We’re a long way removed from thinking of the Boston Red Sox as loveable losers trying to end a fabled curse.
Fourteen years after they exorcised their demons and captured their first championship in 86 years, the Red Sox have now won four titles this century.
For Bostonians like myself, the incessant winning, while being as enjoyable as ever, has lost some of the raw emotion that was in abundance during the days of heartbreak. Red Sox fans used to always be ready for the other shoe to drop and things to go awry. These days, it’s all sunshine and rainbows.
If Game 3 of the World Series – the seven-hour, 20-minute epic spread over 18 innings – would have happened pre-2004, Sox fans would have just assumed that series had turned and Boston would lose the next three games after taking a commanding 2-0 lead.
In 2018? The Red Sox bounced back to claim a come-from-behind victory in Game 4 before going wire to wire in the clincher.
Boston had the most wins in baseball this season with 108, and lost all of three games against the 100-win New York Yankees, 103-win Houston Astros and the two-time National League champions during the playoffs.
In their four World Series appearances since 2004, they’ve tasted defeat just three times.
It’s all been… a little too easy – at least for those of us who remember Bill Buckner, Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone.
Don’t get me wrong. Bostonians much prefer this to what happened so regularly in the past. There are no complaints. But it is weird to see where the franchise and fan base are now compared to where they used to be. And yet, after four titles, this feels totally normal.
For those outside Boston, the sentiment is much different.
The city’s embarrassment of riches across the four major sports since the turn of the century, resulting in a ridiculous 11 championships, has made Boston teams an easy target for disdain.
But even the staunchest Boston haters have to admit this Red Sox team was as fun and enjoyable as you can get.
Between Mookie Betts’ all-around excellence, David Price’s redemption and Steve Pearce’s Cinderella story, the champions were hard to root against, regardless of the opposition.
In many ways, this team perfectly represents the new era of the franchise: very good and very fun.
The days of catharsis and self-loathing are gone, left behind in a period that feels forever ago.
Once again, the Boston Red Sox are the last team standing.