Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Long Season Thwarts Short Attention Spans

The Red Sox haven't done much this season, but they do have one signal victory worth crowing about. They've wrecked the narrative.

The two week upswing in the Sox' fortunes that began shortly before the All-Star break has left the sports blah machine in an awkward position. After 100 games, Boston is not quite yet a contender. But neither is the team doomed to playing out the string. In the AL East this year, the '62 Mets would still have a postseason sniff in their nostrils.

So commentators cannot do what they obviously dearly wanted to back on the Fourth of July -- bury the Sox good and deep, limit topics to the assigning of blame and cries to blow up the team and start over in 2015, and mostly, drop baseball as a subject of conversation and turn to the NFL, where idle speculation will be as good as facts for the rest of the summer.

But neither can opinionators, professional or amateur, climb aboard the Sox bandwagon for a festival of "ain't no stoppin' us now" homerism. That would be rash verging on foolhardy. As of this morning, Boston remains in last place in the division. Its dismal first half of the season has left the Sox with what medicine calls a preexisting condition.  A 2-5 or 1-6 week that'd be a bad case of the summer sniffles for a real contender would put Boston back into the ICU.

So the Sox have become a far rarer and more valuable commodity in sports than just another boring winner. They are a team about whom one can't jump to conclusions. All we can do is wait and see -- at least for another couple of weeks.

In a society where conclusion jumping has become the real National Pastime, that makes the Sox something to cherish.


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