Celebrating .500? Really?

Well, yes… really.

Sure the season hasn’t started off as everyone expected (2 & 8 was actually better than the 1 & 9 I predicted) but did we really need to start slamming our fist through the panic button and then adding new panic buttons in case that panic button didn’t work? No, but we’re used to it.  The fear of the old Yawkey/Harrington days still creep around in the deepest darkest parts of the Nation’s basement.  Sign a few high dollar talents (usually well beyond their prime) and watch the flames of an uneven team burst and crackle for a few months…. but not this time.

Let’s face it, the Sox have been in a rebuilding mode since 2007 and this past winter was the biggest single piece of construction and brought completion for the most part to the ‘Bridging Year’.  But with such an overhaul comes some transition.  A-Gon appeared to adjust well, learning the AL pitching and getting used to the cozy confines of his new home field.  Obviously as the New England weather begins to warm-up, so will he.  With Crawford… I think there’s a definite feeling of being uncomfortable.  He’s outside of his home field (a dull, lifeless concrete bubble) and thrust into a spotlight he hadn’t been exposed to in Tampa, even at his level of play.  With another two weeks and a really good home stand he’ll be moving up in the line-up.

The problem we’ll be facing is the AL East…  Everyone knew Baltimore had improved by signing Vlad, Lee and brought along their youth (luckily this evening was a call to days of future past giving up a 6-0 lead), just as The Jays had been coming along in the same ways… but its far too early to announce either as the new Tampa Bay Rays.  However, we may be able to proclaim the Tampa Bay Rays as the new Tampa Bay Rays.  Sure they lost their bullpen in the offseason.  They lost speed and power in the heart of the line-up (Not just Crawford but Pena as well) and depth from the starting rotation… but again youth and veteran prowess (Damon.. obviously not the completely shameful Manny) came together seamlessly and POW!!! Three Team Race… again.  Yes, the Sox are just now hitting their stride and the ‘Bombers are looking very old very quick, nevermind the implosion which may follow the Posada-gate incident (which followed the Jeter-gate incident to open the season) but the patchwork rotation and mismatched bench roster may become a glaring issue.

But as we and all of baseball know… come September the Red Sox will be a delicious orgy of mind-bending numbers.

Putting the start of the season (for the most part) behind us… there are a few other glaring issues.

The Captain

How long can the Catcher’s position not produce?  Yes, we love ‘Tek.  He’s not just the Captain but the embodiment of the working class Scarlett Hose (just as Captain Jeter is the embodiment of the Pinstripe Royalty) and the great reminder of the glory days.  He can still call a game better than anyone and handle a staff like a catcher who’ll turn future manager should… But the end is here.  Salty has the makings of a scrappy, competitive catcher who could learn so much from his veteran mentor… But the time is now.

Who’s going to move once Crawford gets moved up to his proper spot in the line-up?

Should we start worrying about the back-end of the rotation?

Should we start worrying now about the state of the bullpen come August?

Do we regret the Victor Martinez trade?

Since the Dodgers are going bankrupt (was there for a game against the Braves in mid April… great game, empty stadium) should Theo start dialing for dollars and try to strike a deal for Ethier or Billingsly or both?  Send ’em J.D. Drew, His Majesty the Mayor Menino, cash, food stamps, a bag of balls…

Guess we’ll see…. stay tuned.

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