Eating our own

I wrote this as a comment to someone’s remark about being “embarrassed’ to root for the Red Sox because of the way the front office is (supposedly) acting and figured I’d write it here as well because all of this shame and embarrassed talk has been bandied about an awful lot lately.

I don’t get everyone talking about being embarrassed to root for the Red Sox. You either root for them or you don’t. If folks are so bothered by the team there’s always the option to not support them. But, for me, the idea of not supporting the team because you think the owners are asses makes no sense since I’ve been supporting the team longer than the current ownership has been in place, and the team has had other owners (and GMs) who were assholes too.

And I mean it. Since when do we root for the team based on who owns it?  Prior to this ownership, were things so great between the front office and the players?  Did we have baseball crushes on the General Mangers before Theo?  What happened in 2004 (and then in 2007) brought this magical atmosphere to Fenway Park and made people forget the realities of being baseball fans…especially being baseball fans in Boston.  Sometimes you aren’t going to love everyone associated with your team.  You decide to be a fan and you can decide to not be a fan.  That’s on you, no one else.

For me, the team personalities are more important than those of the folks running the team.  Today we heard from two players, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.  Pedroia spent his time defending Terry Francona and talking about how all the controversy and the terrible way the season ended will add fuel to his fire and the team will come back stronger than ever.  Here’s a quote from Papi, courtesy of ESPN Boston:

“There’s too much drama, man,” Ortiz told Dominguez in reference to the Red Sox. “There’s too much drama. I have been thinking about a lot of things. I don’t know if I want to be part of this drama for next year.”

Papi also went on to not rule out playing for the Yankees.

Really?  Your team just pulled off the worst regular season collapse in baseball history, caused your manager to leave, is in the midst of losing its General Manager and has just been outed as a bunch of entitled prima donnas who purposely blew off their manager at crunch time and you decide to react to all of this by fanning the flames this way?

This bothers me more than what the front office is purportedly doing.  We’ve come to expect the front office to leak stories about whichever team member is leaving the fold.  It’s lousy (and regardless of all the media pinning this solely on Larry Lucchino, I’m not convinced there aren’t some players who contributed to this mess) but it really shouldn’t come as a surprise.  The fallout is what I find more interesting and, in some cases, distressing.

Pedroia was asked by Glenn Ordway why he was the only player to come out in support of Tito.  I had the same question.  Pedroia’s response was a muddled reaction of both saying he couldn’t speak for other players and saying that many of the other players don’t like to speak to the media the way he does.  I give Pedroia credit for not only protecting his manager but his teammates as well.  We’ve come to a point where someone needs to stop the bleeding so the team can heal and there should be more than just one player out there trying to do so.

One of the player’s being criticized, Jon Lester, has kept alarmingly quiet.  Much was made of the relationship between he and Tito, at least from Francona’s side.  Terry often mentioned he felt a father/son-like relationship with Lester yet here we find Lester was part of a clique that seemed to help run Tito out (whether it was intentional is up for debate) and now that he’s left the team and is having his name dragged through the mud, Lester is silent.  It’s disappointing and, in my opinion, telling of what kind of person he is.  Sadly, I think we’re finding out what kind of people many on this team are and, for me, they aren’t people I like very much.

Dustin Pedroia spoke with WEEI from Cabo today…yet no one else could find the time to speak up for their manager (or, for that matter, their team)?  And the one other player who DOES decide to speak out just whines about all the drama and throws out a thinly veiled threat to sign with the Yankees?  I feel like, come April, if there are a handful of players on this team that I’m still actively caring about, it’ll be amazing…yet I’ll still be here.

I’m a Red Sox fan.  For better or worse this is my chosen lot in life.  I can remember times when we didn’t like the owners, didn’t like the GM and didn’t like many of the players yet we still rooted for the team.  And that was before the team had two recent World Championships in their back pocket.

So come Truck Day, I will be at Fenway to show my support for the hometown team.  Ultimately, I will refuse to let this crap deny me the opportunity to enjoy the sport and team I love.

I so look forward to the time when we can all be joined in our hatred of the Boston sports media instead of focusing our anger on the team.  Someday.  Someday.

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