Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Writing is Therapeutic, Writing is Therapeutic...

So many thoughts, so many directions I could go... first, I guess I'm slowly coming to grips with the fact that we're not going to have any more meaningful baseball games to watch. The Patriots being on Monday Night Football last night sort of took the mind away from the Sox for awhile, but it certainly doesn't take long to come back does it? That's the affliction we all have. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

Yes, the 2004 and 2007 teams accomplished more, but I think I'm always going to remember the 2008 team. How can you not be proud of what these guys just did? I've said it a million times before, but name me a team that's been through the type of adversity this team had to go through this year, beginning with the ridiculous early travel schedule. I'll list 'em again. Schilling out for the year. Lugo (thankfully) out. Big Papi's wrist. Mike Lowell's hip. J.D. Drew's everything. A less-than-100% Josh Beckett at the most critical time of the year. The Manny debacle of course. When the season ended in Sunday night's Game 7 loss to the Rays, we had our regular first baseman playing third, a kid who began the year in Triple-A Pawtucket playing short, a veteran outfielder playing first, a backup who wanted to be traded playing center, a former Pittsburgh Pirate playing left and a tall, rangy kid who was in Single-A ball as recently as last year playing a pivotal role in the bullpen. Think about it. It's ludicrous. And yet this team battled back and at least made the Rays work for it. It didn't end with the result we wanted, but these guys did us proud. Youk and Pedroia should be voted co-MVP's for what they did this year.

As the players scatter, there are already decisions hanging in the air. What happens with Jason Varitek, who's been the heart and soul of this team since Dan Duquette pilfered him from the Mariners (with Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb!)? He was atrocious at the plate, but I say we try to keep him and give Kevin Cash some more playing time. I like the way that kid throws out baserunners. Mike Timlin is most likely retiring. Tim Wakefield was quoted today saying he definitely wants to come back, which he should. Just don't let him near the mound when the leaves turn. Mark Kotsay is probably going elsewhere to trade in his first baseman's mitt and be an everyday center fielder. There will be changes, as there always are.

And before we know it, Hot Stove will soon heat up and we'll be talking about rumors involving Mark Teixeira, Jake Peavy, CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe (why not?), and more. We'll eventually start thinking about next year, but not quite yet.

Some random thoughts:

- I'm having the hardest time deciding which team to root for in the World Series. I feel like the yahoo Rays' fans - it's not all, but a huge chunk - don't deserve it. I went down to St. Pete last April and went to a game, and the morons were out in full force. One guy kept running back and forth in front of our section every half-inning, verbally abusing Sox fans old and young. Another "fan" - filled to the gills before the game even started - bumped into my 65-year old father-in-law in a beer line and challenged him to a fight. Their stadium is an abomination and I hate Jonny Gomes. There are so many reasons to go Phillies.

But then I think about Philly fans. Think about the most idiotic Red Sox fan you've ever seen and multiply by 10. Famously douchey. Booed Santa Claus. Arlen Specter is probably one. Just flat out miserable all the time. The Eagles were sore losers to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Phillies starter Brett Myers was arrested for beating his wife on a Boston street corner during a Phillies-Sox series in 2006. so Philly's no prize either. And just what the hell is a Phillie anyway?

In the end, and I apologize profusely to my Tampa-Sarasota friends, I have to pull for the Phillies. I know it's petty, but I just can't stomach the thought of Rays' fans having bragging rights of any kind. That said, the logical baseball fan in me says they're gonna win. They play in a tougher, better league, and I think they have better all-around talent.

- Several reports have said the Sox will make an aggressive push for Teixeira. A key factor obviously will be the health of Mike Lowell, who reports said had 'very successful' hip surgery on Monday. I'd still rather see Youk at first.

- Two young lefty studs open up the Series tomorrow night, with Scott Kazmir going against Cole Hamels.

- How impressive was Spittin' Matt Garza on Sunday night? After he gave up the first inning bomb to Pedroia, his stuff was sick. A knee-buckling curveball wrapped around a 94-mph heater that he was painting.

- Fox may not like the ratings, but this actually has the potential to be a very good series. Two good, young teams. I'm looking forward to watching the vaunted Phillie bullpen. The last time I saw Brad Lidge in October, he was getting whiplash from watching Albert Pujols take him deeeep.

- In the no shit Sherlock department, Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee made the brilliant observation today that the Red Sox lost because their pitchers made mistakes. That right there is some astute analysis. Thanks, Rich.

- And finally, a salute to Rodney Harrison, who injured his leg in last night's game against the Broncos and is gone for the year. His career, in fact, may be over. It's that one little word - 'may' - that makes you realize how much of a warrior this guy is. He's had to rehab his way back to football after two tough knee surgeries already. Now he's got a shredded quadriceps, and even though a normal man would limp away, you just know in the back of your mind that there's a chance we'll see him again. Either way, the man deserves our utmost respect. He came in with a reputation and he's done nothing but lead and be a mentor on this team.

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