Why the failure of 2011 allows for the glory of 2012
posted at 10/18/2011 2:38 PM EDT
Of course, as the dust still settles from the horrific september collapse, it is difficult to put in perspective the Red Sox story in the macro, and think of how the failures of 2011 make for a better story than if there had been success. But, I think it is worth examining:
In March of 2011, there was hardly a soul with any connection to baseball who weren't singing the praises of the mighty Red Sox. They were already stocked, and had just went out and plundered small market San Diego for the services of the mighty Adrian Gonzalez and shocked the world by outbidding ... I'm not sure who ... by zillions of dollars for the service of possibly the greatest cherry-on-the-sundae in the game ever. World series locks on the tips of all tongues.
But lets face it, if they had won, it would have been a just a wee bit hollow. 2009 Yankees hollow. Great, they went out and bought the championship. Everyone and their mothers expected the Sox to win it all, or at least play against the Phillies for all the marbles. And if they did it, well ... yawn ...
And to boot, the days of the lovable Red Sox redemption ended in October 2007. From that time on, the Sox are the overdog. Once loved for their baseball story, now hated by pretty much all except the fiercely loyal, but still amazingly critical, Red Sox Nation. I will go so far as to say that I think the Red Sox, by March 2011, had supplanted the Yankees as Most-Hated franchise in baseball.
But, now, there is a shift in the dramatic narrative. September 2011 erases any of the entitled air that surrounds the Sox. Now, the future is about ...
Seriously, much more interesting. *
* See Rocky III: It took the champ getting his butt handed to him by Clubber Lang and his trainer's death to make Mr. Balboa a protagonist worth rooting for again.
This is a club that must be redeemed. From the inside, there is, for the first time since 2004, desparation in the proceedings, as the franchise hangs in the balance. From the outside, this chock-full-of-all-star-studs suddenly has much to prove. And, ironically, though they are at this moment supposedly unlikable, it will make them much more likable again.
I am not trying to gloss over what has happened.
But, I am excited for 2012. If you ask me, 2011 exorcises some demons that have been growing since 2007.
If you ask me, 2011 makes for a tremendously exciting 2012.
Shakespeare, as usual, sums it up best in the voice of the wayward Prince Hal, who is shortly to become the mighty Henry V:
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
But when they seldom come, they wish'd for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
So, when this loose behavior I throw off
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will.