Expect no long term Red Sox pennant droughts
I don’t expect much from the 2020 Red Sox nor do I expect much for the next few seasons. That is the negative me, but hold on. The team will be competitive and may slink into the playoffs in the near future but the results will be similar to that span in the late 1980s when it was a quick exit.
I have been down that road before only the journey was a lot longer, more emotionally painful, and with no playoffs. It began in 1953 and ended in 1966. The reason is 1967 needs no reference as that became the antidote for the previous years of despair.
The highlight of those most unproductive seasons was 1959 which I have mentioned in the past. The New York Yankees had been American League Champions between 1955-1958 and that was not an unusual streak for the Yankees.
In 1955 I was fortunate enough to be dragged to the Broadway production of “Damn Yankees” and was personally hoping Mr. Applegate would take my soul and turn me into a Red Sox version of Joe Hardy. Back to July Ninth of 1959 to be specific.
The Yankees arrived in Boston for a five-game series and were in an unusual place – 4.5 games behind the eventual champion Chicago White Sox. New York left Boston 7.5 games out and eventually finished third. That was just a brief respite as New York then rolled to the championship in 1960-1964. But for five games I had some Red Sox pride.
When your team – to use a poignant vernacular – just sucks for years you have to look for the occasional gold – mostly with Boston it was fool’s gold – but there was always Ted Williams or Jackie Jensen and even Tom Brewer.
Maybe a double batting champion like Pete Runnels? You have to hang your cap on something and it becomes the individual accomplishment and not the collective accomplishments. That may also be present in the next few seasons.
What the team lacked was a vociferous fan base as Fenway Park looked like the probable virus settings of today. I once skipped work to see Dave Morehead toss a no-hitter with less than 1,000 in the stands. That changed in 1967 and the great awakening continues.
This century has been all one could expect with four titles. An old-timer I knew would reminisce about the glory days of the previous century of which I was envious. I have now – as most of you have – experienced gratification of seeing flags – flags that mean something flying at Fenway.
I am convinced it will continue as I see no sudden dismantling of the team nor a Fenway Park where you could sit just about anywhere. They do have the financial resources and that Bloom guy appears to be the real management deal. More on that another day.
Just when will the competitive Red Sox return? They are competitive now but appear to be in that tender area where they were in the late 1980s or I should be more precise – 1988 and 1990. Two very good teams but too many flaws. That may be what we see the next few seasons so an important attribute is considerable patience.
The 2020 season will go forward with lingering doubts just how far forward it will go? In the baseball view, this may just be a season to look at as many roster positives as possible with special emphasis on the farm system and players who are controllable for a few more seasons.
I will be in prognosticator mode and state that this team will not stop at just four titles this century. Expect the usual voids of a few or even several seasons, but no 86 years chants from you know who.