Honestly, now... do you miss him?

Justin at the Phillies blog That Ball’s Outta Here asked Denton and I to be part of his Sox-Phillies preview. So he sent us some questions and we answered them and he posted them at his site. But because we’re lazy, drunk bastards by trade, we figured we’d get a double-dip out of our answers by posting some of them here as well. If you want the full bug, hit Justin’s site. See, everybody wins. Schwing.

Ever since last year, I’ve felt that the Phillies and Sox are somewhat bonded in their comparable late season incompetence. We both had big dreams. We both had long winters. Looking forward, how can two behemoths with aging hearts contend in divisions beginning to boil over with younger talent?

Red: Two words: Steroids and robots. Actually, I’m kidding about the robots. And the steroids. I think, at least in Boston’s case, we’re suffering from a near-lethal combination of players who were ridiculously overpaid for their services and others who were getting perhaps a bit too comfortable with doing “just enough.”

I was hoping that last September’s embarrassing crash-and-burn would have shamed the Red Sox into blazing out of the gate, as if to show the world that they still had some of that piss and lightning (whatever that means) left within them. I was wrong. The AL East is a tougher place and you’ve got some hungry, somethin’-to-prove teams in the Rays and Orioles.

Denton: September was a brutal reminder of what it was like to be a Red Sox fan pre-2004. Didn’t our slogan used to be “Wait’ll Next Year?” And we’d start chanting that in early August. It’s amazing what you can get used to…but I don’t ever want to get used to being a fan of that kind of team again. I think it has a lot more to do with heart than age, but I have major concerns that other than Dustin Pedroia, this team lacks heart.

Twitter provided us with some delightful Kevin-Youkilis-to-the-Phillies rumors that for the most part, made no sense. Is Youkilis a broken man? What trade would be fair for both sides?

Is Jonathan Papelbon a constant reminder of the glory that was? Or is he a page torn from a dusty novel in the back of a used book store? Or is he just garbage, blowing in the wind kicked up by a SEPTA bus? Your thoughts.

Red: Part of me wants to dismiss Papelbon as a self-centered clown who did more for the Dropkick Murphys’ bank account than his team in his last few seasons with the Red Sox. But that’s just the bitterness talking. He was a true character and the image of him doffing his pants and dancing on the field back in 2007 will forever haunt my dreams. That said, it would have been nice if he could have moved on to Philadelphia without feeling the need to bash the Boston fans and media. I liken him to that Tom Waits album that everybody recommends to you but that you can’t listen to more than three seconds without banging your head against the wall in frustration. And I don’t know what that means, either.

Denton: Papelbon is a tough guy to like when he isn’t dancing around with a Bud Lite box on his head after your team just won the World Series. He stated from day one in Boston that he was paving the way for closers to get big money, and he did just that. No idea why he decided to bash Boston after leaving, but based on everything else going on with the Red Sox front office, I’m guessing he has his reasons. All that said, I wouldn’t mind seeing him stroll out to take the mound in the ninth inning wearing a Red Sox uni.

Which eastern division is more competitive? With the Orioles stepping up, is there any fear that they are for real? I hate the Nationals. Again, irrelevant.

Red: Ever since I found out that Buck Showalter’s favorite expression for laying a beating on another team is “pounding their tits,” I have secretly wished for the Os to at least become contenders. This year, it seems to be coming true. Also, any division with a team that is managed by a guy who instructs his players to go out and “pound their tits” is instantly the most competitive division in baseball. Perhaps even in the universe. The Orioles are very real, my son. As real as that knife in your hands.

Denton: There is zero.point.zero chance the Orioles are for real. This happens almost every year and by the All Star break, they are busy making themselves comfortable in the basement. They suck. End of story.