BALTIMORE Hope always springs eternal for Bobby Valentine, and rightfully so for a baseball guy that knows his history.
Valentine knows that the St. Louis Cardinals went on the mother of all hot streaks to come from 9 12 games back in September, and eventually win the World Series last season in impressive fashion. But the Sox skipper has also heard that this year isnt last year plenty of times while players are undermining management, holding secret meetings and sending poisonous text messages to the ownership group.
So, the manager invoked one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of Major League Baseball the 1951 New York Giants who went 50-12 in their final 62 games and needed the Shot Heard Round the World to win the pennant before finally falling to the Yankees in the World Series.
Bostons nine showed none of that right kind of stuff while engineering the worst September collapse in baseball history last fall, and playing mediocre, uninspired baseball through one brush fire after another this season.
But Valentine still believes.
When you talk about 87 wins I think thats how many St. Louis had last year. On Sept. 5 they were 9 12 back and theyd basically thrown in the towel on Sept. 1, said Valentine. Is today the day when the winning streak has to start happening? Id like it to. I dont know what day it will be.
Every coach deep in a divisional hole will pull out those inspirational tales of unexpected victory and ungodly winning streaks, but the Sox have given zero evidence theyre a candidate for that kind of greatness.
Valentine was reminded that last year might be a tough example when looking for a miracle comeback story, and thats when he started conjuring up images of Bobby Thompsonclubbing immortal homers.
Then take another example. You say this year isnt last year, but this year is this year. Last year wasnt the 1951 New York Giants, said Valentine. They were 14 12 games out in the middle of August. We arent that bad. You could say this isnt 1951 and this is a totally different story. It is what it is. The only time you figure it all out is when its over.
I dont figure it out beforehand. Thats for all you guys that are smarter than me. I try to figure out what happens afterwards, and believe until Im forced to believe something different.
This Red Sox team is 13 12 games behind the Yankees, 6 12 games out of the wild card chase and needs to play .750 ball the rest of the way to conceivably make the playoffs. Hope might spring eternal, but dont take that away from them because its pretty much all theyve got.