In her landmark book "On Death and Dying", Elisabeth Kubler-Ross outlined the five stages that dying patients go through while trying to cope with the knowledge of their impending death. These stages can also be applied to the Red Sox Nation and the knowledge that this generation of Red Sox are not going to beat the Yankees or win the World Series.
First Stage: Denial
When the Red Sox suffered through a short losing streak in early June it became clear that something was wrong. They had played .500 ball for a month and had given back their lead in the AL East.
But the Red Sox Nation refused to allow that their team was faltering. They made excuses about injuries. They claimed that Nomar and Trot would turn everything around when they returned, not allowing that they might not immediately play at peak levels and not crediting that their replacements had not been that bad. They suggested that Derek Lowe might regain the form of what is looking more and more like a career year. They blamed Millar's slump on moving to right field to cover for Nixon, forgetting that Millar had been slumping since July of last year.
In fact denial was the dominant state of the Red Sox Nation throughout June, right up to the series with the Yankees. Just a few days ago, some claimed that the only difference between the Yankees and the Red Sox was their record in one-run games and argued that was bound to even out despite it being a multi-year trend.
Second Stage: Anger
A series against the Yankees in New York saw the mood of the Red Sox Nation shift from denial to anger. The Yankees blew out the Red Sox 11-3 in game one. Any team can have a bad game, but the Red Sox Nation, led by the Red Sox owner, was so focused on beating the Yankees that one loss became a huge letdown, even though the Red Sox had taken 6 of 7 games from the Yankees in April.
Another loss in the second game of the series caused the anger of the Red Sox Nation to explode. Nomar wasn't playing well because he was still sulking over the A-Rod debacle, Millar was washed up, the "Derek Lowe Face" had returned, and manager Terry Francona was a combination of M.L. Carr, Pete Carroll, and Butch Hobson, according to the Red Sox Nation.
The Red Sox players themselves got into the act with ace Curt Schilling angrily confronting Scott Williamson and accusing him of being soft, despite what was later confirmed as a serious arm problem.
Third Stage: Bargaining
With the Yankees steaming to a lead of more than eight games in the division, many in the Red Sox Nation changed their tune and said that they would be happy with a Wild Card, of course maintaining that the team deserved no less success.
Bargaining took on another form as the Red Sox Nation began to offer up various sacrifices to spare the team. Get rid of Nomar. Get rid of Millar, too. Fire Francona. Get rid of Derek Lowe Face. At least a half-dozen surrogates were offered in place of the entire team.
Fourth Stage: Depression
Depression is likely to settle in over the Red Sox Nation if the Red Sox don't quickly jump ahead in the Wild Card race. Already some are describing this as the end of an era, the end of chasing that illusive World Series victory, at least for this generation of players.
Fifth Stage: Acceptance
What the Red Sox players really need from fans who consider themselves to be their most faithful supporters is acceptance. Like an obsessive parent, the Red Sox Nation has crushed the spirit of their team with unrealistic expectations.
The Red Sox have a good team. Released from the nonsensical sort of pressure that renders a verdict on an entire season based on three road games in late June, the Red Sox players might be able to loosen up and win enough games to make the playoffs, where it has been shown that anything can happen.
Cannibalistic attacks by Boston media and by members of the Red Sox Nation in the national media will not help this team, they will ensure another round of failure and recriminations.
Like other Red Sox stars before him, Nomar will be driven out of town by an angry mob, only to see that mob turn their torches on management when Nomar plays well for another team.
The only curse on the Red Sox is the ingrateful Boston fans and the Red Sox fanboys in the media with unrealistic expectations who have turned baseball into a metaphor for their own sense of insecurity and eternal failure.
The city of Boston will never be as successful or revered as New York City, just as New England will always be a backwater to the rest of the country. Nevertheless, Boston and New England are charming places to visit or live.
Likewise the Red Sox will never overtake the success of the New York Yankees and their plethora of World Series victories. Nevertheless Fenway Park is a charming place to watch a baseball game and this Red Sox team is more entertaining than at least half the teams in the league.
The Red Sox Nation in Boston needs to learn to enjoy life, despite the often crummy Massachusetts weather. The Red Sox fanboys in the national media need to treat their favorite team with as much respect as any other team rather than turning on them at the drop of a hat, or a three game series in New York. The Red Sox Nation everywhere needs to learn to enjoy a team that consistently plays better than most teams in baseball.
Only then will the Boston Red Sox be free from the curse that haunts them.
"And there was Nomar, the fading superstar who helped the team blow two games in Yankee Stadium, then showed little interest in even watching the third one. He's been declining steadily for three seasons now -- his body breaking down, his defense slipping, his lack of plate discipline a bigger problem than ever. He always seemed to enjoy himself on the field, almost like a little kid, but even that's a distant memory. Maybe his spirit was shattered by the rumored deal to Chicago last winter. Only he knows the answer to that one. For his sake, I hope he's getting traded this week. After last night's display, there's no going back. Bring on the Pokey Era. Please." - Bill Simmons, ESPN.com
"Nomar Garciaparra is one of the best and most popular players in the history of the Red Sox franchise, but it's time for the Sox to make a deal for their star shortstop. Thursday night's ridiculous "day off" in what turned out to be the best, most important, and most painful game of the season was the final indication that it's time for Nomar to go." - Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe
This team has played poorly since May 1st. The problem was that many Red Sox fans didn't see/refused to recognize these problems, considered those who voiced concerned to be overly panicked, and only concerned themselves on whether Schilling or Martinez would start Game 1 of a playoff series. Meanwhile, there are some of us who have been watching the wild card standing since Game 1 of the regular season. Millar can't drive the ball. Considering he has no other skills besides hitting, he's below worthless at this point. Lowe is an enigma. He might throw a no hitter his next start, he might get knocked out without retiring a hitter. They have a bunch of DH/1B, unfortunately, those that can hit, can't field. Those that can field, can't hit. And Millar can't do either. There is no curse. It was made up by some nitwit to make money off of books. But, if you want to believe in The Curse, I can also sell you front row tickets to the mating ritual between Big Foot and the Lochness Monster. People have spoken of them, so it must be true. As for the shortstop: He hasn't had the ability to consistenly drive the ball since the wrist surgery. His defense is erratic at best. Perhaps the public humiliation of the past few days has helped, as it could light a fire under him, much as whenever Manny Ramirez has done incredibly idiotic things, he ends up going lights out for a few weeks afterwards. As for all star players who leave Boston coming back to haunt them: Mo Vaughn sort of puts a few holes in that theory.
(edited by redsoxnation on 3.7.04 2202) Any third world countries want Kevin Millar? I'll throw Ramiro Mendoza in the package just to give you a good deal.
>> Perhaps the public humiliation of the past few days >> has helped, as it could light a fire under him,
This seems like spin to apologize for the braying jackasses who were calling for his head based on the first two weeks returning from an injury.
>> As for all star players who leave Boston coming back >> to haunt them: Mo Vaughn sort of puts a few holes in >> that theory.
No doubt, but an ingrateful Red Sox Nation never gave "The Duke" credit for letting Mo walk, instead blaming him for letting Clemens go even though Red Sox Nation rallied behind Duquette and wrote off Clemens.
But heck, I'm not bitter. I predicted the team would implode without Grady Little to blame and that is exactly what we've been seeing. Terry Francona is being compared to Butch Hobson, M.L. Carr, and Pete Carroll, despite being over .500 so far.
I love New England and particularly Boston, so I can't sympathize with the inferiority complex that drives people to root for a "loser" because it is a "loser." John McAdam said that if the Red Sox ever won a World Series he would lose part of his identity. That is an honest insight into the culture of victimization that pervades the Red Sox Nation. They transfer their own feelings of inferiority onto their ballclub. They sit waiting for the next failure so that they can have an excuse for more suffering and resentment.
Not speaking about you, I don't know you, but one can read it between the lines of Simmons, Shaughnessy, John Henry, and many others. The Red Sox are the cross they have chosen to bear. They wouldn't know what to do if the team didn't crucify them in the end.
New England can get away with supporting a 'loser' baseball team since their basketball team has more titles than any other, the hockey team has a load of history and a few championships, and the NFL team has won 2 of the last 3 Super Bowls. Cry me a river, Boston.
THE QUEST FOR LORD STANLEY'S CUP
Tied for 9th: St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders, Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa Senators Tied for 5th:Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche Tied for 3rd:San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers Second:Calgary Flames The Champion:Tampa Bay Lightning
Originally posted by Boston IdolNew England will always be a backwater to the rest of the country.
That's a pretty stupid thing to say, not to mention offensive to those of us who live here. What about the midwest, for chrissakes? Or the deep South? That's just a dumb statement, pal.
I did like the rest of your post, however.
Big Bad, your argument only holds water if you presuppose that everyone cares about the Patriots, Celtics and Bruins as much as they do the Sox, which is untrue. The Red Sox are far more popular than the Patriots despite the recent Super Bowl victories. The Red Sox are THE team in New England.
I personally loathe basketball, don't follow hockey and watch maybe two football games a year and could care less. The only sports team I genuinely care about are the Boston Red Sox, and having successful teams in sports that I either hate or don't care about isn't a salve for a bad baseball season.
"Are you- are you sad?"
"But your- your songs are sad."
-My songs are of time and distance. The sadness is in you. Watch my arms. There is only the dance. These things you treasure are shells.
>> New England will always be a backwater >> to the rest of the country.
> That's a pretty stupid thing to say,
You seem confused.
I grew up in Portland, Maine, but that does not affect how the rest of the country views New England. They see it as a backwater.
> not to mention offensive to those of us > who live here.
Don't take it out on your baseball team.
> That's just a dumb statement, pal.
Go fight the rest of the country.
> I did like the rest of your post, however.
My solution, if I still lived in New England, would be to ignore the rest of the country, other than fleecing them by selling them faux antiques and those tacky Road Runner lawn ornaments as they are driving through.
I've spent the last twenty-five years living in a densely populated suburb. A backwater is all in how one looks at it. I will say this, the DVD selection at Sam's Club sucks. I couldn't find any seasons of "The Sopranos."