Theo Epstein has given me a reason to write again.
Actually, he has given me two of them.
With today’s announcement that the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford, and last week’s trade for my long time man-crush, Adrian Gonzalez, the Sox are back. They have shifted the balance of power, stolen the thunder from a 10-2 Patriots team (by the way Rex Ryan, did you know that fist can be a verb?) and banished the championship contending Celtics and Bruins to the second page of the sports section. Once again this is a baseball town and the general malaise that had settled in at the end of last season is officially so gone that I have completely forgotten that anything between Papelbon entering in the ninth inning of game three of the ALDS in 2009 and when I woke up to the joyous news Saturday morning.
Now I know what all of you Christians have been saying about Christmas morning, but this was better.
Gone are the injuries, the worries, and watching Eric Patterson and Danny Nava playing in big games for the Sox. Gone is the f@#$%ing bridge year, and gone is the small market mindset. The Red Sox have flexed their muscles and now the rest of the league has to be afraid.
The best part of today was that I gave my students a pop quiz so that I could read all of the coverage, watch the video of Cashman shaking his head and imagining the price tag on Cliff Lee, who the Yankees absolutely must get, and above all, play with the lineup. Just picturing a lineup with a healthy Youk and Pedey, Ellsbury (I still think he’s the king of the Pink Hats) and Crawford terrorizing the basepaths, and Gonzalez chipping paint off the monster on a daily basis is making me smile and count the days to Pitchers and Catchers (66). After many hours of work (while I was supposed to be educating children), I have come to the following lineup:
Gonzo the Great (1B),
The Beard (3B),
Drew (only one more year, RF),
This way there are three on base guys in front of Gonzo and Youk, allowing them to drive guys in, and it keeps a semblance of the right-left pattern that Tito likes to keep in order to prevent other teams from using a specialist on the heart of the order. It is worth mentioning that both Gonzo and Craw (I’m auditioning nicknames, feel free to contribute) hit lefties very well and that Gonzo absolutely crushes everything, including the souls of people named Steinbrenner. There is also potential for Salty to continue to develop and move up in front of Drew in the order, furthering Tito’s right-left desires (both of the catchers are switch hitters).
Oh, and have I mentioned that the three and four pitchers in our rotation are as good, if not better than most other team’s one and two? Yeah, Beckett is looking like he is going to come out pissed off at all the people who said that he shouldn’t have gotten the extension last year and Lackey will be the same way at us (and I say us, because I am one of these people) and come out firing.
The bullpen is the only question left (other than who bats where in the lineup and how many games we win the east by), headed by the nutcase who is in his final year with the Sox and must show up big for the big contract that he wants. Bard is solid and getting better (look at what he did to lefties last season, and that’s as a righthander), and the rest of the pieces…. well…… I trust in Theo.
He’s gotten us this far.