Seeing as though this feels like it’s the 63rd time these two teams have played each other so far this season (with still an additional series to go after this), I figured I’d eschew the normal Twins Spotlight this series and talk a little about the NBCSN podcast our Sox Overlord Rick Hahn went on last week. In said podcast, Hahn was asked if he was ever active on social media at all and what he thought about the general pessimism of Sox fans on Twitter. What follows are direct quotes lifted from the podcast:
“…If I was 12, 13 years old, I’d have some strong assed opinions of what my favorite teams were doing, and I’d make sure I’d probably post them on Twitter and be a pain in the ass.”
“The executive side of me, you know, obviously finds it somewhat unfortunate. Whether it’s because certain things leak out creating issues with potential trade partners, or it starts issues internally with a player’s name being out there you have to deal with…”
“…There’s some areas right now, whether it’s White Sox blogs or the Twitter universe or whatever that just everything is negative. The glass is always half empty. And there’s almost like this momentum towards feeling they want the rebuild to fail because they can say ‘I told you so’ more so than they want to celebrate a championship, and that’s unfortunate.”
“It’s one thing to be critical and scrutinize and take the facts and eventually then decide ‘I don’t like this. It’s another thing, and it’s a little bit fed by this age of Twitter to have this instantaneous 45 second response of ‘this is horseshit’ ya know, without even thinking anything through. Which is fine, because whether it’s next year or the year after or whenever this run begins and we start getting closer to having parades around here…all that will be forgotten.”
Huh. Those are some…interesting opinions there. While my first instinct here is to get fired up and write 12 paragraphs of “fuck you” retaliation to these statements, I’m going to do what Rick Hahn wants us all to do and take a pause an analyze what he has to say in the podcast.
Right off the bat, Hahn goes right for the timeless putdown used by jocks against nerds everywhere, implying that everyone complaining on Twitter and other social media outlets are 13-year-olds sitting in their mom’s basement bitching about everything. It wouldn’t shock me if Hahn fantasized about doing the scene in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back where they get the list of people who talked shit about them online and go house to house punching movie nerds in the face. That being said, pretty much anyone who’s ever been on Twitter has had that fantasy, so I have to give Rick that one. If I had my druthers, I’d spend the rest of my life going house to house kneecapping every chud on Twitter who thinks trolling is hilarious.
The second quote is where I start to have an issue with some of his opinions. The implication that Twitter causes Hahn headaches in the way he does business is somewhat unacceptable. This past off-season the rumor was the Sox either had a deal in place, or were close to one with the Dodgers for Joc Pederson and it was leaked on Twitter which resulted in the Dodgers pulling out. Hahn himself spoke about it previously back in March with Chuck Garfien on his podcast. In it, he implies that the ask from the Dodgers changed after the information showed up on Twitter. I can somewhat feel for him here, at least a little bit because that has to be frustrating as fuck.
That being said, my issue with it is the fact that the call is coming from the inside of his own house. I get being pissed about the deal being torpedoed, but if someone in the Sox front office is leaking details about this deal to Twitter, then he has bigger issues than Twitter. That’s like getting mad at a dog for sniffing another dog’s ass. It’s just what they do. Twitter spews out a shitload of rumors, a microscopic portion of which end up being true. I suppose the leak could’ve come from the Dodgers side of the camp, but I don’t know why they would then pull out of the deal. If that was the case the deal must not have been that solid anyways. Does Twitter suck? Absolutely. It’s a fucking hellscape where your soul goes to die 145 characters at a time. Doesn’t mean that absolves the Sox front office for blabbing about potential deals before the ink is dry on the paper.
The third quote deals with an area that I myself am part of, the Sox blog-o-sphere. Hahn is of the opinion that overall we bloggers have the overall attitude that leans toward the dark side. That the glass is always half empty for us. To this point, all I can say is “no fucking shit.” Look, I get that constantly hearing negative stuff online about the team you’re personally trying to build can piss you off. I really do. That being said, Hahn should perhaps try and look at it from our prospective, which is that the Sox have been absolutely brutal to watch more often than not these last few years. That combined with the kind of injury luck the Sox have had the past few years has a tendency to make a fan of a team supremely pessimistic.
I totally understand that we are in the middle of a rebuild that was necessitated by years of Kenny Williams attempting to delay the inevitable by trading the prospect cupboard bare, and we all knew there were going to be some lean years ahead. To imply that I want the rebuild to fail just so I can keep complaining about it is disingenuous. You think I WANT the team to stay like this? I want to keep watching AJ Reed and Yonder Alonso flail about when it could be Luis Robert? That I want to waste my time watching Welington Castillo look like he’s being attacked by fire ants behind the plate when I could be watching Zack Collins develop at the major league level? I have no interest in any of that shit whatsoever. I’m negative online because I’m tired of the Sox sucking worse than the drain in Marlon Brando’s bathtub. When the team has a possibility to suck less and it’s squashed because you want another year of team control on a guy murdering AAA pitching right now (or this time last year with Eloy) it’s not because I want the rebuild to fail, it’s because I really fucking want it to succeed.
Moving to the last and most terrifying quote, Hahn implies that when the run truly begins all will be forgiven we will get to watch a bunch of parades. This may be true, because I would be hard pressed to argue with a guy who built a championship squad from the nothing that was here. The issue is the quote implies that the Sox are going to BE a championship quality squad, which also implies that the front office is going to be able to fill the holes in the roster through free agency. For a guy who has shown the inclination to go dumpster diving to fill needs rather than shopping at Best Buy, the thought that the Sox are going to be throwing parades seems to be based on filling holes internally rather than on the market. He implies that the Sox run is going to begin “next year, or the year after that or whenever” and that says to me that the timeline for the rebuild is in flux and seems to have been pushed back. Granted, I may have been hearing just what I wanted to hear about timelines from him in the past, but this quote does not inspire much confidence in the rebuild from here on out. Hopefully I’m just reading too much into this, and he was just speaking off the cuff, but I wonder.
Overall, most of what Hahn is saying in the podcast feels more like an “I’m not mad, YOU’RE the ones who are mad” comment and that he’s sort of just shouting at the rain. I get that, because that’s how I feel writing about this team sometimes. The internet is a shitty place, and it can wear on you after awhile. If Rick Hahn wants any of that to change in the slightest, the Sox are going to have to do more than tell us “Don’t worry, the good times are coming soon” and actually show us that they are through their actions. I would love nothing more than to watch the Sox dominate the AL Central for years to come, and to contend with the Astros and Yankess and Red Sox in the postseason. I want that in the worst and best way possible. If that makes me pretty negative when I’m sitting through the Sox losing three of four to the Angels when they really could’ve swept them I guess that’s fair. It’s going to be the norm until the Sox front office shows me that I should be something other than that.