Before we get to baseball, let me just continue to express my ongoing frustrations. I am not a pessimist, I'm a realist. People love to quote the affirmative that persistence leads to success. I'm sure it looks exactly like that from the other side, when persistence works. The truth is, persistence is only the act of repeatedly doing the same thing expecting a different result. Some people also call that insanity. Success is not inevitable. We cannot all succeed. Sometimes a story really is about failure. Since this post is in fact about baseball, statistically speaking in every game someone wins and...someone loses. There are other sports where ties are possible, but baseball isn't one of them. The team at the top of a division could very well have been at the bottom last season. That's how the Red Sox are. We members of the Nation lived through eighty-six years fully believing in the Curse. Great ballplayers like Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, and Wade Boggs never saw Boston win the World Series as active players. And that's just the guys who played in the Majors. I remember watching a near-perfect game from knuckleballer Charlie Zink at a Portland Seadogs game. I was eager to see Charlie eventually succeed Tim Wakefield as the Sox knuckleball ace. That never happened. There was a Lisbon, ME recruit when I was in high school who entered the farm system and never amounted to anything. Even being exceptional isn't always good enough. Lewiston, ME boxer Joey Gamache was a local legend, but I'm sure most people have never heard of him.
This is not really about being famous or having a tangible sense of accomplishment. These are names that went pretty far, but by conventional standards still didn't go all the way. Persistence doesn't always lead to success. We all love success stories. Those are the true affirmations, but they might also be exceptions to the rule. If the Red Sox are doing really well this season, it means some other team isn't. We can't all be winners. This is merely a sobering message, not the musings of a quitter or someone forgetting their dreams.
The Boston Red Sox
As it happens, Beantown has dropped two spots. They're currently three games behind the Yankees. Since last Wednesday their fortunes have not been so great. Clay Buchhulz hasn't won another game. In fact, the only game they won in this stretch was on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays, on the strength of Jon Lester's pitching.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
These guys are still doing pretty miserably, ten games out of first place, although they won more games in this stretch than the Red Sox. Mark Trumbo is batting .264, Mike Trout .286 (first time this season he's been ahead of Trumbo?), and Albert Pujols .242 (which is slightly better than when we last checked in).
The Oakland Athletics
The A's had a couple of wins in this stretch. They're also a bunch of games out of first place. And Coco Crisp has been recently been on the disabled list! But it's okay because he returns today.
The St. Louis Cardinals
At least these guys are still leading their pack. (Remember that at one point, the Sox, A's, and Cardinals were all tops of their divisions, while the Angels were...the best team in Anaheim.) They won five games in this stretch. Go Cardinals! Somewhere the squirrels are really happy.