The season is not over. That’s something we’ve heard a countless number of times since the Red Sox finished their four-game sweep of the Yankees, an incredibly helpful piece of information for those of us that indeed thought the baseball season ceased to exist on Sunday. The season is not over, and thank the lord for that because this season has been indescribably awesome. I’m not ready for it to be over. I, like most Red Sox fans, came into the season with big expectations. I thought they’d edge out the Yankees for the division, and I tell you that not to brag (I get enough wrong that getting one thing right doesn’t really cancel this out), but rather to establish that there were expectations for this team to win from the very beginning of the year. The expectations were high, and yet this team has continuously found a way to shatter said expectations. They are 80-34, they have a chance to clinch a .500 record on August 8, and they are on pace for 114 wins on the year.
This has been a special season since Day One (or, more accurately, Day Two), but this weekend’s sweep of the Yankees really put things over the top. I think what made that series so amazing, beyond the obvious, was that they won every way. They had a dominant offensive performance in Game One. Games Two and Three included methodically dominant starting pitching. Game Four was the resilient, come-from-behind victory late in the game, something they repeated on Tuesday in Toronto. We saw all of the reasons the Red Sox have been so good this year, and we saw it against their biggest rival and one of the very best teams in baseball. The sweep gave this Red Sox team a 9.5-game lead, and as we talk today the lead stands at an even nine.
I just want to take the opportunity to implore you to do everything you can to enjoy the hell out of this team while you can. This seems obvious and no one in their right mind would purposely not enjoy this team, but it’s easier than you’d think to let something this special go by without really savoring it. Some popular refrains from many after the sweep were: “don’t celebrate too hard!” “the division ain’t clinched!” “remember 1978 and 2011?” Those responses weren’t just from a few random, miserable fans, either. There were prominent members of the media across different platforms and mediums spreading that same point, to which I say: Don’t tell me what to do, no shit, and yes thanks for the history lesson.
Look, I understand why this happens and why the natural tendency for this media market is to find the negatives. It is conventional wisdom that negativity will drive page views and ratings as well as conversation. I’m not entirely sold that it’s true (but I’m far from the biggest expert in this respect), but I get the logic. Still, nobody is saying anything we don’t know. There are a lot of us who don’t remember 1978 personally, but we all know about it because people can’t help but talk about it constantly. Most of us did live through 2011, at least, so we know collapses are possible. There isn’t a Red Sox fan alive who thinks the division has been clinched or that the regular season is over. We all know collapses happen, and we’d know that without the constant reminders. To put it simply: You’re not helping anyone, you’re just bringing the mood down for the sake of bringing the mood down. The Red Sox just swept one of the three best teams in baseball to take a commanding lead in the American League East! Take a step back and think about how absurd it is for the first thought to be 1978. It’s absurd!
Look, I know that the playoffs are all that matter, and I’m not one of those people who thinks the playoffs are completely meaningless and random. Ultimately we do all of this for October, and a deep run there is always more memorable than the regular season. That being said, to put everything on the postseason and throw away regular season success is asinine. We watch games almost everyday for half of the damn year and we’re not supposed to enjoy any of it? We’re supposed to just sit idly by and wait for October to roll around? Get all the way out of here with that. It’s true that things could go south for this Red Sox team later, and if they do I’ll react accordingly.
But in the meantime, me enjoying the here and now will have no effect on this. I watch sports because it’s fun and my favorite form of entertainment. If I’m not going to have fun along the ride, then what are we even doing? If your idea of fun is looking at things pragmatically and constantly reminding yourself that things can go south and that a good regular season is no guarantee of postseason success? Well, you do you! I sincerely mean that; I’m not here to tell you how to watch sports. Just do the rest of us a favor and stop trying to bring us down with you, because some of us are trying to enjoy this incredible ride that may never be matched again in our lifetimes.