(Photo from Boston.com)
Hmmm, maybe so.
The way I figure it, there are positives about last night’s game.*
1) We learned from the always enjoyable Tim McCarver that Doug Mirabelli is perfectly square out of occupational necessity and not due to some freak of genetics.
2) We learned that Tim Wakefield can still make people look silly when swinging at a knuckleball in the dirt.
3) We learned that members of the Red Sox can still hit home runs at an astounding rate.
4) We learned that Travis Hafner is a fantasy football guru.
5) We learned that…oh screw it. We learned that your Red Sox are getting shut down by some badass pitching and the whole “We’re no scoring any runs for Tim Wakefield” thing has reared it’s ugly head again.
Because none of those things listed above really mattered in last night’s game. Sure, Wakefield can make people look silly. Until he doesn’t. And it’s not like with other pitchers. There are really no signs. It’s just strikeout, strikeout, strikeout, walk, hit batsmen, three-run homer. Or thereabouts. It’s not Wake’s fault, really. It’s the knuckleball. There isn’t much you can do about it.
And the home runs were nice but ultimately, amounted to nothing more than a death rattle.
Okay, that’s a bit extreme. These Sox aren’t dead yet. We’ve been here before. Actually, we’ve been in worse straits before and managed to right that ship. But it’s backs to the wall time. And they best come out fighting.
And again, you can’t fault Cleveland. They’re playing some amazing baseball right now. If the Sox ultimately lose this thing, you have to give all credit to Eric Wedge’s Young Pups Club for playing some extraordinary baseball. Because this isn’t like in the past. Red Sox fans have lost the right to do that, “Oh woe is me, nothing ever goes our way, we don’t get any breaks thing.” This has to stop happening for three reasons: 1) It’s annoying, 2) It’s not true, and 3) That’s why we have Cubs fans.
This isn’t about breaks not going our way. If a potential home run ball turns into a warning track fly out it’s not because the baseball gods hate us or because everyone in the stadium exhaled at the same time. It’s because the hitter didn’t hit it hard enough. If someone strikes out on a ball in the dirt, it’s not because the umpires have it in for us and want to see us cry. It’s because the hitter made an undisciplined swing or was fooled by a nasty breaking pitch. If the Sox lose this series, it’s not because of curses and decades of anguish. It’s because they got outplayed by a superior team.
We’re always looking for someone to blame around here. Always willing to lay the responsibility on someone else. But this time, that’s not how it goes. This time, there’s a chance they will lose simply because the other team is better. And if that happens, I, personally, will tip my hat to the Indians and wish them well in the World Series. Because they will have beaten an excellent team. And they will deserve what they’ve won.
Now, I’m not saying this is gonna happen. Stranger things, etc. I’m just prepared, is all. If it all ends tomorrow, I’ll be sad, I might kick something, I might scare the cat. But I will be excited about the prospect of next year. Not because I have to be to keep myself sane, but because it’s genuinely exciting. If it all ends tomorrow, I think we can all agree that it’s been a great ride.
Beckett takes the ball tomorrow and, as they’ve done all season, the Sox are relying on him to be the stopper. Now, I’ve spent boatloads of time and energy making fun of Josh Beckett and his enormous cranium, but there’s still no other horse I’d rather rely on to win a sudden death game. We live and die by Josh Beckett, it seems. That’s baseball in Boston right now. And if the ship goes down, we go down with it. No excuses.
*No, wait, the only actual good thing about the series potentially ending soon is that we will be free from McCarverisms until next postseason. Thank the good lord.