I wrote this in the wee hours of Thursday morning after the Red Sox completed their implosion. I set this site up today and have posted this as my first post.
Where do I begin? I know it all ended in Baltimore, the birthplace of Babe Ruth. When the Sox do collapse there’s always something that can be tied to the Babe.
On September 1 the Sox were in 1st place and the Rays were 9 games back. The Yankees were a half game behind the Sox. In September, Pedroia, Scutaro, and Ellsbury were our best players, they all hit well over .300 in September. In the last 10 games when the pressure really mounted, these three hit .442, .405, and .354 respectively. That said, our pitching and team play were a major disappointment and it led to a meaningful game 162. Where’s Ford Frick when you need an asterisk? After 154 games (the number of games played per year prior to Maris’s magical 1961 season) the Sox led the Rays by 2 games, and one in the loss column. So here we were, Red Sox Nation geared up for game 162. What a final day of the season the baseball gods had lined up for us.
Drawn to the drama and taking the approach (hope, but understand it’s likely not to happen, no matter how close it looks) to the Sox that I have done for most of my life, I switched from NESN as soon as Crawford’s “all out” effort (didn’t he win a Gold Glove! Come on!)came up short; over to the ESPN channel showing the Yanks-Rays game and waited for the other shoe to drop. It did. It only took a couple minutes before 2nd half MVP, Longoria, hit a laser reminiscent of Big Mac’s 62nd homer in ’98 (you knew it was coming but weren’t sure you wanted it to happen) to put us all out of our misery. Damon (one of the original Idiots) goes to the playoffs for the 4th time in 6 years since leaving Boston.
As I tossed and turned in bed last night, unable to go to sleep, trying to avoid what I had just seen, and several thoughts ran through my mind.
- First of all, why couldn’t I go to sleep? I mean I kind of expected the outcome the way this team had been going.
- Secondly, I thought about the scene in Fever Pitch when Ben finally misses a game and the Sox score 7 in the 9th to beat the Yankees. Kind of like what the Rays did in the 8th and 9th last night.
- Thirdly, I wondered how many players on this Sox team cared about this less than I did. Except for Ells, Scutaro, and Pedey, this team played September like they were watching the pennant race on TV and not actually participating in it.
- Fourth, good for Lavarnway, the rookie who was raw enough, and prima dona-less enough, not to be tense the night before and put the Sox in the position they were in for game 162.
- Fifth, I thought, and maybe I am wrong, that players used to play through more pain in the past. Or at least they played and contributed to their club more times than just the days they felt 100%. That’s when teams were teams and when players weren’t their own multi-million dollar organizations. I know injuries are real and I also know what a shot in the arm it can be to a team when someone plays, even at 75% because it’s the team thing to do. Oh and maybe so they can earn their contract, big or small. How many games were missed this year for reasons that we would have gladly contended with, and played through if we had a chance to play?
- Finally, I thought that the baseball playoffs just became must less interesting for me (even though I will watch), and that Thursday night brings us the one Bruins pre-season game on NESN, and next Thursday they hang the banner. Go Bruins!