Okay, so the not-that-great-but-best-by-default option as muscle-for-hire has found work with the enemy, and who can blame him? Unemployment runs rampant these days, and one can only wonder what the prospects look like for a 40-year-old manual laborer with no higher education and a diminishing number of marketable skills. So good for him, even if it means moving to the hinterlands to keep that sweet, sweet health insurance coverage going.
Yet, consider the hilarity of it all. For years, the Sox have had an informal plan to emulate the Twins (which actually worked once), but usually only resulted in a lineup more befitting the team we all love and mock, their self-styled grinderball revealing itself to mostly be a nine-pack of grinder sandwiches (with extra cheese!).
And now, here we sit in year ten of the Kenny Williams era actually longing for one old, slow, injury-prone one-dimensional batter over another. In 2004, we couldn’t wait to get rid of Carl Everett; six years on, a Carl Everett type could put this team into relative contender territory.
But the real hilarity here isn’t in the impending Andruw Jones/Mark Kotsay/Omar Vizquel “options” (read: nightmare), nor in the laugh-out-loud disaster of losing not just the close games, but also the blowouts, but in the idea that the Sox, over the course of a decade, have so perfectly come to master the art of playing to the competition. When the American League Central was a home run derby waiting to be won, they went all in; when it became a matter of building a leaner, sleeker softball team, they went for it as well.
All along, though, whenever the Sox tried their hardest to emulate the Twins, we laughed at how much more the South Siders actually came to resemble the cliched blueprint of themselves; now, when the Twins make moves to refashion themselves as a slightly superior, more well-rounded version of the Sox, we end up laughing at the Sox as well.
But hey, you know what? That’s loser talk: lots of teams have won without a pure DH. Four since the year 2000, even. What’s that you say? Those were National League teams who didn’t have to face teams utilizing the power spot? Come on, who do the Sox really have to fear anymore but a broken-down Travis Hafner, Detroit’s Carlos Guillen/Gene Simmons platoon and some guy the Twins just picked up named. . . Jim Thome.
God I hate this team.