The Saddest Sacks
What this all speaks to, more than anything else, is the general attitude and malaise that has enveloped Fenway Park in recent years, no matter the television ratings, ticket sales or intangible buzz. Red Sox fans, like their team, have grown relatively fat and happy. Do we (and they) want to win? Of course. But we (and they) don’t want it the way we wanted it in 2003 or 2004, which is the way the Bruins wanted it last spring or the way the Tigers, Rangers or Brewers want it now. Each of those clubs has thirsted for a title far longer than Boston has. And it shows.
The worst thing that ever happened to Red Sox fans was winning the World Series in 2004, and the second-worst thing was winning it again. Red Sox fans loved the almost-century-long title-less streak. They wallowed in it, like the sad sacks they are.
Massarotti is right about everything, except the bit about whether they actually want to see the team pull out of this September spiral. They don’t. They’re looking forward to the misery of a historic collapse.
Winning should never get old. Never. Winning should make fans hungry for more winning.
The Yankees have lost many painful games in my lifetime, but one of the absolute worst was game seven of the 2001 World Series. The fact that the Yankees had won the three previous titles didn’t make the 2001 Series loss less painful — it made it worse. Good fans don’t think Well, we did win three in row. No, they think We should have won four in a row.
And this isn’t just a Yankees thing. The Yankees have an unusual history of success, yes, but look no further than the Yankees of the National League, my hometown Phillies. Their consistent excellence over the past five years — and keep in mind that the Phillies have won a World Series more recently than the Red Sox have — has done nothing but make Phillies fans thirsty for more. If the Phillies had suffered a late season collapse like the Sox’ that had left the team hanging on to a postseason spot by a mere two games, you would never in a million years see the following written by a Philly sports columnist:
Maybe losing is necessary here. Maybe it isn’t.
No fans other than Red Sox fans could ever think themselves into a pretzel and come out thinking that losing might be “necessary”.