Editor’s note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby Valentine’s words. Each game day, we will select a Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox.
Bobby Valentine continued to keep an even keel after the most recent Red Sox implosion, a 13-12 loss once again in Detroit, this time in extra innings.
He mentioned the Red Sox not having a closer just yet (he’s given Alfredo Aceves the job and brought in Mark Melancon, but Valentine sounds like he misses newbie Andrew Bailey an awful lot). And he reiterated that it’s just three games into the season.
But there are many ways to be 0-3, and the Red Sox are the worst kind of 0-3. They struggled to score for two games. Their bullpen is apparently horrendous and also skittish. They’ve been muffing plays and letting their opponent take them down late.
Just as there are many ways to be 0-3, there are also many ways to “have a lot of heart,” which is what Valentine said about his crew after Sunday’s loss. (At least, we think he was talking about the Red Sox. He did say “a lot of heart and a lot of ability,” so either team could technically fit that description.)
You can have heart like Jason Varitek had heart, when he was the emotional pulse of the team and a motivator season after season. And then you can have heart like the main character from the epic sports film Rudy.
Rudy is a great story, of course, but when you’re trying to win championships, what do you want? Do you want Babe Ruth, or do you want the kid who dreams of being Babe Ruth? Do you want talent, or do you want the scrawny teenager everybody cheers for when you put him in with 15 seconds left in the game? Do you want a corps of men who do their jobs, or do you want plucky overachievers who make you feel warm and fuzzy when they do more than what’s expected of them?
Rudy on his best day is no Babe Ruth, or in this case, Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander.
We’re fine with the Red Sox having plenty of heart, Bobby. But let’s make sure you tell them which kind of heart they need to have.
They shouldn’t just be coming back. They should be coming back and closing it out, and doing it again and again and again. They should have the heart of a contender.
There’s 159 games left. But this audience is more in the mood for World Series Classics than Rudy right now.
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