ESPN reported that Carl Crawford will be shut down and undergo Tommy John surgery Tuesday. Ben Cherington would only say the decision on Crawford's surgery will be made Monday. Meanwhile, Ichiro has filed a petition with the players' union that he only face Josh Beckett for the rest of the season.
Terry Francona and Orel Hershiser both openly criticized the possibility of putting Crawford on the shelf - saying in essence "it ain't over until it's over." Crawford, in his defense, is actually an athlete and he's no quitter. There is a world of difference between being injured and being unable to perform vs. being hurt because you're out of shape and had a back-blubber spasm. There will be no "Miracle at Fenway" this season, unless Beckett (5-11, 5.23 ERA) throws a complete game. The Red Sox are nothing this year if not predictable.
Whether the decision to have the surgery is made by Crawford, his agent, Valentine, the Three Stooges, Shemp Cherington, Wally, Jenny Dell or the guy selling beer in Section 27 - it doesn't really matter. The Red Sox need to stop selling the "Grand Illusion" of the second wildcard in 2012 and start thinking about building toward a division title in 2013. The Red Sox have too much money invested in Crawford to risk any further damage to the torn ligament in his elbow. For the Red Sox and their fans, it would be the kindest cut of all.
But there's good news in Red Sox Nation. Kevin Fowler of "Hell Yeah I Like Beer" fame posted on his Facebook page Sunday that he'll be playing at Beckett's charity event Monday - the "Beckett Bowl." That's not to be confused with Beckett's 2012 season - the "Toilet Bowl."
Earlier Sunday, the Red Sox continued to wallow in their dysfunction. So let me get this straight. It was Kelly Shoppach, with the candle holder, in the dining room, using Adrian Gonzalez's cellphone. Silly me, I had Colonel Mustard.
Forget, "Clue." Try "Clueless."
The New York Daily News said the dearly departed Shoppach came up with idea and wrote the infamous text message that triggered the July 26 Meeting of the Minds in New York. "Fan Cave" had nothing to do with it - well sort of. He just allowed the message that stated this mess to be sent from his phone because he was "sick and tired" of hearing Shoppach and friends complain about Bobby Valentine.
Of course, this was the same meeting that was supposedly routine and standard operating procedure for the past 10 years - so said John Henry in his missive to the masses. And even though nothing happened in this regular, routine meeting, that was entirely secretive, Henry and "Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox" saw fit to launch a media offensive last week in a desperate attempt at damage control and tell us that nothing of substance occurred while telling us at the same time they can't go into details.
While Valentine fits the role as the perfect patsy for this lost-season, Shoppach - who flat out denied being a part of any of this and was in Texas with his family on the day the infamous meeting occurred - is the perfect fall guy for this fiasco, being neatly disposed of right before the initial story of the meeting exploded across Red Sox Nation. Remember when Kevin Youkilis was the problem with this team? Those were the good old days.
The Daily News piece - on its surface - does a nice job in exonerating "Fan Cave":
"Gonzalez had nothing to do with the message’s content, which — according to a report this past week on Yahoo! Sports — indicated the team was unhappy that Valentine had left ace Jon Lester in a game to give up 11 runs against Toronto on July 22. 'The text message was not his idea or his opinion . . . or his words,'” one said. Those were from the small group of players that included Shoppach."
Yet no one denies that the message in question - which didn't even exist according to Henry's statement or the multiple appearances by Lucchino across the print, digital and broadcast spectrum - was sent from Gonzalez's phone. He at the least allowed his name to be attached to what was said. Even if Gonzalez was "tired of hearing the constant grumbling" from his teammates, why did he not tell them to "shut the hell up" and play? Nope, "Fan Cave" decided to be the front man in all of this - agreeing - according to the Daily News - that a message from him "would get management’s attention."
So even the story that said Gonzalez had nothing to do with the text message made it clear that he had everything to do with the text message and the subsequent attempted "coup d'etat" against Valentine by allowing himself to be the voice of the crybabies. In the real world, if you let someone use your phone to text a message to your boss using your name - it really doesn't matter who hits "send."
Then there's Lucchino. The Three Stooges - Larry, John and Tom Werner - showed up in Baltimore last week and wanted the world to know that all was indeed well with the Red Sox. So, Larry, why are Red Sox fans so angry? It is - get ready - the fault of the “jaded and cynical media” the team has imploded over the past 11 months. “We have to remember the jaded, cynical media does not speak for (or) necessarily capture the voice of the fan base."
In Larry's world. real fans - at least the one Pink Hat he ran into outside Fenway Park or the person who works for the Rockies but grew up in Worcester and still loves her Red Sox - know that any criticism equals disloyalty. Larry wants you to understand that if you're not happy with the way things are going - you're a misguided fool. "Keep the Faith." "Remember the Second Wildcard." "Buy those bricks."
Whatever you do - don't pay attention to the standings or the fact the Red Sox just dropped two out of three in Baltimore and New York.
As both a legitimate life-long fan and quasi-pseudo member of the media - that one quote personifies Lucchino's current Reign of Error over the Red Sox. The literal criticism about media is baffling considering the media members who actually cover the Red Sox can't seem to uncover any substantive news about their undoing. Lucchino is no doubt lumping in the folks on talk radio, a few venerable columnists and maybe even some bespeckled bloggers in his scatter-shot blast.
Still, the rip jobs delivered by "jaded and cynical media" have come as a result of 7-20, the trashing of Terry Francona, the lack of compensation for Theo Espstein, the departure of Jonathan Papelbon, the arrival of Valentine after the hapless GM got shot down on his first five picks,, another stumble out of gate, more injuries, a 12-14 record in July, a 17-29 record in games started by Beckett and Lester this season, more beer and the "Malice at the Palace." They were not the cause of it.
Has Larry forgotten how the media gushed over the Red Sox heading into 2011 and throughout the season. The Red Sox were still pegged as sure-fire postseason entrants by much of State Run Media until the rain stopped in Baltimore on Sept. 28. (In Larry's defense - some of us hit the 2011 panic button long before Robert Andino ever came to the plate in the wee hours of Sept. 29.) And before this season, Valentine was touted by so many as the answer to the team's problems.
Those sellout crowds of 27,000 or so at Fenway who leave unhappy night after night, the shrinking hundreds of thousands who tune into NESN expecting the worst, the partisans who boo Beckett when he exits early, cringe (and watch Bryce Harper in awe) when they get swept at home by the Nationals, the viewers who groan after each inning-ending double play and who swear in frustration whenever Gonzalez fails again to deliver in the clutch - they are disloyal. In Larry's world, real fans take solace in those very cool "Fenway 100" commercials featuring Clemens, Pedro and Tiant all teaming up to strike out Derek Jeter. Real fans ignore the real Jeter hitting his 250th homer against the Red Sox Friday night or his three hits Sunday. It's all about the Red Sox "experience" and "enhancing the brand." That's reality, don't you see.
(Self-serving re-tweet of myself alert) Before this weekend's series - @RealOBF tweeted the following:
That's what a mercenary like Lucchino doesn't understand. His "loyalty" to and "love" for the Red Sox will only continue as long as his contract permits. Ours will, unfortunately at times, never end. He's paid to "run the Red Sox" - something he has not done very well since about 2008. (For this exercise - we'll define "doing well" as having won a playoff game.") Lucchino was born in Pittsburgh and played basketball with Bill Bradley at Princeton. He did not grow up living and dying with the Red Sox - like so many of the millions who watch this team did. He's worked for the Redskins, Orioles and was a part-owner of the Padres. He's an attorney - and a very good one. He likes cheap watches. And, like any good attorney, he can argue all sides of any case but knows not to get emotionally invested in any of them.
That's the most insidious part of Lucchino's swipe at fans - like myself and probably a few others - who are so overwhelming disappointed, disgusted and dispirited with the current state of the Red Sox. His relationship with the team is strictly business. Ours is entirely personal. His childhood was not marked by milestone trips to Fenway Park - whether watching Texas Rangers manager Ted Williams put on an epic pre-game batting exhibition back in 1972, being at the first "Looooie" game in 1975, the World Series finale against the Reds later that year, both Oct. 1 and 2 in 1978, Yaz's 400th home run and so many others. Larry doesn't still carry a photo of himself with his now collegiate son at his first Red Sox game (Opening Day - 1997). Larry did not visit the cemetery after the 2004 World Series to lay a Red Sox hat at the gravesite of his parents. But he'll happily exploit those of us who did. Even "Sweet Caroline" was special - the first 10,000 times.
Shame on Lucchino for questioning the loyalty or judgment of anyone who bristled at the amount of money paid to Crawford, the length of the John Lackey deal, the hiring of Valentine and the symbolism that he'd be the answer to all of the team's problems, the fact that the single biggest monthly collapse in baseball history coincided with the arrival of Bud Light and Popeye's, the neutering of Cherington, the litany of out-of-shape players, horrible starting pitching, inconsistent play, lackluster loss after loss and everything else that has occurred leading up to the current state of the Red Sox.
Red Sox fans want their team to win in the worst way. Well, can it get any worse than this? Again, there have been no arrests yet, so the answer is "yes."
Larry, want the "voice" of the fan base?
"Two words. Seven letters."
We'll still be here next year.
How about you?
As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.
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