An occasion such as Fenway Park's centennial should be a fantastic celebration-one which brings joy to Red Sox fans the world 'round. Instead, on the back of a two week circus act by every level of the organization, the scene at Fenway seems likely to be tainted by desperation.
It's not just about the record, but that plays an important role. Less than a week ago, Sox fans could have lived with a 4-5 record--they had, after all, come from 1-5, and were even with their greatest competition.
Now, however, after three losses--the first frustrating, the second embarrassing, and the third discouraging--they will take their seats knowing that every win is vital. That a loss in the coming game to the New York Yankees would make the hole from which the team must climb even deeper than it already is.
Of course, no fan feels good after a loss, but in better times they can enter optimistic about their team's chances. When the standings aren't so dire, they can relax in the knowledge that even a loss is just one game down. And for a large portion of the fans--those who follow casually and tend to gather more the general state of the team from talking heads than the exact circumstances by watching every game-these circumstances might not have much of an impact.
For the fanatics, however, the true obsessives, there's no separating the festivities from the game, and that nervous feeling will distract from what should be a memorable occasion.
And might there even be some embarrassment mixed in? While Sox fans can look Terry Francona in the eye, they know very well their organization can't after the clubhouse leaks from October. And what of Theo Epstein's lost invitation? It's probably nothing more than a piece that slipped through the cracks, but after the circus act that has been the past two weeks, any negative mark just seems to compound upon the other recent mistakes and make the organization look a complete mess.
Had this celebration come a few years ago, there would be nothing holding back Fenway's birthday celebration from being everything it could be. However, when things are going the way they have for the Red Sox in the last eight months, every day now holds the potential to be the new low point.
I don't mean to be so harsh on the Red Sox as I've perhaps come across. This is, after all, an ownership group which brought two championships to a team that hadn't won in 86 years. They've made some bad decisions in recent years, but they've also been quite unfortunate too. Deals to John Lackey and Carl Crawford seemed questionable in the long-run, but their disaster in the short-run was just terrible luck for the team, and that this team started 4-8--a record they're absolutely better than in terms of talent--on the back of last September is just the worst possible outcomes when considering the narrative.
It's just an unfortunate time to be celebrating something so momentous. But anniversaries wait for no man.