This is it, friends. The game we’ve all been waiting for. I can say right now, without melodramatic exaggeration or superfluous hyperbole, that this is The Most Important Game Of The Year.
A loss tonight puts the Sox in the basement of the AL Central for the first time at this late a date since 1998. Remember the 1998 team?
Yeah, me either.
Tonight, with a mere one game separating the Sox and the Royals, we finally get to see if this team is as bad as we think it is. Last place. One game ahead of the Rangers for the dunce cap of the American League. Why am I so excited about this? Why, in some sick way, am I sort of pulling for the Sox to absolutely bottom out?
Think for a second about non-playoff teams in recent memory. 2006, 2004 and 2003, for example, were all pretty good. They had a shot. We remember the excitement of hearing we landed both Javier Vazquez and Jim Thome. Joe Crede’s walkoff against the Tigers to put the Sox alone in first place. Esteban Loaiza’s miracle season.
But we also remember finishing just inches from October and having our hearts broken by the likes of Johan Santana, Kenny Rogers and our own Frank Thomas. Watching the Twins win year after year using the simplest recipe for success imaginable. Those years were awful not because of what didn’t happen, but because of what we all knew could have happened. Should have happened. Those years were ours.
This year, however, is not. Take comfort in the fact that for once in this awful Sox fan existence, we know where we stand.
Last night, Hawk mentioned something to the effect of “part of what’s hurting [Jose Contreras’] chances of being an elite pitcher is not always having his best stuff on his forkball.” What Hawk forgot to add was that the other part of what’s hurting Jose Contreras’ chances of being an elite pitcher is his knack for getting shelled by the bottom-feeders of the division. Bottom-feeders, that is, until tonight. Go Sox!