talent from within, smart trades, and calculated free agent signings.
Now I try not to be an uppity New England sports blogger like some sites where they mock and ridicule with disturbing delight the Sox fans who are upset at losing Pedro, Lowe, and Johnny as whacko band-wagon freaks who have no idea who Tom Brunansky is and what his role in Red Sox history is, and therefore are not allowed to comment on the team. Rather, I think that the strength of the current Red Sox Nation is their ability to incorporate fans who are not trapped in the gloom-and-doom cycle of angry vitriol. The Sox were done in by bad management in the past. Nothing more, nothing less. The Red Sox Renaissance coinciding with the end of the Yawkey era is no mere coincidence. For all the bashing and ignorant hateful words that are heaped on Larry Lucchino, John Henry, and to a much lesser extent, Tom Werner, the triumvirate has done more in three years to make the Red Sox a better team, better neighbors, and a better entertainment value than the Yawkey Family and Trust did in seventy years.
The Red Sox are never going to win by going head-to-head and dollar-to-dollar with the Yankees: that is how the team ends up signing Jose Offerman and trading for Crazy Dinosaur Loving Carl Everett. The Sox can out-think, out-maneuver, and out-hustle the Yankees and that is exactly what is going on right now. The 2006 Red Sox are being built not to just match-up with the Yankees, but the Sox have an eye on their real rivals: The Chicago White Sox, the Anaheim Angels, and the Oakland Athletics. The Sox have finally decided to build their team around a spectacular starting rotation, one built with Power (Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett), Veteran Guile (Tim Wakefield, and, if he returns, David Wells), Potential (Bronson Arroyo and Matt Clement), and the Future (Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester, and just maybe the crafty lefty Abe Alvarez).
The Yankees may have sunk $96 million this year into the first six batters in their line-up, but they have misplaced their blueprint for success from the heydays of the 1990s. Gone are Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, David Cone, David Wells, Ramiro Mendoza, and El Duque. In their place are the Way Too Old (Mike Mussina and the Big Eunich), the Too Little Too Late (Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano), and the Flash-in-the-Pan Retreads (Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon). All they have is Chieng-Ming Wang, and the jury is still out on the Wanginator.
For all those ninnies shouting about the Red Sox not having a plan, they have a great plan. Their plan is to get it right for the long term. The Red Sox are, like the Patriots have done and what the Celtics are also trying to do, in a position where the right moves can be made to make themselves a constant and continual contender, and I for one say it is time to rise up above the din from the Big Show and other talking heads and celebrate the strong, exciting team the Sox are building rather than run around like Chicken Little when some idiot overpays for an over-rated media star.
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