In 50 Cent’s “Many Men,” he raps that “Sunny days wouldn’t feel so special, if it wasn’t for rain.” (Yes, I did reference a 50 Cent song in 2016, just roll with me, though.) As Red Sox fans, we didn’t wish for our team to be dismal the last couple of years, but damn it sure makes our current situation (also known as winning) a whole lot sweeter. With this current squad coming up big when it’s needed, it’s hard not to sit back, smile and enjoy the ride so far.
Yes, yes … I know the Red Sox are a mere 24 games into the 2016 campaign and that’s a rather small sample size, but dare I say this roster is creating something for us fans we haven’t seen or felt in the last couple of seasons. That something? That something is what I like to call “fun.”
This past Friday night, because I am the greatest boyfriend of all-time, I was unable to witness the match-up against the Yankees because I was at a graduation house party to support my girlfriend, but because I am simultaneously the worst boyfriend of all-time, when I checked my phone to get a score update, a notification popped up and said, “David Ortiz blasts Opposite-Field Go-Ahead 2-Run HR over Green Monster in 8th vs NYY: Hugs Kids in Stands.” At first I didn’t know if maybe the homemade sangria (which was absolute fire, by the way. Shout out to whoever made it, in case they are randomly a Red Sox fan and stumble across our page) was finally hitting me hard, but we got Ortiz, while in the midst of his I’m Retiring But Not Without Making Pitchers Poop Their Pants One Last Time Tour, hugging former Sox legend Kevin Millar’s kids in the stands after crushing one out of the park. I dare you to tell us Sox fans that this team isn’t already giving us that giddy “This team is a good time!” feeling again. It’s early, yes, but that phone notification is a quick summary of where we are with our beloved Sox into the early stages of this season.
2016 so far has presented us a David Ortiz who is doing his thing and just launching pitches into outer space, Travis Shaw batting over .300 for the month of April and displaying stellar defense at third, Rick Porcello proving he is not a lost cause and is completely capable of being a complete stud on the mound, and Jackie Bradley Jr. still showing his middle finger to the media/doubters/generally just assholes and hitting the ball great. Even, though, the Yankees have had to have gotten pretty used to Ortiz wreaking absolute havoc on them for over a decade, there’s a part of me that feels like the video clip below is every one of their pitchers reactions still when he steps into the batter’s box.
Those are just a few of several members of the current Red Sox roster who have been major contributors and stepped up to get 2016 off to a great start. When I was on my Facebook the other night, the Red Sox Official Page was posting several photos from Friday night’s game against New York and I couldn’t help but smile ear-to-ear as every photo showed the guys having a great time. Sure, winning will always cause the players to have a reason to smile, but they finally have that relaxed, “We’re here to win!” look again that had been missing the last couple of seasons. At this point, I can’t tell if I am more excited for myself as a fan to see them winning, or if I am happiest for the players, like watching a close friend finally get over an ex-girlfriend/bad breakup and start to enjoy life again.
As Red Sox fans, it is essentially our duty to overreact to the highs and lows of our beloved Boston baseball squad – we’re at times not much better than a soccer mom who look for any chance to brag about their kid and just want to be heard. It is who we are and we cannot help it at times. After some rough outings the last couple of seasons, though, we deserve this. (Annndddddd, cue the Chicago Cubs fan rolling their eyes.) Really, though, this feels good and hopefully if the pitching can hold up (mainly looking at you, Mr. Clay Buchholz) and the bats keep connecting, I truly feel like this 2016 team can do some damage.
Tonight, our Red Sox have a chance to kick-off the first series of 2016 against our New York rivals with a sweep, in Fenway Park. On the mound, David Price (3-0) will be facing New York’s Nathan Eovaldi (1-2), starting at 8pm on ESPN.
So, someone hand me an ice-cold Sam Adams and let’s cheers to this Red Sox roster continuing the good times!