Do you hear that sound in the distance? That's Chris Sale destroying somebody else's TV because the Boston Red Sox blindsided him with a trade to the best team in MLB. Or, wait! That's Sale cutting up his new Atlanta Braves jersey because he thinks the color scheme is too similar to that of his former team.
That other sound is New York Yankees fans applauding Sale's departure from the AL East. Even though he's been a non-factor in the sport of baseball since 2019 (he's made just 56 starts across the last five seasons due to injuries and temper tantrums), his mere presence in the same division as the Yankees was enough for fans to be irked.
Sale, though one of the most talented pitchers of the last 10 years (top-five in Cy Young voting from 2013-2018), is undoubtedly one of the most insufferable personalities in the sport (especially when he's your chief rival).
After spending seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Sale was traded to Boston before the start of the 2017 season and proceeded to have the two best campaigns of his career upon looking at his new Red Sox threads. Of course. What other way would this have turned out for the Yankees?
He was among the star Sox players that directly stood in the way of the Yankees' World Series hopes in 2018 when Boston won 108 games and effortlessly blew by New York, Houston and LA in the postseason to capture their fourth title since 2004. But don't worry, Sox fans will still tell you about how horrible their lives are.
Good riddance to Chris Sale, one of Yankees' fans most hated Red Sox players ever
"Left my nuts out there on that mound tonight, that's for damn sure." OK, man. That's right. Everybody in the city of Boston "has a job to do." No other city or culture has embodied that mentality before. Tired act. Thank goodness this commentary will further slip into the backdrop now that Sale is out of town.
Now, before you start calling this a bias column, let us remind you that this is exactly what this is. This is a Yankees blog. If you don't want to read, you're free to go to your favorite Sox blog that probably has endless fluff pieces adoring Sale's 2017-2018 contributions while lightly touching upon how the rest of his tenure was a disappointment (but again, it wasn't, because he won you a world Series).
If Sale was a Yankee, New Yorkers would absolutely embrace and adore his energy. But because he was a Red Sox, with the classic scraggly beard, "me against the world" mentality, and hardo approach to everything he did, Sale will forever be hated by Yankees fans. And when you think back to that 2018 Red Sox roster, it's pretty much him and Alex Cora that represented everything Yankees fans feel is wrong with the Red Sox existing.
But hey, even we'll sympathize with Sox fans for a second. Sale, ever since signing that $150 million extension that Dave Dombrowski gave him, was a complete distraction. But perhaps that's some karma for Boston after the Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz trade package somehow couldn't have panned out worse for Chicago, combined with the fact that $150 million for Sale felt like an insane under-market price at the time.
After 27 starts (158 innings) and then another seven games (four starts, three relief appearances, totaling 25 innings) in the playoffs in 2018, Sale's body began to betray him. He eventually needed Tommy John surgery after a disappointing 2019 campaign. Then, when he was finally ready to return on a full-time basis in 2022, he fractured a rib before the start of the year, broke his pinkie on an Aaron Hicks comebacker, and broke his wrist falling off his bike when riding to get lunch. Very much a smart thing to do when your last three-and-a-half seasons had been derailed by various ailments. He made just two starts that year.
Oh, but we can't forget about his lengthy rehab assignment that year as he prepped a return! Sale, after a bad start with the Triple-A Worcester Red Sox, decided to destroy everything in sight in the team's dugout tunnel. He was caught on camera by a fan, but instead of taking responsibility for his childish actions (destroying TVs and ripping things off the wall because he allowed ... one run and five walks in 3.2 innings against the Scranton RailRiders?), Sale instead blamed the hysteria on the fact he was recorded.
Yes, it was the video's fault! How stupid can we be? Whenever you have the chance to destroy valuable property of those very well-off minor league organizations, you simply have to do it because that's "who you are."
The warning signs were always there, though. Sale was the same loose cannon with the White Sox, who once sent him home after he cut up the team's throwback jerseys so none of the players would be able to wear them because he thought they were uncomfortable. How about the time he waged war against his former organization because they told Adam LaRoche that having his son in the clubhouse every day wasn't appropriate?
As an opposing fan, there's no better player to despise than Chris Sale. But in this case, it wasn't fun for Yankees fans because of how bad New York's run has been, even with Boston in the doldrums these last few years. We're just glad he's gone, and now every rival of the Braves can have their fun watching Sale either underperform or bring unwanted attention to the team they hate.