The element of Respect is one that is extremely undervalued in today’s society. Whether it’s in the workplace or the common world it’s a hard thing to acquire but even tougher to sustain for a consistent period of time. It’s a cherished commodity that takes immense time to accrue, but only seconds to lose if negative actions are made by an individual or individuals. 50 games into this year’s Red Sox season the word respect is starting to resurface in the media and at kitchen tables across the state of Massachusetts.
The proverbial target that was placed on this year’s squad due to last Septembers maddening ways was one of colossal proportions. The “Chicken and Beer” saga involving some of the team’s biggest contributors and fan favorites left a stench that forced beloved fans to take a vacation from a team that brought them many good memories. The Red Sox Organization has one of the richest histories in not just baseball but all of professional sports. From its 100 year old stadium to the 86 year curse they sported this is a team that is followed like no other across the country. Because of this large following, it creates an environment for the players that can be a heaven for names like Ted Williams and Pedro Martinez and a living hell for the Edgar Renteria and Julio Lugo’s of the world. (Thanks again for those immaculate signings Theo!!) The fact of the matter is no matter how good or bad certain players have done in this town being able to overcome the adversity is what fans will admire and respect the most. 50 games into the 2012 season this is starting to be the case for this Motley Crew as their hearts have been kick started with their recent success. The names on the active roster continue to change like the seasons of New England as there have been a whopping 16 casualties placed on the disabled list thus far. Amongst that list (Ellsbury, Crawford, Lackey, Daisuke, to name a few) is a common denominator of big price tags which usually warrants contributions in a major contributions to the team’s success. Obviously nothing is expected from lackey after having tommy john surgery which was a blessing in disguise for both parties and the same can be said of Daisuke who has been chalked up as a $100 million dollar failed investment. That is not the case for Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford. After finishing second in last year’s AL MVP voting, Ellsbury has fallen back into the bad graces of his peers sustaining yet another substantial injury following the broken ribs that plagued from playing almost the entire 2010 season. Many people, including myself, have criticized him for his lack of ability to play through an injury which may or may not be fair seeing as only he knows the true severity of his injuries and what his body can or can’t take. His injury this year was more of an understandable freak thing as he his shoulder was landed on while sliding into second base but once again he has lost the respect he earned while playing in a Sox uniform. An even stickier situation is that of Carl Crawford who has yet to even gain the respect of the Boston fans and media. Signing the dotted line of his 7 year $142 million dollar contract last offseason immediately poured pressure on Crawford’s shoulders forcing him to put up video game like numbers in order to be worth his steep $20 million/yr price tag. Needless to say he failed mightily at obtaining that goal in his first year here which some say is his quiet personality not being able to withstand the bright lights in this city; something that was not the case for him in his eight years he spent in the retirement community crowd at the Trop in Tampa Bay.
The Daniel Nava’s, Will Middelbrook’s Marlon Byrd’s and Scott Podsednik’s of the world have capitalized on these injuries to their respected team rejuvenating the entertainment value and interest in the team along the way. These guys don’t make the big paychecks. They don’t have guaranteed roster spots and know that they are just filling a void until the superstars come back, but they are also saving this team with their willingness to do anything and everything to help this team win ball games. The respect factor was lost with this team for the last eight or so months because of actions committed by the bigger names on this payroll. It’s because of the bottom tier of this roster that this team is beginning to gain notoriety from its surrounding’s which is creating a feel good story for a team in desperate need of a makeover. With all this being said, not everyone in Red Sox Nation has jumped back on board yet and rightfully so due to the small sample size of apparent change in the last month or so. However, the direction they are moving in is one that is of the upward trend that will continue to move that way as long as this team produces. The infusion of attitude that this rag-tag crew has brought is spreading throughout the clubhouse and most importantly rubbing off on the superstars of this team. The image of this team is beginning to clean itself up but as previously mentioned respect is something that is earned over a prolonged period of time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Nor should it.
About the Author
Written by Jefferson Mills
I am a 22 year old aspiring sports journalist. I graduated from Hofstra University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and was born and raised in Norwood, MA, twenty minutes south of the great city of Boston. Sports consume my life in every which way as I have been an athlete since the age of 8 playing organized football, baseball and basketball throughout high school and have been an avid die-hard Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox and Celtics fan. I Interned for the "Mecca of Sports Radio" WFAN 660 AM while in college and also interned for News 12 Long Island. Working as a member of the hardest working sports department in one of the most talented college radio stations 88.7 FM WRHU is the one thing I am most proud of when it comes to my work in the field. My passion and work ethic define who I am as a writer, person and friend which is why I hope to become successful in the sports Broadcasting spectrum in years to come.