A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Theo Epstein

There are many ways that people can leave a club. For example, Shaq and Kobe hated each other's guts and traded insults until Shaq left Eagle, Colorado's least favorite visitor in Los Angeles, and went on to a progressively extended career with stops in Miami, Boston, Cleveland, and Phoenix. In the end, he was a lovable guy who's contributions to cell phone commercials and stopping online predators far outweighed his performance on the basketball court or in the studio. Maybe he didn't know when to leave. Maybe he believed that a high field goal percentage from shots really close to the basket constituted greatness... we'll never know or really care at this website, but all the same, it's sad to see someone who defined the game as much as he did leave it.
And if Daisuke Matsuzaka is bidding adieu to Boston in order to get Tommy John Surgery, his last game on May 16th, a game where he let up 5 runs in 4.1 innings with 2 strikeouts and 5 hits to go with his 7 WALKS is a fitting end to a mistake that Theo Epstein made by bidding $51,111,111 just to deal with Matsuzaka. Sure, we were hyped up with the talk of the gyro ball and the 150 pitches a game and the World Baseball Classic performance, but in the end, if he was great, and we're definitely not saying he wasn't, let it be known that a fish out of water in a major media town is a recipe for disaster. Boston's courting of Hideki Okajima to be Matsuzaka's wingman seemed like an OK move... until it all went south with spot relief and holding pattern usage taking him to an ERA that is north of 4. Boston sent him down to AAA Pawtucket, and we forgot about the 2007 All Star appearance and the terrible post seasons in 2007 and 2008 because we knew that he wouldn't be around much longer.
And Daisuke was all alone to face the hate of a manager who really doesn't manage and a town who expects a hell of a lot from all of their players, but why shouldn't they? Matsuzaka cleared $51million for 6 years that saw him go 49 and 30 on a team that was really good for pretty much all of those years. Sure, he has a 6th year to come, but Tommy John Surgery isn't quick, and let's be honest, if it takes a year to 18 months to recover, it's not like he's going to be flame throwing AL East competition.
Instead, he'll be recuperating in Japan or wherever he chooses to go. The Red Sox won't be able to deal him, and they'll eat the last $20million for this year and next year and have less interest in picking up Asian players after the debacle of their last few (ok, so Hideki Nomo did have a no hitter in game 2 of 2011 against the Orioles, but other than that...
And it's a shame, but we can't all be Ichiro or Godzilla.

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