If someone would have told me five years ago that by 2007 the Red Sox would win not one, but two World Series titles, and that Casey Affleck would play a starring role in a critically acclaimed major motion picture, directed by his brother Ben, without the help of Matt Damon, I would have called you crazy.
Well there is egg all over my face. The Sox are now the ideal that other teams, even the Yankees, strive to be and "Gone Baby Gone" is bringing in bucks and praise from movie goers and critics alike. But I'm not alone. Many pundits felt that the Rockies were poised to complete one of the greatest and most unlikely championship runs in the history of sport. Apologies to the gladiators, perhaps a man named Spartacus Maximus defeated 21 out of 22 tigers on an epic streak of gladiatorednessosity. Unfortunately, however, there are no such records of this, at least not on Wikipedia.
The Rockies, despite playing out of there mind for the better part of a month, proved to be... "Denny Green to the microphone please"... "Who we thought they were!" Yes, the Rockies would have been a third place or fourth place team without the great run in late September when they went 13-1. Lets say they played at a .553 clip, (which was their regular season winning percentage) over those final 14 games. Keep in mind those final 14 games got them to that clip, but never the less, they reasonably should have gone 8-6 over that span. But only 5 fewer wins than they finished with. That would have put them in third place, three games better than the fourth place Dodgers. Now I completely understand that is why you play the game, and that a team on paper can't beat a team on the field. But, at some point every hot black jack player busts. The Rockies had a great ride, but they were by no means a World Series caliber team.
The Red Sox on the other hand are a team built with the sound scouting of Theo Epstein, and his team of Bill James saber-metric disciples. A manger in Terry Francona who is probably as good as anybody at managing games and the personalities in it; Manny, Schilling, Foulke, Pedro. It has a group of young talent that includes the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year, Pedroia, the 2008 AL RoY, Ellsbury, Papelbon, "Yoooouuuuke", Lester, Buchholz, and Okajima. And a core of veteran stars, Many, Ortiz, Beckett, Schilling, Veritek, Lowell, Crisp, and Lugo, that most any team would give their farm system for. Yes J.D. Drew was intentionally left out, but good hit in game 6 buddy.
Boston, enjoy this moment. You have the best baseball team in the "World," the best football team in the Universe, a basketball team that is going to make some serious noise in the "LEastern" Conference, and the Affleck brothers! At least I think they're from Boston, aren't they? Well if they're not just substitute them with the BCS number two ranked BC Eagles.
While this World Series may have been short on drama, it certainly wasn't a post season with out annoyances. Here are my top 10 things I cold have done without.
10. Tim McCarver. He is not funny, not insightful, not even that completely coherent at this point in his life. Joe Buck is bad, but the cocktail of the two of them together is like buttered rum. It isn't any good, but for some reason the thought of it makes you happy and reminds you of Christmas. I guess like McCarver's wit and the postseason they unfortunately go hand in hand. I can do with out Tim McCarver.
9. Dane Cook. Did you notice how they didn't even bother to shoot any new promos once the World Series match up was announced? At least they could have dubbed in some fresh audio. I'm sure in a couple of years, we will all be doing without Dane Cook.
8. Diamondback Fans. Sorry to all my college friends whom I'm insulting now, but if you can't sell out a play-off game, you certainly don't get to boo your team in a play-off gmae. I can do without self-entitled fair weather fans.
7. Roger Clemens' Cingular Ad. Although I found it, as I'm sure most every Red Sox fan did, to be pretty funny considering it was running while his current team was losing and his former team was being crowned champs. How did that move back to New York work out for you Rocket? To quote a t-shirt I saw in Boston once, "Roger Clemens is a pile of Sh*t." You sir, I can do with out. Please, look up the definition of the word, and then retire.
6. Joe Buck. I know I touched on this earlier, but in game two he kept saying the Colorado Rockies have a "group" batting average of... I'm sorry, my dad wasn't an announcer, but I am still pretty sure that there is a more specific word, next time try using this one, team. "The Rockies have a team average," it has a nice ring to it huh? Joe Buck and his shameless endorsements I can do with out. But, I can not wait for some network to pick up the Joe Buck Show, please, someone, anyone pick it up and run it in all of its glory.
5. Applebee's Commercials. I didn't think is was possible to be even more turned off by the idea of eating at an Applebee's, but that was before I heard Wnada Sykes as a talking apple-slash-spokes fruit for the restaurant. I can do with out both Applebee's and Wanda Sykes, I'm sure I'm not alone on this one.
4. Taco Bell's Free Taco. Although it brought us a priceless exchanges between Royce Clayton and Jacoby Ellsbury, how shameless was the in-game interview with the Taco Bell Exec. with Chris Myers. "Uhh, uh, um, uh ... I don't know." Chris Myers? How does FOX, of all the networks, not realize that the American sports viewer, can do without Chris Myers. Was Pam Oliver on vacation?
3. Many Bashing. First, the "Who Cares" quote was not properly reported, then it seamed to be his fault the the umpiring crew in Cleveland couldn't do their job and call a home run when the ball landed beyond the fence, and Manny ended up with a single. Then the presumption was that once the series moved to Colorado Many would be held utterly helpless in the vast outfield. Then they kept putting up that graphic that showed how Fenway Park could fit inside of the playing field of Coors. Many bashers, I can do without. But please give me more footage of Many running the bases. He is to unintentional physical comedy what George W. Bush is to unintentional political parity.
2. The girl in Epstein's Suite. I'm sure most of you missed this, but when Fox showed the replay of Epstein's reaction after the final out was made in game seven of the ALCS, you could clearly see a younger woman with her back turned to the field, who for a good five seconds had no idea the Sox had won the pennant. Then, once she noticed that no one was paying attention to her, what I can only be sure was inane babel, she turned around and to see what possibly could of been more important. Then with the genuine spirit only matched by John Edwards' smile she started jumping up and down and clapping her hands. You, my friend, I can do with out.
1. A-Rod. If you can't beat 'em, upstage 'em? That is exactly how it came across, that Alex Rodriguez thinks of himself as bigger than the game no matter how grand a stage, or how big a moment Sunday night may have been for millions of baseball fans everywhere. Have the class to wait until Monday, at least, to announce you want more than $25 million a year. Likely this is the reason A-rod will be heading for his fourth team since 1996 and is still sans a championship ring. A-rod the person? I can do with out. A-rod the player? Sign him up now!