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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is blaming the Sox being on the wrong end of an ALDS sweep on the Fenway Park infield, calling it the worst in the game. Stop it. You might as well say the umpires were on the Angels’ payroll. Not a bad idea, actually. The fact of the matter is, plenty of fields host outdoor baseball. Would you still say those weren’t the worst if you played home games in any of them? Probably not, because it’s not Fenway’s fault; it’s the Red Sox’s fault. The offense was sometimes ineffective this season. Pitching could have been more stable. And let’s not forget the goat of the series, Jonathan Papelbon.
First of all, don’t forget that the first two games in California were abysmal before Game 3 was even played in Fenway. True, an iffy bounce in the eighth inning caused Pedroia to miss a double play opportunity and two runs later scored, meaning the blame could be placed on the field for that moment, but that sort of thing wasn’t happening all afternoon. Being in such a tough spot, nerves could have been an issue for the whole team.
Even assuming the Sox make the play and force Game 4, the Angels could still have won the series in Game 4, or even in Game 5 back in Anaheim. There would still have been plenty of chances for factors other than the field to lose the series for the Red Sox.
Pedroia is simply looking for a scapegoat to blame 2009’s issues on, and he chose one that can’t argue back. The Sox haven’t been fazed by rain much this year, and rain is terrible for the field. It creates mud, which is not that good for base running. The bottom line is that the field could have been a lot worse, and even assuming Pedroia is correct in his accusations, the field is still minimal compared to the problems that the Red Sox faced this year and will face in the coming off-season.
After not experiencing the best sweep of their lives, the Sox will have plenty to concentrate on. Star bat Jason Bay could easily be leaving, requiring a major push and cash bid to keep him in Boston. Big Papi wavered during this season, causing speculation as to whether he still has it. No Sox pitcher was consistent this year; even the pretty consistent Lester couldn’t pitch well enough when it counted (though the offense was also to blame at the time). To top it off, multiple coaches could possibly be leaving. To put it quite simply, more pressing issues needed to be tackled before thinking of blaming the grounds crew for 2009.