Sitting there eating popcorn watching Josh Reddick mash and swagger his way through the playoffs, his locks blowing in the wind, it is hard not to think, ‘what might have been?’ if the swashbuckling young man had stayed in a Boston Red Sox jersey. Damn would he look good patrolling right field, providing the finishing touches to an outfield of Ross\Ellsbury\Reddick which would be more than competitive, even amongst the daily grind of the AL East. Of course, Reddick isn’t the only ‘one that got away’.
Extrapolating this line of thoughts further it didn’t take long to create an entire team of former Red Sox from around the Major Leagues. Our ‘Old Sox’ squad would be extremely competitive, we think. In fact, it is hard not to imagine this Old Sox team bashing the living daylights out of the current incarnation which sapped the life out of baseball in Boston all 2012 long.
Assuming this column won the lottery this week, we would build a beautiful tidy little, fan friendly stadium in Cape Cod, naturally something ergonomically acceptable. In line with the swagger of our right fielder we would simply call them ‘The Old Sox’ and our uniform would be suitably unique. The stadium would fill up on a nightly basis, a mix of inevitable Cape Cod tourists, gnarly Portuguese fishermen, college kids working on the Cape for the Summer, curious Irish J1 visa students, also working in the Cape’s bars and eateries, handsome older gentlemen in crisp wind-sheeters, happily and diligently filling out old-school scorecards, holidaying New York families with the kids in Jets and Giants jerseys, dreamers and poets, artists and entertainers, the finest of the Cape and the North East. The Old Sox would play the game the right way, and their adoring fans would applaud the right moves. Read more news on the Red Sox season
Booing your own team, players or coaches would mean instant and permanent expulsion from the stadium.House rule.
The mascot? A giant clam or something, who cares, everyone would be too busy to notice, lost in a dreamy haze of Cape Cod summer nights and Hanley Ramirez monster blasts over the left field wall.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Let’s meet the team.
The Old Sox lineup
1. CF: Coco Crisp - Oakland
2. 2B: Marco Scutaro - San Francisco
3. 1B: Adrian Gonzalez - LA Dodgers
4. SS: Hanley Ramirez - LA Dodgers
5. 3B: Adrian Beltre - Texas
7. C: Victor Martinez - Detroit
8. RF: Josh Reddick - Oakland
9. DH: Anthony Rizzo - Chicago Cubs
10. LF: David Murphy - Texas
Not bad, right? The above is of course with apologies to Jed Lowrie and Kevin Youkilis. We just couldn't fit them in. How about that lineup though? Reddick batting 8th? The front two might be a little 'light' but our feeling is they will be energized by their incredible team-mates and will go about setting the table in front of the big bashers with glee. Our 3 through 6 is amongst the best in baseball, with a healthy Victor Martinez providing serious pop in the 7-hole. Adrian Beltre will be the glue that holds the whole thing together, and you can expect some highlight reel moments in defence from him and Gonzo in particular. Anthony Rizzo is a fine young slugging prospect who made it to Chicago from Boston via San Diego. He is one to watch. David Murphy batting 9th? Great defence and a consistent bat. The Old Sox would be a serious contender right out the gate.
How about pitching, I hear you say. Okay, you found out weak link, perhaps. The Old Sox are going to probably have to win a few games with the bat, however the starting rotation is not absolutely horrible. It has its moments. You could argue it is streets ahead of what Boston put on the field in '12. Have a look and see what you think.
The Old Sox rotation
SP: Bronson Arroyo - Cincinnati Reds
SP: Justin Masterson - Cleveland Indians
SP: Josh Beckett – LA Dodgers
SP: Anibal Sanchez - Detroit
SP: Casey Kelly - San Diego
Arroyo gets the ball opening day, through sheer consistency alone. He may not be flashy, he doesn’t light up the radar gun, he just wins. Masterson has the potential to go on and be a major league number two type in any rotation. Josh? We all know what the World Series MVP can do. Anibal Sanchez just needs to find a vein of form and health, and he can build on that no-hitter he threw, and Casey Kelly is one for the future, and a good one at that.
There it is. The Old Sox. Maybe 'The Cape Cod Old Sox' - we're not sure yet. Planning permission on the stadium still in the works. Dreaming aside, the point is, you can name a pretty darn good MLB team from recently-former Red Sox cast-offs.
Read into that what you will, however, it does not speak highly on Boston's ability to hold onto good players.
Right now, more than anyone, Josh Reddick is a whirling, bashing, strutting piece of evidence of just that.Follow Cormac on Twitter