I'm actually glad for this. It seems strange to say it. But truthfully I am. People have already talked about the people they blame or the people they want blamed. And I understand the anger. But it just isn't in me. I'm not angry. Not really. I skipped that stage of grief and went right to dealing with the sadness. And I found, truthfully, that I'm glad to have the misery.
See, the misery reminds me that I care. It reminds me that a world series, or even the playoffs, comes through struggle. That it isn't easy. That loving the team and rooting for the team and enjoying the team are all privileges. I got to see the Sox come storming back in '04, down 3 games in the ALCS to knock the Yankees out of the playoffs and then steamroll the rest of the way. I got to see an even better team in '07 take a similar path. And have it taste just as sweet. But the high of that high. The joy of that memory came from the contrast of remembering '86. The joy came from remembering the low after Aaron friggin Boone. So I'll take this misery, so the next world series I can say, "I was there in '11, I was there on Black Wednesday, I let 'em break my heart then because I knew they'd make it up to me."
I won't pretend that I'd rather have the misery than the joy of the playoffs or the elation of a world series. I won't pretend I'm glad the Sox fell apart like an old Datsun. But I'm not going to blame any one person for a pile of losses that were such a mix of bad luck, bad breaks, bad decisions, bad injuries, and bad timing. A stumble like this came from so many places there's no point in railing against a person. Bad things happen. And this year, they happened in September. Although really, if we're honest, the bad things started before. All the way to the beginning of the year. The bad things were coming in slow back then, one player at a time. Little enough we didn't see it, didn't think about it. But the injuries started before September.
Fans, I won't tell you how to grieve. That's a personal choice. But I'd urge you, in some small way, if you can. Be glad for the misery. Take some pride in knowing that it means you're an actual fan. Be angry if you must. And if you must level that anger at whatever baseball gods saw fit to smite the Sox. Don't blame the team. They tried. They cared. It was personal for them. It wasn't just business. It wasn't just a game. It mattered.
To any Sox that read this (arrogant of me to assume, I know), thank you. I know you tried. I know you cared. And I know it was even more personal to you than it was to me. And any fan that asks more than that, isn't a fan.