Thursday, May 26, 2005

I'm getting that feeling again...

First, a quick note: I have noticed that when I demean the Yankees in this forum, the night is followed by 1) the Sox losing 2) the MFY winning 3) the Orioles winning 4) the Blue Jays winning and 5) the Devil Rays still sucking. It is obvious that the rest of the AL East is using this website's Yankee bashing as motivational bulletin board material, so I have decided not to write anything negative about the Yanks until after this 116 game winning streak on which they are embarking is over.

As to the Sox, there are two things that I feeling like I am repeating emotionally from last year:

1) It happens every year, and I would assume it happens to every other team's fans as well. I can feel myself hitting the saturation limit with the Sox.

When you watch just about every pitch of every game, you get to know your chosen team pretty well. You start to know their personalities, their tendencies. You begin having a weird, one-sided relationship with them. So when they go through a stretch of not playing well, you start to feel let down; betrayed, even. You start taking the losses personally; you think, "hey, I did my part and showed up to watch you guys. How can you do this to me?". Suddenly, your mood the day after a loss is deeply affected, on par with some sort of personal tragedy (flu recovery symptoms aside) or like you had a huge fight with a loved the night before. It becomes hard to divorce yourself from the daily ups and downs, even when you assure yourself that the two reasons you root for baseball are because 1) it is a 6-month journey that is fun to watch form slowly yet marginally every day and 2) it is something you have no control over, so it is a part of your life that you don't need to feel any responsibility for when going poorly but feel elation when it goes well.

So I'm getting to that point. I'm getting to that point where I need a break. I need a week or so where I don't watch the games, don't read the recaps, don't count the stats, and don't look ahead in the schedule and try to figure out the rotation's matchups.

Of course, we are going to the toilet next week then hosting the "1st place (for now)!!!" Orioles. And I have tickets at Fenway for the 17th, so I need to be up on the games a few days beforehand for that.

Well, I guess I'll squeeze that week off in there eventually.

2) I don't know whether it's the road trip, age, or whatever, but this first half feels almost exactly like last year's bad first half. And that isn't a good thing, because we don't have a Nomar to trade (or a Murton, for that matter, which I think we totally got hosed on. But whatever, we won the series, so it was worth it).

The Red Sox look sloppy, especially on defense. For example, last night, Ted Lilly (Ted Lilly?) got the sox out in the first inning on 6 pitches. Then, Arroyo went 2 strikes on the first batter and hit him as he leaned over the plate. Then, Millar boots a ground ball and Arroyo had stopped running over to the base because any real 1B would have easily made the play. 1st and 2nd with no outs when neither guy should have been on. Varitek then has a horrendous past-ball to the number 3 hitter, so 2nd and 3rd, no outs. Game over. I knew it right there. Just like I knew Embree would explode the night before when a batter in the ninth blooped a ball over Renteria's head that came on a pitch at his ankles, I knew this game was over. And it was. Yet it was the defense that blew last night's game (3 unearned runs, though probably more when you look at the fielding), because it looks like crap. The offense blew the game, too, because they weren't swinging at good pitches. Whether it was playing catchable balls off the wall, missing grounders, or just taking bad breaks when the balls went off the bats, we didn't get it done in the field. Hell, I knew the game was over even before John "White Flag" Halama got up in the pen.

I guess that has been the story of the season, though. The Sox seem to be in a holding pattern, just like last year. The only difference is, instead of "We'll be alright once Nomar and Trot come back from injury", it has been "we'll be okay once Schilling comes back and our boys (Manny, Foulke, etc) get back to form". In the meantime, we lose because of sloppy play. We have plate discipline on nights when the guy is living in the strike zone, and we swing at crap pitches on nights when we face Ted FREAKING Lilly. This season, Lilly has an ERA of 8+, yet has allowed only 1 run in 11.2 innings against the Sox. We are the only team he has lasted more than 6 innings against, and we are the only team that doesn't score a run an inning against him. And we have one of the best offenses in the league. Please explain this to me.

Note: Rant is over.


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