Theo Epstein's last-place Cubs beat Theo Epstein's last-place Red Sox 3-0 Friday at Wrigley Field. Ruined a perfectly good Friday afternoon. Two more games, both on national TV this weekend, coming up.
Dan Duquette's Orioles took the field Friday night for a shot at first place.
A year ago on Father's Day, the Bruins paraded the Stanley Cup into Fenway Park with all the splendor of the Allies marching into Paris. And like Europe after World War II, an Iron Curtain has descended across the Boston sports scene. The Bruins, Celtics and Patriots have all since reached the postseason and enjoyed various levels of success, if not leadership stability. The Red Sox, however, are giving Greece a run for its money when it comes to chaos and turmoil.
The Red Sox remain leaderless, clueless and are fast making 2012 pointless. Theo went out of his way this week to again shift the blame for the Red Sox 1,335-day playoff victory drought on "the Monster" or other demonic forces who also go by the name of Larry, Caroline and Wally.
Theo often gets too much credit for the Red Sox success in 2004 and 2007 and not enough of the blame and/or responsibility for the team's struggles since. He signed David Ortiz when some folks still knew him as David Arias, hustled to reel-in Curt Schilling (sorry Rhode Island taxpayers) in the wreckage or 2003 and showed major grit and baseballs pulling off the Nomar trade. His drafting skills (Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz among others) put Bill Belichick and Danny Ainge to shame. He gets half the applause/jeers for Josh Beckett since Jed and Ben made the trade that brought Beckett, Mike Lowell and that second 21st century ring to Boston. Theo did begrudgingly (as he would tell it) use John Henry money's to re-sign Beckett twice. By the way, Beckett has been scratched from Saturday's start because of shoulder inflammation. Look for him on the back-nine at Medinah sometime around noon.
Beckett aside, Theo's list of mega-flops would make the producers of "John Carter." "Heaven's Gate" and "Battleship" blush.
And coming to a big screen near you, Adrian Gonzalez. Among the players the Red Sox gave up for Gonzalez is Anthony Rizzo, who is back with Epstein and Jed Hoyer in the Cubs organization. After his first 60 games in Iowa this season, Rizzo had 22 HR and 57 RBI while batting .367 and led Class AAA in slugging (.753) and OPS (1.182). Malpractice suit anyone?
Rizzo could be this generation's Jeff Bagwell if the Cubs ever decide to call him up.
Theo would have us believe he was pressured into spending all that money foolishly by ownership and/or other forces that were only worried about pleasing the "Pink Hats" and NESN sponsors. Theo hasn't been in Chicago long enough to do much damage. He never planned to stay at Fenway forever and when he left that age-old complaint surfaced, through others of course, that poor little Theo didn't have time in nasty old Beantown to enjoy simple things in life like dinner with his family. Again, maybe he can have lunch with Steve Bartman after the Cubs win the World Series in 3004.
Theo's "the Devil made me do it" excuse for the Red Sox bloated and inefficient payroll screams loud and clear the reason why this team continues to go nowhere at full speed. The Red Sox are the same team that fell apart at the end of last season. Theo's fingerprints are all over the place at 4 Yawkey Way. And you know he just loved injecting himself back into the debate when he joined 98.5 The Sports Hub's Felger and Mazz and WEEI's Dennis and Callahan this week. His passive-aggressive ego wouldn't have it any other way.
The new Red Sox manager, you know the one who was the biggest story in the offseason, has been relegated to a cameo role in this season's slow fade into obscurity. Bobby Valentine isn't the problem or the solution. That sentiment hasn't changed since Valentine was hired last fall. Not even Billy Martin in his prime could motivate this bunch.
Unmotivated on the field, the Red Sox are fast becoming dull to watch. Anger is fading into apathy. The countdown to Patriots vs. Titans (Sept. 9, 1 p.m. CBS) ticks louder with each lackluster affair. It's only a matter of time before Kevin Youkilis' slump can be officially linked to his marriage to Julie Brady. The Red Sox may trade Tom's brother-in-law to put him out of our misery. The Curse of Gisele is becoming a family affair.
Friday's loss was the first time Boston was shut out by the Cubs since the 1918 World Series (Correction: That series was played at Comiskey Park and not the current Wrigley Field as noted earlier). That Boston championship was followed by the Great Influenza Pandemic. Red Sox fever in 2012 is not quite as contagious. But it may just bore you to death. Dice-K, making his second start since Tommy John surgery, pitched just well enough to lose. Again. Three walks in the first inning. Theo's $103 million investment appears to be returning to form. At the same time, Theo wants a pass because he wasn't given enough freedom from ownership to develop players. If the Red Sox were so opposed to player development, how did Pedroia, Ellsbury, Buchholz and the rest of those players we laud Theo for drafting make it to the majors before being traded?
Theo spent the week hinting he was opposed to deals like the Gonzalez trade because the Red Sox needed the occasional bridge year to develop talent like Rizzo. First off, the Red Sox have had four bridge years since 2007, including 2011 - which was known as the "Jump off the Tobin Bridge Year."
Check out Theo from the day of the Gonzalez trade.
"He's one of very best hitters in the game, left-handed hitter, tremendous ability to control the strike zone, hit for power, power to all fields. His natural stroke is to the opposite field, which is a great fit for our ballpark. He hits the ball the other way, so he'll be using the wall, and we think he'll wear the wall out going from [pitcher-friendly] Petco [Park] to Fenway Park." - Theo Epstein, Dec. 7, 2010
Hardly sounds like someone who was coerced.
He was either insincere then or untruthful now.
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