Sunday, August 08, 2004

The "I" in team, part two

"This is the time to get an identity for this team and we still don't have it," Millar said. "We're still checking lineups Aug. 7. It's frustrating. ... No one knows where they're hitting. No one knows where they're playing. No one knows what's going on. That's the whole thing."

- self-appointed team expert Kevin Millar, on not finding himself in the starting lineup Saturday night

But I thought giving Nomar the old heave-ho was going to solve all of Boston's problems! At least that's what Millar himself intimated before and after Garciaparra's stunning last-minute trade to the Chicago Cubs. But how quickly the worm turns, eh, Kevbo?

Many fans and pundits in Boston have an annoying tendency to decide that one person and one person alone is responsible for all the evils in Red Sox Nation, at which point it's just a matter of time before that person is run out of town on a rail. It happened to Nomar, it happened to Grady Little, it happened to Jimy Williams, and it happened to Mo Vaughn. Too bad it's hardly ever true! If Boston could trade or fire its way to victory, surely we'd have a fistful of shiny World Series rings by now. But we don't.

We talk a lot about the "team" philosophy these days in New England, thanks to coach Bill Bellichek taking the Patriots to two Super Bowl victories in the past three years via a genuine team effort. But you can't just take what worked for football and graft it onto a baseball team willy-nilly and expect it to have a positive effect. Like it or not, baseball is less of a "team" sport than football in many ways, and imposing a Bellichek-style discipline and set of expectations onto the Sox is a guaranteed recipe for failure because deep down, everyone in that clubhouse has got an ego the size of Fenway Park. Hence Millar's little hissy-fit with the press just a week after the supposed triumph of team values over Nomar Garciaparra (a.k.a., The Great Satan).

Well, there's always next year I guess...

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