To distract myself from the dismal series loss against the Rays I watched “Last Day of the Dinosaurs,” a light-hearted romp through the end of the Cretaceous most likely precipitated by the Chicxulub Asteroid pummeling the Yucatan Peninsula. When the six-mile long bolide impacted Earth, dinosaurs were broiled alive by the heat, megatsunamis thousands of feet high surged across the planet, and sunlight was blocked from the earth for up to a year.
That got me to thinking about the Red Sox 2010 season.
Consider the 2004 World Championship the asteroid obliterating the plodding, lethargic negativity that dominated the landscape much like the dinosaurs. The cataclysmic occurrence may not have measured the 12.55 on the Richter scale that characterized the estimated seismic energy of Chicxulub, but it was nonetheless sizable. In the wake of Boston’s victory another ill-starred team, the Chicago White Sox, won its first championship in 88 years. And a mere three years later the Red Sox won another championship, overcoming a 3-1 game deficit against the Indians in the ALCS to trample the Rockies in the World Series.
For the Red Sox it was not possible to reuse the template for success. There was no need to rely on the lumbering sluggers in left any longer. Besides, Manny Ramirez quit on the team in 2008 and his replacement Jason Bay declined to re-sign with the Red Sox after the 2009 season. In 2010 the plan was to evolve the team to a philosophy of run prevention.
(John Lackey was part and parcel of that plan, but exactly how well he contributes remains in question. His reactions to his defenders’ gaffes certainly makes them wish to avoid errors.)
It boggles the mind to imagine how great this team could have been without the onslaught of injuries. If any two out of the essential troika of Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis hadn’t missed playing time the Red Sox would be the apex predators of the AL East. Instead they are the opportunistic omnivores, snitching crumbs where they can to stockpile a modest store of wins.
In the last game of the series, on the eve of their extinction, the Red Sox could have made the bold leap from scrounger to hunter. But instead they were content to nibble on morsels of mediocrity.
|Game 131: August 29, 2010|
|3||L: John Lackey (12-8)|
|2B: Mike Lowell (10), Adrian Beltre (38)|
|5||W: James Shields (13-11)|
H: Randy Choate (14), Joaquin Benoit (23)
S: Rafael Soriano (39)
|2B: Evan Longoria (42)|
HR: Carlos Pena (25), Carl Crawford (15)