Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bob Lobel: Does Recent Succes Make the 2014 Red Sox Any More Bearable?

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

Let’s try this little experiment. 

Let’s go back to the summer of 2003 and follow the Grady Little Red Sox to the logical conclusion that all Red Sox teams on the precipice of immortality fail miserably. Miserably, but not unexpectedly.

The sad ending of that year was nothing new, but that didn’t make it any less painful. After all, are trips to the dentist any less painful just because you had a previous painful experience in the chair? No, this was the Red Sox' signature persona. They were defined by their failures. 

Now, staying in that year, when Grady left Pedro in a game too long, ending a season, but making a semi-hero out of Aaron Boone, I ask you in all honesty: If you were told from that moment on to the year 2013 that the Red Sox would win three world championships after the legendary drought of 86 years, would you have believed it?

Would you have thought anything like that was possible?  Then, if you were told back in 2003 that the price for those three World Series titles was a decade or more of barren trophy cases, would you take that deal?

The three titles and then nada, nothing, blah, blah, blah.  

I would have taken that deal in a heartbeat, and I’m betting most other fans would have as well. No such deal was offered that we know of. No dance with the devil stuff, or handshakes behind closed doors kind of grand plans took place, that we know of. 

But I’m guessing that most of you would have joined me and happily taken that deal. So here we are, a decade and three titles later, and still miserable. 

Unhappy customers booing players that are perceived to not be trying, etc. I mean really booing. If you made the deal 10 years ago to win 3 and disappear for a while, then shut up, but I didn’t make that deal. Chances are you didn’t make that deal either.  So here we are appearing ever so ungrateful for recent past successes. 

This pretend agreement has shown me a couple of things.  “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” should replace “Sweet Caroline.” The sporting culture surrounding the Red Sox has changed from caustic to soft caustic. They just will never satisfy most of us, no matter what the recent past gave us. 

The recent past gave us memories and that’s that, nothing more. A word of transparency that I do work for the team as a public address announcer upon occasion, and did get a ring for 2013. In the channel 4 days, of course that never would have happened. Moving on! 

I like to observe and study fan behavior. Fans perceive different things than the reality on a regular basis. I have no great explanation for last year’s success and this year’s disaster. Since I write this before the trade deadline on Thursday, the landscape may well have changed and so might the mood of the fans. 

But again, go back to 2003 and think of that deal: 3 titles in the next 10 years and nevermore!

Does that change your outlook on this baseball team? Can you enjoy it more now that trophies and banners are on display? I didn’t think so and guess what, neither can I.  

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