Last year, the Evil Empire made three key acquisitions that led to you-know-what. C.C. Sabathia, A. J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira were the critical “X” factors that improved New York enough to make a serious run at a title.
In 2010, the Red Sox will need to make a similar splash in the off-season to have a chance to claim their third championship of the “aughts” and become the predominant team of the decade. It appears from early signs that Theo Epstein is willing to spend up to the luxury tax limit ($170 million) to beat back the Pinstripe Posers in the Bronx.
The 2010 Boston Troika may be just as impressive as the Empire’s. Let’s start withAdrian Gonzalez–the power-hitting young first-baseman from San Diego. Add in Jason Bay and/orMatt Holliday in left. Since King Felix seems ensconced in Seattle, how about Roy Halladay–the perennial Cy Young contender from Toronto? (As a side note, let’s hope it’s Bay in left field–I can only imagine Boston fans trying to correctly pronounce and spell both Halladay and Holliday–yikes!).
This bold approach would mean that either Mike Lowell or Big Papi would need to be shipped out–either one a tough pill to swallow for fans. It would also mean moving Youk to third for good. But if we’ve learned anything, it’s that Theo is not afraid to make controversial moves. It would also mean that we’d have to live with either Jed Lowrie or a re-signed Alex Gonzalez at short–not the end of the world in the powerful line-up these moves would produce.
So, look for big changes in your Olde Towne Team–and soon.
Get ready for the multi-media barrage. From now until next October, we will all be besieged with endless retrospectives of the 27 Yankee world championships. Prepare yourself for trips down Bronx Memory Lane, dredging up everyone who ever wore pinstripes from Babe Ruth to Ross Moschitto.
It’s going to be ugly.
And there is no middle ground here, folks. Spare me the talk of the “good guys” on the current roster like Jeter and Rivera. They are insufferable, their fans are insufferable–end of story.
Keep in mind that the Red Sox (and White Sox for that matter) were able to sweep their obviously inferior National League foes. Yet, despite spending half a billion dollars on free agents, the Evil Ones were taken to six games by the likes of Ben Francisco and Carlos Ruiz. Who? And, as far as I can tell, the Phillies had one pitcher worth the title–Cliff Lee.
So as you face the slobbering media overload–just remind yourself that we have twice as many rings this century. Oh, and everybody knows the Babe really liked us better.
He’s always been outspoken. He’s sometimes been a controversial diva. But, for most Red Sox fans, Pedro Martinez will always be our diva–who for a few years was the most dominant pitcher on the planet.
Specifically, in 1999 and 2000, his numbers were downright sick. Over that span, his record was 41-10. He hurled 430.1 innings and gave up only 288 hits. Oh, and did I mention that he struck out 597 batters? More impressive, however, are his ERA stats in those two years. In 1999, he lead the league with a 2.07 mark, but in 2000 it was a ridiculous 1.74. Needless to say, he won back-to-back Cy Young awards. The 2004 World Series ring was the frosting on his Boston stay. In Game 3, he fired 7 shutout innings.
So, when he toes the rubber this evening for the Phillies, remember the great times with the Red Sox and also remember that he still considers himself a “Bostonian”–and root him to victory over the Evil Ones.
During the 2004 World Series “rolling rally”, Manny Ramirez famously held up a sign stating eloquently, “Jeter Is Playing Golf Now, This Is Better”.
Unfortunately, Yankee fans could deliver a similar jab at your vacationing Boston Red Sox today. But take heart, Sox fans, there is actually still a rooting interest out there. Not for anything, but against the Empire.
Aside from the glorious Red Sox championships in 2004 and 2007, some of my most satisfying baseball memories surround the New York Yankees losing ignominiously in the Fall Classic. Consider Luis Gonzales rapping a single off Mariano Rivera and scoring Jay Bell to win the 2001 Series. And, who could forget the contributions of current Red Sox luminaries Josh Beckett, Alex Gonzalez and Mike Lowell as they dispatched the Empire on their own field in 2003? Call it Fall Classic schadenfreude.
Ah, sweet memories. So, stoke up the old HDTV on Wednesday night and watch Cliff Lee show the world who the better ex-Indian lefty is. Let’s all watch the Pinstripe Posers lose their 14th World Series. Drink it in.
As painful as it was to watch the Bronx posers celebrate their AL East championship, we, as Red Sox fans, need to take a longer perspective. When your Yankee-loving friends make their inevitable call today, remind them of the last eight years of pinstriped futility. For the record, here is their list of stellar achievements this century:
2001–Lost World Series, 4-3
2002–Lost LDS, 3-1
2003–Lost World Series, 4-2
2004–Lost ALCS, 4-3 (relay this with particular gusto)
2005–Lost LDS, 3-2
2006–Lost LDS, 3-1
2007–Lost LDS, 3-1
2008–Missed Playoffs Entirely
And, remind them as well that the last time they garnered 100 wins (2004), things didn’t work out too well for them.
In our likely match-up in the 2009 ALCS, we will have our strongest starting rotation in years (Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Dice-K) to go up against Sabathia (who we have pummeled in the post-season before), A. J. Burnett (who could not be more inconsistent), Andy Pettitte (who will need Geritol along with his HGH) and Joba (who can’t go past 4 innings). And, of course, A-Rod is sure to extend his clutch post-season numbers into another ringless year.
So, bring them on. When the games really count.
A Harris Interactive (online) Poll of 2,177 people (41% of whom “follow” MLB), shows that the Red Sox are the the second most popular MLB team-trailing only the Empire. The Sox moved up from 3rd position in last year’s ranking.
The poll also found that more people (21%) think the Red Sox will win this year’s World Series than any other team.