The Boston Red Sox have trotted out Hall of Fame talent my entire life. Little League baseball cards of mine will tell you that my favorite player in tee ball was Roger Clemens. When they broke the curse in 2004 my entire family stood in the middle of our living room and hugged as if we, personally, had accomplished something. As a security guard throwing away the prime of my 20s I was often the only person in Fenway Park, working overnights waiting for the Sun to rise. Not because I wanted to leave, but because I didn't want to be the one on duty to be the cause of blame if something went wrong. I was Terry Francona’s personal security during the 100 Year Anniversary of Fenway. I rode a fucking Duck Boat after they completed the best season in franchise history. This team has always been, and will always remain, a massive part of my life. I’m sorry if this offends: trading the best home grown talent this organization has produced since Carl Yastrzemski in the middle of his career to save a few dollars in International pool money doesn’t sit well with me.
Breaking up an extremely young core of Mookie, Devers, Xander, Jackie, and Benintendi doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know if you realize this, but that’s five players. You can calculate it for yourself if you don’t trust my math. Traditional baseball lineups only require you to play nine players at a time. Meaning more than half your lineup is set for a decade if you want it to be. Meaning a depleted farm system, agreeably one in need of tending, doesn’t need to be completely replenished this very second.
I don’t know how so many people are OK with this. I really don’t. “You really want to pay him 11 and 12 years from now?” You’re telling me we have to punt on an MVP’s next DECADE because you think years 11 and 12 will be shaky? That makes sense to people? The second best outfielder in baseball wants to get paid like the second best outfielder in baseball and that’s him being unreasonable? That’s the clear sign he wants out rather than to leverage his lone shot at setting up his bloodline with generational wealth?
Mookie Betts felt like a dream. The way we consume football and basketball, starting when these kids are still in middle school in some cases, there aren’t as many surprises by the time they arrive to the professional ranks. There are some sickos who watch college baseball, there are pockets of the country that love high school baseball, but it’s really the only sport left where the stories of these prospects are all we have to work with until we get to finally see them in the Bigs. Mookie Betts was this second baseman in the organization who, out of nowhere, started this DiMaggio-esque on base streak that kept growing, and growing, and growing. 71 straight games, literally tying Kevin Youkilis for the Minor League record. It was extremely hard to ignore, especially since the Boston Red Sox stunk out loud while this was happening. Dustin Pedroia was our second baseman, Mookie has no path, maybe if we pray and wish upon a star Mookie might be able to learn another position.
That was the first time me and Jared (Carrabis) hung out in person. Like most modern love stories, we met on Twitter. He followed me first, he’ll say he didn’t - because he’s an asshole - but he did. He said we should go to a game, knowing we could both just walk in for free. He had to ask me some advice. July 9, 2014. Red Sox-White Sox. Rubby “Pedro Jr.” De La Rosa vs. some guy named Chris Sale. Within minutes of sitting along the third base line we began bemoaning the very existence of John Farrell. Mere days after stating he was going to get Xander more reps at short, and all but declaring Brock Holt the third baseman of the future, he had Xander at third and Brock at short to start the game. Brilliant. Jared asked me about Barstool, a place I had interned three summers prior for a few months. Dave (Portnoy, the eccentric billionaire you’ve seen on the news) had recently offered him a job. Jared wanted to take it but he was worried about how it would impact his relationship with the sport of baseball longterm, if his work would be taken less seriously because it was being posted to this website instead of something more traditional. It’s funny that now when the Tennessee Titans launch a podcast with our network, it’s viewed as “selling out.” We’ve come a long way in six years. Jared took my advice of “shut the fuck up and take the job” with a grain of salt. He later accepted, he’s done alright for himself I suppose. Why was I telling this goddamn heart-warming story, oh yeah, Mookie Betts hit two doubles off Chris Sale and then scored the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth en route to a walk-off victory. It was Mookie’s seventh career game. He was special from the jump. He's special now. He'll continue to be special.
Mookie Betts has played five full seasons for the Boston Red Sox. He was not an All Star his first year as a starter. He’s been an All Star the four years since. He hasn’t finished lower than eighth in MVP voting over the last four seasons. Four Gold Gloves, one Platinum Glove, three Silver Sluggers, one batting title. Mookie Betts has five 3-home run games. The Major League record for such games is SIX. Only one player since WORLD WAR TWO has posted an OPS higher than Betts’ in 2018 and that was Manny Ramirez in 2002. Even before that, it was only Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams who bested Betts in this regard. He’s the only player in American League history to win a World Series, MVP, Batting Title, Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger in the same season. Again, I know there have been a lot of words since the beginning of this blog so I’d like to remind people this Betts character is the same one who is about to be traded to the Dodgers, or Cardinals, or whoever the fuck.
I’ll always disagree with this.