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Sunday baseball special

I haven't listened to more than a couple hours of Red Sox baseball so far this season, so it took a (re)tweet from Luke to alert me to the current poor state of the team:

If Rodan swooped from the skies and devoured every #RedSox player on the field right now it wouldn't surprise me. Might even salvage the day[.]

(The sentiments originally belonged to @SurvivingGrady, clearly a long suffering fan still pining for the glory days of Butch Hobson. This is Rodan.)

Clearly things were bad last night, and indeed, checking up on the news I found on the Google News front page an editorial entitled "Enough Is Enough: Boston Red Sox Do Not Deserve Your Support". The piece quotes another blogger as complaining, "are there any teams that have made such an art of hurting their fans [like the Red Sox have]?"

Guess what: that was stupid before the Sox won their first championship, and it's even stupider now. How many other clubs have won two World Series in the last ten years!? To quote Wikipedia, "[s]ince 2003, the Red Sox have been perennial playoff contenders and have won two World Series, emerging as one of the most successful MLB teams of the last decade." The problem isn't that the team is bad, it's that the fans are whiners. No, even worse: it's that the fans have winning—winning all the time—as the only metric for an enjoyable baseball season.

"Who is to blame?" the article asks. To even talk about "blame" is to assume that someone is deliberately sabotaging the team's efforts, or at least acting with complete incompetence, but that's probably not the case; I think everyone in the organization is doing their best to win games but without much luck. We do have to remember that the other teams are trying to win, too. And it's questions of blame and responsibility that lead to things like manager changes, because clearly a manager who's never won a championship is going to do better than one who's won a pair of them, and has a better lifetime win-loss record to boot.

I think maybe the secret is that these folks enjoy being miserable. After talking about the absolutely disgusting extent of last night's collapse, the author moans, "All of this, and they still played 'Sweet Caroline' in the eighth inning. And people sang along." Good heavens. Can you believe that folks—watching a baseball game on a beautiful evening in April, a game which they paid a fair amount of money to attend—had the nerve to enjoy themselves while the home team was losing? How dare they.

Sure, I can understand not wanting to watch a team that never wins. How about the Cleveland Indians and the 30-year slump? But that's not hatred, then, it's just indifference. No one is going to stop supporting the Sox, per the article, because they, I don't know, don't try hard enough or something.

Bottom line: until this team shows that it's serious about righting the ship, you shouldn't give them your money. Whether it's buying tickets or merchandise, or even watching a game on television, this baseball team isn't worth a minute of your time. Right now, it's all about the money. As long as fans keep piling into the ballpark, buying commemorative bricks and singing "Sweet Caroline" in the eighth, everything is still fine in their eyes. Take away the money, and things will change.

Yeah, sure: if people stop coming to games, the players will realize they're supposed to be winning and totally turn the season around!

To turn from this obviously ridiculous rant to a more general observation, life isn't all about winning. I'm as competitive as the next guy (more, probably—you should watch me and Leah at the mini-golf!) but I'm also able to recognize that baseball is the nation's past-time, not it's desperate life-or-death cage-match. Mostly baseball is nice for whiling away summer afternoons and evenings, caught up in the exciting moments and ignoring the boring ones, admiring the skill displayed, and relaxing. Beer may be involved.

So if you're rich or like to stay up late, follow the Red Sox and know that they're probably a fairly good team despite the early-season missteps; and even if they lose 100 games you'll still be watching baseball. Or for variety, check out the Lexington Blue Sox of the Intercity League. Free amateur ball starting at reasonable hours! And if you like the winning, the Blue Sox have won the league title in each of the last five years...


Of course I realize that even the crazy people actually do enjoy baseball—and the Sox—every year, it's just that they show their enjoyment by moaning and whining. Which is why the ranting in the article is a completely empty threat; in fact, when the Red Sox do win the thrill is so ephemeral to these people that they almost immediately find something else to complain about in order have to get excited again.

Strong work. I would like to hear you read this dramatically over the soundtrack from The Natural. I'll listen to it every April. Can we make that happen?

Yes, we might be able to male that happen... I'd like to make some edits first though. I busted it out pretty quick, and my phrasing is perhaps not the most felicitous throughout.

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