Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'd Like To Think Cooler Heads Can Prevail

Yeah, I'm a bit of a hothead at times. When my favorite team does badly, and I have no one to complain to, I'm prone to writing angry blogs. Granted, while I meant pretty much everything I wrote last night, I feel the need to clarify. While I do not LIKE this team, I do love them. You can dislike something that you love. Believe me, it's possible. Because I love them, I do expect better of them constantly. Maybe that's not fair, but it's how I am. I always expect better of them.

I love Mike Lowell. I think he's just wonderful in every way. So when I see him grounding into double plays and striking out on pitches at his ankles, I get angry. I KNOW he's better than that. I've seen him play better than that, and the Mikey who doesn't swing at bad pitches is in there somewhere. I know it. I just really, really need to see it. For the sake of my sanity.

I love Dustin Pedroia. Yes, I do. But... based on his first three Aprils in the bigs, Munchkin gets off to a slow start, no matter how hard he trains or practices or plays in the off-season. Fine. He's the reigning AL MVp, former rookie of the year, gold glove, silver slugger winner. He's looked a little dopey this season, and for the most part everyone's been looking like they're still hibernating, but it will pass. Doubt Dustin. Seriously... doubt him. That gets him all fired up just so he can prove you wrong. So doubt him. Maybe he'll get it going faster.

I love Jason Varitek. Love. No doubt about it, the man is my reason for loving all things Sox. From Jason's catcher's mitt, love springs forth (or some silly rubbish like that...). Still, I never want to see him up with the bases loaded or as the catcher when Wakefield is pitching. These are two things I know Jason struggles with. It doesn't mean I love him any less (because I most definitely do not love him less), it just means I acknowledge his weakness... even if I don't want to. I can't say that anything Jason does offensively offends me any more, because I have lovingly lowered my batting average expectations for him. But I still love him.

I love David Ortiz. Honestly. He's Big Papi for a reason. He's not too old, and he's not all done. He's still, somewhere deep inside, the guy that can toss us all on his back and carry us to October. I believe it. I don't need instant proof, because I believe he can do it when it counts. As much as I hate to admit it, these April games don't count all that much. It's a long season, and while the results of these games may come back to haunt us, they don't at all indicate how the rest of the season will play out. Papi will be the one swinging the bat and driving in runs. I promised myself it would happen. He will do it.

I love Jason Bay. Most of my love for him happened because I needed to love him. After the whole Manny fiasco, I NEEDED to embrace our new left fielder, otherwise my sorrow would have been just too great. But I also love him for his own merits. He's a wonderful hitter, and he's a good defender. I feel bad for screaming at the TV, telling Bay he should dive for the ball once in a while instead of having it land a foot in front of him. Then he dove for the ball... yeah, ok, so I'm not always good at deciding the best course of action for these guys. That's why I'm not a manager. I hope your wrist is ok, JayBay. I did not mean to treat you oh so bad.

I love Jon Lester. Last night, he really wasn't THAT bad. Two home runs, and a bunch of other hits... he was bad, but not THAT bad. There were positives. He was getting strikeouts. He got a few pop-ups. His defense did not do him any favors. I know he wasn't good in this game or his first game, but it does tend to look so much worse when he's struggling through thirty pitches and nine batters just to have our guys go down 1-2-3 in the top half of the next inning. He will sharpen up. He will pull things together. We know what this guy can do. He's a workhorse, an ace in the making, the kind of guy you hand the ball to an expect a win. My love for Jon Lester is just as strong as it was before the season started.

I love Josh Beckett. I've always loved Josh Beckett... and by always, I mean from the moment that he was traded to the Red Sox. I knew who Beckett was. I liked him. Now that he's ours, I love him. Even during his pitiful '06 campaign, I loved him. If I could love him and all of his terrible, terrible faults and habbits then, I can certainly love him with his minor mechanical issues now. And I do. He's another one (well, technically the first one) who even when he's going through a rough stretch, I still expect a win when we hand him the ball. I don't doubt the win will happen, until it doesn't. Just like Lester, I still love him as much as I did before the season starts, and I KNOW the two of them will put it together. It will happen. They will dominate. I believe this, because I love them. I do not LIKE when Beckett shakes off 'Tek. That usually leads to bad choices. I do not LIKE when Beckett proclaims how wonderful he was after a loss, but that level of arrogance is part of why I love him. Sometimes there is just nothing that I like about him, but the love never goes away.

It's why I watch... because I love them. Even when I don't like them. Even when I disagree with some personnel choices. Even when they start the season 2-5. Even when they strike out, ground out, pop out, fly out, ground into double plays or fielder's choices. Even when they stare at strike three or swing at the first pitch and end a rally. I love them anyway. That's why, even when they suck and make me angry, I watch. I guess I always will.

Now... to get this season turned around, let's hope we have Houdini-san on the mound tonight, and not the version of Dice-K that pitched the last time. Go Sox.

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