On this day in 2011, the Tampa Bay Rays were the same amount of games out of first (10) as the Red Sox are today.
That Rays team is a completely different team than this Red Sox team. The only thing they have in common, aside from the games behind thing, is Kelly Shoppach. Even ten games out the Rays were six games above .500…today the Sox are two games below.
After a gut-wrenching loss like last night’s to the Twins, there isn’t much you can say to get people encouraged about this team. So all I’ll say is this: They still have two months of baseball left to play.
Last night felt so much like September of 2001 that I started having flashbacks of Joe Kerrigan and the way the team self-destructed. (As an aside, the Red Sox ended 2001 13.5 games out of first place and still were second in the division. Tampa Bay ended the season 34 games out of first place.) But there is still time for this season to be salvaged.
I’m definitely one of those people who believes that as long as the team is mathematically in it, three’s no reason to stop hoping they make the playoffs (especially this season with the extra wild card spot). But even beyond hoping for the playoffs, there is still plenty of baseball to be played with the possibility of some really great baseball moments.
Sure the game ended horribly last night, but how much fun was it to see Pedro Ciriaco hit his first Major League home run before we knew how it was going to end? How great has it been watching Cody Ross this year? Heck, before he got hurt Big Papi was putting on a show…and he’s going to be back.
I get that folks are going to talk about the money the team spends and the expectations that come with that but after last September my expectations for this team come cautiously. While I ABSOLUTELY don’t blame Bobby Valentine for the on-field issues with this team, he was obviously the wrong fit for this group (although I don’t see who was the right fit. And please don’t tell me Tito because Tito’s lack of being able to control this team last fall is kind of what started this whole thing.). But having a manager who doesn’t gel with his players isn’t going to stop me from watching this team and hoping they do well. Folks can bitch all they want about how much the team stinks but this is what happens when you’re a sports fan…you take the good with the bad. And if you don’t want the bad, well my legs could use some stretching room so a little more space on the bandwagon does me fine.
I’m not here to say this Twins series hasn’t been harsh and, well, horrible. It certainly has. But I’m already tired of the “When does football/basketball/hockey season start?” remarks because when baseball is over I will miss it terribly. Regardless of how the Red Sox finish the season.