Dear Red Sox Fans,
I feel your pain. Really, I do. The 2010 Red Sox were out of the playoff race by mid-August. That means that nearly eight months have passed since they played a relevant baseball game. My God, that’s like one and a third MLB seasons!
Faced with such a long absence, and with the media (of which I consider myself a member, with occasional shame) projecting the 2011 squad to be the best thing to happen to New England since the landing of the Puritans, it’s no wonder you all went overboard in your preseason expectations for this team.
And now, the team has gone 0-6. The team that was supposed to be the first Red Sox squad since 1946 to win 100 games is off to the worst start since 1945. Every day the team finds a different way to lose. Bad start, bad relief, bad hitting, bad running; you’ve seen it all in just six games. How else could you be expected to react but with frustration and anger?
I understand that. But seriously, everyone needs to calm the @*$! down.
I understand that the fatalism and masochism of being a Red Sox fans is so entrenched in Boston’s psyche, and so encouraged by the Boston sports media, that you can’t get away from it. But there are 156 games left in the season. Can anyone actually picture 156 anything from now? That’s 9.75 NFL seasons. It will be 2020 (at least) before the New England Patriots play 156 games. It’s impossible to think that far ahead, so why bother? What’s the point of all that anger?
Let me ask a question: what would you rather have – a team whose every loss can be attributed to the same thing, or a team who loses for different reasons each time? If the Red Sox were losing for the same reason – say, bad starting pitching – every night, we could identify a potentially ongoing issue for the 2011 team, one that might eventually cost them a World Series title. But if it’s a different issue each time, then we’re left with one of two conclusions: the 2011 Red Sox stink all around, or they are going through the growing pains of a team stocked with talent but unsure how best to use it (like the 2011 Miami Heat).
Do we really think this team stinks? No, of course not. So then, just like every 12-year-old child, they must be going through growing pains. And just like every 12-year-old child, the team that emerges from those pains will be stronger, faster, better. This team will get better. It can’t not. Do we really think the Red Sox will lose the majority of games in which Jon Lester pitches seven shutout innings and strikes out nine? Do we really think Darnell McDonald will over-run second base ever again?
If nothing else calms you, remember this: April baseball doesn’t matter. The media wants you to think it does. The fans who pay Fenway’s exorbitant fees want it to. But it doesn’t. It just doesn’t. History has told us again and again and again that as long as your team is still in the race on August 1, you’re fine. The Red Sox will win eventually. Once the monkey is off their backs, they will win more. The rotation is improving. The lineup is finding its proper order. The bullpen is better.
Writers like Dan Shaughnessy and Ron Borges will undoubtedly jump all over this season-opening disaster. I can see Shaughnessy’s next column even as I type this one: some faux-nostalgic b.s. about an old player – probably dead by now – who did something that was way better than everything is now and blah blah blah. Don’t give the Curly Haired Booger the satisfaction. Don’t give in to your baser desires. Stay supportive. Stay positive.