I have made a decision: The 2011 major league baseball season began on April 8th.
I don't need to hear you tell me that I'm crazy, or stupid, or ugly, or a pervert; the voices in my head tell me that all the time (especially Paul; he's such a jerk!) This is not about logic, this is about survival. And we all know that the most important thing any organism can do, after eating deep-dish pizza, of course, is to survive. Don't argue with me, I didn't make the rules.
I have some solid, scientific evidence to back up my claim, too:
1. It was revealed that the Red Sox were not given a coffee grinder in either Texas or Cleveland and have been living off only store-bought Red Bull for a week. Some could argue that this is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention, making both the Rangers and Indians guilty of war crimes. But above all, it most certainly nullifies the first six games.
2. The Red Sox were also only given a draft copy of the 2011 season that had an additional six preseason games listed, and were never mailed the updated copy. They clearly weren't really trying against Texas or Cleveland, they were still tuning up! Therefore, the early season losses were the fault of the commissioner, and possible Jerry Remy, not the team.
3. Also, Cleveland sets its rivers on fire every few years, which offers them a clear unfair psychological advantage that the league should investigate immediately (send in the UN).
Do you believe in Texas?
4. Texas doesn't really exist.
Given the irrefutable proof listed above, combined with an eloquent, beautiful and spectacular 2-1 series massacre against the arch-rival New York Yankees over the weekend that was in no way only a mediocre performance, I can only conclude that this team is back in shape and ready to show what they are truly made of (meat).
Of course, there are still concerns. The Red Sox did get rather poor pitching performances out of both John Lackey and Clay Buchholz, both of which failed to get out of the fifth with even a shred of dignity. Also, the Sox offense managed to strand 32 base runners. They seemed to get a dozen hits every inning but somehow almost never scored a run, a feat only accomplished by a team with an intimate knowledge of physics and a desire to lose spectacularly.
But the signs of life were unmistakable. Pedroia racked up an astounding nine hits to raise his season average to .400 (is it too early to compare him to Ted Williams?) and David Ortiz had four hits (all while looking fabulous!) while Youkilis seemed to walk more times than he had legal plate appearances (I suspect evil was somehow involved). And the main event, Josh Beckett, pitched a stellar, lights-out performance on Sunday, throwing 11 innings of shutout baseball, allowing only -1 walks and amassing 29 strikeouts en-route to a two-win outing. He was so good that the President called him to congratulate him on his effort, but he hung up because he's from Texas.
Also, Jason Varitek looked annoyingly comfortable at the plate, something he has no business doing, as I had him all but written off as a ludicrously expensive bench coach for the remainder of 2011.
Carl Crawford still sucks, though.
Up next, the Red Sox welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to Fenway. This is a team so ungodly awful that they managed to become the one shining beacon of hope during the Red Sox' 0-6 season start, similar to the emotion of seeing a haggard homeless person just a few minutes after being dumped by your girlfriend. If the Sox can take at least two games in the series and face Toronto with a 4-8 record or better, then I'd say the team is back on track and ready to make some noise (with a vuvuzela).
Until our next meet-up, stock pile your nachos and get ready to ride out an assuredly pleasant stretch of Red Sox victories; the 2011 season has just began, and I can quite clearly recall the media being certain that this team would manage to win 100 games, the World Series and cure cancer. It should be a lot of fun to watch...
...Unless they start to suck again...