Here we go. The new first baseman showed up to Spring Training with a borrowed glove because he didn’t have his own. The third baseman eats way too many donuts and has previously gotten benched for liking the photos on various saucy ladies’ Instagrams when he was supposed to be playing baseball. The legendary designated hitter should probably think twice before commenting on domestic abuse. The center fielder drove a golf cart into a lake. The manager, who’s been married for thirty years, is rumored to have been canoodling with a local reporter who’s been covering the team. She had to resign. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2016 Boston Red Sox!
Here’s the thing: I can’t decide if I love this team or if I hate it. My inner baseball fan hates it and wishes they’d cut the shit and play the damn game. The part of me that enjoys professional wrestling and Maury Povich can’t wait to see what these fools are going to do next. Both sides wish Wally and his stupid new sister would fall off a fucking bridge, so maybe that common ground can lead to a possible compromise.
You can certainly make the case that none of these things matter and nobody should care about anything a baseball team does when it isn’t on the field, but that sort of naive fandom is kind of impossible now. Following sports in information age is so strange. We’ve got access to more data about the games and the people who play them than we ever have before, but it’s a total double-edged sword. I won’t be able to watch Mookie Betts make a diving play in the rain without trying to make a stupid joke about that poor golf cart. I’ll daydream about who Panda’s messaging between innings from his new alternate Instagram account. I’ll continue to insist that your romantic entanglements are neither your employer’s nor the public’s business while simultaneously wondering if John Farrell maybe should’ve exercised better judgment and debating just what that means and why I’m so conflicted by the whole thing. I’ll growl about how David Ortiz deserves better than this in his last season. Modern sports fandom is complicated and occasionally frustrating, but it’s always interesting.
The Red Sox are already a circus and Clay Buchholz isn’t even on the DL yet. Hell, we’re only a few games into Spring Training. I don’t want them to become the boring ass Royals, mind you, because watching the Royals is like watching paint dry or playing that video game Curt Schilling made, but can’t they at least aspire to be the Giants? You know, a bunch of talented screwballs who win despite their eccentricities? Maybe that’s too much to ask.
One thing’s for sure: Farrell’s obviously on a short leash now. I suspect he would’ve been fired last season if he hadn’t taken a leave of absence for cancer treatment. Firing a guy in that situation would’ve been a public relations nightmare, but ditching him after, say, a 9-15 start and a dalliance with a reporter? That’s business as usual, especially given that Torey Lovullo, the interim manager who rallied the young Red Sox in Farrell’s absence, is already hanging out right there in the dugout as the team’s bench coach. And it’s too bad Jessica Moran, the aforementioned reporter, had to resign because of all this. I always thought she did a good job.
Ah well. Play ball. And somebody get Maury on speed dial. Hell, at this point maybe he should be the guy replacing Don Orsillo in NESN’s broadcast booth.