A plea to the 2023 Red Sox: Don't bore me!
By Rick McNair
Attending an MLB game is not done on the cheap, especially in Boston, and the Red Sox invariably are on top of the list for game expenses or close to it. The beauty of it is the game itself in that each game is unique. I have sat through slugfests, seen several no-hitters, watched dramatic moments, and been bored to leave early—a genuine box of chocolates regarding baseball.
The most critical item is the boredom possibility with the 2023 team. So far, the team has all the snap and zest of a library board meeting. With the emphasis via rule changes placed on speed and outfield defense, I see neither. No Tommy Harper or Jacoby Ellsbury unless David Hamilton figures out how to hit and take a walk. Maybe Adalberto Mondesi will be "the guy?"
Hitting has been what drives the fanny in the seats ever since Babe Ruth made the long ball a trademark. This team doesn't have a David Ortiz capable of pumping them out, and maybe Adam Duvall will be that guy? Or Rafael Devers repeating 2021 (38), making the dinger part of the team fabric? Go, Devers, and get to 40+!
Artistry in the field has never been synonymous with the Red Sox, and they have had their share of acrobatic infielders, but invariably, it comes down to the Xander Bogaerts model. Dependable, solid, smart, and mechanical. Slick fielding is not a term I associate with the Red Sox infield. For this team, it may be a fatal weakness.
A winning Red Sox team can extinguish any thoughts of boredom
The future is now, and is it possible we will see it? Triston Casas is in the mix for the 2023 AL Rookie of The Year candidate. Will youth be served? Brayan Bello can be a borderline ace, and if there is one shining hope for Red Sox fans is that the system produces a quality starter. Bello could add the pizzaz every fifth day. Will Bryan Mata blossom? Can Ceddanne Rafaela climb the ladder quickly?
I don't want the team I saw in the early 1960s when the possible highlight of the game was a starter getting clobbered so Dick Radatz could ramble in from the 'pen and do his monster thing. A team that plods along, drowning in a sea of defeats, with the only interest in seeing how personal achievements turn out. If August rolls around and the main Red Sox topic is not wins, but a player making a run at a statistical title, it will be a boring season.
The highlight for the Red Sox before opening the season was directed more toward what was new at the ballyard, especially the menu—nothing like a helping of avocado fries to take away thoughts of what is transpiring on the field. I want a team to keep me in my seat with excitement until my bladder is about to burst.
If your team sucks, there is always the other team, and the Red Sox, like the rest of MLB, use tiered pricing. So to see the lesser teams, you get a slight wallet squeeze, and for the Yankees, you hit your equity line. That said, it is the target opportunity for most fans to see a traditional rival or to witness something special like a Shohei Ohtani start. Hopefully, a contending Boston squad will make any game a quality baseball experience.
The best way to extinguish boredom is to win. Can this current team coalesce into something special? This is not the juggernaut of 2018, but it could have some of the attributes of the 2013 team, especially in "Ban of Bearded Brothers," which took it all. A fast start, some players over-achieving, a pitching staff that controls the game, and a few players who personify dirt dog status. That would defeat any boredom.