Trying to wrap my mind around the past few days hasn't been easy; all of a sudden the Red Sox have gone from talking about things like "fiscal integrity", "bridge years" and fretting about the Yankees spending the equivalent of the budget of Bulgaria each season to what we've seen the past week or so.
The formerly conservative front office has turned into the baseball version of Richard Pryor in the all-time classic "Brewsters Millions". If I didn't know better I'd swear Henry told Theo he had to spend a gazillion dollars before Opening Day or his 2011 salary wouldn't kick in. They've given an 8 year and a 7 year contract that combined are worth around $300 million, made an offer to Mariano Rivera, were in on the Jason Werth deal, told Cliff Lee they'd give him a 7 year deal, are trying to sign Russell Martin, are rumored to be in on every available relief pitcher out there. At this point it wouldn't shock me if they brought back Pedro to pitch just Opening Day for $25 million and then have him coach third the rest of the year.
Don't get me wrong; as a fan, I love this stuff. And they're doing it the right way; giving long term deals to guys hitting their prime, locking up their young players to team friendly contracts, and keeping the fan base invested while at the same time causing the Yankees and their acolytes to go completely bats***. I'd give Jr's left marble to be a fly on the wall inside THEIR meetings right about now; Theo has ensured they will give idiotic money and idiotic years to try and get Cliff Lee, and they'll probably offer their entire farm system for Zack Greinke, who has to be at least 50/50 odds to totally go Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" after 3 months in that zoo.
Basically, this is better than that Christmas I had as a kid when I got a Redskins helmet, an Atari 2600 and my sister got a whipping for doing something terrible to me. I can't quite remember what she did, but I'm sure it was big time awful. However, that doesn't answer the question of "Why?". Why now, and not last year or 3 years ago or whenever you want to pick did they decide to do this? I don't KNOW why, but I've got as good a reason as any.
My guess? One day after the season ended and probably before he decided to buy a soccer team in England (Yes. John Henry bought a soccer team. Don't ask me why; could be as simple as he just can.) I think he had a come to Jesus moment.
He woke up, looked in the mirror and did what I imagine he does every morning; marveled at the fact he looks just like Crispin Glover in "Back to the Future" when Marty comes back home and his Dad and Mom are super cool and the guy who tried to rape his Mom back in the 50's is now washing his Dad's cars. (Think about THAT for a minute.)
Then he said "I'm John Freaking Henry. I own the Boston Red Sox, I've got more money than Thurston Howell III, my wife is smoking hot, and I haven't had to tie my own shoes in years. I'm the proprietor of one of the most revered and loved sports franchises with one of the national treasures of ball parks, have more boats, cars, homes, and pocket protectors of anyone I know. Sure I'm a little bit nerdy, and yeah I'm about as comfortable in front of a camera as The Elephant Man but I freaking OWN THE BOSTON RED SOX! For years I've let those thugs in New York throw money around like they print it in the basement of Yankee Stadium while I acted like I owned the Kansas City Royals instead of the FREAKING BOSTON RED SOX!"
"It's time to make the donuts!"
He probably immediately called Theo, told him to stroll into the winter meetings smoking Cuban cigars lit by $100 dollar bills while dressed like Sherlock Holmes and declare to the
entire throng in attendance "Gentlemen. The game is afoot."
I am officially GIDDY about the 2011 baseball season.