Game Day Six Pack: “Two Words: Steroids and Robots.”


Meet Red and Denton of Red Sox blog Surviving Grady.  Like us, they are simple folk, just wanting the best for their baseball team, and channeling this perfectly healthy passion into screaming and/or throwing.  Is there something so wrong with expecting the best when you’re paying the most?

Like us, they pay top dollar to currently sit at the bottom of a division.

Like us, they’ve cringed as Jonathan Papelbon proved to be mortal.

Like us, they are seeking solace in the form of drugs and synthetic humans.

Ever since last year, I’ve felt that the Phillies and Sox are somewhat bonded in their comparable late season incompetence.  We both had big dreams.  We both had long winters.  Looking forward, how can two behemoths with aging hearts contend in divisions beginning to boil over with younger talent?

Red:  Two words: Steroids and robots. Actually, I’m kidding about the robots. And the steroids. I think, at least in Boston’s case, we’re suffering from a near-lethal combination of players who were ridiculously overpaid for their services and others who were getting perhaps a bit too comfortable with doing “just enough.”

I was hoping that last September’s embarrassing crash-and-burn would have shamed the Red Sox into blazing out of the gate, as if to show the world that they still had some of that piss and lightning (whatever that means) left within them. I was wrong. The AL East is a tougher place and you’ve got some hungry, somethin’-to-prove teams in the Rays and Orioles.

Denton:  September was a brutal reminder of what it was like to be a Red Sox fan pre-2004. Didn’t our slogan used to be “Wait’ll Next Year?” And we’d start chanting that in early August. It’s amazing what you can get used to…but I don’t ever want to get used to being a fan of that kind of team again. I think it has a lot more to do with heart than age, but I have major concerns that other than Dustin Pedroia, this team lacks heart.

Twitter provided us with some delightful Kevin-Youkilis-to-the-Phillies rumors that for the most part, made no sense.  Is Youkilis a broken man?  What trade would be fair for both sides?  

Red:  Youkilis has the heart and beard of a gorilla when he’s healthy, which, by my calculations, is roughly 15 games per season.

He is not a broken man by any stretch, but his days with the Red Sox may be numbered. I can’t imagine the Phillies would want to take an oft-injured guy who sweats as much as Youk off our hands, but if you do, we’d gladly take a bunch of those cheesesteak subs we hear so much about.

Denton:  I think any trade where Philly gives us all of their good players and the Rocky statue is fair, but I don’t see it happening. Youk’s value is way down, and is a month really enough time to hitch your wagon to Will Middlebrooks? Christ, for a few weeks last season Jed Lowrie was the shortstop of the future.

Adrian Gonzalez is the latest player or coach to speak out against idiotic umpiring.  Did he have a legit gripe?  Or is he venting frustration with himself?  And how about when the Phillies played a game without an umprie at third base because Joe West was sick, and then two calls were blown at third base, costing the the game?  Not really relveant, but…. I have trouble letting go of things.

Red:  I think a lot of it comes from his frustration and the fact that he hasn’t hit a home run in what seems like his last 1,200 at bats. As for the umps, I’ll be the first in line when the voting for robot umpires opens up.

Denton:  All you have to do to learn about the state of officiating is watch the video of the Lawrie incident a few days ago. Clearly the case of an umpire taking it personal that the batter showed him up when he missed the call on strike two and retaliated by calling the next pitch strike three, regardless of how far out of the strike zone it was. A pathetic display, he should have been the one suspended.

Is Jonathan Papelbon a constant reminder of the glory that was?  Or is he a page torn from a dusty novel in the back of a used book store?  Or is he just garbage, blowing in the wind kicked up by a SEPTA bus?  Your thoughts.

Red:  Part of me wants to dismiss Papelbon as a self-centered clown who did more for the Dropkick Murphys’ bank account than his team in his last few seasons with the Red Sox. But that’s just the bitterness talking.  He was a true character and the image of him doffing his pants and dancing on the field back in 2007 will forever haunt my dreams. That said, it would have been nice if he could have moved on to Philadelphia without feeling the need to bash the Boston fans and media.

I liken him to that Tom Waits album that everybody recommends to you but that you can’t listen to more than three seconds without banging your head against the wall in frustration. And I don’t know what that means, either.

Denton:  Papelbon is a tough guy to like when he isn’t dancing around with a Bud Lite box on his head after your team just won the World Series. He stated from day one in Boston that he was paving the way for closers to get big money, and he did just that. No idea why he decided to bash Boston after leaving, but based on everything else going on with the Red Sox front office, I’m guessing he has his reasons. All that said, I wouldn’y mind seeing him stroll out to take the mound in the ninth inning wearing a Red Sox uni.

Which eastern division is more competitive?  With the Orioles stepping up, is there any fear that they are for real?  I hate the Nationals.  Again, irrelevant.

Red:  Ever since I found out that Buck Showalter’s favorite expression for laying a beating on another team is “pounding their tits,” I have secretly wished for the Os to at least become contenders. This year, it seems to be coming true. Also, any league with a team that is managed by a guy who instructs his players to go out and “pound their tits” is instantly the most competitive league in baseball.

Perhaps even in the universe. The Orioles are very real, my son. As real as that knife in your hands.

Denton:  There is chance the Orioles are for real. This happens almost every year and by the All Star break, they are busy making themselves comfortable in the basement. They suck. End of story.

Josh Beckett.  He seems angry.  What’s his problem, anyway?  And why does he think he only has 18 off days a year?  What about the entire winter?  Also four out of every five days?

Red:  Oh, fuck Josh Beckett.

Denton:  Beckett is a self-centered, spoiled rotten baby. Other than that, he has no problems. Even as a diehard Red Sox fan, I find it hard to root for him. There is no doubt in my conspiracy-theory-clouded mind that he intentionally went out and grooved every pitch two starts ago because he was pissed off about being called out for golfing when he was supposed to be hurt.