It's been a crazy 12 months, really. Well, 12 months, and a couple weeks anyway.
12 months ago, I sat here, in the same chair, looking at the same computer, and living very much the same life, as I am in the present time. A lot has changed, both in my life, and in my love of the Boston Red Sox. They weren't really changes for the worse either, rather, they now reflect a much different view on the very same reality.
For those living under a rock for over a year... the Red Sox aren't a good team anymore. In September of last year, we exploded. This year, it was like watching the explosion day after day after day. We had a clown as our manager, a media circus that felt even more prevalent than it had been in years past, and a mega-trade in which we were the sellers, and another team was the team taking in the overpriced, overvalued talent.
It hasn't been all bad, you know, that trade with the Dodgers netted us premium young talent. Something I think most of us have been clamoring for. We also got rid of the clown in the dugout. And well. I guess the Yankees are facing elimination against the Tigers. Can't complain about that. In fact, I can't really complain about anything. In a lot of ways, this is my first taste of what it feels like to be on the losing end of something. Yes, we had 2009 (where we bitterly lost to the Angels), and 2010, where we didn't even make the playoffs... and 2011, in which we were good for most of the year, but terrible at the end. No, 2012 was a different beast for me. it was the first season in which it felt like we didn't have a chance from beginning to end. For a full season, the Red Sox were not a good team. For a full season, they were poor.
The Boston Red Sox have been a huge part of my entertainment since 2003, and never once in all those years did I think this team would resemble the team it did at the end of 2012. You can blame injuries and poor coaching all you want. It doesn't change the fact that the Red Sox had their first losing season since 1997. Even in 2006, and 2010 when the team was ravaged by injuries it seemed on a daily basis, did this team muster a record below .500.
No, this was a special team. The 2012 Boston Red Sox will be remembered in my mind for as long as I still love the game of baseball as the first season that I can truly say was painful from my own perspective. But I still love baseball, and I still love the Red Sox. Because through everything, the Red Sox reminded me time and time again that the sport is just that. A sport.
I can love it all I want, but it will never love me back. I can feed it with attention and money for the cable required to watch it, but it will never give me anything more than a smile or a frown. Of course, those are things that should be common knowledge, baseball cannot love someone. It's not capable of such a feeling.
It's not really love, but I do feel a sense of joy from at least having the company of those who have also trudged in, day in and day out, to watch a team we all knew wasn't going anywhere for the longest time. We don't get along all the time, but I wouldn't keep coming here if you guys were lame. So thanks for that.
Life goes on.
The offseason will be one of the longest in recent memory. The Red Sox need a new manager, a first baseman, an outfielder, PITCHING, and possibly several other pieces I'm neglecting to mention right now. What makes this worse is there isn't exactly a bevvy of fine players on the market to choose from. We all have our opinions on who we think should be chosen, yes, but I think we can all agree that almost anything we do is better than what we have now. A train wreck that isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Where will Ellsbury be? Will Cody Ross be back? David Ortiz? Who is going to be the next manager who thinks they have a chance at righting the ship? Will the rotation be better than we expect? What are we getting from John Lackey?
In many ways, the end of 2012 looks kind of like the end of 2011.
A year ago, I said, "2012 looks bright for us."
I can't help but laugh at what I said. I thought that the tunnel was going to be as brief as Billy Wagner's time in Boston. I had no idea the team was heading to the longest darkest tunnel it's seen in the 21st century.
For the first time as a fan of the Boston Red Sox, I have a bad feeling about the future. Or at least the near future. The Red Sox have loads of resources, and it'd be stupid to think they'll take long to fix things, but it's one of those situations where you can't help but think, "This could be the start of a bad time."
I have confidence things will be better. Maybe not in 2013, but rather 2014. Regardless of what happened this year, or what will happen next, it will be fun to watch, because I'm a fan of baseball, not just the Boston Red Sox.
Many things will probably change over the next season. One thing won't. I love the Boston Red Sox, even if they'll never (obviously) love me back.