Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What to do with Dice-K

by Ric Glaub, International Editor, FenwayNation

April 18, 2011-Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Many years ago, I worked for a United States Senator. This was during the Watergate scandal. My boss, as Senate staffers usually referred to their bosses, was truly hurt by what he thought was an affront even a wound to and on America. Decades later, one of my strongest memories is late one evening my boss, leaning back in his chair and saying, perhaps to the two staffers in his office, more likely almost rhetorically, “what to do about Mr. Nixon?”

This is, of course, not entirely apropos, but I think I am not alone right now in leaning back in my chair and saying, “what to do with Dice-K?”

At a point at which many were calling for Dice-K’s head on a platter (myself included), he pitches an absolute gem. Seven innings, one hit, one walk, no runs and a totally economical 89 pitches. Go figure.

Where did that come from?

In most of the fan polls I’ve seen recently, including on FenwayNation, large majorities have been saying, trade him for anything they can get (which would be difficult, because he has a complete no-trade clause) or failing that just cut your losses and dump him in the Mystic River. Twenty million dollars down the drain, but he had become almost a joke and a very bad drain on the starting rotation.

Now this. Is it a one-time thing or might it be possible that he still has something left? Has he finally received a wakeup call? Dice-K apparently said after the game that he understood he needed to do something or perhaps he wouldn’t get another chance. Good thinking Dice. Before today’s game, I have to think the Sox front office was near pulling the switch and dumping Dice-K. Maybe, knowing that, Dice decided he needed to reach back into his inner self and find a way to pitch, or otherwise face shame and think about committing figurative seppuku, because of loss of face.

At the same time, it was only one really good outing. We’ll have to see and everyone will be watching whether he can become a consistent positive part of the Sox starting rotation.

He has almost certainly preserved his spot in the rotation for at least one or two more turns. It will be very interesting to see how he handles them.