Thursday, October 25, 2007

Always Late and Never Right... The World Series Preview

I know it’s late, but you probably weren’t expecting me to write anything anyway. Well here it is – CB’s World Series Preview/Review. Let’s skip ahead to the prediction. I say, with sorrow in my heart, the Red Sox win in six games. I used to like the Red Sox, they were harmless. No matter how well they were playing you could count on them blowing it at some point. No matter how cocky their fans would get all you would have to say is “Bucky Dent” or “Bill Buckner” and they would be brought back to reality. Unfortunately 2004 changed all that.

At first I was happy for them. A long suffering and loyal fan base had finally been rewarded for their years of suffering. That lasted for about 2 weeks. I was familiar with the term Masshole. In the small Florida college I attended I had encountered several of them. For some reason our school recruited heavily from that region and so for four years I listened and smirked at their harsh accent and rolled my eyes when they called mommy and daddy for more money.

Since the World Series victory in 2004 the so-called Red Sox Nation became infested with Massholes. No longer was the face of the typical Sox fan a middle aged bearded fellow with despair written across his face. Now it’s Dane Cook. They invade other stadiums with foul language still screaming NOOOOOOOMMMARRR for no particular reason. They bully and mock home town fans. It reminds me a lot of another group of fans that harassed fans in the late 90’s and early 00’s – Yankee fans.

On the field the transition was much the same. Back in ’04 the Boston club was charming. Kevin Millar was cowboying it up and Pedro was pulling one last year of magic out of his arm. Curt Schilling was the savior who decided to sign with the club after talking to fans on an internet message board. He was heralded as the Savior with a capital “S” when he pitched with blood leaking out of his ankle.

Now J.D. Drew patrols right field. Julio Lugo plays average short stop – at $9 million a year. Schilling makes the news more for running his mouth then his actions on the mound. David Ortiz hobbles around the field like a 90 year old man. Trot Nixon is gone, Johnny Damon is gone, Millar and Derrick Lowe are gone.

Manny Ramirez is still around, but there is a 75% chance he thinks he’s still playing for Cleveland. The talking heads like to glorify GM Theo Epstein’s decision not to trade Ramirez. It’s not like he didn’t try. He just couldn’t work a deal.

A team that couldn’t “afford” Damon paid $101 million for Daisuke Matsuzaka who is at best their number three starter. An argument could be made that despite their overpaid talent if it wasn’t for the emergence of some of their young players like Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroria then they might not be playing tonight.

If you just read that and thought it sounded like 7 paragraphs of sour grapes, well it was. I don’t really care. I’m sick of the Red Sox. The day after they vanquished the Indians to advance to the World Series headline story referred to them as “Destiny’s Darlings”. A few days before that plopped a Red Sox fan’s plaintive comment of “haven’t we suffered enough?” on it’s front page.

Really? You’ve suffered so much in the 3 seasons since you won a title? Go talk to some Seattle or Texas or Cubs fans about suffering. Heck even Rays fans are suffering more than Sox fans these days.

So far the media coverage has been decidedly pro Boston. The Rockies have been cast aside as a neat little story that will be crushed under the tidal wave of Red Sox love. Aren’t Tim McCarver and Joe Buck supposed to be impartial announcers. The amount of man love that they’ve spewed over the Sox so far has been indecent. Thank you Fox for the cheesy Chariots of Fire music as Schilling walked off the mound and into the dugout. Maybe you can petition Cooperstown to wave the five year waiting period and have him inducted into the Hall of Fame following this game.

People can’t seem to get used to the fact that they are in the playoffs and they won 21 of 22 because they are a good fundamental team. They keep it simple, hit the ball, throw the ball, catch the ball. Down the stretch they did it better than any other team.

Of course the long lay off between series hurt them in game one. Anyone arguing that it wouldn’t wasn’t thinking straight. Timing played an important role in their streak. Timely hitting, timely pitching and even timely roster moves were all integral in their success. Nothing disrupts timing like a long delay. It showed Wednesday night in Boston. The bats cooled off and the pitchers looked rusty. They will catch back up.

The series will change once it reaches the mile high air of Denver. While I don’t think it will be enough to overcome the Red Sox I don’t see them getting swept. The Boston fans were unbearable after winning their first title in 86 years I fear living in a world where they win two in four seasons.

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