Dear Sox fans,
Suffering has never been tough for us to find. Unless you became a fan after the World Series in 2004, you've probably seen some BAD teams take the field at Fenway, and you've probably even seen good teams take the fall in many a dramatic way.
Let's not forget, it wasn't so long ago when our team was a complete mess. The new ownership didn't have a general manager, we were signing unknowns like Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, and Todd Walker. Most of us went around that winter saying "Who are these guys?". How many of us really thought that team had a legitimate shot at the World Series?
Depending on your age, you've probably seen some Red Sox heartbreak. I don't even need to mention those games and how they felt. Yes, we've had our share of absolute disasters (players I won't name for bandwith purposes), but we've also had several players that were here less time than Damon who were twice as special. Curt Schilling, Dave Roberts, Billy Mueller, just in recent history. I could go on.
The point is, that this team WILL go on. They WILL find someone to patrol center field next season, just as they will plug the hole at shortstop. That's how it goes. Sometimes a fan favorite leaves, and it can be for any number of reasons. That's no reason to give away your season-tickets or go bridge-hunting. I just don't understand the hysteria.
As for Johnny Damon being the "face of the franchise" and all of those wonderful mediot buzzwords, I'm not buying it. Sure, he did some commercials and was high-profile, but the ownership has repeatedly stated that they want Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek to be the faces of the team. They cringed every time a reporter used the word "Idiot".
Boston lost a good player. There's no denying that. In the same day, the Yankees picked up a good player. That usually means headaches and pouting, but not me. Not today. I wore my Sox jersey to work with my Pedro shirt underneath and played "Dirty Water" on my stereo. I refuse to let Damon and his "Our policy on the Yankees....." speech get to me, and I've urged others to stay positive.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not doing cartwheels tonight, but it's hardly the end of the world, OR THE 2006 SEASON. There's more doubt, griping, and questions about "where to go from here?" than ever. In my years of Red Sox loyalty, that pretty much means that all is how it should be; a fact that brings a bizarre feeling of normalcy and relief.
What would the Red Sox be without a winter of uncertainty and some rabid fatalism? Boring. Bring on the conspiracy theories, suicide notes and spray-painted highway signs. Bring back the "C" word and drag Babe's piano back out of the lake.
Here's the bottom line though, as my sermon enters the 9th:
Even with all of the garbage that goes along with it, I wouldn't root for any other team, not even for $52 million dollars.
Despite the baggage that goes with it, EVERY day is a great day to be a Sox fan, and that's how its always going to be.