So, like, are the Red Sox done yet, or what? Am I the only one who doesn't think this feels like '04 at all? I don't feel as hopeless as I did before game 4 in '04, but that's only because we won the Series that season. If we hadn't won it then, I would have disappeared into a deep, dark abyss after Tuesday's game faster than Manny can make a complete ass of himself on national tv (was I the only one who was waiting for Joe Buck to pull out the ol' Randy Moss ass-on-the-goalpost reaction after Manny's homer? "This is disgusting! We can't even show that again!" Probably...)
Remember the whole "How will winning a World Series change Red Sox fans?" nonsense? I didn't think it had changed me. And maybe it hasn't, but I'm not nearly as sick to my stomach about being down 3-1 as you'd think. Maybe it's because I've barely seen any of the playoffs so I'm not really locked in to the series, or maybe because I'm so worried about finding a daytime sitter for the kids, or maybe it's because I'm nervous/anxious about the house we're buying. I don't know. But this feels different. After game 3 in '04, I felt as bleak and hollow as sports had ever made me feel. There was a fatalistic pall over my apartment that Sunday leading up to game 4. Maybe playing someone who's not the Yankees makes it feel just that little bit less like life and death. Or maybe it's just realizing that, ya know what? The Indians are a pretty fucking good baseball team. And despite our being tied for the most wins in baseball, we have too many holes, all of which are being exposed now.
Let's face it- these were our shortcomings throughout the season: inconsistent starting pitching after Beckett; inconsistent bullpenning after Paps and Oki; inconsistent and often nonexistent production from the 6-9 spots in the lineup; a stubborn, "players' manager" with no sense of urgency or willingness to "panic." Well guess what we've seen in games 2-4? All of the above. So really, none of this is a surprise to me. Now granted, during any given span of the regular season, all of those issues rarely synced up, so it was easier to hide them as flaws. When the 'pen struggled, the offense picked it up. When starters couldn't find the sixth inning, the 'pen was lights out and somebody would get a key hit. When the bats were quiet, the pitchers did their thing. Now, not so much. Our patience at the plate is being exploited now that Tribe pitchers realize strike one is virtually free. And by the time our hitters adjust, it's too late and they're too anxious (Mike Lowell in the ninth of game 4 being a huge example).
So here we sit, with our $9mil shortstop doing nothing in the nine-hole, our $14mil extra-base-hit-less right fielder relegated to platoon duty and our all-D/no-hit center fielder sinking like a stone. Oh, and our $103mil pitcher getting 14 outs. Not to pile on what Shaugnessy said this morning, but man, that's a lot of dead weight. Amidst all this, there's no way to get Jacoby a start, or Alex Cora, or someone, anyone who actually plays like they care? I'd rather lose with those guys than the boulders we've been tying around our waists. Tito says that to not be loyal to the guys that got you here is cheating the players. Well last time I checked, the players don't pay you, Terry. The team does, and the fans do. It's about time somebody worries about not cheating US.
I just found out the Street Dogs are playing in Pittsburgh tonight. I'd almost rather see that than watch the game, but we're broke, and I'm tired and in no condition for a night in the pit. So I'll watch the game, of course, but I'm not ashamed to admit that if it's looking bleak, I'm not gonna ruin a night off by letting myself get depressed over a baseball game. I'll put on a movie with the Punkymom and pick up tomorrow's paper. If the news is good, then great. If not, then "who cares?" as Manny said yesterday. Just wait till next year. If he doesn't care, then fuck it. Why should I?