Sunday, September 02, 2007

And From The Minors Comes The Answer

"And lovin' a music man
Ain't always what it's supposed to be."


That was the answer to all of the Sox' problems. Sure, they had the best record in the majors, but for a four-game stretch, the Sox were in neutral. With Manny going down, the bats silent, and the pitching get whacked around, what was lacking was that one little push to get them over this skid. The answer came in the form of two Sox rookies who have made a huge impression in the little time they've been here.

Yesterday, Clay Buchholz became the first rookie in Red Sox history to throw a no-hitter, baffling the O's all night with his fastball/curve/change repertoire. As reported here months and months ago, Buchholz was going to be a sure thing, and, through at least two starts, his performances have been nothing short of outstanding. In his first start against the Angels, it was clear that Clay's nerves were kind of getting to him, as he gave up a bunch of walks in the early going, but he was able to get out of the jams he faced, and with a big cushion to work with, Buchholz put himself in a situation to get his first major league win. Then, last night, Buchholz pitched remarkably, ending his historic performance with an outstanding curve that froze Nick Markakis. The kid threw a gem, a single-handedly may have injected that little bit of juice into the Sox' clubhouse that they desperately needed. Then, Jacoby Ellsbury once again proved why he was worthy of a first-round selection. Ellsbury pinch-hit last night and had a RBI double. Then, starting today, he hit his first Major League homer and stole a base. In addition, he made an outstanding grab on a sinking line drive to rob a hit. Ellsbury is a guy who can do it all. He represents the future of this organization along with the previously mentioned Buchholz and today's starter, Jon Lester. Ellsbury and Brandon Moss, along with the recent addition of Bobby Kielty, have sured up an outfield that was probably the weakest position on this team. The youth infusement is exactly what the Sox needed at the exact right time. Now, with two series against Tampa Bay, and another against the O's, along with a six game lead, the Sox are in prime position to wrap it all up for home field throughout the playoffs. Speaking of which, it would also be good to start rooting against the Angels right now, as they have positioned themselves right behind the Sox for the best record in baseball.

Rodney Harrison admitted to his use of HGH over the weekend, so I guess the whole "at least one of our guys never cheated" argument can be thrown out. Of all the guys who could have admitted to using performance enhancers, Harrison's name probably wouldn't have even cropped into my mind because of how much of a leader on and off the field. Sure, when you break it down, it makes sense that Harrison would be using HGH. He has had some major injuries over the past few seasons. He got hurt in both of his Super Bowl appearances. In the '05 season, Harrison tore every ligament in his left knee against Pittsburgh, and then, last year, he hurt his right knee in the season finale against Tennessee. So, Harrison has been banged up the last three years, and because of his role as captain of the secondary, and an overall team leader, I guess he felt like he had to get back on the field as soon as he could, even if that meant deferring to illegal means to do so. While I have no doubts about his abilities as a football player, I really have to question his morals as a person right now. I definitely lost some respect for Harrison, even if the reason he was doing what he did was to get back onto the field to try and help his team. With modern medicine and technology, there are safer and more legal means to try and get healthy, and if those don't work, then it's just time to hang it up. I know that if someone told me that I had to stop doing the thing that I loved and have done all my life, I would be pretty bummed, but I guess I would just except my fate and move on. If Harrison can't play within the legal boundaries that are enforced, then it might be time to just move on. Of course I want to have Harrison playing safety for the Pats, but I just want him out there on his on volition, and not because he feels like he "has to be there."

So this wraps up what was arguably the best sports weekend, at least for me, of the entire year. Clay threw a no-hitter and the Sox gained ground on the Yankees, App St. pulled off arguably the biggest upset of my lifetime, beating Michigan at the Big House while they were 'dogged by 34.5 points. BC was able to hold off Wake in the season opener at Chestnut Hill, which included a 409 yard passing performance from Matt Ryan, and 3 INTs from DeJuan Tribble, who I will be endorsing all year for the Thorpe Award. Then, as a capper, USC won their home opener as well, and both soccer teams managed to beat ranked opponents , including the women's team knocking off #1 UNC, who had never lost a season opener in 29 years, and snapped their 27-game winning streak, and the men's team beating that other school that will remain nameless. A good weekend indeed. Take it easy everyone. Peace.


No comments: