Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We Win Again

"His conversations kill."

Sure, I'm late to the party, but really, I'll be celebrating until April, so maybe I'm a little early. In any event, congratulations to the 2007 Boston Red Sox, hereby to be known as your World Champs. Sunday was once again a sweep for New England teams much like what happened last week with the Pats and the Sox. First, the Pats snuck by the Redskins 52-7 (more on that later), and then the Sox completed yet another World Series sweep, this time of the Rockies, winning a thriller, 4-3, including another multi-inning outing for Jonathan Papelbon, who could have easily been the series MVP.

While the Sox spent around $140 million to create this team, it turned out that a lot of the guys making short money were the guys who ended up having the biggest impact on the team. Guys like Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Papelbon, Jon Lester, Manny Delcarmen Jacoby Ellsbury, and even Bobby Kielty were heroes of the series. Can you believe a Bobby Kielty home run was the difference in the Sox' clinching game? How more unlikely can you be? Anyway, the real key to the Sox winning once again was the starting pitching. Much like what happened in '04, the Sox' starters came out and were simply dominant in their outings. The firestarter, of course, was Josh Beckett, who, again, should be the Cy Young Winner of the American League (by the way, are there anymore C.C. Sabathia backers?...I know that the award is symbolic of the regular season, but still, the two head-to-head matchups in the playoffs should just kill that debate), was as dominant as any pitcher as ever been in October. Schilling once again showed his prowess in October, and for that reason alone, the Sox should at least consider re-upping with him for another year (although the price tag is pretty steep...$13 million). Dice-K was good enough for people to not be able to throw him under the bus like they have done basically all year. By the way, how can a guy be considered a "bust" if he wins 15 games his first season in the majors? Have you ever heard of anything like that? Sure, it was $103 million en total, but again, it's spread over six years. Plus, do you not think the Sox were picking up some of that revenue from Japan to offset that $51 million posting fee? I think there's more criticism of the Sox signing Dice-K than the Yankees signing Clemens. The guy had 200 K's in 204 innings! He's still got five more years! What is wrong with you people?! Sure he could have been better, but he could have been way worse. Therefore, all and all, it was a successful "rookie" season for the Dice man. And, of course, there was Jon Lester, the feel-good story of the Red Sox. In no way is this a trivialization of Lester's bout with non-Hochkins' lymphoma, but rather, it has more to do with the fact that he came out of the bullpen to pitch brilliantly in Game 4. The future is oh so bright with Lester and Buchholz coming into the rotation next year with Beck, Dice, and, hopefully, Wake.

The hitting was another big story from the series. Going into the games against the Rockies, I gave a slight edge to the Colorado lineup, but after it was all over, there was no question about who was the more superior offensive team. The Sox ended the Series batting .333, the second highest in the history of the World Series. It all started with Game 1, when the Sox exploded for 13 runs in the first five innings of the game. The Rockies' starters and their bullpen were worn out after the first two games, simply not being used to the patience that the Sox' hitters showed at the plate. Never was this more evident than in Game 2, where Ubaldo Jimenez, who has great stuff, simply had no control over his pitches, and despite only giving up two runs on three hits, could not pitch through the fifth inning, and forced Clint Hurdle to go into his 'pen much earlier than he would have wanted. This was a continued theme throughout the series. The Rockies were simply worn out. They had a huge layoff, which I didn't think would matter like it did last year, but in the end, it turned out that the Rockies looked as flat as the Tigers did last year against the Cardinals.

Basically, all that has been said about the Sox has been said. It's taken me three days to let it all sink in (and sleep everything off), but the fact remains that we won the Series...I mean the Sox are World Champs...that's two in four years...did you ever think you would see one? Are we spoiled now? Well, perhaps. Do I care? Not in the least bit. In fact, let the rest of the world talk about Sox fans. Honestly, a little while back, it bothered me that we were labeled "obnoxious" and "spoiled," but now, I just don't care anymore. If you know who you are, and you know about the trials and tribulations that go with following this team, then it doesn't really matter what anyone says...

We win again.

Speaking of not caring about what people think, the Patriots continue to have their way with the NFL, putting a 52-spot on the Redskins last week. Sure, people can talk about the Patriots being unsportsmanlike and unfair for running up the score...but if I listened to what everyone had to say, I would think that my team has been cheating for five years and that all their wins were tainted. So, this is why I have basically formed this opinion: It's us against them. I think the Pats have also took on this mentality, and the fact that people said the Pats couldn't win without cheating has simply fueled the fire that is Belichick. Sure, if you asked him straight up about all of this, he would throw out that all of this is ridiculous, but come on. I know what's going on. You (i.e. the NFL, its coaches, players, owners, officials, and everyone covering the league) screw with us, we are going to beat all of you into submission and twist your arm and say "uncle." We're the bullies now, because you have messed with us, and the Patriots have officially taken on the role of "the bad guys" because they stopped caring about everything. They stopped caring about this whole "sportsmanship" aspect of the game because that whole theory was thrown against us when we were called out for stealing signs. Why should the Patriots be sportsmanlike? Because "it's the right thing to do?" The Pats have been the class franchise for this century, and yet, our integrity was put into question because a jealous coach in the Meadowlands felt like his joke of a team actually had a shot against us. This is like getting snitched out for being in the mob, serving the sentence (i.e. the first rounder, and the $750,000 in collective fines), coming back out, and going on almost a murderous rampage. Will this stop? Well, the fact of the matter is that this team will be devastated if they don't bring home a title. All of our previous titles have been brought into question, so if the Pats are able to win this one, it would be the last in a long and lengthy series of middle fingers to everyone who has questioned our ability to play this game. If you don't want the Pats to run up the score, how about playing a little defense? The last time I checked, Washington supposedly had the fifth best defense in the league, and they gave up 45 offensive points, but no one questions that. They don't question how miserable the 'Skins defense was. Instead, they question why Brady was still throwing in the fourth quarter. If Belichick wants to risk Brady getting hurt in the fourth, that's his prerogative. If you wanted to send Belichick a message, why not blitz Brady and try to knock him down? Instead, the 'Skins played soft zone for basically the entire second half. Are we supposed to just sit there and let them get away with that? If you don't want to play hard and cover receivers, you will pay in this league. Also, Joe Gibbs, if you are ok with how we went about doing things, why didn't you shake Bill's hand at the end of the game? I don't like LT because he's a total fairy, but at least he said what was on his mind...however stupid it may have been. Of course Gibbs had a problem with what we did. If you're a Redskins player/coach/front office guy/fan, how could you not have a problem with what the Patriots did? We embarrassed them thoroughly, and basically made a mockery of both their offense and defense all game long. How could you not be offended by that? If you have a problem, say it. What difference is it going to make? Gibbs would have basically reflected the opinion of about every non-Patriot fan and every media member. Or, shake Bill's hand at the end, and say it's not an issue, like basically every NFL coach has come out and said throughout the week.

Well, it's on to Indy now. I'll have a preview up for this one real soon. Take care everyone.




No comments: