Somewhere in the blur of the 10th/11th/12th inning of the Red Sox’s 16th extra-inning game of the season last night, I frustratedly starting writing this post. And even though they managed to pull a 7-run 15th inning and a win out of their asses, I’m sticking by the original sentiment of this article. I am tired and annoyed with this Red Sox team. The 2017 Boston Red Sox do NOT deserve to go to the postseason, and they definitely do not deserve to win the World Series.
Aren’t you frustrated? After a few extra innings, it’s only a matter of seeing which team gets tired and screws up first. Not very thrilling stuff. And the fact that it takes the Red Sox until the 15th inning to be able to hit does not inspire confidence when it comes to a postseason run, because in case the sixteen extra-inning games have you confused, baseball games are actually only supposed to go nine innings.
Now normally, it would break my heart to write a blog post with this tone, but I’m pretty much over this year’s team. I hate to be a broken record, but my God, do I miss David Ortiz. I miss the leadership he embodied, the tone he set in the clubhouse, and the way he made everyone else on this team want to do their best. Without him, this team has been hard to root for, they’re inconsistent, and they just don’t seem to care very much when they don’t play well. David Ortiz was never happy resting on his laurels and was never okay with losing or even being mediocre. I don’t see much effort by this team to live up to his standard or even the standard of playing in the freaking Major Leagues.
Take Hanley Ramirez, for example. Dude was supposed to take up the mantle of David Ortiz, his supposed idol who personally groomed him to inherit the DH position. Instead, he’s left more players on base than he’s had RBIs this season, has not hit a single grand slam, and has only two walk-off hits. Since the start of the month, he’s batting .150, and he missed last night’s game, when virtually everyone and their mother had a hit and RBI. Hanley is 33 years old, on the downswing of a tumultuous, inconsistent career. It’s definitely time to look for an alternative or rather, alternatives; Dombrowski is going to have to clean house this offseason because this version of the Red Sox does not work.
To those of you who feel the need to remind me that we’re in first place: shut up. The AL East is a joke this year, and the only reason the Sox are in first place is that we’re the best of the worst, and that’s not even a sure thing with this team. We’re big fish in a small pond; just because we happen to suck slightly less than our fellow division teams does not actually make us a good team, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean we deserve to be in a pennant race alongside the likes of the Indians or Astros. With the Yankees also picking up a win last night, our lead stays at three games. Know how many games the Astros lead the West by? Fourteen. They’re fourteen games ahead of the second-place Angels. Our season-high lead is five and a half.
The thing about the postseason is, there aren’t unlimited chances. This Red Sox team will either flourish or fail, and that’ll be it. It happened last year, and I think history is about to repeat itself. When faced with the opponents they’ve lost to for most of this season, like the Indians, I’m sad to say that I think I’ll be proven right.
My pick to win it all this season: Cleveland, who until last night had won 22 games straight, the second longest streak in MLB history after the 1916 New York Giants (26 games.) They also have a 14-game lead in Central, and have already clinched the division. The Tribe narrowly missed a World Series win last year, and even with a number of their best players on the DL, they’re playing like absolute fire. They also haven’t won a World Series since 1948, now the longest championship drought in the Majors since the Sox and Cubs broke their respective curses in 2004 and 2016. Will I root for them while the Red Sox are still in the running? Of course not. But winning it all wouldn’t exactly sit right with me because the Red Sox haven’t worked as hard or played as well. I don’t really think they deserve it.
Do I feel guilty for “betraying” my beloved team? Kind of. But they betrayed us first; with the young talent they have and the best fan base in the country, they should be absolutely killing the game. I want my team to absolutely own their games instead of watching them fumble around before finally getting their shit together at 1 AM. I want to be obsessed with these players instead of annoyed with them. I don’t want to have to write articles about how weird this team is, but that’s what so much of this season has been about. I love the Boston Red Sox. I do not love this year’s Red Sox.