Boston Red Sox: Move It Out, Shut It Down
I generally do not report on baseball. While I am an avid fan of the grand ol’ game, I prefer to keep my writings concentrated on my #1 and #2; hockey and football, respectively. However, no sports fan can ignore what is happening to the Boston Red Sox franchise.
In addition to being a sports writer, I am also a pretty skilled carpenter. What transpired in Boston Red Sox nation has reminded me of a home building project I worked on several years ago that may make a funny story. If you would indulge me…
I had a wood deck in my back yard that was once great, but was fading fast. Several years ago, I decided that it was time to do something with this very important structure. Lets face it, this deck was the center of all back yard entertainment. It held the commercial grill, the bar, the fridge, and served as the gateway to the swimming pool. All eyes were on this deck like a green wall on Yawkey.
Looking back at it now, the deck in its then condition reminds of the recent Boston Red Sox teams. The Red Sox fans demand great moments with no downtime; just like my wife and family do. Like the Red Sox, this deck had seen some great recent years, but was in need of something. Money was not a concern, however, time and pressure to keep up with the Joneses (New York Yankees) put the plans on an accelerated path.
I looked at the core of the deck. Solid still? Yeah, good enough. No need to sink new pilings or extend its size. I am sure the Boston Red Sox brass did the same thing when they considered their future. Solid still? Sure. Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, Josh Beckett, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonathan Papelbon, and Jon Lester. What could possibly go wrong?
I started by ripping out the dead wood (Manny Ramirez). I replaced those boards with new pressure treated wood that was serviceable (Jason Bay). I had given serious thought to putting down the current trend of composite boards, but I did not have that kind of time. The pressure was on. This was project was all about band-aids in the form of making things look like I was “doing something about it”.
I will say that once the newer replacement deck boards went in, they never did fit right with the other boards that had been there for years. They were also heavier and tended to cause the older support rafters to sink enough to knock the deck out of level. I was forced to jack up the support and put in a filler between the posts and rafters (John Lackey, Victor Martinez). The Boston Red Sox found out quickly what filler could do to a project and so would I.
The railings around the deck should have been replaced, but instead I supported them by removing the rusted out lag bolts and replacing them with new 4″ fasteners (Adrian Gonzalez). Also, rather than strip the chipping paint down to bare wood and applying proper treatment and staining, I just painted over it with a shiny gilded solution (Carl Crawford). No one would know the difference.
So, it looked like my project was done and we were ready to roll. There was very little down time, if any, as I did most of my work during the non-playing months, much like the Boston Red Sox had done. The old deck looked great on paper. We were ready for next season. I congratulated myself and celebrated with a bucket of fried bird and a few cold ones.
Early in the next season, my mistake of avoiding a true rebuilding process was exposed when my oldest son leaned against the railing only to have it cave in on him. Luckily he was alright. Then, as if a reminder that I chose not to put down the maintenance-free composite decking in favor of time, I had a splinted piece of wood gouge the bottom of my foot.
This required a visit to the ER. Also, I was finding that the newer boards had swollen and were causing a “lip” on the decks’ surface where they butted to an older board. This caused many stubbed toes throughout the summer. It was the kinda hurt felt in the Red Sox clubhouse as newer faces sat next to veteran franchise players.
This endless run of injuries brought back memories of what the Boston Red Sox saw when Youkilis, Pedroia, Beckett, Lackey, and Ellsbury all spend lengthy time on the DL. I was also noticing that my shiny paint (Crawford) was blistering after just a few months in the hot summer son. I, like the Red Sox, was fooled by its glitz and glam. It was obvious this deck was not going to make it.
My wife, the boss, had concerns about where this deck was going and in the same fashion of the Boston Red Sox, she wanted to fire the contractor….me (Terry Francona) and have my licensed contractor brother (Bobby Valentine) in to oversee the deck’s progress. The problem with bringing in my brother was that he felt the deck needed to be torn down to the ground and rebuilt.
Before the next pool season got started, I could see that the foundation was not where I needed it to be and was never going to be. So I started to chip away at it. I considered all options and I decided that adding cement pillars was too expensive for this current deck, so I let that idea walk (Papelbon).
Once the summer began and we were playing ball again, I knew some more needed to be done, so I removed the main support beam (Youkilis?) that now had some rot in it. It could have had rot the year before, but maybe I just did not look hard enough or I did not want to see it?
After suffering through another month with the floundering deck’s poor design, bad money, and rotting core I did just exactly what the Boston Red Sox did yesterday when they dealt Gonzalez, Crawford, and Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers; I blew it all away.
Not with a scalpel. But a machete. Not by strategic omissions. But by a sledge hammer. No pin point guidance missiles. But carpet bombing. It had to be done for both the deck and the Red Sox.
If trading over $260 million in promised salary was not enough to knock Red Sox nation off its axis; how about pulling the plug on potential MVP David Ortiz? I would equate today’s move to me rolling my state-of-the-art outdoor Viking grill off the deck before demolishing began.
Yes, I did have some fun with this article and drew a comparison between subjects that really can not be compared. However, it has to be accepted that regardless of what you are building, that some times, you need to step back and decided if you need to take it “back to formula” and start over.
The Boston Red Sox gave up most of their “deck” with these bold, yet smart, moves, but in return, they got back some quality building materials, freed up a future budget, and cut their loses on a house of cards they had. More important than anything, the Boston Red Sox acquired a commodity everyone needs to build something right: time.