So because sleep didn’t come easy last night, I’ve looked at the playoff teams and decided how I want things to go. Much of this won’t surprise anyone. It might seem soon for some of you but this is how I process things. I’m still upset about the Red Sox playing themselves out of a playoff spot but I can’t stop the love in my veins for baseball and I certainly don’t wish to dwell on misery. So there you go. (This is where, once again, I thank Tito, Theo, the Trio and the ’04 and ’07 teams for the team history that helps me deal much better with the team present.)
These are not predictions…just the way I’d like to see things go.
So the Red Sox lose and I shut off my television but I’m still on the computer. Moments later, the Yankees lose and the Red Sox season is definitely over. My immediate reaction was to jump on here and write about how they didn’t deserve to play in October and how ridiculous it was that they played so horribly in September…and I was going to rant and rant and rant.
And then it hit me. It was weird, really, but it just hit me that I wasn’t that upset. Now don’t get me wrong, I thought I was going to cry (But I didn’t. You know when I cried? 2003. 1999. 1986. 1978. I cried all those times.) and then I thought I might punch something but both those feelings passed because, ultimately, while I am extremely sad that the Red Sox lost and won’t be going to the post-season (and I am sad, I promise you), I can’t be mad (and I don’t understand anyone being mad. Mad to me means you feel you’re entitled to this and the Red Sox purposely didn’t give it to you. I don’t get that at all.) although I am pleased we get a day off from any baseball because I’ll need it to wrap my brain around the playoffs.
As much as it pains me to say it, this team didn’t deserve to see October baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays did. Plain and simple. That doesn’t change the fact that I hope both the Rays and the Yankees get swept out of the first round (because, hoo boy, do I). It also doesn’t change the fact that after their horrendous start to the season and their God-awful ending to it, all the stuff in the middle was a heck of a lot of fun. I enjoyed this season an awful lot and the Red Sox were in it up until the final moments of the last game of the season. I don’t care if they blew a lead because of poor play in September…I enjoyed this season right up to the moment when they made me want to cry. And that makes me happy (well, not right now but it’ll make me happy in, say, November).
At some point I’ll write my opus to the 2011 season but right now I’ll just say this about baseball: I’m in full spite mode from this moment forward. I’m not one of those people who will abandon the post-season because the Red Sox aren’t in it…I’ll be paying attention and trying to will the Yankees and Rays to ALDS heartbreak. I refuse to give into the sadness I’m feeling right now and plan to channel it into something more productive…spite. And I’m feeling the spite terribly strong right now and, really, it’s only going to get stronger.
Okay I’ll say something else. I keep reading folks saying that this was more painful that <insert painful year here> and to that I say, “Are you high?”. 1978 was horrendous. 1986 was cruel. 1999 was frustrating beyond words and 2003…well I still can’t even talk about 2003. This loss sucks. For me, it’s on the same level as being swept out of the 2005 ALDS by the Chicago White Sox (which, may I remind you, sucked). But in 2005 we were worried that 2004 might have been an aberration. It’s 2011 and we have both 2004 and 2007 behind us. This isn’t a matter of our being devastated that the Red Sox lost because when the hell are they going to win a World Series again…it’s a kick in the pants because they did so well all season but it’s nothing we can’t get over…and we will. This ownership has shown us time and again that they’ll do what needs to be done to win. And I have faith that’ll happen in 2012. For now, I get to stew for a day and then focus on watching the American League East get taken down in the playoffs.
I know it’s painful, people, but we’ll get past it. We always do.
I haven’t followed Ryan Lavarnway much this season (truth be told, I haven’t followed much Minor League baseball this season, sadly) but knew enough about him to know that folks who have been following him liked him a lot and wanted to see him used this month.
He’s been with the team for a while but never got a true opportunity to contribute until last night…and let’s talk about that.
Regardless of how this season ends…there is no denying that those of us who saw last night’s game witnessed something remarkable. Lavarnway started the season in double A ball in Portland and found his way to Pawtucket in June. Given how they weren’t using him during the horrendous September they are having, it’s a fair guess to say he wouldn’t have started behind home plate last night had Varitek and Saltalamacchia both been dinged up over the last couple of days. But they were and he did and last night was a night that they write short stories or make movies about.
The 24 year-old threw out a runner trying to steal third, made a great play to get a guy out at first and hit his first two Major League home runs, one being a three-run homer and the other a solo, to help lead the Red Sox to their 8-7 win…and help them live another day. Largely due to Lavarnway, the Red Sox have an opportunity today to clinch or tie for the Wild Card. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that without him in the lineup (and behind that plate) the Red Sox might not have won last night.
Moments like the ones Lavarnway had last night are the moments that keep baseball fans coming back season after season. And it leads us to tonight…the Red Sox and Rays are in a tie for the Wild Card spot (as are the Braves and the Cardinals). It might be a painful process but if we step back and really look at it this is how baseball should be played. It’s down to the wire and there are four teams still competing for a playoff spot. This is why we watch, folks, this is why we watch.
When I finally fell asleep last night, it was with NESN playing on my television. I was awakened just after 4am today by the sound of Jack Edwards’ voice excitedly telling me about the Red Sox win and I happily fell back to sleep. (Of course, I did so without shutting off the television and was awakened just after 6am by the sound of John Dennis’ voice and immediately shut the television off.)
Mornings like this I forget that not everyone is a baseball fan. After last night, I expected to turn on ESPN and ESPN2 to see baseball highlights and was greeted on both channels by football…hello MLB Network. (And an “up yours” to NESN for wasting that space of time with Dennis and Callahan instead of letting us watch a replay of the game.)
While I hate that the fate of the Red Sox relies in part on what the Yankees and Rays do tonight, it certainly adds an extra level of excitement (or stress or anxiety) to this season. How often does the season actually come down to what happens on the last day of it?
I’m nervous…I’m excited…I’m anxious…and I’m hopeful. I feel good about tonight and am looking forward to it all. I’d love if the Red Sox won without a lot of drama but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers right now so I’ll just have to be happy with their winning regardless of the circumstances.
There’s a guy who lives across the street from me who is a Yankees fan. This week he’s been wearing his Yankees t-shirts whenever he leaves the house. Today I had a few things to do outside and decided to do something I don’t often do, wear a Red Sox t-shirt. (I have a bunch of Sox t-shirts but I’m not much of a t-shirt wearing gal so they usually sit in a draw waiting to be used.) I pulled on a red Papelbon tee and went about my business all day. It was what I was wearing for the entire game and the last thought I had as I changed for the evening (after the game) was: “I’m totally wearing this tomorrow”. So much for me foregoing all the old superstitions I used to hold.
Instead of going to bed with a massive headache (like I did Monday night), tonight I’ll be going to bed feeling like a truck hit me but with a smile on my face. It’s a trade-off that I’ll take.
Here’s the thing: I don’t like to be negative. I don’t like expecting the worst and I don’t like having a fatalistic attitude.
So I’m not and I don’t. Not in baseball and not in life. It’s a decision I made a long time ago so if folks have come here to read me wallow (or to rub my nose in the struggles of the Red Sox) they will be disappointed. (Also, for the nose-rubbers, they will be sent to spam heaven.)
I won’t sit here and write about how Red Sox fans have no reason to worry or feel bad. I’m not going to paint a giant, rose-colored picture about how wonderful things will be when the Red Sox win their next two games and the Rays lose one of theirs. I won’t annoy people by being overly optimistic while they’re wallowing in self-pity. I know how much this stinks. Hell, I’m probably staying off of Twitter all day and refuse to read any baseball-related articles or blogs as well. I don’t need the world telling me I should be miserable this morning.
Have to get this off my chest: I want to go back and delete every entry or tweet that I’ve written defending John Lackey in any way. I won’t get into why (you can Google it and find out for yourself) because I hate feeding into the gossip mongers, but if the story is true in my mind there is NO defense for him and, really, I couldn’t care less what happens to him from here on out. And that’s all I have to say about that.
But about that game…(not that first one which we will not speak of but that second one)
When Mark Teixeira doubled in two runs and then scored on a bad throw in the first inning I yelled, out loud for the baseball gods to hear me, “I’m done! I’m SO done with this!” and stormed out of the room with the television. I paced around until the next inning began and then sat myself down in front of the television and kept watching until the very end. Apparently I wasn’t “done” but I needed to finally let the frustration out.
And I’m glad I didn’t give up because the way the game was won, while more than a bit painful at times, was beautiful. (Beautiful as in “That baby is butt ugly but his mother thinks he’s beautiful”, beautiful.)
Unless I’m going to that day’s game, which hasn’t happened in a while, Sundays are a tough day for me to actually sit and watch an entire Red Sox game. It’s probably the busiest day of my week so I’m either running around and peeking on scores or I’m home with the television on the game while I catch up on things around the house that I need to do. Usually the only Sunday game that has my complete attention is the 8pm ESPN game.
But, oddly enough, today, on this Sunday, I’m fairly certain that I’ll be able to watch both games in their entirety. I’m hoping this is a good thing.
Something that is getting lost in all the panic about the horrid September the Red Sox are having is if they, in fact, DON’T make it to the playoffs, we’re watching the last few games where we will see them until February. The end of the regular season, regardless of where the Red Sox are in the standings, is always a bit of a sad time for me. I hate to see baseball go. And while the playoffs seem to last forever the schedule is so different from the regular season that you can really feel the loss. Now if I’m bummed about the end of the season, how do the fans of 22 teams that won’t make the playoffs feel? (I’m still of the mind that the Red Sox will be playing in October.)
Let’s not think about that today. Today let’s focus on Yankee Stadium and the Red Sox finally ripping themselves out of this slump and taking these two games today.
It’s essential to follow the Official Fenway Rules when attending a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Our Fenway Rules T-Shirt makes it easy to share the rules with others and have a great time at your next baseball game.
I’ve always had issues with people trying to tell each other how to be a fan. Unless you’re telling someone to NOT be an idiot or a jerk, where do people get off giving folks their own “rules”? Saying you don’t like what folks are doing is one thing but making a list of rules and throwing them on a t-shirt in an attempt to make those rules all-compassing and absolute annoys me just a bit. The “have a great time at your next baseball game” line cracks me up. Here’s how they want you to do that:
Do I really care about Russell Martin’s comments yesterday about the Red Sox?
“I hate the Red Sox,’’ he said. “They are fun to play against because they have a quality team and they’re gritty and they play hard and stuff. But I’d love to see them lose.’’
No, I really don’t.
I mean, I suppose I get why Red Sox fans will get up in arms and say things about Martin’s mother or his manhood in response to his comments, but do we care that a player on our team’s rival came out and said he hates our team? It’s playoffs time and he’s pandering to his fan base. Why is this such a big deal? Haven’t there been Red Sox players who have mentioned their dislike for the Yankees? I’m actually kind of tickled that he has vocalized his “hatred” for the Red Sox. Bring some hard feelings between the teams and amp up the rivalry, why not? I just think it was a little wussy of him to only relay this opinion once the Yankees had clinched the division. That’s a bit punky. If you don’t have the guts to vocalize this opinion during the season and wait until the final days you really don’t have much in the way of integrity. It’s easy to kick a team when you’re sitting on top, Russell. Show a little backbone next time. (You realize there is a teeny part of me that won’t mind him taking one to the numbers this weekend, yes?)
I’m not worried about this weekend. The way I see it, if the Red Sox continue to lose, that’s a huge red flag telling us that they won’t be ready for the playoffs. If they begin to win again, they’re getting into the playoffs. So either way I’ll be satisfied with this season. Team played tremendously for the majority of the season. The beginning of the year and the month of September were (and are) painful but this is certainly a sign to me that things are going to work out the way they need to. Of course, after writing all of that it’s important for me to state that I REALLY (really really) want them to be in the playoffs.
Today’s front page of the Boston Herald reads:
“It’s crunch time, Sox….Give us what we paid for – Starting tonight”
What “we” paid for? So either the Herald thinks it represents all of us or it has become a silent partner in the Red Sox organization. Let me say this, I’ve supported the Red Sox this year financially as well as just in spirit and I’ve already received what I paid for. All any fan can ask for is their team to be competitive all season long. The Red Sox have been exactly that. Anything a baseball fan gets past the end of September is a gift. (And, as I’ve mentioned, I really want that gift.)
As I posted on Twitter this morning, my first baseball thought today was that no one can say “this team always lets us down” after 2004 and 2007. Have you had fun, thus far? I sure have. I also have a great feeling that more fun is to be had by the Red Sox and their fans and look forward with great excitement to the series beginning tonight.
The Red Sox are 2 games ahead of the Rays and 3 games ahead of the Angels in the Wild Card race. Let’s remember that the Red Sox are LEADING right now. This is a good thing, folks.