Monday, June 29, 2015

An Optimistic Note From A Wintry 'Down Under'

by Mark Lawrence, International Editor

The other day I was striding purposefully through the Central Business District here in wintry Sydney, clad in my worsted grey Red Sox hoodie when a lilting feminine voice called out to me: "Go Sox!"    

"Not this year," I muttered, pulling the hood tighter around my pointy little dome.  But some hours later, soothed by some warming adult beverages and calmed by a narrow Cuban cheroot, I begin to ponder the possibilities.  Here we are yet again, in a familiar place of turmoil and frustration, at the part of the season where managers are fired and hired and players either play hard or go home losers. And don't forget the fans, poor trusting souls that we are. Our faith in our team may be shay right now, but as readers may recall, our faith has been memorably rewarded in recent years. And that's what had me thinking about the past. Now, even though there are less than 85 games remaining, there is still that slender, golden chance that things could turn around.  

Looking at the AL East right now, it's an awfully tight race - well, it is between every team but ours - but sooner or later one team will break out ahead of the pack, while others will stumble and fall and, maybe, one team in particular will finally get its head and its behind wired together, start winning ballgames and startle the bejesus out of everyone in organised ball.  

This idea, while fanciful, isn't as crazy as it sounds. Hell, there are precedents - the 2007 Rockies somehow managed to win 14 of their last fifteen games, actually winding up with the Wildcard - and a disenchanted fan base will take that kind of performance every time. In 2009, the Twins were seven games out - in September, mind you - and yet they somehow made it all the back to win their Division.  The Mariners were a sub .500 club in '95 - but they clawed their way out of the hole, winning 25 of 36 to take the AL West. And of course, I seem to recall that battered old Boston outfit from way back in 1967 - they managed a pretty impressive turnaround, too, as I recall.  

The point - and I think it's obvious - is that any damn thing can happen in baseball, and usually does. This battered old scribe wouldn't be a bit surprised to see a very strong second half by Our Boys - they certainly want one - and a startlingly great comeback wouldn't just be great, terrific or amazing - it'd be so typically Boston, too. So sit back, grab some Buds, and get set for the Second Half - it could be an absolute stunner.  

But don't quote me.