Bitter Unfairness of Baseball

August 23rd, 2011 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

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Perhaps Uncle Scar speaks for the Red Sox Nation in The Lion King, with his “Life’s not fair.”

Consider last night. The Boston team was in Arlington, but not the one near the Alewife stop. The Texas Rangers beat ’em again, 4 to zip this time, for the fourth consecutive time this season, as in all of the games the teams have played.

While I am no longer a huge baseball fan (I was as a kid, but I got better), I recall that no team ends a season with a 1.000 record. Verily, they all have losing streaks of 1, 2, up to a dozen games and occasionally more. Even teams with far more wins seem to flail against allegedly inferior ones from time to time.

So far this season the Sox are very good, clear contenders for the division and league and quite possibly for the World Series. In the long view too, they have done well. Specifically, only three teams have won more World Series than the Sox (that would be 7 for them). Those would be the Athletics, Cardinals, and one other…wait, wait, it’ll come to me…

georgeSo since the Sox brought it all home in 2004 and 2007, the local media, sports bloggers, bar pundits and T riders all have buffed up the facade. What with the Patriots, Bruins and so forth doing well, the loser/also-ran persona supposedly went away like that piano George Herman Ruth supposedly tossed into Willis Pond. (HT to 1918redsox.com for the image.)

Well, I don’t think so.

The Sox team and fans had long whined before their recent WS victories that any team that won had simply bought the pennant as they had rented the best pitchers and sluggers. Surely the Yankees would not win without a bloated payroll. Yet, when the new Sox owners more than matched other teams in headhunting players, and ended up with the most expensive tickets in MLB in the process, suddenly that gripe stopped. The other guys may have been checkbook cheating, but we were doing what we had to for fairness’ sake.

What got me started on this whole thing was this morning’s Globe sports-page whine fest. Under a temperature alibi heading — Degree of difficulty, let the excuses tumble down. The subhead was With temperature at 102, Red Sox are stifled by Wilson and Rangers. Above the huge pic of pitcher Erik Bedard daubing face sweat, it was Star-struck The Red Sox opened their series with the Rangers last night with three of the four All-Stars in teheir starging lineup out with injuries. Their replacements went a  combined 1 for 10.

How pathetic was Peter Abraham’s report?

I suppose it was only hot in the highly localized spots where the Sox stood. Of course, our players never experience heat and humidity on the Boston tundra.

Plus, it was woulda, coulda, shoulda. If only our last year’s All-Star team players were batting, boy, we woulda showed ’em.

To his credit, the Sox manager was not so blinded by boosterism. Though buried in the jump, Tony Francona’s quote about Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson was that even when the team was healthy, he mowed them down. “When we’ve had our full lineup, he’s gone through it.”

So it comes down to what’s the working attitude here? Has the Red Sox nation really crawled out of the loser’s mausoleum into the sun of contention and competence? Have the many decades of no WS rings been forgotten or at least relegated to history? To the real point, are they ready to join the teams that say, “We weren’t good enough,” when the other team wins.

These excuses really stink.

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