Thursday, September 29, 2011
Last night's Red Sox loss to the Orioles completed an epic collapse never seen in MLB History. It marked the first time a team has lost a 9 game lead going into September. What made it that much more pathetic was that the Red Sox had to rely on the Yankees to get them into the playoffs. They didn't deserve to play in October.
Let's look at the facts. The Sox started the season with World Series aspirations and right out the gate went 2-10. The overly sensitive and dramatic Red Sox fans freaked, but the season is 780 games long so no one really should have paid attention.
The Sox ended up going on a roll and looked prime to grab only their second division title since 1995. Instead, the Sox and their $162 million payroll lost the final game and wild card spot to a team with a $42 million payroll. The fact that this salary disparity even exists makes me not really respect the game of baseball, but that is for another blog.
No one should feel sorry for Sox fans. We have won two world series titles in the last 7 years. We're relevant every year. We get any top player that doesn't go to the Yankees or Phillies. We are everywhere, so always have fellow Sox fans around.
With that being said, Red Sox Nation should be concerned with the direction the team is going. Being from DC, it reminds me a little of what Dan Snyder has done. Paying players exorbitant amounts of money ( Carl Crawford) and basically saying, you have to be an MVP or you are a failure. Crawford came on later in the season, but with his salary we probably won't be able to keep one of the best and most popular young players in the game Jacoby Ellsbury. We do not want to turn into the Yankees (if we haven't already).
The question really becomes, would you rather have the pressure to win it all every year with high priced free agents? Or would you rather build a team around less known entities like Ellsbury and Pedroia? Obviously, most players don't turn out like those two, but sometimes I miss the feeling of watching an underdog succeed. I haven't enjoyed the Red Sox the last few years because it just seems like the culture has changed.
Look, I don't blame the Red Sox for spending money. If you really want to change baseball you need a salary cap. While Bud Selig can talk all he wants about parody in baseball, the fact is the Orioles will probably never be in the playoffs again and the Red Sox, Yankees, and Phillies will always at least be in the hunt. While this is a tough loss to take, I can take comfort in knowing that at least they will be back in the hunt next year. Unfortunately, most fans can't say the same.