When the Boston Red Sox--despite having been staggeringly incapable during the final few weeks of the 2009 season--managed to stumble ass-backwards into a playoff spot (a break owed entirely to the team's early-season dominance), I was concerned about their chances.
On Thursday night, when the BoSox promptly shit the bed against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-California-United States of America-Continent of North America-Earth-Earth's Solar System-Milky Way Galaxy in the first game of their division series, my concerns were unfortunately validated.
The question now is: How can the lethargic Red Sox turn the tide against the charged-up (and mathematically due to win the series) Angels?
Get their pitching to not suck? Hogwash. Have their batters hit the ball and reach base safely? Balderdash. Care? Stratego.
There's only one thing the Boston Red Sox can do if they hope to stand a chance a chance against their extraneously-named ALDS rival:
They need to add more cities to their name.
Think about it: in 2002, the first year since 1965 that the (then just "Anaheim") Angels acknowledged their geographical location on their jerseys, the team won its first (and, to date, only) World Series. No one outside of Anaheim gave a hoot (and even the majority of those living in the Anaheim area were only pretending to give hoots in order to hide their shame over having been unaware that their city had housed a professional baseball franchise since 1966); the team went on to suck for the following two seasons, a suckitude made much more embarrassing than its previous incarnation by the fact that the rest of the baseball world was now vaguely aware of the existence of Anaheim in all its irritating worthlessness. (I thought Disneyland was just Disneyland, remarked everyone, oblivious to the trenchant accuracy of that discarded belief.)
Prior to the 2005 season, the Angels ownership--no doubt realizing that the wholly artificial, rapidly decreasing "fan base" that came to exist just three years earlier might soon vanish entirely--struck upon the ingenious idea to rebrand the team to arbitrarily include the name of a city 40 miles away: a city that, importantly, people had actually heard of. And, voila: the [One City] Angels of [Another, Completely Unrelated City] went on to make the playoffs in 4 of the 5 ensuing seasons.
Sure, Providence, Rhode Island, is 45 miles from the city in which the Red Sox actually play--not to mention in a different state--but the Anaheim Angels didn't let silly things like "facts" and "logic" stand in their way en route to their recent postseason-appearance streak; the one thing that has stopped them, time and time again, from advancing beyond the division series is the Boston Red Sox. The hard truth currently facing the Red Sox is that they can't, in all likelihood, keep knocking the Angels out of the postseason forever. [UPDATE (10/11/09): Called it.] For that streak to continue, the Red Sox must take a page from the Angels' book and add a city.
(And though it may be too late for the Red Sox to do so this season, there's always 2010 for the Providence Red Sox of Boston; and if that doesn't work...watch out for the New England Boston Braves-Red Sox of Pennsylvania in 2011.)