When the Red Sox won the championship in 2004, I felt a sense of satisfaction that I had never known before. When Boston came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the ALCS I knew that all things were possible. The World Series against the Cardinals was just icing on the cake, it felt good, but the real “win” was beating the Yankees into a small, bloody pulp. Quite simply, it was every Red Sox fan’s dream, and it felt goooood.

Sunday’s night win against the upstart Colorado Rockies was a completely different animal. After Denver went down in game 3, in their very own stadium, I felt the series was over. Of course anything could have happened so I tried not to become too confident. My fears all melted away as Boston completed an impressive sweep in four games and ran away with their second world championship in four years.

I’d just like to say thanks to Manny, Big Papi, Lowell, Pedroia, Varitek, Ellsbury, Beckett, Papelbon, Francona and all the rest who played one of the best seasons of baseball I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. The summer was filled with ups and downs, nail biting and celebration, and in the end you guys pulled it off once again. My parents and I thank you, as your efforts have given us cause to speak more often and share in the joy of your victories. I wish I was home in New England for the party that is going down. So, from this tiny little part of Red Sox Nation, here in North Carolina, congratulations! Now go and sign Mike Lowell, will you please?

I’m taking a cue from Dan Cederholm and putting my vote behind the man who should be the American League Rookie of the Year, Dustin Pedroia. The 2007 Red Sox are heading to the World Series against the Colorado Rockies, and it is in no small part thanks to the efforts of this scrappy little guy. To be totally honest, I’d like to nominate the entire darned team, because right now I’d follow them anywhere.

After loosing three straight games to the Cleveland Indians, I really thought the Sox were done for. My faith had been shaken before and I should have learned my lesson, but thankfully guys with names like Lowell, Ellsbury, Youkilis, Beckett and Drew sent me to detention, stepped up and won the ALCS. After the first three games there was so much talk about Manny and Big Pappi and how they had carried the team, even I was starting to think these two sluggers were on their own. How wrong we all were. J.D. Drew’s grand slam in the first inning of game 6 set the tone for the next 18 innings as time after time hitters other than Ramirez and Ortiz drove in the runs. Tonight’s RBI’s by Pedroia, Youkilis and others have cemented the notion that this year’s Red Sox are not a fluke. They are the real deal, working together as a team, and I can’t wait to see what happens against the Rockies.

As a side note, anyone who says that Twitter is useless or “doesn’t get it” should add some friends who follow the same sports team as they do. I’ve found nothing more enjoyable than reading tweets from fellow Red Sox nation fans during these post-season games. It’s not quite as good as actually being in Fenway, but it does allow for shared celebration, commentary and emotional support like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Thanks go out to all those Sox fans tweeting along at home, you’ve been wonderful. Next stop, a little thing called the World Series. Come on down Denver!

UPDATE: Well, he may be too young to take over as President, but this week (11/13/07) Dustin Pedroia was awarded the American League Rookie of the Year. Congratulations Dustin, you really did make a huge difference this year. We’re all proud of you!

Baseball fans seem to be getting their money’s worth this post season. This goes double for devotees of the Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox. All four teams are so far undefeated in post season play, much to the disappointment of Cubs, Phillies, Angels and Yankee fans everywhere. Of all the division playoffs so far, the most surprising has been the Yanks and Indians. I think it is safe to say that few expected the Indians to shut out the Yankees so effectively, but now the series heads back to New York for today’s 6:30pm game. If there is any team in Major League Baseball that won’t go quietly into the night, it’s those damn Yankees. I think Jeeter and company would have actually won game 2 if it hadn’t been for the spectacularly bad catching of Posada along with all those wonderful bugs. I fully expect tonight’s game to be an old fashion brawl with the Yankees emerging as victors. Back in 2001, the Yankees were down 2-0 vs. the Angles and came back to win. Of course I could be wrong. The Yankees, after all, have been known to choke before.

The Red Sox have had a relatively easy go of their division series thus far, but now they head to California. The Angels won the most home games of any team in 2007 and as such are hoping for the momentum they need to beat back Ortiz, Manny and Shilling. After Dice K’s weak performance in game 2, I was actually surprised that the Sox pulled it off, so I’m less confident about a Boston sweep than I should be. I predict the Sox will lose today, then come back in game 4 to take the division. Similarly, I think the Yanks will crush the Indians tonight, but will ultimately lose, probably in game 5 back in Cleveland.

Any way you cut it, this is a great time to be a baseball fan. We’ve seen some fantastic moments so far, and I’m sure there will be much more to come. It was sad to see Chicago get clobbered so badly, I have an understandable affinity for those cursed Cubbies. However, as we said in Boston for over 8 decades, “There’s always next year”. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get going, my floor needs sweeping.

UPDATE: Seems that the Angel’s record at home during the regular season didn’t amount to squat. The Sox sweep the Angels and head to the ALCS thanks to a ball-busting 9-1 slugfest. God, I love being wrong. Now it falls to the Indians to see if they can sweep A-Rod and Jeeter out of the post season. My gut says the Yanks will still win big tonight.

UPDATE II: The Yanks manage to hold the brooms at bay and come away with a win tonight. Despite the victory, New York was far from perfect. Clemens put in a dismal performance and was taken out in just 3 innings. Was he really worth that $15.6 million dollars? And while we’re at it, what’s up with Steinbrenner threatening Joe Torre with dismissal? Yanks get to the playoffs, but evidently that isn’t good enough. At any rate, another game tomorrow. Should be fun!

UPDATE III: Well, the Yankees avoided the sweep, but they’re still out. Nothing like beating a team in their own park. The best part about the Indians going to the ALCS is that now I don’t have to hear the phrase “Joba Rules” anymore. Thank GOD. Bring on the Tribe!

Oh, Me of Little Faith!

September 28, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, during a particularly nasty losing streak, I had pretty much given up all hope for my beloved Red Sox of ever making the finals this year. I watched as their 14+ game lead in the A.L. East slowly, but surely dried up. At one point, those damn Yankees managed to pull within 1 game of the lead, and so I had had enough. I brushed Boston aside and tried to focus on other things, all the while keeping one eye on Beantown.

Reverse psychology never worked so well! Tonight, Boston’s win over the Twins combined with the Yankees 9-10 loss to the Orioles in extra innings means that the Sox have won the A.L. East title for the first time since 1995. Just minutes after the Yankees game ended, the A.L. East entry over at Wikipedia was updated with the Red Sox’s achievement. Their win means that the Yankees’ stranglehold on the division is finally over and the Sox’s stunning victory over the Bronx Bombers in 2004 is now “complete”.

I have to hand it to these self-proclaimed “bunch of idiots”, they never gave up. Despite horrendous performances by Eric Gagne, badly timed injuries to Manny and Youklis, and a New York team that seemed at times, unbeatable, the Red Sox have emerged as this year’s champions. The Sox claimed the lead of the division way back on April 18th, and amazingly enough, never gave it back. The entire Red Sox Nation can now look forward to the post-season and take a small, but needed, sigh of relief. Next stop, the playoffs, and this time I promise not to look away!

If is any greater rivalry in the world of professional sports, I don’t know what it is. For as long as anyone living can remember, the battle between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees has been stuff of legend. This season is no different from any other and this August, the Bronx Bombers are making their usual bid at the championship. There is only one small problem, the Red Sox are 8 games up in the AL East and look to be on a roll.

Tonight marks the start of a decisive 3 game series that could make or break the Yankees chances this year. The Yanks enter the series from a disastrous road trip in which they took only 2 of 6 games. The Detroit Tigers and and Los Angeles Angels beat up on the Yanks to increase their 4 game deficit on the Sox back up to a full 8. Underestimating them of course, would be a mistake so I’m trying to keep my enthusiasm in check as we gear up for what could be the best 3 games of the season. Given the roll they’ve been on, I have no doubts that the Sox will take at least 2 of 3 from Jeter and gang. Because the Yanks will want to show the home town crowd they are anything but push-overs, I predict the Sox will lose the first game tonight, but will sweep the remaining two match ups handily. I’ll update this post, for good or bad, as we go.

There is a little friendly rivalry going on over at Dave Caolo’s blog. Dave’s bet a Yanks fan that the Sox will win 2 of the three and a blogger named Whit named just the reverse. The stake are quite funny, so head on over and check it out. No matter how the series turns out, fans in both camps are in for some great baseball over the next few nights. This is what we live for, so settle in, pop some corn and savor the moment. As long as Gagne doesn’t royally screw up, I have a feeling this is going to be GOOD.

UPDATE: Yanks win game 1 with a score of 5 to 3. So far my prediction is right on the money. Let’s hope it holds for tomorrow. There is a good chance with Clemens taking the mound with his 5-5 record vs Josh Beckett’s 16-5 season. Manny out with back strain, hopefully nothing serious.

UPDATE II: Well, I guess I won’t be quitting my day job to run a psychic hotline anytime soon. The Yanks play mediocre baseball, but the Sox play worse and lose the second game 3 to 4. Yanks move to 6 games back, Manny looks hurt enough that he won’t be playing tomorrow and I see that broom in the corner starring at me. Meanwhile, Dave Caolo is hating life right about now.

UPDATE III: Manny’s back must posses some awful omen demon power or something because the Sox just got swept by the Yanks. If you had asked me to put money down on this series, I would have bet that the Sox would take at least one, if not two. In that case, I’d be out some $$$. I’m not about to jump off a ledge or anything yet, but Francona better figure out just went wrong this week, or we’re in trouble.

Eric Gagne Must GO!

August 17, 2007

I don’t know the Red Sox’s new relief pitcher two ways from Sunday. I’m not familar with him, how many Cy Young awards he has purported to have won, or even how much money the Red Sox managed to scrounge together to get him. All I do know is that this walking beard with safety glasses has cost the Sox 3 very crucial games in August. Games in which the Red Sox were ahead, but lost after he showed up.

My parents and I watched as he blew two games to the Orioles last week. It’s no wonder then that a fellow Sox fan I met at the Philly airport called him “Eric Gagme”. Now being part of the Red Sox Nation, I’m very familiar with defeat. If there is one thing we know, it’s how to take it on the chin, so I feel a bit hardened against the train wrecks this man has caused over the past two weeks. Despite this, tonight’s loss at the hands of the Angels was nothing less than a disaster. The Red Sox rallied back in the 8th to take the lead thanks to Big Poppy and Manny finally firing together like days of old. Then Gagme comes in and makes a royal mess of the entire situation. Him, combined with some of the worst calls from a home plate ump New England’s ever seen, conspired to hand the Sox a loss just when the Yanks seem to be coming out of their losing streak.

So from this NC Sox fan, I’d just like to sincerely suggest to Mr. Francona that you get back all the money you spent on this scruffy looking Nerf herder, and figure out a way to clone Papelbon before it’s too late.