Winning a World Series is usually a very good thing for a city and their fan base, and this year’s Red Sox Championship certainly was a giant boost to the Boston Strong community. The region galvanized around the Marathon bombings and looked to the Red Sox to help them forget about the harsh realities of the world, if just for the 3-4 hours a night while each game was being played.
Coming off a 93 loss season in 2012, nobody expected this group of players to be a factor in deciding the AL East, never mind actually compete in the World Series. People simply wanted to watch the Red Sox play the game that as our nations past time has helped this country rebound after World Wars, foreign conflicts, and terrorist attacks – who alive can ever forget the feeling of National Pride when G.W. threw out the 1st pitch at Yankee Stadium after 9/11?
So, why am I worried about next year and not reveling in the Red Sox 3rd World Series Championship in the last 10 years? Well, I am nervous that with this group’s success coming out of nowhere, the Pink Hats will be back in force thinking that every Red Sox team in the future will be World Series contenders. It may be true that we are in a better spot than most to field a competitive team each and every year, but this year should show everyone that it takes a lot more than just throwing money at players to end up on top. It takes an unquantifiable element known as having “it”. You know, the “it” that made Jonny Gomes and emergency super-closer Koji Uehara key pieces to this year’s 25 man squad.
More often than not, there is a team that has “it” going for it all the way through the World Series on their way to a Championship, and not a single one would be able to point out one specific quality that put them over the top. Every year in the offseason and Spring Training each club tries to assemble a team with the right mix of youth and veteran talent, along with what many refer to as chemistry. The players must get along enough to want to play together as a team and follow the manager’s lead on how they’re expected to play. Then everybody hopes that their team will have “it” on their side and their season will end with a World Series Championship.
The Boston Red Sox ended up being that team this year, after a year and a half of being the laughing stock of the league. Their ugly collapse at the end of the 2011 season and their debacle of a year under Bobby Valentine in 2012 had alienated many fans in Red Sox Nation, most notably bringing an end to the dubious sell-out streak at Fenway Park. The only folks that were headed to Fenway for most of this past year were true baseball fans or diehard, unwavering Red Sox fans. This is the way it should be in a perfect world, and I would be very happy to bring my family to a game surrounded by these folks any day of the week.
Unfortunately, this year’s miraculous run will only make the naïve think that all a team has to do is put on the uniform with the words Red Sox or Boston on it and they become viable World Series contenders. They will show up at Fenway hoping to get their faces on the big screen in center field, or even better be seen waving at the TV camera with their cell phone to their ear with their friends telling them “I can see you”.
If they aren’t fortunate enough to get face time, at least they know the highlight of their night will be singing Sweet Caroline in the middle of the 8th inning (even if the Sox just gave up the lead in the top of the inning). This is the portion of Red Sox Nation that I can do without and wish that they went away with Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Bobby V.
Thank you Red Sox for this unforgettable Championship! I wish we could bottle up this year of no expectations and repeat it year after year. Baseball is special, and this year’s success will bring back the element that will never see it – Pink Hats rejoice, the Red Sox are back (for now)!