If the sight of Niuman (I'm No Ed) Romero at the plate in multiple crucial situations in about as much of a must-win game as a team can possibly have in early July wasn't enough to leave you longing for the glory days of Jeff Bailey, well, you must be someone who always wondered what it would be like to watch an Atlantic League lineup try to compete in the American League East.
What's that? Yeah, I'm bitter, and yes, my Snark-O-Meter is in overdrive, and I do know one should know better than to blog without a cooling off period after such a loss as aggravating as the Red Sox' 3-2 defeat to Tampa Bay tonight. But man, sometimes even the reasonable and clear-eyed just have to vent. Look at the TV: even the Eck is agitated. Poor TC looks frightened.
And so the grievances must be aired . . .
The Sox wasted a beauty of a start by Felix Doubront (where did that curveball come from?), who I am convinced belongs on this team in any capacity Tito and Theo believe will be beneficial. They wasted a chance to make amends for Monday night's equally frustrating loss. And they wasted a chance to prove that they're capable of treading water in the division until the absent and ailing members of the varsity return. (Oh, but take your time, Jacoby.)
Hey, but at least we know Tito would rather take his chances with Niuman (I'm No Mandy) Romero at the plate rather than Mike Cameron at this point. You know I'm not one to yelp about Tito -- he's the best manager the Sox have had in my lifetime -- but he hasn't exactly covered himself in glory these past two games.
Then again, it's tough to win the battles when your troops are depleted. As reader Chris D. astutely pointed out in the aftermath . . .
if you'd told me on Opening Day that: July 6, Sox [two games] out of first, @ TB, 3-1 game in the 8th and these guys were in the game:
not only would I not have believed it, or known who they were, I wouldn't have even known which TEAM they were playing for.
I would have guessed the Long Island Ducks.
All right, I suppose that tomorrow we'll wake up and again do an effective job of convincing ourselves that Nava (a player I do believe in) and Patterson, not to mention Darnell McDonald, have a little more magic in them, that the memory of the patchwork roster from July will only make it sweeter when good things happen in October.
But optimism (with just a hint of delusion), that's for the next day. Right now, there are nine minutes left in this day, and I'm going to bed reliving all of the injuries and circumstances that resulted in Nieman Romero mattering in a big moment for the Red Sox.
It may take all night to comprehend how it all came to this.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.