Saturday, May 7, 2011

They're going to be fine (notes from an asshole)

Last night, I had the pleasure on sitting next to a Canadians' fan at the local watering hole as we watched the Bruins advance to their first conference final in 19 years. While the poor jilted soul haplessly cheered for the deflated Flyers, cursed Chara (because that's what Montreal fans do: whine and bitch and cry), and snorted in disgust as The Bruins drove the nails into the coffins, I grinned in the self-satisfied way that only an obnoxious New Englander can.

Let me preface this by saying, I'm not a huge hockey fan. As this guy rattled off the underwear sizes of each player on the ice---I'm guessing as a backhand pissing contest to prove me inept in my fandom---the Greatest Team in the History of Modern Civilization, the 2011 Red Sox were getting shellacked for the second day straight, a grand total of 20-2 in two games.

Plot twist: This dope was also a Red Sox fan.

So as The Best Team Since the Coining of the Word "Sport" was getting cock-slapped by the Twins, I couldn't help but bring up the parallels between 2004 Red Sox and the 2011 Bruins---the gritty underdogs, retribution, a post-season run that seems mystically destined.

Snort, snort, stats. "I'm fine with the Red Sox," he said, changing the subject. "I'm sick of people overreacting. They're going to be fine."

Which brings me back to the Red Sox of 2011, as opposed to the Dirt Dogs of '04. Watching this team lately has been like dating a schizophrenic. Every now and then we'll see flashes of the team that was advertised. For example, the eighth inning Tuesday night's game when Gonzalez and Papi went back-to-back after Lester was his usual bull on the mound. But then you look at the standings, and this team is 14-18 in LAST PLACE IN THE AL EAST!

I believe I am justified in saying that I am sick and tired of people telling me to calm down, looking at this team on paper and saying they're "going to be fine." It simply is not acceptable. It's not "fine" how this bunch of overpaid dandies is under-performing. And it comes down to one thing, the essential quality that any team worth their weight in shit possesses: a passion for the game.

This year's Red Sox have no fire on the field. Maybe they need a game where the benches clear, where Veritek feeds A-Rod a fistful of catcher's mitt; maybe they need a manager who will throw the bats at them in the showers, ala Bull Durham; maybe they need to start playing like athletes instead of employees; maybe they need to take a lesson from the Bruins and Tim Thomas and grind it out. Unless something lights a spark under these jerk-asses, I'm going to be sitting at the bar next to a paradoxical Canadians/Red Sox fan spewing stats and telling me the Red Sox are "going to be fine."

The lesson here for Red Sox fans is don’t be a Hab. Because until this team starts playing with a modicum of passion, and until we all start calling them out on it, we’re all complicit in the problem.

And, hey buddy, go Bruins! They're going to be fine.

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