Dog Days of Summer, Red Sox Season

The first couple weeks of September are always a little strange for Boston sports fans, in my opinion. Obviously, football begins and many New Englanders turn their attention to the Patriots and focus less on the Red Sox. Normally, this is ironic, as the hometown nine are typically locking up another postseason trip, having been there six of the last seven years. However, this is one of those odd years where the Red Sox look to be left behind on the postseason bandwagon. This last happened in 2006 and before that, 2002. Incredible to believe that many could have almost completed college or high school without the Red Sox missing October ball. For those following the team before 2003 (or BPH (before pink hats) as I like to refer to it), this notion is incredible. During the 90s, the Sox made the playoffs in 1990, 1995, 1998 and 1999 and that’s it – and only 1999 produced a postseason series win, too.

This year has been an enigma though. The Red Sox – who usually get off to a hot start and attempt to hold the AL East lead – only led the division for one night – opening night, when they beat the Yankees, 9-7. They crept within a half game in the middle of June after riding a hot streak, but quickly fell back down to earth at the All-Star break and then began the second half miserably. They haven’t been in serious contention since. Currently, they’re the 10th best team in the whole league, which many teams would love to have a claim to, however, when two of the top three are in the same division, that’s not a recipe for postseason entrance or success.

Thus, many of those turning their attention to the Patriots might have a point. It’s a little depressing not to have the desire to look up last night’s box score or see how the other teams in the division did. Just looking on Craigslist, you can get Red Sox tickets for as cheap as $10 now. (While this is actually fine with me, as you could do this BPH, it just shows the decline of interest in the team’s dog days … though, I guess the feeling is bittersweet.) I’ll, of course, still watch the playoffs, but it’ll definitely be less exciting. Also making things a little aggravating is the inexcusable loss the Patriots just experienced in New York – which definitely doesn’t sit well with the masses that had turned their attention toward the Foxboro-based squad. In 2006, when the same attention was turned, the Pats produced a 3-1 record before the MLB playoffs began, beginning 2-0. Such is not the case so far, but the same record is within reach, so maybe the transition away from the Sox won’t be as tough – at least I hope so.

I’ll keep watching both teams, however, and I hope most Bostonians will too. For the Red Sox, there are still some milestones within reach. Jon Lester, with two starts left, needs to win both to achieve 20 wins in a season. If he does this, he’ll be the first Red Sox lefty to do so since Mel Parnell in 1953. In addition, Adrian Beltre currently has 28 home runs and 98 RBIs. Achieving the 30-100 milestone would prove a lot of critics wrong, though it certainly wouldn’t help the Red Sox in their upcoming contract negotiations with the third baseman. David Ortiz just hit his 30th home run, but still needs eight RBIs to reach 100. Doing this would give him his first 30-100 season since 2007. Also, if John Lackey was to get on track and finish with 15 wins, the Sox would have three pitchers with at least 15 wins for the first time since 2007.

So finish strong, Sox! Pick it up, Pats. And enjoy the second day of Fall, New Englanders!

~Seth, CoupMe


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