I have long since come to terms with the fact that I’m odd. I’ve always been a little different than most folks and that hasn’t bothered me in quite a while. Now I wear that badge with pride. And it comes to the forefront of many discussions that involve the Red Sox…especially this year.
This weekend Red Sox fans got a whole lot of baseball. Granted, all of it ended with losses and Saturday’s was a stomping, but the way I see it we still got to enjoy more baseball than we didn’t.
Friday’s and Sunday’s games were, as we all know, extra innings losses. Friday’s went 13 innings and clocked in at 4 hours and 37 minutes and Sunday’s game was 17 innings, 6 hours and 7 minutes. Because they were both extra inning games, that means that from, at least, the ninth inning on the score was tied…which means the Red Sox were IN both games and had opportunities to win. What isn’t fun or exciting about that?
Yes, both games ended badly and yesterday’s game, especially, was a bit of a punch in the stomach, but really, if you’re a baseball fan you got to enjoy a lot of baseball and have fun in the process…folks at yesterday’s game saw Will Middlebrooks’ first MLB home run which also happened to be a game-tying grand slam. People today talking about how horrible the games were this weekend are, to me, being very shortsighted. No one will be happy about a loss for his or her team but to say that, in the moment, the games weren’t fun comes across as sour grapes.
I’m going to steal from myself for a moment:
The Red Sox ended April at .500 and a week later sit with a record of 11-16. Oddly enough, that terrible record, which puts them 7.5 games out of first place in the American League East, doesn’t even qualify as the worst record in Major League Baseball. The Minnesota Twins win that title with their 7-20 record (and the San Diego Padres come in second at 9-20).
Other teams struggling to begin the 2012 season:
The Kansas City Royals (who just split a series with the 15-13 New York Yankees) are 9-18 only just having won their first two games at home during this Yankees series. The Los Angeles Angels are 12-17 and the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates are both 12-16 while the Chicago Cubs are 11-17.
Out of the 30 clubs in MLB, 14 are playing below .500. Unfortunately, the Red Sox are the only team in the AL East with that distinction and, right now, that’s all that matters. On this day in 2011, the Red Sox were also in last place with a record of 14-19 (a .438 winning percentage as compared to today’s .407). But that team wasn’t dealing with the injuries this one is.
Often I have point to the Kansas City Royals (and their fans) when Red Sox fans start complaining about the team doing poorly. If the Yankees have taught us anything it’s that even when you throw money at something, it doesn’t always work out. So I don’t buy into the “for the amount of salary the team spends they should be in first place” argument. Teams are going to win, teams are going to lose and some teams are really going to make their fans work at being fans. This isn’t the first time Red Sox fans have had to deal with an underperforming team and it won’t be the last.
Back to my oddness…As strange as it will sound, I mean this with all my heart: I’m very much enjoying this baseball season so far. The team has made it possible for me to just relax about the wins and losses and enjoy each game for the little things. (Things like rookies hitting grand slams and position players getting a chance to pitch.) I still hope for greatness from the team but starting off the way they have takes away the great expectations and lets me settle for the little pieces of happiness the game brings me…pretty much the same way the majority of baseball fans have to enjoy their own teams. And I’m really okay with that.