A family wedding in New York prevented me from seeing most of this weekends mess at Fenway, but I could have been on Mars and still felt the frustration.
For most of this season, the Sox issues have been very specific. Early in the year, it was the bullpen. Eventually, the pen came together and the starters fell apart. The arms got strong, and the bats went silent. The bats woke up and the starters disappeared again. No matter what, there was always one aspect of the game that was lacking, and we were left to sit back and dream of a day when everything would click. When the bats got hot, the starters were dominant and the bullpen was reliable all at the same time, and the Sox could finally become the team we all know they should be.
After this weekend, its the opposite. Everythings gone to hell. Everyones inconsistent. From one game to the next, you never know which unit will sabotage the Sox, but you know someone will. Meanwhile, the team's once again under .500; 10 games back in the division, 4.5 back in the wild card; with the Rangers set to invade Fenway for a three-game set. To make matters worse, David Ortiz is almost a week overdue to return to the lineup and still feeling pain in that Achilles; the "Fire Bobby V." campaign is gaining steam, only further enabling Bostons entitled roster; and were back to worrying more about snitches than winning actual games.
Id say its enough to drive you crazy, but I feel like most Sox fans are past that point. After this year of torture (which had been preceded by two years of mediocrity), most of Red Sox Nation has lost the will to be angry with these guys. Whats the point? Whats going to change?
That might sound like a fair-weather mentality, but this isnt just about the Red Sox being a bad team. Its a not a matter of fans saying Eh, the Sox arent winning so we dont like them anymore! Thats part of the initial anger, but not the apathy. The apathy comes from the repeated actions of an organization starting right at the top that has proven that winning is not a priority. That theyre more concerned with a long list of other factors soccer, sell outs, anniversary celebrations than bringing another World Series to Boston.
Deep down, we know that nothing is going to change until the Sox actually make some changes; that as long as theyre stuck in this fantasy world where they think all these issues will magically work themselves out, the clouds will only get more ominous and the problems will only grow deeper. We know its going to get worse before it gets better, and really, who wants to deal with that?
No one. But thats what fans do. We fight the urge to give up. To turn our backs on a team when there are so many valid reasons to do so. We say, "They're done! Toast! Time to turn our attention to the Pats and forget these guys ever existed!"
We say that, but we can never truly turn the page.
In the face of all this anger and apathy, we look at the schedule and still see ways that the Sox can still turn this around. We see them in sixth place in the wild card race behind Oakland, Detroit, Anaheim, Baltimore and Tampa but see plenty of opportunity to make up four and a half games over the next 53. We see nine games against Baltimore, six games a piece against Tampa and Anaheim, three games against Oakland and think, "Why can't they do it? Why can't they still make a run?"
And that just makes it all the more frustrating. It leaves us stuck in that same fantasy world as Lucchino, Henry and Co.; still somehow believing that this season is salvageable. The only difference is that those guys at Fenway Sports Group are willingly stuck in that dream.
Real fans don't have a choice.