There’s an old saying: “Every dark cloud has a silver lining”.
In recent weeks, there has been an emergence of a popular theory about the amazing 2013 Red Sox season. The belief is that the Red Sox were able to rediscover their old mojo after enduring 13 months of misery from September 2011 to October 2012.
Though chemistry was definitely evident for this 2013 squad and absent the previous two seasons, it’s not necessarily the lone reason for success. It’s also not a necessity for success. There have been plenty of bad teams throughout the history of sports that featured players who all got along splendidly. On the contrary, there have been some teams that enjoyed great success despite having players who couldn’t stand one another (Ex: The “Bronx Zoo” Yankees of the late 70s and the Barry Bonds/Jeff Kent Giants).
That being said, it did take a whole lot of misery for Ben Cherington to ultimately decide to shake things up. Had the Sox been a .500 club in 2012, the big deal with the Dodgers doesn’t happen. There’s also a really good chance that Bobby Valentine is given another year to right the ship. But because that season went so terribly, Cherington did make that big trade and Valentine was fired. We all know what Cherington did with his new found financial flexibility.
After being unsuccessful in acquiring John Farrell in the 2011-2012 offseason, Cherington was able to get his man the second time around. The biggest reason they weren’t able to get Farrell in the first try was the issue of compensation. Had they gotten Farrell the first try, they would’ve had to depart with a bigger compensation package (I believe they were asking for Clay Buchholz initially). Though Buchholz did miss a good three months, he did go 12-1 and his hot start played a big part in setting the pace for 2013.
It’s also safe for all of us fans to say that we definitely appreciate this season even more because September 2011 and all of 2012 were so painful to endure.
This brings me to another euphoric time in Red Sox history that was even more enjoyable because of the heartbreak of the season before.
That comeback was all the more satisfying because of having to endure yet another crushing blow at the hands of the Yankees. It was just more motivation for the Sox to complete that amazing comeback the following year. It was also necessary that Little make that one fatal mistake to motivate management to replace him with Terry Francona. Though it ended badly for Francona in Boston, he was the right guy for that period of time.
The “What if” game is subjective in regards to what each of us thinks might’ve happened in the previously mentioned scenarios. But we can all agree that we appreciate the good times more because of the bad times which preceded it.