Who Are You, and What Have You Done With the Boston Red Sox?
You might remember reading about an event in the summer of 1815, sometimes referred to as the “Year Without a Summer”. It seems that an Indonesian volcano erupted that year, dumping a bunch of ash in the air and creating unusually harsh weather conditions throughout Canada and the Northeastern U.S. Frost was recorded in every New England state in each of the summer months, and a foot of snow fell in Quebec City between June 6 and 10.
Why do I bring all this up? The 2011 Boston Red Sox are starting to make me feel as if I’ve somehow missed my entire summer, even though it’s only mid-April. As any New England resident will tell you, winters in the Northeast can be long and grueling. Consequently, many of us regard the brief summers like a fine cognac; to be doled out in careful measures, with each precious drop savored to the utmost. And nothing symbolizes summer like baseball.
I have a mental picture that I carry with me always. I’m 15 years old and I’m sitting in my midwestern living room, watching a rebroadcast of an Atanta Braves game with my Dad at 1:00 o’clock in the morning. It’s 1976, and most people still only get around a dozen cable channels, but everybody is an Atlanta Braves fan because a guy named Ted Turner has figured out that satellites are good for something besides spying on the Communists. It’s the middle of a heat wave, but air conditioning is still a luxury for most people, so every door and window is wide open. The house is finally starting to cool down, and both of us know that the next couple of hours will represent the only escape from the heat for the foreseeable future. We can barely hear the measured, soothing cadence of the announcer’s voice over the ebb and flow of the cicada’s buzz through the open windows …
So – to me – summer is about baseball. And the Red Sox are pissing away my whole summer before it even starts. Even if they get their s**t together within the next week or two, it’s starting to feel like they’ve just dug too deep a hole for themselves. And frankly, I see very little evidence that they’ll be turning things around any time soon. Their isn’t a single facet of their game that isn’t suspect right now. It’s like spring training never happened, and all of these guys just piled off the bus from their ranches in Montana, or wherever the hell it is that they spend the off-season. Has there ever been a team in the history of sports that looked so good on paper and performed so poorly on the field? There’s just no explanation for how dreadful they are. It’s like your kid got to the final round in the National Spelling Bee, and then couldn’t spell the word “cat”. Totally inexplicable …
I’ll never watch another baseball game with my Dad, but I like to think that I can count on the Sox every year to honor his memory. I know they can’t win every World Series, but I expect them to be competitive. This year they have let me down big time.
Copyright 2011 by Pat Moening