Big Papi ain't scared
The Boston Red Sox have had a rough go of things this year. That’s a fact. Here’s another one: As I sit here and watch the home opener on NESN, the opening game in the first Yankees series of the year represents game number seven of the fledgling 2011 campaign.
Boston is 0-6, the team's worst start since 1945.
Nonetheless, to hear the hue and cry arising from certain quarters of Red Sox Nation, one would think that the dreaded “mathematical elimination” were looming on the foreseeable horizon, that the remaining 156 games were all but decided.
Pump the brakes, take a deep breath and try to get a hold of yourselves.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language contains the following entry for the word perspective: “The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance.”
That sounds like the medicine.
As much as I hate to invoke the infinitely cliched adage, the baseball season is like that thing with all the runners that passes through Kenmore Square every Patriots' Day, not what you do when trying to catch a fast-departing MBTA vehicle.
There seems to be a fair bit of fatalism in the air these days. Whether it’s all the 2012 doomsday prophecy stuff or actual, well-founded trepidations about the continuing structural integrity of our planet, especially heightened by recent events in Japan and the Gulf Coast, among many others. Maybe some of that is finding it’s way into the minds of Red Sox Nation. Perhaps it’s just a sign of the times.
I’m not qualified to expound any further on that particular subject, but what I can say, with a high degree of confidence, is that the view that the Red Sox’ postseason chances are in any way jeopardized by starting off 0-6 is fatalistic and ludicrous.
With all of the statistics floating around about how only two teams since the dawn of the Wild Card Era in Major League Baseball (1995), have made the postseason, lost is the fact that all those statistics tell you is what has happened. Reflected nowhere in those numbers is the relative likelihood of an 0-6 team making the playoffs. That’s because it’s obvious. It counts for little past superstition. Most teams will endure at least one losing streak in the neighborhood of six games at some point in the season, so why should the fact that it occurs during the first six games make any difference?
I suppose one could argue that it effects the players’ confidence, but I’m not really buying that one. These guys have been playing this game all their lives. Everything I’ve written so far is redundant to them.
But the sky is perpetually falling in Red Sox Nation when the wins don’t come so fast and that is the case right now. The above listed definition of perspective is exactly the kind of lens the slow start should be seen through. The six game winless streak looks less like a mountain and more like a molehill when seen within the framework of the grueling 162-game season.
Besides, as I sit here and watch the home opener, it is with the knowledge that taking two-of-three from the hated Bronx men this weekend will go a long way in restoring any faded optimism within the Nation.
Winning is the best medicine and in the hearts and minds of Sox fans from Bourne to Billerica, no wins count for more than those which come against the Yankees.
Win the weekend series and all will be forgiven.
The team that was supposed to sweep the world aside on its path to glory will be back on the march.
Enough already with the fatalism. The world may end soon, but as long as the powers that be prolong that date until the end of baseball season, the Red Sox will be fine this year.
They aren’t going to go 0-162.