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.
But I have questions: What is the worst thing that will come out of this if the Red Sox don’t make it to the playoffs? Is blowing a 9-game lead coming into the month (to a team that, quite frankly, has proven itself to be very good) the end of the world for Red Sox fans? And if so, why? Sure it stinks. It’s painful to watch and it gives the rest of the baseball-loving world and all the asshats who cover the team the opportunity to rub it in your faces that the team you support ran out of steam down the stretch, but why is that SO horrible? Why are there so many “jokes” today about people jumping off the Tobin Bridge? Are things really that bad for Boston/New England sports fans that we no longer know how to handle adversity?
2007 was a cakewalk for the Red Sox and then they met up with the Indians and were almost eliminated from the playoffs. 2004 was a painful season that turned into a painful post-season that turned into the most amazing post-season in Red Sox history. Nothing has ever been easy for this team or this fan base. It has NEVER been a foregone conclusion that the Red Sox were going to win it all, ever, regardless of what people predicted at the beginning of the year. All the money and talent in the world doesn’t mean anything on paper, ask every Yankees team from 2001 through 2008 about that. So why are so many acting like they’re having their birthright stripped from them?
The last thing I read last night that was Red Sox-related came from a friend on Facebook who was writing about what a terrible team this is and how awful they are that he can’t believe he’s still following them. Talk like that annoys me. Sure, September has been historically bad for them, but does a team losing steam (I refuse to use the word “swoon” as if the team suddenly saw the competition and got the vapors) at the end of the season erase the entire season? Here is a team that brought us pain for the first two weeks of the season. Folks were convinced after ten games that the team was going nowhere and suddenly they turned things around and battled New York for the top spot in the division all season long. Those facts don’t cease to be just because of what is happening now. The collective “What have you done for me lately” mindset of many of the fans (and the sports media growing a collective erection over being able to write about how horrible the team is) makes me madder than the current state of the team. If you have to ask that question, dammit, you haven’t been paying attention (or you’ve suddenly turned into Yankees fans).
Just like there was no reason to believe the Red Sox would go into such a tremendous nosedive throughout September, there’s no reason to think they can’t pull off a few more wins. Sure it will be difficult. The starting pitchers all seem to have forgotten how to pitch, our catchers both belong in the hospital and the offense looks like it is sleeping. But giving up is easy. Turning straight to “poor us for having to endure this team” mode is predictable and feeding right into the hands of the sports media. I genuinely believe this can’t last (and not just because there are only 2 games left in the regular season).
If there is one thing I truly believe in life is that attitude is half the fight. Why mope around expecting the worst when being excited at the prospect of the best happening is so much more fun? Why CHOOSE, why purposely choose to be miserable when there is still a glimmer of hope?
That glimmer might be faint and extremely difficult for some people to see, but it’s there. And as long as it is, I’ll be in front of the television at 7 o’clock tonight waiting for Don Orsillo to welcome me to the broadcast and expecting to see something amazing. Don’t miss out just because the world is telling you not to bother.
Never forget what seems impossible IS possible.