Not only did the team with the best record in the AL lose a big lead, but they did so because they just didn't care. When the only two good starters in your rotation have hung it up for the season, you're going to have a tough time winning games as a team.
This is what bugs me most about this whole story, the idea that the entire September disaster can be reduced to the team "not caring." What we're losing in all of this is that the causes of a collapse this catastrophic are extremely complicated. The attitude problems of a few players may be a factor, but if so, it's one of many and possibly not even a major one. I think it's all too easy to give in to the "denial of complexity
" and that's always dangerous.
Now Abe is one of the main people responsible for muckraking up this whole mess in the first place, so it's hypocritical that he'd write this. But he's been around a clubhouse or five, and he's right. People really need to relax about this.
I imagine people may say that drinking beer is worse than sneaking a cigarette or trying to spot pretty girls in the stands.
Is it, though? Granted, a pro athlete drinking beer during his team's game, even one in which he has no chance of participating, is unseemly and I wouldn't excuse it. But I remember when Red Sox TV broadcasts regularly caught Carl Yastrzemski smoking cigarettes in the runway between his at-bats. Do people really believe that smoking has no effect on performance? Bad enough that ballplayers smoke at all -- and back in the day I'd guess that most of them did (shoot, ballplayers used to advertise
cigarettes) -- but during a game in which you're actually playing? And in sight of TV cameras?
But that was routine. The antics described in Ball Four
, the "beaver shooting" and all, were far more shocking in their day than these beer-and-chicken incidents seem today. In the era before every game was televised, and those that were only used two or three cameras, the stuff that used to go on right out in the bullpen would probably cause the media and talk-radio schoolmarms of today to blow a blood vessel.