Monday, August 28, 2006

Poor Terry Francona

It took some willpower not to give this post a diarrhea-themed title in celebration of the fact that Dan apparently has the verbal runs, since I think he's had a column a day for the past week. But some of you probably read this while eating, so I decided against it. Trust me, it was not about tastelessness. Anyone who read the Stacey Lucchino joke should realize that isn't one of my major concerns (hi, Bruce!).

Anyway, today's piece is about the woes of Terry Francona, and there are many. Let us ignore the sickening cleverness of the canine-themed title and first sentence. I don't see what it has to do with anything, as the theme is not continued.
The last time the Sox lost 17 games in a month, they fired Jimy Williams in mid-month and replaced him with Nutty Professor Joe Kerrigan. The last time they lost 18 games in August, they finished in the basement and were managed by Daddy Butch Hobson.
There is something awkward about the way this paragraph is written. The parallel structure doesn't really work. The cutesy nicknames are irritating. Et cetera (uh-oh, a sentence fragment!). Not much to see here, except that I think Dan is really starting to force it, sort of like Bill Simmons and his increasingly contrived pop culture references on ESPN's Page 2.

And what is this doing to Terry Francona, the manager of the 2006 Sox? He was coughing up blood and spitting it into a towel while he answered questions after yesterday's loss.

``I might have OD'd on my blood thinners," explained the beleaguered manager. ``I think I took too much."

Something about this passage is incredibly disturbing. Is Dan seriously telling us that the media is just standing around watching Francona spit up blood? And then when he tells them he's overdosed on blood-thinners, they shrug and continue to hammer him with Manny questions? What would they do if they were interviewing Theo and he suddenly passed out at their feet? Write "the strain of a failed season in which nearly every move has been questioned finally got to Epstein yesterday blah blah blah" and walk away? If I'm talking to a guy who is coughing up blood into a towel, I'm going to stop talking to him, ask him if he's OK, and find somebody to help him. I'm sure as hell not going to keep asking him questions. This is really weird.
Filling out his lineup card has become more difficult than organic chemistry.
He wanted to make an analogy to the hardest thing he could think of and all he came up with was organic chemistry? That's the hardest thing he could think of? What kind of courses did he take in college?
The Sox-Held-Hostage-By-Manny-Tour takes a toll on everyone.

This is not to suggest that Manny Ramírez is faking, but his curious on-again, off-again availability -- coupled with the increasingly frequent necessity to remove him from games -- gives the manager fits and is taking the team down.

I actually do appreciate his clarification of the "Sox-Held-Hostage-By-Manny-Tour" reference, and I think it's fairly accurate, but let's not fool ourselves, faking it exactly what he's suggesting that Manny's doing, even if he doesn't want to say it. And that phrase is completely ruined by having too many hyphens in it. Maybe if he used quotation marks?
When the lineup's finished, Francona talks with pitching coach Dave Wallace to see who's available in the bullpen and who can start the next day. The bullpen situation is ever-dicey. Mike Timlin has morphed into Steve Crawford, Keith Foulke is always hurt, and the others besides Jonathan Papelbon are either not ready or over the hill.
And then whatever the answer, Francona inevitably misuses them. Perhaps Dan should tell him that Mike Timlin has morphed into Steve Crawford, because I don't think he knows. I've been pretty disgusted with the bullpen management the last few nights. Where is Manny Delcarmen?
Jon Lester was sent home yesterday because his back hurts in the aftermath of a car accident last week on Storrow Drive. Reminds me of the 1970s when Reggie Cleveland and Rogelio Moret both got into crashes and Bill Lee said, ``We don't need a pitching coach, we need driver's ed."
Lester was rear-ended. It was the other guy's fault. He doesn't need driver's ed.
Still wondering why Theo Epstein never signed his contract? The young GM was in Seattle with his free-falling team over the weekend, and who could blame him if he took a cue from those Southwest Airlines commercials that feature an embarrassing moment followed by the question, ``Want to get away?"
First of all, do we need to be reminded that Theo is "young" in every single paragraph about him? At what point does this stop? Yes, Dan, we know that he is only 32, which is younger than you. Given that he has accomplished a lot more than you have in two-thirds the time, you shouldn't exactly be advertising this fact. It's not making you look superior to him.

Also, this contract business again? Why? Does Dan know for sure that it hasn't been signed? Theo has been more secretive than a Swiss bank when it comes to his private business, so I don't know how anything has been added to this story since Dan "broke" it in May. And why do I get the feeling that he is indirectly accusing Theo of planning to cut and run?
Oakland tonight. Day 8 of the Sox Held Hostage By Manny Tour.
Ah, he took my advice about the hyphens. Thanks.


fadedredsoxhat said...

Yesterday, CHB insisted he wasn't ripping Manny. Today, he rips Manny. Manny is an injury faker, the guys who are playing are Bowsers, Terry (or will that be "Tery" in his next column) Francona is reminding him of Jimy Williams, and oh yeah Theo is young and hasn't signed his contract because he's waiting for the Seattle job to open up. Just another brave day on the job for CHB.

It would be nice if the media took a break from asking Manny Ramirez questions and ask a Manny Delcarmen question. Why are we seeing more Timlin and Tavarez and less Delcarmen? Nobody writes for the readers anymore.

Objectivebruce said...

Now Jenny is lecturing on proper English word usage, punctuation and composition structure.

Perhaps next she will give some advice to Coco Crisp on where his hands ought to be when the pitcher starts his wind-up. Maybe she'll chip in with some words for the International Astronomical Union about Pluto. Or dial up Condoleezza Rice for a few words on where the U.S. should stand on the Bangladesh-Myanmar sea boundary issue.

How precocious.

The Chief said...

Natch. Condi hasn't taken our calls since we warned her about leaving Stanford.

Dan Kennedy said...

Jenny ought to try reading more than just Shaughnessy's column. According Nick Cafardo and Tony Massarotti, the media were indeed standing around watching Francona cough up blood.

The Chief said...

Dan, that's her point. They just stood there.

Had the puke been in the other mouth, so to speak, we'd be reading about what a jacka** Francona was for not helping out while Shaughnessy or Mazz or whomever yakked their lungs up.

Dan Kennedy said...

Chief -- A fair reading of what Jenny wrote is that she is questioning Shaughnessy's account.

Anonymous said...

Not that I'm defending Dan, but while it's an easy subject in high school, Organic Chemistry does indeed become an incredibly difficult subject in college

Love the blog. I'm a Met fan, though...sorry. I just hate pompous sports columnists

jenny said...

Dan Kennedy, I think you mistook what I said when I wrote "Is Dan seriously telling us. . ." I did see a corroborating account in the game recap, and I wasn't questioning what he said. I just couldn't believe everyone was standing around and watching.

So I'm "precocious," huh, Bruce? I'll take that as a compliment. In answer to your second paragraph, Coco's hands are only a drop in the bucket when it comes to his hitting problems. He's flying open and his mechanics are completely off. It's easier to exclude Pluto from the list of planets than it is to expect people to remember three new ones with strange names, so I think the IAU was right on. As far as dialing up Rice, I think she has a lot bigger problems to worry about than a sea boundary; I'm sure if we start mucking around there, we'll screw that up, too, like we've screwed up every other location in the world that we've touched in the last 6 years.

But this isn't a politics blog. And I'm sure you didn't want an actual response, you just wanted to dump on me for being younger than you. Funny how alike you and CHB are.

Dan Kennedy said...

Jenny -- Not to beat this to death, but I don't think I mistook. I think you miswrote. DK

Anonymous said...

DK - You ARE beating that to death.

Objectivebruce said...

"It's easier to exclude Pluto from the list of planets than it is to expect people to remember three new ones with strange names"


Game. Set. And Match.

Brian said...

Dan Kennedy--What crawled up your ass and died? Settle down, jackass. Not only could you not be beating this to death more if you tried, but nobody else seems to give a shit, and the author has already explained it to you. Her meaning was perfectly clear to me when I read the post. Have you considered the fact that you're just a complete and utter moron?

The Chief said...

Easy, brian. Dan Kennedy's a journalism professor. Whereas I knew what Jenny was saying, I can see how Dan arrived at his view.

Brian said...

Meh. Visiting Assistant Professor is a nice way of saying Glorified TA.

fadedredsoxhat said...

Bruce, it is easier to remove planets than to add planets. Teachers everywhere won't have to order new posters, models, and books with a subtraction. They can just cross Pluto out. Was the earth thought to be flat when you went to school?

Anonymous said...

brian ... get a friggin' clue.