Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Season in Hell

It's been a hell of a season.
There's been a shit storm in New England for the past year, a shit storm extending itself from the northernmost tip of Maine to the coast of Connecticut, and like many calamities, this shit storm has a name: The Boston Red Sox.

I know, I know, you hear this all the time from Red Sox fans, a group predisposed to hyperbole and melodrama, but this year seriously was the worst year I can remember being a Red Sox fan. It's as if the collective apathy from the clubhouse spread like a virus and infected the fan base as well. From the top down in the organization, it truly feels like no one really gives a flying fuck about this team. Most fans gave up by the All-Star break, and can you blame them? The crowds the Patriot training camp drew in August was testament to how little people cared about the 2012 Red Sox. In other words, people preferred watching blocking drills to regular season baseball.

So how did things get so very, very bad?

Let me start by saying that if I have to hear one more announcer reference the Red Sox as "one of the most prestigious franchises in professional sports," I am going to puke on my chest. If by "prestigious" they mean "a franchise that dumps a ton of money into the team with the expectation that said players will bitch, whine, moan, send text-messages little middle school girls and prodigiously under-perform" then I stand corrected. According to that definition, the Red Sox are, indeed, prestigious. But that's not what my dictionary is telling me. My dictionary tells, it  means "having a high reputation, honored, esteemed." Interesting.

A recent survey conducted by Channel Media and Marketing showed results that seemingly point to the current Red Sox team and ownership as being perceived by fans as the antithesis of prestigious. In fact, the current team, manager and ownership are only a few paltry percentage points above the New England Revolution in popularity polls.

And how is that the "esteemed" Red Sox have all but surrendered the season---shutting down Crawford and firing coaches and everything else that points to a team in total disarray---yet they're still claiming a fraudulent sell-out streak and charging some of the highest ticket prices in the game?

Listen, this has all been very bad and very disheartening, a veritable season in Hell for Sox fans. And while I've never been one to see the forest through the trees, there are a few things that I hope can be taken away from this debacle.

First of all, can we agree that when a team--particularly a team of selfish, entitled, detestable little brats---under-performs and fails to win, it cannot be fully blamed on the coach. I hear a lot of people overzealously throwing Bobby V. under the bus, but newsflash: It's not his fault. This is a team that hasn't been in the post-season since 2009 and hasn't won a post-season game since 2008, and it's same core group of douche-tards. Last year, the beer and chicken gang let Francona take the fall after their historic September collapse, and their train just kept a' rollin' into the 2012 season. Has Bobby V. been brilliant? Far from it. But he was also never given a chance. If we can learn anything from this season, maybe we can learn something about allocating blame.

Then there's a large lesson in humility. If we---any New England sports fan---had happened to be born in Kansas City and grew up following the Royals, this season would be far from an anomaly. Sure, I understand that the Red Sox dump all of this money in order to field a competitive team every year, thus justifying the borderline thievery of their fans in ticket prices. But sometimes, for whatever reason, either the team you follow or your life in general simply sucks. Get used to it. Things, usually, turn back around, but you might have to deal with some discomfort until you get there. The 2012 Red Sox suck. That's life. And I'll end with this pearl of advice from Dr. Denis Leary. A season in Hell? Shut the...