Sox-Yanks essay: Why 'This is the Year' ... or not
It's the Red Sox and Yankees in the ALCS for the second straight season, which again has confident Sox fans saying "This is The Year."
We asked you to submit an essay on why (or why not) this is the year the Red Sox will beat the Yankees in the ALCS and win their first World Series in 86 years. We were planning on posting just a few of the entries, but we were so overwhelmed by the number and the quality of the responses that we decided to post them all. Enjoy ...
It's easy, ' 67, ' 75,' 86, '04, the numbers fill in nicely, all in 7 games. Cards in 7, at Fenway in ' 67, Gibson vs Lonborg, on short rest. Sox come up a little short. Reds in 7, in ' 75. Morgan's bloop single, off of Who ? Why was that guy pitching. What is there to say about ' 86, nothing ! Which brings us to last year, Yanks in 7 with 5 outs left, Grady develops " Brain Freeze " or maybe he was just afraid. We will never realy know, only speculate. I won't even get into ' 78. So you see, it is all set up, Sox win in the Bronx in 7, and then go on to play the Cards, and win in 7 on Halloween nigh, in Fenway. Where the " Impossible Dream" began. The perfect confluence of events, perfect storm, whatever, it doesn't matter any more. Red Sox Nation awakens on Nov. 1, World Champions, or maybe we are just getting to bed after the celebration.Gettin' ready for the " BIG Party " in Boston on the 2nd. Oh yea I forgot, there is a little thing I forgot, It is also election day ! These are the little things that set us apart from the rest of the sports world. If you are not part of it, you will never understand. I try to explain it to my fellow co-workers on the left coast, but they will " never get it ". I has truely been the " Impossible Dream ".
Vince from SF, Sox in 7
Why is This the Year? Because all reason, all experience, all history says otherwise -- and we thrive on that. We live and breath with this team, so when they tell us otherwise with their t-shirts, their chants, their replays -- we will grow even stronger. Our lives as Red Sox fans has always been the bottom of the ninth. But this year it is something different. Every play that they make and we root for has been done so as if the world hung in the balance. We've not buried the past like our highways, we've focused it and expected more because of it. And this team has given us everything we've needed. Of course, we'll hear about how Boston was founded by people who believe in the total depravity of mankind and how we should just expect to lose. Of course, it'll be simplier on their t-shirts. But the idea of total depravity has it's problems. Namely, the problem of evil. If one believes in total depravity the idea of evil then just has to be accepted as part of the way things are. Tell me this team has accepted that. 98 wins. MVP candidate. 2 Cy Young Guys. And if you told us at the beginning of the year who would be our shortstop, we would of told you he's on first. Call total depravity a solid idea if you like, but we haven't and we won't ever have to. We choose (the other option) to adhere to a more free will state of mind. One where you choose to win or lose. This team is along those lines and it gives us an edge, we have an advantage: faith. The thing yet hoped for. And that is why this is the year. This team has faith. Red Sox Nation has faith. And it is the opposite of reason. This series is a battle between faith and reason -- something history has never solved. This is what it has come to. So tell them we're coming... and put it on a t-shirt.
Aaron, Red Sox in six
Yank's have ZERO pitching beyond Mussina. Only game Sox lose is a wild shootout in Game 4 w/ poor Wakes on 2 weeks rest
Jon, Red Sox in 5
still under 100 yr curse for $elling george herman "Babe" ruth! started the longest losing years 1919. player's have it in back of mind. luck not on their side, unless it's bad. too good players in empire state, someone will always come up. a-rod indication of bad luck. now "schill" hurt, pedro bows to his "daddy". others unquestionably hurt but won't admit. WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR. LOOKING FORWARDM, THO TO 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF FENWAY PARK!!!!!
bob, civil war winners
This has to be the year. If you look at last year, we limped into the series and we were still five outs from winning. Specifically, dont' forget that Johnny Damon was basically a non factor in that series after being knocked out in the Oakland series and Nomar except for Game 6 was a nonfactor. However, the biggest and most obvious reason is the better starting pitching. With apologizies to Pedro, we had no one like Schilling last year and we definitely did not have the rotation set up the way we do this year. I alos think right now Arroyo is pitching better than Lowe was at this time year and the Yankees have trouble with Wakefield. The Yankees rotation on the other hand is a lot weaker than last year when they had battle tested vetrans who took the ball every day and the Red sox had not brokne through on Mariano they way they have this year. SO this is the year. Then again did'nt we say that l;ast year
mike, red sox in five
The last time the Red Sox were in the World Series it was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, not the actual age itself. In other words, we were almost there and the Sox were almost champions but it wasn't to be. Now that the stars are truly aligned, the "conditions" are right for a series win. But of course, we need more than mere conditions to pull this off. We need enough talent, heart , preparation and strategy to take advantage of the prime conditions. Theo has proven to be quite a strategist, perhaps as good as they come and judging from the way Francona made his pitching moves in the ALDS, he was fully prepared and all conceivable strategies had been discussed. We know this team has heart, not just from the nightly hugging that takes place in their dugout, but from the mission they all seem destined to accomplish. Curt Schilling said it best. "This is why I came here!" If this team was accused of playing heartless ball during June and July, they certainly showed their heart during August and September. And then there is the talent. Last year's batting champion hitting 9th is a good indicator. The shoulders on which this team is carried, those belonging to Ramirez and Ortiz, offer another telling story. More than 80 HR and 270 RBI between them. Damon, as one of the most productive leadoff hitters in the game drives this offense and a defense that has jelled with Cabrera and Mientkewicz makes this the most comlete Red Sox team in our lifetimes. But let's not forget the pitching - a starting staff who all racked up double digit wins anchored by the solid seasons from Pedro and Schilling. Having a dependable closer was a great "relief" and the setup guys are among the best - especially in the post season. Are there any weaknesses? Sure. But every team has weaknesses. In the case of the 2004 Red Sox, they have one of the deepest benches in memory - Mienkewicz and Reese pack their Gold Gloves, Kapler and Roberts their speed and defense, Youkilis brings his ability to get on base, drive in runs and play steady 3rd base and Mirabelli can be counted on for important contributions whenever he plays. Can this team lose? Sure. But they've committed to winning it all - as a team - this year. You can count on it. Sox over Yankees in 7. Sox over the NL Team in 5.
Dave, Sox in 7
The Yankees are vulnerable and the Sox are on a roll, but that is far too simplistic. Many of us hoped that the Twins could just force that game 5 and force the Yankees to have to "burn" Mussina in that game leaving John Lieber to open the ALCS. No such luck. The Patriots could never beat Denver in Denver, but alas they did , and a true championship team was formed. Position by position the Red Sox can hold their own with the Yankees. With Jason Giambi out of the lineup the Yankees have to start Ruben Sierra, taking a valuable bat off the bench. I'd rather face Giambi than Sierra right now, but it takes one late inning weapon away from Torre. Paul Quantrill's recent lapse shortens Torre's bullpen making him stretch Gordon into the seventh inning. You still don't want to trail the Yankees after the sixth, but if the games are close Gordon and Rivera will be pitching many innings. The more you see a "one inning" guy the better your chances. The pivotal game for the sox is Game 2. I'll take my chances with Shilling vs. Mussina in Game 1, but if the Yankees win, our "daddy" is on the mound in Game 2 for a must win in Yankee Stadium. I think both Pedro and Shilling will pitch well, but starters don't always get the decisions in these games so we'll take a split to Fenway. If we win two.....................away we go. The "X" Factor is Bronson Arroyo. A solid 62/3 in game 3 and we can light up Kevin Brown and lets see what Tanyon Sturtze has when it really gets tough.. The knuckler always scares me when it's all on the line, I love Wakefields toughness, but I'll give game 4 to the Yanks. Game 5 MUST WIN. Give Schilling the W. Sox up 3-2 going back to the Stadium. Can Pedro beat the Yankees twice in the stadium in the same series. That's a lot to ask. Pedro pitches a solid 6 but the bullpen has a smalll leak late and the Yanks send it to Game 7. Not again. I'd love to stay away from 'deja vous all over again", but Arroyo keeps it close and Francona somehow manges to avoid a "Grady moment" . Key outs are recorded by Wakefield in relief along with a batter or two by Schilling if needed. This time we get it done. Wild cards to my theory. Dale Sveum brings back more memories of Wendall Kim. We really coulda used a September trade for a 3b coach. Francona IS scary. He could blow any game with a Grady moment. Pray he can hold it together. Finally the Latin connection. Is it a mystery to anyone tha this team has come together around a core goup of Latin players. Ortiz, Ramirez, Cabrera, bring spirit to the ballpark every day. When added to the original "Dirt Dogs" of Varitek and Nixon they create an interesting chemical equation. At some point in this series Nixon is going to be up when it's needed and launch one to salvage what for him was a lost season. A little pitching some strong defense and be prepared to overcome some obstacle that will inevitably appear. It can be done.
Joe, Red Sox in 7
We've got Mahow!
Greg, Sox in six
There really is a baseball god. And if there are ghosts in Yankee Stadium, they are planning on doing a Nomar: a no show; riding the pine in this series! Just think if the Yankees were to win, the Catholic Church might have to get involved with some type of an "Exorcism". That wouldn't be pretty. Francona left Ortiz in and didn't pinch run for him, that means he's learned his lesson from the past. There is nothing more dangerous than a manager who actually learns from his mistakes!! Pedro has a lot to prove and he is VERY well rested. Thank you, baseball gods. Schill is well rested for game 1, although he may be hurting, he should be fine for game 1. and he is lights out at fenway, game 5 is the last game the Yankees play this year. The sox have waited for this since last year, game 7. I wouldn't want to be in there way right now. The Twins lost, the Red Sox won their respective series. The Red Sox will not give up a lead this year. It just won't happen. Look for a sweep in New York with the Sox losing either game 3 or 4, but winning game 5.
Jeff, Sox in 5
The Red Sox are a better ball club this year than they wer last year and the Yankees are not as good as they wer las year. Even adding A-Rod dosent realy add much don't forfet about who they gave uo to get him look a Soriano is almost the same threat with the bat not that much of a trade off. The Yankees Starting pitching isent even close to what they wer last year there bulpen is not good and now with closer Rivera off on family problems gone for at least a couple days dosen't help. The Red Sox starting pitchin is verry good although Pedro struggled against the Yanks last time that whole "daddy" thing was B.S. Pedro can bring his game when all the chips are on the table. Schilling well what can you say he is great espicaly in big games and Bronson Arroyo has great stuff his curve ball is as good as any ones. Last year the Sox didn't have a closeing pitcher now with Keith Folk as the anchor shores up an already strong bullpen Timmlen besides that grand slam by Vlad and the Angeles has been money in the playoffs and Embry aint so bad himself. The Red Sox have a much looser club house and thoes guys all love each other as well as the team the city and the fans how many mor teams react to the fans pointing in the croud givin a fan high five after a game not the Yanks. The sox are a bench of teammates the Yanks are a bunch of millionare ball players.So in all pitching+ team additude+ good hitting beat high paid slugging. I say Sox in 5 I'll be suprised to see 6
Cory, Sox in 5