The Mariners are not in the postseason, but several other teams are, and having a rooting interest is a good way to stay involved with baseball before we are forced to endure four long, MLB-less months. There is no reason we shouldn’t get a little taste of that postseason glory just because we are Mariners fans, so over the coming weeks, we will be inviting a writer from each playoff-bound team to make their most compelling case for the postseason hearts and minds of Mariners fans. So far, we’ve heard about the Diamondbacks from AZ Snakepit writer Charlie Gebow; the Twins from Brandon Warne, who writes about Minnesota sports for the Athletic; the Cubs, from BP’s Zack Moser; the Nationals, from the staff at Federal Baseball; the Yankees, from Bradford Davis; and the Rockies, from Connor from Purple Row. Today, Mary Craig makes a case for the Red Sox. You can read Mary’s work in BP’s Short Relief, or follow her on Twitter: @marymcraig.
1. The short pitch: in a tweet, limerick, haiku, or other short form, tell us why we should bandwagon your team.
Chris Sale is Bad
Bullpen David Price is Good
Entropy rules us
2. The longer pitch: Expand on the most compelling reasons to root for your team.
Look, I know basically everybody in existence is tired of the Red Sox, and I get it, I really do. They had their miracle wins in 2004 and 2013, and threw in 2007 along the way just for fun. In a world dominated by greed, and especially in an area in which one man’s gain is another man’s loss, it seems particularly greedy to root for a fourth World Series win in fourteen years. For decades, the Red Sox, fans and organization alike, have clung to the idea that we are not the Yankees, that we are better than the Yankees, but in recent years, the distinction has blurred. The Red Sox are huge free agent spenders, and the Yankees have exciting young players. It’s weird, murky, and unsettling.
But there’s something special about this team that exists outside these compromising factors. They love baseball as much as we do. They relish extra-innings games and they make your dedication to them worthwhile, having played 18 of them this season and lost only 3. They’ve managed to make it to the playoffs despite the failures of TWO former Cy Young winners. They’ve spit in the face of the juiced ball, hitting 40 fewer home runs this season than they did last season. Contrary to previous teams, the 2017 incarnation of the Boston Red Sox relies on speed and daring baserunning, ensuring each game will feature both brilliance and mind-boggling TOOTBLANs, a combination every Online baseball fan can admire.
Additionally, you get to root for extra outfield dances, a guy named Mookie, perhaps the most dominant closer since Mariano Rivera, and the favorite team of a fan who loves James Paxton as much as you all do.
3. Help us fake it: What's a cool stat we can casually drop to make it seem like we've been following this team all along?
While everyone has talked about Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz has been sneaky good. He made 10 starts against teams that have qualified for the 2017 postseason. In these games, Pomeranz had a 2.62 ERA, and the Red Sox went 9-1.
If you’re more historically-minded, you can casually throw out that Mookie Betts joins Ted WIlliams as the only two Red Sox to record consecutive 100 RBI seasons before turning 25.
4. Our new favorite player: Which under-the-radar player has a particularly cool backstory, social media presence, or is just generally awesome and worthy of our love and admiration?
Red Sox players and social media generally don’t mix well, from Pablo Sandoval getting caught ‘liking’ Instagram posts during a game to the thousands of times David Price has replied to fans telling him to win a playoff game. The result is that the players’ social media is typically boring, filled with generic ‘thank yous’ to fans and team promotions, or nonexistent.
The team is not without personality, though, and it has especially been cultivated in Joe Kelly. It’s really no secret that Joe Kelly is a weird guy. Everyone remembers his standoff with Scott Van Slyke prior to game 6 of the 2014 NLCS and his interview with Nelly, and the weirdness has continued in his time with Boston. Even his Great Stuff™ contains a weird element: he came up with his slider in about 10 minutes during BP before game 1 of the ALDS last year, and he relied on it to retire all 11 batters he faced.
He also knows his memes, having tweeted “#ALEASTCHAMPSH4ARAMBE” and given ALDS tickets to Ken Bone (before he became problematic) last season. This year, he has again returned to being personably weird inside the ballpark. These are his two most recent hijinks:
This season ticket holder at Orioles games mimics the opposing pitchers bullpen and Joe Kelly had some fun pic.twitter.com/qypOI2KczB— Kent (@RealKentMurphy) September 23, 2017
If you can get past the fact that he named his child Knox, there is much to enjoy about Joe Kelly, and it seems like the playoffs bring out the best in him.
5. Mariners fans love an underdog, and being miserable. What's your team's misery quotient?
I’m pretty sure Red Sox fans invented misery and the underdog mentality in relation to baseball, and we like to inject that same misery into most conversations we have with other baseball fans. Additionally, there’s a not insignificant faction of fans who root for drama and player failure just to inject some misery into things; when the team is doing well, it’s miserable because there’s far too little to complain about. If you’ll take misery in any way you can get it, the Red Sox are the team for you. If you like less nefarious misery, we can certainly empathize with your position, but we are fresh out of that type.
6. The happiness quotient: What are the chances your team can go all the way?
Of the AL playoff teams, the Red Sox had a winning record against only Cleveland and Minnesota. But the team had one of the best pitching staffs in the league down the stretch, and if the offense can cobble together some runs, they could do some significant damage. If the team manages to make it to the World Series, recent history has shown they have a pretty good chance of winning it all. And if they don’t make it past the Astros, fans will be just as happy in rooting against the Yankees, which I think is something you guys might just have in common with us.