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Why the Red Sox Haven’t Changed

This Red Sox team is not very likable. There is no simpler way to put it. Their torrid pace to start the year may have made you forget that. But don’t get it twisted. This team is no different than last year and that is no question a contributing factor to the general lack of likability they have. However, that shouldn’t be taken out of context. This team is not hated, they just aren’t any more likable than they were last year. 

 The easiest way to put it is this: imagine a world where the Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball (not difficult to imagine). Now imagine CC Sabathia complaining about a phantom injury caused by being unable to put down the sticks. Then add on top of it Giancarlo Stanton complaining about the MLB handpicking its stars and how he will never be one. Is that not enough? Fine. Also throw in Jacoby Ellsbury complaining about the media and being testy with them for questioning the leadership on the team. Still not enough? Then also throw in an unhinged veteran player who you never know what you will get from night to night or the amount of effort they will show. Finally, let’s top it off with a general lack of urgency permeating the whole team from its dancing outfield inward. If that were what the Yankees were putting forth, Red Sox fans from Maine down to Providence would be heard laughing from the moon. 

With that being said let’s start from the beginning and take a look at the factors that make this Red Sox team, an admittedly good team, less likable.

Win, Dance, Repeat

One of the most tired and irrelevant parts of the 2017 Red Sox was win, dance, repeat. If you are not initiated, this is the stupid dance that Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr, and Andrew Benintendi would take part in after every Red Sox win. Coming into spring training, much was abuzz about the trio disbanding their win, dance repeat band. One would think that it would make me happy that it could end… except for the fact that it ending was a story to begin with! During spring training, beat writers were asking Mookie if the celebration was going to return and “debating, we don’t know yet,” was the response Betts doled out. We don’t know yet? Oh please, the suspense is killing me. I am teetering on the edge wondering if the trio are going to bring the win, dance, repeat band on another nationwide tour. Add in Benny biceps saying “it’s up in the air” and JBJ letting us know that “time will tell” and we have the same drama inducing will they, wont they that New Girl gave us for 7 seasons with Jessica Day and Nick Miller. It is this kind of story that infuriates me as a fan and I feel the same way when it comes to football dances. Can we please focus on the game instead of the distraction of dancing? Do players have so much time on their hands that they can focus on dance moves as opposed to fine tuning their skills? Maybe if Jackie Bradley Jr focused more on his swing than dancing in the offseason he wouldn’t be at the point he is now…. Segue

Jackie Bradley Jr

What a story this guy has become! Yes, his defensive prowess is unquestioned, but his bat has become comedy club fodder. Through 127 at bats this season, JBJ is batting a whopping .165, has a .519 OPS, and has struck out 41 times. The average and OPS are both dramatic steps down from even last year when people were complaining he couldn’t hit. It has gotten so bad this year that he is not only no longer an everyday player, but there is also talk of sending him back down to the minors. Could it be that the chatter of a potential trade has distracted JBJ?

David Price

As long as David Price is a member of the Red Sox, they will be less likable, and there really is no debate about it. Last year much of this teams perceived likability issue stemmed from the David Price incident with Dennis Eckersley. This shed spotlight on a leadership issue, which had a negative impact on the previously well liked Dustin Pedroia. Not even through May, the antics of David Price have continued into the 2018 season. He left a start against the Yankees after one inning with a “tingling sensation” in his hand and then also missed another start against the Yankees due to a team noted “mild” case of carpal tunnel possibly due to an addiction to a popular PS4 game, Fortnite. Yawn. The story writes itself and for more information on it, check out BSoTEP48 around 44 minutes in. The guy is not likable. His compete level, to quote Damon Amendolara, is not at a 10.  

Miscellaneous dislikes

Much can be said about the play of key offseason acquisition, JD Martinez. It is true, he is the real deal. He is proving he can hit for average and power, but he is also proving to be a bit of a crybaby. Recently, Martinez was speaking with the press hinting that the MLB hand picks their stars and that he would never be what is considered a “star”. Oh Wah, JD. The MLB doesn’t hand pick their stars. They shine light on highly touted prospects who come out and prove why they were highly touted right away: Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Mookie Betts, and so on. Not to mention, all of those players are entertaining. Trout is built like a tank, steals bases, and is marketable. Harper and Betts as well. JD Martinez, for all that can be said about his average and power, is kind of boring. 

Hanley Ramirez is another negative impact on the team’s likability. He is Manny Being Manny lite,  but he consistently under achieves. Hanley was out to a blazing start which had won everyone back on his side, but the month of May has been a different story. Ramirez is hitting .188 in 16 May games and if he doesn’t start hitting soon could check out and call it quits on this season. 

All that being said, the Red Sox have done things to improve from last year. Alex Cora, has come in and handled the players in a different, more Francona-like, way while JD Martinez and Mookie Betts have brought life back to the Red Sox lineup. With that however, comes the cold reality that David Price is still a member of this team, Jackie Bradley still can’t hit, and the outfield cares more about entertainment and having fun than competing and winning. These issues, while they do not make me hate the team, make me kind of roll my eyes with every new bit of news that comes out about them. Ultimately, whether you like something or someone or not is really up to you as a fan. This team proves it’s possible to not have a likable personality as a team, but win. 

Does this article make me less likable? Let me know on Twitter @mitchyBSoT @BostonSportsTap

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