Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Please feel free to keep commenting on the post below, as it's probably a better place to vent and express angered bewilderment, which I think is where we're all at right now, but if I didn't write about this I would just be fuming over it during my evening class tonight.
Normally I agree with Bill Simmons about a lot of stuff. He's a funny guy-- some of his articles have made me laugh about games I never thought I'd laugh about. He's pretty smart, and if I don't get 2/3rds of his pop culture references, well, that's probably because a) he's older than me, and you old fogeys have such crrrrrrazy pop culture bits and b) I pay little or no attention to TV shows that aren't broadcasting sports or news. But generally I read his columns and end up thinking to myself, "Right on, Bill."
I can see what he's trying to do here... everyone is lining up along the Tobin Bridge, so he's trying to both calm people down and set his writing apart by being a voice of reason, telling us that losing Theo is bad, but by golly kids, it ain't that bad. Which is admirable. I guess.
There are just a couple things that he says with which I have a problem.
He brings up the old 'well a lot of Theo's good moves were pure dumb luck' arguement... dangling Manny on waivers and no one picking him up, trying to get A-Rod and ending up trading Nomar away for Cabby and Roberts and Mienky instead, etc. All well and good, I don't think anyone would argue that those moves didn't have at least a hefty helping of luck involved.
But then he goes on to say that Theo missed the boat this year by "not making any of those Shawn Chacon/Aaron Small-type moves to keep the team rolling (with the exception of the Tony Graffanino trade)." Does he really, honestly believe that these moves were anything other than that exact same kind of pure dumb luck, only for the Yankees? They didn't have any pitching! They were getting ready to throw a jersey on single-A kids and toss them out there. They needed arms, period, and it didn't matter what the hell kind of arms they got, so long as the boys were big enough to wear the pinstriped britches without needing too much alteration, and they could get the ball from the mound to the catcher without skipping it.
The fact that Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon both ended up having what amounted to career years was not anything the Yankees expected. Were they hoping for it? You bet. But they had no way, no way at all of knowing that those guys would perform half as well as they did. They were stopgap measures to keep the team from piddling away down the drain because of a lack of warm-blooded personnel they could trot out to the mound. Luck, Bill. Maybe a little bit of brains in there too, but lots and lots of luck.
Then Simmons goes on to say this:
"So did Theo really perform that much better than anyone else who had such a huge payroll to work with? I don't know. Heading into 2006, the team is in worse shape (both financially and from a talent standpoint) than it was heading into 2005. Doesn't he deserve some semblance of blame for that?"
First off, we're not heading into 2006, not yet. We've got a whole bloody offseason to hash out first, and who knows what chips will fall where. Secondly, do I think the major league squad is in rougher shape? Maybe. Do I think the entire team is in worse shape? No. Most assuredly not.
Later in the article Simmons dedicates a short paragraph to saying how he thinks Theo's treatment of the minor league kids was good, how he didn't trade them off in a firesale to get quickfix talent, etc. What he completely ignores is the fact that Theo had a large hand in building up the whole bloody system itself. The Red Sox used to have a farm system that was surpassingly lackluster. Are they at the top of the heap yet? I wouldn't say so. But did they move up in the ranks during Theo's tenure, and as the kids in the system mature will they probably continue to do so? Yeah. Probably they will.
And I do give Theo credit for that, a lot of credit. So maybe our big league squad is looking shakier than it has in a while... the organization as a whole is much, much stronger for his involvement, and hopefully will continue to get stronger still as the years go on. How, exactly, is it not a disaster that the man who made that possible is gone?
Simmons talks about the big free agent moves, the big up-front moves, the Schillings and Foulkes and Nomars. Not once does he mention Jon(athan) Papelbon, or Craig Hansen, or Dustin Pedroia, or any of the kids next in line.
Remember, guys. If we had never had Theo, Oakland would have had Kevin Youkilis long ago.
I'll say this is a bloody fucking disaster if I want to, and thanks for trying Bill, but there's no way you're calming me down.