The Red Sox won the World Series.
The odds are good that this annoys you, at best. There are a lot of Red Sox fans out there. There are a lot more people rolling their eyes and groaning. These guys again?
But the Red Sox can make you feel better about your team. No, seriously. Here are three ways. They're all basically different variations on the "Baseball is drunk" theme, but you can use all of the good thoughts you can scrounge up. Here, then, are ways the Red Sox can make you feel better about the fellers you follow.
If you're a Red Sox fan, you can just read along and think about how all this stuff actually happened.
Worst to first
I've touched on this here, but I still don't think it gets enough play. If the Astros were in the World Series this year, all you would hear would be worsttofirstworsttofirst. And it would be a golden pelican sitting on your shoulder and singing it to you because that's just how high you are to hallucinate the Astros being in the World Series. But you get the idea. The worst-to-first narrative would be pushed much harder for other teams.
Was it less of a story for the Red Sox because we're so used to them being good now? Or because it didn't look like they had a hopeless team? Or because they made a lot of moves in the offseason? But they were miserable, just miserable, last season. So much went wrong for them. Now they're World Series champions. Even if you're not a fan of the team, can't you appreciate how nutty baseball can be? How quickly teams can move from awful to fantastic?
Here are the last-place teams from this year:
Obviously the Marlins and Astros are extreme cases, but the 2012 Red Sox weren't that much different from the Blue Jays or Rockies. Or even the Cubs. A lot would have to go right for any of those teams to even sniff the playoffs next year. And guess what? That kind of stuff did happen for the Red Sox.
So the next time your team is embroiled in a season-long nightmare, think … well, don't think of the Red Sox. Too soon. But think about how teams can go worst-to-first. It took a flukey trade. It took some homegrown pitchers finding themselves. It took some risky free-agent signings working out.
Maybe, dunno, your last-place team could get those kind of breaks. Or even your second- or third-place team.
The redemption of a mistake
Every team has a mistake on the roster. An expensive, unwieldy mistake. And for the second season in a row, one of those mistakes came back to do good things. Last year, it was Barry Zito. This year it was John Lackey. Different degrees of cost and mistake, but don't forget just how reviled Lackey was in Boston. He signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal before the 2010 season, and he was bad. Then he was indescribably bad in 2011, and people were actually discussing a last-second acquisition of Bruce Chen.
Were all Red Sox fans happy to see Lackey back? Not as such.
lackey will stink no matter what. there is no hope. he says he felt good, but he still gave up a three-run homer over two innings.
i think wright or morales should be the 5th starter, until RDLR or Webster are ready. I WANT LACKEY OUT OF TOWN!
That was one of the polite ones. Instead, this year Lackey was the pitcher the Red Sox thought they were getting in the first place. Now you can picture your team's mistake there. Josh Hamilton? Sure, Josh Hamilton. B.J. Upton? Give him one more year like this, then make him a champ. Alex Rodriguez? Yeah, that … wait, c'mon, I'm eating here.
That wasn't retweeted a million times. That wasn't the subject of a dozen sneering articles. That was something that kinda sorta made sense if you squinted. And here we are.
The sublime gift of a franchise player
In the 2002 offseason, after the Red Sox failed to win the the World Series for the 84th straight season, there was probably a dejected Red Sox fan sitting on a curb somewhere, looking up at the sky, and yelling, "Can't another team just give us a franchise player to help us win a World Series?"
The Twins obliged. They had a 26-year-old first baseman coming off a 20-homer, 120 OPS+ season. Rather than pay him a million in arbitration, they cut him loose. They thought about it, discussed it, debated it, then said, nah, this baseball player is not going to help us win baseball games relative to other baseball players.
Write the alternate timeline if the Twins hang on to David Ortiz (or if the Mariners never traded him in the first place.) There's a chance the Red Sox are still working on a championship drought. Think that three wins in nine seasons is annoying? Can't be nearly as bad as hearing "Curse of the Bambino" over and over and over again for the next 20 years. The Twins probably did baseball a favor.
Is your team bad? Is your team good, but mired in a championship drought? Hope that another team will just give away a player to help. Just ... here. Here you go. Take him. Every fringe rumor on MLB Trade Rumors should make you excited for this very reason. Maybe another team is just trying to give you guys something.
A year ago, the Red Sox were a punchline. Everyone figured they were rebuilding. When they signed Mike Napoli, it felt like something that needed to be explained. Instead, this.
Congratulations, Red Sox, and congratulations Red Sox fans. It was unpredictable in the best kind of baseball way. If you're looking for a silver lining, non-Red Sox fans, revel in that unpredictability. Use it to feel better about your team.
Should have pointed out at the beginning, this offer doesn't apply to Cardinals fans. But the other 28 teams can look at the Red Sox and note this stuff can really happen. Now you're feeling invincible. Bring on the offseason.