Don't blame the fried chicken

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The fallout continues from the Boston Red Sox epic September collapse. "Beantown" doesn't take too kindly to their beloved Red Sox missing the playoffs. People are demanding answers, and local reporters are stopping at nothing to provide all the dirt and accusations going on behind closed locker room doors.

The latest scapegoat is everyone's favorite Sunday afternoon meal: fried chicken and beer. Throw in a few video games and you've got yourself the reason for blowing a 9-game lead in under three weeks.

When there's no where to turn, no answers to come by and everyone searching for blame, fried chicken and beer are there. When managers are let go, general managers are walking away, and players are calling it all "drama," video games in the clubhouse are there.

This story, as reported, featured starting Red Sox pitchers eating fried chicken, drinking beer, and playing video games in the clubhouse during games they weren't pitching in. Media reports suggest this was commonplace among the Red Sox. Many can't believe the outrage.

Allow me to let people in on this mindset: This is the dream of the starting pitcher. You pitch one day and sit around for the next four. You have no chance of going in any of the next games, and you're bored out of your mind watching the 114th game of the season. Your team's already losing 7-1 in the fourth inning and you're hungry. You know the concession stand would be happy to bring some fried chicken down. You know there's a cooler full of beer in the clubhouse, and you and another pitcher have been betting on rounds of Tiger Woods golf on Playstation 3. Time to go spend a few innings in the clubhouse!

Perhaps this isn't the best "team-guy" mindset. Maybe it was detrimental to the team. But who can resist fried chicken, beer and video games? What if it was KFC to boot? The Colonel's 11 herbs and spices fried deliciously would really hit the spot during a long Tuesday night game. Let the guys on the field worry about winning the game; there's chicken to eat. Let's just hope they saved some for the guys who were actually playing.

Maybe that's what caused the rift. I can hear it now: "Look, John Lackey, I don't care how much chicken and beer you eat and drink during the game. But how DARE you not leave any for me!"

David Ortiz was quoted as saying that sort of thing (eating and drinking during games) was happening during the World Series runs of 2004 and 2007. Why change it up? More importantly, why blame the chicken?

All kidding aside, the bottom line here is this sort of thing has been going on for as long as clubhouse were attached to dugouts. For as long as the Major Leagues have been in existence, players have been eating, drinking, and doing God-knows-what during games. And many were actually playing in the game.

A scapegoat was needed and explanation of the collapse was necessary. I'm just not sure KFC and Budweiser were really the culprits here. At the same time, choosing eating and drinking those things instead of caring about the team may have been.


Continuing on with the Red Sox, GM Theo Epstein has left the team. The whiz-kid who ended Boston's 86-year "cursed" existence by bring a championship is trying to do it again. This time with the baseball's loveable losers, the Cubs.

Unfortunately, not even Epstein can walk on water, a trait needed in order to bring a championship to the northside of Chicago. Accepting this deal with the Cubs speaks to two things. One, Epstein was sick and tired of dealing with the drama and scrutiny related to everything Red Sox baseball. He got them not one but two championships. Now everyone is on him about this collapse in Sept.? Fine, I'm sure he thought, I'm out of here.

The second thing the move speaks to is the size of Epstein's ego. Overcoming the Red Sox curse was/is legendary. An amazing feat. But to think he can catch lightening in a bottle again, and this would have to be a bolt from Zeus himself to propel the Cubs, is a bit much.

It's a nice hire by the Cubs, on paper. They got someone with the background to accomplish the exact thing they've been after for 103 years. It just seems like whatever has been moving against the Cubs for so many years appears to be stronger than even the "Curse of Ruth." Good luck, Theo, you're going to need it.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: