Boy, I tried. I really did. I gave it the proper thought and exercised the caution of an optimistic fan. I expected mediocrity and I got nonchalance; ineffectiveness. I'm affected. I can't watch this team with the same love when J.D. "Nancy" Drew is on the field. I've given it all I have.
It really hit me when a friend of mine said, "I keep waiting to be surprised by this guy, but it never happens." For this season (and I suspect beyond that), I don't think we will be surprised. Not ever, not at any point. I've given up on the five/six hole in the lineup. That's an important slot with an automatic out affixed to it. And it's the reason the Red Sox won't get past the second round of the playoffs.
With Beckett and Dice followed by Schilling (a clutch performer when the time comes) Boston may be able to make the playoffs and may handle their first round opponent. But ALCS? With this lineup? Who is afraid of Kevin Youkilis? Who thinks, by a show of hands, that either Covelli Crisp or Julie Lugo is going to get on base enough? Papi and Manny have been slow to start, slow to improve and finally slow to help. Now, Manny is injured and Eric Hinske is helping to shoulder the load of losses to playoff ready teams. Mike Lowell, well, he should be given a statue for all he has done this year (same for Perdroia).
But in the middle of all the failings of this offense stands Nancy. An albatross of a contract, a pitiful sense of timing (get the bat off of your fucking SHOULDER) and an immense amount of pressure have formed a sagging underbelly ready to burst, leaving a mucus covered middle of the lineup to stare at the causing infection... J.D. Drew. It sounds melodramatic. I know. That's because it is melodramatic. I don't even have the heart to look up stats as I watch the second consecutive late-season sweep the Yankees have hoisted upon a lineup in dire need of change. I just know that every time any pressure begins to come about, Nancy is going to watch three perfectly hittable pitches drop into the zone. Maybe he'll foul one off, maybe he'll draw a walk to leave the bottom half of the lineup to do his work for him or maybe he'll ground into an inning-ending rally-killing double play.
No matter what happens, I'm through watching. I've created a plan to get more work done, be more efficient in my life and maximize the time I have off form working two jobs. I am going to use the five to ten minutes of Nancy's at bats to do one of the following things:
Clear off my coffee table
Take a load of laundry to the laundromat
Set up dates with women
Construct a worthwhile opening sentence to a short story
Read a poem (Li-Young Lee, preferably)
Shoot at my basketball hoops stationed on either side of the den
Sweep the hallway
Listen to one of my favorite Jawbreaker songs
Any one of these things is more productive than an at-bat by the man responsible for more dead rallies than he is meaningful moments this year. Nancy, you are my scapegoat. Good luck the rest of the season. I won't be watching. I just can't.