Dog Days Starting Early
Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong. Look the Sox have played even worse than their record this season, but that record is not so bad. They are at the moment above .500, and only one game out of the Wild Card in the loss column -- a preposterous observation a quarter of the way into the season, if I do say so myself. But I just feel "blah" about the whole thing. Maybe going to Minnesota does it to me. That dome is one of the most soul-less places left in baseball after the recent wave of stadium construction and rehab. And, the team is the kind of group you'd love to root for, but who you absolutely hate to play against. They sap your will. It's not getting beat by Johan Santana and Justin Morneau that bugs me; it's getting beat by Nick Punto and Jason Tyner. It's losing because of ground balls that bounce 75 feet into the air off the green concrete that passes for a field there.
These doldrums are bad. I'm actually excited about inter-league play. Inter-league play is the kind of thing that's needed to drum up interest in places where they don't really care about baseball. Usually I view inter-league play as an annoying interruption of the divisional race. This year, I bought tickets for an extra Cubs-Sox game at Comiscular, and I find myself contemplating who excites me on the Houston Astros. A couple of weeks ago, I bought tickets for the Sox-Yanks game Monday because I heard that Clemens might be making his first start then. It paid off. But I find myself more excited about seeing Clemens start than going to a Sox-Yanks game.
Maybe this team will get on a role. As much as they lack depth, the top of their roster is very good. Unlike most .500 teams, the Sox have the talent to put together a really good record with the right combination of health and luck. Maybe the Sox will show passion and fire, and I'll get fired up, too. But I fear that the dog days of summer may drag a little more than usual this year.