By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
Can we just chalk up the news – which was as unexpected as the economy circling the drain due to the COVID 19 epidemic that is currently sweeping the globe – that Red Sox starter Chris Sale will undergo Tommy John surgery shortly, as just another indication that the days of a starting rotation of the lies of Tim Wakefield, Tom Gordon, Aaron Sele, Jeff Suppan, and Steve Avery will be looked upon as some of the Halcion days of pitching if/when the Sox season starts sometime this summer?
While most won’t remember – And, frankly, why should you? – that hard to watch group of hurlers in 1997 would “lead” the Sox to a sad 4th place finish in the AL East, a fate that interim manager Ron Roenicke is likely to face if/when the already ill-fated 2020 regular-season starts in the next couple of months.
Setting current events aside – and I realize that is like shoveling against the tide with a plastic shovel and bucket – Red Sox fans of a certain age have to wonder whether or not the inglorious days of pre-2004 have once again settled in to consistently “ruin our summah”.
All but few knuckleheads who think that if anyone says anything that’s not positive about the local four professional franchises – sorry, Revolution, kickball doesn’t count – is akin to surrendering National Security secrets know that the proverbial horseshoe that has taken up residence in the keister of Boston sports fans would eventually be unceremoniously displaced and likely break our collective big toe in the process.
(The fact that Tom Brady left the Patriots on St. Patrick’s day and Bostonians were banned from their annual public drunkenness in a mid-March celebration of a heritage that sites like Ancestry.com would quickly show to be little more than an ethnic-sounding surname with a quick swab of their Guinness soaked tounges, is only further proof that the sporting gods have grown increasingly sick of Massholes.)
Nevertheless, whenever the real-world rights itself – and there is no doubt it will – the seamheads that follow the Olde Towne Team every summer will have to come to grips with the fact that it is likely going to be a while before their local nine has a chance to claim the top spot in Major League Baseball when the games end in October.
“There’s no real way to sugarcoat this, it’s not what anybody wants to hear,” said the oddly titled Chief Baseball Officer of the Red Sox Chaim Bloom when announcing that Sale would have surgery on his pitching elbow.
“Needless to say,” a no doubt second-guessing Bloom said after taking the helm of what is most certainly a sinking ship, “It’s going to create opportunities for some guys to step up. And you never know what’s going to happen with that, especially with the added uncertainty that surrounds this season generally. But it’s not going to make this any easier.”
Do you think?
First of all, to have guys “step up” offers the assumption that there is talent in the system that would be capable of such an ascension. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed Chaim, the farm system you inherited is barren of arms capable of tossing three scoreless innings in my backyard wiffle ball games at Flanway Park, never mind against Major League hitters who may or may not know what pitch is coming next.
(Cheap shot, I agree. However, that is a rant for another day.)
The simple fact is the Red Sox are a steaming hot mess in a world that is currently desperately short of TP. Without the ability to overspend to compensate for what is now almost a decade of bad decisions, they are now the bully that has finally been punched in the face and doesn’t know how to react.
And I hate to be the one to break it to you Sox fans, it is going to get worse before it gets better.
Perhaps much worse.
Follow on Twitter @KevinMFlanagan. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.