One of the first things that basically dragged me into the World of loving the Boston Red Sox
was the superb level of in-depth journalism around the team. I remember sitting on a beach in Cape Cod in ’93 reading about Ken Ryan’s fastball and Johnny Val’s potential and devouring it all hungrily. Nothing has changed, although the out-put from the 'Knights of the keyboard'
(as Teddy Ballgame dubbed them) might be a bit more negative the last couple of seasons in particular.
The scribes are still as incisive, however, none more so than the Globe’s Pete Abrahams
, who really gets dug in to his task as beat writer to the Sox. There is a really interesting, short and yet illuminating piece by him in the Globe online today
, in which he praises several players for being a pleasure to deal with. Basically he breaks the clubhouse down into three parts. Those who were a pleasure to deal with, a secondary level who he makes a point of saying were also easy to deal with, and then a pointed few who he doesn’t mention at all.
Mr Abrahams obviously has to be careful about who he chastises for being difficult to deal with, assuming they are back next season and assuming he is covering the Red Sox in 2013. However, it can’t be ignored that he named so many players and left a small number out in the cold as it were.
You be the judge.
Abrahams’ first group;
‘’But Ortiz, Pedroia, Ross, Aviles, Melancon, Will Middlebrooks, Clay Buchholz, Andrew Bailey, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Felix Doubront, Franklin Morales, and Scott Atchison were especially patient and friendly.’’
Then the second tier:
‘’So were Rich Hill, Andrew Miller, Aaron Cook, Craig Breslow, and Daniel Bard.’’
Now, for those absent from the list. Do we assume these individuals were impossible to deal with? Do we assume they were the opposite of the above players, in other-words, impatient and unfriendly?
Notable absentees from Pete’s list of those above are;
Alfredo Aceves, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Vincent Padilla, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Iglesias, James Loney, Ryan Lavarnway, Daniel Nava and Scott Podsednik.
You can excuse Dice-K on the basis that even now he seems a fish out of water in America. For whatever reason, he just hasn’t fitted in. Iglesias, Loney, Nava, Podsednik and Lavarnway can all be excused also as short-timers and rookies and so forth.
That leaves a short-list of Aceves
In effect, the most embedded and detailed Red Sox beat writer has isolated and nominated Aceves, Ellsbury, Lester and Padilla as the most difficult players to deal with in 2012, the least patient and the least friendly. Aceves and Padilla are no shock. Their toxic behaviour means they might have a hard time getting another job in baseball, let alone the Red Sox.
Lester is a tough one to swallow. Before this season he has always been a pillar of the Red Sox community. To see him isolated as one of the problems is both shocking and sad. Whatever is going on in that young man’s mind, you can only hope he figures it out and returns to being an ace on the mound, and in the Boston club-house too.
Ellsbury’s exclusion from the good list, and inclusion in our bas list, is a complete head scratcher. Did he just not get on with the writer? Or was he actually a club-house cancer, as is basically suggested. It is very hard to tell from afar, however it would appear he certainly rubbed at least one writer up the wrong way, enough to be sent a sack of coal as opposed to making the ‘nice-list’.
What we can take from this most of all is, the Red Sox club-house had plenty of good apples, a few bad ones, and that Pete Abrahams is a pretty ballsy writer, willing to (basically) come out and identify those very same bad apples.
One thing is sure, that 2012 Red Sox season could not end soon enough.Follow Cormac on Twitter