Strike three and game three. Saltlamacchia struck out swinging; at least he swung. The whole team swung during the past three games. Granted, they lost, three times over and it doesn’t look good from afar. Not to mention the loss to Detroit in the makeup game from May 28. The Red Sox have four dark losses in a row. But it could be worse, it could be April again and they could have played worse.
It’s better to look at the little things. It’s a double play to end an inning that has stretched on for too long. It’s Varitek’s homerun during the bottom of the fourth to put the right colored Sox on the scoreboard during the May 31st game. Or Varitek’s base hit in that same game during the bottom of the sixth after 4 runs were gained by the White Sox, just to lift the team again to realize, ‘hey, we’re still playing.’ Ortiz’s Monster homerun in the sixth during yesterday’s game, putting the Red Sox on top, at least for a moment.
The moments that inflate the spirits of the team and the fans, they came back from a rough beginning, they played almost non-stop through the month of May. It’s Jenks coming back after being gone for the month, and coming back to play against his former team. It’s errors made by the umpires, like the fifth inning declaration that Juan Pierre was safe, though all angles (except apparently Marty Foster’s) that Pedroia had tagged him. It’s the little things like Rene Rancourt singing the anthem before the game because the Bruins were in Vancouver. It’s the movement of Saturday’s game from it’s night slot to a 1:00 pm time just so fans can watch the Bruins take on Vancouver. It’s the little things that make the losses not as dark.
In the aftermath of the tornadoes that swept through Western Massachusetts, it’s messy to look from afar. The destruction and sadness is there and leaves a dark mark of loss on the state. But if you look at the little things, you see state police and search teams helping people, you see hospitals setting up extra triage units to help the injured, and you see people grateful and relieved that the majority of things lost can be replaced or rebuilt, realizing, ‘hey, we’re still standing.’
It’s better to look at the little things because the big picture can be messy and overwhelming, and heartbreaking. But it’s in the little things where you find some solace and happiness in the small moments where the right play is made or communities helping one another to clean up and rebuild.
Yes, the Sox were swept, but it was bound to happen. In 162 games, they can’t be expected to win them all. And just because I can’t help it, the Bruins lost to Vancouver with 18.5 seconds left, that’s a hard loss. But, it’s the little things, the fact that Tim Thomas had 36 shots on and only one got in. The things like, another game will come, whether it’s Friday against the Athletics or Saturday’s game 2 against the Canucks. The losses could always be worse and the limited destruction of the tornadoes has given perspective to the games we love.
We have a decision to make. Today. It’s a decision one must make before the season goes a game further. It’s a matter of will. Mental preparation perhaps.
Yesterday we watched the Bard of Boston’s poetry crumble into meaningless gibberish.We witnessed familiar tragedy, the bullpen woes of last year stretching into our opening day anticipation. The likelihood of a former Sox player named Beltre hitting the game-winning double was pretty darn high, but yesterday it was another one named Murphy.(Did anyone else imagine him starting in right field for the Sox, with tens of millions of dollars in savings?)
First, though, Big Papi hit one out with the graceful power unseen until May last year. A beautiful at-bat we were celebrating for a short time.
So which path to take? An old question for Sox fans. Is it the more hopeful, optimistic view?
Or will you take on the worried, don’t-tell-me-how-it’s-gonna-end fatalism?
It’s up to you. You are the captain of your own fate. You can shake off the signs, ask for another set. It might define the season.