A proud Boston Red Sox Nation is in a state of disbelief. On August 31, Boston beat their most hated rivals (New York Yankees) 9-5 to close out the month leading the AL East. Boston's 83-52 record was best in American League baseball. They held a 1.5 game lead over 2nd place Yankees - and 9 games ahead of Tampa Bay. August success quickly transformed into September misery. Fan cheers slowly became thundering boo's as the Red Sox lost 15 of 20 September games heading into tonight's action vs Baltimore.
Boston had a shot at redeeming their season when they went head to head against Tampa Bay for 7 games in an 9 game stretch. It wasn't to be as Tampa bested Boston in 6 of 7. Red Sox schedule still looked promising when all else was bleak. Baltimore was coming to Fenway for four while Tampa Bay traveled to New York. A couple of Red Sox victories coupled with Rays losses could help widen their slim Wild Card lead.
Could it be Boston fans would be scoreboard watching and cheering Yankees victories over Tampa Bay?
Not a chance!
Red Sox Nation wants nothing to do with rooting for the Yankees even if it helps their beloved Boston team. Not now. Not ever. No chance. No how. It doesn't matter Tampa plays New York 7 times over the season's final 9 days. Sox fans want absolutely nothing to do with rooting for Yankees victories to help out their team. Does this qualify as fan loyalty or fan foolishness? It's loyalty - perhaps to a fault.
Boston needs all the help they can get. It isn't coming from winning. Boston's bullpen no longer gets out hitters in key situations. Fielding is iffy at best. Batters producing runs. Just not enough to offset weakening pitching. Baltimore's won 2 of 3 so far (last game of 4 game series tonight). Yanks just took their 2nd game over Tampa this afternoon. There's still no love for the hated Yankees - even when Yankees victories help Boston maintain a slim Wild Card lead.
It gets worse for Boston fans. Red Sox take their losing ways a few miles south to the Big Apple for a three game set beginning Friday night. Yankees just clinched a playoff birth today. Yanks manager Girardi would love to rest tired starters. Don't bet on it happening against Boston when playoff baseball is on the line for two division rivals. Yanks will throw the kitchen sink at a chance to knock Boston out of post-season action.
This is baseball. End of season pennant fever. It doesn't get any better than this - unless you reside in Boston.
I have to tip my hat to Red Sox fans for not wanting to root for New York under any circumstances. It's all about Boston Red Sox players winning without help. I get it - never root for your arch rivals. Simply put - either Boston wins & they're in - or lose and go home. It really doesn't matter if hated New York wins or loses.
Boston controls their own destiny. Nobody knows this better than Red Sox players. Get ready for a fantastic final week of MLB 2011.