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Off The Bench with Devin Higgins

It's Not the End of the World for the Red Sox

Okay...let's get this out of the way right now.

Yes, Baseball fans everywhere who ever held a grudge against the Boston Red Sox are rejoicing after what happened last night. Yankee fans, especially, who've never shied away from a chance to bash their longtime rivals, couldn't be happier that their team's in and the Sox are out.

But I was about 18 months old when we legally changed the name of Bucky Dent to Bucky $%#&'n Dent in 1978. I was nine when the ball went through Buckner's wickets in Game 6 and Ray Knight bounded home like a Little Leaguer to tear our hearts out again.

I was 26 when Aaron Boone killed us by hitting a Tim Wakefield casaba melon knuckleball in 2003, and I was 27 when the Red Sox completed the single greatst comeback in postseason history, "The Backdoor Sweep" of the hated Yankees, on their way to their first World Series title in 86 years.

They gave me one more for my 30.5th birthday back in 2007, and because of that, I've reached the following conclusion, so pay attention as I'll only say it once.

Yes, the 2011 season is a major disappointment, but it's not the end of the damn world.

And before you go off on how saying such things doesn't make me a "true" Red Sox fan because I'm supposed to be full of angst, bitterness, and East Coast rage, spare me. It's just not that big of a deal anymore.

Tampa Bay has a young team that's shown they can win. They reached a World Series themselves in 2008 and almost did again last year. They're not a fluke team, and considering their window may be closing faster than Boston's is due to the economics of the sport, it's not surprising they capitalized on their opportunities more than the older and more brittle Sox did.

Now is Terry Francona out of a job because of this? In my view, he shouldn't be. He didn't sign Carl Crawford to an inflated contract in the offseason, nor did he overuse his pitching staff like Dusty Baker did with the '03 Cubs. Had Boston made the playoffs anyway, there was no guarantee they'd get past the Tigers.

Seriously, you think they'd have had any easier time against Justin Verlander than the Rays will? I don't think so.

The question for the Boston fans to ponder all winter is how will the team rebuild in the Hot Stove League? Will they address the concerns of the pitching staff and the bullpen? Are Tito and Big Papi still there next season? Ortiz will be 36 and he's not what he was 7-8 years ago. He'll always be a Boston legend like Teddy Ballgame, Yaz, and "Pudge" Fisk, but maybe it's time for him to go.

Regardless of what happens, I'm not going to be spending my winter waiting to stick it to Yankee fans who will waste their time trying to stick me with their juvenile vitriol about Boston's collapse this season.

I'm 34 and have seen my beloved team win two titles. Life goes on. Give it a rest.

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Topics : Sports
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Locations : BostonEast Coast
People : Aaron BooneBucky DentCarl CrawfordDusty BakerJustin VerlanderRay KnightTeddy BallgameTerry Francona

09/29/2011 12:42PM
It's Not the End of the World for the Red Sox
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