It is entirely possible that I’m being just a tad hyperbolic, but let’s make one thing perfectly clear folks, Bostonians—especially those shell-shocked by an unanticipated collapse in an athletic endeavor—are a fragile group of people.
Last night, as many of you know, the Boston Red Sox put the finishing touches on an epic choke job as they pissed away the last of a seemingly insurmountable nine game lead in the American League Wild Card race by losing—in heart-breaking fashion, I might add—to the lowly Baltimore Orioles.
About ten minutes, give or take, later the upstart Tampa Bay Rays propelled themselves into the postseason—in place of the aforementioned Red Sox—when Evan (NOT Eva) Longoria ripped a home run over the left field fence to win the game.
The Red Sox, who were deemed by many—this guy included—to be the favorites to win the World Series back in Spring Training and throughout much of the regular season, will be watching the playoffs from their multi-million dollar palatial estates…just like the rest of us.
If one took ten seconds late last night or early this morning to check in with sports talk radio, various online message boards and/or legitimate media presences in the Boston area, they’d have learned one very clear lesson…folks are not handling this loss well.
The fine folks at Boston.com have opened up a free(ish)—thankfully they do edit what gets published—forum for fans to “Rip the Red Sox” following the collapse and things have covered pretty much the entire spectrum of human emotion ranging from…
Note: All of these responses are reproduced in all of their typotastic, grammar-lacking glory or [SIC] if you prefer some professionalism around here.
…the downright logical:
“The Red Sox did not do well. That is unfortunate.” – Stephen – Boston
…to the simply upset:
“Poor decisions made by the front office! Drew, Lackey, Crawford? None worth HALF the money thrown at them. How can homegrown gamers like Youk and Pedroia get peanuts while these 3 clowns get piad handsomely. Poor, poor decisions by Theo.” – Drucker – Boston
…to the shortsighted and reactionary:
“I hope to never see Carl Crawford in a Red Sox uniform again.” – Ashley – Boston
…to the delusional:
“This team lacks starting pitching, guts, and athletes who are willing to trim down and man up (see: Youk). Injuries are not bad luck; get in shape, tubby! Don’t blame Theo or Tito. Even Ellsbury, with his talent, was not a smart baserunner. He should have a much higher steals percentage. I have to admit that I missed the days when they found magical ways to break our hearts. Now if they win one, we’ll really appreciate it!” – Brian – Rochester, NY
…to the overly dramatic (and wordy):
“To the Red Sox Staff: This is worse than the Buckner tragedy: that was ‘Shock and Awe’. This was not just another “Oh no, not again?” late fall moment, it was ‘Disgust and Outrage’. We saw this fall into the abyss coming so fast and drastically in September that it was surreal. This was like the McNamara, Houk, and Williams days of leaving the pitchers in TOO long (Terry: Again, what were you thinking?). This was beyond any low in our generation, because our expectations were earned high early on from good work, and the incredible, insulting demeanor of play (by most players) is so unforgiving by the fans. I’d rather watch College, or little league Baseball, where there is real heart presented. We could not see the heart on their faces because they gave up. Millions and Millions of my insanely high ticket prices wasted on low grade, poorly managed talent. What I make in a year of hard work, they make in a day. I actually took the Red Sox license plate holder off of my car at 5AM this morning, because I’m so beyond disappointed. What happened to the leadership that managers, coaches, and players need to get motivated? I can’t wait for spring time to tune the Sox out, shut off the radio, turn off NESN, not go to the new Spring Training park, and most definitely not support your advertisers (gee: maybe then you’ll get it.). Mr. Henry: This stinks like Pepe LePew. Heads need to roll out of Beantown big time. Please bring on some fresh leadership, better managers, and young aggressive beef. Oh well: You’ve lost a lifelong fan now.” – Bob Belliveau – Naples, FL
…to the petty and pathetic:
“The Yankees Are To Fault – Where was RIVERA?? The League should fine them & GIRADI should be suspended for holding back. They didn’t play their best.” – Bill Kremer – Boston
…to the just plain stupid:
“Terry: thank for the memories. Theo: thanks for the mess that will take 10 years to clean up. Now both of you hit the road.” – Ian Roffley – Boston
…to the uninformed and half-assed:
“Adrian G’s lack of passion & heart contaminated the whole team.” – Chuck Keefe – South Boston
…to the bat-shit crazy:
“LOOOOSSSAAAAAA’S!!!!! An old quote kept ringing in my ears as this team died a long slow death – “They killed my father and now they are going to kill me”! I thought those days were over but I guess not! Sadly – looking forward it does not look much brighter! After 6 months and 161.9 games, they couldn’t manage to get out of Baltimore – Fricken Baltimore!!!! with a win! Fire’em all!!! Tito – Theo – and company. I would rather watch a Triple-A team next year than watch these heartless, no playing, overpaid, under performing, pathetic examples of athletes play again!!!!!! Keep PD and Elles and the kids and dump all of the high priced fat lazy “veterans”. AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!” – Jim – Somerset, MA
Now let us not forget, that’s just the ones that they’d allow to be published. Between talk radio and the far less, um, “mandated” message boards the reactions were downright frightening. Many (read: way too many) fans were legitimately calling for violence and using so many curse words that I feel just a little bit like going to church today.
Despite all of this evidence of “super rage” griping the city, it didn’t really dawn on me this morning that I might want to put some real thought into my wardrobe decision for the day. As such, I reached into my top drawer (read: my baseball shirts drawer) and pulled out my old school purple Tampa Bay Devil Rays t-shirt and slipped it on.
I finished getting ready for the day and was just about to head out the door when I caught a quick glimpse of myself in the full-length mirror in our bedroom as I walked by. It was then that I realized I what I was wearing.
Back in 2008, I was innocently wearing this shirt and without thought wore it to a game at Fenway with my best friend who happened to be in town at the time, John Kunkel, esquire.
Perhaps y’all recall 2008? It was the year that the newly-christened “Rays” toppled the Red Sox to take the AL East crown and went on to face the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.
Well, I got booed that night at Fenway…by an entire section of fans (all led by Mr. Kunkel) for simply wearing the shirt. At the time, Red Sox fans weren’t even taking the Rays all that seriously. They still viewed them as “that minor league team we play down in Florida.” Despite that fact, an entire section of Red Sox fans had no problem booing my face off and screaming an unpleasant chorus of obscenities.
…that was when both teams made the playoffs and no one really cared about the Rays.
This morning the Red Sox are done for the season and the Rays are headed to the playoffs…again.
Luckily, I caught myself, but that shit could have been deadly. Thanks to Twitter, message boards, sports radio and the aforementioned “publishable” Boston.com responses I’m operating under the assumption that there are large, inconsolable, irrational hordes of unstable Red Sox fans just roaming the streets BEGGING for a fight right now.
I assume they’ll be out there until the Patriots kick off on Sunday and they can all forget baseball exists again until March.
…until then, I’m thinking nothing but neutral colors without logos of any sort is a good idea for my wardrobe.
You know, just in case.