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Soup of This Day #80: Part 2, A Town Called Malice

October 3, 2011

Merseyside Derby
A small football match at Anfield – Photo: Nigel Wilson, 2006. Nigel Wilson is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

This blog tends to shy away from anger. Mostly because anger is easy. It’s the default state when sport goes wrong. It’s also the point at which reasonable behaviour goes out the door. So it’s a rule of this blog that I don’t post angry.

Take the dramatic Thursday morning baseball. Oh, I was angry. I had words for the Yankees, the Rays, the O’s and most of all, I had some seriously strong words for the Red Sox. Every. Last. Member. Of. The. Organisation.

I bottled it though. Tucked it away and instead wrote a metaphorical piece about my dislike of raisins. Figured I’d address the 2011 Red Sox later when I could expand my core vocabulary from just swearing.

Well, that time is now and I’m still angry. So to hell with the rule. It’s not the white-hot lightning-strike fury of that morning, more a simmering slow burn that won’t go away. It’s like lava. Poor some water on it, build a barricade, maybe even get Tommy Lee Jones on the problem. It doesn’t matter, all you’ll get is steam and seemingly unstoppable lava flows.

What you need to do is to channel the lava into the sea. Direct it away good and proper. Fortunately this week some convenient gutters have become apparent.

1st up is Carlos Tevez. Carlos is good at football. Carlos gets a lot of money to play football. In spite of this he’s not happy at his current club, Manchester City, which he tried very hard to leave during the summer. Nobody was able to stump up the stupidly outrageous fee that City were holding out for though so Carlos is stuck there until January. On Tuesday past Tevez was on the bench in a Champions League stoush when he was asked to warm up with 35 minutes to go and his team down 2-0 to a patently better Bayern Munich.

Carlos said no.

Carlos is an overpaid pillock who showed a complete lack of respect for the fans who forked out their hard earned cash just to see his sorry arse not move off a bench.

Of course maybe God didn’t want him to play. According to Adrian Gonzalez that’s why the Sox didn’t make it to the post-season.

Yeah, no Adrian. You didn’t make it because your team played like @#$%.

Then, like the cherry on this pie of things to make Longworth72 angry, Terry Francona left the Sox.

Tito is my favourite baseball manager. The guy pulled a collection of overpaid excuses into a team of… well… overpaid dirt dogs, who won 2 World Series. The man had some serious latitude from me and I wasn’t looking for him to go. Curt Young? By all means, fire his arse. If the players weren’t being reached by Tito then fire their arses and get some who could be reached. Hold on to Tito. But no, the Red Sox and Tito parted ways and a season of implosions took on yet another.

All of this could make me angry. It doesn’t though. The part that has made me angry is the angry reaction to 2 of those events. Yeah, that’s right, I’m angry about anger…

Jack Boyce, FIFA VP described Carlos Tevez’ actions as ‘despicable’.

Thanks for that Jack.

Refusing to honour your £145,000 a week contract by coming off the bench to ‘rescue’ your £133m team from losing a European group game against a side that was playing better football is not despicable. Yeah, that’s not really smart of Carlos and they probably should fire his sorry arse but let’s keep some perspective here. This is a team of mercenaries who joined a club because it is loaded with money. Loyalty does not really seem to be 1 of their core values. Live by the sword and you should be prepared to cut yourself shaving every now and then.

Meanwhile as the Red Sox and Terry Francona parted ways owner-in-chief John Henry wasn’t at the presser. He had gone to his yacht and injured himself falling down the steps. Or up them. Apparently more people get injured falling up stairs than down them. Freakish. Henry did 1 of those things and had to go to hospital to be checked out. Which everyone thinks is unfortunate but ok. Until his wife tweeted:

‘Happy John is home! He slipped down stairs, injuring his neck. Kept at hospital as a precautionary measure, but was home for the derby.’

I’ll leave it to the normally level-headed Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe to explain:

‘By derby, John Henry’s wife is referring to the Merseyside derby, a Liverpool soccer game that is apparently a big deal.

It’s fine that John Henry owns Liverpool. Wealthy people make investments in a lot of different things and owning a soccer team does not in any way preclude the Red Sox from winning the World Series. He owned the soccer team when the Red Sox were in first place all those weeks, too.

But this sort of Tweet, coming a day after Terry Francona was let go as manager is tone deaf. Those associated with the team could at least pretend they’re disappointed in what happened this season.’

Yeah Pete and you could pretend you give a @#$% about the world outside of Planet What-Pete-Cares-About. Tone deaf? The man hurt his neck. His wife was happy he was home. He got to watch a football game. Mercy.

John Henry, as the owner, ultimately paid Terry Francona to manage the Red Sox. Something went wrong this year, horribly wrong, and Tito lost the ability to communicate effectively with his team. At the conclusion of a disappointing year for all concerned he resigned. Lord alone knows it’s a sad day that he leaves, all the more so because of the circumstances. If there’s any justice a number of players will be joining him in departing Fenway soon. None of this makes it ‘tone deaf’ to announce that your hubby got back from hospital in time to watch a football game, involving a team he happens to own.

‘Tone deaf’ would have been having a celebratory beer in the Fenway clubhouse with the players.

‘Where are the priorities? Don’t Red Sox fans deserve better than this?’ proclaimed the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, stridently picking up the self-righteous flag of mourning in an article entitled ‘Kick in the pants for fans’.

You know what Red Sox fans deserve Dan? A team that looks like it gives a @#$% about the game they are paid bazillions to play. So, as it happens do Manchester City fans and Liverpool fans. Maybe stick to writing about that dude. About how Red Sox pitchers were drinking beer in the clubhouse on days they weren’t scheduled to pitch. About ‘star’ players who couldn’t be arsed running it out to 1st. Those guys gave Red Sox fans the kick in the pants. These are the guys who should have been at that presser apologising to Tito. John Henry is incidental.

For the record Pete and Dan, the Merseyside Derby has been going on for a bit and yes, it’s a big deal. For a lot of fans. I’m guessing most of them could care less about Terry Francona or how badly the Red Sox stunk up September – Something they managed all by themselves, regardless of what John Henry was watching on tv.

As it happens, assuming his neck wasn’t too sore, John Henry would have seen Liverpool and Everton fairly evenly matched until a very contentious sending off 28 minutes in. Young Toffee’s midfielder Jack Rodwell put in a hard tackle on Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, who made a bit of a meal out of the whole deal. Rodwell was sent off, just as replays were confirming that a.) He got the ball 1st, b.) His studs weren’t raised and c.) Suarez has a bit of a cheating side to him that isn’t at all appealing.

Down to 10 men and Everton fought hard but looked on the ropes as they conceded a penalty just shy of half time. The penalty was righteous and therefore maybe there was a touch of justice in Dirk Kuyt’s spot kick being saved. There was to be no such let-off in the 2nd half, with Kuyt intelligently ducking under a Charlie Adam cross that Andy Carroll buried into the net. Still Everton fought on and it took an 84th minute goal from Suarez to settle the issue.

The 2-0 win, coupled with a nervy 2-1 win over Wolves the previous Saturday has kept Liverpool in vague touch with the chase for a Champions League place.

Maybe if they miss out they can conveniently take their frustration out on John Henry who will no doubt be planning on watching some baseball, having refused to come off the bench and up the ladder on his yacht possibly because God willed it that way.

Yeah, I’m still angry.

A Town Called Malice

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