The "S&P 500" stands as a benchmark of America's economy.
The "Fortune 500" measures the nation's top companies.
The "Daytona 500" is considered the "Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing."
The "Red Sox 500" is, well, pretty damn ordinary.
The Red Sox have nearly perfected mediocrity in their past 500 games, disguising a 247-253 (.494) record with a roller-coaster of historic ups and downs. The ride has included the biggest September collapse in baseball history, the worst regular season in 47 years, and a worst-to-first World Series triumph at Fenway Park.
Going back to roughly this point in the 2011 season, the Red Sox have been about as close to perfectly average as one can get. Just three victories over 500 games (0.6 percent) separates the team from being absolutely average. Had two of those wins come in 2011, those Red Sox would have made the postseason, as well.
During this Fantastic, Frustrating, and Futile 500, the Red Sox have had three managers, two GMs, and one guy who "runs the Red Sox." There have been multiple hands who have molded this epic run of "midway between extremes" but team president Larry Lucchino has been the constant and the mastermind.
Season-ticket holders will be eagerly checking their email boxes over the All-Star break for this year's mid-summer missive. If 2012's classic "Keep The Faith: An Ode to the Cheerful Cody Ross" is any indication, it should be a doozy. Later that summer, Lucchino turned on the fan base as it stopped swallowing the pablum from State Run Media about the myth of the "Second Wildcard."
A .494 winning percentage over the past 500 games might help put this year's Red Sox team in some perspective. It will take an incredible post-All-Star-break run for the Red Sox just to finish at .500 this year. Boston is 11 games under .500 with 73 games to play. Boston will have to finish 42-31 starting Tuesday just to the end of the season .500.
Trading Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski, Will Middlebrooks, and even Koji Uehara will not bring enough talent to Boston in return to impact this season. One has a sense that Ben Cherington realized all of this about a month ago. He probably spends a sizable amount of his day trying to convince Boss Larry and the NESN folks to hope on board the "Time for 2015" reality train that sits ready to roll out of the Kenmore Square Green Line T-stop.
The Red Sox have made slightly-below average very exciting during the past four seasons. Each campaign has its own historic identity and brought with it a series of sidebars and storylines that kept fans glued to their computer screens, Twitter feeds, favorite talk radio stations, and local sports network of choice.
This year's Red Sox are slipping from below-average to just plain bad. Far worse, they are becoming boring to watch. There's only so much Wally Wave any human being can withstand before reaching for their pills or the clicker, whichever is closer.
Before the season, earnest debate raged over whether or not Jerry Remy should be in the NESN booth. Remy, however, has given NESN viewers the highlight of the season thus far when he lost his tooth on the air last week. And not even Jenny Dell visiting the eco-friendly restroom or pizza guy could have made this season bearable.
The 2014 Red Sox season is not so much a train wreck as is it a two-hour delay on the Red Line between Kendall and Central Square. Uncomfortable, boring, and something you can't wait to see end.
The Olde Towne Team chiseled two hits against the Chicago White Sox Monday night, an early July game played under warm, humid conditions in front of 35,114 fans. This does not bode well for those chilly nights in September against the Orioles when its 49 degrees, windy, and sections 1-7 are empty.
Being below-average and boring is about the worst thing that can happen to a pro sports franchise, especially this one.
During the Nuclear Winter and Bobby Valentine Error, we were baffled by Bobby V's idiocy, entertained by player coups, and genuinely outraged by the fact that only four players showed up for Johnny Pesky's funeral. Plenty of fun and excitement. Same with the "Greatest Team Ever" and its collapse of 2011. We were glued to our TV sets as a Nation until after midnight on the final night of the season.
Last year, the Red Sox served as civic healers after the Boston Marathon bombing. From David Ortiz's "F-Bomb," to his grand-slam-bomb in the ALCS, to his .688-bomb in the World Series, he and the Red Sox took the region on an historic worst-to-first season that will likely be unmatched for another 95 years.
The 2014 Red Sox? Well ... Brock Holt is pretty good. This team has been exceedingly average at its very best, and pitiful and pathetic at its worse. That makes this team really no different than Red Sox have been over their past 500 games. The Red Sox teams of 2011, '12, and '13 just did a far-better job of disguising it.
Using their record over the past 500 games as a baseline, the Red Sox won't be repeating as World Champions this year. They are due for a mediocre-to-bad season just to balance their books. The Red Sox will be challenged to keep fans interested in the next 73 games, or at least until the Patriots start playing for keeps on Sept. 7.
Perhaps it's time for the Red Sox to start marketing the "Team of The Future Today."
There's a good chance they'll eventually finish somewhere around .500.
The OBF column is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or at his
Obnoxious Boston Fan Email Address. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.
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