Welcome to Cheers Month, where we’ll be writing about Cheers throughout October to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its premiere.
I think I’ve finally traced the origins of the clubhouse cultural problem that’s currently haunting the Red Sox. You know — the beer and chicken culture that persists even after Josh Beckett got shipped to Los Angeles. Lester’s still there, after all. But now that I’ve found out how it began, the organization can begin taking steps to correct it. The evidence is right here:
Remember, after all, Sam “Mayday” Malone’s Red Sox career overlapped with some of the franchise’s worst failures (Game 7 of the 1975 World Series, 1978 pennant race collapse, the Boston Massacre), and Malone was notoriously boozing it up at the time. No doubt he was a terrible influence on Luis Tiant, Bill Lee, Mike Torrez, Carlton Fisk and the rest of the guys on the team.
Denizens of Red Sox Nation, kneel before Ben Cherington and John Henry. Let them ease your burden. Let them lighten your load. Let them do that thing from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where they erase any memory you ever had of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.
There? Doesn’t that feel better?
So much lighter. Breezier. More carefree. It’s like you can breathe again without all those pollutants of expectation choking your lungs. Everything is going to be OK. At long last, everything is going to be OK.
Well, the latest public relations debacle for the beleaguered Red Sox organization has hit: Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reported that a group of players demanded and received a meeting with ownership in July to complain about manager Bobby Valentine.
It’s certainly been a tough 12 months for the team, with the historic collapse, beloved managerial ouster, fugitive GM escapee, and now an underperforming, discontent 2012 squad. Out of sympathy with the Red Sox and their fans, we are proud to provide a service today: we had a mole inside the meeting who transcribed what went down verbatim — and we humbly offer it to you now as a one-act play.
[Ed. Note: Our Boston insider, *Arriaga Pizzoza (*not his real name) spent the latter portion of 2011 researching the Boston Red Sox chicken-gate scandal, before running afowl of Big Brother and forced into exile. He filed this report back when it was still timely, but due to the southern hemisphere's lack of internet and postal service infrastructure, we only recently received this correspondence and forced one of our interns to retype it exactly as it appeared on the fast food wrappers he scribbled his notes on. Enjoy.]
Greetings fair reader and thank you for listening to my tale. Who am I? Well, I can’t tell you my real identity, but lets just say I have experience playing in and eating at the Boston Market.
Due to some trouble with the state of Rhode Island, I’m currently residing in an undisclosed South American village. What kind of trouble you ask? Let’s just say their tax department tried to “Sock” it to me, but the charges will never “ketchup” to me down here. Even if they try, they’ll have a “Reckoning” to deal with. Anyways, on to the story.
To get ready for the 2012 baseball season, we’re looking at each team by way of a short story or one-act play. Why? Why the fuck not. We kick things off with the best division in baseball, the American League East.
Boston Red Sox (Predicted finish: 93-69)
Carrying his Red Sox logo gym bag, Josh Beckett ducks into the trainer’s room, where media members are not allowed. He sits at a small side table in the corner of the room, facing the wall. He wears grey gym shorts and a sleeveless Sox pullover. His feet are bare.
The Boston Red Sox have won the winter* by trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing Carl Crawford, and in doing so, have committed an insane amount of money to two players over the next seven years. (Gonzalez will eventually sign a massive, Teixeira-sized extension, though he hasn’t done so yet.)
* At the winter meetings every year, columnists drool over which team won the winter, which is a ridiculous concept. They don’t give you a five-game lead in the standings for winning the winter in Jon Heyman’s mind. The Phillies supposedly won the winter last year with the Roy Halladay trade. How did that work out for them?
In this case, there’s no doubt the Red Sox have vastly improved an offense that already scored the second-most runs in the American League last year, and their starting pitching remains solid. It would be difficult to argue that the Red Sox are World Series favorites heading into 2011, even if the Yankees do sign Cliff Lee.
And if they do win the World Series, and if, as most analysts expect, Crawford ends up being worth nowhere near $140 million over the life of his contract, will it have been worth it?