Thursday, May 13, 2004

Game 34 - Red Sox
Lost in the Sands of Time

Indians 6, Red Sox 4
Record: 20-14

Wakefield gave up 6 runs. Sox made 3 errors. Cliff Lee held the Sox to one run through 6 innings. And that's all I know about this game. Game 34 will fade quickly into the ether, and have no real meaning for me. That'll happen in a 162-game season, especially on nights when I've got softball games that keep me out of the house until 11:30.

Yesterday did bring an interesting bit of roster news. B.H. Kim was not only demoted from the rotation, he was sent to AAA Pawtucket to a) get his head on straight, b) fully recover from his arm injury, c) open a new pan-asian restaurant in Rhode Island, or - if you like Johnny Damon's take from this morning's Boston Globe - d) learn to enjoy a little PlayStation.
The sterotype of the inscrutable Asian goes back to well before my time, but in every stereotype there's some truth. Kim has reportedly clashed - passively, perhaps, but clashed nonetheless - with management and the Sox coaching staff about his maniacal physical training regimen. The Korean right-hander is said to routinely throw hundreds of pitches on his off-days, and to run laps of Fenway long after the lights are off after games.

Normally, a fan might applaud a player who gives maximum energy to make himself better. In the case of Kim, a guy who's lost 6-8 mph on his fastball, and turned a swervy heater into "straight ball, hit very far", mayhaps maximum effort in the conditioning department is too much of a good thing. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the team has pleaded with Kim to tone down his side throwing, and - by all accounts - he's ignored those pleas.

On top of all this, a very loose Sox clubhouse made up of an inordinate amount of fun-seeking, back-slapping, silly-seeming guys seems not to know what to do about Kim, a very serious sort. Damon's PlayStation remark was probably a little tongue-in-cheek, but the fact remains that the Sox really don't know what to make of the little Asian guy with the strange, wan smile. Kim's been approached by several of the Sox' veteran pitchers, and politely brushed their advice aside just like he's ignored his bosses.

So, what do you do about an immensely talented, still very young player who doesn't really have an attitude problem, except that he works too hard? Guess that's why they pay Theo and company the big dollars.

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