They Break Your Heart…

As soon as the game ended, I wanted to come on here and write everything that I was feeling. It would have been the most impulsive, scapegoating article you may have ever read. I tend to forget that the emotions following the end of the season (especially a bad end) come in waves. 

At first, I masochistically sat in my room and cried. I could not believe we had lost that game. It didn’t seem possible; I was so sure of a victory. Even when the Angels were right on our tails, I was thinking: “Hey, our closer is in. There are two outs and two strikes. We got this!”. That thought went through my head twice. Then Vladmir Guerrero shattered that thought and replaced it with a single emotion: disbelief. 
Anyway, I felt it wasn’t proper to write when I was crying simply because I could barely see the screen and plus, no one is really coherent when they’re in that state of mind. Then I transitioned to anger, which blinded me for a little while because I was angry at only Jonathan Papelbon, and that’s not fair. I was scapegoating him for the entire series, not just the game, and that’s really not fair. 
Finally, the empty feeling pervades, and that’s the one that sticks. The Red Sox season is over, and without them, well my life is kind of empty. This feeling of emptiness was accompanied with disbelief again, and heartbreak: the same old song and dance. So I feel like I’ve done myself, and you guys a favor by not writing about this until today. 
I tend to scapegoat a lot when the Red Sox lose. Normally, I blame myself for choosing the wrong couch cushion to sit on, or something along those lines. And what some would call “obsessive compulsive disorder” severely augments during the playoffs. 
I’m sure many of you can guess whom I decided to scapegoat during Game 1: CB Bucknor, the first base umpire–I was absolutely livid. However, regardless of how erroneous his calls were, it didn’t significantly effect the outcome of the game. The offense was dead, practically immobile; we were shutout for the first time since the 1995 ALDS. Our bats simply did not show up that day, similar to the absence of our bats during the first few weeks following the All-Star break. 
I went on to blame the Yankees for choosing Wednesday night instead of Thursday night to begin their playoff crusade. Obviously, they wanted to sabotage us by giving us an extra day off so that we would be rusty. I do think that the Yankees had a similar mentality in choosing which day to begin on, but I don’t think it was as intricately planned as I thought it was. Nevertheless, we were rusty. We hadn’t played a game since Sunday, so there wasn’t a lot of momentum going into the playoffs. Regardless of the outcome of Game 1, it is still ironic and cruel humor to have an umpire whose last name is ‘Bucknor’ umpiring first base. 
The beginning of Game 2 rendered me hopeful when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a triple, and Victor Martinez drove him in. That turned out to be the most amount of scoring we would be doing for that game. Another night in which the lackluster Red Sox offense barely did anything. Both Beckett and Lester had decent outings, but they were out dueled by the stellar pitching from Lackey and Weaver. 
So what was wrong with the Red Sox? We had gotten ourselves in to a do or die situation. Not completely unfamiliar territory, but not the most pleasant to be in either. What had been the remedy in the years past when the Red Sox had their backs against the wall in say 2004 or 2007? To be honest, I think players only meetings were a significant aspect in rejuvenating the team. 
Jason Varitek 4.jpg
As far as I know, there were no players only meetings this year. But think about who led those players only meetings in years past: Jason Varitek, our captain. It’s no wonder there were no meetings this year while our captain was sitting on the bench. When Terry Francona took him out of the last game of the season to a standing ovation at Fenway Park, I did not know that it may have been the last time I would have ever seen Varitek in a Red Sox uniform. 
The Victor Martinez pickup was brilliant; it was the perfect remedy when our offense was lackluster after the All-Star break, and I think he was a major player in helping the Red Sox get to the postseason. However, it seems to me like we kicked Jason Varitek to the curb. 
I know I lobbied relentlessly for his return in the offseason, and there hasn’t been a single moment this season in which I have regretted that. Sure his offensive numbers are subpar, but as I’ve said countless times, his mere presence on the field is invaluable. I know Victor Martinez’s bat is one of the most formidable in all of Major League Baseball, but we can’t just throw our captain under the bus because of his weak offensive numbers. We didn’t even do that to Big Papi during his horrendous slump. 
Take a look at our pitchers’ second half numbers. Guys like Josh Beckett, Ramon Ramirez, Manny Delcarmen (among others) struggled the second half of the season. By no means do I want to blame their numbers on Victor Martinez, but I do think that familiarity with a catcher has a significant impact on their numbers. With a guy like Jason Varitek, a man who calls the game like no other (who else has four no-hitters on their resume?), pitchers don’t even have to think. Jason Varitek probably tells them when to breathe and when to blink, but he slowly drifted out of the picture by the end of the season. 
He didn’t even see a minute of postseason action–a time when the comfort of the pitchers is essential to success. Varitek is the true leader of the Red Sox, so I wonder how the team feels when they see their captain on the bench. I’m not saying bench Victor Martinez, but I know that there is another lineup where both Varitek and Martinez are present. If we were sitting Varitek because of his lack of offense, than I think it is perfectly justifiable to sit Big Papi. 
One more thing before I progress to the truly heartbreaking game. What about respect? Did the Red Sox treat Jimmie Foxx, Carl Yastrzemski, or Jim Rice like this? I don’t think so. I think we have seen Jason Varitek’s last moment in a Red Sox uniform. 
I tried to change this up a little for Game 3. I realized that the Manny Ramirez statue I had made in seventh grade was still in my room, so I launched it into my backyard. Then, another brilliant idea crossed my mind: a hunger strike! What if I was to refuse food until the Red Sox scored? I thought that Kevin Youkilis’ shot (that ended up being foul) signified my lunch, but I was wrong–and I was getting hungry. Jacoby Ellsbury’s spectacular catch almost prompted me to sneak a pretzel, but I refused. Luckily, Dustin Pedroia’s two RBI double allowed me to eat. I thought that the hunger strike was brilliant, and I was already planning on doing it again the next day during Game 4 when the Red Sox were still flying high on a 5-1 lead. 
I forgot Yogi Berra’s famous aphorism: “It ain’t over til it’s over”. I was so proud of my babies/projects that I forgot that Papelbon is human. Clay Buchholz blew me away in his
postseason debut… the fact that he performed the way that he did as a rookie is astounding. Not to mention the fact that Daniel Bard got out of a bases loaded jam with no outs with minimal damage. 
I was so sure we had that game in the bag… just like in years past when Red Sox fans were positive that they had the game won. It was heartbreaking to watch the win slip through our fingers. It was more than just a sweep. In 2005 when the Red Sox got swept by the White Sox, they lost Game 3 3-0. But we had this game. We could have pushed it to Game 4. But as we all know, they break your heart. 
We can’t just blame Jonathan Papelbon–it was the offense that failed to score runs in the first two games as well. So as Red Sox fans, we suck it up. The wound will remain open, but we blink back the tears and look forward to next season. 


  1. juliasrants

    I think the difference between Jim Rice & Yaz and Tek is that Rice and Yaz knew when it was time to call it a day. And disrespecting players? What about what happened to Carlton Fisk? Tek is a classy player and I think even he understood why what happened did. I hope and pray that he knows enough to say “enough” this time.

    Pap might have lost game 3 for us (Wags two earned runs didn’t help either) but it was lost way before then. Our post season was lost from the All-Star break on. All the intensity we had early in the season seemed to disappear. We lost focus, we were inconsistent and sadly, we just didn’t have it. This off-season will be very interesting – I can’t wait to see what the team will look like come April.


  2. Buz

    Sneak a pretzel? and launch the Manny statue..? You’re such a great fan of your team. I am sorry they were booted out of the Post Season. Our teams do indeed break our hearts. But, that’s ok. You know? It’s our passion. We love ’em .. .win or lose.

    Buz –

  3. welikeroywelikeroy

    It is usually very petty to scapegoat one player for a whole series. The Red Sox know that well with Buckner, but the whole thing reminds us of Donny Moore in the 1986 ALCS with the Angels. I’m sure this has already been talked about and written, but man, somewhere Donny Moore is smiling over that one.

    I credit the Angels, Papelbon is the kind of pitcher that challenges you up in the zone. The Halos really rose to the occasion there. Sorry, about your heart breaking though, and you fastings/superstitions going to waste. lol. I used to clench my fists really tight in close Jay games, I couldn’t/wouldn’t let go until they won.

    Your Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame trip must have been great. So much history there. I hope the place just gets bigger and better over the years.

  4. redstatebluestate

    The bad news is, your heart is gonna get broken from time to time. The good news is, you’re a part of the NEW Red Sox Nation. Think about those who lived 80 years and never saw a World Series trophy and you’ve already seen two. Remember that. Remember the Rangers, the Mariners, the Nationals…. teams that have never won it…. EVER. That should help you put things in perspective. Besides, I’m feeling equally blue. It happens 🙂

  5. reddiamond

    wow. way to not give any credit to the Angels.
    Just admit it. the Red Sox got outplayed. Swallow your pride and congratulate the Angels on a well played series.
    -Adrian Jara

  6. greg1969

    Elizabeth, Jeff is exactly right. A fellow Red Sox fan lived on our street, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday. He’s one of those who has seen exactly the same number of WS titles as we have, and he is twice my age! Perspective…
    And the Angels DID play better than we did this postseason, plain and simple.

  7. Greg

    Yes, it was a tough one to take, getting swept by the Angels. The Angels?!? Haha. But the Red Sox got shut down by their pitching, and the Angel hit in the clutch while the Sox didn’t. There have been plenty more heart-breaking moments than this. This was far more disappointing to me.

    Red Sox Ramblings:

  8. Jane Heller

    I’m so sorry you cried, Elizabeth. I know how it feels to lose when the expectations are so high, and it stinks. And I always blame myself for not sitting on the right cushion too! The fact is, we can’t control the outcome of these games, as much as we’d like to. We can just be fans and love our teams and hope they’ll do better next time. Great post.

  9. crzblue2

    I am glad you waited to post. You saved the best for last kid. Great posts
    I am so sorry the team made you cry but as you know, it goes with the territory. With time you will feel better and look back at the highlights of this year and look forward to cheering your babies come Spring. It will be here before you know it but in the mean time the Hot Stove already started for some teams.

  10. bigpapi72

    After the game I sat there with the TV off for about 30 minutes. I then walked down stirs where some people are Yankee fans and cried as they laughed at me. I don’t care if you like any team its just rubbing it in is what hurts. Also after the game I told everyone that Bard can close and we should trade Papelbon.


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