The Red Sox remarkable turnaround this season has made for good sports radio fodder in the shape of trying to debate whether improved chemistry in the clubhouse is responsible for the turnaround or whether it is simply better baseball players up and down the roster.
As with most things on sports radio, gray area is not allowed. You are not permitted to say that it is a mixture of both – the Red Sox have improved the talent on the club while at the same time putting together a group that enjoys playing together and has come up with a gimmick that they can sort of rally around. For this club it is the beards.
No, on sports radio, you must take a side and stick with it to the death. This is effective because it makes for compelling radio, with the bonus that when you’re eventually proved wrong, you’re already onto a new topic, and your incorrect previous stance is largely forgotten. (For instance, Tony Massarotti spent the better part of August squealing that the Rays know how to win in September and the Red Sox don’t, so he said Tampa would run away with the AL East in September. Now that September is here, and the Red Sox are the ones running away with the AL East, Tony has moved on to screaming “This thing has completely blown up on the Patriots!!!”) Nice gig.
So when it comes to discussing the Red Sox right now, you’re either a chemistry guy, or a talent guy. Gerry Callahan is a chemistry guy. The Toronto Blue Jays he says, have more talent than the Red Sox. The Red Sox have better chemistry.
The 2012 Red Sox had the worst chemistry ever, and won 69 games. The 2013 Red Sox have awesome chemistry and could still win 100 games. Easy, right?
Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk doesn’t think it is that simple. (Neither does John Farrell, for that matter.) Calcaterra appeared on Dennis and Callahan this morning, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience for him.
At one point they said that Adrian Gonzalez is magically no longer a team cancer because he’s back in California and players from California are happier in California. I pointed out that Jonny Gomes was from California but that didn’t go over too well because, you know, facts.
You can get a glimpse there of how the segment went.
They also discussed this today:
Tomase is a talented writer, and he’s actually a likeable guy. There is a huge segment of the Boston fandom however, who will never, ever forgive him, no matter what he goes on to do. Tough to be the best in town with that working against you.