Have you ever seen Boston Red Sox owner John Henry’s boat?
I’ve seen it in person. It’s unbelievable. I was in Boston a few years ago to see Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart play a show together and had some time to kill during the afternoon. We wandered around the city and came upon the most staggering boat I’ve ever seen. I spent 30 minutes just looking at it. This floating mansion comes equipped with a multi-level infinity pool, helipad, gym, massage room, sauna and fully equipped spa. And that makes sense because I would rather die than be caught owning a yacht with just an 86 percent equipped spa.
I was going to make a yachting joke, but I was afraid you would buoy me.
For some reason, I always think about that opulent vessel whenever the Orioles play the Red Sox now. It’s not that I begrudge a man’s success or wealth. It’s just that I manage to associate the boat with the many (MANY) arrogant, self-absorbed Red Sox fans (and those connected to the team) that I have dealt with in my life. They’ve grown significantly in number during the last 20 years and have somehow gotten more insufferable during that time period.
Even the microaggressions fuel us. A Boston Globe columnist says something silly about the Orioles needing to be relegated, a silly quip from Dennis Eckersley about the pains Orioles broadcasters must feel while trying to get through tough games, any front-running “Masshole” (many of whom have more in common with this lowlife than they’d like to admit) rushing to dunk on a team that lost one lopsided baseball game, that stuff just sets us off.
Because of all that, when the Orioles turn around and beat the tar out of the Red Sox for the next two games to take the series, we can’t help but enjoy it
as if a nearly four-decade-long World Series drought was over just a little bit more. We run our mouths a bit, we make the dankest of memes, we collectively all make the exact same joke about being in first place in late July and don’t even make fun of each other for such a breathless lack of creativity.
And one of us does everything in his power to keep his kvetching as internal as possible.
Hi, I’m Glenn Clark and I’m just not quite able to celebrate a pleasant weekend of baseball in Boston quite as much as the rest of you. Trust me, I’m all in on watching the Red Sox get exposed as total frauds, it’s just that the Orioles … might not be the team I want to be doing the exposing.
This is clearly the strangest season in the history of the sport and uniquely, the strangest season in the history of each franchise within the sport. Still, it is even stranger in Baltimore.
Coming into the season, my hopes for the Orioles were simple. I wanted the position players who might possibly prove to be part of the long-term solution (guys like Austin Hays, Anthony Santander, DJ Stewart and maybe even Ryan Mountcastle) to have successful offensive seasons and make progression. But I also wanted the pitching staff (which is largely made up of players who have almost no chance of being around long term save for John Means) to be as bad as we expect, causing the Orioles to lose enough games to ensure themselves of the top pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, where they would be expected to select Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker.
It’s not that different than how I felt a season ago. It’s just that a season ago, I didn’t have to necessarily “root” for the Orioles to lose games, as over the course of a 162-game season, there were going to be plenty of opportunities to make up for the occasional victory.
With only 60 games to be played this season, a single result could easily prove to be the difference in a draft selection or three. I don’t suddenly fear the Orioles winning 50 games because they took two in Boston, but the difference between 18 and 20 wins could prove to be extremely significant.
You might say to yourself, “Sure, Glenn, but in a year where more than half the teams are going to make the playoffs, can’t you just sit back and enjoy and allow things to happen and not have to be such a DJ Downer? Santander has been great! Even if the Orioles regress back to where we expect them to be, Alex Cobb and Jose Iglesias could up their trade value!”
So that was a super-specifically phrased question, future column reader. Look, if this is foreshadowing for some sort of truly magical season the Orioles are going to experience, then sure, I promise you that I will be fully on board and my cut-out will have absolutely no cardboard voice by the time we get to the postseason. If this is just a slightly more competitive season than we imagined and a 27-win Orioles team somehow gets the eighth seed in the American League, that doesn’t really help anyone in a rebuilding process. And while yes, both Iglesias and Cobb are off to nice starts, the likelihood of any player drastically changing their reality so much during the course of one month of baseball that a team can get some sort of absurd haul for them on Aug. 31 is roughly the same as the chance of pleasant weather before Labor Day.
I know we’ve been waiting a long time for baseball and we’re happy to experience such joy. I know we can’t help but delight in the misery of the Red Sox and their fans. I enjoyed it too. I’m not soul-less. But this is a complicated situation and I hope those don’t prove to be the two wins that somehow alter the course of a rebuild.
(That sounds overdramatic. I promise I intend it to be far more reasonably dramatic.)
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox