Football

Who to believe, Rob Gronkowski edition

Before sneering at Rob Gronkowski’s latest retirement announcement, one of the dumbest statements in the rich history of sports talk floated through the airwaves Wednesday morning.

In discussing the wisdom of the Red Sox locking down Rafael Devers to a long-term contract, this gem pierced the cloud cover:

“They didn’t keep Mookie Betts and they haven’t won a World Series since.”

Uhh … what?

Have we reached the point of shameless entitlement that three seasons without a championship should be regarded as sheer torture?

This is not meant to defend the move that sent Betts to the Dodgers in lieu of giving him the big bucks he would ultimately command. In return for Betts and David Price (a rhetorical bag of batting practice balls), the Red Sox received Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong.

Verdugo is a good big-league ballplayer. The Red Sox called up Downs this week and he is likely to play shortstop as Alex Cora gives Xander Bogaerts and Devers a breather. When Downs returns to Worcester, he will try to pump up his .180 average.

As for Wong, a catcher who can play in the infield, in 19 big-league at bats he has five hits. For Worcester this season Wong is hitting .273 with three homers and 13 RBIs.

Betts wanted more money and more guaranteed paydays than the Red Sox were willing to give him., Damn Chaim Bloom for (or, really, his bosses) for putting limits on the team’s previously limitless largesse. But leave out the “Oh, woe, is us.”

Speaking of mindlessness, here we have Gronkowski announcing his retirement … again.

The last time Gronkowski retired his self-imposed absence lasted about 20 minutes. Tom Brady became quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, summoned, and like a bored puppy he responded to his master’s voice.

The man’s bust will be displayed in Canton. He had more than enough money to live the comfortable life of an eternal party animal. So, good for him.

May he return to the harmless world of NFL TV banter and bask in the spotlight that is destined to be his for as long as he wants it.

But if Gronkowski returns to the fray halfway through this season, avoiding the grueling work of training camp and eight or nine games of hard hits, don’t be surprised.

Gronk will do what is best for Gronk.

Playing the football fool has treated him well.

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