It's A Long Way From The Top: 2014 Boston Red Sox
How is it a team can go from being the worst team in the entire league one year, to winning the World Series the next, then back to being one of the worst all within a 3 season span? I don't know if I can give you an answer to this question, but I sure as hell can speculate.
Right up through the halfway point of the season last year, things weren't looking too bright in Boston. The team was tied for 3rd in the AL East Division and was trailing the Rays by 8 games and hated rival Yankees by 10. On April 15th, a pair of homemade bombs detonated in the crowd near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. After all was said and done, the attacks killed 3 people and injured more than 260. The whole city of Boston was rattled. With nowhere to turn, everyone's eyes somehow ended up where they have been many times before... Right on the heart of Boston, the team that had brought everyone together so many times before, the Red Sox.
On April 20th, the Red Sox returned home from a road trip to take on the Kansas City Royals. From this point on, the Red Sox took on the saying "Boston Strong" and kept it throughout the season. Every home game they hung a jersey in the dugout with "617" stitched on the back (Boston area code) as well as "Boston Strong". I feel like this event powered the Red Sox for the rest of the season. Backed by their city, the Sox went on the win the World Series. David Ortiz put on the greatest hitting display in history of the MLB Postseason, batting .353 with 18 hits and 5 homeruns.
The start of the 2014 season had a different feel. The team was bit by the injury bug early on and played with role players and back ups throughout the way. At the all star break, the Sox were in last place in the Division and trailed the Orioles by 15 games. You could almost sense something big was about to happen. The trade deadline rolled along, and many moves were made. John Lackey, Felix Dubrount, Johny Gomes and ace of the pitching staff John Lester were all traded, leaving Red Sox fans, once again, scratching their heads.
The upside of moving your best player you ask? You would think there was one. John Lester, along with power hitter Johny Gomes were traded to the Oakland A's for the up and coming all star Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes bring a little bit of speculation with him to Boston, namely if he will be able to continue to hit the ball as well as he has the past few seasons with the A's, winning back-to-back home run titles during all star week. He has a cannon attached to his throwing arm and is a threat to gun any runner down at any time. He is under contract for another season, so Sox fans will be comfortable watching him play in the outfield for the foreseeable future.
With all the trade deadline coming and going, Clay Bucholz remains as the only starting pitcher from the 2013 championship team on the roster. Sure, they added some good young arms to surround him but as any fan of baseball knows, offense can not and will not carry a team throughout the playoffs. The towel has been thrown in on this season. People of Boston, don't you worry. You are not the only ones interested in seeing what happens with your team next season. From worst to first times 2? Time will tell.