If the lost series against the Rays the weekend before had been the funeral, the sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox last weekend was the bulldozer pushing fresh sod onto the grave. And I was there for the second of two losses in the same day, a day in which the Red Sox scored just two runs in 18 innings of baseball.
Saturday's game was the meat in a crappy loss sandwich, and at first it was tough to think of a less appealing night at the ballpark, in terms of both the game and my seats in the bleachers.
But we've been here before; about this time of year in 2006, to be exact. "Keeping the faith," to me, doesn't mean always believing that the Red Sox will win, or make the playoffs. It's ultimately about loyalty regardless of outcome. Eventually, during a game like Saturday's, in a season like this one, I just find what else there is to watch.
The atmosphere was comfortable -- the weather showed few traces of Hurricane Earl, which, though much-hyped, had briefly flirted with the Massachusetts coastline and then blown out to sea.
The ballpark still seemed full and the crowd reasonably loud, on a weekend evening with just a two-run deficit and runners on base for most of the game.
Notable characters made their appearance on the field: Manny Ramirez, to boos and camera flashes...
Ozzie Guillen, during a brief tempest over a hit batsman in the bottom of the fourth...
...and the always-electric Daniel Bard.
Young guns and newcomers like Bard, Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish have become, for me, the main attraction of a Red Sox game at this point.
Joined by further reinforcements from the farm like Lars Anderson and Yamaico Navarro, the Sox celebrated Labor Day in their series opener with the Rays tonight by thrashing Tampa Bay 12-5, while the Yankees lost to the Orioles.
That's all a few days late, of course, and another dozen runs couldn't bring back the must-win games they've dropped in the last two weeks. But the Red Sox won, the Rays and Yankees lost, and I didn't have to go to work. So for today, I'd say I'm satisfied. Even if, in the grand scheme of things, I am very much not.