The Boston Red Sox season was basically over from April, right?
That's the tale we keep telling ourselves to make us feel better about an historic flop following up a 108-win World Series winner, anyway.
Though the Red Sox didn't feel nearly as magical in this year's sequel, they weren't out of anything at the deadline, lurking just a few games behind several middling teams in the Wild Card chase. A similar position to, well...the Washington Nationals, a team whose GM decided to bet on the players on the roster, acquiring much-needed bullpen help in the form of Daniel Hudson and company.
Dave Dombrowski...did not do that.
In many ways, performance (and mojo) is a product of attitude. At that moment, when Boston stood pat at the deadline, their fans mentally checked out, preparing for Patriots preseason games.
Like it or not, that stoic and ill-informed inaction paved the way for Boston to be swept at Yankee Stadium later that week, with a semi-ridiculous eight-game losing streak wiping out all remaining hope.
It was insane at the time, and it's insane now? Isn't Boston baseball predicated on never giving up? Isn't that their entire ethos?
This year, with a chance to make history and cement their status as the greatest team of this generation, Boston punted (and plans to punt further in the offseason, restricting their payroll to the point where they may lose the bulk of their offense). Meanwhile, the Nationals, the bloated team that NEVER wins, didn't give in to bad vibes, and will be playing for a chance at the trophy next week.
Road less traveled, you know? For Boston, a plan of inaction that already seemed ridiculous back in July is now entirely unjustifiable.