PlayBook: All Smoke And Fire

By Fraser Lockerbie

The Red Sox and the 160 million dollar slump.

Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire and when a team starts 1-5 there is both. Granted six games is not an awesome sample size for a 162 game season but it’s never too early to panic. Not in Boston. Never in Boston! We fucking love panic in Boston. Five alarm fires are our thing. Through the Tito years we acquired a taste for winning and now we expect it. We’re the new brood, born of Beckett in the house of Epstein; we’ve never known all the times they’ve tried, all the gut wrenching Game 7s and the wins that came “too little, too late.” The ‘67s ,‘78s, the ‘86s and the ‘99s. All the Impossible Dreams and the torment of the Big Red Machine. The Aaron Boones, the Bill Buckners and the Bucky Fucking Dents. The Curse and every single series we won “three games to four.”

We owe the world to “the idiots” but we’d be mindful to remember our past. Winning was for a long time not a word widely associated with the Sox; 86 years is a lifetime to live when you’re losing.

Still, starting 1-5 is a tough take, straight, no chase in the small New England towns where baseball is above all else a living, breathing thing. Coming off collapse we were all expecting a little less chub, less chicken and beer and chaos in the club. Among other things we were expecting ERAs under 10.00 and batting averages above .204. We were expecting wins and chemistry and hitters who don’t chase every 0-2 slider halfway down the banks of the river Charles. But what we got were misfits who look just as lost as they did when they dropped a 9.0 game lead in the late goings of last season. Nine games and a month of nothing but 160 million dollars worth of miserable misfit baseball.

But so what? No memories of a better time will ever make up for a run right now; baseball is a game of what have you done for me lately. All the World Series in the world won’t wash away the wound of winless swoon but every blown save will haunt you. Every homerun that was never supposed to happen will stick in your craw until the day you die.  Every knuckler that didn’t knuckle, every “space ball” still stuck in the stratosphere. Every 1-5 start and 7-20 finish. Every two-out, full count swinging strike in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded will remind you that baseball is a blood sport and oh do we love to bleed.

This is a game for full time fans that goes beyond records and runs. We will moan and groan over wins and losses and grumble about every agonizingly obvious blown call. But we are here for the whole, the ups downs and everything in between. Baseball is more than the sum of its parts, more than a passing game or season or swoon. It’s an ongoing story and for better or worse we’re 1-5 games into the next chapter with six months more to play. 


Playboy Social