Time Out For Sports Talk: Covering Many Bases
Todd: I’ve got a few different topics to bring up for discussion this week.
Starting with the Patriots, who begin training camp this week with the dark cloud of Aaron Hernandez hanging over their heads, dealt with that news about as well as possible as they attempt to shift their focus back on football. While it’s hardly an easy task, they’ll do it for the same reason as any of us in our own line of work would if we had a co-worker allegedly commit as heinous an act as Hernandez has been accused of: because we have to do our jobs. In the end, we can only be held accountable for our own actions and not those of somebody else.
As for the many members of the local media who spent days attempting to predict how Bill Belichick would handle the Hernandez situation (or if he would deal with it at all), I say shame on all of you who were surprised or gave the Patriots coach credit for not treating the topic like one of his typical responses during a football-related press conference. Belichick, like all of us, is human, and although the reporters covering him rarely get to see that side of Bill, it doesn’t mean he has no personality. If those same reporters would actually ask him some thoughtful and intelligent questions more than once in a blue moon, maybe we would all be witness to more than just a few grunts from the guy.
Moving on to Major League Baseball and the latest news involving Biogenesis, if I were a newspaper editor I would have had two great headlines to run this week using sayings I recall hearing in my youth. The first would be ‘all Braun, no brain’ to sum up how stupid the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder looks after denying his involvement with the Florida clinic for the longest time, and now finds himself done for the rest of the season.
The second would be a slight paraphrasing of the original proverb, ‘spare A-Rod, spoil the child’. Apparently the evidence MLB has against Alex Rodriguez is mounting to the point that the Yankees third baseman could be facing a very long suspension. Then there’s the child in A-Rod who simply can’t keep his mouth shut, speaking out against the Yankees for not playing him when he claims to be fully recovered from all his injuries.
Wrapping up the week with the Red Sox, who remain in first place thanks partly to Mother Nature, congrats to the organization on getting a long-term contract extension done with Dustin Pedroia for—in MLB terms—a relatively reasonable price. Although we’ve learned too well of late that none of us truly knows any professional athlete, Pedroia at least appears to conduct himself the right way on the playing field and for that deserves to be the next face of the organization until he’s into his late thirties and Mike’s daughter is attending junior high school.
Speaking of Mike and some of his comments from last week, the 2013 season has been a bit of a bonus for the Sox and their fans as the team has exceeded many of our expectations. While both of us agree that now is not the time to make a trade of Bagwellian proportions, the latest news on Clay Buchholz making a swift return to the mound does not sound encouraging. With that possibility in mind, I would not necessarily be opposed to Ben Cherington dealing a couple of his lower-tiered prospects not named Bogaerts, De La Rosa or Cecchini to help bring in an arm like Jake Peavy, who is under contract through next season. This is where some of the team’s recent fiscal frugality gives the Sox the payroll flexibility to take on a contract like Peavy’s (who is owed about another $19 million) and maybe even an additional bad White Sox contract without having to give up as much in terms of higher-ranked minor leaguers. Having said all this, I still don't have a problem letting the kids have a chance to provide the solution to the pitching staff (witness young Drake Britton picking up his first major league win against the Yankees last weekend).
Mike: Well Todd, you’ve succeeded in making me feel old by pointing out my 4-year-old will be in junior high before Pedroia’s contract runs out!
Anyway, getting to the Patriots, I really hope (though I’m not naïve enough to think this will happen) that Belichick’s press conference this week will close the book on the Aaron Hernandez questions for the season. Sure, he was on the team, but he’s not anymore, and let’s face it, it’s not like the Patriots’ staff had any control over what he did when he was away from the team. Leave the questions for the lawyers and let the team get its work done on the field.
Now, as a former newspaper sports editor, I have to admire Todd’s suggested headlines, but I think the A-Rod one is a bit long. I prefer the short and punchy “A-Fraud”.
As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I really am enjoying this silly little drama going on in the Bronx this season. Todd said it best when he compared A-Rod to a child, he seems to be rebelling against “Daddy” Brian Cashman (the Yankee GM) and basically screwing up what little creditability he had.
But I think there might be a deeper reason why the Yankees are dragging their feet on A-Rod, they don’t want to clear him to play, only to see him almost immediately suspended in this Biogenesis mess. They are clearly trying to distance themselves from a player they perceive as tainted, and on top of that, a player whose skills have degenerated to the point where he was benched in last year’s playoffs.
Now, on to the trading deadline.
I am really hoping the Sox make some kind of move in the next few days, though, like Todd, I also don’t think that trading a bunch of top prospects for a quick-fix solution for this season. Peavy is an interesting possibility, but the fact that he is under contract for next season kind of gives me pause. Sure, it’s great to know that the player that you are trading for will be under your control for more than the rest of this season, but will there be a place on the staff for him next season when Buchholz comes back (hopefully) and some of the young kids come up along with the pitchers they already have under contract.
But, either way, I think it’s going to be a fun race to the playoffs and I’m really looking forward to it!