Season-saving win . . . Take 2


Season-saving win . . . Take 2

Season-altering Red Sox victory, Take 2 . . .


Listen, if the Sox are going to salvage this horrible season, a win like last night is a great place to start. Then again, two weeks ago was a better place to start. Opening Day in Detroit would have been even better. And when you really think about it, is there anything about the Red Sox right now that makes them more apt to succeed than they've been at any other point this year?

Why is now different than then? Why is this the time they finally turn things around?

Answer: It's probably not. As a result, it's probably better to stay grounded this afternoon and be pleasantly surprised by a potential turnaround, than to get your hopes up and watch the Sox go down 7-0 in the first inning tonight against Detroit.

Maybe that's a depressing and defeatist way to look at it, but after 11 months in this Red Sox hell, what other choice do we have? How many times can we be fooled before taking a stand and saying: "Unless something changes, nothing's going to change."

And that's why, as uplifting as last night was, the weekend on the whole was somewhat bittersweet. On one hand, it's always nice to see them beat the Yankees. Especially on the road. Especially on National TV. Winning a series at the Stadium will always serve as a source of happiness, regardless of the circumstances.

On the other hand, with consecutive wins over the first place Yanks, there's no question that the front office will now be less inclined than ever to make a change before tomorrow's deadline. Or if they do, it will be a move that helps boosts the team's current image at the expense of the future. A move that allows the Sox to throw another layer of makeup on their pig of a clubhouse and pretend that nothing's wrong.

Can't you just hear Larry Lucchino on the phone after last night's game: "Two of three against the Yankees?! Ha! We've got them, baby! The fans are will buy this hook, line and sinker. They'll think we have a chance . . . so now we must exploit them! We must act! We'll spin these wins so fast that those idiots won't know what hit them. They'll start snatching up tickets like it's 2004! Bahahaha!"

To put it another way: This weekend's series will likely fool the Sox into thinking that they can fool the fans. Again.

No one will fall for it. Again.

And that will leave us in the same place we are now. In this disgruntled no man's land where nothing is real. Where everything feels like a facade. Where fans are still waiting for inspiration andor any reason to genuinely connect with a team that they once loved so much.

And it's too bad, because despite what ownership thinks fans want i.e. high-priced well-known players who can give off the air of competitiveness what they really want is very accessible. It's right here. Or in some cases, it might right down the road in Pawtucket.

You look at a guy like Pedro Ciriaco, who even before his weekend heroics had injected serious excitement into this team. You look at how quickly everyone identified with Will Middlebrooks. Same goes for Felix Doubront. Even a player like Ryan Kalish. Real fans love rooting for guys like that. They love watching young players come up and ignite hope for the future.

Now obviously, I'm not saying the Sox should hit the reset button and go for a complete rebuild over at Fenway. That kind of thing doesn't fly around here. Instead, I'm saying that it's time to be realistic: No matter what happens at the deadline, it's much more likely that the Sox will come up short this fall than it is that they'll go on to another title.

We can agree on that, right?

Right. So, why keep pretending? It's almost like the owners believe that the fans will take any hint that the Sox aren't serious about winning the championship this year as a reason to write the team off and ignore the Sox all together. That giving off the vibe that they're still a contender is the only way to inspire the fan base. But that's not true.

The truth is that while Red Sox Nation is running low on patience, it's not the kind of patience that ownership thinks. Sure, everyone wants to see another World Series title, but in reality, we once waited 86 years for that, five years isn't that bad. The patience we're waning thin on is the patience for their lies and deceit. It's not that there's no more hope, it's that everyone's just sick of the false hope.

Fans are smart. Fans are real. The Red Sox continue to treat them as they're neither.

That's why people aren't going to Fenway as much anymore. That's why interest in the team is down.

So, if you're not going to win this year, anyway, you might as well field a team that's likable. That actually provides some hope for the future. A group of players that still have every thing to play for, and so much to prove. That's the stuff that inspires and excites fans.

Not overpaid, disgruntled and jaded superstars.

At some point, you'd like to think that the owners will realize that, but after this weekend, it probably won't happen this season.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona


Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona

The Red Sox lost another key member of their front office Monday, when vice-president of amateur and international scouting Amiel Sawdaye followed former general manager Mike Hazen to Arizona.

Sawdaye will be the Diamondbacks' assistant GM. As stated by Rotoworld, he had been instrumental in building up the Red Sox' young big league talent and farm system.

The Boston Globe reported today that the Red Sox may not fill the GM vacancy created when Hazen left, instead using "other staffers to take on Hazen’s administrative duties". President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski handles many of the duties traditionally associated with the general manager's position, leaving the actual GM's job in Boston as "essentially an assistant [position] with a lofty title but little power".

The Red Sox have also lost two other front-office members this offseason: Senior baseball analyst Tom Tippett, who had been with the organization for eight years, and director of sports medicine services Dan Dyrek, who had been with the Sox for five years.

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

Sometime over the next 10 or so days, either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians will win the 2016 World Series.

Naturally, that will mean one of baseball's two longest-suffering franchises will end their championship drought. Either the Cubs will win their first title since 1908, or the Indians will win for the first time since 1948.

That alone should make for an epic World Series.

But there's another bit of history at stake, too - one of legacies.

In addition to the great discomfort felt by Red Sox ownership -- which fired the manager of one participating team and was seemingly happy to hold the door open for the exit of an executive now running the other - it will also almost certainly result, eventually, in either Terry Francona or Theo Epstein being enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Epstein would go down as the architect who helped two star-crossed franchises win titles - the Red Sox in 2004, and the Cubs this fall.

The Red Sox went 86 years between championships; the Cubs would be ending a run of futility that stretched across 108 seasons.

That would provide Epstein with an unmatched resume when it comes to degree of difficulty. It's one thing to win it all; it's another altogether to do so with the Sox and Cubs, two clubs, until Epstein's arrival, linked in ignominy.

Epstein could become only the fourth GM in modern history win a World Series in both leagues. Frank Cashen (Orioles and Mets); John Schuerholz (Royals and Braves) and Pat Gillick (Blue Jays and Phillies).

He would also join a short list of executives who have won three rings, a list that includes contemporaries Brian Cashman and Brian Sabean.

Of course, Epstein can't claim to have constructed the entire Cubs roster, no more than he could have done when the Red Sox won in '04.

In Boston, Epstein inherited key players such as Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Similarly, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras pre-date Epstein's arrival on the North Side.

But Epstein is responsible for nearly the remainder of the roster, and hiring manager Joe Maddon, the coaching staff and most of the Baseball Operations staff, including GM Jed Hoyer and scouting director Jason McLeod.

Francona's influence on the Indians is just as obvious.

Hired in late 2012 after spending a year in the ESPN broadcast booth, he inherited a team which had suffered through four straight losing seasons. In the five previous years before Francona's hiring, the Indians averaged just over 72 wins per season.

Since his arrival, the Indians have posted four straight winning seasons, with two playoff appearances, while averaging 88 wins per season.

It hasn't seemed to matter to the Indians that they've been without two of their three best starters (Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco) this postseason or arguably, their best offensive player for all but 11 games this season (Michael Brantley).

The Indians don't make excuses for injuries, or bemoan their modest payroll. Under Francona, they just win.

This postseason, he's made up for the absences in the rotation by masterfully utilizing reliever Andrew Miller anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning.

A third World Series would put Francona in similarly rare company. Only 10 managers have won three or more World Series and just six have done so since World War 2 - Walter Alston, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bruce Bochy Sparky Anderson and Casey Stengel.

The individual accomplishments of Epstein and Francona won't take center stage this week and next -- that attention will, rightly, go to their respective beleaguered franchises.

But the subtext shouldn't be overlooked. Once the partying and the parades come to an end, a path to Cooperstown for either the winning manager or winning president of baseball operations can be cleared.