Lackey’s Last Chance?


It has been my experience that when you strip away the trappings of fame and financial success, most baseball players will play the game so long as they are able, even for free if need be-for love of the game. One only needs to look to the flawed Bobby Valentine, who after an unvarnished  disaster as a manager last year is now working with a small catholic college in its athletic program. Lord knows he doesn’t need the money; but he loves the game and wants to be with it so long as the fates permit. Others however find their God given talents elevate them to near Papal infallibility; just by the caprice of genetics, one has been elevated to near deity status;  self worship emerges ; all blessings are going into a funnel with our demigod on the little end.

September 9, 2011; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon (22) is safe at first as Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey (41) attempts to tag him out in the third inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I place John Lackey as one such self anointed  deity. He is  our own poster boy for self aggrandizement. This season may negate this opinion,  and while there is no””I in team, if you look hard enough you will find “me”.  Lackey had no problem. He found it.  Of late, as he tries out his “new” arm in competition, there seems to be an attempt to “make nice”, but I ain’t buyin’ it.  He is still unrepentant about his participation in “chicken gate”; and as for his dramatic showings of disapproval from the mound, we are to take solace because he promises to work on it. It appears he has accomplished what we all want to do about regrettable past transgressions-act like your reprehensible prior conduct did not occur and since it did not occur, there is no need to make amends. With apologies to George Orwell, Big Brother would be pleased.

I yearn to be wrong.  I am tired of my ease of acceptance of disappointment. One can hope that Lackey will put up 18 games in the win column and chase us naysayers to the showers; but let me be clear. The Red Sox franchise is storied, from “Nuf Sed McGreevey” and the  Royal Rooters, to the glorification of a musical parakeet named Tessie,  the curse of the Bambino, the Splendid Splinter”s Red Seat, the Pesky Pole, Yaz,  Jim Rice‘s dramatic rescue of an injured fan, the Green Monster,Pedro Martinez‘s little friend, Curt Schilling’s  bloody sock, the 2004 “Idiots” and so on, most  played out in the cathedral that is Fenway. No other sports franchise can come close to laying claim to such history. Our main rival comes from a media market and population center that should bury our little city, but we stand toe to toe for all the marbles.Do not take us for granted. Tread softly or accept the consequences.

When you join the Red Sox, you join a family. It’s not the Marlins, where your name is attached by Velcro to your uniform and your bag is never unpacked. When you have been selected, one from many, to don the uniform and represent this fabled team, you have  the duty not to besmirch either. Your talent or health may cause you to move on, but that is part of the game. But you do not sully the uniform. You do not trivialize it and bring embarrassment to the team.

John Lackey, j’acuse; you have done that and more. You have whined, rationalized, belittled-you have sullied that uniform while collecting a king’s ransom. Your new found rah-rah attitude does not erase the sins of the past.   I do not know you, John Lackey, but as a member of Red Sox nation, you have failed miserably-and I do not like you.  I wish ill on no one, if you do not show you have truly seen the light on the road to Damascus,  then get out. We don’t need you.