The Rays and Angels are just as guilty for folding like chairs as the Red Sox. (SawxBlog Illustration)
There is glee throughout the masses when a popular, prosperous, and rich sports franchise falls on its face. It's part of the territory that comes with success, and once you've tasted it for a sustained amount of time - contempt, disdain, and jealousy are sure to follow from both your rivals and peers. This is what we've seen happen to the Red Sox over the past month as media pundits, fans, and even players have put a pair of steel toed Doc Marten's on and kicked the Red Sox while down. The Red Sox have deserved it to a point no doubt, but everything they've done prior has been ignored, and more importantly, scrutiny for those chasing them has been negligent.
Last night is a perfect example of this. On a night the Red Sox had off both the Rays and Angels had an opportunity to gain on them and they both failed, and much to the Sox delight, another Magic number dropped off the board. It now sits at four games, and realistically the Red Sox could clinch before the weekend's over. Combined over their last ten games the Rays and Angels are playing sub .500 ball and are 9-11. Do those sound like hungry upstart Teams to you? Granted, the Red Sox are only 3-7 over their last ten games, but like I said yesterday, they're not the ones chasing, and their excellent play throughout most of the year has afforded the ability to absorb this extreme down time. It's like building up your savings for a rainy day, same type of analogy, and in September, it's rained nearly every day for Boston - but the rain has to eventually stop, and I believe it will.
This is why I have complete confidence the Sox are making the playoffs, and also why I'm still sitting in the locomotive on a train called optimism. The Red Sox aren't as bad as they've been playing, and the way everyone's been piling it on, they now have the unique opportunity to once again become the underdogs they were prior to 2004. Sure they won't have the support of the Nation like the Brewers will (I love that Team by the way) - but sometimes it's best to be on an island by yourself. It's always scary when a Team gets and "Us Against the World" mentality, and when an animal feels cornered and wounded it's at its most lethal.
I've felt the glee from certain Yankee friends of mine (you know who are Flex), have read the comments on numerous National articles, and now even the Yankee players and Front Office are getting into the pile on, and I say bring it on. Russell Martin was infamously said he "Hated the Red Sox" this week while further saying "Anything to get the Red Sox out would be awesome for me." I have no real problem with this, and I actually love it, I think the games are way more fun when the Team's truly don't like each other - but what Martin's really doing is planting a seed in each and every Red Sox player, and for that I thank him. Any motivation the Sox can get right now they need, especially motivation fueld by the Yankees. Even Yankee GM Brian Cashman put on some Doc Marten's claiming the Yankee's feigned interest in Carl Crawford just to drive up his price. Please - how is this even news? The Red Sox and Yankees having been doing this for years against each other, it's no story at all. But coming out and saying it now, while the Red Sox still have a lot of life left in them, not so smart in my opinion.
Maybe it's the coffee, maybe it's pure thrill of being at the front of the optimism train, but I feel like a sleeping giant is about to wake up - much to the disappointment of the non-Faithful.