Why It Seems Like Old Times: The Red Sox Are a Mess

But back to the collapse: I actually liked waking up angry at the Red Sox. It was refreshing to be reminded that a baseball team had the unique capability of ruining my day for no good reason. I enjoyed the sideshow of the team in disarray. If winning had caused me to go numb, losing was like a sharp pin prick reminding me that I cared. I don’t think I’m the only one in town who feels this way. I sense that the old skepticism is back all across New England. It feels great.

So yeah, considering the way 2011 ended and the off-season unfolded, the Red Sox are a mess right now. The picture only gets grimmer when you look at the rest of the American League: The Yankees and the Rays are still strong in the East, and in the West, the Angels picked up Albert Pujols and the two-time defending AL champion Texas Rangers remain menacing. In the Central, the Detroit Tigers signed Prince Fielder to pair with Miguel Cabrera in perhaps the heaviest and heaviest-hitting infield in baseball history. To my eye, the Red Sox are probably the sixth-best team in the league entering the season.

But you know what? They’ll be entertaining. With all his energy, Bobby Valentine can’t help but be interesting. He’ll say stuff. He’ll do stuff. We’ll bitch and moan about him, but he’ll keep us glued to the TV like a fake mustache to his lip. He may even get Josh Beckett to pitch faster. But at the very least, thanks to ownership’s bumbling and Valentine’s hiring, we’ve returned to the days of the Red Sox as a soap opera. The team may never be able to be an underdog again, but somehow, they just might surprise us and overcome all this turbulence. That victory would, once again, be sweet.

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