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The wild bunch

Watch out, frogs.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

So it turns out the Red Sox are not the juggernaut they appeared to be for the first four months of the year. They are not the big bad world-beaters they were playing on TV. They are, instead, a bunch of messy boys who love drama, which is its own sort of fun. Sometimes.

You see sometimes, there’s no drama. That used to be in the form of Sox walkover wins, but now it’s walkover losses, and those stink on ice. Case in point: Tuesday night’s thwacking at the hands of the Rays. Nothing fun about that. Makes you wanna barf for ever caring about this team. It’s like a great actor in a terrible movie that you watched only because of the actor. You feel like you played yourself.

Then Wednesday night happens and all is forgiven. Hunter Renfroe, frog-hunter, homer hitter and golden arm-haver, played hero, doing everything but catching frogs. He maybe did that after the game, which sounds unlikely but frankly we can’t rule it out. How else would you celebrate an eighth-inning go-ahead homer followed by a walkoff assist? Beers? BAH! Frogs.

Of course not all the drama is the good drama. Monday’s game is an example of the bad drama. The Sox had a critical game against the Rays all but won except for their inability to catch routine fly balls, and then they lost. It was heartbreaking, but it was wild. The sun is really powerful, too, I hear. Light is bright and the gravity and all that. Giver of life, etc. But Alex Verdugo has gotta make that catch.

The wildness plays into the wildcard chase, in which they Sox are firmly ensconced now, having leapt back into the top spot after last night’s miracle. Expect more of the bobbing in and out as the season continues. The trajectory hasn’t been great, but the wild Sox seem destined to keep things as interesting as possible. I would not expect them to run away with anything except maybe a frog or two.

All that said, I’m not overly confident about the Sox winning the World Series this year. Bold take, I know. The counterargument is that the team is staying afloat right now despite a pretty impressive COVID outbreak, with Xander Bogaerts only now nearing a return to displace the guy, in José Iglesias, who he ultimately displaced in the first place, many moons ago. It’s a lot to keep straight, but the straightest talk is that the Sox’s upper bound is probably the ALCS.

(Given how I’m often I’m wrong, this prediction is either a good thing or a bad thing. It’s probably either underselling them or something, or consigning them to miss the playoffs altogether. Just making sure you know that I know I’m maybe cursing them. And also the opposite.)

But even if that’s the case—especially if they reach that upper bound—you have to hand it to this team. When they make it interesting, they make it really interesting. It’s a long season, and the first half was not like this at all, yet now it feels like it’s all they do. Given their commitment to the bit, I wouldn’t expect much to change from here on out. Keep Calm and Sox On is the new motto, no matter how hard that’s going to be at times. There are only three weeks left anyway. I promise you can make it. I’m a little more worried about the frogs.