Something Is Definitely Over in Boston

The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Boston Red Sox this afternoon at Fenway Park. They won 4-3, with a late game contribution from Omar Vizquel to seal the deal. That says something about the resurgent Blue Jays, who have shown that, with more bodies on the field than in the infirmary, they are a competitive baseball team.

I think it says more about the Boston Red Sox than it does about the Blue Jays, though. I have been a Jays fan, a dedicated one, since mid 2007. In each of those 4 and a half years, the Red Sox have been a big gorilla of an opponent on the schedule. Eighteen times a season, the Blue Jays would have to face off against a lineup and a rotation packed with all-stars, veterans, and award winners. These were teams that would take the Dan Evelands and Jo-Jo Reyeses of this world and turn their mistakes into mincemeat, then watch them get fine and fill up the bases with walks and wild pitches. Every game against the Sox felt like it would be a tough game. From 2007-2011 the Sox went 51-39 in games against the Blue Jays, and the Jays never won the season series. This year the Jays have taken 9 of the first 14 contests. One more win puts Boston under .500 against them. I’m just not adjusted to that yet.

The chart at the top of the article is from Baseball Reference. It tracks the wins and losses of the BoSox as the season has progressed. It begins July 20th, the first game of a Jays three game sweep in Fenway. It ends September 9th, after today’s 3 game sweep at Fenway. I read today that the Jays haven’t won six in a row at the Fens since… wait for it… 1989.

The longest streak of green bars in that line is 4. One 4 game winning streak in a month and a half of ball. It isn’t something I’m used to from the Sox. Another thing I’m not used to:

I’m sorry, there’s a Mr. Magoo joke begging to be made here.

That’s Befuddled Bobby V. , now he doesn’t always look like that, sometimes its more like this:

Still befuddled, in a different way.

Now, Bobby V, I’m gonna miss you when you are gone. And you will be gone. The only reason you haven’t quit is because you could really use the money, I’m sure.

The only reason I can figure that you haven’t been fired is because the Red Sox front office figures you can ride a dead horse downhill. The end of the season is definitely downhill from here, I’m sure of that. And Bobby Valentine, you have hit your expiry date, and then some. I believe the Sox were not going to have a banner season, regardless of the manager. It wasn’t going to be pretty. Just in case we weren’t completely sure, your handling of the players and the media uglied it up real good, we owe you one Bobby.

Something is surely over in Boston, an era of effective confidence is gone. The Red Sox teams that knew they could beat you, should beat you, those teams are gone. Ownership cleared the books to give themselves room to create something new. They traded away mega-millions in payroll commitments to reorient the club. Whatever changes they decided to make are unlikely to bear immediate fruit, though. Given the chance to play for the Red Sox, the Blue Jays, the Rangers, the Angels, Yankees or Dodgers for the same money, what free agent in their right mind would choose the Sox this year?

The Red Sox success has been eroded from underneath for about a year now. After the end of the season this year, I’m pretty sure everything we’ve come to know about the personality, the approach, the character of this team that American League teams have come to hate, will all be gone like it was washed out to sea. The team that replaces it won’t be built into a contender overnight.

And for that, all the fans of the Jays, Orioles, and Rays will say a quiet “Thanks.” to the baseball gods.

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