October 20, 2007


Yankees’ Expectations Are Felt in Boston (WILLIAM C. RHODEN, 10/21/07, NY Times)

The door is open for the Red Sox, with a rich baseball tradition and a high payroll, to replace the Yankees as the team the nation loves to hate. The question is whether the Red Sox, after years of being the object of sympathy and even pity, can adjust to being despised.

With the Yankees’ empire in decline, the implications for Boston are significant and perhaps terrifying. The Red Sox could sign Alex Rodriguez, and he and pitcher Josh Beckett could be anchors of a Boston dynasty.

The possibility is there for the spending: no more just missing the brass ring, but rather grabbing that ring season after season. But does Red Sox Nation really want to do this?

Vince Lombardi’s exhortation that winning is the only thing, in retrospect, has caused unimaginable heartache and blues. It sounds good but is probably antithetic to inner peace.

Look around. The pursuit of winning has tempted some of us to break rules, bend moral fiber, take performance-enhancing drugs and jettison a manager who failed to lead his team past the first playoff round for three consecutive years.

The question I’d ask Boston fans is whether they really want to see their team do this. Do they want a franchise whose ethos is that winning titles is the only thing?

For years, there was a sympathetic fascination with the Red Sox and their hapless pursuit of their first championship since 1918. They were the frustrated coyote in pursuit of the roadrunner Yankees. In 2004, the coyote finally caught the roadrunner, conquered the challenge and won the World Series. Someone asked Francona about expectations in New York and in Boston.“Theo and I have talked about this a lot lately,” he said, referring to Theo Epstein, the Red Sox’ general manager.

“Because of the money that’s spent and all the passion that’s been — I’ve only been here four years. I know it started before I got here, but things have gotten a little bit skewed around here, and sometimes the big fight for me, and I’m sure Theo is involved in that, too, is not losing sight of what’s important, what’s meaningful to you.”

This really is the year they became the Yankees. No one thinks of
them as lovable underdogs anymore and they win so cold-bloodedly
there's no drama and little joy. Down 3-1 there was no sense of
despair. You'd have thought they were leading the series. And if
they don't win it all everyone will claim it was a failed season, which is foolish.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 20, 2007 8:04 PM

Everyone loves you when you're losing...

The odd thing is that if they win the World Series this year, they'll sell out Fenway for every home game next year. If they lose tomorrow night, they'll sell out Fenway for every home game next year.

Posted by: Ibid at October 20, 2007 10:45 PM

Tonight's win wasn't cold-blooded, with the bottom of the order providing most of the excitement, and Schilling pitching as he did. The only miss was Ellsbury stopping a step short in left center and losing Garko's fly ball.

The Cleveland bench looked dispirited even before Drew's slam. But they should be hopping tomorrow, trying to get some edge against Matsuzaka. If Lofton does a sudden step-out on him, Daisuke should drill him. High.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 20, 2007 11:03 PM

It was over by the time the anthem ended. Consider how melodramatic previous Game 6's were: Fisk's homer, the Buckner ball, the bloody sock. This team is far more clinical. It's the first time in modern memory that they are clearly the best team in baseball and play like it.

Posted by: oj at October 21, 2007 7:58 AM

oj, come on, I gotta totally disagree with you. Your cynicism overwhelms logic, it does.

The Bosox are beloved, and watched by more than just Red Sox nation. Speak with any of your friends outside of the East Coast connection and you will hear that they are riveted.

Watching that lineup is exciting, every step of the way. JD Drew hitting that grand slam was anything but anti-climactic.

I think, contrary to what you think, that Bosox nation doesn't want the extra-ordinary drama that was everything in 2003-04. We are tired of that. How extraordinary can Big Papi be, year after year.

Tonight watching DK is better than fiction. Right after Bloody Sock gave us one more game six. Right after Josh assumed the mantle of Roger and Pedro. The storylines are almost too much to handle.

What about the prospect of taking on the Roxtobers, a team that's won like 22 of 23?

A-Rod: Signing Arod is not in their best interests. He's one of these guys that whatever he touches turns ravenously negative. Great seasons, but the melodrama and resentment he fosters in a locker room is just so obvious.

Mike Lowell represents everything A-Rod isn't. And Theo recognizes this. Luchinno, the money-maker he is, deep-down, realizes the bullet he dodged, with his own mis-management of that trade, 4 seasons ago.

Sometimes the Red Sox avert mini-disasters just because they try to get too clever for their own good.

Posted by: neil at October 21, 2007 8:19 AM

I just hope, for the sake of my relatives in northeastern Ohio, that the Indians don't become the new Red Sox.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at October 21, 2007 10:34 AM

All the Indians fans here in northeast Ohio are on edge. They're wondering if they've finally beaten the Curse of Rocky Colavito.

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 21, 2007 11:16 AM

They're being beaten by gifted starting pitching: the Sox run out the best postseason starter of the 00's, the best of all time, and then the MVP of World Baseball. It's filthy.

Posted by: oj at October 21, 2007 2:30 PM