Baseball’s a grind. The season is long, and after a while, the days get hot.
Teams play almost every day, and pretty soon the games stop having that life-or-death feeling to them.
And that’s what makes baseball so great. Following a baseball team is like being in a successful marriage. They’re your team for better or for worse, in sickness or in health.
Sometimes your team lets you down, but you just have to stay the course with them.
The Red Sox started the 2011 campaign by testing the resolve of even the most faithful fans. When they started the year with a 2-10 record, including some really bad losses at both Texas and Cleveland, it looked like the Sox were destined to be underachievers.
Things looked bleak. They couldn't hit and they couldn't pitch. Teams were beating them by blasting home runs off the Red Sox pitchers and by keeping their newly purchased lineup off the bases.
You had to start to wonder whether or not they could turn it around.
Then they won a few games and you started to remember, it’s a long season. Of course they could turn it around, they had barely scratched the surface of their 2011 journey.
And that’s what makes baseball so great. The ups and downs are gradual. You can be in the depths of despair for what seems like forever, and then before you know it, things have turned themselves around.
But it just seems to happen so randomly. One night, the team can’t buy a hit, can’t get anyone out. The next night, everything goes right for them. They get all the bounces and score runs in bunches.
You try to analyze it all and scour the box scores and all the advanced metrics, but in the end, you just can’t put your finger on exactly why the team looks so good after so recently it looked so bad.
When the Red Sox started to play better, when they finished their first homestand by sweeping the Blue Jays and then went out west and won six of nine, you could see that something was different. You try to point to reasons and you just can’t explain it all.
Sure, some things are obvious. Adrian Gonzalez started hitting like he was supposed to. Lester, Buchholz and Beckett started dominating opposing lineups. But there had to be something more—some deeper reason why they were playing like a totally different team.
It could be that Terry Francona stuck by his players like he always does. And just like he always does he got results, eventually. But what changed? What was the one thing that the Sox did right when before they did so much wrong?
In the end, the answer just can’t be that obvious. After all, baseball is the most complicatedly simple game.
And that’s what really makes baseball so great. If you have a good team, if you really believe that your team has what it takes to be a winning club, then the best thing you can do is have faith in your players and let them do what they do best.
Things in baseball tend to work themselves out, the season has a way of averaging out the bad times with the good and in the end, the teams with the most talent and chemistry will win the most games.
Remember, it’s a long season. So, in the end, what the Red Sox need to do to keep winning is to just stay the course.