Do we now have two "win the last game or bust" teams?

Al Zarilla

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The Red Sox have now won four world series titles in this small fraction of a century; the Patriots six Super Bowls. For me, the Pats need to at least get to the Super Bowl, maybe probably even have to win it to consider it a successful season. Have the Red Sox entered this rarefied air?
 

chrisfont9

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I’ll say yes. Not that baseball and football are much alike, but between the team running it back all over again with the roster and the potential for big changes starting next season, this one won’t feel great without a title. Hell, even the challengers are basically identical to last year.
 

DJnVa

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The Red Sox have now won four world series titles in this small fraction of a century; the Patriots six Super Bowls. For me, the Pats need to at least get to the Super Bowl, maybe probably even have to win it to consider it a successful season. Have the Red Sox entered this rarefied air?
No...baseball is such a different animal.
 

curly2

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I don't think so for this year. I think the year they had last year, and capping it off with a world championship, bought them a lot of goodwill.

They definitely had that pressure last year. They traded a lot of prospects and spent a lot of money in win-now mode. They definitely needed to win it all — to validate their 108-win season and to make sure the Mookie-led team got at least one ring in his tenure.

It's so hard to repeat in baseball, I think they only way the Sox get roasted this year — other than doing something like leading a playoff series 3 games to none and leading in the ninth inning of Game 4 but still blowing it — is if they fail to make the playoffs. Given how few good teams there are in the AL, not making it at least as a wild card would be a big failure.

Other than that, they're playing with house money this year.
 

RedOctober3829

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It's so hard to win both championships, but I would argue baseball is the tougher one to do so. It's such a long season and there are so many variables along the way. I would not say this team is WS or bust. With the Patriots, there weren't many challengers in the AFC beyond KC. With the Sox, you have NY in the division and Houston outside of it that are just as good.
 

tims4wins

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I don't think so for this year. I think the year they had last year, and capping it off with a world championship, bought them a lot of goodwill.

They definitely had that pressure last year. They traded a lot of prospects and spent a lot of money in win-now mode. They definitely needed to win it all — to validate their 108-win season and to make sure the Mookie-led team got at least one ring in his tenure.

It's so hard to repeat in baseball, I think they only way the Sox get roasted this year — other than doing something like leading a playoff series 3 games to none and leading in the ninth inning of Game 4 but still blowing it — is if they fail to make the playoffs. Given how few good teams there are in the AL, not making it at least as a wild card would be a big failure.

Other than that, they're playing with house money this year.
Agree with pretty much every word of this. And if they were to say win 94 games and lose out to a 95 win Tampa team and a 98 win Yankee team... it won't have been a complete failure (depending on how they get to that point, of course).
 

bankshot1

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Basically what RedO said. A major difference is the MFY are seemingly always going to be the 800 lb gorilla that's doesn't easily go away. And sometimes that fucking monkey is going to eat our banana.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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No...baseball is such a different animal.
This. It's just much harder to assemble a reliably dominant team in baseball, because there's such a huge amount of uncertainty in the relationship between execution and outcome. Is there really an equivalent in football (or basketball, for that matter) to the scenario where barreling up the baseball can result in failure while hitting a weak dribbler results in success? Over 162 games, the signal should prevail over the noise, and generally does; but the minute you get into a postseason series, it all goes out the window.

So I'd say in baseball, you can have a team that should make the playoffs, and will have failed if it doesn't; but once into the postseason derby, all bets are off.
 

brandonchristensen

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I think the Pats had the pressure of Brady's career coming to an end and his reach for so many records (the Steelers, Michael Jordan, etc.) combined with the close to perfect season and the NFL's hate-on for the Pats with endless 'gates' put them firmly in that spot alone.

If the Sox lose this year, I'll be sad as I read Green Fields of the Mind, but it'll all be fine.
 

InstaFace

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This. It's just much harder to assemble a reliably dominant team in baseball, because there's such a huge amount of uncertainty in the relationship between execution and outcome. Is there really an equivalent in football (or basketball, for that matter) to the scenario where barreling up the baseball can result in failure while hitting a weak dribbler results in success? Over 162 games, the signal should prevail over the noise, and generally does; but the minute you get into a postseason series, it all goes out the window.

So I'd say in baseball, you can have a team that should make the playoffs, and will have failed if it doesn't; but once into the postseason derby, all bets are off.
This is my position too. I'll be disappointed with the team if it either fails to make the playoffs or fails to win 95 games (absent massive injuries). If it gets bounced in a short series against another good team, or there happen to be 2 greater teams in the division this year and we just miss out, well, that's baseball. After this entire run in the Henry era, I really can't be so ungrateful as to demand any more than that.
 

Bergs

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I think we may have two "win the last game or bust" teams this year. I just think the 2nd is the Bruins. The way they have played over the last 2-3 months makes me think they should win it all (and yes, I know how good Tampa is).

I echo the others here that absent a mind-blowing gut punch playoff exit, the Sox making the playoffs and losing - after the joy of last year - won't be especially soul-crushing.
 

Al Zarilla

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This. It's just much harder to assemble a reliably dominant team in baseball, because there's such a huge amount of uncertainty in the relationship between execution and outcome. Is there really an equivalent in football (or basketball, for that matter) to the scenario where barreling up the baseball can result in failure while hitting a weak dribbler results in success? Over 162 games, the signal should prevail over the noise, and generally does; but the minute you get into a postseason series, it all goes out the window.

So I'd say in baseball, you can have a team that should make the playoffs, and will have failed if it doesn't; but once into the postseason derby, all bets are off.
On the bolded part, the Patriots have two guys in Belichick and Brady that are such a high percentage of the reason for their success. You can't identify two guys like that on the Red Sox. Cora looked great but one year is SSS for a manager still and Mookie, even if a baseball position player carried as much clout as a quarterback, is subject to regression, probably. Funny but baseball is a 25-26 player sport and football 53, but between the two, only in football can a single player carry a team on his back.
 

chrisfont9

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It's so hard to win both championships, but I would argue baseball is the tougher one to do so. It's such a long season and there are so many variables along the way. I would not say this team is WS or bust. With the Patriots, there weren't many challengers in the AFC beyond KC. With the Sox, you have NY in the division and Houston outside of it that are just as good.
But they just owned both of them in the 2018 postseason. I guess the question is, if this isn't WS or Bust, then what is?
 

TheoShmeo

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I love winning and am a terrible loser. But, truth be told, I don't feel like it's boom or bust with either team. Both have won way more than I would have ever imagined.

Said differently, the Pats making another AFC Championship Game would seem like a successful, though not satisfying, season. The Sox making the playoffs would be the same.

And I guess that's a way of saying that for me, the Sox have not reached the Pats' level yet.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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I hate to say I agree with Felger on something...but...Any year your team makes the Final Four of their sport, you shouldn't complain. That is a friggin awesome season.
 

chrisfont9

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This. It's just much harder to assemble a reliably dominant team in baseball, because there's such a huge amount of uncertainty in the relationship between execution and outcome. Is there really an equivalent in football (or basketball, for that matter) to the scenario where barreling up the baseball can result in failure while hitting a weak dribbler results in success? Over 162 games, the signal should prevail over the noise, and generally does; but the minute you get into a postseason series, it all goes out the window.

So I'd say in baseball, you can have a team that should make the playoffs, and will have failed if it doesn't; but once into the postseason derby, all bets are off.
Just testing, what *would* be a WS or bust situation? Sounds like maybe you are saying there is no such thing because of the fickle nature of short series in baseball. Maybe Yankees 2000 or 01?
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Just testing, what *would* be a WS or bust situation? Sounds like maybe you are saying there is no such thing because of the fickle nature of short series in baseball. Maybe Yankees 2000 or 01?
Yes, this. I'm saying that making the playoffs is all that it's ever reasonable to ask of a team. Of course I will be disappointed if they don't make, or win, the WS; but I'll be disappointed like when you ask the girl of your dreams to the dance and she says no, not like when she says yes and then stands you up.
 

pokey_reese

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Winning last year gives them plenty of rope for me to not feel like they have to win it all to avoid 'failure,' but given the roster, payroll, and competition cycle I certainly want them to at least make the playoffs (and get into a real series, so not just the Wild Card playoff game). Even if they get bounced by one of the good AL teams, I want the drama of October baseball, but I won't feel cheated if they don't win the AL crown.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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I vote no.

While there hasn't been much change on the roster, the changes have been pretty significant and what was a strength is now a question mark.

They aren't going to be playing with that just-got-out-of-jail attitude now that they're a full season and a championship removed from Manager John.

There will be a major trade made that will undoubtedly see a major name get moved (JBJ or Devers) to fill a need that DD was not able to handle during the off-season and that will affect team chemistry.

Guys will be playing for new contracts without as much to prove, so I expect a little more heroball from time to time as opposed to last season's all-pulling-together mentality.

The challengers have upgraded significantly, especially their chief rival in the division that managed to shore up its bullpen while Boston's got weaker.
 

cornwalls@6

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I hate to say I agree with Felger on something...but...Any year your team makes the Final Four of their sport, you shouldn't complain. That is a friggin awesome season.
Exactly where I am. With their resources and payroll, the Sox need to at least get to the ALCS. With at least one more year of BB and TB, AFC title game is the Patriots minimum standard of success for me this coming year. But beyond that, expecting to win the championship, any year, is the worst sort of entitled, MFY fan BS.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I feel like after 2004, playoffs is a successful season, winning the ALCS is huge, and winning it all is a dream. Absent a long drought like they had for 86 years, I don't buy into "or bust" at all.
 
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If they lose, it will depend on how they lose. A bunch of injuries? It happens. That's just luck. Ditto if the Yankees go crazy, win 120 games, and the Sox have a bad performance in the wild card game or whatever - again, that's just part of it.

But if the Sox lose, say, because their bullpen is garbage all year, never gets fixed, and they're bounced in the ALDS or fail to make the playoffs because of an obvious weakness? I can't imagine we'll be all that okay with it.
 

Rasputin

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The Red Sox have now won four world series titles in this small fraction of a century; the Patriots six Super Bowls. For me, the Pats need to at least get to the Super Bowl, maybe probably even have to win it to consider it a successful season. Have the Red Sox entered this rarefied air?
I think so.

I probably won't be hugely disappointed, depending on how things shake out, but I rather suspect a lot of the regular fanbase will see anything but a championship as a failure.

Mind you, I really want to win this one. Like, a lot, but last year I needed to win.
 

chrisfont9

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They really didn't own the Yankees. If Sanchez's fly ball off Kimbrel goes another 2 feet, they go to Game 5 in Boston.
Well this is picking nits, but I'd argue that the 16-1 game and 3-1 series and the Sox leading for every inning except in game 2 is more powerful evidence than a fly ball that came close but didn't go out. Kimbrel's escapades masked a series that was pretty one-sided.
 

RedOctober3829

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Well this is picking nits, but I'd argue that the 16-1 game and 3-1 series and the Sox leading for every inning except in game 2 is more powerful evidence than a fly ball that came close but didn't go out. Kimbrel's escapades masked a series that was pretty one-sided.
Game 1 was a one-run game that the Red Sox did everything they could to give the lead back to the Yankees. Game 2 was never in doubt in a Yankees win. Game 3 was never in doubt in a Red Sox win. Game 4 was decided by a fly ball that landed 2 feet from a HR and an unreal play by Nunez and Pearce to end it. They may have led in every inning after Game 2, but the series was not one-sided to say the least. 2 one-run games and a lobsided win on each side.
 

RG33

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They really didn't own the Yankees. If Sanchez's fly ball off Kimbrel goes another 2 feet, they go to Game 5 in Boston.
You shut up. You just typing that made me get queasy in my stomach. I can't believe that ball stayed in the park.
 

snowmanny

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I have trouble calling any season by any team where they get to the Final 4 anything but a success. If the Red Sox had gone through 2016-2019 without making it to a World Series, that would not have been a successful stretch of four years when they had great talent and spent a ton of money, but that bar is passed. But getting to the ALCS is a great achievement.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I have trouble calling any season by any team where they get to the Final 4 anything but a success. If the Red Sox had gone through 2016-2019 without making it to a World Series, that would not have been a successful stretch of four years when they had great talent and spent a ton of money, but that bar is passed. But getting to the ALCS is a great achievement.
Eh, depends on the team. I sure as hell did not feel like 2003 was a success. If your team's had a long drought or never won, then the close-but-no-cigar bit gets old.

Because the Sox HAVE won, lately and a lot, I'm more sanguine. I just want them to be good. But they could be good, make the playoffs and still lose, as the Yankees and Astros did last year. (Caveat: They can't lose in the playoffs to the Yankees. By definition, that's not a successful Sox season.)
 

Danny_Darwin

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I think my only criteria is “don’t be embarrassing.” 2011, 12, 14, and 15 were embarrassing. But I might not be that upset about a third-place finish or early playoff ouster if they aren’t the result of a historic collapse.
 

snowmanny

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Eh, depends on the team. I sure as hell did not feel like 2003 was a success. If your team's had a long drought or never won, then the close-but-no-cigar bit gets old.

Because the Sox HAVE won, lately and a lot, I'm more sanguine. I just want them to be good. But they could be good, make the playoffs and still lose, as the Yankees and Astros did last year. (Caveat: They can't lose in the playoffs to the Yankees. By definition, that's not a successful Sox season.)
Yeah, that makes sense. The Pats making it to 47 straight AFCCGs wouldn't be a braggable stat if they didn't win a few SBs along the way.
 

Average Reds

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No...baseball is such a different animal.
Baseball’s regular season is a different animal. And if you get to the postseason, it is (can be?) a complete crapshoot.

I understand how there might be disappointment if the Sox don’t win, but it’s just not a reasonable expectation year in and year out.
 

Plympton91

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If they lose, it will depend on how they lose. A bunch of injuries? It happens. That's just luck. Ditto if the Yankees go crazy, win 120 games, and the Sox have a bad performance in the wild card game or whatever - again, that's just part of it.

But if the Sox lose, say, because their bullpen is garbage all year, never gets fixed, and they're bounced in the ALDS or fail to make the playoffs because of an obvious weakness? I can't imagine we'll be all that okay with it.
That’s a good point. If something goes wrong because of the bullpen, then I’m going to say “I told you so” all next winter.

To me, the baseball playoffs are too unpredictable to have a World Series win or bust attitude unless your team is built for a one-and-done run at it.

In football, the best team should win the game a disproportionate amount of the time. So, there I think it is more justified being disappointed if you build a great team and don’t close the deal.

Another way to think of this is that some years, Northeastern beats the Red Sox in spring training. That’s because baseball can be weird. Pro football teams don’t scrimmage college teams, because it would result in premature deaths.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Championship or Bust! sounds ways too much like entitled Yankees fans in the late 1990s for my taste.

Baseball is so different that the other sports given how long the season is and how its basically played every day. I don't see how you could invest six months of daily time watching a team win 90+ games and then call the season a failure if they don't win it all. A good team gives you tons of entertainment on a regular basis, what's wrong with that? As Danny Darwin says above, an embarrassing season is no fun, but any time you're playing meaningful baseball in the fall (including September) is not so bad.
 

Al Zarilla

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Championship or Bust! sounds ways too much like entitled Yankees fans in the late 1990s for my taste.

Baseball is so different that the other sports given how long the season is and how its basically played every day. I don't see how you could invest six months of daily time watching a team win 90+ games and then call the season a failure if they don't win it all. A good team gives you tons of entertainment on a regular basis, what's wrong with that? As Danny Darwin says above, an embarrassing season is no fun, but any time you're playing meaningful baseball in the fall (including September) is not so bad.
I don’t think I intend to set it all up mentally as win it all or be disappointed, but when you do get the whole enchilada enough times in kind of a short number of years, I think your psyche does it for you. So, another ALCS vs the Astros this year and we lose, not disappointed? I would be. And, like someone said, and backpedaling some for me, this win it all or be disappointed really only applies when you have a stacked team, which nobody can have every year. Well B&B.

Now, go Chris, git ‘r done!
 

InstaFace

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Just testing, what *would* be a WS or bust situation? Sounds like maybe you are saying there is no such thing because of the fickle nature of short series in baseball. Maybe Yankees 2000 or 01?
Reds 1975, Yankees 1998, I think that's roughly the list. The latter finished 4th in their franchise history in Pyth, behind '39, '27 of course, and '42 (who lost the WS in 5). That was the height of their competitive advantage - I think that's maybe just past the point where the fanbase deservedly can expect more than merely a playoff spot, but ought to expect some results in the playoffs too. But even so it's still quite a crapshoot - see Seattle 2001 (won 116, Pyth would've said they were still a 109-win team).

There is far more parity in baseball than there ever will be in basketball or the NFL, or soccer for that matter. And it has only increased since the introduction of the luxury tax and a bunch of other franchises getting within range of the Yankees' payroll capabilities.

By this point last century, the Sox had five championships...we're still playing catch-up!
Ah, but there were only half the teams that there are today. So if you double our 21st-century total we're way ahead!