Amazing – the Red Sox have won the World Series again!
It seems like only yesterday that they won for the first time in my lifetime. They went into a rebuilding phase after that, so I didn’t imagine they’d win it all again so soon, yet here they are on top of the heap once more!
Heading into the playoffs I thought either the Red Sox or Indians would go to the World Series, and probably steamroller the NL champion, and I was right as the Sox swept the Rockies, winning two blowouts and two one-run games. Mike Lowell won the MVP award, although there was plenty of credit to go around: Nearly every Sox hitter had a great Series, and some were simply insanely great.
Truth to tell, it was a pretty boring postseason: Only 5 of 7 series were sweeps, and only 1 went the distance, as the Sox overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Indians in the ALCS in what was a pretty good series, but the Indians’ pitching collapsed in the last three games.
What really made the Sox’ team click this month? Well, I think the Sox managed to rest their tired and injured players in September and fielded a healthy team which was hitting on all cylinders in the playoffs: David Ortiz’ bad knee didn’t hinder him, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima got some rest and were good enough to help (Okajima faded in the Series, though), and even Jon Lester pitched a great game tonight in the clincher. With a strong pitching staff and an overpowering offense, only Cleveland really had a team which could stand up to them.
So I guess the Sox are now the new Evil Empire, having won more championships in this century than any other team (a mark they also held in the 20th century until 1937 when the Yankees passed them). And despite Curt Schilling and Mike Lowell heading to free agency, they still seem well-positioned to contend for several more years, with plenty of young talent on the roster. And they have the financial resources to take big risks on big free agents without compromising the core of the team – a luxury few other teams can afford.
So it’s a nifty end to a nifty season. It feels a little anticlimactic because the Sox have been a leading contender since April, and only the Yankees’ late-season run at the division title and the ALCS really added much drama. Still, it’s nice to come out and win as favorites rather than as long-suffering underdogs. It made this a championship to enjoy rather than claw our eyes out in anticipation (as 2004 was at times).
Looking forward to next year!