June 6, 2012
Boston's Real Experiment
Morosi scores the hat trick by questioning Boston’s philosophy, aptitude, and hubris within a two-paragraph snippet. It’s an inspiring column, one that made me wonder: if people react like this to the Bard news then how did they react to Boston’s most zany attempt at bettering their roster. There are plenty of choices—the time Boston tried using a closer-by-committee approach, or how they play Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield during interleague play—but for my money, the one that stands out happened on August 16, 2004.
Entering play that night, Terry Francona had a tough decision to make. His regular second basemen, Pokey Reese and Mark Bellhorn, were injured; his fill-in second baseman, Bill Mueller, had to play third base because Kevin Youkilis had suffered an injury, too. That left Francona with two options on the roster: Ricky Gutierrez, a career middle infielder, and Doug Mientkiewicz, a career first baseman. Francona did what any good old baseball man would do if faced with such a choice: he started Mientkiewicz. Everything went fine. The Red Sox won, Carlos Delgado barreled over Mientkiewicz then got drilled by a Derek Lowe pitch. Francona moved Mientkiewicz to first base later in the game and never played him at second base again.
So how did the press react? Here’s a sample from Nick Cafardo’s column in the Boston Globe:
Well, okay that's positive. But someone wrote something outlandish, right? Absolutely:
There you have it. Morosi may have gone in on the Red Sox, but even he doesn’t have the audacity to call Mientkiewicz a star.