The part of me that shut off after the Mookie Betts trade is starting to stir. For the first time in three years, I am excited for the baseball season to start and for the new-look Red Sox to make their marks on the world.
It’s been a long time coming. Even the delirium of the 2021 title run couldn’t bring me, emotionally, to where I am now. I am ready to get hurt again. I am ready to care.
Why did they do it? Why did they tear it all down? We will probably never get a straight answer, but Occam’s Razor suggests John Henry wanted to streamline the team’s finances so he could have more cash on hand to pursue other sports business ventures. Through that lens, and viewing this as the fourth year in a five-year project, it’s finally more exciting that it is annoying.
The hard part is over. I’m not strictly talking about 2022, but the dead-cat bounce coming off that nightmare alone is enough to pique my interest. With Rafael Devers signed, Masataka Yoshida imported, Triston Casas ready to roll and Chris Sale healthy (for now), there is real potential here for a 2013-style glow-up.
There’s also a decent chance that I’m overselling things — 2013 is the beaux ideal of all this, not a goal you’d want to write down in ink — but that’s what novelty will do for you. The Sox signed a superstar? In this economy? That’s all I ever wanted, and I’m happy to take it later instead of never. It is time, in the words of Manny Ramirez, to turn the page.
It has been a long time coming. I’d love to forgive and forget the lies coming out of Fenway Park since later 2019, but I’ll likely have to settle for one or the other, to be determined. I just don’t care anymore. Henry and Chaim Bloom always knew that our love for the Sox would win out, and they were right.
The only possible next step is success, even if it’s relative success. Finishing ahead of the Orioles would be a good start. Seeing Sale healthy wouldn’t hurt. Watching Casas become a face of the franchise would be even better. Yoshida Rookie of the Year? I wouldn’t hate it.
And so on. We’re now back at the point where I can expect these great things and others and be sad if and when they fail to materialize. I’m ready to be disappointed in the Sox again in the same sense I’m ready to be exhilarated by them. I’m back.