So comes the onerous news from Fenway -- the Sox have lost again, 8-2, as I sit typing away in my office, one of a few people at work in Massachusetts today.
It's still oddly comforting how the Sox seep in, no matter where I am, whether I watch the games or not. This morning there was very little traffic on 128, but it took me about half an hour to get off the exit for Riverside because of traffic backed up at the T station. It was more than a little surreal to be sitting on a highway off-ramp getting ready to go to work, and watching frat boys in backwards Sox caps fire-drilling in the middle of the road, the better to grab more beer out of the back of their truck.
Sam came and had lunch with me today at work, the better to drop off my ticket to the game we're going to Wednesday. Josh Beckett is probably pitching, so I have hope we'll finally get to see a win.
The game was on the TV in my office building's cafeteria, and we idly watched a few pitches over sandwiches and in between a long conversation about Red Sox fandom vs. Fandom in Other Places (namely, Detroit, as Sam spends most of her blogging time these days writing Roar of the Tigers).
One of the biggest differences, she agreed, was the fans' sense of Ownership around here, whether of the team or of The Concept of Fandom Itself. Fans here are more preoccupied here than in many other places with policing the fandom and observance, in almost the religious sense, of others, we concluded through our conversation.
Thus, we as Boston fans do not have simple disagreements over, say, run production vs. run prevention -- ad hominem barbs must be flung along with baseball-oriented factoids, barbs which are required to also impugn the general intelligence of the opposite side. Thus, the stakes even at this early point in the season are bigger than the W-L record -- it's also about Who is Right. Thus, at least a percentage of the high-running emotions coursing through RSN in this early season.
When it comes to the team, meanwhile, the sense is that we are evaluating Sox management more as stewards of the team than its sole independent owners, like a gigantic Board of Directors overseeing executives. Where Sox fans have that famed sense of entitlement isn't necessarily with expecting the team to win -- it's with expecting team management to be directly answerable to us when it comes to their team-building strategies. There are parts of the Nation that feel we've been fed a line about the makeup of this team following the Bay negotiations this offseason, and hell hath no fury like a Sox fan fed a line, especially when reality doesn't match up.
Thus it's also not just about the W-L record or what month it is, but for some, about whether Ownership is Insulting Our Collective Intelligence. Thus the angst will continue, until such time as Winning Starts Happening or at least there is an Agreed-Upon Explanation for why it is not. Which may or may not be until another baseball season is upon us, but in any case, time of year will have little to do with it.
That's about all I have to offer at this point -- no grandiose conclusions at the moment, just some observations.