There are two times during the year when blockbuster movies tend to be released. There’s the summer when popcorn flicks come out seemingly weekly and the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year when Oscar hopefuls and franchise behemoths enter theaters. Baseball only occurs during one of those times, with the stadium at odds with the movie theater for keeping people’s attention in the summer. In the winter, baseball’s hot stove may be cooking but baseball is still in the relative slumber of the offseason.
Although baseball is our primary interest here at Over the Monster, we aren’t impervious to other forms of entertainment whether it appears in the summer, winter or any other time of the year. This week, one of those franchise behemoths I was just talking about will make landfall, with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lighting up movie screens across the globe today.
The essential story of good vs. evil in Star Wars is one we often paint over our sports narratives. The team you root for is the rebellion and the team you root against is the empire. In the Red Sox’s case, the comparison is even more apt considering their arch rival’s nickname. Beyond that, some of the story lines in the movies of the Star Wars franchise share parallels with teams in Red Sox franchise history. What better time than now to take a look at them by assigning each movie to a Red Sox season.
Let’s talk ground rules before we begin.
First, I’ll only be including teams from 1990 and onward to make the scope a bit smaller and things a bit easier based on my expertise. If you’d like to dive further back in time and make your own list, please feel free to drop it in the comments or in a FanPost.
Second, we will be going in canonical and chronological order with the movies but not the seasons. In this way, we are more looking at which season best encapsulates each movie and not trying to match a 10-movie storyline with a specific 10-year stretch in Red Sox history exactly. The parallels only go so far after all.
Third, we will only be looking at feature length, live action Star Wars movies that were widely released in theaters and in canonical order. That means no entries from other mediums like the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series.
Now let’s get listing.
The 2011 season is The Phantom Menace
Both the 2011 season and the first entry in the Star Wars prequel trilogy feature massive amounts of hype. For the Red Sox, it was the season following some major roster additions, including All Star outfielder Carl Crawford and All Star first baseman Adrián González. On the Star Wars side, an already insatiable fanbase had been waiting since 1983 for another Star Wars movie.
The overall results of both were a bit lacking. The Red Sox collapsed down the stretch and missed the playoffs and The Phantom Menace failed to match any of original trilogy movies. However, there were high points as well, with 2011 giving us Jacoby Ellsbury’s MVP caliber season and The Phantom Menace giving us pod racing and the Duel of the Fates.
The 2012 season is Attack of the Clones
Anakin Skywalker doesn’t like sand and I didn’t like this season or this movie.
The 1993 season is The Revenge of the Sith
Revenge of the Sith is just fine. It’s not great and its not altogether terrible. It’s a meme factory, which makes it easy to mock, but it stands up much better than the other prequels. However, being mediocre won’t get the job done. That’s what the 1993 Red Sox learned by going 80-82, which is just about as mediocre as you can get. To make matters worse, the Red Sox had to watch one of the best players in franchise history wear pinstripes. To channel my inner Obi-Wan Kenobi, you were supposed to bring balance to the batter’s box, Wade Boggs, not leave it in darkness.
The 2019 season is Solo
I actually liked Solo but based on its Rotten Tomatoes score, it didn’t inspire a ton of confidence overall, which may have forced Disney to go in a different direction. In much the same way, the 2019 Red Sox had things to be pleased with (Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts etc.), but the lackluster finish led to a front office shakeup.
The 2003 season is Rogue One
Aaron Boone’s walkoff home run in the 2003 ALCS ended the Red Sox’s short-term hopes in an instant, just as the final battle of Rogue One on Scarif forced us to say goodbye to Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, K-2SO and the rest of the crew. However, the actions taken in Rogue One allowed the rebellion to ultimately destroy the Death Star while the 2003 season was the first for David Ortiz in Boston and he became the Red Sox’s own Death Star destroyer.
The 2004 season is A New Hope
I had a lot of trouble deciding if 2004 should be Episode IV or Episode VI. I ultimately went with IV for a few reasons. The most important is that the 2004 season began an entirely new era in Red Sox franchise history. Counting that season’s World Series title, the Red Sox have won four rings in the last 16 years and are no longer the team just hoping to catch a break. In the same way, A New Hope is responsible for all the Star Wars mania that carries on to this day. Also, which is more difficult, coming back from a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series or the shot Luke hits to blow up the Death Star?
The 1999 season is The Empire Strikes Back
I thought this team was going to topple the Yankees just like Luke thought he was going to take down Darth Vader. In the end, we were both wrong. The Red Sox were unceremoniously defeated in the ALCS by New York and Luke had his hand cut off while receiving the worst and most shocking 23andMe results imaginable. Oh, and Roger Clemens started pitching for the Yankees this year. That feels like an offseason transaction completed by Emperor Palpatine.
The 2013 season is Return of the Jedi
After a devastating letdown in the previous installment (2012 and The Empire Strike Back), a group of misfits and castoffs with not a small amount of fur (beards and Ewoks) rise up and pull off a stunning victory.
The 2018 season is The Force Awakens
Some people complain that The Force Awakens is just a rehashing of A New Hope. I say its a better version. While the 2004 team will always have a more meaningful space in the hearts of Red Sox fans, there is no denying the absolute dominance and superior baseball talent of the 2019 campaign.
The 2016 and 2017 seasons are The Last Jedi
The Red Sox won 93 games and claimed the AL East in both of these seasons. However, the fact that they came up short in the playoffs made for plenty of things for people to complain about and ultimately led to the departure of manager John Farrell.
The Last Jedi had its problems but was still a fine piece of film making in the Star Wars saga, yet the vitriol that rose up around it reached unacceptable proportions plus director Rian Johnson is notably not directing the follow-up.
Both this movie and these seasons should show us that missing out on perfection doesn’t equal abject failure.
Editor’s note: This article originally incorrectly identified Attack of the Clones as The Clone Wars. The error has been fixed.