Thursday, October 28, 2004

1918 2004

Now what? After winning eight straight post-season games, the Red Sox have exorcised a lifetime of demons in just over a week. And it was almost as if the Cardinals knew as much and were kind enough to play along.

I'm the first to admit that way back in June, the world series seemed about as likely as Mariano Rivera blowing two consecutive saves in the ALCS. Lucky for me, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about -- and this time it's a good thing.

But seriously, what am I supposed to do with myself? Well for starters, I don't have to spend this offseason reliving countless "what-if" scenarios that would have ended in a Red Sox World Series victory (thanks to TiVo, I can just watch game four...again, and again, and again...). I mean really, I couldn't have dreamt up the 2004 post-season if I was locked in a room with Courtney Love and a lot of drugs.

In fact, this will be the first time ever that I can actually enjoy the offseason without having had to pull for whoever played the Yankees in the playoffs. And I'm sure the Evil Empire will waste little time shoring up a woeful pitching staff (Carl Pavano), replacing some aged position players (Carlos Beltran), and doing whatever else they deem necessary to adequately reload for the 2005 season. But right now, I couldn't care less, because for the first time in 86 years, the Sox are World Series champs and the Yankees are only two years into the curse of A-Rod.

Here are some random thoughts from the last Sox game of 2004. Finally.

...Good thing Bud Selig made that goofy rule about the winner of the All-Star game getting home field advantage in the World Series. Actually, I don't know if it even would have mattered for the Sox, but what I find particularly amusing is that for the first time in what feels like 57 years, Joe Torre won't be the American League manager with 2/3 of the Yankee's roster in tow.

...Did this series feel like an interleague game played in June? Given that the Sox made the most improbable comeback imaginable in the ALCS, I guess a letdown was inevitable. Of course, I thought it would be the Sox, not the Cards who had the letdown.

...What's up with Tony LaRussa and those sunglasses? Are the lights brighter in the Cardinals dugout than anywhere else on the field? From now on, I'm calling LaRussa "Hollywood." I especially liked it when LaRussa Hollywood put his sunglasses in his shirt between innings or when he argued balls and strikes with the umpire.

...Fox didn't do Varitek any favors by replaying his little league world series appearance. They showed him grounding out on a swinging bunt, making an error at shortstop, and Joe Buck was kind enough to remind everyone that Varitek made the last out of the game. I guess the good news is that Varitek doesn't play shortstop anymore.

...Coming into this series, I was convinced that LaRussa Hollywood would have no problem outcoaching Francona. I don't watch a lot (OK, almost none) of NL baseball, but I got the impression that Hollywood knew what he was doing (sunglasses exlcuded). All of this is a longwinded way of asking: does it make sense to bunt Larry Walker in the first inning down only one run? Or how about this: why pinch hit Luna for Womack in the bottom of the eighth down three with a runner on second?

...In between the camera showing Pedro acting like a preteen that just won tickets to a Ashlee Simpson Zack Attack concert (you know, all the jumping around and arm waving), it was good to see Ellis Burks finally getting a chance to be a part of this.

...Did Derek Lowe get abducted by aliens? His game four performance in the world series picks up right where he left off in game seven of the ALCS. I said this after game seven, but this would easily be the two gutsiest pitching performances in Red Sox history if not for some guy named Schilling. Either way, if you told 100 people in August that Lowe would have to start the two most important postseason games in 86 years, you'd probably hear a collective groan usually reserved for Brittany Spears movies and Kevin Millar dance videos.

...This might be the dumbest thing I've said in at least four minutes, but if I was Theo and could only sign one pitcher, right now I'd take Lowe over Pedro.

...My buddy Des mentioned to me yesterday that the Sox have swung and missed something like 11 times through three World Series games. That's mind-boggling -- especially when you consider that Bellhorn plays on this team. My buddy Doug, the cheapest guy on earth, called me before game four from his house -- that has a working phone -- on his cellphone because he wanted to save 10 cents to ask me to be sure and TiVo the game for him because he had to work. Or at least that's what I thought he said, because it sounded like he was in a wind tunnel and I could only make out every third word. I'm thinking about taking up a "Dougie Phone Collection," to ensure this nonsense doesn't happen to other people.

...What was Martian Manny doing in the top of the 4th inning when he and Molina started jawing at each other? And then, after seeing Molina visibly agitated, Manny apologized -- What the hell could that discussion have been about?

...If the season were starting today, Damon might hit 40 homers.

...I love how Kaplan, in to pinch-run for Trot in the 8th, donkey punches him in the head as he misfires on the high-five. Nice.

...Thank God for Keith Foulke. This guy is nails. What a difference 10 days can make. Good, good stuff.

If you're dying to relive the postseason, knock yourself out (this time there's a happy ending):

Your Bad
I looked at Millar...

Mental note
I blame Bellhorn
That was close
The house that Papi built
Keep hope alive
1986 2004

World Series
Thanks, beautiful
1918 2004