A second generation of idiots

Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

They have pine tar on their helmets again, and there’s not a clean uniform in the bunch. Half of the Red Sox seem to have forgotten that their jerseys have a top button and wear their pants about three sizes too large. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Clay Buchholz have some crazy heads of hair. And the beards. The glorious beards. Even early in the season, it’s hard not to look at the ragtag bunch of Red Sox and notice that they look like idiots. Not just any old idiots, but the idiots.

In fact, there are a lot of parallels between the 2004 World Series-winning Red Sox that we all know and love and the 2013 team. For starters, there’s the common element of new managers. In 2004, Terry Francona swooped in to try to fix a very frustrated ball club who had just lost an ALCS to the New York Yankees due to poor coaching choices by Grady Little. Of course we all know that two World Series titles later, he certainly did what he set out out do. And we all know how Tito’s story ends as well.

Cue John Farrell. Much like Tito, Farrell was called in to pick up the pieces that were left after a horrendous 2012 season. It’s already clear that he has. Farrell spent three years in Boston, from the 2007 World Series season through 2010. He already knew a handful of the guys. And he knew how the team worked when Tito was skipper.

Farrell seems to have reverted back to the Tito school of coaching, being a “player’s manager.” When Bobby Valentine came in, he tried to change everything, which didn’t sit well with the team. It looks as though Farrell is trying to channel what there was before, but with a little more discipline than Tito had. The players seem to really respect Farrell, and he respects them. To the media Farrell is frank without being snarky. The players work hard, but based on their looks alone, Farrell lets them be themselves too. There’s a lot of chemistry on this team. They joke around with each other and get along well.

Then there’s the link of new players doing big things for the team. After 2003 and 2012, both teams needed some revamping. The offseason after 2003 brought the Red Sox Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke. This offseason the Sox brought in players like Mike Napoli and David Ross. More than that, both teams have dealt with trades of fan favorites: Nomar Garciaparra in 2004 and Kevin Youkilis in the middle of the 2012 season.

And there’s even more still. An emphasis on pitching was a key for the 2004 team’s success, and this season, it’s no different. Pitching is what won the 2004 Red Sox the ALCs pennant, and it’s a huge part of why the 2013 Red Sox started April off strong. Speaking of which, starting strong is something the 2004 team did as well. If this season’s team becomes riddled with injuries and starts falling behind mid-season only to come back sometime after the All Star break, I think I’ll actually be convinced that they’re the same team.

But regardless of whether or not this team has what it takes to win the World Series, it will be shocking if they don’t at least make the playoffs. They have all the elements: a new manager who they respect, camaraderie, and great defense to back up their offense. And after last year’s disaster, their intended destination is most certainly October.

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