Saturday, April 05, 2008

Game 5: You Can't Stop the Throwback Uniforms!

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 3, Toronto Blue Jays 6

Or maybe you can't stop the instant karma from an Opening Day ceremony honoring Roberto Alomar. Or maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't hang change-ups to Frank Thomas, even if he's one for seven against you. Tough way to waste what Robin drunkenly described last night as the beginning of Drew's "monster season," but when Toronto's fifth starter shuts down the bats for two-thirds of the game, there's a bigger problem going on.

The Sox are in a hitting slump. In their first five games, the OPS is an anemic .685 (compared to the much healthier .806 OPS from all of 2007), the number of strikeouts outnumber the number of walks by a measure of three to one (a ratio that's twice as big as the 2007 results), and - most telling - on a scale of 0 to 200, where 100 means average, the team has an OPS+ of 85. The numbers improve a little bit when you take out the two games in Japan, but overall the tough stretch of games coming up is going to turn into a real make-or-break April if the Sox don't start hitting.

Going back to the theme in the post title, where the does throwback uni love come from anyway? Are we so locked in to the culture of irony that we think that powder blue or rainbow stripes really look cool? No doubt that's a part of the mix, along with nostalgia - because we all know the only thing bigger than irony right now is bonafide love for the past - allowing America's biggest population needs another outlet to relive its youth, while their kids engage in an exercise of self-loathing and pretend to enjoy something they have little connection to. I'm sure the teams love it as a chance to sell more merchandise. If I can play the purist for a moment (while acknowledging my own hypocrisy as an owner of several non-standard items of Red Sox gear), I think that dredging up the past to feed the present cheapens the game a bit. If we're all going to live in the past, what's the point of playing now?