Tuesday, November 06, 2007
It's been another week of basking in the euphoria that is the Boston sports scene right now. The Red Sox won their second World Championship in four years, sweeping the overmatched Rockies. The Patriots rallied big-time last Sunday against the Colts in their epic showdown and are 9-0. The Celtics are 4-0 for the first time since the prime Bird years. The friggin' New England Revolution - that's our soccer team, for those who care - are playing for the title in a couple of weeks. It goes on and on and on. The only blemish, really, was BC's loss to Florida State last Saturday night, which knocked the Eagles from the unrealistic #2 spot in the polls.
Let's see - how best to organize some scattered thoughts? We'll go by team.
The parallels to what they did this year vs. what they did in 2004 are eerie. In each year, the ALDS (both times vs. Anaheim) was a breeze, the ALCS (Yanks, Indians) was a battle, and the World Series (Cards, Rockies) was a cakewalk. Add in the fact that they came back from 3-0 and 3-1 holes to the Yanks and Indians and it's more amazing.
Some developments since the last out in Colorado: Curt Schilling accepted an incentive-laden deal to come back for one more year, and the Sox have reportedly offered 3B Mike Lowell a 3-year deal worth between $12-15 million per year. I was surprised that they came to an agreement with Schilling, but he'll be a good value as a back of the rotation guy. As far as Lowell, I haven't heard one Sox fan say 'don't sign him.' Everyone wants him back, most importantly his teammates. The key point is the length of the deal. Here's hoping they get it done. Other player rumors/news: the Sox are willing to trade Coco Crisp so Ellsbury can take over, but will wait for the right deal. They talked very briefly with Scott Boras about A-Rod (noooooo). One other note - Kevin Youkilis won the AL Gold Glove at 1B this year. Not too bad for a converted third baseman. Youk didn't make one error in the regular season, an astounding feat considering how many times he touches the ball.
Non-Sox item: It was positively strange seeing Joe Torre wearing the Dodger blue as he was introduced as the team's new manager. Was that a fast process or what? From listening to Torre talk with Bob Costas, I think Joe's got a major chip on his shoulder. My theory is that the Yanks braintrust (Shallow Hal and Hank) somehow some way implied that Torre's skills as a manager have been greatly enhanced by the caliber of players he's been able to trot out night after night for the last decade. Will be interesting to see how hard LA goes after A-Rod.
The Pats are enjoying their bye week, sitting high atop the pile of dung that is the NFL these days. Last week's exhilirating comeback against the Colts made the Patriots 9-0, with a real chance to go undefeated and shove it up Don Shula's arse (more on that in a moment).
What was most impressive about the Colts win to me was that the Pats pulled it off in the face of some adversity. The refs were positively brutal - calling at least three questionable pass interference calls - and the noise in the Dome (genuine or artificial, take your choice) was deafening. The Pats were down 20-10 with under 9 minutes to go, and ended up winning 24-20. So cool to see Indy and their fans in stunned silence. A nice payback for last year's AFC title game, and probably ensures that the Pats are sleeping in their own beds through the postseason.
Now the talk will turn to 'Can they go undefeated?' I for one think they can. There are four games remaining that could be tests, including at Buffalo next week, at Baltimore, at home against Pittsburgh, and on the road in the finale against the Giants. Out of those four, I think the Giants game could be the toughest.
Shula got himself into a little flap this week when he said that if the Pats do go undefeated - and surpass his '72 team's accomplishment - the record should have an asterisk next to it because of the videotaping. I can't even justify that opinion with a response.
They made the decision to spend the money to be relevant again, and it looks like their investment may pay off nicely. Wednesday's game against Denver was the first time in at least 10 years that I've actually looked forward to watching a Celts game. I even made tentative plans with a buddy to get out and see them play Detroit. Imagine - going to a bar just to see the Celtics play. What a turnaround. Oh yeah, it's only been 4 games.
Idle media thought: Tom Caron + Dennis Eckersely = Sean Grande + Cedric Maxwell. The polished, articulate anchor and the goofy ex-athlete with his own unique language.