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Sunday, August 3, 2014

The time was right, and Cherington made his move(s)

Alan Greenwood

Knee-jerk reactions are expected at this end of the news. Sometimes, they spew forth minus the knee, but that’s what keeps ink-stained sports wretches employed, right?

Then Ben Cherington comes along and throws three fastballs right past these baby browns. Even now, with days to ruminate over the most astounding July 31 in Red Sox history, the bat remains frozen on my right shoulder. ...

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Knee-jerk reactions are expected at this end of the news. Sometimes, they spew forth minus the knee, but that’s what keeps ink-stained sports wretches employed, right?

Then Ben Cherington comes along and throws three fastballs right past these baby browns. Even now, with days to ruminate over the most astounding July 31 in Red Sox history, the bat remains frozen on my right shoulder.

The timing for such a significant overhaul could hardly have been better. A large segment of New Englanders insist on knowing that the folks who run the Red Sox are as annoyed as they are over this dry-cough of a season the Red Sox have had. Stumbling through the next two months standing pat would’ve satisfied no one.

They clearly improved an offense that was, by reasonable assessment, stunningly weak. Their starting rotation might be difficult to watch through season’s end, and if they do nothing to improve it this winter, July 31, 2015, may repeat as the most interesting day of the campaign.

But at least until we have more time to ruminate, it says here that Cherington made a bold call in wielding the sledgehammer to this team’s foundation right now.

Why wait until Thanksgiving?

Red Sox fans of sufficient vintage would attest to the fact that it’s a lot more entertaining to watch a team slug its way to 10-9 losses than to watch one turn to dust once it falls behind 3-1.

Blockheaded

Only decorum, and the need for a paycheck, prohibits us from providing a verbatim recount of what Florida Marlins manager Mike Redmond said the other night after his team took a loss because of the Buster Posey No More Blocking the Plate Rule.

Posey got a knee mangled while blocking the plate last season, the impetus for a new, fairly convoluted rule aimed at protecting catchers.

So, Thursday night, the Marlins were leading the Reds 1-0 in the eighth.

Reds base runner Zack Cosart tried to tag and score on a floating line drive to Florida right fielder Giancarlo Stanton.

Stanton made a perfect throw to catcher Jeff Mathis, who checked Bud Selig’s signature on the ball, counted the stitches, made a mental note to pick up a quart of milk on the way home, then greeted Cosart with a tag on the hip for an inning-ending double play.

Or so ruled umpire Mike Winters, who then made a horrible call by calling MLB’s Replay Central in Manhattan.

Someone with as much baseball savvy as a box of lint ruled that Mathis did not provide Cosart a lane to the plate, thus overturning Winter’s call.

The score was tied, the inning continued and the Reds ended up with a 3-1 win.

“To lose a ballgame tonight on that play is a joke,” Redmond said. “It’s an absolute joke. I don’t think anybody who plays this game can feel good about winning this game. … That guy was out by 15 feet. It was a great baseball play.’’

Not now.

The rule needs an amendment: The catcher must provide an open lane for the runner, but if his arms are less than 10 feet long, he is allowed to throw the ball at a fleshy part of the runner’s body.

If the ball hits the runner before the runner crosses home plate, and if the throw does not cause a bruise, the runner would be out.

From under the hoodie

Someone tossed Bill Belichick a softball at Friday’s press conference, asking if current players could be inspired by the performance and attitude of men like Ty Law, recent inductee into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

BB: “Well, I think we’re all proud of the tradition of this team in the past – the coaches, the players, all of us that were involved with it. I think that’s always something you want to be proud of and sustain, but it’s really up to this team to be this team.”

To clarify, it is not up to this team to be another team.