Wednesday, August 13, 2008
at 12:30 PM Posted by GHABB,Y~!
The following statement goes against everything that I believe in as a Red Sox fan, will probably be considered blasphemy by those who read it:
I hope the Rays win the division.
I completely understand if you seek to revoke my overpriced Red Sox Nation membership card for that statement, and cast me out to the hinterlands of southern Connecticut for the rest of my days. However, I honestly don’t think I’m alone among Sox fans in my sentiment. I hope the Rays win. Hell, I hope they win the World Series.
Now, I’m the same person who advocated firebombing Cleveland during the ALCS last year, and who may or may not have publicly stated that last year’s World Series was nothing less than a victory over Christian imperialism, so my Red Sox self-identification and other team-focused hatred runs deep, and possibly even to criminal levels.
But there’s something about this season that makes me care less about the Sox and their quest to win a third World Series in five years, and it’s been hard for me to place my finger on until now. Maybe it’s the Celtics win, which captured my interests until mid-June, taking my attention away from baseball for a good two months of the season. Maybe I’m still numb from the Pats Super Bowl loss. Maybe it’s the antics of Manny, Papi being out for much of the year, Beckett suffering his “even-numbered year blues” or the fact that it was getting harder to call J.D. Drew a “filthy cocksucker.” Maybe it’s because the Yankees, long a worthy foil, have self-destructed this year. But my thinking is that it’s the lack of a chase.
There’s an old wrestling term that states “the money’s in the chase,” basically noting that the real fan interest comes in seeing the build-up to a championship match, and less so the hero’s championship reign. The “chase” for me was in 2004, and to a lesser extent last year. This year? What exactly are we chasing? A repeat? The Angels? The exorcism of Manny? Not exactly the stuff of four years ago.
Meanwhile, the Rays are fully engrossed in a chase of historical proportions, a longtime doormat and baseball afterthought finally turning it all around to surprise the big boys. They’ve never won more than 71 games, and only once finished higher than 5th. Surefire Hall of Famer Aubrey Huff holds most of their team records. It could be argued that Greg Vaughn was their best power hitter. Rolando Arrojo holds their single-season wins record. How can you root against a story like that? The recent injuries suffered by Crawford and Longoria make the Rays’ chase that much of a better story, as the plucky underdogs have now lost their two best players, and have to keep it going for another six weeks. They remind me of when Randy Couture broke his arm against Gabriel Gonzaga, and yet continued to beat him with the dead arm for three more rounds. It was impossible to root against Couture, and I’d argue that, even as a Sox fan, it’s pretty much impossible to root against the Rays. I love the Red Sox, but I’m only human.