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Thursday, September 29, 2011
Don't worry, Red Sox fans, here's a fix

By David Schoenfield

It's simple: For $600 million, you can sign CC Sabathia, Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes this winter. There's cash burning in Theo's pockets. So don't give up hope. Keep buying tickets and purchasing Red Sox gear and maybe you can help your Red Sox buy enough good players to compete with Tampa Bay.

More seriously, as Red Sox fans try to deal with their anger and frustration (local sports radio was especially bleak and hilarious), I have heard some excuses from the Nation: If only Clay Buchholz hadn't been injured, or Kevin Youkilis had stayed healthy, if Dice-K hadn't blown out his elbow and so on. That's all fair to a certain extent. But keep in mind what happened with the Rays this season:

1. They had lost one of their best players, Carl Crawford, to a division rival.
2. They had to rebuild an entire bullpen. Kyle Farnsworth -- he of the reputation for not being the most clutch reliever around -- was signed to be the team's closer.
3. They guy they were counting on to be their cleanup hitter lasted five games before testing positive for PEDs and retiring.
4. Their Opening Day first baseman and No. 5 hitter hit .119 on the season (he did come through in Game No. 162, however).
5. Their Opening Day starting shortstop hit .193.
6. Their best player missed a month.
7. Their catchers hit a combined .194.
8. Felipe Lopez spent 10 days batting cleanup.
9. One of their starting pitchers missed nearly two months.
10. Their manager grew a mullet.

And they still made the playoffs.