Prior to 2004, reality muted expectations. July leads were expected to wane in late summer, and October surprises always brought disappointment. Then the glorious World Series victory of 2004, following the apocalyptic crash of Baseball's gods, the Yankees, changed everything. Twenty-five guys, twenty-five caps was banished by Theo and the Trio, the Bloody Sock, and the Idiots. Loserville no more.
One championship, and you expect the taste every season. Like a cocaine addict, you've got the high of victory and you want more. You crave it; you demand it; you lust for it. Pinch yourself.
What a difference. Following the recent homestand, all we hear is 'down the toilet, circling the drain, blow it up' and so on. The only question isn't 'are we printing playoff tickets' it's 'who's getting the tar and feathers?'
Inevitably, people feeling victimized need to find somebody to blame. "It's Theo's fault for not making a big deal," or "damn Francoma, doesn't know how to handle a pitching staff." You can't make chicken salad out of, er, chicken feathers. Try some numbers on for size. August team ERA 6.13. Worst in the AL. August opponents average .311. Worst in the AL. Record 6-14, second worst in the AL. Post All-Star break ERA, 5.50, worst in the AL.
We don't have to bring in CSI or Mystery Science Theater 3000 to solve this. The pitching staff isn't getting the job even close to done. Can it be solved? You think the Sox are hiding better pitchers somewhere? You think Roger Clemens is walking through that door?
What Sox fans have to hope for is a momentum-killing start tonight by Kyle Snyder, and then some 'mean reversion' to adequate from there. If you truly believe the Sox are as bad as they're playing right now, then why worry about it, because they aren't fit to compete for the playoffs never mind another title.
Step away from the window. Put away those unpleasant thoughts. Focus on the positives, a beautiful day in Boston, some tomatoes or beans on the vine, a summer breeze at the beach, and take comfort in what's ahead. Football season.