Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Looking to the future?

A few minutes ago, the Boston Red Sox official twitter account posted the above photo with the caption: "Check out new banner being hung outside Clubhouse." The banner is populated by Red Sox greats from the distant and not-so-distant past: Johnny Pesky, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Ted Williams, Luis Tiant, Dwight Evans, Jason Varitek, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Tim Wakefield, Carl Yastrzemski, Pedro Martinez, and Tony Conigliaro.

The Red Sox are certainly a franchise full of legendary players - the banner even leaves out old time greats like Cy Young and Tris Speaker - and there are certainly some great players on the current roster, as well.  But in recent years it's sometimes felt like the franchise is more vehemently selling the historic accomplishments of the team rather than the chance of future glory.

Nothing made that feeling more palpable than the juxtaposition between the pomp and ceremony of Fenway's 100 Year Celebration (which rightfully and expensively carried on all season), and the horrible losing season under Bobby V. during which nothing seemed to go right.

Throughout the year, Red Sox fans were bombarded with emails about various promotional items to buy - bricks! books! commemorative pins! patches! infield dirt! MORE BRICKS! SERIOUSLY BUY THE BRICKS! All the while, the actual team on the field was floundering under a manager who wasn't right for the team from the start, a flurry of injuries to key players, and one of the biggest trades of the decade that shipped some star players to LA.

Don't get me wrong. I love learning about Red Sox greats of yesteryear. I have dozens of books about baseball and Red Sox history, and I turned every possible writing prompt in college into a chance to wax poetic about the local nine. But I do bristle a bit when I feel like I'm being asked to pay for historical greatness rather than future prospects.

I think it's laudable for the franchise to encourage their current players to study hitting in the legacy of Ted Williams, to be resilient in the face of injury like Tony C., and to be loyal like the late great Johnny Pesky. I just want to be reassured that the front office has its eyes as much on tomorrow as it does on year's past.

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