Growing up in New England, it was an article of faith that the 1967 Red Sox won the American League pennant with the help of divine intervention–that it was an “Impossible Dream.” With the passage of time, this depiction has become less satisfying, if for no other reasons than that it gives short shrift to the people who actually built the team. Ken Coleman and Dan Valenti, in 1987’s otherwise enjoyable “The Impossible Dream Remembered,” wrote: “The real miracle of 1967 is that it happened, not as the conscious effort applied to a preconceived plan, but in spite of just about everything.” Notwithstanding this supposed lack of either effort or a plan, Dick O’Connell, the team’s architect, won the Sporting News Executive of the Year award.
Suffice it to say that no one saw it coming. Perusing several 1967 preseason publications, most of them envisioned the Red Sox finishing either ninth (as they had in 1966) or 10th in the 10-team American League. Sports Illustrated came the closest to expressing optimism, saying: “If [manager Dick Williams] can find some pitching, too, the 1967 Sox may revive baseball in Boston.”
Mariner president Chuck Armstrong was quoted on MLB.com this off-season, mentioning “I haven’t attended an arbitration hearing in my 11 years with this ownership, but this one is too important. (Garcia’s request) is way out of line…If I’m going all the way to Florida,” he said, “I’m going there to win.” He lost.
Now, I’m all for an owner aggressively pursuing team goals and trying to keep the budget down, but if you think you’ve got a star young pitcher, and you’re concerned about his emotional maturity, perhaps the best way to handle a situation like this would be to give it to some competent representatives and let it go. Make some noise about how it’s all business, nothing personal, and how you look forward to having Freddy back no matter what the outcome of arbitration. The Mariners had very little to gain and much to lose by making this such a high-profile, confrontational issue in front of the public.
Dusty Baker: “We can rebuild him. We can him bigger, stronger, faster, hackier.”
Lee Stevens: “I feel like I’ve got enough production left in me to swindle a team into paying me $4 million a year. Then you too can resent me, as much as Expos fans did.”
Benito Santiago: “It’s ridiculous that I’m not signed until I’m 67 years old.”
With a few days to reflect on spring training and his time in Arizona, Joe Sheehan concludes that ouija offers more predictive value than spring training stats. Plus, letting Miguel Tejada go is the right move, even if it hurts the ears to listen to Steve Schott complain.