I finally did something that I haven’t done in almost two months, paid attention to the Boston Red Sox. The unfortunately short playoff run for the Boston Celtics, basking in the failure of Lebron James and celebrating the return of the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins have been a major distraction.
Now I’m sitting back and watching the Sox lay a 10 spot on the San Diego Padres in the Seventh Inning and am starting to realized all that I have missed in that time.
When I walked away for playoff hockey and basketball, they were a horribly under achieving, incredibly frustrating team to watch. Potential All-Stars and big contracts up and down the line-up and pitching staff with no one stepping up. The expectations were so high that any false step meant mounting pressure and when they stumbled out of the gate, people started to panic.
The team was under the microscope from day one. They were proclaimed the “greatest team ever” by local media and picked by just about everyone in the national media to win the World Series. When they struggled Red Sox nation should have been more outraged.
The Red Sox lucked out however with the Bruins and Celtics playoff runs because no one was paying attention. The pressure that would have come with the worst start I have ever seen from a team wasn’t there as it normally would. With eyes off them the Sox were given something they normally don’t get, time.
Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford were given time to adjust to playing in a new city. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was given time to get comfortable as a starter. Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Elisbury were given time to struggle a bit and make sure they were 100% healthy. Terry Francona was given time to feel out his team and show his normal level of loyalty to players without the scrutiny.
Now that the Red Sox are the only game in town again, all eyes are on them. The luxury of flying under the radar is gone but I don’t see it as a problem going forward.
Time also gave everyone (players, media, fans) the chance to get comfortable with each other without pressure. The fans didn’t panic because of struggles on the field, the media didn’t comment on the struggles to feed the outcry of fans, the players didn’t feel the media pressure built by fan panic.
The Bruins winning the Stanley Cup is one of the best things that could have happened to this Red Sox team.
Now as Boston sports fans start to turn their attention back to the Red Sox, the Sox find themselves on top of the American League East, one game behind the Philadelphia Phillies for the best record in baseball and in the middle of Interleague play where they have historically dominated.
The rest of this Sox season is going to be fun to watch. I’m just glad I can finally turn my full attention to the Red Sox, atleast until the NFL labor dispute is over.