At home at fenway

Keeping on eye on Dustin, Papi, Youk & a few good books

Changing Sox & Fallen Heroes

Posted by athomeatfenway on November 23, 2012

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It’s bad enough when the team that hired you as a batting coach has to defend itself just because you were an obvious juicer in your days as a player.  It’s still worse when in the first 6 years on the HOF ballot the Knights of the Keyboard gave you woeful support levels of 23.5%, 23.6%, 21.9%, 23.7%, 19.8% and 19.5%.  Not even close.

 

But you know you’ve hit bottom when the memorabilia from your playing career goes unsold or yields pennies on ebay.

 

Here is the title on a lot that just ended un-bid on the undisputed champion of internet bidding sites:

 

“Mark McGwire 1998 Ticket Stubs Home Runs #60,61,62,63,66,69,&70 Cardinals L@@K”

 

Only $65 was asked.  As mentioned, there were no bidders.

 

In the pre-Mitchell Report days, the asking price for these stubs would have been more like $500.

 

A quick search of McGwire items offered in the last 30 days on ebay shows that about 3% of them sold, and at bargain prices.  100 assorted MM cards went for $6.22.  A 1985 Topps rookie secured $3.49.  A new-with-tags Majestic Diamond Collection Cardinals McGwire home jersey went un-bid at $14.95.  Even at 90% off, no one wants to be seen in Mark’s uniform.

 

It’s a long way from the obsessive days when all Cardinals games were nationally broadcast as we breathlessly waited for the Maris record to be surpassed.  In those days, a single pack of 13-year-old 1985 Topps cards brought $30, just for a long shot chance there would be a McGwire rookie inside that pack, a card that was then valued at $125.

 

Collectibles are funny things.  A wise man once scoffed at the foolishness of paying good money for momentoes, like rookie cards, things with no inherent value.  Another wise man once said that people will always collect the past.

 

They were both correct. But You can’t get as much for the items that are connected to sure fire HOF’ers who have fallen from grace.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Further in the realm of the fallen are my current Red Sox, the team I never will abandon, though the names on the uniforms will change.

 

How the names have morphed in recent years.

 

In an effort to drop a few pounds I printed out some motivational thoughts and went to tape them to my shaving mirror.  I saw something taped there that I had not considered of late.  It was a 3 square inch newspaper cut detailing the 2007 Red Sox roster.  I believe I taped it up that April.

 

Starting pitchers included Beckett, Matsuzaka, Schilling, Tavarez and Wakefield.   This was an interesting year.  Beckett would win 20 and finish 2nd to Cleveland’s CC Sabathia for the Cy Young.  Schilling would put the finishing touch on a 20 year career with a 1.19 ERA in the World Series.  Matsuzaka, in his American debut, would muster 15 wins with a 4.42 ERA in 32 long, long outings as a starter.  Knuckles Wakefield would sport a 4.76 ERA but get enough bat support to record 17 wins, matching his career high.  Julian Taverez, who seemed poised to be the John Burkett of 2007, went 7-11 (5.15) in only 23 starts, leaving 12 starts for a young man named Lester who beat cancer and would go 4 – 0, and pitch shut-out ball for 5 and two-thirds innings in the World Series.

 

Consider the prospects for the 2013 starting staff and their 2012 records.  Lester, 9 – 14 with a 4.82.  Buchholz, 11-8 & 4.56.  Doubront, 11-10, 4.86, but pitching very well in his last 4 starts.  Morales, 3.77 in 9 starts.  Bard, atrocious in 10 starts.  And John Lackey, Mr. Question Mark himself.

 

The 2013 starting pitching is at best incomplete, and at worse, worrisome.

 

Unfortunately the position players do not sport the offense needed to support this starting staff.  Gone from the 2007 World Champs are Manny, Youkilis, Lowell, Lugo, Crisp, Drew and ‘Tek. In their place, Gomes is in left, Middlebrooks at 3rd, no one is at first yet, shortstop is undetermined, Right fielder Cody Ross is not signed, and we have Salty behind the plate.

 

Is there any reason yet to believe Boston will not duplicate their 69 – 93, last place performance of this year ?

 

Well, things are a brewing amongst the position players.

 

Middlebrooks may be the 3rd baseman of the future.  Xaender Boegarts may become the X factor in 2013.  Johnny Gomes might hit 30 home runs in Fenway Park.

 

And John Lackey may rebound at age 34.

 

But I doubt it.

 

The only thing I see for sure is more change.

 

Patience, fellow Farrell Men (and women).

 

Damn that sounds weird.

 

I guess I hate change.

 

Go Sox.

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