Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II
posted at 3/16/2013 2:13 AM EDT
In response to jasko2248's comment:
Nice, well thought out reply Jasko. Lots of good points.
In response to moonslav59's comment:
In response to jasko2248's comment:
In response to hill55's comment:
Diamondback pitcher Brandon McCarthy has postive words about the leadership skills of Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, his teammate on last year's division-winning Oakland A's:
Nice article, Hill...By all accounts, McCarthy is a sharp guy, but most people who've ever been around the game will tell you how important chemistry, attitude, leadership, etc. can be. I don't know if the attitudes of Inge & Gomes added "20 plus wins," but it clearly is important to have guys like this in this era. I think the '04 and '12 Sox are great examples of how it can go both ways. The Sox Front Office knew they had to fix the "clubhouse" before anything else not too long after the all-star break last year. It looks like they've done a great job in that respect and there is certainly enough talent to compete if these guys get off to solid start and start believing in each other...
Good chemistry can never hurt, but personally, I think it's a bit overblown. There are so many examples of teams winning with horrible infighting or clubhouse issues. Plus, when teams win, you rarely hear about issues in the clubhouse, or if you do, they are not overblown by the media. Here's an example, if we had not won in 2004, would the whole O Cabrera hitting on other player's wives been blown up? Would Manny's antics been blamed? Would issues between Tito and players been manufactured? Would fans be blaming over-cockiness or overly relaxed attitudes by the dirtdogs?
Cabrera did what he did with Foulke's wife after the World Series was over. The parties were pretty crazy, so it had no effect on the season. Manny is a different animal altogether. You could make a case he was the greatest right handed hitter of all time. Players dealt with him, because of his talent, and he could be in a good mood at times. I've heard lots of stories about the guy. Read Tito's book if you don't believe me. At one point, Tito was going to snap and Ortiz said, "let me talk to him tonight first." The next morning, Ortiz said, "F him." They were never close. Other players just said, "Bat him 3rd." They took the vote before the Dodgers trade, and it was 23 to 1. They had enough. Yogi Berra was right when he said the game was "90% mental." I'll agree to disagree, I've just heard too many stories. You cite the 70's A's & Yankees, but they had leadership, managers who instilled some fear, and when they stepped on the field, they "knew" they were the best team. It was different then.
Look, I'm glad our clubhouse seems like it will be more harmonious this season. I can understand management's goal to try and fix some issues or at least the perception of a chaotic clubhouse. Maybe it will have a long-lasting effect on some of our younger players, and these short-term (bridge) deals will work better than I expect them to, both short-term and longterm.
It's not about "harmony." It's about being loose and guys pulling for each other. Did you read what McCarthy said about Gomes? Someone who covers the Sox for ESPN told me that the 2012 Sox "clubhouse" was the worst he has seen in 20 years of covering 4 sports. That's a pretty bold statement.
I also think that we as fans do not often get the whole story, so I am always hesitant to read too much into reports of this or that being harmful to team moral or cohesiveness. Take the Lackey antics after a fellow teammate makes an error. This board roasted him alive, but later we hear that the players were not bothered by it, and think the world of John. Supposedly, he had a talk with the players and explained his actions in a way that they believed he was not trying to show them up. Which story is true? I don't know. Was he or is he harmful to team moral going forward? I don't know, and that leads me to think that a lot of this harmony stuff is so speculative that I try to avoid it. I don't blame Beckett one bit for any attitude issues, but some like Geo make it seem like he single-handedly brought about the collapse of 2011, even though he was one of our top 2 players that year.
Beckett commanded respect and he influenced bad habits, period. I'm not going to argue that point. Lackey's teammates love him because he cares, wants to win and always apologizes for his emotion. Pedey wasn't thrilled with it initially, but now he gets it. His teammates love the guy. I don't blame Beckett for 2011 at all, but when someone who covers the Sox calls him the "most despicable human being" he's ever met, it tells you something.
Can one or a few players cause others to play worse? I think so, but it is so hard to know for sure. I will say that although I am glad we no longer have Beckett at his contractual cost, I still wish he was on our team. I may be the only one who feels that way, but I'll take a pitcher who pitches like an ace every other year than some of the guys we got right now.
They would have traded Beckett this winter for nothing and ate his contract. It was that bad...We obviously disagree on the chemistry thing, but I would love to have you sit down with someone who has been around it. I heard Schilling say to Kruk at the winter meetings, "The only thing that guy cares about is his f.... batting average. I can't believe they made that trade." Not sure who he was talking about, but I could guess. We'll see what happens, but if this team stays healthy and gets off to a good start, they might have the right guys in the clubhouse to help avoid those long losing streaks. They may surprise you.
The Sox have a long history of accepting poor behavior as long as you keep producing. The superstars have always had a different standard, and that's not something only the Sox follow. To me, it's not so much the poor behavior that causes losing as it is the losing creates a frenzied media that seeks out, at times invents, and then overhypes the events and importance of a few incidents as evidence that the losing years had much worse chemistry than the winning ones. When a team wins, fans and the media can laugh at the silliness, immaturity, infighting or whatever. It doesn't need to be explained away. However, when a team with high expectations loses, our society is geared towards finding a scapegoat and accessing blame, usually on only a select few. Yeah, the guys with the poor attitudes or the ones who rub the media the wrong way seem to be the first ones put under the microscope.
Beckett was a proven winner when he came here. Yes, there were rumblings about clubhouse issues with the Marlins, but everyone loved him after his heroic efforts in 2007. He was a great influence on everyone back then. I remember hearing how he "made Lester and Buch better", then when things went south after Manny left (actually a bit before he left), all of a sudden, he's a bad influence on nearly everyone. I'm not saying he was or he wasn't, but the guy pitched better than all but maybe Lester after 2007. Like him or not, he was our #1 or 2 starter after 2007. We don't even get close in 2009 or 2011 without Beckett. Of course, we didn't get close in 2010 or 2012 partially because Beckett was hurt or pitching poorly, but hius record remains what it is: a plus even after 2007 and a huge plus over his whole time with the Sox.
Just a heads up. If we do poorly this year, watch all the reports on some clubhouse cancer or infighting being the cause of our failure. The blame game is a big part of today's culture, and seems to be magnified in the Boston area, perhaps due to rabid fans and a "gotcha" media.