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Posts Tagged ‘Alfredo Aceves’


Hindsight is always 20-20. Not really, as I consider responses to various events in our nation’s recent history. But it is easier to see where you went wrong because you see what went wrong.

Sometimes the warnings were there all along, and you ignored them. I think the Red Sox ignored some warning signs, and made some moves that resulted in their worst season since 1966, or the first full season for which I was alive.

First, they ignored warning signs regarding Carl Crawford’s health. I really like Carl Crawford as a player. I did not see him as a good fit for the Red Sox despite obvious talent. What I couldn’t know since I didn’t see medical reports was the linger issues with his wrist and elbow that were waiting to implode. He missed the beginning of the season after wrist surgery, and he missed the end as his elbow fell apart requiring Tommy John surgery right after being traded away.

This meant that the Red Sox had reserves playing left field most of the season, and when Crawford was in there, he was afraid to throw. They suffered defensively and offensively. It is one of the reasons they had 31 different position players take at bats in 2012.

Second, they ignored the warning signs about Bobby Valentine. I hated the hire. For a few days in Spring Training I thought I might be wrong. But I wasn’t. Soon Bobby was being Bobby, which means making clubhouse issues public, arguing with the media and a host of other distractions that players don’t need. When the injury crisis hit, Bobby wasn’t protecting players but stirring up more stuff.

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Photo by Christopher Evans

As many have noted, the Red Sox have hit the reset button on the team. The unthinkable happened as many people’s grandest dreams have been fulfilled; Beckett is gone and so is Crawford’s albatross of a contract.

I’ve been on record for not liking the Crawford deal, even before it happened. I hoped it would work out. It hasn’t. He is (was?) a very talented guy. But the burden of the contract, and Boston, worked against him. Even in a recent interview, he couldn’t avoid talking about being a $20 million/year man.

In Tampa, the expectations were not high. The team hadn’t left the basement of the AL East until 2008. So Carl only played on a winner for 2 years, and no one expected them to be any good. The Ravine will be more to his liking. People show up late and leave early. What they really care about is the Lakers. The Dodgers? Eh.

Beckett remarkably exhausted all of the good will from 2007 and what should have been in 2008. He was dominant last year until late August. And never recovered. Worse, he didn’t seem to accept any responsibility (unlike Lester), continued to do stupid things (unlike Lester) and continued to stink (unlike Lester). He probably has some injuries, but significantly he’s lost velocity on his fastball (not a good sign going forward). Dodger fans got a taste of our frustration as Beckett gave up a home run to the first batter he faced in Blue.

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I wanted to go to Baltimore for 2 reasons.  I have a friend with cancer.  I hadn’t seen him in a few years.  Our time in seminary overlapped, and we both served in Winter Haven at the same time.  We often commiserated.  I’ve been wanting to visit him.

Ellsbury hit a home run on the next pitch

I also wanted to catch a baseball game at Camden Yards.  A Red Sox game.  At the time I thought the Sox were a lock for the post-season (before the injuries piled up and so did their confidence).  I wasn’t sure if any regulars would be playing.  Well, the ones who could still walk would.  I enjoyed my time with my friend, including the game.  Here’s the story:

I thought it was a non-stop flight, but we made a quick stop in Albuquerque.  The recession is worse that I thought- gone are the you stewardesses.  I don’t think one of the stewards or stewardesses seemed to be younger than me, and I’m no spring chicken.  It was great to see all the green as I landed in Baltimore.  I was treated to crab cakes.  We enjoyed a trip to Annapolis to visit the Naval Academy.  But the Red Sox game had reached great importance. I both anticipated and dreaded it.

Just another pitching change

We arrived just before the national anthem.  While Camden Yards is designed like the older parks, it really has an open feel to it.  The gates open into streets with concessions and souveniors.  It is not a huge enclosed stadium.  We decided to eat at Boog’s BBQ.  Boog Powell was a star for the Orioles when I was a kid.  The servings were huge, for a ball park, so I didn’t mind the high price.  While we were in the very efficient line (amazing for concessions!!) the national anthem began.  I guess the local custom is to stop the music and soloist so the crowd sings “Oooooh!”.  Very interesting.

We made our way through some light rain to the 3rd base line, the other side of the park, and our seats. The seats were covered by the upper grandstand, but the rain stopped.  In terms of the field, we could see everything very well.  The board that tracked the pitch counts was obscured until I ducked down far enough to see it.

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