Opening Day is Tough to Beat
State of the Sox
The Red Sox officially began their season a week ago yesterday. Jon Lester was out-dueled by the reigning MVP/Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlander. Since that loss, the Local Nine have dropped four additional games, winning one in the process.
Times are not “so good, so good, so good” in the Hub.
Baseball is a grind. It is a war of attrition. The 2011 Red Sox pitching staff can certainly attest to that. Playing well early in the season guarantees you nothing. What is now, will likely not be in two months. It would be foolish of me, of course, to feign like I’m not disappointed in this team. If experiencing success in the initial part of the season was imperative for any squad, it was this one.
But again, in baseball, failure now does not preclude victory later.
And there is reason for hope. So far, the 2012 Red Sox pass the eye test. The wins are not there, but it would be a disservice to this team to claim that they have not shown heart. If there is a silver lining in a 1-5 start to a year, following a season that ended with a mushroom cloud billowing out from Camden Yards, it is resistance–this Red Sox team is not content losing ballgames. Ultimately, that will go a long way in accruing victories.
The fact that it is Opening Day at Fenway Park doesn’t hurt either.
More Than Anything, It’s a Holiday
Unless I’m missing one along the way, today will be my fourth time attending the home opener at the Fens. And there really isn’t a feeling quite like it.
I witnessed a Red Sox team get their World Series rings. I’ve gone for free. I’ve spent way too much on a bleacher seat. I saw a grown man tear up when Bill Buckner emerged from the left field wall. I’ve seen Pedro Martinez pitch on Opening Day. I’ve also seen Daisuke Matsuzaka toe the rubber (please note the juxtaposition, as I’m not bragging about watching Dice-K pitch).
It’s true that the Sox organization puts on quite the dog and pony show before a game–and that’s an afternoon contest in mid-July. So you can just imagine the propaganda that filters out on the field before the home opener.
But today, I’m into it. I love the flyover. I love the flyover like Jerry loves the Drake. I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I thought Tim Wakefield would not be throwing out the first pitch to Jason Varitek. It just makes too much sense, right? I guess it’s possible that Wakefield and Varitek gave ownership the same sort of answer Terry Francona did when he was asked to join the club for Fenway’s 100th anniversary a week from today (for the record, I don’t blame Tito). Whether it’s a freshly retired player or Hall of Famer like Jim Rice or Carlton Fisk, I don’t care. Either way, it’ll get me all sorts of jacked up.
Ultimately, I’m excited to not be at work and have the opportunity to spend in the day in Boston with a group of buddies, talking and watching baseball.
Call me a sap. I probably am.
To Cheer or Not to Cheer
Apparently, the big question this week has been whether fans attending the game will cheer or boo the members of the team upon their introductions. I think validity can be found on both sides of that argument.
I’m a big believer in it being your choice a ticket-buyer to clap or boo. Voice your displeasure or cheer vehemently. Just don’t infringe on other people’s ability to have a good time. Especially mine.
Look, if you want to boo Josh Beckett, boo him. I get it. At the end of last year, he didn’t live up to his end of the bargain. I don’t blame you for wanting to let him know how you feel the first time you see him.
Just make sure you’re consistent. If you believe Beckett laid down like a dog last September and you boo him for that, you better do the same for Lester. And if you don’t, all that means is that you just don’t like Beckett, regardless of performance. Contrite or not, Beckett and Lester both pitched miserably at the end of 2011. Boo accordingly, just be consistent.
As for me, I will cheer the team. Did they collectively wet themselves in the last segment of last season? Absolutely. Did they leave me with a taste in my mouth that stayed with me all winter and into the spring? 100 percent. However, I’m not heading to Fenway Park today to settle any sort of score.
I’m looking for a win. And a quality outing from Beckett wouldn’t hurt.