In December 1966, the band Buffalo Springfield laid down the timeless lyrics, “There’s something happening here / What it is ain’t exactly clear.” As we approach the middle of 2013, the Boston Red Sox are performing at a level that is leading supporters all over New England to sing the same tune, albeit in a different context.
Coming into this season, only the most optimistic observers were predicting a Sox playoff appearance – and, honestly, there weren’t all whole lot of these. Today, however, the club sits at 11 games over .500 and is in first place, and the positivity enveloping Fenway Park is so thick that it can almost be seen.
I am enough of a realist to know that 55 games does not a season make, and I am not ready to buy my postseason tickets knowing that the team still has 45 games to play against the Yankees, Orioles, and Rays. The Sox are off to a terrific a start, to be sure. But their mettle really hasn’t been tested yet against their division rivals, and those are the teams they most have to beat to get anywhere at all.
There is something happening here, and I like it very much. The clubhouse chemistry – which regular readers will know I believe is important to a team’s success – appears to be better than it has been at any time since 2004. The ownership group, front office, and field manager appear to be on the same page, which maybe they haven’t been since 2010. And best of all, there appears to be a different hero every night, which means the burden isn’t being carried by only one man whose ups and downs will dictate the club’s ultimate fortune.
Do I think the Red Sox will win the World Series? No, I do not. I still think the 89 wins I pegged as the most optimistic of outcomes (see my post Temper, temper your Red Sox expectations) will stand as such, and while this may be enough to net them a wild-card berth, it likely won’t set them up to play deep into October.
But it will set us up for an entirely enjoyable summer in which the pitching may be uneven but the experience will lead people to stop and ask what’s that sound; everybody look what’s going down. Just as they did in 1967.