In recent months, the fervor bubbling up from the Boston Red Sox fan base has begun to smell quite foul. Foul Bubbles. Bad fervor.
After watching Xander Bogaerts depart for the San Diego Padres, the Beantown Mood was in the gutter. But then Sox exec Chaim Bloom began to gather Boston's trademark pile of 18 near-washed veterans (plus wizard Masataka Yoshida), which has led to a rumbling, "Why not us?!" chant thanks to millions of moths gathering around a flame shaped like Steve Pearce's head.
And ... the worst part is ... why not them? Their strategy of accruing many bad players and watching them all decide to become good led to 97 wins and a World Series in 2013. Pearce was the World Series MVP the last time Boston won a title. Literally Steve Pearce! Eduardo Nuñez hit a key World Series homer. Literally Eduardo Nuñez!! It's been five years since that disgrace, making 2023 the perfect time for God to poke Yankees fans in the eyes again and run back his Worst Plan.
MLB.com's "9 Tiers of Contenders," which dropped on Friday, might reassure Yankee fans prepared for disaster that things might not be so bad after all.
Writer Mike Petriello acknowledges in his preview that Boston did collect some pedigreed players this offseason, and already possessed some talent. However, all those players are on short-term deals, and don't appear likely to do more for the Sox than help them "approach" the playoffs, leaving Boston directionless and in ... Tier 7, alongside the Giants and Marlins.
The Yankees? Tier 1, of course. Deep breaths. Breathe.
Yankees Rank in Top Tier on MLB's Season Preview; Red Sox Don't
And now, please join Red Sox fans, the most teflon fan base in baseball, in a chorus of "Parents Just Don't Understand!" directed Petriello's way. He just doesn't get great art! Every expert is wrong. Only true Sox fans know ball.
They think their team is horrific -- until you suggest their team is horrific. Then their team is iconic!
Meanwhile, here the Yankees are again, atop the league in the "World Series or Bust" tier ... which only makes the annual tradition of falling to the Astros hurt all the more. Petriello acknowledges in his writing that this doesn't feel like one of the five or six best rosters in baseball right now because of Carlos Rodón and Harrison Bader's injuries, as well as the cacophonous thud last season ended with.
The switch could be flipped once again, though, if Anthony Volpe earns the Yankees' Opening Day shortstop job, ushering in another Era of Good Feelings.
Hopefully, these tiers are proven correct, and Boston ends up in the "frisky, but old/weird/not worth thinking about" zone all year long, while the Yankees finally shine like the contender they're intended to be.