Tagged: World Series

Destiny’s Child…???

Phillies win World SeriesWell despite the best efforts of Major League baseball, and the help of the baseball gods, the Tampa Bay Rays will go back to St Pete’s empty handed.  The Phillies played great, they out-pitched and out hit the hapless Rays, and the Phillies have now earned thier first World Championship in 28 years.  Congrats to the Phillies and thier fans. 

  After a string of lucky breaks, the Rays head back to Tampa with thier tales between thier legs.  The Rays were embarassed in this World Series, and will have to examine if they really have what it takes to win bigtime baseball games.  The Rays were the clear favorites, make no mistake about, they had home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and they clearly were the superior team, except where it mattered…on the field.

  This all may sound like bitterness from a Sox fan, and in small part it is, however the facts are what they are.  The Rays did not play the same schedule the Red Sox did over the course of the season, thier schedule was by far one of the easiest in MLB.  With that great advantage, they still only barely won the American League East, in a year where the Yankees did not contend.  The Sox sustained massive injuires to every facet of thier game, and yet they still managed to finish two games back of the Rays for the season, and one game short in the ALCS.

  The Sox drew the best team in baseball in the ALDS, while the Rays drew a gassed White Sox team that had to exhaust every resource they had just to make the playoffs.  The White Sox had to use thier top three starters just to get to game one of the ALDS, where they faced a rested Tampa team.  Clearly this was advantage for the Rays, as they never faced the top of the White Sox rotation.  In the ALCS the Rays faced a Sox team that was sans Mike Lowell, and a healthy Josh Beckett, and an ailing JD Drew.  Despite all the Sox set-backs, they were still able to force a game seven, after being down 3-1.  The Sox won 2 out of four games in the Trop, or the house that Wade Boggs built.

Before everyone proclaims the Rays the next dynasty in waiting, lets take a breath and really look at what they have accomplished.  Not a lot in my book, they almost gagged an ALCS they clearly had against a team that was wounded.  Then they get destroyed in the World Series against a National League that boasted Jamie Moyer and American League cast-off Joe Blanton in thier rotation.  Whenever a team clearly better than the other fails to win it has to be considered a failure.  There are no points for second, no honorable mention, especially not for teams that gag away thier advantages.

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Twice As Nice……………..

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So now that the electric feeling of watching the Red Sox win thier second World Championship in four years has soaked in, its reflection time.  For me the elation of watching the Sox win this year was unbelievable, however it was not quite as sweet as 2004.  By comparison it’s the difference between Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, so not much of a difference.  However the beauty of that year, was we got to stick to the Yankees, in historic fashion no less. That year had so many heroic moments, so much tension, it was almost too much too watch.  There were so many moments along the way that season, and in the post-season, it’s hard to name them all.  The two walk-off winners in Fenway on back-to-back nights in extra innings is a good place to start.

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So many things had to go right for the Sox in the ALCS against the Yankees, it just seemed so mathmatically impossible for them all to happen in the same series.  I’m not quite sure what was more fun, watching the Beantown Bombers win those games, or watching the Yankee fan base squirm.  Watching the Sox clinch, and dance around like the idiots they were, in the house that Ruth built was to surreal for words to express.

No matter how many titles the Sox go on to win (it’s going to be alot), none will take the place of that first one in 86 years.  Nor will all the heroes from that team, that may be gone, but not forgotten. The Mark Belhorn’s, the Keith Foulke’s, Dave Roberts, or Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar.  Players who played far beyond their wildest expectations that fateful October. No matter how far we are from that World Series, it will never be forgotten, not by Red Sox fans, or Yankee fans.  It was the October that the Red Sox re-wrote baseball history, and turned the Yankees into one of the most disappointing franchises of the new century.  It was also the October that forever tagged the Yankees with the "greatest choke in the history of sport".   No matter what the Yanks go on to do, they can never take that back, nor can any Yankee fan escape the constant jokes at thier expense due to this historic collapse.  Oh yeah, and no matter how much time passes, I will never get tired of telling the tale of the 2004 Boston Red Sox !

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In Curt We Trust……

Boston Red Sox baseball pitcher Curt Schilling holds up the championship trophy in Boston's Copley Square Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007 during a rolling rally to celebrate the Red Sox baseball World Series victory against the Colorado Rockies. So it seems we are back to the business of baseball, wow it sure didn’t take long.  Between A-Rod opting out and the national drama that was the Yankees search for a manager, it seems the talk of the Sox 2nd title in four years was just another 24 hour news cycle story.  Today on WEEI Curt Schilling said he did not expect to be back in a Boston uniform, if that true, it is supremely disappointing.

  We all knew that Schilling was pitching for his job this year, but all he was looking for was a one year deal, at MLB wal-mart type pricing.  To me, Schilling earned this deal in spring training, but Red Sox brass saw it differently.  Schilling was hurt some this year, but when he pitched he was just as effective as every Red Sox pitcher not named Josh Beckett.  ****, have we forgotten it was Schilling that stopped a three game slide in Oakland by pitching 8 and 2/3 innings of perfect baseball.  A game, that at the time, ended a funk that the Sox had been in, and got them started again.

  The thing about Schilling is that he has that X-factor, that you can’t coach.  He has the ability to man up, when he and his team needs it most.  This post-season was a great example of that.  Schilling started four games for the Sox this postseason, going 3-0, with an e.r.a. right at 3.00.  Schilling again bailed the Sox out of a jam, by shutting down the Indians in a loser go home match in the ALCS.  Schill also pitched great in the World Series this year, in a crucial game two, where two runs of support was all he got.

  Of course we can’t forget what Schilling did for us against the Yankees in 2004 and 2005.  We all remember the bloody sox in the ALCS and the World Series, but alot of people forget it was Schilling who pitched the last regular season game of the 2005 season.  It was a game the Sox had to have to get into the wild-card that year.  It was a game against the Yanks, whom were fighting for home field advantage in the playoffs that year.  Theo Epstein has made alot of great moves as G.M. of the Red Sox, he has also made more bad ones.  His best move was 4 years ago, when he brought a brash pitcher back from the Arizona desert.  Funny thing, the Red Sox had not won a World Series in 86 years before the arrival of Curt Schilling, and they have won 2 in four years.  For once I hope a team rewards a player who has said and done the right things, and honored the game with his play everytime he takes the mound.

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AFTERGLOW!!!!!!!!!!!

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek (left) and Jonathan Papelbon celebrated on the mound after the victory. How sweet it is, are there any better words to describe the euphoria of Red Sox Nation.  Our second World Championship in four years, and in the words of Borat, "its very nice".  One thing if for sure, I can get used to this.  Last nights game had it all, a story book kind of flare to it, a jinxed franchise going for it’s second title, and a cancer survivor, one year removed, trying to close it out for the Sox.
  Jon Lester was brilliant last night, in his first start in over a year, of the all the great starts by Red Sox pitchers in this World Series, he was the only one to give up zero earned runs.  The Sox offense had just enough to overcome another shakey late bullpen outing, including a pinch hit homerun by Bobby Kielty, that turned out to be the winner.
Red Sox players swarmed the field after pitcher Papelbon's final strikeout. For my money though, the MVP was Jonathan Papelbon, who pitched in three of the four games in this World Series, saving three games, and all three times going multiple innings.  It was an epic performance last night by Papelbon, recording the final five outs for the Sox, with zero room for error.  His effort in this series was shades of Curt Schilling’s in 2004, willing his team to victory with heart and heroics.  The guts and grit he showed in every outing this post-season was just unbelievable for a pitcher this young and with no playoff pedigree.  Like Papelbon said though, this was a collective effort of 25 guys playing together as a team.
  The cherry on top for me last night though was having my wife and three month old daughter awake for the magical moment.  As I said earlier, my baby girl had a rough start to her life coming three months early.  I said the day she was born she was here early for a reason, she wanted to see what her dad was cheering about every night. I am glad my premintion about her early arrival and a Sox title turned out to true.  As I danced around and cheered last night, Meadow remained calm, cheering with a bit more dignity than the old man perhaps. Whatever the Sox do from here remains to be seen, but they can’t take this away from Red Sox Nation, and my little girl will never know a world that does not include a Red Sox World Series title in her lifetime.Meadow_068

Magic Number = 1

Daisuke Matsuzaka delivered a pitch in the first inning. First off, there will be no talk of it is over, and how sweet it’s gonna be when we sweep the Rockies.  I am a REAL Red Sox fan, and I have lived thru many horrors, including a 2-0 World Series lead over the New York Mets heading back to Fenway for two games, I think we all know how that one ended.  With that being said, I love the Sox chances of taking home the 103rd World Series title.  Last nights game was a weird kind of thriller, it reminded me a lot of the 96 World Series, that included the Yankees starting out down 0-2, and also had them down 6-0 in game three as well, only to storm back and win that game and the next three.   Dice-K pitched really good, thru five innings last night, and I think he probably would have pitched out of his trouble in the sixth inning last night.  However Terry Francona did something most Red Sox managers have not done, pulled a pitcher a little early, versus a little late.  It backed fired a bit, as Javier Lopez continues to stink on wheat.  This bum has not recorded an out his last two outings, and has allowed six runs to score while he was on the mound.  I think it is safe to say he will not be coming into any games that are close.
  Dice-K was really great thru the first five, and even got in the act as hitter, going 1-3 with two r.b.i’s.  The bullpen was a little shakey, as they bent a little in the sixth and seventh, but did not break.  Jonathan Papelbon continues to be nasty as he wants to be, going  1 1/3 innings allowing one hit and no runs, and holding the inherited runners he got in the 8th inning.
  I will say this, I have never seen so many bandwagon fans in one place at one time.  The Rockies fans were very annoying early on, cheering ball calls on thier hitters, really Rockies fans, you cheer for ball four, not ball two. Of course the true sign of a cheesy franchise is also the crappy towel give-aways.  Come on Colorado, white towels, really, act like you have been there before as fans. Nothing says cheesy fan more than a crappy cotton mini-towel, handed to you at the gate.  Okay I know, enough about the bandwagon fan base of the Rockies, hey we can’t all be members of Red Sox Nation.
  The scene in Colorado Game four is tonight at 829 EST, I guess a 730 EST start time is too much to ask for, that would mean Fox would get short changed on 30 minutes of primetime advertising.  Jon Leaster takes the hill tonight, against the one time ace of the Rockies, Aaron Hill, who has pitched since August 10th.  History says the Sox will clinch tonight, as 19 of the 22 previous teams up 3-0, has clinched in game four.  I don’t know much about history, but I do like story book endings, and I would love to hear the one about a guy who was fighting for his life with cancer a year ago, coming to back to clinch a World Series for his team a year later.

Rolling the Dice Again…

Red Sox' Matsuzaka tries to become a trophy pitcher There have many points along the way this season that Dice-K has been called upon to be the 103 million man that he is.  For the most part Dice-K has not lived up to those expectations.  He has been real average this post-season, to go along with his helter-skelter season.  I know Dice-K won 15 games this season, however had he pitched for about 25 other teams in baseball, we would be looking at a guy that had a record of around 10-16 or something in that range.  There has been many starts that Dice-K could not offer much more than being a long reliever. This was never more evident than last Sunday in game seven of the ALCS, when the Sox were thrilled Dice-K had gone five innings.  His game seven victory last week was very much like most of his wins, the Sox won despite him, and the team pretty much had to do all the heavy lifting.

  Tonight Dice-K has a chance to be the man, show the Sox, and Red Sox Nation, that thier pitching tonight and for the future is secure in his unsure hands.  Dice-K could go a long way tonight to erasing the sting of his crappy and mediocre season, much like J.D. Drew did with one swing of the bat in game six of the ALCS.  I don’t expect much tonight from Dice-K, I hope he can go five or six and leave the Sox a chance to win.  The funny thing about Dice-K is, the word HOPE is used an awful lot about a guy the Sox spent a small fortune to attain.

At First Base…..

David Oritz practiced on the field at Coors Field Friday in Denver. The Red Sox play Colorado Rockies in Game 3 of the World Series Saturday. Now come on, was it really that hard to decide who was going to start at first base in Denver the next few games.  As hot as Kevin Youkilis has been for the Sox this post-season, he is no Big Papi, and in his wildest dreams his bat would never come close to being what Papi’s is.  Manager Terry Francona made the only choice there was, it just that simple.  The beauty for the Sox is, this move will provide them some flexiblilty on the bench in pinch hitter type situations, and late game defensive replacements.  I love how the media blew this into a whole big thing about who was going to play first. 
  Upward and onward, game three is tommorrow night, and for the second time in a week, Dice K is pitching the biggest game of his life.  Welcome to life in Red Sox Nation Dice-K, and oh yea, don’t forget to pack the oxygen.