The Man, The Myth, The Manager
The 2012 Boston Red Sox are, for lack of a better term, fucked in the head – they’re an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a 100-year-old museum masquerading as a ballpark. Throughout this season, they’ve gone alternately back and forth between looking like one of the best teams in AL baseball and one of the best teams in AA baseball. If I had any idea what to think of them, I’d put a goddamn patent on it because you could bet Carl Crawford’s salary that I’d be the only one.
Here’s the one hundred and seventy-three million dollar question: why? Why are they so suicidally inconsistent? I suppose that “Injuries, stupid!” is an easy (and probably correct) answer, but a lot of people would point to another, much more scape-able scapegoat as the mitigating factor: the polarizing Sox skipper, Bobby “Please God Don’t Be My” Valentine. Well, I’m here to present a completely foolproof case for old Bobby Vag – and the managers of all the other losing teams, to boot – as to why he shouldn’t be catching the blame for his team’s struggles.
Ready? This is gonna blow your fucking mind! …If you’re not sitting down, you might wanna sit down, although I don’t think I ever met anyone who reads standing up.
The reason Bobby V shouldn’t catch the blame for the glaring inconsistency of the Red Sox this year is because a baseball manager barely affects the game at all! Eye-opening stuff, no? I deserve a Peabody Award for that shit.
You see, when I was but a wee lad, I used to think I could probably manage the Red Sox to within five games of wherever they finished in the standings each year. As I got a little older, though, I started to think maybe there was more to it than meets the eye, and that I’d probably be in over my head. Now that I’ve gotten even more older, though, and the number of baseball games I’ve watched has ballooned from hundreds into thousands, I’ve gone back the other way again – I’m confident that I could manage the Boston Red Sox pretty easily, if I ever had to for some reason.
I mean, think about it: the job requires you to make maybe four decisions per night, give or take, each of which you’ve got at least five to ten minutes to sit there and ponder about before making. I’m pretty sure I could handle that.
Granted, that’s not all there is to the job: the players wouldn’t respect me at all, for instance, but who fucking cares? How many people out there, percentage wise, really respect their boss? Twenty percent? Ten? Is there more percent juice in Hi-C than percent people who respect their boss in America? I don’t know – probably. But that doesn’t mean that those ninety-five percent of people who don’t respect their boss are gonna stop doing their job, now does it?
And actually, that’s not even that apt of an analogy, because these guys are locked in the middle of heated competition throughout most of their job – do you really think that their respect level for Bobby V, or whoever their manager may be, comes into play while they’re up at the plate or on the mound? Fuck no! If it did, they would never have gotten this far to begin with – they’d still be playing A ball and working a second job in the winters as an industrial chimney sweep, or a door-to-door stripper, or a medical test subject.
The point is, there’s no point in blaming Bobby Vag for the Red Sox’ insane acid trip of a season, because he’s really not doing anything at all to induce it. Francona got the blame for last year, and Bobby will most likely catch it this year, but it’s the players who are the ones out there fucking up – the manager is just some guy who sets the lineup and addresses the media after the game. Bobby V may be an idiot – really, I mean like, I don’t know if he’s dumb or not, it’s impossible to tell – but the effect that he and all the other managers have on the game is minimal at most.
In any case, I suggest we all just sit back and try to enjoy the head-scratching, publicity-grabbing, never-ending foot-in-mouth bullshit from the brain of Bobby, because he really has nothing to do with the Red Sox record one way or the other.
Photo by Keith Allison. Keith is one hell of a good sports photographer.