When they make a list and you’re not on it, you feel as if it is the end of the world. When they post the list of who has made the team and in the alpabetical spot where your name should be it is blank, you think they must have made a mistake, that it’s a typographical error, an oversight. And then you can’t get rid of that sick feeling in your stomach.
The feeling transcends age, sport, and level of the game, whether it is the junior high basketball team, the high school football team, the college hockey team, or the Major League team you dreamed of playing with. It’s being told you are not good enough when you know you are deep down in your soul.
That’s probably a bit how Jose Iglesias felt the other day when the difference in his 2012 season lined up this way: Starting shortstop for the Boston Red Sox or starting shortstop for the Pawtucket Red Sox. And the way the cards fell he was on his way to Pawtucket, which is either 40 miles or a million miles from Fenway Park.
If the Red Sox have an iffy spot in their lineup as the season looms (and they may have more than one), it is definitely shortstop. The Sox got rid of last year’s starter Marcus Scrutaro and last year’s backup, Jed Lowrie. The job was wide open at the start of spring training and it was Iglesias’ spot to win if the 22-year-old could beat out Mike Aviles.
A lot of people thought that could well happen, but instead Aviles is the scheduled starting shortstop for the big club and Iglesias was sent out for more seasoning. Aviles played in 38 games for Boston last year and his lifetime average is .288. Valentine said that Aviles did a grand job in spring training. From all accounts it seems as if the handling of Iglesias was determined at least as much by general manager Ben Cherington as by manager Bobby Valentine.
Word was that Valentine was ready to plug Iglesias in and ride him, but that Cherington over-ruled him and that’s why Iglesias is slated for AAA. Referring back to his own playing days, Valentine said, “When I stunk and was sent down I thought it was the wrong decision. (Iglesias) didn’t stink. He has every right to think it was the wrong decision.”
But Valentine and Cherington didn’t have a major falling out over this decision apparently. It’s more like there is a comfort level starting the season with Aviles and watching Iglesias develop a little bit more at bat. If the guy starts slamming hits all over the place it probably won’t take long for the Sox to bring him up.
Iglesias is probably pretty angry and the Red Sox don’t mind if he is. They probably want to see him adopt an “I’ll-show-them” attitude in AAA and make them recall him. If Iglesias plays at a high level that will make the Sox decision easy and he will find out that the distance from Rhode Island to Boston really isn’t that far after all.