Rage, Pain, Anger, and Hurt
Date: Saturday, August 4, 2001
From: Kevin Hench
Subject: Rage, Pain, Anger, and Hurt
"Even though the odds
were in favor of God's not existing, Pascal argued that our faith in God could
still be amply justified because the joys of the slimmer probability so far
outweighed the horrors of the larger probability."
- Alain de Botton
And so we soldier on, believing on some deep, spiritual level that the Red Sox will indeed one day win a World Series. The alternative - to accept the larger probability - is simply too horrible. To imagine that Nomar Garciaparra, like Teddy Ballgame and Yaz before him, will play his entire career in Boston without ever winning it all... that he will be badgered by reporters in the twilight of his career, asking if he can truly feel fulfilled as a baseball player never having won a World Series... that he will toss and turn at night, replaying images of Edgar Renteria and Luis Sojo getting World Series-winning hits... or worse, that he will tempted by the Dark Overlord, his resistance weakened by years of futility, and sign on with the Evil Ones.
No, of course we shield our eyes from these images. And we focus myopically on the curious pastiche before us: a bizarre patchwork pitching staff of rejects and retreads and reconstructions; a lineup headed by a guy with no speed and no power who gets on base at a .200 clip; a manager who is flummoxed by anything more complicated than lefty-lefty; a team that will finish last in stolen bases and first in stolen bases allowed for the second time in three years; a team that converts the lowest percentage of double play opportunities in the Majors; a team that has lost six straight games against lefty starters but doesn't call up either of their righty boppers in Triple A. At what point might Juan Diaz or Izzy Alcantara get a handful of the at-bats Jose Offerman and Brian Daubach have been giving away against lefties? After nine straight losses to lefties? 12? 15?
When we look back at this lost season, the narrow window of opportunity closing on us, I suggest we look in particular at the 750-900 at-bats that Jose Offerman and Troy O'Leary will have been given. Troy O'Leary's three-pitch whiff against Troy Percival Tuesday night - bases loaded, one out - was the Major League equivalent of pooping your pants in public. To swing at a pitch above the bill of your helmet just isn't done. You'll see it in Little League, but then it disappears... throughout Junior Babe Ruth, Senior Babe Ruth, American Legion... you just never see this... Troy O'Leary has done it at least seven times this year. Why? Because his bat is sooooo slow and he is soooo overmatched by ML fastballs that he basically has to start his swing as the pitcher releases the ball. Has Jimy noted this? Ha-ha, ha.... ha-ha... ha-ha-ha...ha-ha. Has Jimy ever noticed anything that takes place on the field? What unorthodox decision has he ever made that worked out for the good of the club? His phenomenal success rate at selecting the right pinch hitter perhaps? His deft use of Pete Schourek? His brilliant deployment of the both-catchers-starting lineup that has burned him almost without fail? His eerie - almost prescient - accuracy when calling pitchouts? His walking Ben Molina (.257) to get to Benji Gil (.344) tonight? And on and on and on and on...
Seriously, when Sports Illustrated reports or Bret Saberhagen announces that the players don't respect Jimy, shouldn't that news be greeted with a huge sigh of relief? What knowledgeable baseball professional could possibly respect this guy? People have been looking at our DL and looking at the standings and saying they should build a statue of this guy, but when you watch every pitch of every game you realize that the statue would do a much better job in the close games. Wakes and Cone against I-Rod, A-Rod and Palmeiro. And once you've lost to Patt Rapp you realize it doesn't matter who the other guys throw out on the hill.
Wondering about free agent pitchers for 2002