Idle chatter while waiting for this incredible stretch of summer weather to leave us (I hope it doesn’t).
I think we can call the bagpipe players, sound Taps, and put out the fire. This Red Sox season is over. Barring one of the great second-half runs of all-time, the Sox will fade into oblivion sometime in the first part of September, and we turn our attention to the Patriots, college football, and Bruins training camp.
You can’t really call the Red Sox disappointing because nobody expected much out of them in the first place. But once they went on their June run, we perhaps dared ourselves to borrow the words of Kevin Garnett and scream out “anything possible.”
That might still be so, but not with the Red Sox. They pinned their hopes on the starting pitching, holding out until Chris Sale returned to the rotation, but he was there for about a minute before breaking his pinky. Now he’s likely out for another month and a half.
It’s tough to feel sorry for the Red Sox, though. Team management decided it was going to stop competing with the larger-market teams (of which they are one) for high-priced talent. It appears they’re content to let Xander Bogaerts walk, they’re already messing with Rafael Devers, and they did nothing other than to fill that pitching staff with bargain-basement “talent.”
And, of course, you get what you pay for. The 1962 Mets wouldn’t tolerate the bullpen they’re trotting out every night. Either the team has to face reality and start competing for top talent, or we’re going to have years like this all the time.
Fans are going to have to start voting with their feet.
Like most other things in life, there are two sides to the whole youth sports conundrum. I’ve never been 100 percent comfortable with 10-year-old tournaments (I joke with our Assignment Editor, Anne Marie Tobin, that next we’ll be covering the 4-year-old teams), and I’m even iffy on the whole Little League World Series phenomenon.
Yet my parameters harken back to when I was a child — back in the Jurassic era — and if you weren’t playing baseball down the park, you were playing some other game that involved being outdoors. At the very least, you were getting fresh air.
That’s not the way it is today. I think we can all concede that too many children today spend their time indoors, watching TV or playing video games. Parents are more and more reluctant to let their young kids wander outside the neighborhood when I can remember walking a half-mile to Frey Park every day from the age of 10.
So take that into consideration the next time you’re tempted to decry youth sports as forcing too much pressure on kids.
Even youth sports aren’t what they used to be. Little Leagues are getting smaller, and when the Lynn City Series begins Saturday at East Lynn, there will only be three leagues competing: East Lynn, Pine Hill, and West Lynn. The fourth — Wyoma — won’t be among them.
I used to attend board meetings for Lynn Babe Ruth in the basement of St. Michael’s Hall, and there was an Army of parents down there pitching in. This year, Jeff Earp has been doing most of the administering for the organization. He has help, including past president Jim Beliveau and the super-loyal Dave Raymond. But there’s no Army of volunteers the way there used to be.
Yet each of Lynn’s three age levels — 13s, 14s, and 15s — won district titles, and the 15s won the states. They’re doing everything they can down there at Breed to give these kids a healthy, competitive, and friendly baseball environment. It would be nice if the group had a little more help.
Hits (and hopefully no) misses:
— A shout out to Marblehead Cycle for taking a 1988 Peugeot mountain bike that was in terrible shape after being stored in a damp cellar for 10 years without use (put away after yours truly bruised four ribs after falling off down Nahant Beach). The company did a superb job fixing it up. Kudos to all of you.
— Now that the Lynn-to-Everett bike trail is functional from end to end, I can’t wait to use it. That was just on someone’s wish list 10 years ago.
— There’s nothing like walking, or riding, down the beach in the summer and seeing the different ways people have of transporting themselves. There are bikes, walkers with ski poles (for balancing purposes), regular walkers, skateboards, scooters, trikes, and runners. The beach is the place to see the world at play, isn’t it?
— Finally, bike riders and automobile drivers are doing a better job looking out for each other, but they could still do better. I’m forever holding my breath at intersections.