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Weekly State of The Sox Report June 22,2009

Wow! Isn't it amazing how quickly things can change in the matter of a week in this sport? A week ago, the entire Sox Nation is worrying about where we can fit John Smoltz in, worrying about the fielding of our resident shortstops, and still a little worried about the bat of David Ortiz. While I still have concerns regarding Ortiz for the long run of this season, I feel that with the play of Nick Green this past week, he has saved the Sox from having to make a trade this season for a shortstop. While I feel Green has been tremendous at the plate since Spring Training, my biggest concern was his fielding. With it becoming more and more obvious that Green is becoming extremely comfortable at the shortstop position, you could see this guy as our starter for the majority of the rest of this season. 

I chose to write this weeks State of the Sox report however, on the issue that every Sox fan has heard of by now, and that my friends is the Dice-K dilemma. 

Where do I even begin with this? 

As Sox fans, we should be furious at this guy. This is a guy that is getting paid quite well to pitch for the Boston Red Sox, I repeat, the Boston Red Sox employs Dice-K. He CHOSE to skip spring training with the Red Sox to pitch for his homeland of Japan in the World Baseball Classic, to which he was not paid a dime for. This guy was throwing mid season amounts of pitches, in the pre-season, you just cannot do that, especially for free. Now I have heard every excuse in the book about this, "National Pride" is the biggest one, and a discussion yesterday with a good friend of mine brought an interesting point to light. If you are a carpenter, employed by Boston Carpentry to which they pay you as a top notch carpenter based on previous projects you have built. A very close friend, whom you have known for the majority of your life asks you to help him on the weekends building his house. In the back of your mind, you know that if you do this favor for him, while also working your regular job, something is going to suffer, and it will likely be your regular job. You will go into work tired, sick of building houses, and your body will have aches and pains throughout the day. You decide to do this friend the favor and he works you like a horse. Coming into work the next few weeks you are not able to perform to the level you are expected due to fatigue, do you REALLY think you would be keeping your job? If you don't lose the job, do you think your boss would appreciate the fact that you prioritized a job which you didn't get paid for, over your real job?  Dice-K decided that the free job was more important than his real job and that is a slap in the face to the entire city of Boston who has welcomed this guy in with open arms.  

So who is to blame for this issue getting this far? Of course we have thrown the blame at Dice-K plenty to know he is partially responsible, but what about Terry Francona? Is this yet another case of Tito being overly cautious on pulling the strings on one of his players for fear of angering them or making a mistake? Did he really think Dice-K was going to become a success story by waiting out the storm like he did with Dustin Pedroia a few years back? As a manager you should never be afraid to do what is best for the team and not an individual player. How demoralizing is it for your team to be down by 4, 5 or even 6 runs right off the bat, only to know that no matter how hard they try and put more runs back on the board, they will likely be back down again after the next inning. Its unacceptable to have allowed this to continue on, as the Yankees have with Wang. If the Red Sox miss out on the playoffs by one or two games, games which could have easily been won had we not thrown Dice-K, there is going to be an awfully sour taste left in the fan's mouths for an entire winter. 

But hay, 4-2 Home Stands are nice to see, if we can put together a 6-3 road trip here, which I think is very possible, we should be in great shape. 

Until next week, enjoy the games and lets go Sox!

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