The Boston Red Sox and their fans have had a pretty rough go of it lately.
Not only did the squad fail to qualify for the postseason in 2010, but the franchise also lost Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez over the winter.
Beantown's had to watch a different team hoist the World Series trophy for three consecutive years, a run that includes a crown for their revolting rivals to the south, the New York Yankees.
Now it's down two key contributors from an underachieving '10 roster.
Of course, you could point to the bigger picture.
You know, the one that includes the monumental World Series win in 2004, another in 2007 via sweep and the club's status as a perennial contender. Actually, "contender" is putting it too mildly; the squad is an annual juggernaut and on the short list of favorites to win the Fall Classic every April.
The Sawks have gone to the postseason six times in the last eight years and haven't finished lower than third in the rugged American League East since 1997 (almost a decade and a half).
So there's that.
There is also the little matter of the 2010-11 offseason that saw the BoSox grab two of the premier players in Major League Baseball.
Adrian Gonzalez most certainly wears that title with distinction, and I'd also put Carl Crawford in there without much debate. The guy swipes an average of 54 bases while putting up a respectable slash line and just won a Gold Glove playing left field; say what you want about the merits of that award (and they are shaky), but he can clearly flash some leather.
Nevertheless, there's something to be said for continuity in all sports, especially in baseball. So the losses of Beltre and V-Mart will be felt—the question is how much?
Furthermore, whose absence will be harder to absorb?