The Dirt Dog Oath
Date: Monday, August 20, 2001
From: Kevin Hench
Subject: The Dirt Dog Oath
The Boston Red Sox should begin accepting applications for true Dirt Dogs so
the 2002 squad will win more and whine less.
Each player invited to spring training should take the Dirt Dog Oath:
I shall not blame my poor performance on not knowing where I would be hitting
in the order before I got to the park.
I shall not blame my poor performance on not knowing my role on the team.
I shall not blame my poor performance on not knowing what inning I would be
pitching before I got to the park.
I shall not blame my poor performance on the coaching staff or manager.
I shall not blame my poor performance on anyone but myself.
I shall not disparage my teammates, even if I think I should be batting
second and he should be hitting further down in the order.
I shall not cry when asked to go to the bullpen, particularly if my ERA as a
starter is 4.38 and my ERA as a reliever is 1.58.
I shall not refuse to rehabilitate an injury while my teammates struggle
I shall not pout when asked to accept a minor league assignment when my ERA
I shall not refuse a minor league assignment when I am hitting under .100.
I shall not argue on pitches right down the middle.
I shall not state that I will be upset if I am not given the opportunity to
close when I can no longer throw over 87 mph.
I shall not balk when asked to play shortstop to help the team, particularly
if my career is basically already over.
I shall not refer to the new manager as the "m-----f----r in the office."
I shall not assume that I am entitled to the five-spot in a Major League
batting order when I have a .429 career slugging percentage away from Coors
I shall never throw an 0-2 fastball to Edgar Martinez.
I shall not grouse about not being an everyday player and then post a .284
on-base percentage in the leadoff spot when others' injuries return me to the
I shall try to be more like Trot Nixon and Chris Stynes.
There sure is a lot of carnage to assess from this three-game series with the
Orioles, the worst-hitting team in the AL entering the series (but now tied
The brutality of the Friday and Sunday losses did bring one stark truth into
razor sharp relief. We have no pitching. All those bums that the pundits
said we couldn't win with at the beginning of the season? Well, we can't win
It has become very fashionable to overstate Pedro's importance in the
rotation, saying that he affects three days: the day before he pitches; the
day he pitches; and the day after he pitches. Even if that were true, would
that help Frank Castillo, Tim Wakefield, Hideo Nomo and Bret Saberhagen get
people out? Would knowing the bullpen was fresh have helped Nomo get Jeff
Conine out today? And even if Pedro had pitched a no-hitter Saturday - the
guy almost never goes more than seven - wouldn't Kerrigan have still gone to
Pichardo in the sixth today? We have lots of average pitchers. Now,
usually, average pitchers can get below-average hitters out, but that wasn't
the case Friday and Sunday. And the O's hit some shots. They weren't all
bleeders as the It-Wasn't-My-Fault Alibi Ikes on the team would have you
believe. It's really embarrassing.
Good to see Dante not running on a ball that dropped fair while we were
trying to rally today. He obviously learned a lot from his vantage point on
third base when Shea Hillenbrand didn't run on a ball that kicked fair and
was thrown out. Also, good to see Hatteberg back in the lineup, allowing his
standard 5-for-5 basestealing and grounding into a rally-snuffing double play
when he stood at the plate as the tying run. Also nice to see Shea
Hillenbrand strike out on balls three and four and Mike Lansing strike out on
ball four when we desperately needed baserunners. Also a Hip, Hip, Hooray
for Hipolito who has pitched twice in August, giving up four runs in two
innings on August 2nd, going on the DL, then giving up four runs in one-third
of an inning upon returning to action. The DL may be the safest place for
him. Beck leads the league in relief home runs allowed, Lowe in relief losses...
there's a lot of chaff separating Garces and Urbina.
And there will be a lot of job openings for true Dirt Dogs in March, 2002.