Sunday, October 16, 2011

Science Experiments

("In the Collapse of the Red Sox, a Chemistry Lesson")

Chemistry and personality imbalances. It reads like a failed science experiment. It all makes for such an interesting discussion, but in reality not an apt axiom at all. 2 pitches, each with 2 out and 2 strikes in the 9th inning of the last game of the regular season for the Rays and the Red Sox was all it took. Suddenly, a late season slide was no longer a footnote for a team that stumbled into the playoffs, and maybe to a world championship. Now it was a collapse with Shakespearean overtones. I don't buy it.

I remember the Yankee teams of the late 70's. It seemed like everyone hated everyone else. Steinbrenner hated Martin. Martin hated Jackson. Jackson hated Munson. The Bronx Zoo.

When a team is winning, it is an interesting cast of characters. It is a group that may not get along well off the field, but has a beautiful symmetry on it.

When the losses mount, the manager has lost control of his players, the players have lost the motivation, their contracts are too big or too long, their bellies are too full, and their egos are too large.

If those 2 pitches had been different, we would not be talking about the dissolution of a franchise gone wrong. If Beckett were about to start the first World Series game, if Lester were to record the last out in another title run, we would not find the clubhouse beer, chicken and video games to be a recipe for disaster. Rather, in the coming weeks we might have seen a lite beer commercial with Francona, Lackey Lester and Ellsbury discussing whether there is in fact more room for the chicken because the beer is less filling.

Like George, Billy, Reggie and Thurman, this Red Sox crew was only as good or as bad, cohesive or cataclysmic as the last pitch. Or 2 pitches to be more exact.

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