A Red Sox fan vents: Failures deeper than Cherington


John Farrell will not be fired. He will stay put. As quirky as Farrell has performed expect no change until the GM, Ben Cherington, is fired and replaced. The new GM will then put his own stamp on the team.

Farrell may have lost the clubhouse as meetings among the overpaid glitterati have surfaced to, no doubt, provide some semblance of excuse mechanism when the wheels eventually fall off. In the meantime Farrell can be Dead Man Walking.

Baseball is a what have you done lately sport and the Red Sox are on the verge of two disastrous seasons as in back-to-back basement. This is what 200M buys you? Poor trades, questionable signings, lackluster field performance and a team that would make Kim Kardashian look like an Academy Award winner.

This current Off-Off- Broadway production has me ready to rejoin the Fellowship of The Miserable. And to make matters even more suicidal – take a look at where the Yankees are in the standings.

Is there some type of formula this team uses to determine new and inventive ways of losing? As each game is witnessed one sees some unique decision by the manager or a player that makes one say “didn’t we cover that in Little League?” I am staggered by the lack of fundamentals. Isn’t there a tutorial within the system that provides some basic instruction? Maybe some nice graphics? Maybe some little dancing penguins with uniforms on to show how to relate to on the field situations?

Most of us have purchased something and then found it available for less than half the price. I imagine the ownership feels exactly like that when they examine the standings and see where the Houston Astros sit. Someone will have to take a fall. Meet Mr. Someone – Ben Cherington.

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So, Ben, this 70-year-old season ticket holder has had it! I need to vent. Get that blood pressure back to 120/80. But, Ben, it’s not about you, but all about John Henry. Unfortunately, Ben, you become the conduit for assumption of blame on this baseball Titanic. Captain Henry will not go down with this ship.

I can take the lousy and overpriced food. I can visit Tequila Rain and eat there or Spike’s hot dogs. I can even manage to sit in a seat designed to be a tight fit on a Kenyan marathoner. I can pay top dollar for a seat that gives me a 90% view. No problem. I can splurge for a “Monster Seat” that is just a glorified bleacher seat. I can even drag myself on the urine stench of the Green Line to Kenmore for the game. But I will not tolerate a back to the future collection that is starting to resemble the classic “25 cabs for 25 players.” Simply put your product needs to be recalled. Or, better yet, consumer fraud.

Cherington will take the full brunt of this sordid mess and rightfully so or not, at least, as an accomplice. Yes, Fenway Park needs that yellow crime scene tape – a crime of baseball incompetence. Cherington sat down with the brain trust of baseball ops – whom he oversees – and put together what you see – baseball compost. But, somehow, the specter in the background is the owner – Mr. NASCAR! Mr. Soccer! “The Man” must sign off on everything. Henry is as responsible for this architectural disaster as Cherington, but you don’t fire the owner.

The warning signs were there among the faithful who questioned trades, free agent signings and the Red Sox innate ability to overrate virtually every prospect in their system. Homer Simpson with an Ouija board may have presented a more viable option.

The right pieces of 2013 became all the wrong pieces for 2014 and 2015. Face it – 2013 was a baseball anomaly. If the Red Sox had been blown out by Detroit you may have seen the Red Sox management attempting to put the moves on Billy Beane or Brian Sabean BEFORE the season began in 2014.

What has this fan all DEFCON 1 is the simple fact you build around pitching and not hitting. That apparently escaped the folks that lounge around in the War Room at Fenway Park. Start with Jon Lester and then think of sending a workhorse packing and being replaced with the baseball flotsam and jetsam that management has attempted to portray as the second coming of Smoky Joe Wood.

The Red Sox constructed a staff that resembles the bargain basement of baseball bargains. A group that collectively has a bottom of rotation designated for one and all. How bad is it? Justin Masterson, truly a waste of pitching ozone, was mysteriously handed 9.5M to resurrect his career in Boston. Or is it Pawtucket?

Masterson is reflective of this strand of “American Pickers” philosophy that has somehow found a niche with the Red Sox. The Pickers occasionally find something of value, but the Red Sox? As the great entertainer, Monty Hall, would say – Zonked! And when a prize is located such as Adrian Beltre just how does management respond? Why they pass!

The cornerstone of the staff is one Clay Buchholz whose middle name should be “Disabled List.” Then they trade for two pitchers – Rick Porcello and Wade Miley – and have various media propagandist present both as some type of glossy future. Never one to avoid compounding a mistake, Cherington signed both to long term deals. Gee, Ben, I have some great property in Chernobyl I can sell you.

One acquisition, Joe Kelly, went on record as winning the Cy Young Award for 2015. I imagine that somewhere in the multi-verse there is a place where Kelly has been so honored and the Cubs have won ten titles in a row and I actually write something that is lucid.

This is building a staff? Hey, Ben, you have been hanging around the team for two decades – what part of “Ace” did you miss? Do you even remember how Josh Beckett carried this ball club in 2007? Did the duo of Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez in 2004 fall victim to GM amnesia? And in 2013 did you see Lester at all? You know, the Lester that you offered less money to than you tossed at Home Run Derby pitcher, Porcello.

So, Ben, your replacement will have to have the big paychecks of Miley and Porcello at the bottom of the rotation and hope a free agent ace decides to join up. Maybe a trade or two or three?

The bullpen? Come on, Ben, this is what you built? Seems that that bullpen is retooled on a daily basis. Forget Andrew Miller. Yep – the Yankees “overpaid” for him, but, no worries you have Craig Breslow. And speaking of overpaid as in overweight.

Did you even watch Pablo Sandoval? Was the magic of a World Series by Panda allowed to disassociate all the negatives? You have stats guru, Bill James, somewhere in the bowels of Fenway. He’s a stats expert! Is there any specific graph that can delineate the connection between increased weight and decreased batting average? As far as the fielding goes just maybe Bao Boa, a real baby Panda at the Washington Zoo, would represent an intriguing possibility for improvement. And bamboo shoots would be far more reasonable than 100M. And your new left fielder? This is the Dick Stuart of outfielders.

So, Ben, you pay a fortune for one player who doesn’t know what to do with a glove and another fortune for one who will eat the glove as snack food. Great.

Your carry over offense has three players whose days of MLB are quite numbered. David Ortiz, Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli are fast becoming mere shadows of what they once were. Reliance on past glories to be a springboard for a rejuvenated 2015 have gone the way of Enron. It failed. The offense is as un Red Sox like the last two seasons as could historically be.

Henry and his management team has developed an “ignore that man behind the curtain” approach to public missives regarding this team. The most knowledgeable fan base in baseball exists and this is 100% insulting to those who have generations of emotional investment in the Red Sox.

Henry, you have been given a gift. An incredibly loyal fan base, a branding machine, a cash flow that has created a real estate empire and three championships. Don’t sell us a party line when collectively we are astute enough to see this bridge is going nowhere.

This edition of the Red Sox have solved a summer problem. No conflict between watching the Red Sox and pursuing summer activities. More time with family bonding, weeding the garden, day trips, lounging at the beach and just about any other activity since observing this team is psychologically damaging and quite painful.

Now, Ben, if for some reason you survive this self-inflicted mess and get a new manager forget about Tony Pena, Dave Roberts, Brad Mills or Sandy Alomar and sign up Dr. Phil. Remember, Ben, as the Doc would say: “Current and future behaviors are dictated by past behaviors.” Expect another 2016 basement visit.

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