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 ...
WHY THE RED SOX WILL WIN THE WORLD SERIES It was SO simple and it was there all the time. It wasn’t a Dan Shaunessy-created curse or any voodoo activities. It was more obvious than we all thought. This year, for the 1st time in franchise history, the Sox sold out EVERY home game. Every single seat and standing zone was filled. Now it won’t lift any curse in and of itself, but for a fan base that has been suffering so long, perhaps it just took selling out Fenway for an entire season for the baseball powers that be to acknowledge it. What this means (bear with me, and take a little leap of faith if you will) is now that the maximum amount of Sox fans witnessed it, this will be the year. Every possible seat that could have housed a fan, did so this year. Call it karmic response, poetic justice, whatever, but when the Sox take it all this year it will be in no small part to the fact that the maximum amount of Sox fans were able to enjoy the glorious ride, the whole ride. That coupled with the hunger this team has showed through all adversity this season will carry us through to the biggest party this town has ever seen. Time to get together, have some fun and enjoy our ride to glory! http://www.thisistheyear.com
Matt, Sox in 5
One thing we have learned from recent history, is that defense and pitching wins championships. Despite any stupid talk of a "curse" or a mental block agains the Yanks, we quite simply have MUCH better pitching and defense than the Yankees this year, and that is why we are going to beat them in six games this year. If you look at the starting matchups for this ALCS series, you have to give the Sox the edge in every single matchup: (1) Schilling is Schilling, and while Mussina is a force against the Sox and the Yanks best chance at a win, Schilling is so clutch in the playoffs, and the offense always seems to light up with our #1 horse on the mound. Schilling will not let them lose this game. (2) Now, everyone is so concerned about Pedro Martinez and how the Yanks have his number. These same people were also worried about Pedro's velocity in Spring training (he's now throwing 90's consistently), and were petrified he was going to crumble last week in the Divisional series (of course he was the Pedro of old to prove everyone wrong again). He's pitching against Jon Lieber! Anyone who would give the Yanks the edge in this game because they are Pedro's "daddy" are crazy-- and should watch the game with Nomar and Mia. Pedro will zip one under Sheffields chin early, send a message, and give up 1ER and 4 hits. (3) On paper Kevin Brown would seemingly have the edge over Bronson Arroyo, considering he is one of the best pitchers of this era and Arroyo is still getting his feet wet. Although he has pitched well lately, after idiotically breaking his hand the Sox absolutely shelled him, while Bronson has been lights out lately. Bronson showed last week that he is more than up for the challenge, and he has no fear pitching against the Yanks. (4) Wakefield vs. Vazquez is a no brainer-- the most underrated pitcher in baseball, Wakefield was so clutch last year in the playoffs against the Yanks he has all the confidence in the world against them. Wakefield is cut from the same cloth as Schilling, a gamer who refuses to lose. This time of year, as it gets cold, that knuckler moves faster than an angry Zimmer chasing Pedro. Plus, we own Vazquez as has the whole league this year. Last year the Yanks had Clemens, Wells, and Pettite in addition to the Moose. We had choke artists like Byung Yun Kim coming out of our bullpen, and we still lost in 7 in a series we had in the bank. While the Yanks have lost their big name pitchers, we have gained in Schilling in Foulke, and we have more confidence than any other team against Rivera after beating him twice. Lastly, this is a new team mentally. While all of Red Sox nation watched Guerrero knock out that grand slam, you could envision articles by Dan Shaugnessy about the Guerrero homerun that ruined the Sox this year, going down in history like the Boone homerun and every other stupid homerun that happened 30+ years ago that people like Manny and Ortiz have no clue about. Everyone thought that was a loss, based on painful experiences from the past. Guess what?? These guys don't care about history, they got themselves together and won, and no one will ever remember that Guerrero homerun. Say good night Yankees fans, time for the Red Sox dynasty.
Dennis, Red Sox in 6
I remember the first time I fell in love with a passion that only a wide eyed eight year old can have. It was the impossible dream of 1967 when Rico Petrocelli caught the pop-up against Minnesota for the final out that gave the Red Sox the American League Pennant. From that point on, this thirty-seven year relationship, with all of it's ups and downs, has endured with the same hopes and dreams I remember as an eight year old. With all that said, and after watching years and years of essembled teams that come up short, this is why I think this is one of the best Red Sox teams ever, and the team that has the best chance to parade in city hall; (Dear Mrs. Martin, Quinn, my eleven year old son, will not be in school this morning, but I can assure you he will be experiencing the history class of a lifetime.) After being assorbed with the Sunday paper for years with home runs, runs batted in, batting average, wins, saves, and earned run average, I started watching the game with a different prespective of the intangibles that can really equate to champions; getting on base, having batting patience that not only increases your chances to get on base, but also drives up the other team's pitch count, which could get you by a good pitcher and get you to a weaker bullpen. Having two number one starters at the front of the rotation that, if set up right in post season, can get you the four wins you need in a seven game series. Having a fearless bullpen that can close out the games the big guns have taken you to; and the last three things are the missing links that past Red Sox teams have never had, and something that won't show up in the Sunday sports section,... making the great plays on the field, having the depth to actually manage a game the way you should be able to, and having the unflappable attitude that true winners have.(think Tom Brady and, I know this su...uh... stinks and is hard to swallow, Derek Jeter) Baseball does not have to be an individual sport, a well prepared staff can use all of the players to get the ultimate goal accomlished, and the elusive ring will be that much sweeter to wear on behalf of a region that, through thick and thin, will nerver turn her back on a relationship built on faith, hope, and trust. I think the 2004 Boston Red Sox have everything mentioned above and that is why my son will be absent from his fifth grade class for the very first time this year the day after win number eight. ... 1918...2004...infinity and beyond.
I have said from the beginning of the year the sox would prevail for the following reasons and predictions: 1) The Red Sox are built for the world series whether it's a long series or short series we were structured for it. 2) Nomar was not the Nomar of old - he could not handle the pressure of Boston, maybe he expects too much of himself , either way his 2003 post season contribution was sub par and it was a good move to try to trade him in the off season beacause it woke everyone up that we were serious about winning, something I don't know has ever previousy sunk in. 3) I told family and friends that Brown & Leiber would be injured by the All Star break and that Mussina could not carry the load. My failure was I said Lieber would be out for the season, but I still stand by the fact that Theo did a great job building a World Series Championship team. 4) Mussina did a great job against the Twins but now he must face a much more powerful lineup as well as face the reality that against the Red Sox he is an average pitcher. 5) Bronson is our Jewel in the rough. NO team is deeper that the SOX from pitching to batting. "SEE YOU GAME 4"
Pete, Red Sox in 5
The Yankees will win in 7 games and i will tell you why. 1-Marino Rivera is the best post season pitcher in the history of baseball. Boston fans can dream that they have "figured" out Rivera but must i need to remine you that Rivera threw three scorless innings in game seven of last years ALCS. Even though Boston has Foulke ( who has been a good addition) he is by no means the great Marino Rivera. If it came down to it the Yankees could score off Foulke. 2-The Yankees rotaion is better than most teams give them credit. Mussina is well, Mussina enough said. Liber will give the Yankees a good 6-7 innings and may give up a run or two, but with this line up we will gladly sign up for that. Even though Brown got smacked around in Fenway not to long ago, Brown is a gamer and in a big game he'll come through. 3-The Yankees don't fear Pedro Martinez at all, none. Although Pedre is still a pretty good pitcher, he is not what he used to be. 4-I know Curt Schilling beat the Yankees in 2001 World Series, but this years line up is 1000 times better than the team he beat three years ago. In the 2001 season, Schillig had one ot the best seasons in history, all though he's been very, very good this year not as dminat as 2001. Yankees in 7, of a walk off home run by who else, but A-Rod.
Fatri, Yankees in 7
Living in Manhattan when you're a Boston fan can be tough. You ride the subway with thousands of diehard Yankee fans, yet once in a while you notice someone else wearing a Boston hat, and you give each other a quick nod, knowing you share a bond that few people in New York City are willing to admit. The reason the Red Sox will win the world series has to do with politics. God will be smiling on the Bay State this fall. The Sox will win the series in game 7 on October 31st. On November 1st there will be a victory parade through downtown Boston. And on November 2nd, the good will of the nation will flow into election booths as John Kerry is elected the next President of the United States. And days after Kerry is sworn in, Francona, Damon, Ortiz and the rest of the crew will join the new President for an enormous celebration on the South Lawn of the White House.
Mike, Boston in Seven
The Red Sox will win the Series in 5 games and here’s why: Pitching and Defense wins Championships. Everyone know this, it just took a while for Sox management to realize this. (Jose Canseco?) Think about this, last year the Red Sox had an amazing year offensively and broke many records, but they still came up short of even just making it to the World Series. So this year, they acquired themselves another ace in Schilling to go with Pedro, and then, they signed a bona fide closer in Foulke. That took care of the pitching. Management thought that just might do it, but as the season progressed, the lack of defense became a glaring problem! Easy enough to fix! Just trade your franchise shortstop, who by the way was a huge fan favorite, for a Gold Glove shortstop and a Gold Glove first baseman!! Defensive shortcomings solved! Think of all the years that the Red Sox were always mashing the ball, home run after home run, double after double, single after single (Hello Wade Boggs). They usually only had one great pitcher (Pedro up until now, Roger, Tiant, ect), average to below average defense, and an offense that found itself shut down by a good pitcher when it mattered most. Leading the lead in most offensive stats, also usually meant leading the lead in most fan’s hearts broken! But, this is where it all ends! The Sox pitching staff, for the first time in a while, is better then the Evil Empires! Other then possibly Mussina, who would you take on the Yankees? Brown? Forget it! He should up his dosage of Centrum Silver! Maybe that will help with his brittle bones. The Sox should come out bunting against him in the hopes that he may slip on the mound and bust a hip! Lieber? Nah, too inconsistent. Even though he has done okay against the Sox in his last two starts, let’s see how he does under extreme playoff pressure! Hernandez? Good Lord! He reminds me of one of those Little League kids! You know, the one that the coach says is 12, but in reality, he’s been driving himself to his games!! What is Hernandez? Like 42? You know how the Yankees have said he’s not pitching because he has a “tired arm”, not so, he just can no longer do that high leg kick anymore. Hey, it happens. That leaves Vasquez. Enough said there! If they pitch him at Fenway on Saturday, he’ll have that “Calvin Shiraldi” look in his eyes when he throws his first pitch! You know that look! The “Anywhere but here” gaze! I’ll take our rotation thank you! And on defense, the game that Lofton let the pop fly drop in for a hit is all you need to know about this version of the Yankees. Although I will give props to that play Jeter make running full speed into the stands to catch a foul ball that was and still is, an amazing grab. So basically this is how the games will go down: Game One: Schilling vs. The Goose, err Moose Red Sox 5-2, Schilling goes 7 and 2/3 with Foulke getting the save. 2 run home run by Manny and a solo by Trot in the 7th for some breathing room! A brawl breaks out in the 8th inning when Lofton attempts another elbow on Mientkiewicz, but this time he's ready for it and dislocates Lofton's left shoulder. Game Two: Pedro vs. Lieber Red Sox 4-3, Pedro gives up 3 in 7 good innings, in line for the loss, but Bellhorn walks on a 3-2 pitch with 2 outs in the ninth (after stiking out the first 4 times at bat) and Manny wins it with a 2 run homer off Rivera. The Yankees fans actually start chanting Yankees S--k!! Game Three: Arroyo vs. Brown Red Sox 11-2, Arroyo dazzles the Yankees going 8 innings and giving up one run, on 3 hits, with 10 k’s. Brown lasts into the fifth, then is knocked out of the game and proceeds to break his pitching hand punching a Don Zimmer poster in the Yankees locker room! Game Four: Wakefield vs. Vasquez Yankess 5-4, Wakefield pitches for redemption and is in line for the victory, going 7 innings and only giving up 1 run on 4 hits. But the sweep is not to be as the bullpen blows this one. In the post game interview, Steinbrenner goes on about how the pressure is all on the Sox now. Everything is going acording to his plan! He has forseen it! Game Five: Schilling vs. The Caboose, err Moose Red Sox 7-0, Schilling does his own version of the Cedric Maxwell “get on my back” speech and he does not let the team down! Going 8 innings, 0 runs, scattering 5 hits and 13 k’s!! Schilling is named MVP of the series. During yet another champagne celebration, a jubilant Pedro Martinez exclaims: “This is why we got this guy! Call HIM my Daddy!!” So there you have it, and really, after finally knocking off the Yankees, is there really even a need to have a World Series?? I mean, it’s kind of almost anti-climatic now! Oh well, if they must, they must! Bring on the Cardinals!!
Erik, Sox in 5 games
The problem with asking why this is the year for the Sox lies in semantics. It shouldn’t be a question of “is this the year?” It should be “why shouldn’t this be the year?” “Why not us” is the rallying cry these Red Sox take into the ALCS and, while it may lack the potential marketing promotion glitz of last year’s “Cowboy up”, it does have a good beat and you can dance to it. Besides all that, it shows that this team enters in the right frame of mind. If you ask “Why us?” then you’re unsure—and going into a series with thüâ· à Q
Will, Sox in five
Why the Red Sox in 4? Because I am disturbingly (and blissfully) disconnected from both my social environment and sports history. düâ· à Q
Erin, Red Sox sweep
When the leaves begin change in New England, so to do the fortunes of the Red Sox. For the worse. But not this year and I will explain why. First let me discuss the "curse". Some interesting numbers are telling me that the late, great Bambino is telling us his "curse" is over. This year marks 86 years since the Sox last won a World Series. Coincidentally '86 was the year of the worst World Series disaster in the team's history. On the 2nd to last day of the season this year, the Red Sox swept a doubleheader from the Orioles by identical 7-5 scores. The Sox appearance in a World Series prior to the '86 disaster was, you guessed it, '75. Even the Patriots are chipping in. Today setting a record for consecutive wins at 19 breaking the old mark of 18. 19 new, 18 old. 1918. get it ? Add to this the fact that Nomar was the greatest Sox player dumped since, well, the Bambino himself and you can see where I am going. Do you really think it's coincidence that the Cubs folded like a set of clean towels once Nomar was shipped to the windy city ? While all this "curse" talk is fun and interesting to dissect, the real reasons lie in the fact that the Red Sox are simply a better team. The Yankees starting pitching has gone from Clemens, Petite, Mussina and Wells to a foursome that might have trouble striking fear into the hearts of the Pawtucket Red Sox. According to Pedro the Yankees are his "daddy". In the post season he will become their problem child. ESPN and FOX can post Mariano Rivera's past post season statistics all they want, but it does not change the fact that Rivera is no longer invincible. And the Yankees middle relief can be downright offensive. The additions of Schilling and Foulke spell doom for the Bronx bombers. By winning the A-Rod sweepstakes they allowed us to keep MVP candidate Manny Ramirez, thus shooting themselves in the foot. Johnny Damon is the best leadoff hitter in baseball. Trot Nixon is back and healthy and ready resume his role as certified Yankee killer. What needs to be said about David Ortiz ? If he were still a Twin the Yankees would already be cleaning out their lockers. Bill Mueller is hitting again, Orlando Cabrera can actually field ground balls and throw them accurately to first base. Mark Bellhorn has become a plug in for Todd Walker. Kevin Millar apparently loves hitting home runs against the Yankees and Jason Varitek might be the best all around catcher in the game. Add to this a talented and versatile bench and the Red Sox can play small ball, wall ball and long ball. Some people would tell me that if I really believe all this they have a bridge in Brooklyn they would like to sell me. This year the bridge gets sold.
Gary, Red Sox in 6 games