Wild Card Berth Latest Example Of Red Sox Proving Detractors Wrong

These Red Sox proved to be the real deal


October 3, 2021

Folks with an axe to grind were ready to write the Boston Red Sox off three (ugly) games into their season. They were ready to do it again when they stumbled after the trade deadline, and every other chance.

These people will be the same ones that tell you the Red Sox shouldn’t be celebrating getting into the Wild Card Game. However, it’s people like that who are the exact reason the Red Sox should be celebrating right now.

All season, the goalposts moved. It started with snarky columns on February 17, having not seen an inning of regular season action, no less any Grapefruit League play. When that brutal first series against the Baltimore Orioles played out, there came the “it’s just the 2020 team all ever again” takes.

But they rebounded, and rebounded well. Whenever there was a bad stretch, they got written off again. It doesn’t need relitigating, we all witnessed it.

The point is this: The Red Sox were fun this season. It was one of the more exciting Septembers in a long, long time (including 2018, when they had run away with everything), and the fact that it came down to the final day only added to the intrigue. At times it was infuriating as they struggled to close things out, but hey, that’s baseball.

This was supposed to be a year of retooling on the fly, and getting (much) better than last season while still staying the course of building a sustained, long-term contender. They exceeded that expectation this season, and it’s important to note that this technically is not supposed to be the pinnacle of the Red Sox’s long-term roster-building plan.

That’s not to temper the expectations for what’s to come. The Red Sox have proven they can beat the Yankees, and if you get into the postseason, then anything other than a World Series title will be disappointing. But in getting to the playoffs by way of a meat grinder of a division, the Red Sox have already eliminated the possibility of this season being a disappointment — no matter what happens the rest of this month.

So, if you just enjoyed the Red Sox season because they were fun, good for you — don’t let anyone shame you for that. Who knows, maybe this is just the beginning of the enjoyment.

Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images
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