Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sleeping in the Flowers

Game 105 – Red Sox

Indians 6, Red Sox 3
Record: 63-42

Pundits and politicians decry the soft bigotry of low expectations, but they’re missing the point when it comes to baseball. I prefer to revel in the comforting freedom of low expectations. With 57 games to play, I’m all set to bask in that snuggly place for the remainder of the 2006 season.

Yesterday brought news that Jason Varitek’s injured knee will require surgery that will keep him on the shelf for 4-6 weeks. Ladies and gentlemen, the starting catchers for yourrrr Boston Red Sox: Doug Mirabelli and Ken Huckaby. In Huckaby, at least, the Sox have a proven Jeter-killer, assuming he can lure the Yankee shortstop, fragrance show pony, and all-around great guy into a headlong lunge towards a pair of shinguards.

Couple the Varitek news with Trot Nixon’s bicep injury, Tim Wakefield’s slow-to-heal ribcage, David Wells' 43 year-oldness, and Matt Clement’s apparently season-ending psyche bruise, and the Sox face the prospect of limping through the rest of the campaign with serious holes at several key positions. For all the hue and cry about the Yankees’ perseverance in the face of adversity, the Sox are facing bigger health-related questions than their rivals at a far more critical juncture.

Call it a defense mechanism (as my colleague does just below), call it creeping Lou Holtzism, call it whatever you want – for the first time since we started this enterprise 3 years ago, I don’t expect the Sox to make the playoffs. The gorge is too far, and their engine missing too many parts to hurtle this particular red, white, and blue rocket to the other side. I’m not happy with this observation, but that doesn’t make it less accurate. It does, however, make me less likely to lose my mind sometime in the next 90 days. At least my 'oh, shit' moment didn't hurt as much as Evel Knievel's.

From the Era of Positivity to the Period of Tranquil Resignation. Acceptance of reality is the soul of sanity.

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