That’s what the Boston sports media would have us believe, anyway.
Strange, because it wasn’t too long ago when they were essentially saying the same thing — about the Sox’ ability to hold the division lead.
[T]hose who firmly believe the Sox are destined to lose their hold on first place have a case when they point out that the Sox are only 18-16 since July 5, when they peaked with a 12-game lead. – Nick Cafardo, 8/14/07
For a flickering moment, there was a race in the American League East, when the Yankees cut the margin to four games eight days ago. But there is no more. — Nick Cafardo, 8/28/07
Hmm. Funny how things change in just two weeks. Or one.
When you really get down to it, the Sox still have not been tested yet. And so, we still do not know just how tough they are. The 2007 baseball season begins in earnest tonight, Sox followers, and the good news is that the Sox have a 4-game lead in the American League East to go along with the best record in baseball. The bad news is that the Sox are trending downward … — Tony Massarotti, 8/20/2007
Let’s get right to the point: For all intents and purposes, the Red Sox just wrapped up the American League East — Tony Massarotti, 8/27/07
Thus is the problem with the nature of competitive journalism in a market like Boston. With each side racing to be the first to correctly prognosticate the end result, we have a press corps as schizophrenic as Red Sox fans themselves.
As fans, there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind about how good the team is based on the most recent results. I’ve swung back and forth myself over the past month. When I took my frustration-induced hiatus, I did indeed expect the Sox to be in second place when I returned. SF has just recently swung back from his conviction that the Sox would blow the division in a month. Now, it looks like we can make plans to be in Boston come October 1. Hey, we’re fans. We experience things much more viscerally and emotionally than, say, reporters should.
Reporters say they only root for a good story. Yet Dan Shaughnessy every year comes out in June and declares the Sox the winners of the AL East. Tony Massarotti spent the last month all but predicting the Sox’ eventual collapse, pointing out flaws in the offense over and over again — until they destroyed Mark Buehrle, Javier Vasquez and the rest of the White Sox in four games. Shouldn’t there be a more calm, collected perspective based on years of reporting and observation about the ebbs and flows of the season? I guess not. In Boston, the reporters are just as manic as the fans.