No matter what state of flux (feel free to insert your own gentler or harsher synonym here) your Boston Red Sox are in these days, what with no less than 324 unanswered questions continuing to hover over their holiday hangover like some sort of laced eggnog, I do however believe we can all agree on one thing. Kevin Millwood will play the latest Chan Ho Park debacle much better for the Texas Rangers than he would have in Boston.
Beyond that, we can surmise four truths to be self-evident.
1. The Toronto Blue Jays have officially become better than the once and former World Series champs.
2. The once and former World Series champs are officially in a rebuilding mode.
3. Roger Clemens has become a more important possibility than ever for the Red Sox.
It is Dec. 27. Do you know who your center fielder and shortstop are? Hell, do you even know who your general manager is? As much as we respect the qualities of guys like Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer, earnestly toeing the company line for Larry Lucchino, who isn’t even pretending any longer that these guys are puppets, isn’t it about high time for Theo Epstein to step out from behind his heavily-burdened curtain and end this all-too-long charade?
We may never know whether the infamous resignation was all Epstein’s way to practice his on-stage warbling with Eddie and the boys, plan some quality time with the SO, or whether it was about power and money, as everyone supposed from the beginning. But as the offseason rolls along, and the quality of the product for 2006 begins to dip lower than the online customer satisfaction ratings for those supposed “guaranteed” deliveries in time for Christmas, it’s a wee bit convenient that the one some suppose is making the calls like some all-powerful Oz, is getting only a teeny slice of the blame pie. Because, if you’re not on the masthead, you can’t be accountable I suppose.
“When Damon signed with the Yankees? Nah, I was finishing my shopping over at the Chestnut Hill Mall…(snicker)…”
Now, let’s be frank, I would have liked to have seen Damon in a Red Sox uniform for 2006-07. Beyond that, I’d just as soon see one of Lucas’ guys out there in center field. C3-PO’s admittedly terrible throwing arm would be comparable at that stage don’t ya think? Although, he does seem dense enough to miss the cutoff man all too frequently, and plus, he’d conjure up way too many Kevin Millar memories with his inability to shut up.
So, while the Yankees’ $52 million deal was surely a George C. Scott kick in the groin to Red Sox fans just days before Christmas, Hanukkah, the holiday season, Kwanza, or magic days (thanks a ton, Medway) these aren’t the kind of contracts you dole out if you’re trying to achieve long-term financial stability in your franchise. As much of a cult figure and marketing tool as Damon was (egads, whom do they tab to do the Red Sox Nation club commercials now?) John Henry was right to balk at $13 million a season for him. That kind of deal certainly doesn’t fit into things when you’re r-…r…
Yes, I think we can say it aloud now. The Red Sox are rebuilding.
Kid, what? In this town? A place where it has been said and proven that you can’t rebuild based on the rabidity of the fans, not to mention the price they are forced to dish out? In Red Sox Nation, you admit you’re rebuilding, you might as well also come out and fess up that you’re into the whole Goats for Schools charitable program, because you’ll likely get the same inquisitive, Arnold Drummond eye squint as a result.
I paid how much for these seats to watch a rebuilding process?
In many ways, that’s why we’ve received so little information from the Red Sox outside of laughable impromptu press conferences. We don’t know what the grand plan is because there just might not be one. How else can one explain the harried Dan Duquette-like reaction of chasing Millwood after losing out on Damon? Uh, no thanks. That’s not going to cut it.
There really, truly is only one man out there who can come in and make people oblivious to the fact that the Red Sox are in rebuilding mode. One guy who can play Doc Brown to the Red Sox’ McFly, taking them back to the future, even if the flux capacitor that serves as his hamstring may break down from time to time.
Enough talk about long shots. Make it a reality. Roger Clemens in a Red Sox uniform. One last time. His presence may not make the Red Sox better than the Yankees next season, or even the Blue Jays, poised now to land one time Ramirez replacement possibility Troy Glaus. But his presence would be invaluable to guys like Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester, Manny Delcarmen, and Craig Hansen, youngsters who might need an occasional kick in the rear much like the one Clemens gave to Curt Schilling way back when. Yes, it’s part nostalgia tour, but it’s more than that. Reeling in Clemens would provide the team’s core of pitchers with a towering presence to push them along in their progress. As if Schilling weren’t enough, how are two ornery old dudes?
Yes, there’s the whole special treatment junk, not having to travel on road trips that he’s not pitching, etc., and it would be sort of interesting to see what Mr. Schilling thought or would say about that, no?
But wouldn't all that bum-kissing be worth having his presence for the Sox of tomorrow, as well as creating a buzz around this team that is going to afford for a fair amount of rose-shaded eyeglasses to be sold by the Yawkey Way vendors? Or at least more than those watered-down Bud Lights are gonna do on a warm summer's night in the bleachers, trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
As long as we're talking long-term, Clemens might be a better solution for the future of this club than Damon over four years. Even if he's here for just one season.