Has it really been five days since Cody Rosss walk-off?
(Checks officially licensed, limited edition Fenway 100 wall calendar . . . )
Why yes. Yes it has. But Ill be damned if it feels like any fewer than 50. Of course, some of that has to do with all thats happened in the world around us. In the days since Rosss blast, weve seen the tragedy in Aurora, the removal of Joe Paternos statue and the punishment of Penn State football. Theres been enough news to fill an entire summer.
But even in a vacuum, what the Red Sox have accomplished in these five days is nothing short of remarkable. It usually takes them an entire month to drop this kind of disappointment on their fans.
On Thursday night, as Alfredo Aceves Gatorade shower rained down on home pate, the Sox were 48-45 and one game back in the wild card, with a three game set against the struggling Jays on the horizon. Today, theyre 48-49, back in the AL East basement and four games out of the wild card. To make matters worse, they have two more games against the Rangers, who have the second best record in baseball. Thats followed by three games against the Yankees, who have the best record in baseball. Then three games at home against the first place Tigers, who are 8-2 since the All Star Break and 13-2 in their last 15.
Lets be honest, this could get ugly. Its times like this when I thank God that I have the entire season of Red Sox Small Talk saved on my DVR. Thats about the only thing that could bring me out of this current depression.
And theres only one thing that could make it worse.
But not just any trade. A dumb trade. A trade that might include names like Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes and Jackie Bradley. Or even Ryan Kalish and Ryan Lavarnway. A trade that sacrifices the future of this club for the sake of the delusional present. A trade that screams: Were buyers! Were in this! Weve still got a shot!
First of all, let me just say that Im cool with the Sox doing nothing at the deadline. If they want to take a page from Danny Ainges playbook and roll the dice with what theyve got . . . OK, I get it. After all, the talent is there, and its not out of the realm of possibility that the Sox could go on a run that earns them a spot in the playoffs. Even if I wouldnt mind seeing them sell off a few of their more high profiles assets (i.e. sacrifice some of the present for the future), I understand if they dont want to be sellers.
But if theyre buyers. Well, thats a problem.
If the Sox are buyers, it will prove once again how out of touch ownership is with what their real fans want. It will show how stupid they think their fans really are. That they think they can just dangle Matt Garza or Josh Johnson in front of the Fenway faithful and we'll all giggle like an army of babies: "Ooooh! Aaaahhhhh!! Thank you, Fenway Sports Group!" That we're dumb enough to be distracted by the bright lights while losing sight of the big picture. That we don't understand the truth. Which is this:
It makes no sense for the Sox to buy at this year's deadline. Making a move that sacrifices their future in the name of winning now would be akin to doubling down on 13 when the dealer's showing 10. (The 10 being the Rangers, Yankees, Tigers and any number of other teams that are better suited to succeed down the stretch). Sure, there's a slight chance you draw that eight. But if so, that's luck. That's not sustainable. At some point that strategy will come back to bite you. And that's the best case scenario.
The more likely outcome is that you'll flat out bust. That you'll take a chance at the wrong time and make a bad situation worse. Then what happens on the next hand, when you're dealt an 11 and the dealer's showing six? When the odds are in your favor and reach into your pocket only to realize that you lost all your assets doubling down on 13?
Then what do you do?
Well, you do nothing. You're stuck. You shake your head, shrug your shoulders, look back and wonder: "Man, what the hell was I thinking?"
Let's hope that that's not how we remember the 2012 deadline. That for once, the Sox resist the temptation to serve their imaginary and misguided version of what fans really want and do the right thing.