Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hall of Fame sportswriter misses big part of Red Sox injury story

New York City baseball columnist Bill Madden, winner of the Baseball Hall of Fame's Taylor Spink this summer, wrote a piece for Sunday's papers about how great a job Terry Francona is doing compared to Joe Girardi. What struck me about the article was this tidbit:
What's interesting, however, and what may have a lot to do with why the Red Sox haven't just gone away, is that [Dustin] Pedroia, [Kevin] Youkilis and all their other walking wounded didn't just go away. Rather than shipping off to Florida, home or wherever to rehab, all the injured Red Sox have remained with the club, making every trip, and in Pedroia's case, hobbling on crutches onto buses from the hotel to the ballpark....


Although no one around the Red Sox will say just how this practice of the disabled players traveling with the team came about, the close-knit clubhouse culture is something that Francona has fostered throughout his tenure in Boston. In years past, there were some notable exceptions in Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez, divas who tended to go their own way, but this particular Red Sox team is to be admired for its grit and especially its resolve to just keep hanging in there. As a unit.
Aside from the fact that I don't know how much good it does for Pedroia's healing process to have him hobbling around on crutches and traveling with the team, Madden either completely ignored, or wasn't aware of, the controversy that brewed in Red Sox Nation this summer over the injured Jacoby Ellsbury not traveling with the team for part of the season. Instead, Ellsbury rehabbed his injury at Arizona's Athletes Performance Institute for five weeks. Even though the Red Sox agreed to him doing that, it didn't prevent at least one of his teammates from calling him out over it.

Remember when Kevin Youkilis complained about Ellsbury to the Boston Globe this July? Looks like Madden didn't.
Kevin Youkilis was asked what he thought about Jacoby Ellsbury rejoining the team tonight after spending five weeks in Arizona.
"I don't know what's going on with Jacoby," he said. "I don't think any of us really know."
Was it strange for Ellsbury to be away from the team that long?
"Don't go down that road," Youkilis said. "One thing I can say is there's a lot of guys here that are hurt and supporting the team. We wish Jacoby was here supporting us, too."
And just last Sunday, a piece called "The Ellsbury Insanity" ran in the Boston Globe's magazine, chastising the media and fans for giving up on the player so soon:
The Ellsbury drama has played out across a disappointing summer for the Sox, who’ve been depleted by a wave of injuries that would have seemed excessive at an assisted living facility. While other injured players drew sympathy, the scorn for “soft” Ellsbury grew louder on talk radio, in the sports pages, and on the blogs that featured Ellsbury’s face photo-shopped onto images of women in dresses. It didn’t help when unnamed members of the Sox organization apparently raised their eyebrows about him behind the scenes, and first baseman Kevin Youkilis publicly bemoaned Ellsbury’s decision to recuperate in an Arizona training center rather than alongside his teammates in the dugout.
Quite a different picture from Madden's warm-and-fuzzy piece about how the Red Sox are all for one and one for all, eh?

What do you think? Tell us about it?

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