Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Perspective, please...

It never ceases to amaze. This morning if you go through the various Boston and national online media outlets, you would think the season was ending in a week and the Red Sox were going to miss out on the playoffs. The panic levels are, in the media, at peak level. There is talk of the ‘backup plan failing’, and plenty of suggestions as to who Boston should trade for, you know, to avoid sinking without a trace.

After having seen this happen for years in a cyclical manner, it is pretty obvious that the old saying that ‘bad news sells best’ is definitely still cast in iron in the sporting media world. For those guys, it would appear ‘glass half empty’ makes for better reading than ‘glass half full’.

Wondering aloud, could it be anything to do with the fact that pre 2004 when it came to the Red Sox the absolute prevailing winds in Boston sports writing were very much negative, downbeat and defeatist? After the Red Sox simply wasted the primes of Nomar and Pedro, after the Grady Little debacle in 2003 in particular, reading Red Sox posts by Boston’s sports scribes was akin to delving into a 500 page book on suicide figures in Siberia in the mid Russian winter.

Many of the Boston sports writers simply don’t know any better, Dan Shaughnessy being the Daddy of grim, Calvinist writers. He literally thrives on negative press, drama and bad news.

With that in mind, it is easy enough to understand how many of the writers can not see that Boston are only 3.5 games out of first place in easily the toughest division in all of baseball, the AL East. It’s easy to see how they can not be happy that Boston has done this amidst the worst injury storm in recent memory. Some of the Red Sox injuries have been nothing short of bizarre, and they have all hit at the same time. Any excuses coming from Boston? None at all, they have kept chugging away and are still within touching distance of the Yankees and the Rays.

Considering the dark past of Boston sports writing, it is still easy to see how nobody is really talking about Boston’s incoming cavalry. Check out this list of players that will return this month;

Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Jeremy Hermida, Jacoby Ellsbury and Josh Beckett

That’s an influx of talent that any Major League team would be drooling over. With those guys back in the lineup and rotation, you would have to be somewhat optimistic, no? Considering how Boston’s minor league back up crew have held the fort, and stayed within striking distance of the top of the AL East?

You have to imagine the Yankees and Rays will hit rougher waters themselves. The Yankees have spent years throwing away their minor league talent in the hunt for over 30s super stars, how will they react to the inevitable injury bug? The Rays are playing on borrowed time, due to lose several key players to free agency in 2011. The sense of panic that will grip them if they hit any sort of a slide could be completely debilitating.

I like to think of the AL East as a three mile horse race. We have just passed the half way point, there is a lot of race track left to cover, and Boston is literally right on the heels of the leaders. How often do you see it, a race where one or two horses take the lead, only to be beaten on the home stretch by a better, more solid rival?

This incarnation of the Red Sox team has so far laughed in the face of incredible diversity, stayed in the hunt for the AL East amidst injuries that would send most other teams into a complete tail spin. With the big guns coming back, how could you be anything but positive and excited about the Sox second half chances?

Glass half full, baby, glass half full.


Jeremy Grey: That's interesting John, that glass looks half full to me.
John Beckwith
: Wow, now that you mention it, it is half full!

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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

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