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 ...
Sox will win because of schilling and defense, bottom line. If Pedro provides his usual playoff mastery, then thge extra two games of schilling beats anything the yankees can provide. Foulke and better managing decisions also a plus. Francona has shown that he can manage the big games from his moves in game 2 and 3 against the angels.
jeff nedeau, red sox
This is the year for the Red Sox because they have turned into the best team in baseball when it matters most. They are peaking at the right time. That cannot be said about Red Sox teams of past history who may have won if they played the World Series in May or June. Look at last year's World Champion, Florida Marlins. They were mediocre at best in the first half of the season. By July, however, they started playing like a team instead of a bunch of individuals. After the All Star break, they had the best record in baseball and their pitching only got stronger in post season. This year, the Red Sox had an underachieving first half of the season. Then, after July 31st, they have been on fire and are only getting better in October play. Why? Because they have been playing like a team, picking each other up when needed (ie: Timlin being picked up by Ortiz in game 3 of ALDS). Remember the days of, "25 teammates, 25 taxis," for Sox teams of the past who played as individuals. You only need to look at the '04 squad's dugout during a game to see that this team is like a family. That can mean a lot when battling for a World Championship - see 1979 Pirates. If you want to compare this year's Sox team to those in the past who have come close only to break our hearts, this year's team is different. The 2004 squad have more talent and more heart. The top two starters, Schilling and Pedro are the best Game 1 & 2 (ALCS) starters in this team's history since Clemens & Hurst. Unlike 1986, this Sox team have a solid bullpen. Do you ever remember a Red Sox team having better depth and defence? Example: Tito can call on Roberts in the late innings to pinch run, and in effect, turn a single or walk into a double or triple. This can be the best way to score against relievers like Mariano Rivera. Defensively, you only need look up the middle. Never have the Red Sox been better defensively than this year's combination of Varitek, Cabrera, Bellhorn (or Reese) and Damon. Pitching and defence win games in October. It's been repeated over and over again that this Sox team is improved over last year's team that came within 5 outs of winning the pennant. The addition of Schilling and Foulke alone make this true. Don't forget the fact that Cabrera, Mientkiewicz, Roberts and Bellhorn all add to the depth and defence, improving this year's team. No more of this "curse" nonsense. The 2004 Red Sox are the best team in baseball and they know it. All that needs to be done is execution. After knocking the Yankees out in six, the Sox will avenge past losses of 1946 & 1967 to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals. This time, it will be the Boston Red Sox winning game 7 of the World Series to bring it home.
Andrew, Sox in 6
the yanks have the curse of the bambino and i think the curse of a-rod is going to begin against the yanks!!!! curt schilling has set a true example of what leadership is and how to leave everything on the field...pedro will pitch good enough to give the sox a chance to outscore the yanks and arroyo is the man who could make the difference...watch for bill mueller to come up huge in this series....manny is the mvp ... he and ortiz will put much fear into the yankee staff and the rest of the crew will capitalize on that fear!!!! go sox and lets keep this crew together for at least a couple more years!!!!
mark, boston 4-3
Donít look for an apology here. Iím a Yankees fan. I was born in New York State and have lived here all my life. Yanks games are on TV where I live and Sox games arenít. Itís that simple. You wonít get an apology for my affiliation, but you will get my best wishes for the ALCS and my prediction that the Boston Red Sox will beat the Yanks in seven games. ďIs she pulling our legĒ, you ask? ďNopeĒ, I reply, and I mean it deep in my heart. I am so tired of the whining that accompanies all things Red Sox that Iíd do practically anything to make it go away, including hoping against my own team. Not only is the noise of Bostonís angst deafening, but it precludes most Sox fans from having any rational discussion whatsoever about the great sport of baseball. Not that Sox fans donít have a right to whine. You love your ballclub and you want it to grab the brass ring once every three or four generations. I canít blame you for that. Itís just that itís so completely, well, BORING to hear you fret and brood year after year. The Cubs havenít won a World Series in a few years, either. So what makes the angst and whining of Sox fans so much more disagreeable than a Chicagoan bemoaning the Cubís bad luck? Itís the narcissism. The feeling of entitlement. The sense that because Boston has historic significance, or because the Splendid Splinter was the greatest pure hitter of all time, or perhaps because the Eastern liberal intelligentsia has claimed the city as their very own Ė that Boston should have a pennant coming its way every so often. Boston is self-absorbed. Everybody has seen that joke map of the east coast of the U.S. with Boston blown up to about a thousand times its rightful size Ė ďA Bostonianís Map of the U.S.Ē, I think itís called. Everybody gets the joke, which should tell you something. Maybe you have a right to be self-absorbed. After all, it wasnít the Orlando Tea Party. Paul Revere didnít climb to the tower of the Old North Church in Las Vegas. You may amongst yourselves about that one. All Iím suggesting is that Bostonians think the sun not only rises but also sets in their city. (Note to City Planners Ė thereís a new invention you might want to try out. Itís called the two-way street.) It just galls you that you haven't won a World Series in the greatest sport -- not to mention the national pastime -- since the year Ted Williams was born. So, make it so without further delay. This is your year. The Sox have an awesome team with all the right tools and great ďchemistry.Ē The Yanks canít stop you Ė you can only stop yourselves. Give me and millions of baseball fans a far better reason to dislike you than because you bore us with your incessant whining. Let me be annoyed with you because the Parade of Champions is in your fair city this year instead of on Manhattan island. Trust me on this one: it would be a pleasure! Good luck. Sox in Seven.
Alice, Sox in Seven
So the nation got what it wanted. The Yankees v Red Sox in the ALCS. The doom mongers amongst us have no doubt already pencilled in game 7 to go to extra innings with A-Rod hitting the walk off home run that breaks Bostonís hearts and shatters the Red Sox World Series hopes and dreams for another generation. But these are not the Red Sox of last year or yesteryear. People of Boston; prepare yourselves for a very different and much happier ending! Why, you may ask, when it always ends the same against these guys? True. But emotion aside, there are many genuine reasons to believe that the script ends differently this time. For starters how about Curt Schilling? This guy wrote the book on how to beat up on Yankee hitters when he was in Arizona. He now has an even better supporting cast than when he and the Big Unit inflicted the Big Hurt on the Big Apple in the desert. His running mate now is Pedro Martinez. OK, he's no longer as dominant a pitcher as Randy Johnson, but before you run out that spiel about the Yankees being his "daddy", just ask yourself one objective question. Who would you rather NOT face if trying to even the series at 1-1? Brad Radke, Kelvim Escobar or Pedro Martinez? For the record, I think Pedro will beat the Yankees in game 2 and donít be surprised to see Bronson Arroyo spear the enemy at Fenway if he starts game 3 either. That's a game where Bostonís bats can unload against Kevin Brown and have him doing his best Jackie Chan impersonation on the Fenway clubhouse walls. Anyways, I believe this series will render the term ďGame 7-If NecessaryĒ redundant. Make no mistake about it, this years model is not the same one dimensional, ďget Ďem all in home runsĒ team that took New York 7 games, 11 innings and a Grady Little ďIíll-be-New-Yorkís-MVPĒ performance to beat last October. Baseballís cognoscenti recognize that Boston has better pitching then Noo Yoik. It has a deeper bullpen and this time around they have a genuine grade A closer. Terry Francona knows what his best rotation is and he is pitching them on a weeks rest, which tends to make guys like Schilling and Martinez darned near unplayable. When those arms tire he can call on the likes of Embree, Leskanic, Lowe, Myers and Timlin, relievers who can shut it down before handing a lead over to the guile and precision of Keith Foulke. They can now play good defence too. They have speed on the bags and a lead off guy, Johnny Damon, who takes counts deep and gets on base time after time. They have a line-up that bats deep and can match New York for the "thunder in the lumber" department. In fact this year it appears New York are last years Boston Red Sox. They donít manufacture runs so well. No need to when you fill your line up with guys who consider an at bat without a home run to be a wasted plate journey. Their rotation isnít the dominating trinity of Clemens-Pettite-Wells and their lights out closer Mariano Rivera (who deserves our deepest sympathies after recent tragic events which may limit his participation in this series) has been touched, not once, but twice by these sox hitters for game blowing defeats. It is New York who must face the pitcher with the American League lead in wins and they who must pit their rotation against the most productive offence in the major leagues. And it is Boston alone who has consistently been the only opponent who wasn't beaten as soon as Joe Torre handed his line-up card to the home plate umpire. Of course all these facts mean nothing if you believe in ďThe CurseĒ. If you do believe in it then all New York need do to win is turn up, put on their pinstripes and let the baseball gods wield their dastardly machinations Bostonís way yet again. The New England Patriots extended their NFL unbeaten run to a record breaking 19 games this weekend. But good as they are, and they are something special, they know that all streaks must eventually come to an end. There is another streak even more impressive and longer than the Patriotsí and that too will come to an end. That is a fact. A fact that the late Bambino and his Yankees are about to find out!
Dario Beresford, Sox in 5 or 6
Everyone keeps saying that this is the year for the Sox. Those people claim the Sox have the better pitching, the better lineup and the better bullpen. But somehow, the Yankees, despite their supposedly awful pitching and thin bullpen, are the ones that won 100 games, took the AL East and then won 3 straight from Minnesota after falling behind in every game. These Yankees have won every game they had to win this year and show no signs up letting up now. Somehow, they will find a way to get it done, and the Sox, as usaul, will find a way not to.
George, Yankees in 6
I believe this is the year. The year the Yankees and Cardnials battle it out in what will be an epic World Series match up. You can argue the point that if both teams switched uniforms the experts would be saying Yankees in 5. The two superior pitchers are on thet Red Sox, as well as the two most feared hitters, not that the drop off is all that significant but it is clear. The problem is the uniform, and confidence against it. The history has been written, whether it is Pedro or Wakefield, Foulke or Arroyo, their are players that still fear the uniform. Yankee pitchers are inflated with a different feeling, a feeling that if I find a way to get this hitter out Jeter and the cast will find a way. The problem is the Sox peaked too early. Making the only important games down the stretch against the Yankees, playing will little success. The path was layed out in front of them, playing their best baseball of the year only to fall short of the Yankees. Home field does ease your mind right about now. So Boston your chances rest on the shoulders of a hired gun, Curt Schilling. Success against the Pinstripes on the greatest of stages have made him the perfect gun for hire. We can sit hear and argue this till we are blue in the face. Let the kids play and let see how it plays out. I'm just glad I don't have to argue Jeter or Nomar anymore...and we know how that turned out. Yankees in Mickey Mantle
Buck, Yankees in 7
Baseball is the most pure sport this country has ever known. It is the only sport to have not really changed much over the past century. Shoeless Joe is still not in the Hall of Fame. We've managed to keep the Hit King out as well. Why? The reason is because when you betray baseball, the game never forgets. So when Harry Frazee sold the Bambino to the Yankees, the baseball gods never forgave him for throwing away the game's crown jewel. Ruth's biggest contribution to this elevated rivalry was the ability to produce enough revenue to build Yankee Stadium. It's called the House that Ruth built. And he still calls it home. You can talk all you like about Schilling, Pedro, Manny, and Big Poppy, but the fact remains that they can't beat the Yankees.....when it COUNTS. They don't respect the game enough to bring the trophy to Fenway. Maybe 9 gentlemen will take the field for them someday and accomplish that, but the baseball gods would never allow a "bunch of idiots" to compromise the integrity of the game. Instead, they'll be privileged enough to see first hand how the game should be won. By professionals. The Curse lives. But don't worry, I'm sure "Next year is YOUR year!" Go Yanks.
Jamie, Yanks in 6
My predicition is predicated on just a few good managerial decisions. Starting with the way to handle Matsui. Anytime there is a runner on in scoring position, pitch around him. Even though Williams and Posada have a good history against the Red Sox, both are easier to get out. Schilling can pitch to him, he has the gas to pitch him high and away. Secondly Posada and Jeter and Arod can hit Folke, Williamson has the stuff to get them out, if he is not ready then you need to use Lecanic. (excuse the spelling) He has a good slider and a ninety one mile hour fast ball to keep them off balance. Arod can be had with breaking stuff away and heat upstairs. He will chase both. Shefield is another quick bat that off speed stuff works early in the count. The Red Sox really have the edge in pitching. If the yanks did not have Rivera we would not be having this conversation, it would be the Sox in four or five. He's terrific and can be had only once in a seven game series. For the rest of the die hard Nation, don't believe for a minute that Pedro will not come through for you. He has something to prove to us and them. Look for Pedro to be terrific in this series and maybe even the series MVP.
art, red sox in seven
It all comes down to pitching. The Sox were 5 outs away from punching their ticket to the 2003 World Series and all they did in the off- season was sign the best starting pitcher and best closer available; Schilling and Foulke respectively. Does Schilling and Foulke make up the 5 out diference? Without a doubt.
Landrew, Sox in 5