The Red Sox are the Champions of the Baseball World!
I'm not sure I ever believed - before early last week - that I'd ever see the day.
And I haven't been waiting nearly as long as some.
Or as my Dad wrote me after the Sox beat the Yankees, "They are fading mighty late this year."
I'm not a superstitious man. I realized this during the Sox' comeback against the Hated Yankees. I had no qualms about taunting the Yankees, tempting fate, making jokes about it. I joked that we Sox fans were just being set up for a cosmic joke. After we won Game 3, I observed that it would be humiliating to lose to the Cards after beating the Yankees in the same fashion.
Still, the little coincidences and other stories are hard to ignore. Not because they mean anything, but because they're fun:
- This is the 100th World Series. The first one was played in 1903 (the Red Sox won), and no World Series were played in 1904 or 1994.
- It's been 86 years since the Red Sox last won, in 1918. 1986 was the year of the Red Sox' most embarrassing defeat in the World Series.
- Our opponent was the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat the Sox in both the 1946 and 1967 World Series.
- Our four World Series losses since 1918 have all been 4 games to 3. This time, we swept 'em. The Cardinals had the best record in baseball this year.
- The Red Sox are the first team to overcome a 3-games-to-0 deficit in a playoff series to win it, as we did against the Yankees. The biggest choke in baseball playoff history.
- We beat the Hated Yankees in the playoffs to get to the World Series.
- Curt Schilling and his stapled-together ankle are surely one of the best pieces of baseball lore ever. I'm not a big fan of Schilling's, but no one can take away from him the commitment to excellence which he brought to the team. The guy freaking had his ankle stapled together to pitch in two Major League playoff games. Geezis!
- And, of course, there was a total lunar eclipse tonight!
I did watch the series. (I didn't watch the NLCS since I refuse to watch Yankees playoff games.)
I only saw bits of Game 1, which the Sox won 11-9. A slugfest with lots of bad pitching, and bad defense by the Sox. They prevailed by the hairs of their chins.
My friend Syd threw a party for Game 2 on Sunday. His own Houston Astros had been eliminated by the Cardinals on Thursday, but he'd mostly recovered. Curt Schilling The Amazing Patchwork Man pitched 6 strong innings and the Sox won 6-2. In the 6th, as someone was leaving, he told the crowd, "I hope whichever team you're rooting for wins, or at least that it's a good game." I said, "If this turns into a 'good game' now, I will not be happy!"
I watched most of Game 3 after I got home from work yesterday. Pedro Martinez - who turned 32 on Monday (sharing a birthday with my mother and sister) - pitched a gem through 7 innings, and the Sox won 4-1. After the game, the Cardinals seemed completely disspirited. Their pitching was weak, their hitting was terrible (only Albert Pujols and Larry Walker showed much life in the series). They didn't look like the team which won 105 regular-season games. What happened?
And I watched Game 4 tonight when I got home. The score was 3-0 when I turned it on, and it was a 3-0 final for the win.
The final out was surreal. I checked the number of outs - 2 outs. It was a groundball to the pitcher, and I was thinking, "Wait, so if he throws to first, then we win, right? That's the series? We win the World Series?"
It seemed like everyone paused when the final out was made. As if, for half a second, no one could quite believe it. (A friend of mine says the Red Sox radio announcer in Boston paused in making the call, and he and his dad were trying to guess where the ball was!)
And suddenly, there is no curse. The Sox are no longer perpetual bridesmaids, consoling themselves with their storied history and some of the greatest games ever played (like Game 6 in 1975).
The Red Sox are the champions of the baseball world.
Here's what I hope:
I hope Boston sportswriters can be less neurotic and become normal, entertaining sportswriters. The Patriots have won, the Red Sox have won, some of them should take some nice, long vacations.
The Red Sox team of 2005 will be very different from this year's team. I hope they'll be good, and have as much fun.
Most of all, I hope that the thousands of Red Sox fans around the country can finally sit back and enjoy baseball from now on. The Sox have won. And now it's just a game.
(Yeah, yeah, ask me next October if I feel the same way.)
My regionally-supported team of international free agents is better than your regionally-supported team of international free agents!
Oh, and I hope the Cubs win one soon.
Heck, let's play two!