1. This is the most interesting/enthralling/compulsively-readable piece I have read in a long time:
Titled "Return From the Dark", it is written by Tony Conigliaro himself (with help from Jack Zanger) and published in the June 22, 1970 edition of Sports Illustrated. I was thoroughly impressed by a ballplayer’s ability to describe the experience and pain of having his face destroyed by a pitched ball. I have heard of Tony C’s beaning, of course, being a Red Sox fan, but never before have I heard about all that went into that night, that season, and Tony C’s story. A must read. There is also a part two that I have yet to read.
2. The hot Red Sox topic of the day in the Twittersphere is a Buster Olney blog published today titled, “Boston Red Sox Deep in Dissension”. Here is the link:
I haven’t read the entire article/blog post because I am not an ESPN Insider. If you are, have at it. If you are also not an Insider, here is what I have been able to dig up about the post’s contents:
- There is rampant unhappiness and frustration throughout the Red Sox clubhouse on the part of players and staff. They are frustrated about the way their situations have been handled and they have been sounding off about their unhappiness to friends, family, and agents.
- Some Sox players (and staff I guess - I’m not sure if this refers to coaches, grounds crew, peanut vendors, bat boys, or who exactly) have already started talking about leaving town as soon as they can to play elsewhere
- Some players have been exhibiting poor body language during games, which can be openly seen “for those aware of the problems”
- “If they don’t win – if the Red Sox don’t make the playoffs – there will be a time when all of the exasperation and frustration is going to spill out spectacularly.”
- “It doesn’t take long to ascertain that the Red Sox are a splintered group, with a lot of players and staff unhappy for a lot of different reasons. If they do come back and make the playoffs, it’s not going to be because of a united clubhouse. It’s toxic.”
The timing of this blog post seems a little strange considering the Sox have won 4 out of 5 to climb back to .500, but I suppose it is because Olney happened to be covering the Sox for Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.
It’s not like it is a shock that the Sox clubhouse is toxic. I don’t think anybody fainted with disbelief when this post was made public. I do think it is interesting that the post is full of harsh rhetoric, yet it is extremely vague on who exactly is doing all of this bellyaching within the Sox clubhouse. I found it interesting that he repeatedly used the phrase “among players and staff” instead of just “among players”, leading me to believe that somebody on the coaching staff (or the guy who washes the jockstraps for all I know) unloaded some serious dirt to Olney over some brewskis at the Cubby Bear in Chicago over the weekend.
As far as players go, I can think of four players off the top of my head who would have various reasons to be unhappy with how their situations have been handled:
- Daniel Bard. He was obviously unhappy with his demotion to AAA and has basically acted like a whiny little child all year about his transition to the rotation.
- Kevin Youkilis. Everybody and their mother knows that the Sox want to trade him, and the sooner the better. He’s only playing to try to showcase his health for other teams and he knows that too.
- Clay Buchholz. Bobby V dropped a nugget to the press about Clay’s refusal to pitch on Sunday night instead of keeping that info in the clubhouse or manager’s office where it probably belongs.
- Josh Beckett. Whipping boy for chicken and beer and golfgate. His off days are his off days. His refusal to speak to the media after two straight starts. His somewhat-mysterious injury and DL trip.
- Here another one that never gets mentioned, and is a total guess on my part: Dustin Pedroia. Ever since his lambasting of Bobby V back in April I have suspected that Pede isn’t thrilled with this clubhouse and staff. I could totally picture him being unhappy and spouting off to fellow players, family, and his agent about it, and I could also picture the line about players making plans to play elsewhere as soon as they can being about Pedroia. Probably wherever Tito ends up managing next year. I hope I’m wrong. Again, no published reports here, just an inkling.
I have never heard of a baseball team winning consistently and making a playoff run with a toxic clubhouse. Maybe it has happened, but it would have to be extremely rare. Therefore, I think it is imperative that Ben Cherington act quickly and decisively here. Start getting rid of some of these malcontents. Allow young, talented players in Middlebrooks and Kalish to play everyday. Trade Youk now. Make a decision on what Bard is and tell him to either suck it up and like it or trade him too. Explore trading Beckett back to the NL for fifty cents on the dollar. Cut out the cancers and allow young talent to sink or swim. We’ll be better of in 2013 for it, if not 2012.
3. Here is an addition to the Olney piece by Art Martone at csnne.com:
Martone claims that the Bobby V slip to the media about Buchholz refusing to make Sunday’s start is indicative of the overall clubhouse toxicity. He seems to put the brunt of the blame for the problems on Bobby V’s inability to keep conflicts under wraps in the clubhouse. I’m not sure I disagree, but if this is all Bobby V’s fault, then how do you explain last September, which seems to be the root of all this dissension?
4. In another example of how up-and-down, topsy-turvy, outhouse-to-penthouse this Sox season has been, on the same morning that Olney publishes his blog that the clubhouse is ready to explode into a catastrophic mushroom cloud, Ken Rosenthal writes an article claiming that he thinks the Red Sox are still a title threat and outlines four reasons for hope:
How is Red Sox Nation supposed to react here? Are we supposed to be running for our gas masks and bomb shelters, or preparing for the Sox to start climbing the AL East standings?
5. In Brian MacPherson’s game recap from last night, here outlines the spark that Ryan Kalish provided for the Red Sox:
Catching a glimpse of what Kalish can do last night cemented my belief that he should be our everyday center fielder immediately. His youth and enthusiasm will be good for the dugout, his speed, fielding, and power will be good for the lineup, and his huge schnozz will be uplifting for big-nosed people everywhere. What’s not to like?
Really though, by teaming Kalish with Middlebrooks in the lineup, the Red Sox could begin to establish two home-grown talents that could be cornerstones of this team for years to come. And who’s to say that Ellsbury is going to come back and be totally healthy or effective? If it’s 2010 all over again for Ells, then Kalish should be our CF for the rest of the year. If Ells does come back healthy and productive, Kalish should become the everyday RF and Ross can find platoon duty.
6. According to this article by Sean McAdam csnne.com:
Nava’s suicide squeeze last night was not due to a sneaky managerial decision, but because Nava’s hand still hurts too much to swing a bat right-handed. So my question is, “why is Nava still on the active roster and not the DL”? If his hand hurts too much to swing at all right-handed, then he can’t be able to generate much power left-handed. I would DL him and bring Lars Anderson back up to platoon in LF with Ross. Lars has raked in AAA and deserves more MLB time, IMO. Or they could go with the defense of Che-Hsuan Lin. Either way, why carry around an ineffective Nava?
That’s all I got for today. Feel free to weigh in on any of my opinions or links below. And if you’re still reading this, do yourself a favor and scroll up to link #1 and read the SI article from 1970 by Tony Conigliaro. You won’t be disappointed.