Before 2004, being a Red Sox meant expecting the worst possible outcome for your team. And even when you were expecting, the manner of the outcome still managed to exceed what’s in the darkest recesses of your mind and annihilate your spirit. The Bucky Dent home run. Game 6 of the 86 worlds series. Grady Little in 2003.
Then Dave Roberts stole a base in the ninth inning of game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. And that was the moment when everything flipped. Immediately, bounces stared going our way. Umpires reversed calls in our favor. The 2004 Boston Red Sox never lost a game after Dave Roberts steals that base. It was the beginning of an amazing era in Red Sox history and being a Red Sox fan.
Suddenly, the team was an annual winner. Organizationally, they did things you always hoped for. Like develop young players. They spent tons of money and outbid other teams for free agents you wanted. Fenway Park was turned into this perfect cathedral of baseball. Packed every night with overjoyed people. They had lots of likable players. They had a likable manager. We had a general manager who hung out with Pearl Jam. A second championship came in 2007. It was a time of bliss for fans of the Boston Red Sox.
The 2011 team was absolutely stacked. There was no reason to think that competing for another world series championship was realistic. I started telling anyone who would listen that the team was so complete that it would not only win 100 games, but the Sox would also challenge the single season record for most wins. They got off to a horrible 2-10 start. But even then, I never worried. I figured it was just a matter of time before they figured things out and started winning. And I was right. After that 2-10 start they were the best team in baseball.
Until September came.
I’m not exactly when the Red Sox ship reversed course. It seems like it was Hurricane Irene. When September came, they were no longer that stacked team that would win the whole thing. They were something else. What they were didn’t reveal itself right away. Instead, it was reveal slowly over a month of disastrous baseball. They were the worst team in baseball in September. They became the worst team I’ve ever watch play the game.
And on the 28th day of September, they played game 162.