It was worth it to be able to say, “The Boston Red Sox are American League East Champions!”
After a couple rough years, it was nice to finally see that happen. Of course, that’s not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to win that last game in the World Series. I know that. The players know that. But, winning the division is a big helpful step towards that goal!
As you may have heard, they didn’t exactly do it in the most incredible fashion. It’s always more fun to be able to run off the field together and celebrate. But, of course, they weren’t able to do that. They were the ones walking off as the Yankees ran onto the field in celebration.
The Sox certainly made up for that in the clubhouse though when the party really started.
What amazed me last night, though, was the number of people who were actually concerned about last night’s results. As if winning the division didn’t count if you didn’t win your game on the day they clinched.
There were complaints of “backing into” the playoffs. Implying they only got in because the Blue Jays lost. That it, of course, absolute bunk. The Red Sox are division champs because their 92 wins are more than anyone else in the division will be able to get. That’s it. It doesn’t matter what order the wins come in. The Sox won eleven in a row in order to put them in position to win. The fact that they lost on the day they would have clinched doesn’t change that. After all, since the Sox game ended after the Jays lost, even if they had won the game, they wouldn’t have clinched the division with the win. It would just be their first win as division champs. What if the magic number was two, and the Sox won their game. Then the Jays play on the west coast and lost. Would that be backing into a playoff spot? What if the Sox were the most consistent team in history and alternated six game winning streaks with four game losing streaks. All season. If they clinched the division during one of the losing streaks, does that mean they backed in?
See how silly this all is?
Even more concerning to me, though, were the people who were actually worried about the results. “I hope this isn’t a sign of Kimbrel’s demise!” “See? This bullpen!” “Farrell can’t manage! What’s Koji doing pitching the eighth?” Do these people not realize that the Sox are division champs? Did they not remember the eleven-game winning streak? Kimbrel and Farrell seemed just fine during the streak. And the Sox seem to have managed a pretty good record all year with them. Why are we now determined to say their bad game is going to kill the Sox? 8-2 over the last ten games is the best stretch in the league. Suddenly that’s a fault that will doom them in October?
Do people just like to whine?
On second thought, don’t answer that.
How about we try enjoying the division title? How about we concentrate on the 92 wins over the last 158 instead of just the two losses in the last two? How about we remember that over the long season, the Red Sox have shown themselves to be the best team in the division, if not the American League. How about we pretend that every thing they do wrong and every mistake they make is just that. A mistake. Not a prediction. Not a pattern. Not a decline. A mistake.
Teams make mistakes. Teams blow saves. Even good teams.
Even division champs.