WAIT ‘TIL NEXT YEAR

     As the Red Sox sputter down the home stretch for 2010, it is apparent that there’ll be no playoff baseball in Boston.  Selfishly, that’s a bummer.  PawSox owner Ben Mondor always buys a bunch of tickets and treats his employees to a good time.  It’s nice to socialize away from McCoy with your colleagues.  I believe it’s a “perk” that none of us takes for granted.  Sadly, no one, not even Ben could turn around the fortunes of the Red Sox this year.

     These next ten days should have been the most exciting stretch of the season.  Six games against the hated Yankees.  The perfect prelude to an ALCS matchup.  Instead, we’re left wondering what might have been if Pedroia hadn’t gotten hurt. If Youk, Ellsbury, Cameron etc. had stayed healthy.  Injuries are part of the game.  I understand. But, come on!  Now I am relegated, not only to hating the Yankees,  but also to being jealous of them.  Jealous that their fans could be treated to another championship.  We now know what it is like to win it all, and as dumb as this might sound, winning is way better than losing.  I loved having the upper hand over Yankees fans.  It was awesome.  People think I’m crazy when I tell them I will not watch the playoffs.  They may be right.  But without your favorite gal at the party, why stick around?  Unfortunately, these six meetings between the bitter rivals will mean nothing more than a March meeting in Fort Myers or Tampa.  (By the way, was anyone surprised that the monument dedicated to George Steinbrenner at Yankee Stadium this week was bigger than the ones for Ruth, Mantle or DiMaggio?)

     The lone bright spot this September has been the abundance of playing time for friends of ours like Josh Reddick, Ryan Kalish, Daniel Nava, Lars Anderson, Michael Bowden and Rich Hill.  For the most part, they have answered the call, and are jockeying for spots in 2011.  Some will be in Boston.  Others, back at McCoy and some, with other teams.  The nice thing is, they are gaining valuable experience, getting a taste of the Bigs and also fattening their bank accounts.  It’s also great to see Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo in the Boston dugout.  I spoke to the skipper this week and he is soaking it all in.  “Tito (Terry Francona) is an amazing guy to be around.  I’ve learned so much in this short time, just listening and observing, it’s great.”  Francona and Lovullo have a relationship that dates back to Toreys’ last days a a player in the Phillies organization, when he was managed by Francona.  Later, the pair worked together in the Cleveland chain and became even closer.  As Francona told me last winter, it was a “no-brainer” when Lovullo became available.  The Red Sox hired him immediately.  After seeing him in action this season, I understand why.

     You know you’re in flux when you have so many questions to answer in the offseason.  Not just about players like Reddick and Kalish, but players like David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez and Jonathan Papelbon.   I hope to see all four of them back at Fenway.  Big Papi has proven he can still produce.  Beltre has put MVP numbers in his season of “redemption”.  Victor gets the seal of approval from Dustin Pedroia and that is more than good enough for me.  Papelbon is a stud.  His best years are still ahead of him.  As John Tomase pointed out in the “Boston Herald”, and I agree, I’d rather have a pen that features both Pap and Daniel Bard.  The bullpen struggled with both of them there in ’10.  How much worse would it be without Papelbon.

     Many questions to be answered in the coming months.  Call me if you want to hang out over the next couple of weeks.  I’ve got plenty of free time.  For me, the baseball season is over.

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