Red Sox Nation, Say It Isn't So

Hello, Red Sox Nation. Say it isn’t so. The team that broke the curse and finally beat the Yankees and then took the World Series seems long gone.

They called themselves “idiots” in 2004. I never liked the word, but we understood what they meant. They were a team having fun. Individually they gave it their all, but it was collectively that they succeeded.

Can anyone imagine Curt Shilling drinking beer and eating fried chicken during a game?

But then who would have thought that of Jon Lester, the man we all rooted for during his cancer ordeal, the pitcher we cheered as he racked up win after win.

I was hooked on the Red Sox from the day my family moved to Boston from Chicago. I was 10. I used to run home from school with hopes of getting there in time for Ted Williams first at bat. He batted third, and if the game was at home, I had just enough time to make it. The game was on radio then, or maybe we just didn’t have a TV. My August birthday gift from my father was a ticket to Fenway, my one and only trip to the park each year.

We got used to “wait until next year.” It was just the way it was. So when “next year” really came, well, who could blame any of us millions of fans? We were beyond ecstatic. It was a lifetime dream. It was the highlight of my life. OK, one of the highlights. My daughter’s birth was a rung above.

Fast forward to 2011. I’m watching our boys and thinking, do these guys work out? I mean, if you are a professional baseball player, and you get paid millions of dollars to pitch, or hit, or catch, or throw a baseball, shouldn’t you be in the best physical shape you can be?

Do you really need “daddy,” Tito, to tell you to exercise and eat right, and oh, by the way, don’t drink in the clubhouse, or locker room, and please do root for your teammates.


Maybe baseball should rethink the compensation game and move toward a performance clause, you know, like the waiters and waitresses who get a basic buck and earn their tips. Pay these boys a basic salary and ask them to earn the next 22 million.

But then, do they really need money to be motivated? What about the esprit de corps that was anything but “idiotic” in 2004?