I have a confession. I dozed off in the 8th inning. Even with my family’s loud exclamations to punctuate that was going on in the game, I flat out fell asleep in the 8th inning. Just as well. I fell asleep thinking the Red Sox was going to will. How better way to be knocked out?
What can I say? I was dead exhausted. So much so that, for the first time in over fifteen years, I woke up not knowing where I last placed my glasses.
When the game ended, Dad shook me awake ever so gently. But it was the words he spoke into my ear that really roused me. “Go to bed, sweetie. Game’s over. Papelbon blew another save.” So that was what all that commotion that I was vaguely aware of was all about.
*sigh* well, trudge off the bed anyway. The Sox isn’t going to help me catch up on rest.
I’m clapping like a gleeful 4-year-old with the news of the clubhouse exercising the option for Wakefield. Yes, he is injured. Yes, he had not had a good postseason. Yes, he had not had a good end of the regular season. But 17 wins in a season? It counts for something. It counts for a lot. Then there is also the intangible.
I alluded often to the “Red Sox identity.” The postseason really emphasizes on how professional baseball is different from school teams. It’s business. I don’t say it in a demeaning way, just factually. But, given all that, once the player is on a team, he plays for the team. I didn’t see a single person on that team being half-hearted about the World Series win, even if he was bound for free agency. All this, after all, is a team sport.
But some players got deeper into the sense of team and seem to adopt the team as his home team. Those players identify themselves as a member of that specific team, regardless of pay, and regardless of team’s hardware or lack thereof. Of course, this sense of is limited to some common sense factors like decent treatment from the clubhouse, some level of loyalty to the coaching staff and nucleus team composition.
Some players I feel had developed a true sense of Red Sox identity:
- Varitek (obviously, the captain)
- and Wakefield (for whose return I truly celebrate)
Some, I hope, will develop as they go deeper into their budding careers, and some of whom are starting to show it, but are really too rookie to tell:
Finally, some who want to, providing the club demonstrates some reciprocal treatment:
- Schilling, to some degree
And I’ll dare to say it: sometimes I feel Manny is Red Sox, other times I wonder if he plays more for himself. He certainly has helped define the Red Sox with his seemingly carefree and loose attitude. But who has his loyalty? We may technically hold the contract but what is his heart saying? I can’t tell.
Also, I have no idea where to place Crisp and Beckett. I hope Beckett joins the club in more ways than a contractual agreement. Being the ace certainly made him more appealing but how red does he bleed? How red is he capable of bleeding?
Finally, I get a taste of offseason with no baseball games and no player antics to comment on. I scour the newssites and there really isn’t much going on outside a few postseason dealings and Papelbon making late night.
Looks like Torre continues to coach. I am not surprised. He is far too accomplished and talented to retire, no matter his age. Furthermore, baseball has been so important in his life- he can’t be forced to retire. He needs to retire on his terms, when he wants. So the Dodgers gained big time. Hopefully, the team will support the hype of his joining. Unlike what I remember of the hoopla that surrounded this city when Joe Gibbs came back to coach for the Redskins. The fans predicted an immediate turn-around with the team and a Super Bowl visit that same season. Hmm, doesn’t quite work that way. Patience and time, fans. It takes both for changes to take effect, unless we’re talking about a complete overhauling.
I was reading Curt Schilling’s blog today. It seems to be the primary source of Red Sox reporters’ articles anyway. And one comment from a fan on his latest entry really resonated in me: “My only question is, did you have to start talking about free agency, the very 1st day after the World Series? Couldn’t it wait a week?”
Um, actually, that’s true. Why that day, the Rolling Rally day? And on his blog as well. How much of a grace period did he have to declare free agency? Was it ten days or so? It may be something in the regulations and policies and I simply don’t know about it. Was it his way of forcing the Red Sox front office to act by creating competition? Or was it a message to the fans that “it just ain’t happening, so goodbye!” Or maybe not the fans, but, rather, to the clubhouse itself, as a kiss-off? I can only wait and see.
This postseason stuff is slow, man. I ought to know. I used to be in the business of contracting and, boy, “slow” doesn’t even begin to describe how dragged out the process can be. But, at the same time, if both parties really want the agreement down fast, it can be done.
So, back to watching leaves fall.