Saturday, June 13, 2009

Josh Fields and the 5 Stages of Grief

You may have heard of the 5 stages of grief. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. Kind of reminds me of Josh Fields’s usurpation of Joe Crede’s job.

It all started in 2007… Joe Crede (Who you may have noticed has my unconditional vote for favorite White Sox Player ever.) was out with a bad back for the first time, and here came Josh Fields. He was great! He hit long balls, he did all the right things, but… he was no Joe Crede. It was like watching Pablo Ozuna on third- I understand why he would be there, but that doesn’t mean I like it. At this stage, I did not dislike Josh Fields, I just waited for the day Joe Crede would be back.

It got worse in 2008, when, after a strong finish to 2007, Josh Fields decided to feel “entitled.” He felt he earned his job on the roster and that he should get the start at third over Crede. Now, Crede had just undergone back surgery and was a big question mark, but, like a proud parent, he was my Crede, and don’t you talk badly about him! This was when I began to dislike Josh Fields.

Yes, if you’ve read at least 3 of this blog’s tens and hundreds, odds are you’ve picked up on that little fact about me. Josh Fields can’t win me over. No matter what. I say I’ll like him more if he figures out how to shave his cleft, but I’m lying. It would literally take a time machine and some sort of potion that transforms him into a healthy Joe Crede for me to like Josh Fields.

When Josh was brought up because of Crede’s second bout of BadBackitis, and began to play third base the same way I would imagine Jim Thome would play third base about five years from now, my feelings were reinforced. He proceeded to collect sombreros, strike out, and collect errors. Even Ozzie began to notice, and Uribe’s stock began to climb. By then, if I was ever to see Josh Fields down the street, I would have given him a wedgie. In my posts, I referred to him as “Booger.” (There was even an illustration that I have added for your entertainment.) He was so atrocious in every way, watching games with the Crede Replacement made me sad.

And then there was Spring 2009. It was certain that Joe Crede would not return and that the Sox would not sign Evan Longoria. Josh Fields had boasted about knee surgery and that he had worked on his defense with Joey Cora. He was hitting balls with a vengeance and Dayan Viciedo was a bust. Maybe he wasn’t so bad. I had no choice but to accept Josh Fields.

Once the baseball season began, Fields fielded adequately, but his hitting was, once again, sub-par. Still, he was a better choice than Betemit at third base, and I couldn’t argue with that. And then Beckham was brought up and Fields threw a Brian Anderson-sized fit over his role as a bench player. Did I feel bad for Fields who, in his own words, was too young to become a utility player at 26? Yes. Did he dig his own grave? Of course.

It just goes to figure that, just as the cycle is complete and I’ve finally accepted the loss of Joe Crede, it would be time to mourn Josh Fields. Well, not mourn… more like write about how his coming of age as a Sox player is tantamount to the death of a fan favorite.

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