Now that the drama down at Yawkey Way seems to be over for a little while I
feel the need to explain why this team lost me long before this season.
Yesterday was the 7th Anniversary of “Reverse the Curse”. Edgar
Renteria grounding out to Keith Foulke to complete the sweep and put a cap on
one of the greatest post season in baseball history. That series however was
equivalent to the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Gold Medal game against Finland. It
wasn’t about who they played in the championship, it was about how they got
there. The Red Sox defeating the Yankees after being down 3 games to none was
like the USA beating the Soviet Union in 1980. It was the pinnacle of my fandom
for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox epic failure in September epitomized a terrible season and saw
players, coaches, owners and front office personnel not only jump off the
bandwagon but set it on fire as well. The grand expectations of the 2011 Red
Sox were over inflated and that was not fair to them. Their pitching staff was
not good and it evidently showed during the disastrous 7-20 month. Every time I
turned the game on it was already 2 or 3 to 0 in the first inning. For a
diehard Red Sox fan that is truly demoralizing. Now that it comes out that
there was extreme turmoil on Yawkey Way all season. The manager left, the
General Manager left, the owners are calling out players and the players are
calling out Front Office. One of the most beloved players in Red Sox history,
David Ortiz, says he wants to play for……wait for it….the Yankees. If
Richard Dawson were looking to host another game show he could have the 2011
Red Sox as contestants on the “Dysfunctional Family Feud”
Fortunately for me the Red Sox haven’t mattered to me for quite some time. Is
it because investing a whole 6 months on a team is too much? Maybe. Is it
because I am older and have other priorities? Maybe. I don’t know what has
transpired that I no longer “love” the Sox. I went to a couple of the
games during the last week of the season, my previous visit to the Friendly
Confines was August 2004. The Red Sox have since won two World Series between
my visits to America’s Most Beloved Ballpark. They had won zero in my previous
100+ visits. Before and during the 2004 run I was “that guy”, you
know that guy, the one that Jimmy Fallon portrayed in the movie “Fever
Pitch”. I never missed a game, I would stay up late during West Coast
trips and my weekends were planned on where I would be when the Sox were
playing the Yankees.
But something happened along the way. When the current ownership bought the
team the city was in an uproar because they were pulling for the local guy
Frank McCourt to buy the team because he owned all this land down on the
waterfront and he would build a new Fenway Park that would rival all the new
ballparks that were being built. Luckily for Red Sox Nation that McCourt didn’t
become the owner because he (and his wife) have made one of the most storied
franchises in baseball a laughing stock and he may be forced to sell the team.
That wasn’t it, that’s not what drove me away from the Nation.
In 2003, the Red Sox are leading the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS and were
on the verge of certain victory. I was even making World Series plans. Then, Grady
“F’n” Little made a decision that even a Little League coach wouldn’t
have made and that game would go down with the other heartbreaking games the
Red Sox have put their fans through. I remember feeling betrayed and
disappointed the next day. I would not talk about it at work, I was that mad.
But the Red Sox came back the next year and this time won the whole thing.
Eighty six years of torture have been forgotten and Boston could now call the
Red Sox World Series Champions.
I remember getting a call from my brother shortly after they won and he said
“The Red Sox won the World Series. Now what?” That was it. That was
when my disconnection began with the Red Sox. It wasn’t the team that I loved,
it was the misery. The annual chase for something that in the end was certain
not to happen. Red Sox Nation had nothing else to complain about anymore. The
new ownership had done what they said they would do. They finally beat the
Yankees, they won the World Series and they made NESN free. The Red Sox no
longer owed me a damn thing and that feeling was mutual.
Yep, that’s it. The Red Sox and I had amicably broken up. We stayed friends,
we encouraged each other, but we were never the same again. Sure, I cheered
when they won it again 2007, but then I watched Game 4 by myself and there were
no phone calls to friends blabbering over the phone that they had won. I simply
shut off the TV and went to bed. The Red Sox had become the local baseball team
that I root, kind of like the Bruins. At this point if there were a choice
between Red Sox and a Romantic Comedy, John Cusack gets my attention.
So watching all this drama unfold this offseason is only going to make me
watch less next season. I think Terry Francona was a great manager and deserved
a little more respect going out the door than he received. He had lost control
of his team and any good coach knows that when that happens it’s time for a
change. Maybe he feels the same way I did, he no longer loved being manager of
the Red Sox. Maybe someday the Red Sox and I will make up and I can be that fan
to them and them that team to me. I doubt it, but this game, and especially
this team, has been known to do weird things to a person’s psyche.
By the way I did not mean to offend the Bruins fans, I have never been a fan of
hockey. I do appreciate the Bruins diehards allowing me to jump on the Bruins
bandwagon during their Stanley Cup run. Thank you.
Coming Right Atcha