Are we sure that Ashton Kutcher isn't at work in the Boston Red Sox organization? Because the latest series of events surrounding the team make it seem that fans like me are getting "Punk'd."
The Red Sox are about to open a series with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park and, suddenly, there are new reasons to watch. Oh, it's not for the baseball. We watch for the same macabre fascination that we watch any other reality series; we want to see how they will top themselves in the next episode.
The Red Sox in 2012 have been like the longest-ever season of the "Real World." Force 25 men to co-exist in a newly-renovated space. Give them a nominal job to do, sit back and watch them fail miserably. All the while, listen to them whine about how someone has slighted them, or complain about one another behind each other's backs. Every once in a while, when the story gets slow, the front office producers manufacture some drama to spice things up.
This week, the challenge for the contestants was to see how many would show up for the funeral of Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky. When only four players attended, the front office - fresh off imperious pronouncements about their disappointment over leaks to the media - let it be known that they had buses waiting to transport players and were disappointed they didn't show up.
But, on August 23, the Red Sox reality show reached heights; a "very special episode," if you will.
Boston's own version of Honey Boo Boo, outfielder Carl Crawford, underwent Tommy John elbow surgery, ending his season and likely ensuring a stint on the disabled list at the start of 2013. This follows the wrist surgery that kept him out of the lineup earlier in the year.
Then, in the second half of the show, the Red Sox did their best Snooki-at-the-T-shirt-shop impression, screwing up their jobs in so many ways that viewers could no longer keep count. After blowing a 6-0 second-inning lead by allowing an 8-run third inning, the Red Sox found new ways to embarrass themselves by losing to the Los Angeles Angels, 14-13.
This game had it all - a cast of characters that featured four starters who began the year in the minor leagues, a botched run down play, a critical outfield error, a parade of ineffective pitchers and a manager who failed to protest a hit incorrectly called a home run, then blaming his players.
The home run by Vernon Wells came in the ninth inning, and cut the Red Sox lead at the time to 11-10. But the ball hit the top of the wall and did not go over, as TV replays clearly showed. Manager Bobby Valentine never came out of the dugout to ask umpires to review this critical call.
''None of the outfielders told me any different,'' Valentine said when asked why he didn't get the umps to check the instant replay, once again pushing his players under a bus.
You can bet I will be tuning in for the series with the Royals. I can't wait to see what they come up with next!
Rick Blaine, an award-winning broadcaster and columnist, is a lifelong Red Sox fan. Follow him on Twitter @RickBlaineCT.
- Sports & Recreation
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- Kansas City Royals