Wow…theBoston Red Sox managed to do something they’d been known for, a lifetime ago. They valiantly snatched defeat from the jaws of certain victory. At the dawn of September, they were 9 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card race. A post-season berth was all but guaranteed.
And then it happened.
A classic late-summer meltdown ensued and they crumbled. It wasn’t so much a gradual decline…more like a vintage Wile E. Coyote ‘ACME Rocket Roller Skate’ plummet off the cliff and down the standings. (yikes!)
Manager Terry Francona (for my money the greatest leader the Sox have had in my lifetime) has been set adrift.
And now, the examination begins. What happened? Who caused this? Who is to blame? Who is the NEXT Bill Buckner, a sacrificial lamb upon who all the blame can be heaped?
In my opinion, there are many factors, the most obvious (so bright it is blinding) is that this ‘team’ seemed to forget what it means to play like a team.
To those players who refused to hustle, who didn’t support and cheer on their teammates, I offer this:
Dear Red Sox players. Do you remember how badly you wanted to win when you were this young? How badly you wanted to play in the major leagues someday? Congratulations, you made it. Please remember how brightly that fire used to burn. Too many of you finished the season without it. Your lack of hustle and dugout enthusiasm proved it, to this fan. If you want to win, please come back in the Spring like you mean it. If not, please take your millions of dollars, go elsewhere, and make room for someone with heart. I’d rather watch a Triple-A player full of fire than your bloated millionaire ego jogging to first base.
Now, before anything thinks I am ready to ready to surrendered my Red Sox Nation passport, nothing could be farther from the truth. You see, what just happened to the Sox happens every day in our own lives, all across America.
One day we’re on top of the world, on top of our tasks, and on top of ourselves.
Some of us then get the wake-up call of our lives.
We’ve just lost our job to someone who out-hustled us.
The marriage is over because we stopped trying, caring, loving.
We’ve erected an ego-driven island of one where we’d originally enjoyed a village of friends.
This is not an ‘Us’ vs. ‘Them’. They ARE us (with a much bigger payroll).
How are YOU doing in YOUR game these days? Are you stepping up to the plate, swinging for the fences? Are you hustling down the line every time? Is your ego and superstar mentality getting in the way of the collective TEAM objective to win the whole thing?
It will be interesting to see how the 2012 baseball season shakes up and shakes out.
It’s a lot like the situation America is facing right now.
There are some maverick ego-driven power-hungry superstars who’ve tarnished the American Dream and caused us to stumble and lose momentum. The spirit of the game has been soured by those who’ve stopped hustling and stopped caring.
Much like the Red Sox, we are indeed one nation, under a microscope.
In my personal life, my professional life, my life as an American (and as a fiercely loyal Red Sox fan), I hope I am doing my best to make EVERY team I am on become a winning team.
How are you contributing toward your team’s victory?
Play ball, America!