• Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor l...

This is a story that would get you fired from the Writer’s Guild. It’s too “over the top.”

I mean, of course you want to show the team in it’s darkest hour, getting swept in a 5-game series agains their arch-rivals. And then you want to increase the drama a bit by having the team face some injuries.

OW, my heart!But really, every player getting injuried, all at once? And not only just your normal injuries, like knees, wrists, and obliques, but then you think, hey, why not heart trouble? And now, you are giving the team’s star rookie starter cancer? I mean, really, cancer? Back pain was just too dull?

The Red Sox injury list is insane: Trot Nixon (biceps), Jason Varitek (knee), Wily Mo Pena (sore wrist), Alex Gonzalez (oblique muscle), Manny Ramirez (knee), David Ortiz (heart trouble), and now Jon Lester (cancer).

It’s like George Steinbrenner just outbid the Mets for a Cuban Voodoo priestess who was picked up in a raft last week. You could only get away with a plot like this on the Simpsons.

What’s next? Mike Lowell gets gigantism? Mark Loretta is convinced by a hypnotist that he’s a chicken? Jonathan Papelbon gets radiation poisoning moonlighting at the local nuclear power plant?

Cause they’re almost all that’s left.

New Ace?But if this really were Hollywood, there’s only one way this story would ever end. The most improbable ending of all! And it would start with wacky things like Alex Cora homering off Alex Rios’s hand.

I can already see Kyle Snyder taking his perfect game to the mound in the bottom of the 9th in game 7, after Corky Miller just singled in the potential game-winning run…

6 Responses to “Steinbrenner takes game to next level, hires Voodoo Priestess”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    Nick, I am glad that you brought this up. Because Coley and I have been having an ongoing debate about the extent of the Red Sox’ injuries. My esteemed colleague seems to feel that the Sox DL is no more crowded than the norm at this time of year–at least, that’s how he felt when we started this convo, which, to be fair, was before Manny, Ortiz, and Lester went down. Coley also feels that the Sox don’t have a deep enough bench. I mostly concur, but feel obligated to point out that the entire Sox bench is in the starting lineup right now, leaving the bench somewhat underpopulated (in a recent game, only Gabe Kapler was available). However, I feel I must point out that it’s not just the starters who’ve been injured this year for the Sox. Even crappy players have missed significant time—Wells (who is no longer crappy and no longer with the Red Sox, natch), DiNardo, Clement, Foulke (who may be only crappy because he has been constantly injured for pretty much the past two seasons) and Wakefield (who is not crappy, but who got no run support this season). The Red Sox basically played this season with only two legit starting pitchers, filling in the rest of the rotation with call-ups, sad sacks, and relievers. Now Schilling has missed a start with a muscle strain. Fab.

    Oh, and you mentioned Papelbon in your post. But he grimaced in pain on the mound the other night and hasn’t pitched since then. So, for now, he’s out too. And Mark Loretta should be out, but there’s no one else to replace him, so he’s playing with a strained quad. So hopefully Mike Lowell won’t get gigantism (or foul any more balls off that ankle) and Youkilis won’t get the flu (again). But at this point, it doesn’t really seem to matter. Sigh.

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    It’s silly for Coley to say that the Red Sox didn’t have a deep enough bench, if he said that. First of all, as a National League fan Coley may not realize that bench depth, plus or minus, is less of a factor in the American League, since due to the DH, AL benches only have four guys rather than five like in the NL.

    But even so, the Red Sox had a *great* bench, which pretty much started out as being Alex Cora, Wily Mo Pena, Doug Mirabelli, and J.T. Snow – all four being guys you would have thought could be starters on a lesser team this year (and had been starters in the past).

    Coley might have more of a point if he were to have talked about poor organizational depth rather than bench, as the Red Sox were not able to plug gaps with minor league relievers very well this year, unlike most teams who have a guy or two in the pen at Triple A that they can get by with for a few weeks if needed. Catcher was also a position that they completely lacked a minor league fill-in for (recently remedied with the Wells trade), although in the outfield they were able to come up with useful parts like Adam Stern, Gabe Kapler, and Dustan Mohr as the season progressed.

  3. Ugh, once again Sarah has totally misrepresented my position. Thanks a lot, Sarah.

    First of all, I didn’t say the Red Sox aren’t having injury problems. I said that Red Sox fans can’t blame the team’s fall out of contention on injury and that they only very recently went from having normal injury problems to off-the-charts injury problems. In short, the Red Sox season ended after they got swept by the Yankees, but the injury bug didn’t really hit the team until after that series.

    And I was talking about the team’s bench in response to something Theo said about how the Sox will never have as deep a team as the Yankees b/c they don’t have enough money. That argument, I think, rings pretty hollow. Sour grapes was all it was.

    Nick, you’re right that the Sox should have been able to plug holes in the bullpen with minor leaguers. But, failing that, Theo also could have traded for a bullpen arm before the deadline. That’s what I was saying to Sarah.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    See, Nick, Coley likes to change his argument with the wind. That is the problem we seem to be having here. The Sox’ season was not, repeat not, over when they got swept by the Yankees. The Sox have another four-game series with the Yanks coming up. If the Sox hadn’t gone into free-fall—if, in other words, they had not already been suffering HEAVY injury problems far exceeding MOST other teams when BOOM they got slammed with heart trouble, cancer, etc, quickly rocketing them into the realm of cartoonish soap opera ailments (amnesia, microchip brain implants, being buried alive, etc) from which any team could hardly be conceived of recovering—it is totally feasible that they could still be contending by the time they were headed to the Stadium, making those games entirely meaningful—and their season, hence, UNended.

    So the Yankees lost Matsui. So they went without Sheffield. So Randy Johnson sucked most of the season. That *still* puts them ahead of the Sox, who had two (count ‘em) healthy pitchers in their starting rotation this year. Don’t you think that injuries to starting pitchers are worth more than injuries to position players??

    And don’t change your argument again this time, Ward! Don’t even think abouddit. We are on to you. ON TO YOU.

  5. Whoah. I’m not sure if I should continue to intrude myself further into this highly charged debate between you two, but here goes…

    The Red Sox’ injuries have certainly reached cartoonish proportions, as I myself pointed out in the original post, and that is unlucky, but as Branch Rickey said, “Luck is the residue of design.” That goes for bad luck too, so we could equally say that “bad luck is the residue of bad design.”

    Sure the Red Sox rotation and bullpen have been devastated by injuries, but that is the residue of the Red Sox’ managment assuming that had too much depth in the pen and rotation, or at least more than enough. Two trades that really stand out as mistakes are the Bronson Arroyo-Wily Mo trade and the second Mirabelli trade (giving away Cla Meredith).

    The Arroyo trade seems more and more baffling in hindsight, and although hindsight is 20-20, I was one of the people who was never really in favor of it from the get-go so I feel free to bash it whenever I choose. Arroyo was signed super cheap, when even going off last year’s stats he was worth several million more per year, and the Sox had good depth at outfield. Wily Mo is a good player, but pitching is always way more precious than corner oufielding, and much harder to replace in a pinch. An unwise move from many angles.

    Also in hindsight, and here I must admit I favored the trade at the time so I have a less sturdy leg to stand on, but it must be said that the second Mirabelli trade was a huge mistake in retrospect. Both Cla and Bard are tearing it up, and we should have all known better than to panic on Bard after only one bad game. A young talented player like Bard surely would have learned to handle the knuck with time and experience (surely Mirabelli was not born with his knuck-catching skills). Moreover, everyone had a feeling that the Sox bullpen was quite weak at the start of the season with no proven closer, and decidedly non-stud journeymen like Tavarez and Seanez, so trading a young arm with potential was foolish.

    Overall I wouldn’t say these trades alone doomed the Sox, but I also wouldn’t say that the recent injuries doomed the Sox – it was a combination of both. The Sox put together a pretty great team which if everything broke right could beat out the Yankees for the division, but everything did not break right, and the bottom line is that the Sox largely turned their nose at one of the fundamental maxims that you can never have too much pitching – a maxim which is becoming more true every day in this era of pitch counts – and they have paid the price.

  6. Sarah Green says:

    Nick. I agree with you. Wily Mo, you know I love you, but a solid, cheap pitcher is so hard to come by these days. Also, in retrospect, who could possibly look at the Red Sox rotation (fat, old, fat, old) and NOT expect some injuries or melt-downs and hence the need for a serviceable young arm. Duh.

    But I must point out that Bardy did not just have “one” bad game. They were ALL bad. He was on pace to break–no, SHATTER–the record for passed balls by the first month of the season.

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