BOSTON (CAP) - As the Red Sox September slide continues, it's hard not to lay at least some of the blame for the team's troubles on a debilitating spate of injuries and the ancient curse placed upon them by an elderly voodoo priestess.
"It's a hard thing to plan for," admitted manager Terry Francona, citing Kevin Youklis' bouts with bursitis, David Ortiz's back spasms and the curse incanted over a duck's liver and the blood of three dead chickens.
Some, like Boston Globe columnist Peter Abraham, have questioned whether the team's injuries could be the result of poor conditioning practices, while noting that the curse likely wouldn't be an issue if certain players were more careful about their behavior around people steeped in the dark arts of voodoo sorcery.
"I can tell you this from being around the team: There are certain guys who bust their asses every day, and there are certain guys who don't," wrote Abraham in his blog on Boston.com. "And there are certain guys who don't think it through before they piss off priestesses."
Abraham was oblique in his references, but it's widely assumed he's referring to veteran players like Youklis and Ortiz, who aren't known for engaging in rigorous conditioning routines, and pitcher Jonathan Papelbon, who tried to make a Haitian voodoo priestess Irish step dance with him to Shipping Up To Boston while on an off-season team excursion to Ortiz's childhood home in the Dominican Republic.
Ortiz, for his part, says that he does in fact engage in daily workouts with Red Sox strength and conditioning coach David Page, that he's in as good a shape as he's ever been, and that the curse is likely hoodoo in origin, rather than voodoo.
"A lot of people make that mistake," he noted, adding that he expected to remain in the lineup as long as his regular strength training keeps his back in good shape, and no one is poking needles into a crude doll fashioned in his likeness.
One former player who wished to remain anonymous said that the team's recent troubles are an example of "what goes around comes around," noting that the Red Sox have often taken advantage of rival teams' injury situations, and that team management spent many years worshiping Satan and sacrificing babies in their quest for success.
"And that's the truth, or my name isn't Manny Ramirez," said the anonymous player.
Francona acknowledged that injuries have been a persistent problem for the squad, as have curses, citing the famed "Curse of the Bambino" that plagued the squad from 1919 to 2003. "If this one is going to last 84 years, we're going to have to make some adjustments," he noted.
"I'm just glad I had the foresight to sign the Kansas City Royals to that five-year deal before the season started," added Sox GM Theo Epstein.
On top of the team's other troubles, some have pointed to looming contract negotiations as another potential trouble spot for the Red Sox, along with the fact that the team avoided a deadly bridge collapse when catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a premonition of impending doom.
"Anybody who thinks that the team won't now be killed off one by one by an increasingly complicated and unlikely series of grisly accidents involving loose screws and sharp objects is just kidding himself," wrote Abraham. "And they better plan to pony up for Ellsbury when they go through arbitration in 2012."
- CAP News Staff