A Red Sox time warp

November 5, 2007 at 9:17 pm 1 comment

Once again, the Boston Red Sox are toying with time. The team that once made fans agonize over when it would next win a World Series is now capturing championships with the regularity of its pinstriped rivals from New York.

Some cosmic force must be at work for such a radical time shift to occur. The Sox-time continuum once used a pace of change befitting an Ice Age glacier, or a Green Line subway train. Now the carmine-hose particles pulsate faster than fans rushing to claim their free Jordan’s furniture. It’s an effect that should attract the attention of a modern-day Albert Einstein (in a smart-looking world championship baseball cap, of course).

Sox stalwarts remember how slowly things went on Yawkey Way. Eighty-six years passed before Boston won its sixth title. Team management, beginning under former owner Tom Yawkey and continuing into the present regime, rarely budged from prioritizing home-run hitters ahead of base stealers and pitching. And so power-hitting Ted Williams was protected but Pee Wee Reese was not, just as the team dealt for Danny Cater and sent Sparky Lyle to the Yankees. This meant that Sox stars like Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jim Rice would spend their careers waiting for a championship that never came.

Far more reprehensible was the Sox’ longstanding unfairness on racial issues. In 1959, twelve years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Boston became the last major-league team to integrate when Pumpsie Green took the field. The intransigence lingered; in 1978, former Sox pitcher Bill Lee told an interviewer that racism “always has been” a problem with the Sox, and “always” more so than it was for the rest of the majors. “It’s ownership catering to the demands of the city,” Lee said.

If change is afoot in Boston, the Red Sox now represent its herald. The front office is thinking more creatively, and one way the team is responding is with more frequent playoff appearances — including the two successful Series trips. The Red Sox, who until 1998-99 hadn’t appeared in back-to-back postseasons since 1915-16, have clinched a playoff berth for three of the past four seasons. They’ve done it with pitching staffs that, while not the Fab Four of the Atlanta Braves’ glory years, have nevertheless impressed in big games: Pedro Martinez, Tim Wakefield, and the unsavory duo of Curt Schilling and Derek Lowe in 2004, and Schilling, Wakefield, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett, and Jon Lester in 2007. The diverse roster, which includes African-American, Latino and Asian players, reflects a fairer philosophy by team management and a better example for Boston and New England.

Bob Dylan might have the final insight on the time transformation of the Red Sox. “Your old road is rapidly agin’,” the Minnesotan sang in 1964. “Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand.” And that applies to Yawkey Way.


Entry filed under: Baseball, boston red sox, sports. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Sandra  |  November 10, 2007 at 12:32 am

    You must be very exited. Congratulations!!!!

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