Visitors and May Baseball Mess

I am currently working on the next installment of my trip to the Georgia Aquarium, but in the meantime, I’ve had two consistent distractions.

The first concerns “Visitors” in the extraterrestrial sense. I assure all of you I have not checked out completely and claim to have seen something in the skies or have woken up where I should not be.

I raise the topic as I have seen it consistently in the past few weeks. I can go months without thinking of this subject. Do not be alarmed.

I read an article about Stephen Hawking recently which, if nothing else, made me question if Stephen Hawking has finally seen “Independence Day”.

Upon returning to Massachusetts I had the chance to watch a “documentary” on the History Channel that considered the hypothesis that many religious belief systems could be founded on the mistaken supposition of extraterrestrials as divine beings.

Lastly, I watched a show on Discovery last night, “Alaska’s Monsters and Mysteries”. It roamed between Bigfoot, some crazy large fish, and various UFO sightings, the most interesting of which occurred with a Japanese cargo plane in the early 1980s.

As an advocate for critical thinking, I am hesitant to dismiss things without due process. Given the expansion of scientific understanding, over the last 500 years the Earth has gone from flat to round, to rotating around the sun rather than the other way round, and is now in a spiral arm of the Milky Way.

Do I believe in “Visitors”? I believe in the possibility, certainly. Do I think any human government could keep something like that secret? Not a chance. I certainly believe that their is microbial and/or bacterial life elsewhere, and possibly highly-evolved organisms. Hawking and Emmerich are correct- highly-evolved organisms could be roaming for resources, as we inevitably will be, and may introduce deadly diseases, or be killed off by something we’ve long eradicated.

The thought of malevolent “Visitors” is undeniably terrifying.

My second diversion has been the underwhelming 2010 season for the Boston Red Sox. While every spectator would lke to see their team do well year in and year out, it would be good for all Boston fans to see this team have a fire sale at the trading deadline and settle for third or fourth in the AL East this year.

I can explain.

Presently, this is the most expensive team that Boston has ever fielded. As constructed, it will also take the dubious distinction of being one of, if not the, most expensive teams to miss the playoffs. Tampa Bay is too young and playing too well to not at least pick up the Wildcard. New York has deep pockets and if it can kick Boston in the ribs while they are down to buy a quick player or two for another title, then they will.

Boston’s problems have a lot in common with New York’s in some ways: reliance on an aging core. Posada, Pettite, and Rivera are no longer spring chickens and are starting to rust up. Sounds like Wakefield, Varitek, and Ortiz/Lowell to me.

New York also brought in new blood that has hit the DL: Granderson, Johnson, and although not injured, Vasquez is not really effective. Boston can relate with Cameron out (why was it a good idea to pick up a 37 year-old center fielder?), Ellsbury on the DL, and Beltre committing error after error (and the press was wondering if Marco Scutaro would hold down shortstop- no news is good news on his front).

Both New York and Boston have positives- Hughes as an effective starter, Joba as the closer for now for New York, while Buchholz has progressed nicely and Daniel Bard is gaining major league experience.

The thing is, the disdain of the Yankee fanbase is that they expect to win every year, and it is an injustice if they don’t. With their payroll, I’m not sure I can villify that sense of entitlement.

Boston has had more success in the past five years than in the past ninety overall. This is a spoiled time for us. We’ve been graced with Pedro Martinez. We’ve seen the David v. Goliath upending of New York in 2004, and Ortiz and Pedro led the charge. But neither is what they once were.

Taking the title again in 2007 and appearing in the playoffs in 05, 08, and 09, it’s probably in the best interest to have a rebuilding year. The goal is not to become New York. That is selling out and hypocrisy.

Tampa Bay will take care of New York handily this season, in the standings if not in head-to-head competition. Boston has a wealth of players past their prime and a wave of young talent that will be looking for the chance to burst on in. Let the sellout streak come to an end. Let some of the high-price guys go (Ortiz, Lowell, Varitek, and Lugo will be off the payroll this year, and Papelbon already makes no mistake he wants the most money-trade him). Let Youk play third and have Lars Anderson and Aaron Bates come up. Boot Cameron out and let Jeremy Hermida and Josh Reddick roam the field. Give the kids a chance and cut ticket prices back a wee bit, eh?

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Filed under Baseball, Contemplative, Open Questions

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