To boo or not to boo?

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To boo or not to boo?

As we were reminded last week, nothing polarizes sports fans quite like religion and politics. In fact, nothing polarizes anything quite like religion and politics.

Lets never talk about that stuff again, OK? We dont need it. Especially when there are plenty of other hot button issues to argue over.

For instance, booing.

Is there anything in sports that polarizes fans faster than the concept of booing athletes?

Whether its an issue with the home team, or the home players, or former heroes returning as enemies, when we talk about booing, true colors come flying out. We end up debating morality and basic human rights. Everyone gets preachy and nothings ever accomplished.

In other words: Its awesome.

Im already bracing myself for January.

SHOULD CELTICS FANS BOO RAY ALLEN?

I dont know.

They should do whatever they want. This isnt a moral issue; its booing. Its part of the game. And if you think theyre wrong, thats your right, but theres no point in lecturing. Youd be better off trying to convince Tim Thomas to vote for Obama.

People will believe what they want to believe. And right now, a lot of people believe that Josh Beckett deserves to be booed. Not for getting injured, but for being Josh Beckett. Not for his back spasms, but because back spasms are an injury consistent with the notion that he's out of shape.

Bottom line: Beckett's become the face of this year-long Red Sox nightmare, and fans are ready to wake up. They don't want to see him anymore. Hell, if they really wanted to be cruel and unusual, they could have cheered the injury. Celebrated the possibility that this guy might disappear for 15 days. But they booed.

It's OK.

Beckett will be OK. Ray Allen will be OK. Johnny Damon was OK. And if booing makes a fan feel better, who's to say whether it's right or wrong?

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

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Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

A change of scenery is a must for the Red Sox after the rough series in Texas, where they were lucky to walk away with one win.

The pitching staff's struggles were the most apparent, but Xander Bogaerts had arguably his worst series of the season -- 2-for-12 at the plate and two errors in the field.

Although Bogaerts now finds himself three points behind José Altuve (.347) for the American League batting lead, he still leads the major leagues with 108 hits. He has more hits than Daniel Murphy, who’s at .349 in the National League.

And despite his weekend struggles, the Boston shortstop is in position to make a run at history  -- the single-season hits record.

Bogaerts is already in a comfortable spot to break Wade Boggs’ Red Sox record of 240 hits, set in 1985. Through 74 games, Bogaerts has 10 more hits than the Hall-of-Famer had at that point in the season.

He's also ahead of the pace set in 2004 by Ichiro Suzuki, who established the MLB record for most hits in a season with 262 that year. Bogarts has five more hits than Ichiro had through 74 games.

There's no guarantee he'll reach 262, or anything close. Ichiro had a strong finishing kick in '04, batting .418 with 159 hits after his 74th game. In fact, in his final 74 games, he hit .433 with 141 hits. He's left challengers in the dust before: Altuve was equal to Ichiro's pace in 2014 -- both had 105 hits in their first 76 games -- but wound up with "only" 225 hits.

So, admittedly, Bogaerts is facing an uphill battle.

He does have a one advantage over Ichiro, though. In 2004, Suzuki -- still playing for the Mariners -- usually had Randy Winn hitting behind him. Although Winn was a respectable player, he doesn’t command the respect of the hitter who's usually behind Bogaerts: David Ortiz.

Opposing pitchers still don’t plan to attack Bogaerts, but it’d only be worse if pretty much anyone other than Ortiz was coming up next.

And there’s one last set of statistics to consider:

Suzuki finished 2004 with 80 games in which he had at least two hits. That’s 49.7 percent of the games he played in.

Bogaerts has done that 33 times -- 44.6 percent of his games. So he needs to string together some big games if he intends to make an improbable run at the 12-year-old record.

Improbable, yes.

But definitely not impossible.

McAdam: Red Sox have problems 'everywhere you look'

McAdam: Red Sox have problems 'everywhere you look'

Sean McAdam, Jared Carrabis, Bob Neumeier and Lou Merloni pull apart the Boston Red Sox roster to identify the key issues.