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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Projecting the future

Roger Clemens' elevation to his own, probably unreachable pedestal with 7 Cy Young awards made me think about the past, his past with the Sox, and how, in my opinion, he was rejected by management for all the wrong reasons.
The argument, as I recall it, was that he had been a mediocre (especially for him) pitcher the previous three years and that he had gotten fat and lost his desire and his pitching (not throwing) skills, all of which, visibly, was accurate, and that he had a bad attitude (which is debatable, in my opinion).
But the scourging he received in the media (Dan Shaughnessy in particular loved to wield the whip) also comes to mind. The power of the media (read: guys who cannot play but who talk about guys who can as if they were slugs, unfit to wear a uniform) combined with a weak-kneed and unapproachable ownership and management led to the now famous proclamation that they were letting go (not trading, letting go for FREE) a player in the twilight of his career. Amazing how quickly they went from shrewd judges of talent and value to dolts. (The doltishness kept up when Dan Duquette tried to shed his parsimonious image by overpaying Manny Ramirez.) (Dan and Dan -- interesting)
So, anyway, tell me now that they were right. Tell me now that they did not confuse their personal feelings and did not get influenced by the personal feelings of the media and fans when they did not even try to get a player for Clemens. Tell me that was good business. Tell me that there are not dumb deals made everyday among teams for mediocre players.
Now tell me: Is the current management going to be swayed by fans and media when they make their decisions about whom to keep for next year from the ridiculously large crop of Sox free agents? Are they going to let the bleatings and boastings from Scott Boras on WEEI influence their decision on Varitek? Or the bleatings and whinings of the EEI wizards or the callers?
Let's hope there are not dumb moves here, ones based solely on economics, that ignore the realities of how important certain people are to the future success of the Sox. Fair offers made and accepted or rejected are all I want to hear about these coming few weeks.
And let's hope the players choose the team above their own dollar dreams. They began to play as kids because they loved it and they kept playing because they wanted to win and they won because they played together better than anyone else. I do not hear Mark McGwire complaining about the millions he left on the table by staying in St. Louis because he loved it there. How many more millions does one need to ensure the economic well-being of the next four generations of his family?
Tim