SportsProf

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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Sox Win! Sox Win! Sox Win!

They called their three-time Cy Young Award winner goofy, their star leftfielder an enigma. Their centerfielder, a young Charles Manson look alike (without the Harry Potter forehead decoration), called his teammates with great affection "a bunch of idiots." The winner of Game 4 was embattled all year, only to pitch the two most brilliant games of his life in series-deciding games. Their other ace, the master of preparation, pitched on an ankle that would have kept most executives out of their offices for a day or two. Their manager had never managed a good team before this year. And their closer has ice water in his veins.

The rest of the team was constructed out of the bricks and mortar that form the foundation of all great teams, guys with names like Millar, Mueller, Mientkiewicz, Reese, Cabrera, Varitek, Nixon, Mirabelli, Timlin, Myers, Embree, Arroyo, Wakefield, and, of course, Bellhorn. Guys who always seemed to get the hit with men in scoring position, guys who were very patient at the plate, and guys who hardly missed when they swung the bat. Pitchers who jumped into their slots and got their men out, players who overcame the heartbreak of last year and the tremendous pressure that all of New England had placed upon their beloved if frustrating Sox since 1918.

Guys with a decent sense of their team's history. Guys determined not to repeat it.

This is a team that suffered a long off-season, having to re-live countless replays of Aaron Boone's home run off Tim Wakefield in Game 7 last year. This is a team that had to endure the frustration of losing out on their attempts to acquire Alex Rodriguez from Texas and then had to deal with constant injuries to their one-time start shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra. This is a team that had to put the reigns on the statistical analysis that dominated their front office's thinking to find some better defenders in the middle of the season. This is a team whose tired pitching staff shut down the best offensive team in the National League, a team that one over 100 games in the regular season.

So now the curse is over. Productivity in New England will hit an all-time low tomorrow, and thousands of employees will be taking thousands of personal days, partying until dawn and toasting former Red Sox' heroes, from Babe Ruth, Herb Pennock and Waite Hoyt to Calvin Schiraldi and Bill Buckner, yes, even Bill Buckner, and many in between.

And after they wake up, in Bangor, Maine, Nashua, New Hampshire, Rutland, Vermont, Fall River, Scituate, Williamstown, Needham, Chatham and many, many other places, they will pinch themselves. They will run to turn on their televisions and their radios, and they'll make a dash for their morning papers. Because they'll have to have proof in some form of medium that they weren't dreaming. That what happened before midnight on October 27 was real. That the Boston Red Sox won the World Series.

In many of those towns, they'll call their family members in other states, they'll call kids they grew up with pretending to be Yaz and George Scott and Jim Lonborg, Fred Lynn, Luis Tiant and Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, and they'll talk, and talk, and talk, about every last detail. They'll talk of Damon's leadoff home run, Nixon's double, Lowe's pitching, Francona's managerial moves. And they'll do this for weeks on end.

They might not put this moment on a level with the day they got engaged, their wedding days, or the days their kids were born (unless, of course, they're still kids), but for the big kids out there this day is awfully, awfully close. And, as they did during some of those memorable moments, they'll well up and shed a tear or two of joy, the type of pure joy that most people don't experience that often in their lifetime.

Because the one thing in this country that they never thought they would see, that they doubted would happen, that previous attempts had broken their hearts, has finally happened.

The Boston Red Sox have won the World Series.

There aren't 9 words in the English language that a New Englander would rather hear.

Congratulations, Boston Red Sox, you gave us a great show.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I now live in the Philly suburbs, but I attended boarding school in western Massachusetts, and developed a love for the Sox as an alternative to my then (and now) pathetic Detroit Tigers. I remember watching games 6 and 7 on a small TV in my dorm master's apartment in '75. I even punched out a window in my college dorm room when Bucky F. Dent hit his HR in '78. And watching Billy Buckner's famous muff in '86 in my first home with a newborn son, who called me last night from college to share the Sox moment with me.

I can't possibly feel the joy and release that the New England members of Red Sox Nation feel, but as a loyal ally, I feel their reflected joy.

On a Phillies note, it was inteesting to hear both Schilling and Kruk last night. They both really dissed the ignorant Philly sports media about their view of Francona. While an easy target in hindsight, I agree that the Philly media doesn't respect any sports figure that comes across as other than in-your-face aggressive. Thus the love for Bowa.

Kruk was also hilarious in talking about Schilling's ego -- saying that Schilling wants to be recognized by everyone in Boston as the savior who brought them the championship -- that's why he wanted Boston in the first place. When Peter Gammons said that Boylstion Street had already been renamed Schilling Way, Kruk said, "Believe me, he'll take it." or something to that effect." It wasn't malicious, but it was a rare insight.

TIGOBLUE

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