October 29, 2007

THE MONSTER HUNGERS:

This time, Red Sox bulldozed their way to title (Jayson Stark, October 28, 2007, ESPN.com)

It's never an easy thing to comprehend when the universe changes before your eyes.

You're never sure why. You're never sure how. And normally, you're never sure when.

But if anyone asks, you can tell them you saw it all unfold on the last Sunday night in October, in a scenic Colorado ballpark nestled between the mountain peaks.

You didn't just see the Boston Red Sox win the World Series. You didn't just see the Red Sox sweep the World Series. You saw something bigger, something deeper, something historic.

This wasn't 2004. That's ancient history now. This wasn't 86 years of torment and misery, curses and ghosts, being washed away by events taking place on a baseball field. This was different. Very different. Couldn't have been more different.

This is a franchise that has turned life as we used to know it upside down. This is no longer a team defined by all the years it didn't win. This is a team carving a whole new niche in the sporting universe.

Make no mistake. The Red Sox now are one of baseball's powerhouse franchises. And what they just did -- in this World Series, in this October and especially in the past week and a half -- made that 100 percent official.


The 2004 team featured Manny, Ortiz, Damon & Varitek right at the prime of their careers, while this team has none such. What it does have though is a group of six pitchers 27-and-under, all of whose rights the team controls, who could be dominant over a four or five year stretch. And it would not be the least bit surprising to see Theo Epstein go out and add one more starter, especially with a guy like Johann Santana being dangled. They've also put in place a scouting department/farm system that is producing major league contributors and they've got a Nation that buys into their longterm philosophy about not paying guys big money into their later 30s, even if they are Hub heroes. Everyone would love to have Mike Lowell back for a couple more years--as they'd have liked Damon and Pedro for a couple more--but they recognize that a four year deal would be a mistake.

The combination of pitching talent in place, a front office with a coherent and effective operating plan, and a fan base that's bought into not just the current players but the entire system makes for an archetypal winning franchise.

MORE:
Red Sox are masters of baseball's universe (Gene Wojciechowski, 10/29/07, ESPN.com

"The Red Sox can have their Nation. The Yankees have the universe."
-- Hank Steinbrenner, New York Yankees senior vice president

Not anymore, they don't.

For the second time in four years, the Boston Red Sox are World Series champions and the indisputable rulers of the baseball universe as we know it. They are the Roman Empire of the postseason, having won eight World Series games in a row. Hail, Tito.

That the Yankees' Steinbrenner says otherwise is one-third arrogance, one-third ignorance and one-third stupidity. Then again, that sort of self-infatuation helps explain why the Yankees haven't played in a World Series since 2003 and haven't hoisted the sterling silver Commissioner's Trophy above their heads since 2000.

Didn't anybody from the House of Steinbrenner (George and sons Hank and executive vice president Hal) see what the Red Sox just did to the Colorado Rockies? Four games, four wins. They could have played a best-of-17 series, and the Red Sox still would have swept.

This was the Europeans vs. USA in the Ryder Cup, New England Patriots vs. anybody, chocolate eclairs vs. Britney. Less than two weeks ago, the Red Sox were a loss away from playoff elimination. Now, they reek of champagne again.


The most revealing thing is how distant they were from elimination when down 3-1.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 29, 2007 12:28 AM
Comments

This Rockies fan certainly salutes the Red Sox for the whipping they delivered to us. Having said that, could that all turn sour if the Sox were to try to sign A-Rod? He's a known team killer, as any Yankee fan can tell you. Especially after the bush league move he and his agent pulled last night.

Posted by: Brad S at October 29, 2007 8:02 AM

What A-Rod has done is make it much more likely that Lowell won't be back in Boston next year. The Yankees will pay him 4 years/$60 million without blinking. The Red Sox won't.

Posted by: Ibid at October 29, 2007 9:41 AM
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