Wednesday, February 29, 2012

*Yawn* Sox Spring Training

The Red Sox are nine days into spring training at a sparkling new facility under the direction of an energetic new manager. But the ghosts of their disastrous 2011 season stubbornly refuse to fade away. – Peter Abraham, Boston Globe

Those ghosts continue to haunt me. I'm still nursing my grudge about 2011, me and plenty of other members of Red Sox Nation with whom I’ve been speaking as members of the 2012 Red Sox team start Spring Training. I'm usually excited about Spring Training. This year, not so much.

An epic fail last fall which wasted months of the team's hard work. A scandal-ridden several weeks where tales of sloth-like, beer swilling, idiotic antics in the clubhouse surfaced, along with Us Magazine-caliber gossip about the skipper of the sinking Red Sox ship, Terry Francona. Out went Terry. Out went Theo. In came a new GM and a new coach, neither of whom instill confidence in me. Gone are Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek.

And I remain ticked, skeptical and desirous of seeing some real contrition from these spoiled multi-millionaires who, with the exception of good guy Dustin Pedroia, don’t seem to care that their poor playing, lack of sportsmanship and work ethic let down an entire region which spends countless hours of their life watching their games, buying their pricey merchandise and, if they’re lucky enough to get the opportunity, dropping many dead presidents at Fenway Park in order to catch a game in person.

I’m actually pretty surprised at the level of irritation I still have against the Olde Town Team. It’s one thing for them to lose well-fought games that don't happen to go their way. That was the story for the first few decades of my Red Sox fandom. As long as the players and staff acted like they cared and put in effort, I didn't lose respect for them. But to lose because you really don’t seem like you care, because you’ve checked out, because you refuse to get into shape and selfishly won’t provide moral support to your teammates, that just doesn’t sit well with me, nor with many longtime Sox fans.

What will it take for me to stop being steamed at my favorite team and not to speak of them with disgust? I’m not sure. Maybe time? Maybe when the likes of Josh Beckett stop childishly complaining about “snitches” telling stories about his bad behavior and look in the mirror . . . wehre he'll see the face of the problem. These are not the kind of athletic role models I want my kids emulating.

The team that once proudly proclaimed it was comprised of good natured “idiots,” is now proving that that's still the case but not in a good spirited, win-the-World-Series and gut-it-out kind of way.

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