Hey, Red Sox Nation: daily drama is a bit much to the rest of usDustin Pedroia and Bobby Valentine crossed paths last month in one of the many controversies to swirl around Boston
There aren't a lot of accessories in Flyover Country. No beaches, no mountains, few really tall buildings. In Cincinnati, there isn't a lot of history stored in museums. We are not The Hub of the Universe, the way Boston has decided it is.
But we're not nuts.
Here's what you notice, after you've lived on the East Coast for most of the first three decades of your life, then spent the next two decades elsewhere:
Elsewhere actually exists.
It's not a loud place. It doesn't obsess over itself. It's provincial. Every place is provincial. But it doesn't, you know, dwell on it.
Which gets us to the Boston Red Sox. Around here, the Boston Red Sox look like a bunch of fools. They're a klatsch of 1950s housewives playing Mah Jong and complaining about their husbands. Their followers are so self-absorbed, they think it's perfectly normal.
It's not normal. It's daytime TV, every day, weekends included. In Boston, everything is coated with the goo of melodrama. Do they actually play hardball in Fenway Park? Or simply gather to complain and speculate?
The other day, David Ortiz had something to complain about. I'm guessing he had to take a number. "I don't get no respect," Big Papi declared. "Not from the media. Not from the front office. What I do is never the right thing. You hit 54 home runs, then hit 35, it's not good enough. How many people hit 35? Never good enough, bro. That's why I don't care.''
Ortiz was mad, apparently, because he suspected he hadn't been getting enough credit as a "leader in the clubhouse.'' (What does that require in Boston? A whip and a chair, or a guest spot on Desperate Housewives?) "No matter what you do, it's not good enough. And you can only call leaders the guys who are out diving for balls on the field or calling pitches behind the plate?"
The last was apparently a reference to retired catcher Jason Varitek and all-star second baseman Dustin Pedroia. But it could have been about anyone. So never mind.
A month or so ago, the new manager, Bobby Valentine, suggested that cornerstone third baseman Kevin Youkilis wasn't trying hard enough. Lots of baseball savants believed adding the volatile Bobby V to the Boston mix was a bad move. Please don't smoke that cigar next to that pile of oily rags.
Actually, it was genius. A manager who loves himself, partnered with 25 guys who feel the same way. Still, to question Youkilis' dedication was a little much, even in Boston. "That's not the way we do things around here,'' Pedroia suggested, in rebuttal.
Because pettiness, insecurity and egotism abhor a vacuum in Boston, we had to hear about Josh Beckett playing golf. Earlier this month, he played the day after he was scratched from a start with a sore lat muscle. Then he got bombed his next time out. (Check that. He got hit really hard.)
Here's a newsflash: Pitchers play golf. In season. Especially starting pitchers. You could argue stridently that Beckett shouldn't have played when he did, if only for appearances sake. But it wasn't quite the Hindenburg. Except in Boston, where everything is the Hindenburg.
We don't behave this way elsewhere. More often than not, we allow the games to speak for themselves, and the players to describe the games. If they play well, they're not superhuman and infallible. If they don't, it wasn't because they weren't dedicated or played golf on an off day or drank beer on days they weren't pitching. It was because they had a bad day.
Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/paul_daugherty/05/23/red.sox.controversies/index.html