If You Don't Have
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Shaughnessy: Dogged by problems, Sox lacking bite
"Today is Aug. 28 and the reeling Red Sox -- beaten, 6-3, at Safeco Field yesterday -- are 8-18 for the month. They still have four more games before September, three in the home of the West division-leading Oakland A's. If the Sox are swept in Oakland, as they were in Seattle, it will be the most Boston losses in one month since Ralph Houk managed the Haywood Sullivan All-Stars in 1985.
"And what is this doing to Terry Francona, the manager of the 2006 Sox? He was coughing up blood and spitting it into a towel while he answered questions after yesterday's loss.
"'I might have OD'd on my blood thinners,' explained the beleaguered manager. 'I think I took too much.'
"Not even his trainwreck years in the corner office at the Vet could have prepared Francona for what has happened to his Red Sox this month. Filling out his lineup card has become more difficult than organic chemistry. The Sox-Held-Hostage-By-Manny-Tour takes a toll on everyone.
"This is not to suggest that Manny Ramírez is faking, but his curious on-again, off-again availability -- coupled with the increasingly frequent necessity to remove him from games -- gives the manager fits and is taking the team down." -- 08.28.06, Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe
Massarotti: Spiraling Sox spin toward Quits-ville
"No one can truly know what ever burns in another man’s soul. But from the outside, at least, the 2006 Red Sox certainly look like they are starting to quit. There is just no way to prove it.
"'He said he couldn’t play. What the (expletive) do you want me to do?' Red Sox manager Terry Francona snapped yesterday morning when asked about Manny Ramirez’ absence from the lineup prior to his lifeless team’s 6-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
"'If a guy says he can’t play, he can’t (expletive) play. Go ask him. He said he can’t (expletive) play.'
"And he wasn’t alone.
"So now, with precisely five weeks and a mere 32 games remaining in their season, here is the question we must ask: Do the Red Sox really want to play anymore? Do they want to win?
"Or are they content with just being the transition team that Sox officials labeled them as before the start of this rapidly unraveling season?
"What will it be?
"Red Sox ownership and management have been the target of much displeasure in recent weeks, but it is now time for Red Sox players to take their turn. What happened in Seattle was a joke. From 2003-05, part of the Red Sox’ charm was they continued to play, no matter what, and they found ways to win (last year, especially), despite numerous opportunities to fail.
"Suddenly, with this club, the bodies are dropping like flies. And while it is impossible to discern the severity of many injuries, we all know it is easier to play hurt when a team is winning. When a club starts losing -- and losing badly -- that is when we really get to examine the stuff they are made of. Based on the weekend, you should not be impressed. -- 08.28.06, Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald
Seattle Times columnist: These aren't the Sox we know
"Who were those guys?
"Losing balls in the sun. Kicking it around the infield as if they were Manchester United. Making bad decisions on the bases. Making worse decisions on defense.
"Those weren't the Boston Red Sox who came to town this weekend playing the kind of baseball only Max Patkin could have loved.
"That isn't the team that just two years ago broke the most celebrated curse in sports, winning its first world championship in 86 years.
"That year the Red Sox were the lovable self-proclaimed "idiots," who came from three games behind to win the American League Championship Series from the dreaded Yankees. That year they swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
"That team had Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller. On that team Jason Varitek was healthy. Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon were in the lineup. Orlando Cabrera was the everyday shortstop and Dave Roberts was the everyday Everyman.
"Curses, look what's happened to the Boston Red Sox."
-- 08.28.06, Steve Kelley, Seattle Times