All year long, since right before Opening Day right through the end of the season, SB Nation has been sending out weekly polls to Red Sox fans (and fans of all teams) to ask them two questions every week along with one national question. We already went over this past week’s national question, but the local questions are getting their own post today. Think of it as a year-in-review in the mindset of Red Sox fans in 2019.
One of the two questions you are asked every week is “Are you confident in the direction of the Red Sox.” It’s a very straightforward yes or no question, with of course a lot of potential for differing perspectives. Below is a graph showing how people responded each week in the year, with three points on the calendar highlighted by yours truly as “turning points” of sorts in the views of the team.
So, we’ll start with just a general look at how things went. I mean, we know how things went. Pretty badly! It did take just about a month for us to really buy into maybe this team not being very good for the first time, and it wasn’t consistently that way until we were nearly halfway through the season. That seems wild in hindsight, but at the start of the year the way this season has gone would have sounded wild.
As for the three big dates, let’s go one by one. Again, these were chosen by me and there were other big moments you could have picked but these were the three that sort of defined the year for me.
1. April 29
This was a long time ago, but this was the first real gut punch of the season and the first time it really felt like things could get rough. Obviously that opening road trip ended up setting the tone for the year, but at the time if you really wanted to be optimistic you could talk yourself into it just being a blip on the radar. On April 29, though, the Red Sox lost four of six including a two-game sweep at the hands of the Rays. This stretch was fresh off a huge sweep of the Rays in Tampa the weekend before. After that sweep, with seven coming up against the Rays and Tigers (one of the games against the Rays was rained out) it felt like the point in the year where things really turned around. Instead, it was the first step of a process we saw all year where this team takes a half-step forward and a full step back.
Confidence fell from 86 percent to 52 percent.
2. July 31
This one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the trade deadline! Two days before the deadline came around, the Red Sox were a game and a half out of the second wild card spot with a Pythagorean record that suggested they had underperformed to that point in the year. It seemed unfathomable that they would do nothing. The only question was how big they would go. At least, that was what we thought. The deadline came and went with the team doing nothing — they did acquire Andrew Cashner a bit before the deadline, for whatever that’s worth — and everybody was just sort of in shock. That was a sign that the front office was as down as the team as many of us were trying not to be.
Confidence crashed from 70 percent to 4 percent.
3. September 9
This is one where the confidence didn’t alter that much, but I think people were looking at the organization in an entirely different light at this point. It is, of course, the day Dave Dombrowski was fired. Just like with the trade deadline, the big takeaway was that this was the team showing they were not confident in the team, so why should we. Really, this was just the culmination of a year with confused feelings, and constant denial about the state of the team until reality just became unavoidable.
Fan Confidence fell from 31 percent to 17 percent.