Red Sox’ underwhelming farewell to Xander Bogaerts compounds the loss
Anyone who watched the iconic television series The West Wing knows about Take Out the Trash Day.
For those who don’t, the White House press secretary is advised to hold off on giving the press corps several unpleasant stories until Friday. When the Deputy Chief of Staff’s assistant asks him why, he explains that the press only has a certain amount of space in their columns, so dumping several stories on them at once prevents them from truly giving adequate attention to each issue. Why on Friday, she asks. ‘Cause no one reads the paper on Saturday.’
Of course, when this episode aired on January 26, 2000, the world was years away from having Twitter for round-the-clock reaction. When the Red Sox decided to post a 52-second tribute video to Xander Bogaerts on Friday afternoon, there was no escaping public outcry. There won’t be for some time, while Bogaerts plays out an 11-year, $280M contract with the San Diego Padres.
Red Sox’ lackluster video tribute to Xander Bogaerts makes situation even worse
The iconic musical RENT asked the world, “How do you measure a year?”
How do you measure ten years? In 52 seconds of home runs and sharp throws set to oddly upbeat music better suited to a ‘This player should be an All-Star’ campaign, apparently. It’s hard to create a visual representation of what Bogaerts means to Boston, but was that really the best they could do? However you calculate the incalculable impact of a man who won two World Series rings and five Silver Sluggers, and hit more grand slams and played more games at shortstop than anyone else in franchise history, it equates to more than this. What a slap in the face on top of the gut punch of losing him.
The Sox likely had the video ready to go. After all, it’s not like they’ve had postseason content to fill the days since the season ended, and teams’ social departments often create two sets of content: one for if the player returns, and one for a departure, just in case.
There’s no question they could’ve done better. The Chicago Cubs certainly did in their tribute to Willson Contreras, another beloved homegrown star lowballed and ushered out the door this year:
Meanwhile, leadership has yet to make any form of official statement, and while it’s hard to imagine what they could possibly say after this debacle, silence is also unacceptable, especially after months of repeating “He’s Option A, our top priority,” which ultimately proved to be empty words. When they traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020, they shared a statement from Sox president/CEO Sam Kennedy first, followed by a 46-second tribute video. It’s a bland, bare-bones message, but better than no message at all.
Betts spent his entire minor-league career and first six big-league seasons with the Sox. For his four additional years, Bogaerts got six extra seconds.
Don’t worry though, his new team made him a very nice welcome video.
A trade and a free-agent departure aren’t identical situations, but the reasoning behind them is pretty much the same. The Sox undervalued two of their best homegrown stars, lowballed them to the point of discord, and then allowed them to depart for better weather and bigger paychecks. Look no further than the Padres’ press release, in which they reminded everyone that the only three players with an OPS of .825 or better each season from 2018-22 were Bogaerts, Betts, and Freddie Freeman.
Losing Bogaerts was bad enough. Trying to take him out with the trash makes it even worse.