Summer ended abruptly shortly before 5 p.m. on this sunny Sunday evening with the temperature soaring in the 80s and a RBI infield single and the Yankees’ 9-5 victory over the Red Sox ending Derek Jeter’s career and less than luster filled seasons for the rival teams.
For many, summer begins and ends with Memorial Day and Labor Day. For others, summer directly aligns with the summer solstice and autumnal equinox. For me and many other Fenway Faithful, summer begins and ends with the crack of a bat. Summer begins with the first crack of a bat in April at Fenway Park on Opening Day and ends with the silence that soon follows the last crack of a bat come October in the years the Red Sox advance to the post season or in September when the season and summer end all too soon.
This summer there was a drought at Fenway Park and Red Sox Nation was left feeling like we had not experienced much of a summer at all. Last summer with our beloved Red Sox going from worst to first, we let ourselves believe that this was going to be another memorable season. Some, including myself, even dared to think that we could win back to back World Series.
At times, this summer was so painful I couldn’t bear to watch. What happened to our team that made baseball history and helped heal a grieving city after the Boston Marathon bombings? What happened to our team that united its reeling city and answered Big Papi’s rallying call when he proclaimed last April to a cheering crowd at the first game at Fenway after the bombings, “This is our fucking city! And nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”
Ironically all through the summer of 2013, the Fenway Faithful watched on in awe and amazement waiting for the other baseball cleat to drop. And through the summer of 2014, we watched on in despair and disbelief waiting for the season to turn around. It never did.
It was incomprehensible that we could start a season with essentially the same World Series winning roster and perform so badly. Losing only outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the evil empire also known as New York Yankees and infielder Stephen Drew to free agency for just over a month at the start of the season should not have impacted the team. Neither player could be considered the glue that held the 2013 team together. Essentially our 2013 Boys of Summer were seemingly unscathed but appeared not to show up to play in 2014.
Then, we stood by in shock as management cleaned house at July’s trade deadline. By the time July was over, gone were Peavy, Lester, Gomes, Lackey, Miller, Drew and Doubront. The fans, Big Papi and what remained of the 2013 roster looked around the dugout and said “Where the heck did everybody go and who the F are you?”
There were good moments. The ring ceremony was definitely the highlight. Ortiz hit his 400th home run as a Red Sox player on August 16th. But, this season was not meant to be so the Fenway Faithful patiently and sometimes not so patiently waited for the season and our collective suffering to end.
All season long I kept thinking of the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore movie, Fever Pitch when Uncle Carl says to young Ben who started to like the Red Sox after his first game, “Careful, kid. They’ll break your heart.” And that they did this year. I like so many Red Sox faithful couldn’t wait for the season to end and just stop the bleeding.
So on this last day of summer, the Red Sox and the Yankees gathered at Fenway’s Cathedral to play one last game and send the Captain off in style.
And as the season ended the team and fans turned their attention to next summer, opening day is only 189 days away and our beloved Red Sox have a lot of work to do this off season.
And as we are known to say in Red Sox Nation, wait until next year!