After the legendary collapse that the Red Sox suffered in September of 2011, the phrase I’ve heard most is “move forward”. The best way for the Sox to do so is to first take a giant leap backward.
Does anyone out there remember that mystical 2004 season that saw our beloved Red Sox win their first World Series in 86 years? Looking at the Red Sox squad of today you have to wonder where those days have gone. There’s no sign of Pedro Martinez and his taunting personality, long gone are the days of “Manny being Manny”, Kevin Youkilis hasn’t put on his Hooters gear since he was a rookie and “Cowboy Up” is an unfortunate thing of the past.
Hell, even the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has seemingly become a thing of the past. Jason Varitek isn’t around to feed A-Rod his catchers mitt, the Yankees are no longer “daddy” to the Red Sox’ ace and the war of words is practically non-existent. In simple terms the “Greatest Rivalry in Sports” appears to be dying. You could even argue that it’s not the greatest rivalry in MLB at this point.
Sure, the Red Sox of 2011 probably had more talent than the ’04 team but the chemistry wasn’t there. What we were left with was the larger than life personality of Dustin Pedroia, the monotony of Adrian Gonzalez and always visually frustrated John Lackey. Pedey does the best he can but he’s all alone on a team full of “straight faced” ballplayers.
The starting rotation will play a big part in the Red Sox’ success in 2012 but the real formula for winning will involve taking a step back, getting back to having fun playing baseball and re-igniting the rivalry that has defined the Red Sox and Yankees for so many years.