Thursday, September 20, 2007

Low

The magic number to get into playoffs is three. Whoop-de-fucking-doo. Is anybody else excited about just getting into the playoffs? When this season finally goes up in flames in the, I'm guessing, ALDS, am I the only one that would take some little measure of comfort from the fact that we had won the division? Finally? Am I crazy? I understand the meaninglessness of a division title without winning beyond that. Afterall, we've all been slagging the Yankees for doing that every year of this millenium. But still. I just want to finish ahead of them.

Obviously, I want the Sox to go a lot farther than that. Call me pessimistic, an unbeliever, an unwashed member of the negative talk radio masses, whatever you want. Just don't call me naive. This season, once so promising, has such a negative vibe to it now. It feels like last year. Inconsistent starting pitching, big injuries, underachieving free agents, imploding bullpen, wishy-washy indecisive management. The only difference is we had a huge lead in the division (Ha! Remember that?) Didn't the Yankees just sweep Toronto? And now we've been swept by those same Blue Jays? Did I just imagine that? Is there anybody who really thinks that's meaningless?

What exactly is a team's responsibility to its fans? To get to the postseason? To win as many games as possible? To win a division title? Obviously, the ultimate responsibility is to win the World Series. But what of the goals along the way? A baseball season is a really long haul for everybody- the players, coaches and fans. This Red Sox team makes the season even longer, at least to me, because I don't get the feeling it's being run to win every day. I think it's run to win enough to get to October and hope everything lines up there for one good streak. Should that be enough to satisfy me as a fan, as someone who, even in a very limited capacity, spends money that helps fund the operations of the team? Or instead, for my contributions to the team, both emotional and financial, am I owed more than that? I think I deserve to know that the team I seem to care more about than the team seemingly cares about itself at times is doing everything it can to win as many games as possible.

Now, if we're lifting the Series trophy at the end of October, am I gonna care that we finished second to the Yankees again? That we had to go out to Anaheim (again) for the first two playoff games? No, probably not. Maybe a little after the hullabaloo of winning dies down. Then I might say, "Still woulda been nice to win the division..." But it won't really matter.

But am I gonna be pissed as hell if we're in a 2-0 hole before we ever get to play a postseason game at Fenway? Fuck yeah. If we don't get our heads out of our asses now and start winning some games, we're gonna be hitting the road. And all you statheads out there can roll out all the numbers you want showing that the home-team advantage is overrated and all that. And maybe the numbers support that. But here's a little something I believe about the players- they usually don't know the numbers as well as Joe Fan. They obsess about trying to hit a Scott Kazmir slider; we obsess over home and away splits and the last five year's combined win-loss records of road underdogs playing afternoon games on grass. I really believe that players, at least those with a discernible pulse who care (and that certainly eliminates about a third of our starting lineup), need every psychological edge they can get. Does playing at Fenway give the players an edge? The offensive stats point to yes, the pitching stats point to no. But overall, we've won more games at Fenway than away from it. Sometimes people make baseball too complicated. Call me a simpleton, but I want to play more games where we've won more games.

If you don't understand the disconnect between rooting for your team, and being realistic about your team, please don't give me a hard time about my pessimism. I love the Red Sox more than anything in my life besides my family. I WANT them to do well, to win the World Series again. If you're the sort of fan that does well with blind faith, then good for you. I'm not. I enjoy my cynicism. Two-thousand and four did nothing to discourage me from keeping my guard up. That's how I operate as a fan. That doesn't make me less of a fan than the guy who says, "I always believed! I never lost faith...even after going down three games to none, I knew we'd do it..." Bullshit. He hoped we'd do it, but he didn't know we'd do it. And that's where I'm at. I hope we win the World Series, but I don't know that we will. I'm not even sure we'll get there. Guardedly optimistic, I remain. Just not foolishly naive.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ernie said...

Pretty much feel the same way right now. I have zero faith in this team at the moment after losing 2 out of 3 at home and now getting f-ing swept by toronto and generally looking like they care less out there, while the MFY are unstoppable.

Yeah, we will more than likely make the playoffs, but I wanted to win the AL East, just for once, instead of the damn MFY. 14 games up and we're the Wildcard. Ridiculous and annoying. If this were the old days, we'd be done.

As I said to someone earlier, yes, I'm fully aware that I'm a spoiled, whiny RSN bitch. I could be an O's fan right now. It's still annoying.

Thank God for The Patriots.

10:48 AM  
Blogger The Omnipotent Q said...

Steady, Matty.

For me, anything less than winning the World Series will seem like a lost and wasted year. Taking the AL East will be of little consolation if they don't win it all.

BTW, the Jays weren't swept by New York last week. They lost 2 of 3. But you know they will roll over like dogs in the Bronx this weekend...

11:25 AM  

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