Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The 4,326th time I considered giving up on the Red Sox forever

I've done my best to avoid ranting about the Red Sox this season. With the way they are playing I could honestly write about how furious they make me every single day. Even on their off days they find ways to upset me. You would think that when they aren't even playing that I couldn't get worked up but then I find this lovely jewel. Apparently Bobby Valentine spent the weekend wandering the streets of Chicago "rapping." Hopefully he has found a new love and will quit managing the Red Sox post haste. The entire crapfest of a season game to head on Friday as far as I was concerned. Despite everything logic was telling me I decided to spend the afternoon watching the Sox play the worst team in the major leagues.

I knew things were not going my way the second I got to my seat. It was a decent seat, I had managed to avoid sitting behind a pole or anything like that. The problem was the company I would have to keep for the next few hours. To one side of me was a family with four little kids. Sometimes I enjoy sitting near kids, it forces me to act like a civilized human being for one thing. There was just something about these kids. Immediately I could tell that they had never spent more than two minutes sitting still at any point in their short little lives. This ended up being true and they would go on to spend most of the game running around the stadium far away from my seat. Bullet dodged. Then there was the woman next to me. As she turned toward me as I made my way to my seat I saw the two dreaded white letters intertwined upon her navy blue hat. NY. I was sitting next to a fucking Yankee fan, great.

I had fully prepared myself to deal with a very specific kind of asshole; Cubs fans. Meaning I was expecting to sit near some overly drunk men and women who weren't even remotely paying attention to the game. If I was really lucky one of them would throw their arm around me and tell me about how Cub and Red Sox fans are exactly the same, this has happened to me countless times at Wrigley over the years and few things grate at me more. That being said dealing with a Cub fan isn't all that difficult as long as you are in the right mindset. Yankee fans are a completely different breed of awfulness. Any chance that she would be less than obnoxious went out the window as she immediately said to her husband, "Oh no. We have one of those people sitting by us." For the rest of the game every single time something positive happened for the Cubs she would get right in my face to gloat about it. Every time the Sox did something negative she was twice as exuberant. I was deeply shamed by how badly I wanted to smash in the face of a woman pushing 70. She kept going on and on about how great the Yankees were and how horrible the Red Sox have always been. I finally got her to shut up and leave me alone when she started talking about the 27 World Championships the Yankees have won and I naively asked her what it was like to have been alive to see them all. The inning or so of silence that bought was golden.

I truly believe that my seating situation contributed significantly to the fury seething barely beneath my skin, if nothing else it exasperated a rage that was induced by my beloved Red Sox. The game started out promising with Scotty Too Poddy (oh yeah, that's a 90's WWF reference) and Pedroia getting on base to start the game. Sadly this would mark the high water mark of the day. Gonzalez would strike out pathetically and the rest of the game went in the same vein. Later in the game we were treated to a "triple" by the Cubs pitcher. Pitcher triples are so exciting! Of course the only reason this was a triple and not a single with a two base error is that the scorekeepers at Wrigley are huge homers. If it wasn't for Gonzalez misplaying the ball horribly none of it would have happened. Which leads me to my number one gripe about the Sox: WHY THE HELL IS GONZALEZ PLAYING RIGHT FIELD IN THE FIRST PLACE?!!!!

I understand that the Sox have had a tremendous amount of injuries already this year and that the lion's share of them have been in the outfield. I also respect that Gonzalez is willing to play out of position in order to do what is best for the team. My problem is with Bobby Valentine ever putting him in right field to begin with. We just spent a boat load of money to have Gonzalez as our first basemen for the next decade or so. I'm also pretty sure I'm not the first person to notice that since the great collapse last September Gonzalez has been atrocious at the plate. OK, that might be stretch, the point is that he has been worse than he has ever played before. He went damn near a month this year without a walk. Watching him at bat is like watching an impatient kid playing RBI Baseball. Who cares where the pitch is going, let's just swing at everything so that the game doesn't get boring. Instead of letting him get his head right and figure out what exactly is causing this slump Valentine decides to throw him into the outfield so he has to worry about learning to field a completely new position on top of his hitting woes. What the hell? This is completely fucking idiotic. The whole dilemma is caused by interleague play, which I despise, and needing to keep Ortiz in the game. With the way Gonzalez is hitting would it really be that horrible to give him a day or two off? Then Valentine started putting him in right at home where there is no conflict keeping Ortiz out of the game. Why? So that Youkillis and Middlebrooks could both get in the lineup. Look, I love Youk to death, but when he is hitting .215 I don't think you need to completely screw up the psyche of our franchise player to get him in the lineup. Just platoon Youk with Middlebrooks until Youk gets his swing back or Middlebrooks wins the job out right.

While my head was completely frazzled by worrying about how we are destroying Gonzalez and effectively ruining the lynch pin of our offense for years to come I was distracted by the worst free agent signing in the history of baseball. Oh Dice K, it is so wonderful to have you back. What I witnessed was absolutely the most Dice K start of all time. He couldn't find the plate to save his life and walked 3 guys in the first. It took him over 50 pitches to get out of the first two innings. During those innings he gave up 3 runs and then magically figured things out and made it through six innings without any more damage and looking pretty good at times. If you looked at it in a vacuum one would assume this was a bit of a hard luck lice for Dice K. If the team doesn't score any runs it can't be his fault, it was a quality start after all. Yet from watching him pitch it was a fucking travesty from the get go. He tries to paint the strike zone so carefully that he is afraid to actually get that ball over the plate. It's especially infuriating because he never appears to be that wild. There aren't balls bouncing in front of the plate or sailing to the back stop, instead he just throws a lot of really close balls. As a fan this just drives me batty. I'd rather see him go full on Rick Ankiel than to endure watching Dice K nibble at the plate while working his way to 3-2 count for every single batter.

Damn this blog is long. I'll wrap things up. I ended up walking out of Wrigley furious that I had even bothered to head out to begin with. I guess I had a good time, it was a beautiful day and I had a wicked good brat. Of course the Sox would go on to win the games I didn't attend. And of course I took this a little bit personally. I had such high hopes for this season, sooner or later I have to accept that I'm a fan of a last place team and just give up on them. Ah, who am I kidding? I'll torment myself all summer long.

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