Do The Boston Red Sox Get It?

With pitchers and catchers reporting, baseball season is back underway, meaning we as fans get increased exposure to the players via media availability. Some of it is good, some of it is bad. Alex Speier has been great, as always. I have never used one of my precious five free Boston Globe articles on something written by someone other than Alex Speier. True story. On the flip side, Pete Abraham insisted that Chandler Sheppard was actually Chris Sale yesterday. I would link the tweet, but it’s been deleted. Now, I’m not gonna lie, probably nobody but me knew that Chandler Sheppard was an existing, physical being. But he is. And he throws with his right hand. Which definitely eliminates him from the “could be confused with Chris Sale” pile. Oh but look, Pete is suddenly an expert on Chandler Sheppard.

What an ass.

In other news, Evan Drellich tweeted out a 10 minute long video of the real Chris Sale throwing a bullpen. I have no idea why.

But hey, it’s spring training, and the media have to get back into regular season form as well. No worries there. What does concern me is that the players are back talking to the media, and they just don’t seem to get it. There have been red flags with this group in the past, starting with Mookie Betts admitting that 2016 may have been a career year for him. Look, it’s okay for the fans and the media to acknowledge that, but it’s not acceptable for a player to say that. If you think you’ve reached your peak, you work your tail off to not only sustain that level of play, but to better it. That’s the deal, that’s what you signed up for.

With that being said, let’s dive into some of my favorite quotes from players thus far. We’ll break down each quote along the way, so as not to overload you with a wave of negativity at the end.

Let’s start off on a high note. Mookie doesn’t want to talk about a possible extension because he wants to focus on the season. Also, he has no hard feelings towards the Red Sox for taking him to arbitration.

Oh wait, he has no hard feelings because he doesn’t want to be here and arbitration puts him one year closer to free agency? Yeah that sounds more like it. The bottom line is this, Betts has no interest in an extension because he wants to test free agency. I have no idea why, especially after the winter we all just experienced, but it is what it is. Betts is more than likely gone following the 2020 season.

Wow what a concept! Having fun while playing a game? Never would’ve thought of that one. The Red Sox have to drop the business formal act, and they have to do it quickly. I was at game 3 of the ALDS against Houston last postseason. Carlos Correa hit a 2 run bomb in the first inning. The Astros dugout went insane. On the other side, Mookie Betts robbed a homerun to end an inning late in the game, and received a high five from Hanley Ramirez. That was it. No joy, no passion, no fun.

The tweet Drellich quoted here has been deleted, but that isn’t the point. The Red Sox need to be more honest, and they should be. David Price admitted he could have handled things differently last year, Mookie admitted more fun is necessary, and Xander Bogaerts (more on him later) admitted that the Red Sox battled a lot of things last year (subtle shots at John Farrell. Love it). But how honest are the Red Sox being with themselves? Look at this Chris Sale quote:

Chris Sale quote

Were the Red Sox the best team in their division? I mean, sure they ended up winning the division. But from what I remember, they had to hold of the Yankees until the penultimate day of the regular season. It was the Yankees who came back from an 0-2 deficit in the ALDS and went to game 7 of the ALCS. Not the Red Sox. If this team wants to win the AL East for the third year in a row and actually make some postseason noise, they better work their ass off to be the best team. They can’t just role in with this “we were the best last year” entitlement.

Be aware, this is where we get to the truly alarming quotes out of spring training.

You’re 25 Xander. You’ve been here for 5 years. At this point, you either are a leader or you aren’t. You either are an infectious personality or you aren’t. Xander is neither.

This isn’t the first time Mookie has said something like this, which is even more concerning. I can’t find the full quote, but Betts went on to say that it may take 4 or 5 people to fill the role that Ortiz had. I get it, Ortiz was a larger than life figure in Boston that took a lot of pressure off the young guys. But holy hell, figure it out guys. How long are you going to keep harping on Ortiz not being around? How long will it take for someone to step up and take control? This team has some serious daddy issues. In this case, those issues are exacerbated by their leader also being their best player. Both are gone.

This is the major problem with having a young team, they don’t know how to win yet and they don’t know how to be leaders because someone else has always done it for them. That’s why teams need to mix veterans in with their young players. It’s why Jacoby Ellsbury and his two World Series titles are so important to the Yankees. The problem with the Red Sox is that none of their young guys are capable leaders. If they were, they would have grabbed the bull by the horns. As for their veterans? Minus Pedroia, none of them have won a thing.

Written by: Brian Borders

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