And here we are again. Another season of Major League Baseball, another mass panic in Red Sox nation. Perhaps the only difference this time around is it’s happening so early. Three games into a billion game season, the Sox ‘faithful’ are exploding en masse like Ridley Scott’s aliens out of people’s chests, shouting, railing and raging to everyone and anyone who will listen. Name one Internet entity and I guarantee you a Red Sox fan is venting on it. Mainstream sporting websites, blogs, Internet forums, Internet flat pack assembly forums, Internet cooking tip sites.
Even internet adult chat sites
‘Hi, I’m Mindy, what can I do you for big boy, do you like brunettes?’
‘Screw that Mindy, I wanna talk about the Sox! I can’t take any more of this season, it’s driving me nuts!’
'They aint gonna win the freakin World Series! Get 'em!'
Well, as any good Physician would say, settle down people. Relax. It’s not terminal. We can treat this. Take two of these and see me in the morning. And so forth.
A little perspective here. We are 4% the way through the MLB season. What happens today, tomorrow, even next week, is probably not going to have a massive impact on the outcome of the 2011 MLB season.
Step away from the precipice, lads and lassies.
There’s no denying it has been a particularly ugly, turgid start to the Red Sox season, however baseball judges teams on the long, hard slog, not the short, sharp dash. The Yankees no doubt feel pretty good about themselves, but they have people like Ivan Nova and AJ Burnett in their rotation. The Phillies are flexing a little muscle, but imagine the scenario if Cliff Lee’s body starts to fall apart again? The Rangers? Great to see those antler signs cropping up again, but let’s see them win a few games away from that ridiculous launching pad of a home field of theirs. A couple of cold evenings in the Bronx or in Fenway should set them straight.
Even with the insipid 0-3 record, believe it or not there are reasons for the Red Sox and their fans to be still ever hopeful for the season in store.
Let’s knock through them, one by one.
‘’I love it when you call me Big Papi’’ Papi is back, and this time he brought his bat
There’s something different about Papi in ’11, isn’t there? He looks calm, focussed and energized. He is launching the ball with authority, and going about it in a very business like manner. Papi is a deeply proud man, both an asset and a draw back at times. In this case, it’s pure gold. With Papi slugging away with a Grand Canyone sized chip on his shoulder down in the sixth hole, how deep is this Red Sox lineup, potentially? Most teams would be delirious to have a Papi like slugger batting third or fourth. The Sox can stash him in the six hole and watch the RBIs pile up. This is something to be happy about, for those Red Sox fans currently occupying metaphorical ledges around the globe.
‘’Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!!’’ The Yankees are enjoying something of a mirage
Great start for the kids in the Bronx, right? Hang on one short second there. Did you see opening day, against the Tigers? Detroit pulled up just short of wrapping the game up in fancy gift-wrap, and presenting it on a platter to the pinstriped ones. Let’s see a full season of that ramshackle rotation. Let’s see that OAP lineup (A-Rod, Jorge, Jeter and Rivera are all closer to 40 than most sensible Yankee fans would like) get through the season injury free. Let’s see Jibba Jobba Chamberlein get through a full season without landing in jail. Let’s see that flimsy, shallow looking bullpen make it to Soriano and Rivera every night without imploding. Let’s do all of the above before we go crowning the Yankees the 2011 AL East Champions.
‘’Run now baby run now baby run’’ Jacoby looks in serious shape
Probably the single most shining positive sign so far for the Red Stockings, has been the play of one Jacoby Ellsbury. You might remember Jacoby as the lad that Red Sox fans and scribes alike were ripping apart last season like a prehistoric Raptor tearing at some fresh meat. How dare he not play through two broken ribs!! The writers of stature who poked fun at Jacoby, and indeed questioned his manhood, know who they are and should feel suitably chastened. To their credit, Tito and the Sox front office stood behind their incredibly talented player, and he is rewarding them with a blistering start.
Ellsbury looks cool, calm and collected at the plate. He is taking his walks, and hitting hard line drives with authority. He looks healthy, eager and primed for a big year. Touch some wood, cross some fingers and or toes he stays healthy, if he does, the Sox suddenly have one of the most dynamic lead off men in all of baseball.
Act like you have been here before. Texas, and others, don't appear to know what they want from this season.
It was very interesting watching the first three Sox games on the Texas Rangers network. Strange approach to the season emanating from down south. First of all, the glee with which the Rangers commentary teams greeted each and every Rangers hit was pretty incredible. They were celebrating with a fervour normally the domain of those brutally biased White Sox commentary team.
Guys, calm down. It's a long season. Act like you have been here before. Also, what on earth were those rings about? Amazingly the Rangers handed out rings on opening day. Sorry, what? Really? I have to admit I did find myself second guessing my memory of the 2010 MLB season. Did the Rangers win it all? Is that why they were handing out rings? However, after checking online, I confirmed, yes, San Francisco did indeed best them. So, Texas, what gives? Were these second place rings? Runner up rings?
What are you telling your players and indeed your fan base by handing out consolation rings?
Kind of a head scratcher, that one.
Yo, Adrian! Adrian Gonzalez looks the real deal
Everyone told us he was this good. San Diego fans and players told us, as they lamented at losing him. The Knights of the keyboards told us with each and every pre-season prediction. The word out of the Red Sox spring training camp was, yes, he’s that good. Yet, often you really need to see it yourself, right? And see it we did. Adrian Gonzalez looks like he is primed to have at the very least an excellent first season for the Red Sox. He looks like that rare slugger that has the eye to hit for average, and the moxy to hit in the clutch too. With power. He also very nifty around the bag at first. A full season of Gonzo should placate even the most tense of Red Sox fans.
Finally, it’s April, stupid.
Seriously people, we are 4% of the way through a 162 game season. Some people’s reactions are nothing short of idiotic. In terms of knee jerk, hysterical reactions, the Spanish Inquisition had nothing on these clowns.
Naturally, there is no reasoning with some people. You have to lay it out in black and white. So, let's do just that. Exhibit A: The Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. They started the season with a horrific loss 7-2 to the Orioles, with no less than Sidney 'Show me a Judge and I'll punch him!' Ponson beating Pedro Martinez. They stumbled to a nasty looking 2-3 record out the gate, and yes, then they won the World Series.
How about the 2007 Red Sox? (You can probably see where I am going with this) The 2007 Sox lost on opening day 7-1 to the Royals. We can only reasonably assume that enraged Boston citizens then burnt the City down in anger, at losing to the lowly Royals. The Sox start to the 2007 season? A grim looking 2-3 record.
How did the 2007 MLB season, which started to horribly, work out for the Boston Red Sox?
Jeremy Grey: That's interesting John, that glass looks half full to me.
John Beckwith: Wow, now that you mention it, it is half full!
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