October 21, 2018

Ben Cherington’s Yard Sale: Everything Must Go!

July 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This is going to be like a yard sale at that big house in that nice neighborhood, owned by those people that just seemed to fit well together, until suddenly it all fell apart.

Now, the late celebrations and proud accomplishments are just a memory, commemorated in the big, bedazzled jewelry, and a thick photo album of happy times, and a duck boat they promised to never sell.

But the rest of the lot, it’s got to go. It’s time to break up the house and start again.

Ben Cherington will post a classified ad in the newspaper (remember those? This piece really is getting nostalgic), and then go around hanging up neon green poster board announcing the day, address and hours. Maybe he’ll include a flashy slogan like: “starters, relievers, hitters … everything must go!”

He’ll stack it all up in his garage, and on the morning of the sale he’ll pull everything out, lay it on folding tables, and wait, beating back the memories as he reviews the merchandise.

Sitting in a folding chair in his driveway, he’ll see Gomes, the big, right-handed hitting left fielder who brought him so much comfort, so often, wearing a tag reading: “Pitching prospect – AA or better.”

He will be glad that he’s wearing sunglasses as he looks at Nava, the switch-hitting left fielder who didn’t make his college team. Cherington rubs his eyes a little as he thinks about the day his big brother found the left fielder, at a flea market, next to a butter churn. How the left fielder hit a home run in its first at-bat in the majors, then last year had an on-base percentage over .400. Now, the sign says, “No serious offer refused.”

Not everything is for sale, of course. Some of the newer items are tucked away inside, a collection that is really more for next year than for now, with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts and Brock Holt. “Look at how small they are,” people ask when they see the collection. “So cute and little.”

The expensive items have been taken elsewhere, the left-handed pitcher and the right-handed starter and the very rare closer imported from Japan. Cherington has been trying to drum up interest from private buyers ready to part with their own rare items, an expensive bat, perhaps, or a million dollar arm.

This is for the rest of them, the parts and pieces that can help a team that needs them. The parts that fit together so well last year, but now seem … old. In fact, some of the pieces that will stay from last year are pretty old, too. Like that DH who’s become crotchety and distracted, and the second baseman with the funky wrist.

Those two will stay, and maybe someone will make him an offer for the young players, but mostly Cherington’s trying to clean out the old stuff.

The shortstop is wearing a tag that reads, “Fundamentally Sound,” and the No. 3 starter is wearing one that says “Great Value: Sabermetricians’ special!” Clay Buchholtz sits in a bin, a sign over his arm proclaiming “Like New!”
“That one?” Cherington will say when someone picks out Doubront, the left-handed starter with no price tag. “Hmmm… That’s tricky … What will you give me for him?”

Cherington looks at the sign on the back of the defensive catcher who was so good in last year’s World Series. “B.O.” it reads. Considering the level of sweat from the position, Cherington wishes he had made a better word choice.

When the day is done, Cherington will have some spare change in his pocket, and some decisions to make. Perhaps he will leave something on the sidewalk with the word “Free” perched atop it. Perhaps he will drag a lot of items back inside, along with the feeling that maybe nobody thinks as much of his stuff as he does.

At the end of the day, he won’t be rich. Hopefully, he’ll have some room in the garage, so he can stock up on new stuff. Maybe get something big to go with all those little guys.

Dave Rattigan hosts View From The Lone Red Seat with Bob Lazzari and Chris Mascaro, heard Tuessdays at 7 p.m. on the Seamheads Podcasting Network.

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