At This Point in the Season, What Would You Consider a Success?

allmanbro

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It's funny, I really am actually satisfied with what the team has done. I have often recognized that I should feel that way, but while the team is still playing and there is some next accomplishment that seems within reach (make the playoffs, win this series, get to 90 wins, whatever), I am always more emotionally invested in them getting that next thing more than I am satisfied with what they have done. But I had them pegged as an 85 win team (and thought I was maybe a bit optimistic), they have eliminated the Yankees, and there are several teams left, including the Rays, that I think are clearly better. So for perhaps the first time ever I find myself able to imagine losing a playoff series with equanimity. It's nice in its own way.

Oh I know the 2013 squad were big dogs early in the season, but by the time the playoffs rolled around, they were pretty clearly one of the best teams in baseball.
This nails the difference between 2013 and this year for me.
 

nvalvo

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It's funny, I really am actually satisfied with what the team has done. I have often recognized that I should feel that way, but while the team is still playing and there is some next accomplishment that seems within reach (make the playoffs, win this series, get to 90 wins, whatever), I am always more emotionally invested in them getting that next thing more than I am satisfied with what they have done. But I had them pegged as an 85 win team (and thought I was maybe a bit optimistic), they have eliminated the Yankees, and there are several teams left, including the Rays, that I think are clearly better. So for perhaps the first time ever I find myself able to imagine losing a playoff series with equanimity. It's nice in its own way.
I feel almost exactly the same way. This is the good-but-flawed team we thought they were preseason, but they managed to bank a few "extra" wins that they really had little business winning during some of those first half winning streaks, and so snuck in. We expected our depth would be challenged: and it was. We thought we would need to count on reinforcements from AAA and the IL to get the rotation through the season, given all the question marks there, and we did. We knew we needed to get big seasons from at least some of our inexpensive position player additions: Renfroe, Kiké, Marwin, Franchy, Santana, Arroyo. That happened.

When you flip through the early box scores, there are a number of games I'm not sure I can really believe they won, that ended up making a huge difference. We basically made the post-season because Pivetta outpitched DeGrom (with Christian Vazquez providing all the game's offense!) and because Blue Jays' set up reliever man Rafael Dolis had an extremely rough year in a way that swung the season series against Toronto our way. Like, Dolis was great against NY (.333 OPS against) and Tampa Bay (.528 OPS against), but Boston basically ruined his season in a three week span between late-May and mid-June: all three of his losses, his only blown save, a quarter of his runs allowed, a third of his walks, .952 OPS against. If you take out our numbers against him, his ERA falls by more than a run and his season line looks totally normal for a 7th/8th inning guy.

What I'm saying is: weird year.
 

Beale13

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For me what's so fun about this now is that it feels completely like we're playing with house money in an expectations sense, and yet I think it's entirely reasonable to believe that the team still has enough talent to go on a championship winning tear if enough and certain players get hot. The 2019 Washington Nationals seems like an apt example - the obvious difference is that we do not have anything like the Scherzer/Strasburg tandem, but there is enough potential in the ERod/Sale/Eovaldi trio to think that two of those three could get hot enough. Our bullpen is also a heck of a lot better than the Nationals' was, and I think our offense is better too. Obviously lots of cards have to fall our way.
 

Cesar Crespo

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For me what's so fun about this now is that it feels completely like we're playing with house money in an expectations sense, and yet I think it's entirely reasonable to believe that the team still has enough talent to go on a championship winning tear if enough and certain players get hot. The 2019 Washington Nationals seems like an apt example - the obvious difference is that we do not have anything like the Scherzer/Strasburg tandem, but there is enough potential in the ERod/Sale/Eovaldi trio to think that two of those three could get hot enough. Our bullpen is also a heck of a lot better than the Nationals' was, and I think our offense is better too. Obviously lots of cards have to fall our way.
Any team in the playoffs has a chance of winning the WS. It's not the NBA.
 

Rovin Romine

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For me what's so fun about this now is that it feels completely like we're playing with house money in an expectations sense, and yet. . .
Reasonable expectations change as the situation changes. If the Sox just gave up at this point (not expecting that in any way), it would be a huge disappointment. If they play hard, I'll be satisfied with the season, no matter what the outcome of the ALDS.

That said, I'm hopeful we can win against the Rays.

It's a 5 game series, which I think favors us, given that the Rays have great depth. Our season record against them is not great, but we did split that Aug/Sept. series against them, and lost the late Sept. series 2-1, with the pivotal game being a one run decision.

Any team in the playoffs has a chance of winning the WS. It's not the NBA.
Well, I'd agree it's volatile, but it's far from being random (e.g., every team in the playoffs has an even chance.)
 

Beale13

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Any team in the playoffs has a chance of winning the WS. It's not the NBA.

Agreed, but what I was trying to say is that I think the Sox have the type of makeup where they could be particularly dangerous. We aren't the Braves who won a terrible division. We survived a division that produced four 90+ win teams and have multiple players entirely capable of dominance when they're going right.
 

lexrageorge

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Any team in the playoffs has a chance of winning the WS. It's not the NBA.
Well, I'd agree it's volatile, but it's far from being random (e.g., every team in the playoffs has an even chance.)
SoSH author @BaseballJones has done some research on this. See this thread:

https://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/which-championship-is-the-hardest-to-win.33559/#post-4425098

The tl;dr version is that the NBA is the most predictable (no surprise) and the NHL the least (again, no surprise). MLB was slightly more "top-heavy" than NFL, probably due to the "1-and-done" nature of football playoffs.
 

The Raccoon

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Well I guess now we have to win this series.
That's where I'm at as well.

At the start of the season I would have been perfectly happy just getting to the WC game, until it turned out to be the MFY (who obviously needed to be eliminated to make the season a success).

After that I was perfectly happy with sending the MFY golfing and reaching the ALDS, until they won the game a couple of hours ago. Now I want some ALCS action.

To be continued...
 

oumbi

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For me, my expectations coming into this season were pretty low. I viewed this as a "bridge year." (Read: Sox will suck, but next year they will be better.)

But...

They made the wild card! A bonus.
They beat the MFY in the wild card and expelled them back to the depths from which they had crawled. Double bonus!!!
They provided us with an incredibly entertaining game 3 that had the addition of a really, really interesting play. Bonus again!

Even if they don't make it past this series (but they will!!) this season is a success for me.
 

JimD

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After last night's game, and being up 2-1 with a chance to close out at home ... losing the next two would not make the season a failure, but it would be an extreme bummer and cast a pall over the beginning of the offseason. So let's get this done.
 

BroodsSexton

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For me, my expectations coming into this season were pretty low. I viewed this as a "bridge year." (Read: Sox will suck, but next year they will be better.)

But...

They made the wild card! A bonus.
They beat the MFY in the wild card and expelled them back to the depths from which they had crawled. Double bonus!!!
They provided us with an incredibly entertaining game 3 that had the addition of a really, really interesting play. Bonus again!

Even if they don't make it past this series (but they will!!) this season is a success for me.
Game 2 was pretty entertaining, also.
 

chawson

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I’m not typically this petty about the Rivalry anymore, but the joy of stealing a year of dominance that everyone had already bestowed upon the Yankees is pretty ecstatic. It’s like two years of their Judge/Stanton/Cole core have been wasted — one by the pandemic and now one by us as extremely unlikely spoilers. Feels nice.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Up 2-1 with 3 total IP from Sale/Rodriguez. Just insane.
This has '99 ALDS vibes to it in some ways when Pedro got hurt after pitching only four innings. Only Sale and ERod aren't hurt (that we know of) and there's hope that they can still positively contribute to a team doing a hell of a job despite their lack of contribution. Like maybe they've got a combined 6 innings of no-hit baseball in their back pocket that can be used to slam the door on the Rays.
 

Manuel Aristides

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That's a weird take. Will you feel bad after the Sox win the WS this year?
I don't think it's weird at all. The rays have succeeded despite a gigantic competitive disadvantage and have even become trendsetters, fairly radically changing the way the game is played. As a fan of the game, I admire that, and I think that winning a championship would be an appropriate commemoration of this era of Rays baseball, and that losing in the divisional round would be a disappointing end to a bit of a storybook season for them. That they had their most successful regular season is interesting and laudable to me, and I will feel, yes, a little bad if such an interesting and, in my opinion, deserving team is knocked out by a big-market team that outspent them nearly 4:1.

I said "I'll feel a little bad", not "I'm rooting against my favorite team" or "I want Tampa to win". It is possible to have nuanced feelings about these things and respect one's opponent. We're not waging a blood feud or anything. I jumped off my couch and squealed when Vazquez won the game last night-- but I also "felt a little bad" because the Rays got a very tough break in the 13th. Even sports rooting interests are not black and white, at least not to me.
 

BroodsSexton

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I said "I'll feel a little bad", not "I'm rooting against my favorite team" or "I want Tampa to win". It is possible to have nuanced feelings about these things and respect one's opponent. We're not waging a blood feud or anything. I jumped off my couch and squealed when Vazquez won the game last night-- but I also "felt a little bad" because the Rays got a very tough break in the 13th. Even sports rooting interests are not black and white, at least not to me.
Right—that’s only New York.
 

JMDurron

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It’s all house money at this point. The signature playoff walkoff moment is the cherry on top.
 

8slim

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The rays have succeeded despite a gigantic competitive disadvantage and have even become trendsetters, fairly radically changing the way the game is played.
A thought about this… the “gigantic competitive disadvantage” that Tampa faces is entirely of their own making. Tampa is a top 15 media market with a fast growing population and substantial corporate presence. Their lack of financial resources are largely because they draw flies to a horrible stadium, a situation that has persisted for two decades yet has been overcome by the other two pro teams in the market.

They have “changed the way the game is played”, but IMHO, not a all in a way that makes watching their brand of ball enjoyable. That’s personal preference, of course, but to me they are the poster child of maximizing on-field success at the expense of fan satisfaction. I don’t blame them for doing that, but I also don’t have to like it.

So yeah, I hope they lose and will delight in it if they do.
 

YTF

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I have to be honest, with the amount of success that we've been gifted with from this organisation in the 17+ seasons I'm totally baffled by those who tie the Red Sox level of success in any way to the success or failure of the MFY. Naturally you always want to advance further into the post season and if that comes at New York's expense even better, but when you consider that this franchise has four world championships since 2004 shouldn't we be able to assess success based the standard that the franchise has set for itself?
 

Max Power

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I have to be honest, with the amount of success that we've been gifted with from this organisation in the 17+ seasons I'm totally baffled by those who tie the Red Sox level of success in any way to the success or failure of the MFY. Naturally you always want to advance further into the post season and if that comes at New York's expense even better, but when you consider that this franchise has four world championships since 2004 shouldn't we be able to assess success based the standard that the franchise has set for itself?
You probably should have changed your avatar before this post.

I'll enjoy seeing the Yankees lose a little less as soon as their fans show any hint of humility. But as of Tuesday they were still taking over a quarter of Fenway screaming vile shit until their team fell way behind. So I'll continue hating them for a while longer.
 

YTF

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You probably should have changed your avatar before this post.

I'll enjoy seeing the Yankees lose a little less as soon as their fans show any hint of humility. But as of Tuesday they were still taking over a quarter of Fenway screaming vile shit until their team fell way behind. So I'll continue hating them for a while longer.
Nothing in this post has anything to do with what I posted, but thanks for playing along.
 

OurF'ingCity

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I have to be honest, with the amount of success that we've been gifted with from this organisation in the 17+ seasons I'm totally baffled by those who tie the Red Sox level of success in any way to the success or failure of the MFY. Naturally you always want to advance further into the post season and if that comes at New York's expense even better, but when you consider that this franchise has four world championships since 2004 shouldn't we be able to assess success based the standard that the franchise has set for itself?
I don't think anyone is "tying the Red Sox level of success" to the success (or not) of the Yankees. The success of the Red Sox and the failure of the Yankees are two distinct things, both of which give me enjoyment. The former gives me more enjoyment than the latter, but the latter is a great consolation prize when the former doesn't happen.

Put another way, if the Red Sox finished 71-91 and the Yankees finished 70-92 I don't think any (or at least many) here would be saying "I still consider this year a success because we were better than the Yankees," but they would be saying "wow we sucked but at least the Yankees sucked too."
 

bankshot1

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I think we're all in agreement we're playing with house money. However at some point we do get a little territorial about that bigger bankroll. I would like to keep doubling down on it for another few weeks.

All things being equal and they seldom are, I'd prefer to turn house money into a comped presidential suite and free ring side seats.
 

chawson

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I have to be honest, with the amount of success that we've been gifted with from this organisation in the 17+ seasons I'm totally baffled by those who tie the Red Sox level of success in any way to the success or failure of the MFY. Naturally you always want to advance further into the post season and if that comes at New York's expense even better, but when you consider that this franchise has four world championships since 2004 shouldn't we be able to assess success based the standard that the franchise has set for itself?
I’m not saying our team’s success is necessarily tied to the Yankees failure, and I don’t think that team is some psychological bogeyman that needs slaying every year.

The Yankees typically have greater resources than us and we play in the same division. Their boom and bust cycles directly impact our success because they’re always the AL East team with the most resources available to keep us from advancing deep into the postseason. Of course there’s a little emotional oomph for anyone attuned to the great Sox/Yankees saga. But materially speaking, it’s nice to “steal” a deep run from what most people thought would be the heart of their boom cycle, “wasting” one of their expensive stars’ dwindling prime years, especially in what should have been a second “retooling” year of Red Sox mediocrity.
 

bankshot1

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The reality this year was we were in a pretty intense dance with the MFY, a team many predicted as the class of the AL, for the last 60 games of the season. And as we all know the Sox had to beat them in a win or go home game. There is nothing wrong about celebrating that fact or the win, but that should also come with the understanding that thrashing a once proud franchise simply does not have the same thrill or panache it once had.
 

chawson

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I hate the Yankees as much as anyone but is this even still true at this point?
I think they have deeper international scouting resources and a larger representational brand worldwide, so I’d say yes. Over the last 5-6 years I don’t think there’s been a significant difference in team payroll, so maybe they have “resources on par with” the Sox if that’s more accurate to my point. In broader terms, their organization is valued at more than $2 billion more than ours.
 

YTF

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To be clear, YTF = Yuck The Fankees. I take as much (or nearly as much) joy in Yankee failures as most of you. Y'all can hate on the MFY as much as you like, I get it. But there has been a sprinkling of posts with some members considering the Sox finishing ahead of New York to be the measure of success for this season. I'm sure some posts may have been tongue in cheek, but I'll go out on a limb and guess some were quite serious. I was simply stating that considering everything we've witness since the current ownership group took the reigns I don't get that POV. IMO opinion the Sox have now set their own set of standards for comparison. While simultaneously winning the WC game and eliminating the Yankees was VERY satisfying, the fact that it was the Yankees holds no weight for me personally when I consider this season's level of success.
 

JimD

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Is this an age thing? Are some of you not old enough to remember living through 'NINETEEN-EIGHTEEN!' and that feeling in the pit of your stomach that, Jesus, are we ever going to get a big win against these guys? I did, and even after the past 17 years of glorious Red Sox success, I will never get sick of any humiliation that befalls the New York Yankees, especially when it is the season-ending variety delivered by the Boston Red Sox.
 

YTF

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Is this an age thing? Are some of you not old enough to remember living through 'NINETEEN-EIGHTEEN!' and that feeling in the pit of your stomach that, Jesus, are we ever going to get a big win against these guys? I did, and even after the past 17 years of glorious Red Sox success, I will never get sick of any humiliation that befalls the New York Yankees, especially when it is the season-ending variety delivered by the Boston Red Sox.
I'm 61 so I remember all of that shit as well as the "Twenty six rings" chants and "buying" championships when the Sox weren't very good. I don't question any of that, my question is is that the measuring stick that you use to determine whether or not THIS team had a successful season?
 

JM3

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I don't think anyone is "tying the Red Sox level of success" to the success (or not) of the Yankees. The success of the Red Sox and the failure of the Yankees are two distinct things, both of which give me enjoyment. The former gives me more enjoyment than the latter, but the latter is a great consolation prize when the former doesn't happen.

Put another way, if the Red Sox finished 71-91 and the Yankees finished 70-92 I don't think any (or at least many) here would be saying "I still consider this year a success because we were better than the Yankees," but they would be saying "wow we sucked but at least the Yankees sucked too."
I agree with this.

I like to say, the 2 best days of the baseball season are the day the Red Sox win the World Series & the day the Yankees get eliminated.

That's not really necessarily true, but it's not far off.
 

InsideTheParker

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To be clear, YTF = Yuck The Fankees. I take as much (or nearly as much) joy in Yankee failures as most of you. Y'all can hate on the MFY as much as you like, I get it. But there has been a sprinkling of posts with some members considering the Sox finishing ahead of New York to be the measure of success for this season. I'm sure some posts may have been tongue in cheek, but I'll go out on a limb and guess some were quite serious. I was simply stating that considering everything we've witness since the current ownership group took the reigns I don't get that POV. IMO opinion the Sox have now set their own set of standards for comparison. While simultaneously winning the WC game and eliminating the Yankees was VERY satisfying, the fact that it was the Yankees holds no weight for me personally when I consider this season's level of success.
Gee, if the Sox had lost the wildcard game, whom would they have lost it to? To whom would they have lost it? Their long-time enemy, that's who. I don't fancy that; therefore, I'm thrilled that didn't happen, and if the much-more successful, less-heralded, innovative Rays had beaten us, I could have adjusted. Isn't that easy to understand?
 

dhellers

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I have to be honest, with the amount of success that we've been gifted with from this organisation in the 17+ seasons I'm totally baffled by those who tie the Red Sox level of success in any way to the success or failure of the MFY. Naturally you always want to advance further into the post season and if that comes at New York's expense even better, but when you consider that this franchise has four world championships since 2004 shouldn't we be able to assess success based the standard that the franchise has set for itself?
Here in DC I have good and true friends who are fine, except for being MFY fans. And they will state, from the bottom of their hearts, that "major league baseball isn't right if the Yankees are not winning championships."

Which is about a clear a sign of unmitigated arrogance as one can conceive. One well encapsulated by a pre-2003 statement, when informed that the Red Sox were likely to play the Yankees in the post -season: "Great, we will be taking the scenic route".

AND THAT IS FROM MY FRIENDS.

So perhaps us older Red Sox fans are clinging to our PTSDish emotions. But damn, it does feel good to witness YED, and double good when the Red Sox can administer it.

BTW: I agree with BankShot. At this point, the fact that it is house money I am playing with does NOT mean that going deep in the playoffs is just a lark.

Don't let us win tonight!
 

canyoubelieveit

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All I know is that yesterday when a friend of mine noted how, after the White Sox won, all the playoff teams had won at least one game, I got to clarify that, no, the Yankees had not.*

*nor the Cardinals, but that's not the delicious point of the story.
 

YTF

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Gee, if the Sox had lost the wildcard game, whom would they have lost it to? To whom would they have lost it? Their long-time enemy, that's who. I don't fancy that; therefore, I'm thrilled that didn't happen, and if the much-more successful, less-heralded, innovative Rays had beaten us, I could have adjusted. Isn't that easy to understand?
Of couse that's easy to understand. I feel I'm the one not being understood. Let's look at this from another angle with failure being the opposite of success. Going into the season we expected Chris Sale to be out until July or August and we had no idea how/if Rodriguez would bounce back. The rotation as well as the bullpen was a huge question mark as was the right side of the infield and 2/3 of the outfield. There were no blockbuster trades or huge FA signings heading into the season. It was a team in flux, hopeful of being somewhat competitive while keeping payroll in check. A bridge year as many would say. It was a season of two very different halves and despite the amazing start to the year, the inevitable exposure of this team's flaws in the second half were painful.Through it all they hung in there and eeked out a WC spot. They won 92 games in a division that had four teams winning 90 or more games. If the Sox lost the WC game to New York it would have been crushing, more so than a loss to any other team. All of that considered would you see the season a failure if the Sox didn't advance past the WC game? That THIS team finished the season 22 games over .500, is a success story in my eyes.