Well, I'm feeling all postpartisan and bygones-be-bygones, how about you?
Now that we have embarked on a new era of change and goodwill — and if you can’t believe flash-frozen CNN haircuts, who can you believe? — I think it’s time for the folks around here who work in and around sports to get with the program. For example, I think it’s time for us to invite Bill Polian down to Foxborough to see a show, shop for lingerie, buy a hamburger at an adjustable rate of interest, or whatever else he wants to do at the Kraft Family Empire along Route 1. Maybe he can go to the great big fishing shop and buy something that won’t sink before the third weekend of the playoffs. Let’s have Brian Cashman, Randy Levine, Hank Steinbrenner, and all the Yankee pooh-bahs over for some Triscuits and cheese, and we can ask them how they manage to stick up the entire state of New York without a gun.
There is one reconciliation devoutly to be wished, though. I have grown concerned about the local baseball team, and it’s not because I believe that the earth will open along Lansdowne Street and giant winged lizards will rise to devour the Cask ’n Flagon if the team doesn’t sign a 36-year-old catcher who hit .220 last year. (Note to the local hysterics: Josh Beckett has won two World Series with two different teams. He doesn’t need a nanny. Pass it on.) No, I’m concerned that the team will not hit well enough in the middle of the lineup, what with Jason Bay being the only incumbent thereabouts who is not both aging and injured. (David Ortiz says his wrist feels fine. Mazel tov. It’s January.)
I realize that they were good enough to get to within one game of defeating the Tampa Bay Rays last season for the right to have Cole Hamels stand them on their heads in the World Series, but I think they need a little additional pop to make sure that Ortiz and Mike Lowell can work their way back into shape carefully.
Cruising the sports pages the other day, I noticed that there is a free agent out there who’s hitting .314 lifetime with 527 home runs and who, last year, almost singlehandedly lifted a mediocre bunch of Los Angeles Dodgers into the playoffs. He hit 17 home runs down the stretch and knocked in 53 runs in as many games. And, almost unbelievably, he’s on the market. Right now. There seem to be some whispers about the San Francisco Giants, but they shouldn’t be that hard to outmaneuver, since they have Barry Zito tied to one leg like an anchor. A team with the sparkling young brainpower of the Boston Red Sox should be able to sabermetric the Giants back to the Island of Misfit Ballclubs, where they belong.
So what's standing in the way of the Red Sox solving all their offensive problems by signing free agent Manny Ramirez?
I know things didn't end well here. In fact, they ended so badly that a local television sports operation put together an actual documentary about how badly they ended, with ominous music and portentous sound bites. This was really quite something. The sportswriters in the show were positively mournful over the terrible situation that had arisen in the Red Sox clubhouse, where all was once unicorns and candy glass. Radio talk show hosts also were dreadfully exercised about the situation, and there is simply nothing like radio talk show hosts being dreadfully exercised about something. It's like watching high Mass in the monkey house. Curt Schilling got to play Braveheart dress-up again. People even yapped incoherently about keeping Ramirez out of the Hall of Fame because certain people believe he occasionally jaked his way out of the lineup. At least, at the eventual induction, he and Yaz will have something to talk about.
And there were, of course, the usual rumors about “off-the-field problems.” It behooves us to mention here that the greatest off-the-field kerfuffle last season involved that aforementioned catcher, without whom the lava flowing down Brookline Avenue this summer will complicate traffic considerably.
And that hasn't seemed to cool the ardor of his admirers among the sporty press.
Still, we are all postpartisan and bygones-be-bygones, right? I mean, you traded the guy. You leaked the stories. You got your infomercial on the television. In return, you got the most productive seven years that your team ever has gotten out of any player, not to mention the only two world championships the team has won since the Armistice was signed. Hey, you got rid of him. He didn't sneak out of town in a gorilla suit or anything.
It seems to me that all books are in balance and it's time to start anew. Bring him back. Can we forget the past? Can we let those bygones be bygones? Can we all just, you know, get along?
Dare I say it?
Yes, we can.
OT columnist Charles P. Pierce is a Boston Globe Magazine staff writer.