In the spirit of Robert Lee, I made a discovery the other day.
Well, well, well… Looks like we’ll have to take Joe Buck out of the booth. Wouldn’t want anyone getting offended, since he fought in the Alabama militia of the Confederacy.
Your call, Fox.
Isaiah Thomas got traded along with Jae Crowder and the Brooklyn pick for Kyrie Irving. The trade comes as a bit of a shock to me, considering that Cleveland is now trading its second best player to its closest conference contender, but at the same time they’re falling apart by the minute. I think Boston honestly comes out the better team, without the salary issues that come with keeping IT4 and debating whether to give him a max deal. Irving is even a better overall player than Thomas. Crowder is a decent at best player whose best attribute was his team-friendly salary. Brooklyn is finally improving, and has the potential to be a much higher lottery pick rather than first overall like last year.
But to my main point: Thomas was the heart and soul of this team. He’s the reason Horford and Hayward signed in Boston. He was the iron-balls champion of the fourth quarter. He is the singular reason why the Celtics’ rebuilding process ended up lasting one season before they were able to reach the postseason again. To be traded away now that they’re on the cusp of beating Cleveland really sucks.
To be clear: Irving is a better all-around player. He has demonstrated that he has the ability to be clutch, and is a better point guard (which works better now with Hayward) who can still score if he has to. The Celtics are definitely better now, especially defensively. But Thomas was the Celtics, and to see him go like this is shameful after all he’s done to bring Boston basketball back.
John Henry wants to change Yawkey Way to a different name, because Yawkey was a racist. Of course his suggestion is to rename it after David Ortiz, because Ortiz doesn’t have enough shit named after or given to him these days. The best part is that he called it a “haunting reminder” of the city’s “history of racial intoleramce”, as though he just bought the fucking team yesterday and hasn’t owned it since 2002.
Tom Yawkey was racist. That much is true. He gave Jackie Robinson a workout back before he was signed to the Dodgers, but he had no real intention of signing him and passed on other legends like Willie Mays, who probably would have gotten the Sox to a world series playing with other legends like Yaz.
But Yawkey was tremendously important to the Sox. The team was following the tailspin of losing every hall of famer, great player, even decent player from previous mismanagement (particularly Harry Frazee), and watching the Yankees buy up all of their talent to win championship after championship. They didn’t win a World Series, but they contended for several, and played in three, during his ownership. He prevented the Sox from the potential of moving out of Boston or perpetually feeding the New York roster with developing stars, which would probably be worse.
Yawkey was also a beloved member of the community of Boston, according to people who knew him at the time. His charitable contributions were enormous. The Jimmy Fund, truly one of the greatest organizations in our country, wouldn’t be nearly as successful as they are today without his constant support.
We can’t pretend that Yawkey’s only characteristic was that he was racist. We don’t have to and shouldn’t justify it. but at the same time we can’t say that it prevented him from doing anything good for Boston and for the Sox. We can find fault with literally any historical figure in any circumstance, and there can be an argument against momuments or public recognition of any of them. In this case, John Henry is clearly caving to social pressure from a very small minority of vocal protestors, many of whom couldn’t care less about the Sox or their history.
This has been a topic for the last several days. A bunch of Pats fans got photographed with Roger Goodell in a borderline guerilla attack, and suddenly everyone is up in arms. Dale and Holly with Keefe on WEEI couldn’t stop talking about it.
So it opened up the quesrion: would you take a photo with Roger if you were asked? Plenty of people had opinions. Here’s mine:
I would do it conditionally. If I were paid, or given some sort of merchandise for it, I’d do it (but I wouldn’t smile). I would do it for the chance to make some sort of face or gesture to show my displeasure for the man who tried to screw the Patriots for two years. I would never do it just to take a photo with a famous person or because I like football, nor do I think people should “get over it”. What Goodell did was wrong, and a blatant middle finger to Pats fans. He now finally has the gall to show up in Foxboro, and I hope they give him the welcome he deserves.
We get it. You hate fun.
It’s very natural and human to celebrate doing something well, especially in sports. Celebration dances in the NFL were great until Roger “Adolf” Goodell decided to get involved. Soccer allows a full several minutes worth of dancing after a goal. The NBA hasn’t cracked down on celebrating after a nice run or a game winning shot.
For some reason, baseball fans like to pretend they’re better than everyone else because their players don’t express emotion when they succeed. If they do, they’re told to “act like you’ve been there before”, or “act like an adult” as though adults never express joy.
There are plenty of fans who love watching guys show emotion during the game which they’ve devoted a significant portion of their life to perfecting. Particularly younger fans would love to see more outbursts, fights, attitude, and swagger. It’s dull to watch a hunch of guys going through the motions of playing without any heart or passion. Playing baseball isn’t meant to look like a Bill Belichick press conference; it’s a game.
So if you think people shouldn’t show emotion or express anything during games, shut up. Don’t start getting on the Sox outfielders’ case for the “win, dance, repeat” gatherings after wins. Don’t get on your high horse every time the benches clear after an argument or a HBP. Especially dont complain when players fight- those are some of the most memorable things about some of the best rivalries (like the great Sox-Yankees fights of 2003-04). Let them play ball and react to what happens with all the passion that they have for the game.
Here we go again!
In my second round of unexpected events, we return to the Pablo Sandoval saga. He is of course back with the Giants, called up to replace a guy named Belt (because God loves irony). He has 2 hits in 7 at bats now, which is better than his stats in Boston already. But Pablo isn’t the focus here.
The story is Barstool’s Boston super fan Jared Carrabis’s fans throwing down the gauntlet with the most expected of opponents: Smash Mouth. The band. The Shrektacular band apparently loves the guy, probably because he actually gave a shit when he was in San Francisco back in 2014, while Carrabis followers took up the banner of Boston and attacked his lethargy. The band seems to think that it’s cool that he openly gave up after getting a big payday. Carrabis, for his part, didn’t want to get into it with Smash a mouth, despite the potential for a throwdown of the ages.
Personally, I like Smash Mouth. They have some fun songs, and I liked All Star a lot even before seeing Shrek and before it became a meme. Carrabis, on the other hand, is one of the best baseball writers in the business, and his Sox coverage is far more entertaining than anything ESPN or even NESN ever produces. In a battle of baseball wit, Carrabis would certainly have the edge, especially given that the subject is Sandoval’s performance.
However he performs in San Francisco, Boston fans will never forgive him for taking so much money and mailing it in. Such unprofessional behavior is indicative of an issue with accountability in baseball: once they get paid, it doesn’t matter how they play. Is it time to change the CBA? Should teams be protected from players who openly and blatantly take huge deals and then decide not to even try to earn it? Should MLB contracts be structured more like NFL contracts, with only some guaranteed money so the player actually has to play well?