Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Haven't you awakened every so often with an uncontrollable urge? Something that's got nothing to do with anguish or tension or the trauma of having been shipped a clandestine video of your baby gettin' sloppy? Something that stems from an inner conviction--that bright, guilty recognition that this is how events should transpire, that it's your wild, wacky intervention that's going to be that slender thread between delusion and reality?

That's just what seized upon us just this morning, as the rosy fingers of dawn dislodged themselves from our throat and informed us that we'd survived another dark night and (like the Giants and A's) had survived to bob'n'weave for another day (or at least until God's giant thumb decides to descend from the sky and turn us into a grease spot). We staggered to the toilet, finding ourselves filled to the brim with an unavoidable vision even as we relieved ourselves.

It was as subtle as a flying mallet. The Path, The Way, The Next Big Move from the folks charged with cleaning up the toilet spill that left Boston awash in a sea of brown silt in the after-math of the great Cherington-Coletti contretemps.

As we flipped the lever, we knew just what the battered Beantown brain trust would do during the fateful off-season of 2012-13.

Answer: they will be going uptown! (No, they're not going to sign anyone named one named Helmsley--neither Sherman nor Leona.) They be going for what, yesterday and today, is often referred to as a "Brother Act."

Correct, scalawags. The Sox will use a passable portion of their wad of cash to reconfigure their outfield by acquiring both of the Upton brothers. They'll sign B.J. (birth name: Melvin) to play left field (at least until the fragile Jacoby Ellsbury winds up on the meat wagon once again) and then trade away a package that includes a couple of prospects for younger brother Justin (middle name: Irvin)--something on the order of a pitcher/pitching prospect, a good hitting prospect, Daniel Bard and Pedro Ciriaco.

Additionally (so sayeth the waters below that plastic oval into which all men must stare...), they'll acquire two starting pitchers: Zack (first name: Donald) Greinke, and Anibal Sanchez. (Sanchez was a Sox pick back in the Dan Duquette era, traded away to get Josh Beckett: it's one of those "full circle" things that came to us in mid-tinkle.)

They will probably not be able to resist signing Mike Napoli, a player they've lusted after for more than a half-decade. He'll come cheaper after his off-year in '12.

Napoli: they won't be able to resist
bringing the beefcake to Boston...
And Bill James will remind Ben and Larry (ya know, that sounds like a great name for a boutique New England business...maybe frozen cupcakes high in anti-oxidants) that signing David Ortiz is just as good an option in 2013 as it was in 2003. (After all, they're not paying Bill enough for him to come up with any new ideas...but he will remind them that they still need some left-handed power in their batting order.)

So that will put the new face on a leaner, meaner, but still enigmatic Beantown squad in '13. Your batting order will be Ellsbury, B.J., Pedroia, Ortiz, Justin, Middlebrooks, Napoli, Saltalamacchia, and someone to play SS. Your rotation will be Lester, Greinke, Buchholz, Sanchez, and either Lackey or Doubront. Your bullpen will be cobbled together from those who survived the post-ASB holocaust in '12 and a few hunch-plays by the folks who are paid to be opinionated, and it will remain non-descript next year.

The team will get off to a hot start, of course, and we'll be back in the land of over-invested harsh accents, only with a slightly more haunted tone, since the "dark night of the soul" memories will remain fresh. By early June, it will start to look as though the team might really have something, however, and that harshness will get its snap back, despite being nothing more or less than the chewing gum left on the bedpost overnight. Somewhere in the second half, there will be wheels that start to wobble, there will be a losing streak; tongues will wag, gums will flap.

And a pair of brothers will realize in early August that the harsh atmosphere in Boston (erstwhile home of the best and brightest) is not solely due to those harsh vowels. It will be a bit of a troubling time for them, as they both slump, while the Sox dial up another "month of trauma" approaching the Boschian depths from the previous two years.

However (so sayeth the sibilant soothsayer), the team--warts and wounds and echos of all those harsh vowels notwithstanding--will enter September with an outside shot to get back in the wild-card race.

As we write this, we are making a mental note to ourselves to lay off the caffeinated liquids prior to bedtime. And after you read this, so should you.