Panic. In Boston, Red Sox nation needs Dr. Phil after its team got
off to a wicked bad start. Panic. From the gateway to the west, fans are
threatening to jump off the Arch after watching Albert Pujols hit
just .150 in the first ten games. Panic. The toe-tap, no-stride, and
apparently slow-bat of Derek Jeter has been examined ad nauseam
after he didn't hit .750 in the first two weeks of the season. The
Yankees captain is so fed up with the high-powered microscope on his
left foot, that he refuses talk about it anymore.
People: R-E-L-A-X. The calender hasn't even turned over to May
yet, and most of you are already hitting the panic button. It's a marathon,
not a sprint, stupid. Do you think anybody's going to be crowned
with a wreath after the first mile of the Boston Marathon? Hell, no.
The baseball season has not even warmed up and some people think
their teams season is over. I mean, unless you're a fan of the New York
Mets, who's 2011 campaign ended when it was discovered that Fred
Wilpon had been sleeping with Bernie Madoff and hiding all the profits
under his mattress, and the best free-agent they could sign was the
immortal Chris Young, then your team is still in it. Yes, even the Kansas
City Royals appear to have a shot of staying in the race until June.
Red Sox fans should know that nothing is over until John Blutarski
of "Animal House" fame says it's over. Don't they remember how their
team coughed up a 14 1/2 game lead to the Yankees in late July of
1978. They entered Sunday's action just 5 games out of first place with
a million to play, yet, sports talk radio in Beantown and the "fellowship
of the miserable", a phrase famously coined by then Celtics coach
Rick Pitino, think the season is on the verge of becoming the "Titanic II".
So what if Carl Crawford is not the supersta pissa they thought
he was going to be. The speedy outfielder looks more and more like
Edgar Renteria, who was caught in the Boston headlights, and got run
over on Yawkey Way, than the supremely talented athlete they are paying
$20 million dollars a year for. (Despite never hitting 20 home runs
during any season of his career)
Boston and their $200 million dollar payroll is loaded with ridiculous
talent. They will correct themselves and get back to near the top of
the division. Remember, teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, and Phillies
are built for October, and not just getting through the season. Unless,
they suffer catastrophic injuries to key players, they will be there at
The ridiculously loyal and forgiving fans in St. Louis, even got there
panties in a bunch after watching Pujols, the greatest hitter in the game
get off to a bad start. Keep in mind, Pujols is a LIFETIME .331 hitter,
who could get out of bed after an all-night bender and hit .300. I realize
Pujols doesn't drink and Tony LaRussa, who sometimes drinks too hard,
are not worried, and they shouldn't be. Give me a break. Do you think
Pujols is going to hit .220 with 7 home runs and 25 Rbi's during his
contract year? Relax, people. Pujols will score big in your fantasy leagues.
Conversely, people can get into a false sense of security with quick starts
After the Baltimore Orioles got off to a 6-1 jump, everyone was proclaiming
Buck Showalter to be a genius. Entering Sunday's game, the Orioles
have lost six straight games to fall under the .500 mark. Haven't heard
anybody talk about Buck being a shoe-in for baseball's manager of
the year, lately.
The 162-game season is a brutal test of talent, character, and stamina.
There are slumps, injuries, and inconsistent play. Just getting to the
all-star game healthy and in position to make a second-half run is a
challenge. And when you get to the break, there are STILL some 75-80
games to play. There are no "greenies" anymore to give the players
some pep in their step. Steroids, as we saw with Manny Ramirez, might
be still lingering in the game. But these don't players have the same
"edge" as they used. The six-month, 162 season is the ultimate test.
The bad teams get weeded out by the all-star break, and the teams
that are built the best, are usually there at the end.
So sit back, relax, and keep your hand away from the panic button.
It's a long journey, so just enjoy the ride.