This Red Sox fan will root for Schwarber, Dombrowski, and the Phillies
I have seen a lot of baseball wandering around the 70 years I have followed the Boston Red Sox.
The almost immeasurable pain of decades of failure of the most wretched of circumstances that the baseball Gods could dump on a forlorn Red Sox Nation. Just the names Bucky Dent and Mookie Wilson can sum up a large slice of that disheartening history.
The change occurred in 2004 when all past sins – perceived or actual – were cleansed away. The road to redemption has continued, and the flags became a nice collection. A clear triumvirate was the catalyst – ownership, senior management, and field manager. Now is a time of remorse as this season has ground to a disappointing finish. Remembrance is all I have.
I now get the opportunity to live our 2022 season vicariously through the Philadelphia Phillies since they have a recent Red Sox connection. If I must follow the playoffs, at least have a rooting interest. The Yankees? I would instead take a nail gun to my brain pan. The Astros? After a yearly visit to the ALCS, they have become too predictable. Toss in trash cans, also. The Padres? A great fallback, but I’ll stick with the Phillies.
Boston and Philadelphia have connections, and it started well before baseball left its rounders history. The history of the two cities is entwined, and there are competitive juices in economics, education, government, and even sports. Football is for sure, but I’ll stick with baseball.
Rarely do Boston and Philadelphia meet, and both organizations have their share of failures – more with the Phillies. Now we have two connections that are both recent – Dave Dombrowski and Kyle Schwarber.
Dombroski is the architect of success in Boston and failure. The team won a World Series while Dombrowski was president of baseball operations. A huge plus, but the downside is Dombrowski is also pinned with exorbitant contracts that gutted payroll flexibility and a picked clean the farm system. Philly is already tossing around money.
Dombrowski’s history in baseball is extensive in senior management positions with a case built for incredible success or setting in motion long-term consequences for failure. I can justify either, but now he has the Phillies on the cusp of the World Series.
Schwarber is a different story and not a pleasant one. By all accounts, Schwarber loved the area, as mentioned in this BSI article, but $20 MM a year spread over four seasons had Chaim Bloom examining other options.
The Red Sox had a power outage in 2022, and Schwarber led the National League in home runs. Schwarber hit just .218, but the idea of Moneyball is run production. Schwarber did that with 94 RBI and 100 runs scored. A .233 career hitter with a career .339 OBP gives you a clue of why he hits leadoff despite 200 whiffs.
Bloom took his gamble with Bobby Dalbec and lost. Schwarber could have been at first base or left field, and granted, the defense would not be locked down, but the impact on the lineup would have justified it. That power, plate discipline, and clubhouse influence are missed.
Manager Alex Cora realized Schawrber’s impact as a leadoff hitter. For the Phillies, Schwarber produced a .317 OBP and .385 with the Red Sox in 2021. Schwarber just murdered the ball at Fenway Park with a 1.146 OPS. So that is the sour grapes- hindsight for me. I’ll stay tuned to the Phillie’s trek with full attention to Schwarber and much less to Dombrowski. At least Hunter Renfroe isn’t in the playoffs.