September is usually a great time for scoreboard watching.
Even hardened managers, who like to continually remind everyone that they're only focused on what they can control, will acknowledge that they will occasionally sneak an in-game peak to see how an out-of-town game is going and whether the score might have a positive impact on their own team's fortunes.
For the Red Sox, of course, that curiosity became a moot point by the time the Sox were pulling out of a nine-game nosedive in mid-August, effectively ending what hope that had of contending in 2020. Ever since then, they've been lodged in last place, a fact that Ron Roenicke can't, try as he might, help but notice from his perch in the home Fenway dugout — which affords him an all-too-clear sightline at the AL East standings on the left field wall.
Now, however, in the final week of the season, there's finally incentive for Red Sox fans to pay attention to out-of-town scores. Not because the Sox' playoff chances have lately improved -- spoiler alert: they haven't -- but because their positioning in next summer's draft almost certainly has.
And this comes with a twist: rather than rooting against the teams closest to you in the standings, you're actually rooting for them.
According to ESPN.com, commissioner Rob Manfred has, after some deliberation, determined that "it's highly likely that the draft order will be determined by this year's record.''