Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sox Lose on Opening Day: Panic in Streets of Hub

Blockbuster news coming out of Kansas City: The Red Sox are now mathematically eliminated from going 162-0.

Armed as they were with such a compelling story, talk radio yesterday popped and sizzled with a blow-by-blow analysis of the Red Sox’ epic collapse. Schilling showed a shocking lack of control; Pedroia and Youkilis got overaggressive on the basepaths and got gunned down at second by ten feet each; Sox bats stayed silent thanks to the presumptive Cy Young winner, Gil Meche. And as an extra added bonus, we had an entire off-day to discuss the same three-hour game over and over and over again.

Please, people: Can we all take a breath here? I hate to utter a Boston blasphemy, but it’s just one lousy game. There are many more to play before I have to start my “wait ‘till next year” piece.

Yesterday morning, some poor sap called in to the morning yakfest here in Boston and actually tried to articulate this very point – that maybe, just maybe, the talking heads of talk radio, blissfully free of context or long view, were overanalyzing the bejeebers out of this one single game.

He was, quite literally, shouted down and off the air, and ridiculed in absentia for some time thereafter. I’d love to say I was surprised in addition to being disappointed, but I wasn’t.

I admit, though, that I was a little surprised that the very piece you're currently reading was rejected by the site for whom I write, BostonDirtDogs, because they actually like the idea of fomenting panic in the hearts of the Faithful, and apparently wouldn't dream of publishing anything that resembled the voice of Reason, however still and small that voice might be today. Hey - it's their gig, and I admit that beyond contributing, I enjoy reading the site, so maybe they have something there.

But come on. It’s a long season. We need to keep perspective or we’re going to lose our collective minds. Few people likely remember Opening Day 2004, when the Sox, fresh off their Aaron Boone hangover, got shelled 7-2 at Baltimore. The Sox’ erstwhile ace, Pedro someone or other, gave up a three-spot in the early going and the game was never close. We remember what happened from there, don’t we?

Yes: a win is better than a loss. Fully admitted. Any Red Sox fan would have preferred to start the season with a win, but half the league loses on Opening Day. It’s going to happen; best thing to do is hitch up your trousers and hunker down for a long season.

I don’t know if the Red Sox are going to go all the way this year. I can’t even state with anything like certainty that they’ll make the postseason. But I can tell you this: the measure of a team is not winning in April; it’s winning in October. Let’s withhold judgment on the 2007 Red Sox until some time after game 1.

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