Contrary to popular belief, a lot of sox fans who are die-hard, analytical followers would love to watch a sox game and just root, root, root for the home team. It would be so much easier if you could watch a game, enjoy the plays and enjoy the company (if you are there in person or watching at a bar).
Unfortunately, the reality is that the sox manager chooses to do things that are either borderline gumpish or beyond comprehension, or will toss common sense out the window for whims that would disturb even the most novice fan (mientkiewicz at 2b). Lineup moves that are based on matchups are seemingly ok to justify one day, then ok not to utilize the next. Relief pitching moves based on fear of defeat, rather than going to guys based on current performance.
The Sox are on a little roll right now, a homestand of 7-3 and some yankee slumping has allowed the club to sneak within 8 games of the division lead. The wild card continues to be a race in which the sox are a game up or down give or take a day.
So, what do you do as a fan? Do you sit back, enjoy the ride, like sox fans did in 2003 when the team was not only entertaining but exciting (many come-from-behind victories)? Or do you examine how the sox have done things coaching/managing wise (sveum\’s death missions from 3rd that resemble the final minutes of Gallipoli, the movie) that have stunted the team in some losses and made some easier games a lot closer than they should be? Can we, as fans, analyze and not get a splitting headache? Is it even worth trying to be a smart fan? Should we stepford fan it?
Well, I think maybe the best route is to look at the team\’s recent play, see it as a hopeful sign that the team is on its way to the wild card or even a division title. Sure, rip the manager, he deserves it. But take it game by game, and get excited. Not too excited, but enough to be supportive fans. Not stepford fans, but fan it for the sake of the players. Follow the players and forget the manager. He\’s hopeless. We all realize this. So hopefully the players are doing the same.
When it\’s all said and done, maybe the players will pull it out. Maybe the presence of schilling, pedro, manny, ortiz, damon will be enough nucleus to get over the hump. Maybe the manager/3rd base coach won\’t screw up as often and influence games as much with their incompetent moves.
I\’m a believer. I wasn\’t at the time of the nomar trade, i\’ll admit it. But i see the schedule that favors the sox v. lousier opponents and i see not a lot from the possible wild card contenders. It\’s a playoff spot that the sox can easily attain. So here\’s hoping they do it. Consider me on the bandwagon until the bitter or sweet end.
fred from medford