An anxious August has led to a September swoon for the Red Sox. Having started the year in a major funk, they can ill-afford a late season stumble. The last couple of weeks have been trying times for Sox fans. Not only have we had to endure natural disasters — an earthquake, a hurricane, flooding, Andrew Miller’s starts — but we have also endured a series of gut-wrenching losses to the Yankees, Rangers, Blue Jays and Rays. On top of all that, we have been first-hand witnesses to seven painful failed attempts by Tim Wakefield to win his 200th game. The only saving grace has been that the Yanks seem to be in the midst of their own September swoon having lost their last few to the lowly Orioles and to the Angels. Miraculously, this has kept the Sox just 2-1/2 games back despite the skid. Meanwhile, the low-payroll but spunky Tampa Bay Rays are breathing down the necks of the Red Sox, literally and figuratively. (Hey, Carl Crawford, the Rays called. They don’t miss you.) Are the Sox saving their bullets for the post-season or are they simply out of ammunition?
The recent boatload of injuries will not help the Sox in the pennant race, nor will the pathetic starting rotation and streaky offense. Back in April, would you ever have believed that the pitching rotation in September would consist of Jon Lester and a prayer for four days of rain? It is funny how things just do not play out the way you see them in your head.
After I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning for a game that spilled over (like molasses on a cold day) into extra innings, my husband remarked that I was ruining my health for the Red Sox. It got me thinking about a story I heard about the late Jesse Bancroft Cox, granddaughter of the wealthy tycoon , Clarence Barron. Ms. Cox was a Bostonian with a deep affection for her hometown Red Sox. In April of 1982 the Sox had lost six out of the last ten games. Upset about the losing streak while entertaining dinner guests, Jessie could not hide her rage. “What the F&#% is the matter with my Red Sox?” she cried. She then promptly fell over a table and to the floor, dying shortly thereafter. I think I understand. The Red Sox can have that effect on a person.
Perhaps there is still some truth to that old (pre-2004) joke: The Red Sox killed my father and now they’re after me.
Stock up on your blood pressure, cholesterol and other life-saving medications, Bay State Baby Boomers. We’re in for a rough September.