Red Sox fans have much to be thankful for this year

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Chris Sale
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Chris Sale /

Boston Red Sox fans have notoriously high expectations, yet even in a year where the team fell short of the ultimate goal, we have much to be thankful for.

This is the time of year where we are meant to reflect on what we’re thankful for. Granted, we should probably do this every day, yet we still need a holiday to serve as an annual reminder. Boston Red Sox fans have plenty to be thankful for, yet a passionate group that enters every season with the highest of expectations sometimes needs a reminder as well.

The Red Sox are coming off their second consecutive division title, only to be bounced in the first-round of the postseason for the second straight season. Here in Boston, we call that a failure, yet there are plenty of long-suffering fanbases around the country that would be thrilled simply to see their team still playing meaningful baseball in October.

Recognizing what we do have rather than focusing on what we don’t is all about perspective. The Red Sox don’t have a World Series trophy from this season but they have a lot that most fans from other teams would envy. So, in the spirit of the holiday, I’d like to reflect on everything that I, as a Red Sox fan, am thankful for this year.

I’m thankful for an ownership group willing to dip into luxury tax territory again. The Red Sox were smart to duck the tax in 2016 in order to reset the harsh repeater penalties set in the latest collective bargaining agreement. With the penalties reduced to a more reasonable level, the Red Sox are expected to add to the payroll this winter.

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That will undoubtedly make the Red Sox prime candidates in the hunt for the top targets on the free agent and trade markets. J.D. Martinez? Eric Hosmer? Giancarlo Stanton? We can’t have them all but the fact that we’re able to talk about any of these stars as reasonable possibilities is a luxury most fans don’t have.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to watch an exciting young core grow up together. Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers are all 25 years old or younger and locked up until at least 2020. The Red Sox could fall short in their quest to add any big names this offseason and the 2018 team will still be improved by virtue of these young player ascending closer to the primes of their careers.

I’m thankful for the privilege of watching Chris Sale take the mound every fifth game for my team. Every game Sale started became must-watch TV. No Red Sox fan wanted to miss out on his latest masterpiece or the pure joy of watching him mow down an opposing lineup while the Fenway crowd hung K signs to tally every strikeout. Need a reminder of what makes cheering for Sale so great? Watch this video on a loop.

He’s yet to manage a single game in the majors but I’m still thankful to have Alex Cora leading the team next year. Not only because it means John Farrell is no longer in the dugout. I’m excited to see the energy Cora can bring to this team and how his reputation for communicating with players can help improve the Red Sox on the field and in the clubhouse.

Most of all, I’m thankful to be a part of one of the most knowledgeable, dedicated and passionate fanbases in sports. Sure, we may complain a lot but it’s only because we care!

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The 2017 season ended in bitter disappointment but we have to recognize that there are 20 other MLB fanbases who missed out on the postseason and would gladly trade places with Boston. The Red Sox were more successful than most and I’m thankful that we can enter next season knowing that our team should be right back in the mix again.