Monday, July 27, 2009

Send The Elder out to pasture

Rooters greeted the arrival of John “The Elder” Smoltz to the Boston club with no shortage of excitement in the cold months of the lushing season. This hall-of-fame hurler (rapturous Rooters argued) would surely propel the Local Nine to victory in the all-important month of October, when base-ball anoints its champion!

Alas, a team wishing to prevail in October must at a minimum secure enough victories to join the limited ranks of base-ball’s finest squads. And to-date, The Elder is looking to be more of a hindrance to that quest than a hero.

The Red Stockings have fallen in five of the six contests in which Smoltz twirled the first frame. After each defeat, the recovering hurler assured Rooters that he was working back into top form, and would indeed command the pill with the surety of an “Ace.”

And then, yester-day, he squared against the flighty bird-men of Baltimore. Instead of securing the “sweep,” Smoltz allowed the Baltimores to bat freely and with great force. Base-runners advanced about the diamond like a carnival whirligig. The result: Six “runs” accumulated, and the coffin lid nailed firmly shut.

The calendar stands in the final week of July! The gold-plated aggregation of ringers in New York have begun earning their Steinbrenner doubloons and have overtaken the limping Red Sox in the divisional standings! The speedy yannigans of the Tampa squad are showing fine mettle as well!

There is simply no slack left in the line. A mere game or two difference in the win/loss ledger will likely determine whether the Bostons are clouting and twirling on our behalf through the crisp autumn days, or whether the green walls of Fenway fall silent until spring.

The thought of that silence has me reaching for an extra dram of Duffy’s these evenings. The Bostons cannot allow the Elder to continue his rehabilitation at the expense of the team’s standings. Each time he mounts the hurling mound, it is as if he is waving a white flag rather than dazzling bats-men with a well-located pill.

It is time to replace him in the rotation with another hurler who at least affords an opportunity for victory. Shall it be a “trade” between organizations? Or is the yannigan Buchholz ready to twirl every fifth day? Either! Both! Anything!

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