FIRE JOE MORGAN: Hey Red Sox, Time To Hang It Up


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Sunday, September 02, 2007


Hey Red Sox, Time To Hang It Up

Close up shop. Blow the team sky-high. Take that 81-55 record and shove it up your pee holes, because it's meaningless.

As we all know, the World Series trophy is awarded every year to the team with the fieriest passions. Who will scream and yell and curse the most? Who will fill the dugout with tears of insanity? Who will give the most hugs? These are the questions that will be answered in October, when we once again crown The Most Emotional, And Therefore Best, Team In Baseball.

Unfortunately, Red Sox, Eric Wilbur has decided that that team will not be you this year.

They have the best record in baseball (barely), but they aren't baseball's best team.

Tell me about it. Just look at these run differentials!

Red Sox +184
Yankees +144
Angels +91
Indians +77

What a bunch of losers!

They have the best pitching in the majors, but with a lineup of increasingly frustrating incompetence.

And we all know the old saying: hitting wins in the playoffs.

They are going to win the American League East for the first time since 1995. They may even have home-field advantage throughout October.

But there is no way these Red Sox are winning the World Series.

There you have it. Eric Wilbur is offically putting the odds of the Red Sox, the team with the best record and best run differential in baseball, at 0%. 0 out of 30. 0 out of a million. Zero.

I'm going to go ahead and say that if the Red Sox make the playoffs, their odds of winning the Series are about 1 in 8. But let's read on. I'm sure Eric has some sound baseball reasons behind eliminating them altogether on August 30.

As far and as much as a fire for playing the game is concerned, the Yankees, Angels, and Indians all have to be considered superior American League squads.

Yep. Did it. Changed my mind. Forgot about fire. My bad. Can't win shit without fire. Gotta be fiery. Fire it up, Yankees, Angels, and Indians! You're all contenders for the World Series this year! Of course, as is the case every year, the World Series will be awarded to Ozzie Guillen and Ozzie Guillen alone.

First-place Los Angeles put on the clamps, and shut down the Mariners to take control of the West with a 5 1/2-game lead over Seattle. The Indians put any lingering thoughts the Twins might have had about getting back into the race by sweeping and putting Minnesota in a nine-game hole.

Very good use of the little-known MLB loophole (Rule 35.17 in the rulebook): "Performance in the last series of August shall be used to determine World Series championship eligibility, pursuant to Fieriness Clause in Rule 42.9." Red Sox got swept by the Yankees, as you recall, so they are ineligible for the World Series this year. Too bad, fans.

Additional note: the Yankees (run differential of +144) are a much, much better team than both the Mariners (+4) and the Twins (+23).

Your Boston Red Sox? They go to the Bronx and show all the passion of a weasel on Xanax in getting swept by the Yankees, who made them look foolish offensively and even suspect on the mound, where Boston has honed its greatest strength this season.

Is a weasel a particularly passionless creature? It seems like this joke would've worked better with an especially docile animal. My pitches:

sloth (a little obvious, but point gets made)
basset hound (droopy face, droopy eyes, droopy ears; slow-moving)
armadillo (these things don't seem that passionate -- prove me wrong)
Asian person (get a pulse, am I right, guys?)

Auxiliary pitch:

instead of Xanax, how about "(passionless animal or Asian person) on downers"?

It's a different brand of baseball come autumn, and it's now completely evident that the Red Sox don't have that (bleep) 'em attitude that defined their 2004 predecessors. The Yankees have it. The Angels have it. The Indians seem like they have it. The Red Sox? I give you J.D. Drew.

2007 Red Sox: Good pitching, not enough fuck 'em
2007 Yankees: Rag-taggest, underdoggest, scrappiest, fuck 'em-iest team ever!

Doesn't it seem like J.D. Drew is the quintessential fuck 'em player? The guy clearly doesn't give a shit, ever. The always helpful Urban Dictionary defines "fuck 'em" as "In a state in which a person could careless [sic] about a person, place, thing or a group." J.D. Drew cares so little about baseball it looks like he's on the verge of taking a nap in between pitches. If you look closely at his face, he actually mouths the words "fuck 'em" on every feeble missed swing he takes.

For all the warranted criticism hammered upon the underperforming outfielder, his emotionless approach to the game has seemingly become this team's calling card.

J.D. Drew = Emotion Cancer

For all the passion emitted from guys like Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon, and David Ortiz, on the whole the Red Sox are a squad that comes to the office, does their business with zombie-like efficiency, says all the right things afterward, and then has fans scratching their heads wondering if there is anything special here at all. That's J.D. Drew, and that is the Red Sox.

There you go. It's not enough to have the best record in baseball. It's not enough to have the best pitching staff. They're not special enough. Not special like the turd of a team the St. Louis Cardinals were last year. Not fire-breathing passionate personality monsters like the dynastic San Antonio Spurs are in basketball. Not emotional, constantly weeping, frighteningly volatile like Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

I also love that he names four very passionate essential Red Sox players in an article decrying the lack of passion on the team. I mean, seriously, let's do an inventory real quick:

Passionate (Special, World Series-worthy, Fiery, Prone To Being On Fire, Combustible, Flammable, Inflammable)
Lowell (borderline, but he's a Cagey Veteran who sublimates his fire into Lunchpailism)
Gagne (facial hair! curses in French!)
Crisp (diving catches! leaps into walls!)
Buchholz (hugged a lot of people last night!)
Tavarez (once murdered a drifter with a mini-screwdriver!)

Dispassionate (Not Special, Emotionally Cancerous, Membership On Team Automatically Disqualifies Team For World Series)

Matsuzaka (Japanese robot)

Honestly: Red Sox, passionate or not? You make the call.

Curt Schilling came out of New York with the best outing of any starter, but was victimized greatly by a Manny Ramirez-less lineup that had the following 6-9 hitters: Drew, Jason Varitek, Eric Hinske, Alex Cora. Beckett pitched well when he needed to wriggle out of jams, but 13 hits?

Disregard this paragraph; we're talking about who's going to win the World Series, not about baseball stuff.

Daisuke Matsuzaka at this point is an enigma, and has not had a memorable, step-up, "wow" performance in his rookie season other than a recent 1-0 outing at Cleveland.

Would've rewritten to say "Daisuke Matsuzaka is at this point an inscrutable, crafty, math-genius enigma ... "

Also, re: "wow" games -- how about that complete game, one run affair against the vaunted Tiger offense? How about a span of four consecutive games where he allowed a total of two runs (and in the process struck out 8, 9, 8, and 9)? How about the month of June, when he had a 1.59 ERA? (I guess that doesn't count because there were some National League teams mixed in, and everyone knows you do not play National League teams in the process of winning the World Series.) Is anyone wowed by the fact that he's struck out 174 Major League batters in 176.1 innings?

The days of late-inning heroics are long gone; the celebrations of leaping men in uniform at home plate a thing of the past.

This is the same group of guys who scored six in the ninth to beat Baltimore, and there were plenty of leaping men in uniform last night, if I recall.

That was the identity of the Red Sox these past few years, more than often bailed out by Ortiz. What is this team's identity?

Best record in baseball. Good team. Good pitching. Solid starters, excellent bullpen.

We've sought so long and hard for one that by now it has become evident that it doesn't really have one. Theo Epstein wanted to rid himself of the "Idiot" culture, but he has replaced it with a collection so vanilla in attitude that one has to wonder what the consensus is when adversity is placed in front of the OPS objective.

Not to get all Michiko Kakutani here or anything, but how can an "objective" encounter "adversity"? Can an "objective" really reach a "consensus"? Can an "attitude" be "vanilla"? That's just weird. A lot of abstract nouns doing a lot of active things in there, Wilbur.

Where's the fire? Where's the passion?

Mark my words: Tim Duncan will never win a championship. Pete Sampras will never win a tournament. John Stockton sucked balls. Ivan Lendl was so bad at tennis whenever he touched a tennis ball it would explode and kill fourteen innocent bystanders. Unless you scream and curse and cry and pump your fist and chop your groin all at the same time, you will never be good at sports.

The Yankees welcomed the Red Sox into their home and were ready to pounce, even after falling one night earlier to Detroit, 16-0. Their zeal was evident from pitch one on Tuesday.

Their zeal was evident in that they won. They won the games. That's why this article was written. If the Sox had taken one or two of the games, regardless of how passionate they looked while doing it, this article doesn't exist. Winning. Winning is important. Winning makes guys leap into each others' arms. Winning makes David Ortiz crush people with bear hugs. Winning at sports.

Now, before we get out of hand, let's be fair and rewind the clock. It was Sept. 17-19 of '04 when the Red Sox invaded Yankee Stadium for three, starting with a thrilling 3-2 win on Friday night, and ending with embarrassing 12-5 and 11-4 losses the next two days. The next weekend, the Yanks made Pedro Martinez their adopted son.

One month later, none of it mattered.

Way to disprove your own article.

Maybe we're being a bit too revisionist, erroneously remembering the 2004 squad as a group that could change water into wine, slay the dragons that unwelcomingly inhabit the Charles, and accurately able to translates the mayor's jabberings. But still, that team had a certain undeniable ardor that this edition is severely lacking.

New sports word: ardor! Ardor: does your team have it? A short radio play:

Joe Buck:
Well, Tim, you have to like the Red Sox' starting pitching and bullpen, but how do you feel about their ardor?

Tim McCarver: Ardor is a funny thing, Joe. It's like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography: "I know it when I see it." And with these Red Sox, I just don't see it.

JB: How do you know it when you see it, Tim?

TM: For me, it's when you see the dick going in.

(ten minutes of silence)

TM: Oh. I see. You were talking about ardor.

"You know what happens when you wake a sleeping giant," Papelbon said yesterday after the Chamberlain incident.

Yes. But whether the Red Sox are indeed a snoozing leviathan or indolent group of nondescript ballplayers remains the question.

Hey Eric Wilbur, indolent means "slothful, lazy, idle." You really think a large percentage of Red Sox players are slothful, lazy, and idle? Okay, dude. Have fun telling them that.

Plus, nondescript? Tell me: which team, other than the Yankees, has more descript players than the fucking Boston fucking Red Sox? We're talking descript as hell here. Ortiz, Schilling, Manny, Dice-K, Papelbon, Beckett. These guys are unique, superfamous uberstars. Even the role players are descript: Youkilis is Moneyball-famous, Pedroia is three feet tall, Coco Crisp has a funny name, Wakefield throws a knuckler, Varitek is supposedly a god of intangibles. I'll tell you who's nondescript: the Pittsburgh Pirates.

They're one of the best teams in the game, no doubt, and have an outside shot at a 100-win season. But be honest, can you really imagine this group as World Series champions?

Yes. Broken record: very good pitching, decent hitting, dependable bullpen. No one's a lock, of course, but they have a shot, sure.

On the flip side, nobody expected Detroit and St. Louis to be in the World Series last year after the way they played much of August.

Way to disprove your own article, part II.

But the fact that there is something so maddeningly lacking on the Red Sox in terms of fire and inspiration still has much of the baseball world looking elsewhere when trying to pinpoint a winner. They can do it.

No, you can't backtrack and say they can do it now. You can't. I'm not allowing it. The whole thesis of this article is that they can't do it because they're not emotional. They're not special. You're not buying it back here.

They just have shown us no reason why anyone should think they could.

81-55. AL-best 3.75 ERA. Fourth in MLB in runs scored. No reason.

Guys scream and pump their fists and point to the sky and give each other funny handshakes when they win. For the last time, it's not the other way around.

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posted by Junior  # 1:00 PM
Food metaphors label added for use of "vanilla." Thank you to reader Andrew.
Wondering if we should make a "dick going in" tag. I feel like we might need it later.

Yes. Yes, I believe we should.
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