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Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Continuing Saga Of...    

...The Son Of A Bitch Patriots Front Office Bastards Who Botched The Adam Vinatieri Negotiations!

Vinatieri reveals in today's Globe that he left New England without giving the Patriots a chance to match the offer.  In the words of the greatest kicker who ever lived, "The Patriots had plenty of chances to sign me," and he's right; rather than inking AV to a long-term deal after 2004, the team franchise tagged him, and then left him unsigned well into this year's free agency period.  I have long defended Vinatieri's departure as being entirely the fault of the team, and have called for the evisceration of certain Patriots team officials.  This revelation does not lessen that ill will.

Reading Vinatieri's remarks reminds me of the Johnny Damon situation.  Same basic storyline: major star leaves town, signs with biggest rival without giving the old team a final chance to counter.  But there's not nearly as much hatred of Vinatieri as there is of Damon.  Why is that?

Was it that Vinatieri's heroics were far more dramatic in nature than Damon's?  The Patriots would not have won those first two Super Bowls without Viantieri, and I say that without any of that cliche's "we're saying nice things about some worthless piece of shit player like David Eckstein, but he's a nice guy" connotation.  With time expiring no less.  When that happens, you tend to have that aura.

But it's easy to forget that Damon led the Game 7 charge in the Bronx.  Or that he led off Game 4 in St. Louis with a home run that proved to be all the offense Boston needed.  Series clinching games, in which Johnny Damon delivered the biggest hit.  So didn't Johnny Damon win those series for the Red Sox just as much as Adam Vinatieri won those two Super Bowls?

And if you think about it, Damon was screwed harder by the Red Sox.  The Sox informed Damon, in no uncertain terms, that their offer would not be raised.  Damon probably would have preferred to stay if he felt wanted, but he didn't, so he left.  Vinatieri, meanwhile, pretty much blitzed the Pats; they didn't have a chance once they realized what was about to happen.  The Pats botched the whole situation as much as anything.  They miscalculated.  They were wrong.

I guess that's what the difference is: Johnny Damon's departure was orchestrated by the Red Sox, and was a sound organizational decision, while Adam Vinatieri's departure was a complete and utter fuck-up, and caused in no small part by the Pats' contentious history with regards to contract negotiations.  A little sunshine in 2004 could have avoided the whole mess.

This exercise didn't make me feel much better about AV wearing white.  But it's nice to remind myself that he was justified in leaving, and that the Patriots front office are real assholes.  Yay!


  • There's also just the fact that Damon is a lot easier to dislike. It's the Red Sox to Yankees treason factor, to which no other kind of defector can be compared. And it's his mismanaging of the media and everything. He always seemed like kind of a preening idiot, sold himself so strongly as the anti-Yankee, and showed the whole act had been a lie. A lot of people were already a little tired of his shenanigans, though maybe not so many in Boston.

    So, I don't think it's that hard to explain the hatred. How could you hate Vinatieri? He always just went about his business. He did it again when the Patriots were being stingy. Business as usual.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 8:11 PM  

  • That's all true, though I never took the Damon thing personally. When you live through Roger Clemens looking you in the eye, telling you he wants to either stay in Boston or move back to Texas... and then he immediately signs with Toronto... I mean, how do you take anyone seriously ever again after that? So that's not a factor for me.

    I just think Damon's kind of a schmuck. My thing with him is that he wants wants to be cheered despite signing with New York, and has lectured us about his accomplishments and stuff. Despite the fact that he lied to our faces repeatedly. That makes him a nuclear-strength schmuck. Basically, now that I'm reliving the whole "boo Johnny" fiasco, I retract the whole post. Fuck Johnny Damon in his stupid ass.

    But yes, obviously I don't feel the same way about Vinatieri, nor should anyone else.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 11:22 PM  

  • Yeah, he's a total punk.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 1:09 PM  

  • Nobody cares about Vinatieri in New England b/c

    1. Baseball is about 10x as big as football.
    2. The Colts aren't really a rival so much as this team that just sort of rolls over when they play the Patriots.
    3. He is a goddamn kicker!!!! This isn't the star QB or WR or face of the D leaving, this is a kicker.

    By Blogger Kelvin, at 8:04 AM  

  • Well, since Kelvin is New England's official sports thermometer, how can I possibly argue with him.

    1. You're right that nobody cares about the Patriots but you're only half-right about why. The Patriots have taken a back seat for a good reason: they're satisfied. None of the news from Patriots Land since Super Bowl XXXIX has been good enough to trump the average bit of Red Sox news. If the Patriots had added a single worthwhile player to the lineup in the last 18 months, or maybe kept a player or two, maybe the fans wouldn't have abandoned them. Instead, the Pats have focused on their post-dynastic bottom line, and the fans have responded in kind by reminding the Pats where they stand on the totem pole if they're not going to go all-out.

    2. I can't believe I'm saying this but you're not giving the Colts enough credit. They fucking killed the Patriots last fall. No contest. The Pats aren't the Pats of old, so all that "oh they'll just roll over" stuff carries a lot less weight. The Colts still haven't beaten New England in the playoffs... but ever since the Pats lost to Jake Plummer in January, I don't get to say shit about playoff chokes.

    3. Look, the Pats just lost their #2 receiver and their best outside pass-rusher, and I'm pissed about who? The kicker. Obviously my primary concern is neither the team's performance nor a logical rationalization. I'm concerned, first and foremost, with having a Hall-of-Famer who bailed us out of two Super Bowls not get fucked out of town.

    His value is as a symbol more than as a kicker (though he continues to be an entirely capable placekicker). Saying AV is just a kicker is like saying "Hail To The Redskins" is just a song. No different than, say, "My Humps" or "Cotton-Eyed Joe."

    By Blogger Jeff, at 3:02 PM  

  • Point 1: I never said people in NE stopped caring about the Patriots, I merely stated the strong preference for all things Red Sox. I don't think you have to live in NE to see that, it is pretty obvious. I see you are quite sensitive about all things NE related as you see yourself as from there.

    2. Addendum - Colts roll over in all games that are important.

    3. You example isn't convincing for me. David Givens ranked low on my perceived impact scale for Patriots. This to me is the equivalent of Jarred Jeffries leaving the Whiz in terms of production. Givens was probably impact player #6 on the offense after Brady, Branch, Dillon, Watson, Vinatieri.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't be upset AV left, more of reasoning as to why people don't hate him the way they hate JD.

    Comparing Hail to the Redskins to Cotton Eyed Joe is a feeble attempt to wind me up.

    By Blogger Kelvin, at 1:13 PM  

  • No, it was a feeble attempt to point out that AV's value as a symbol exceeds the value of his vocation. I would never wind you up, Gareth.

    Well OK then. I kinda got past the JD vs. AV issue already... it was a rhetorical exercise to begin with, and I basically retracted the whole argument in one of the earlier comments. So I was looking at your "nobody cares" thing as more of a "nobody cares that he's gone, period," which I don't think is true at all.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 1:32 PM  

  • I surveyed people in New England,
    98.6% of the people here do not care. My data supports a .05% confidence interval with 99% surety.

    By Blogger Kelvin, at 3:45 PM  

  • Hey, it's a picture of Kelvin celebrating his 99% surety calculation! Hooray!

    By Blogger Jeff, at 3:52 PM  

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