If you have a slump in baseball, people tend to notice. If that slump is team-wide in nature, it’s even more glaring. And when it happens to a team that plays in a place like Boston and reaches proportions like the one the Red Sox are currently enduring, it can grab the attention of the entire country.
We love a good story of triumph, but nothing turns heads quite like a collapse.
And so, the Red Sox, now 38 players and a coaching staff, gather in a room in Baltimore trying their best to lock out everything that is being said. It’s a trying task, turning a blind eye on what is written and a deaf ear on what is said. But that’s just about all they can do at this time.
There is no other way to go about things other than to focus on the positives.
“We still, through all this, if we win we continue to play,” manager Terry Francona said after Monday’s loss in Baltimore, which dropped Boston into a flat-footed tie in the wild card race. “That’s what we’ll try to do.”
Dustin Pedroia, so often the sounding board for the ballclub, took the same approach, hinting at the incredible work that began on that first day in camp in mid-February.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Pedroia said Monday. “We’ve got to come out and play good baseball. I mean, that’s basically it. We’ve all worked really hard all year. It’s been a long season but it’s had its ups and downs. We’ve got two games left. We’re going to come out and play as hard as we can. I promise you.”
Recognizing all of that hard work is essential. If things suddenly do not go your way, you cannot discredit what got you to this point. That lesson holds true to all walks of life, and it’s important to remember the positives in times of intense negativity.
The Red Sox may end up making the playoffs. If so, perhaps a clean slate helps fuel an unexpected run. If and when that happens, the positive attitude that the team has tried to take on during these trying weeks will serve as a critical catalyst.
Positivity breeds confidence. Confidence breeds better play. Better play yields wins. Or at least that’s the idea. So often it works even better on a personal level, as evidenced by the recent words of left fielder Carl Crawford.
“For me right now, anything I do positive is big for me,” he told reporters after another difficult game. “Just trying to gain some confidence going into the postseason and hopefully I can get better with every game.”
There aren’t many games in which the Red Sox can get better. But that doesn’t mean they change their approach.