The Red Sox caught a break on Wednesday night when a rainstorm moved up the East Coast and poured sheets of precipation all over Fenway Park.
As a result, the 2-9 Sox were sent home as their game with the Tampa Bay Rays was postponed and as a result, Terry Francona‘s group has two days to get away from the game.
When you’re playing like the Red Sox are, that’s probably a good thing.
Thinking about Wednesday night’s rainout, I couldn’t help but to be reminded of the scene in Bull Durham where Kevin Costner‘s character, Crash Davis, decides the best thing for a struggling Durham Bulls team is a rainout.
Of course, Crash takes matters into his own hands, breaking into the stadium and then setting off the sprinklers. What follows is a night of sliding in the mud, drinking beer and God knows what else.
Really, it’s exactly what the Red Sox could use right now. The more you think about it, though, the more you may start to realize there are plenty of lessons they could be taking from Bull Durham right now.
If the Red Sox can follow a few simple pieces of advice from one of the greatest baseball movies ever made, they’ll right the ship in no time.
“You just got lesson number one: don’t think; it can only hurt the ball club.”
The game of baseball is tough enough. You’re either trying to throw a ball over a 17-inch piece of rubber as hard as you can while trying to curve it or sink it, or you’re trying to hit it with a piece of wood. It’s not easy. Thinking about it only makes things more difficult. When you’re playing poorly, you really start to think about things. That’s the point in time where you need to get back to the basics and trying to win one inning at a time. Speaking of the basics…
“This … is a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball. “
Get back to the basics. Live in the moment. Take everything one at a time. One pitch at a time. One at-bat at a time. One inning at a time. One game at a time. No matter how hard they try, the Red Sox cannot come out on Friday and move into first place. It’s going to take time. To get things going, they’re going to have to simplify everything.
“You be cocky and arrogant, even when you’re getting beat. That’s the secret. You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance.”
This one of Crash’s memorable quotes, and it certainly applies to this Red Sox team. They know that on paper they have one of the most talented teams in baseball. They tell us that every night. At some point, you start to wonder if they’re really believing it when they say it. To begin the year, that was a slump — it happens. But what they might need now more than ever is a feeling of cockiness. They sound like they believe they’re good and for good reason. But now they need to show it, especially in a game built around failure.
“So relax! Let’s have some fun out here! This game’s fun, OK? Fun [goshdarnit].”
Another Crash quote and another example of changing the way of thinking. Hopefully, a couple of days away from the ballpark can recharge the batteries both mentally and physically. If that doesn’t do the trick, just getting back to having fun can take your mind off things when they’re going poorly. They still have four games left over the long weekend before they head to the West Coast. And if you can’t have fun playing at Fenway Park, then you probably can’t have fun doing anything. Yes, going out and simply having fun is easier said than done, but at the end of the day, baseball is still a game.
“The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness.”
Annie Savoy is definitely on to something here. Not only is this applicable to the world in general, but it fits right into a baseball-inspired train of thought. Those who are blessed with the ability to move on and not dwell on past failures often put themselves in a better position for success. I give you Exhibit A: the 2004 Red Sox. Do you think that Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez or Kevin Millar have any sort of self-awareness? Didn’t think so. They just went out there and played. Seemed to work pretty well when they were down three games in the American League Championship Series.
“Sears sucks, Crash. Boy, I worked there once. Sold Lady Kenmores. Nasty, whoa, nasty.“
Really not much to take from this one other than remembering that it could always be worse … right? Right?