[Image from sportsofboston.com]
Here we are. Six games into the season. I have yet to see a single one of these games, but from all accounts, I’m not missing much. Despite the fact that Jonny Lester pitched a gem yesterday afternoon, the bats couldn’t scrape together one measly run to get him the win, while Daniel Bard walked the first man he faced, only to have that very runner come around to score on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze.
The play is aptly named, since I’m sure hordes of New Englanders (and current Red Sox Nation expatriates like myself) were ready to hurl themselves off the Tobin when they looked at the calendar and realized that we’re now a week into the season and about to head home to play the Bronx Bombers, still looking for that elusive first “W.”
My head is telling me that this is a good team, and that a six-game losing streak in June would be cause for mild concern and not the panic that bubbles in my stomach when I think about the 0-6 record that will soon be displayed upon the Fenway Park scoreboard. My heart, on the other hand, is much less reasonable, and demanding an explanation that doesn’t seem to exist.
It’s times like these when I turn my lonely eyes to one Dustin Pedroia, and as usual, the scrappy second-baseman didn’t disappoint: “last year… it kind of took us a while to get into the flow of things. We don't want that to happen here this time. We're going to try to come out and do what we do. Have good at-bats. Carl [Crawford]'s a game-changer, Adrian [Gonzalez]'s a run-producing machine. We just need the guys who have been here to do what they normally do, and those guys will fit in well because they're such good players.”
He also mentioned how much this team needs Fenway Park right now: "We've just got to relax, man… Get back home, get our fans into it. We miss them. We want to play in front of those guys. Get the new guys a nice big ovation. It will be good. We'll be good to go." Well, we’d like to see you all play in front of us at home, too, but don’t expect too big of an ovation if things don’t turn around in the very near future.
This is serious business – you don’t take baseball lightly in New England. For all of the people on my abroad program poking fun and telling me to “lighten up – it’s just a game,” I have something to tell you. It’s WAY MORE than just a game to me. It’s a huge part of my life, and I’m doing everything I can to make sure that I can make it my job when I leave college. Telling me that I shouldn’t care so much, that it’s only a silly game, makes me realize that you just don’t get it – or me. My devotion to the Red Sox is hardly a secret, and anyone who dares make light of this skid or tell me I shouldn’t care so much doesn’t care enough about me to pay attention.
My devotion to the local nine borders on the religious (I’m willing to bet I know more about the Sox than many church-goers know about their religious tract of choice), and I will lead a crusade in their defense if that’s what it takes. Hopefully the Red Sox turn things around before it comes to a holy war – after all, Jesus jumped ship for New York six years ago.