Lessons in pain are never needed for Red Sox fans. Not in any summer, especially not this one. That's what made last night's injury to Pokey Reese sound at first like some heart-breaking ballad of teen love gone bad, entitled "Not Again, Not Pokey." By night's end, however, everyone was nearly whistling "Zip-a-dee Doo-Dah." Today, in the middle of this Summer of Pain, no one is going to be shocked if the tune changes. Maybe Reese's left thumb injury is so insignificant he will truly only miss a couple of days and be back this weekend, as was the best-case scenario put forth by the club last night. Or, if the thumb swells up overnight and Reese cannot just tape it up and play, he is going to miss considerably more time, although a DL stint would surprise the team. Just as the injuries to Nomar Garciaparra and Trot Nixon took unexpected twists and turns, there could also be more to come on the Reese story. All that's known for sure is that for a while last night at Fenway Park, Reese was the focus of a full-fledged death watch...
...Before last night's game, manager Terry Francona, responding to whether he could foresee penciling in a regular lineup for a while now that regulars like Garciaparra and Trot Nixon were rounding into shape, said, "Every time I foresee the future, somebody starts limping." --Michael Silverman, Boston Herald
If this season were to collapse, it would be quite difficult to cope with--perhaps even more difficult than usual. Not only because there were such high hopes for this team after an off-season of intrigue, but because the fully loaded 2004 Red Sox were supposed to avenge the heartbreak of Game 7.
And then injury followed injury, and of course, sometimes that's just the luck of the draw. But as I watched the game last night, I couldn't help but feel that something was missing. I still can't put my finger on it, but something--some fire, some inspiration, some unity of spirit or similar intangible--is missing from this team. Maybe they haven't gotten to play as a team yet. Maybe Francona has a laissez-faire attitude. Or maybe there needs to be one game, or one player, or some combination, that the team can rally around. There needs to be a turning point, and there probably will be, and we can hope that it will be a turn for the good as last year's interleague makeup with Philadelphia was for the "Cowboy Up" team.
Consider this the calm before the ultimate storm.