Scary for a Sox Fan

This is a first in my lifetime, and probably the lifetimes of most Sox fans. The crimson hose are essentially the unanimous World Series favorites. 

And when I say unanimous, I'm not exaggerating much:

  • Sports Illustrated's baseball preview has the Sox winning 100 games and a championship.
  • Jayson Stark picks the Sox to win it all — as do 32 of his 44 colleagues. The final ESPN tally: Red Sox 33, Phillies 7, Braves 2, White Sox 1, Giants 1, Rockies 1 (Yankees 0? Really?). All 45 ESPN analysts picked the Red Sox to win the AL East, and 42 picked them to win the AL championship (the Yankees, Rays and Chisox each had one vote).
  • The ESPN consensus was more split on postseason awards, but Adrian Gonzalez took home a comfortable plurality for predicted AL MVP, with 15 of the 45 votes. Robinson Cano won 12 votes, while Miguel Cabrera and Evan Longoria finished well behind with four. Alex Rodriguez and Carl Crawford took three votes apiece, while Kevin Youkilis grabbed two. Josh Hamilton and Mark Teixeira received one vote each. 
  • Jon Lester, meanwhile, nearly claimed a majority of predicted Cy Young votes, with 22, well ahead of second-place Justin Verlander (7) and third-place CC Sabathia (5). David Price received four votes, and Clay Buchholz and Gio Gonzalez were each named once.
  • Ken Rosenthal also has joined the ranks of the Red Sox believers.
  • And even the 10-man staff of the Yankee Analysts (almost) unanimously picks the Sox to win the division, with six of them also putting Boston in the World Series (though only three of them give them the crown. The Phillies get five votes, with the Yanks and Rockies each receiving one.)

I'm sure I'm missing some, but needless to say, this is pretty unprecedented. The Sox have had teams in the past that many thought were excellent and may even have been favored by a majority of analysts and/or fans (2004 and 2007 were both this way, as I recall), but this is an incredible consensus, one I think overrates the Red Sox in relation to teams like the Yankees, Phillies and even the Rays and makes me very uncomfortable. On the one hand, it's very exciting to go into a season with such a good team; on the other, there's essentially no room for the team to have what will be perceived as a successful season short of the ultimate goal. And as we all know, it's still unlikely the Sox get there.

One day left!

11 comments… add one

  • Like I’ve been saying all along…greatest team ever assembled.
    No pressure.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/preview/2011/news/story?page=11expertpicks

    krueg March 30, 2011, 1:03 pm
  • No pressure here: they spent the money, they traded for the big name, and they spent money in the pen. If they don’t win it all, or at least get there, it’s considered a pretty big failure in my book. Same thing I’ve said for years – if you spend that much scratch (which is just stupid, and somehow STILL behind NY), you better win. Convincingly.

    Brad March 30, 2011, 4:07 pm
  • So then no more money talk, no more criticism of anything but a championship being a failure, etc. etc. etc.
    Welcome to the club!!!

    krueg March 30, 2011, 5:28 pm
  • I really don’t like the attitude that non-championship seasons are failures, but if they don’t make it to the ALCS this year, it WOULD be a disappointment. (God, I hate the best-of-5 ALDS series, though.) Given that they were a 95+-win team last season if the injury gods hadn’t smote them and that they improved (if only incrementally) over the offseason, a fan has to expect great things.
    I still think the starting rotation is a bit scary: Lester and four question marks (each in their own way: Lackey, Beckett, Buchholz, Matsuzaka). Still, I think this year is gonna be super-fun.
    Cannot wait for Friday…a bit jealous of the YFs and their real baseball tomorrow. Sucks that the first Sox game is in the afternoon while I’m at work on Friday, though.

    Devine March 30, 2011, 10:26 pm
  • So then no more money talk, no more criticism of anything but a championship being a failure, etc. etc. etc.
    Welcome to the club!!!
    ________________________
    Absolutely not. If the Red Sox fail to make the WS this year, then I’ll be the first to critisize them. Equally, if the Yankees don’t reach, they’re attitutde should be just the same. They are, afterall, still about 35M dollars up on the Sox, so while most sensible people don’t see them in it, they’re season is also a failure when, or if, they don’t make it there.
    It’s pretty simple – for both teams.

    Brad March 31, 2011, 8:31 am
  • I am with Devine here – I am not a big fan of calling a non-championship season a failure, especially not before the season even begins.
    As for this:
    If the Red Sox fail to make the WS this year, then I’ll be the first to critisize them.
    I think this is reflexive and silly. How can you possibly be willing to line up to criticize a failure without knowing why they “failed”. What if Carl Crawford, on April 11th, loses a digit while weed-wacking his new digs in Wellesley? What if Dustin Pedroia gets concussion-like syndrome from banging into the Space Mountain height-restriction chart on his way through Orlando today and misses games through June? What if Jon Lester turns into Jimmy Piersall and decides to pitch to center field instead of home plate? How can anyone be so willing to criticize a hypothetical failure without wanting first to know context? I am quite critical of this attitude because it is evidence that the game is zero-sum, and that’s a terrible development if it pervades a fan base. I don’t want to be a Yankees fan, I will never be a Yankees fan. I refuse to be a Yankees fan.
    ;-)
    If the Sox don’t win it will be for a sound reason, it could because they were hurt. It could be because another team exceeded expectations. It could be because they choked at the worst time. It could be because too many guys had down years. It could be because the GM got nervous and protective on August 1st and didn’t make a move. Who the hell knows right now? Why be willing to volunteer oneself for the critic’s role before Opening Day even comes?

    SF March 31, 2011, 9:08 am
  • I understand your sentiment, SF, however, I was assuming that the Red Sox (or Yankees) just are victims of bad play. If I had to assume that everyone starts losing digits or banging their noggin, then the factors become to much to wrap your mind around.
    So, I’ll withdrawl my original comment into this:
    If the Red Sox, who spent a ton of money this offseason to compliment what is already a great core group of players, fail to make the postseason because of bad play and on the field failures, it will be a disappointment to me. I will be very critical of a team that cost this much money if they perform badly as a group while on the field, and fail to beat the holy piss out of guys like Garcia and Nova on a regular basis.
    There, that seems much less silly in hindsight.

    Brad March 31, 2011, 9:35 am
  • Yep, it does. And I pray that doesn’t happen.

    SF March 31, 2011, 9:43 am
  • What if Dustin Pedroia gets concussion-like syndrome from banging into the Space Mountain height-restriction chart on his way through Orlando today and misses games through June?
    Come on SF, you know this is an unlikely scenario. He’d have to be tall enough to reach the height-restriction chart in order to bang into it.

    Atheose - SF March 31, 2011, 9:59 am
  • To clarify, I was referring to the fact that the perception of this club now is that anything short of a championship will be a failure, even if they actually have a very good season. I’m not a fan of that attitude either, which is why I’d rather not have such crazy-high expectations to try to meet.

    Paul SF March 31, 2011, 11:04 am
  • i agree with the notion that it’s hard to know you’ll be critical of something until you know what you’re being critical of…huh?…maybe i misunderstood where you were headed with this sf, but some of the reasons you listed sound a little more like excuses than sound reasons for failure…choking, down years, the gm getting nervous?…these are not sound reasons for being exempt from criticism…i think there’s even an argument that injuries are just an excuse…sure it would be hard to replace a jon lester, but isn’t it theo’s job to have a plan, make a move, something…i would be less likely to be critical of the drop off in performance if he at least made the effort and didn’t just give up because a guy goes down…but you’re right, it’s far too early to tell what we’ll be criticizing…

    dc April 1, 2011, 8:37 am

Leave a Comment