Today marks the end of summer for me, as I begin my drive back down to school. It’s been a good one. The first few weeks were dedicated to watching Lost, a life-changing odyssey for sure. Then came the fantastic World Cup and the inception of this blog. When people ask if my summer has been a success, I’ll say a resounding yes, pointing to the blog as the main reason. Writing so much has made me a lot more comfortable putting my thoughts down, and I’ll be all the better for it as I sit down to write essays for class and articles for my school newspaper.
But I have no intention of shutting the blog down. I obviously won’t have the time to watch Boston sports every night, so content will be a little more sporadic on that front. But I will certainly have something for every Arsenal game, and probably one or two other pieces each week. I might have to do some North Carolina sports coverage. Expect no fewer than four posts a week for now, however that could change as I get a feel for my new schedule this semester. Keeping the blog alive and well remains a high priority of mine, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
A year ago when I left in August, I knew there was a pretty good chance I’d be back for some October baseball. Even when I was at school, the soon to be World Series Champs were a must watch. I made it back for a playoff game, and the rest I watched as intently as ever. My Red Sox goodbye wasn’t really a goodbye at all last year. Check out an entertaining piece I wrote for my school paper about my Red Sox fandom last October to get the full sense.
But on Monday night at Fenway, I said my goodbyes to the 2014 Red Sox. With no postseason baseball ahead of us, and a roster that will look an awful lot like the Paw Sox the rest of the way, I don’t think I’ll be making the return trip to Fenway in October. I will absolutely follow the team, but this just isn’t our year. At least there won’t be any heartbreak. I can sit back and enjoy baseball as a neutral, something I haven’t had to do too often.
There are a few intriguing Red Sox story lines for the last month or so of the season though. David Ortiz’s quest for 500 home runs is officially on, as he now stands at 461 after another one last night. He has quietly put together another 30 home run season already, and if he stays hot, he could get to 40 for the year. That would leave him needing only 29 next year, which would be very doable. With retirement on the horizon as his contract expires next year, Ortiz will be eager to join the 500 home run club as soon as possible. There is no way he will retire if he’s anywhere close, but I have a feeling he might get there next year.
The other thing to watch will be the struggling players. Us fans can forget this horrible year of baseball once Tom Brady heats up, but players like Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr. will not be in good places this offseason if they don’t right their own ships. Their loss of confidence has affected their play recently, and that can’t drag into next year. But those who could use a late season boost are not just restricted to young players. Dustin Pedroia too will be much better off next year if he has a good September. And from GM Ben Cherington’s standpoint, he wants players to snap out of season long funks to prove to potential trade partners that the funks are nothing more than that.
And lastly, the starting pitchers are all auditioning for a role in the 2015 rotation at this point in the season. Joe Kelly has a spot locked down, as does Clay Buchholz presumably. But between Allen Webster, Rubby de la Rose and Brandon Workman, there probably aren’t three places next year. All three have all performed well at times, going through the expected ups and downs of a young pitcher, but nobody has guaranteed themselves a spot next year. More than anyone else, those three pitchers have incentive to be at their best through the end of the year. De la Rosa probably has the advantage right now, but it’s anyone’s game.
So while I won’t be returning to Fenway until next year, it’ll still be worth my time to check in on the grainy internet feeds of Red Sox games every once in a while. And considering my dismal record at games this year – I must have been 2-8 or something like that – the team might be better off without me there. Regardless of where I am, my team is never far from my heart. So long, summer.