Monday, August 31, 2015

Shooting the messenger

As we sweat the last few days of summer, the rhetoric and changing dynamics of the campaign for president has become far more interesting than I would have thought at this early stage of the game. On the Republican side, the plethora of candidates and the willingness of Donald Trump to say whatever is on his mind has created a circus-like atmosphere.

On the Democratic side of the scrum, a primary process that once appeared to be a formality for Hillary Clinton is growing more competitive as left-most Senator Bernie Saunders draws huge crowds and has been closing the gap in polls. While Saunders’ popularity has all but crushed Rhode Island’s own Lincoln Chafee’s plans to be relevant for once, it has also opened a door for Vice President Joe Biden. While Biden has his flaws (again, the tendency to say anything that springs to mind), he would also be the sentimental favorite of many traditional Democrats and a home for the anyone-but-Hillary crowd that pushed Obama to victory over her in 2008.

While voters usually don’t see the behind the scenes chaos at these campaigns, we can imagine the insanity. One of Trump’s advisors was recently fired (although he says he quit first) because he disagreed with the strategic direction of the campaign. He wanted the candidate to do a poll and stay on message while the candidate was intent on attacking the media and calling the moderator “a bimbo.” If he quit, good for him. If he was fired, also good for him, but I think the proverbial messenger got the axe.

Which brings me to the place I usually end up. WHAT is going on with the Red Sox? Last week they managed to fire the one person who has executed his job perfectly for 14 years with few errors, lots of homers and a ton of wins. For those of you living under a rock, NESN announced that Dave O’Brien (who is just fine) would be the play-by-play person for the Red Sox in 2016, taking the chair that Don Orsillo has occupied since 2001. Don has been “the guy” next to Jerry Remy for the best TV years of the franchise and is apparently getting blamed for a drop in NESN’s ratings. WOW. Is Wally going to get canned when the Monster Seats don’t sell out? Maybe they should fire the ticket takers when the attendance drops below 30,000.

While I can’t begin to understand NESN’s thinking, I can say that Don and Jerry have made an unbearable season worth watching and their banter has kept me entertained during some pretty boring stretches of baseball. If you haven’t seen Don and Jerry’s calling of the famous pizza throwing incident at Fenway, it’s worth watching for a good laugh and a good look at why he means so much to Boston fans.

Like Trump’s antics, the team’s bad moves are beginning to wear thin and no amount of promotions and saccharine ads will bring back a fan base if the team is seen as being disloyal to those who have served as its best messengers. I just hope that this doesn’t bring us the curse of the Orsillo — I want to see another World Series win in my lifetime.

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