Well, it’s finally over. This maddening, frustrating, makes-you-want-to-tear-out-your-hair season has come to an end. Yes, there are still games left to play, but with a win by the Indians, the Red Sox are eliminated from Wild Card contention, and their season will, for the first time since 2015, end in September, not October.
It hasn’t felt right all season. It didn’t feel right when Alex Cora said last winter that Andrew Benintendi would bat leadoff instead of Mookie. It didn’t feel right when none of the starters had any semblance of a spring training. It didn’t feel right when the bullpen blew save after save, and the offense looked lifeless for games at a time. They just never got going.
There’s plenty to unpack and complain about and scrutinize from this season, but honestly, I’m too tired of it all right now. And the past is the past; it’s time to move forward. It just wasn’t our year, and that sucks. But not every year is 2004, or 2007, or 2013, or 2018.
Do we realize how lucky we are? I don’t think we do. We forget that there are teams who have never even reached the World Series, and even more teams that have never even won one. The Cleveland Indians haven’t won since Harry Truman was president. The Dodgers are going to make their 7th consecutive postseason run, but haven’t won it all since 1988.
There are teams that seem like they are in permanent rebuild-mode, and there are the Mets, and the Orioles, and so many teams of misfortune. But we, spoiled Bostonians, take for granted and assume the Red Sox will go to the postseason almost every year now. As if it’s a right, not a privilege to be earned. As if it’s always been that way.
My Great-Uncle Lee is 101 years old. Born in Boston in June 1918, an infant when they won that fall, he waited 86 years to see them Reverse The Curse. He told me last year, “I didn’t think I’d live to see it, and since then, I’ve seen four!”
If the Red Sox won every year, it would lose its meaning. If this team hadn’t fought and struggled and lost for years, 2004 wouldn’t have been the magical comeback that it was. Everything happens for a reason. We can be bummed, we can be frustrated, but we shouldn’t be greedy. We shouldn’t take what we’ve experienced in the last fifteen years for granted. I won’t even get into the other Boston sports teams and their numerous titles since the start of the millennium.
Not every year is our year. But there’s always next year. And aren’t you glad this torment is over? Imagine if they’d actually gotten to the postseason. It would have been almost comical, given how unlikely it was, and how unprepared they would have been. Instead, they get an extra month of rest, a reset button, and plenty of time to get their s*** together; all things this franchise desperately needs.
It’s finally over. And as is typical of the masochistic baseball fan, I miss the madness already.