Chris Sale has it figured out. Why hasn't everyone else?

Rob Bradford
February 16, 2020 - 10:44 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Every once in a while we have to be reminded. There is actually a way to navigate this world of chaos.

Sunday Chris Sale offered that reminder.

For those at the ready with their fingers on the "send" button, all of this seems so simple. How can so many public figures be so tone-deaf? This has been the theme throughout Major League Baseball of late. The Commissioner is tripping all over himself. The players are engaged in non-stop verbal slap-fights. Everyone is defensive. Everyone is judgmental. Everyone is pissed off. Everyone is exhausted trying to convince the world this sport isn't in trouble. This is the reality of the sport.

And when you're trying to dig yourself out of the muck and mire while calling Boston your sports home, the landmines are multiplied. Just ask Red Sox ownership. Just ask David Price. Just ask a lot of professional athletes who have collected their paychecks in the '617' over the years.

Sale, however, stood up Sunday and existed in a manner crisis control managers could only dream of. For the pitcher, this thing that seems so complicated for so many was utterly uncomplicated.

The Houston Astros cheated. Sale was seemingly a victim of their chicanery in Game 1 of the 2017 American League Division Series. Sunday he talked about it all.

"Yeah, it sucks," he said. "But what am I going to do? Am I going to hold them at gunpoint? Am I going to sit here and curse them out through a bunch of cameras? If I have something to say to them I know those guys. I can get one of their numbers and text them and talk to them face-to-face or whatever. It happened. What are you going to do about it? You can sit around and cry about it or I can get my ass to work and try and win a championship."

There was more, but that one quote separated Sale. 

This realization that Sale has a better grasp on these sort of things than most isn't a new revelation. Everyone knows that honesty and accountability are the staples in passing the sniff-test among Boston sports fans. It also doesn't hurt to not get sucked into the world of outside opinions, a task made much more feasible if one takes social media out of the equation (as has been the case with Sale).

Worry about your job. Worry about yourself. Stumble across wrongdoing or cheaters, deal with it and move on. This very uncomplicated gameplan isn't the norm. That's why Sale stands out.

"When Chris talks, his personality, he’d probably prefer not to be that guy that’s the guy who’s outspoken but it’s incredible the things he says, the feel he has for when he says something it’s right on," said Red Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke. "And he spoke a little bit to the guys in the meeting today and I was like ‘Geez I’d rather him to speak every day. You can speak for me, you can just do it.’ So he’s really good, really intelligent in the game and really has a good feel for not just stuff and this is how you pitch but the mental part of it. So I tell you, I walked out of that meeting feeling great today."

It all seems so simple, but so many have proven it's not.

At least Sale has offered a blueprint on how to function in this weird world of professional sports these days. Baseball and Boston better hope others take his lead.