It’s universally understood that it’s better to be hated than ignored. There’s nothing worse than being forgettable. I’d rather take a swift kick to the Richard than be on the receiving end of someone’s indifference. Yet looking over the 2018 Red Sox, projecting what their line-up and rotation might look like this season, one word keeps running through my head.

Meh.

I’ve read most of the news coming out of Fort Myers so far, and so far my reaction has been consistent.

Meh.

Most of the stories of late have focused around the Red Sox new slugger J.D. Martinez and his conspicuous absence from spring training. It seems that the Red Sox were sorting through a medical issue with Martinez. Might there be a good reason no other team in the MLB offered obscene money to a guy who slugged 45 home runs last season? This morning, however, Martinez was finally announced at a press conference in Fort Myers.

And there was much rejoicing. 

Interestingly enough, Martinez make some comments this morning contradicting the new, self-appointed mouthpiece for the Red Sox clubhouse, David Price (and his dog Astro), who had an ominous warning for Martinez before the slugger’s arrival.

“Oh yeah, he’ll get booed,” David Price told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “I told J.D. he will love the guys here in this clubhouse, but also told him he’ll get booed. He’s a quiet, soft-spoken guy, but he’ll handle it. Besides, everyone gets booed. I heard Big Papi get booed many times in Fenway.”

Martinez, however, told WEEI’s Kirk Minihane and Gerry Calahan that said conversation never happened.

“David’s always spoken very well and very highly and especially of the fan base and pitching in that ball park and how fun it is to go out there every day,” Martinez said. 

Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

This should end well. As soon as Price (and his dog, Astro) gets shelled in a few outings, Price (and his dog, Astro)will clam up and pout, maybe take a few more digs at Dennis Eckersley before bitching about the Boston fans and media. Or maybe he’ll mix things up this year and throw some shade in the direction of Guerin Austin.

Meanwhile, the newly-stacked New York Yankees want to reclaim their role as underdogs in AL East despite of the fact that—new manager Alex Cora and Martinez, aside—Dave Dombrowski placed his thumb in a certain orifice and did next to nothing to improve the team this off-season. The Yankees, meanwhile, added Giancarlo Stanton to a line-up including Aaron Judge. Oh, I hope Daniel-san will stand up to those creeps at The Cobra Kai.

Meh.

To begin, the 2018 Red Sox are not an overly affable team. Last season, especially after Price (and his dog, Astro) had their brush up with Eck while lapdog Dustin Pedroia allegedly cheered on Price (and his dog, Astro), the Red Sox became a hard team to like.

Aside from certain players like Mookie Betts—who the Sox sent to arbitration, practically stamping his ticket out of town in three years—Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts, there seems be an abundance of overpaid prima donnas—“Hanley Ramirez, report to the office, please”—who don’t produce when it matters and don’t seem to care. In fairness, this also seems seems to be the bane of the modern game: Star players play for a big contract then quit caring.

Maybe—and here’s my hope—the youth movement comes into their own this season, and Cora is able to light a spark with guys like Betts, Devers and Benitendi. The Red Sox have the talent to go deep into the postseason but I question the dedication of certain aforementioned prima donnas, which could quickly sink the season.

Or not. Meh.

It’s still far too early for prognostications, and I want to hold out hope. But…

Meh.

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Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. His books include Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press, 2007), After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press, 2009), Hangover Breakfasts (Bottle of Smoke Press, 2012), Sort Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing, 2013), and My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). Almost Christmas, a collection of short prose pieces, was recently published by Redneck Press in 2017. Graziano writes a baseball column for Dirty Water Media. For more information, please visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com.

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