There’s been much discussion of the Red Sox and how they’re fun or, if you’re wrong, how they’re not fun. Let me be plain about where I stand. This Red Sox team is fun. They are. You know that silly little dance the Red Sox outfielders do after a win? That’s fun! Sometimes Benintendi does his Michael Jackson leg swing thing, other times it’s Jackie Bradley doing his ski jump (Jackie looooves a good ski jump), but mostly it’s Mookie doing whatever it is he feels like. I love it because it’s funny, but also because it’s fun when they’re have fun. Fun, like a yawn on the subway, is contagious. They can’t do the dance without smiling, and I can’t watch it without having the same reaction. It’s not possible.
It’s fun because it’s silly, because it’s juvenile, and because it’s utterly unnecessary. I love that they’ve spent time figuring this thing out – you do this, and you do this and I’ll do this, no wait let’s try it this way, and on and on – time which has been spent together, working as friends.
Winning baseball is fun. Any team that wins is fun. And this 2017 Red Sox team wins, so by definition they are fun. But this team is more than fun-because-they-win fun. This team is straight up roller-coaster milk-coming-out-your-nose yelling-out-the-moon-roof-of-a-moving-car fun, and the outfield dance is only one reason. Here are many, many others.
- Anytime anyone tries to hit a ball past Dustin Pedroia.
- Chili Davis. On one end of the cool cat scale you have former Yankees catcher Brian McCann, who probably dresses like an old timey school marm and hits puppies with sticks for fun. On the other end of the cool cat scale you have Chili Davis, who plays jazz trumpet in clubs until 4am and will chat you up long after that. Does he really play jazz trumpet in clubs after games? Who knows, but metaphorically speaking absolutely.
- Hanley. The Red Sox drafted him and then they dealt him away. That happens. Baseball is a business. But through all that, through two other organizations and a literal decade of time, dude still felt an attachment to Boston and wanted to come back. I’ll never forget that. Also he’s a total goofball whose helmet needs to be crazy-glued to his hair. We should get a Kickstarter rolling for that.
- Hanley’s homers. GOOD GOD Y’ALL, those things GO. When he gets a hold of one it’s a sight to see. I tell ya, A SIGHT TO SEE!
- You know what’s fun? Stuff that is exciting! And you know what’s exciting? Any time the Red Sox get a base runner! Will he steal? Maybe! Will he be thrown out at home by 30 feet? Maybe! Exciting! Fun!
- Andrew Benintendi’s hair.
- Andrew Benintendi’s swing.
- Andrew Benintendi.
- You know how when Mookie stands in the batter’s box and glares back at the pitcher his lip does this little curl thing, kinda like Elvis Presley used to do? I love that.
- Craig Kimbrel is striking out more than half the batters he’s faced this season. He’s at 51.8 percent right now! Exclamation point! Vomit! YELLING! Fifty-one point eight perWHAT! AHHHHHHH! That’s a lot is what I’m saying.
- So this kid who is 20 years old was playing for Salem, Virginia in the Carolina League last season and now he’s the starting third baseman for the Red Sox and he’s always smiling like that time he smiled after he turned around a 103 mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman and tied the game in ninth inning. That was a smile!
- Joe Kelly’s velocity readings are fun!
- Joe Kelly’s great stuff is funny because it’s not real, which is fun!
- You know how the Yankees aren’t doing great and are always mad and they are paying Aroldis Chapman a lot of money to be awful? That’s not directly related to the Red Sox but it sure is fun anyway!
- The standings! You should look at them sometime. They are great fun.
- Mookie sometimes fools fielders and thieves bases from them.
- Jackie’s defense. Have you ever seen him miss a ball? Like, ever?
- Sandy Leon and his occasional magic. You never see it coming and then POW! Right in the kisser!
- Brandon Workman last pitched in the majors in 2014. You know who started the most games for that team? Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, Rubby De La Rosa, and Workman. That’s a long time ago! Then Workman got hurt and rehabbed and then he got hurt again and rehabbed and his rehab didn’t take and he had to start and stop and start and stop and start and stop again. Poor guy as recently as this season was throwing 87 in the minors and getting lit up. Now he’s back in the mid-90s and looking like a worthwhile piece of a major league bullpen. That’s persistence. That’s perseverance. That’s impressive. Also, remember that time he batted in the World Series? Less fun, that.
- Addison Reed will probably help eventually!
- Eduardo Nunez: How bad must the Giants have been that they couldn’t win with this guy?
- Remember that time Doug Fister looked like Chris Sale? That was fun! (We’ll ignore the time Chris Sale looked like Doug Fister.)
- Robby Scott might not be your favorite Red Sox, but he’s one of mine. Remember Daniel Nava? Scott is the reliever version of Nava. Like Nava, Scott went undrafted and started his career in pro ball only Scott played for the Yuma Scorpions of the independent league where he was teammates with Jose and Ozzie Canseco. It’s like wanting to be a baseball player and the only job available was with the circus. He almost quit baseball to become a teacher, which considering his circumstances, made perfect sense. But now he’s in a major league bullpen!
- Fenway Park. I don’t care that the seats are small and everything costs a fortune. Okay, I care, but the point is that’s the place Ruth played, where Williams and Yaz and Ortiz all made their names. It’s worth it, it’s worth every bit of it. Fenway is on the top of any list of major league ballparks because it’s living history, but also because it’s damn beautiful right now. Really, it’s at the top of any list of pro sports stadiums that you have to visit. It’s the best.
- Fernando Abad has been okay!
- Rick Porcello’s immaculate inning. Remember that?! That was crazy!
- Rafael Devers’ triple play. Remember that?!? That was crazy!
- Unexpected stuff is lots of fun, when it’s good, and Porcello’s 2016 was exactly that. Drew Pomeranz has taken up where Rick Porcello’s 2016 season left off. Pomeranz has been as valuable as Jose Quintana and Jake Arrieta by BP’s metrics, and as valuable as Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander by Baseball Reference. Pomeranz has been what the Red Sox thought they were getting when they signed David Price. He’s been that good.
- Chris Young’s weird short-armed swing is so weird. How does he hit the ball? I don’t know!
- Chris Sale has over 253 strikeouts which coincidentally is the same number of times I would strike out against Chris Sale were I to bat against him 253 times.
- Heath Hembree’s hair. It’s like he saw the movie Coming To America where Eddie Murphy’s character wears soul glow hair goop and thought, yeah, that’s what I want.
- Have you seen those embarrassing high school pictures the relievers (probably Joe Kelly) have hung in the bullpen? They’re hilarious!
This is only a partial list. There’s also Brian Johnson’s complete game five-hitter against the Mariners in May, Tzu-Wei Lin getting three hits in a 15-1 win over the Blue Jays, and of course, that time Deven Marrero hit two homers in the same game off Jose Quintana. It really does go on and on with this team. They are a ton of fun, and that will be true whether they go out meekly in the first round, or win the World Series. Even after a spanking from Cleveland, I look forward to the next Red Sox game. Fun times are good.
Photo by Ken Blaze – USA TODAY Sports