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 ...
Boston will at least reach the World Series because they got so close last year, and yet they were an inferior team to this year's version of the Sox. Ortiz, Millar and Mueller will be more effective with the experience of last year's playoffs under their belts. The Sox now have Schilling, who with a sore ankle or not, is one of baseball's top three starters under pressure. The other two don't pitch for the Yankees. The enemy's starters have struggled all year and did not look stellar against Minnesota. Last year Arroyo was not in the starting rotation, and recently Boston has been unbeatable when he has been on the mound. Another major difference is Foulke who will be as good as Mariano Rivera. And look for either Millar or Mueller to hit a key home run against the latter. For most of the season, the Red Sox did not appear to be psyched out by the Yankees. After all there is only a curse in the minds of fans and players. The rest is superstition that will be laid to rest by a team with even more heart and depth than the Yankees.
Enrico, Red Sox in 6
I think the RedSox starting pitching is superior this year.Kurt Schilling,pitching game 1 and 5 Pedro Pitching 2 and six plus Arroyo is piching great and Wakefield allways pitches great games against the Yankees.Pedro will beat the Yankees I think he was playing head games acouple of weeks ago.Hitting is even on both sides the yankees bullpen with gordon is better.The redsox closer is doing a great job.Look in years past they would of lost fridays thrilling game .they stayed in it.then Ortiz hit the bomb. I think the sox will win in six .Go Sox GO this is the year.
Shawn, Boston in 6
This is the year because last year I was lucky(unlucky) enough to get tickets to the Redsox in the World Series 2003, Game 6 and 7 and of course Grady spoiled my trip and childhood dream. This year no such luck with tickets...they will make it of course! This is the year because the manager is not named Grady This is the year because our shortstop actually wants to be here and is healthy. This is the year because Pedro wants to prove to the Yankees who the real daddy is. Free agency does not hurt either. This is the Year because whenever I find myself thinking they blew it again in a game, they come back and prove me wrong..time and time again. This team is different than any I have seen before. This is the year because our GM has guts and a vision and the trade that he pulled before August was one most would have been to afraid to make. Great Job Theo! This is the year because of Manny...Ortiz...Damon...Varitek...Nixon is back..a batting champion at the end of our order...a gold glove shortstop who makes amazing plays..a team that is deeper than any we have ever had... This is the year because there are no more players named Vlad that we will face This is the year because of course the Sox will win the series on Halloween.a day when all ghosts of the past will finally be put to rest. Imagine Clemens vs Shilling for Game 7 in Boston....that would be perfect! And finally, this is the year because of one man, bad ankle and all...Mr. Curt Schilling..he is fearless..he is the ultimate big game pitcher..and he will be the first since 1918 to deliver a world series championship to us..Finally...this is the year we win it all!
gary, redsox in 6
As a die-hard Angels fan, this series was almost as tough to lose as the 1986 series against Boston, not for the manner in which they lost, but how terrible they played. The only thing I have left to wish for is a Boston - Houston World Series, with Roger Clemens winning game 7 to bring the title to Houston. Ya gotta love it!
I think this year is the year for the Red Sox because we have what it takes to win. During the season, everybody stepped up and came through when the game was on the line. Orlando Cabrera, Mark Bellhorn, Dave Roberts, and Gabe Kapler have helped this team in so many ways this year. Cabrera and Bellhorn came through huge against the Orioles and helped the Red Sox beat them. Roberts has the speed and knows how to pressure on the defense and he can make things happen. Also, we have the pitching to beat the Yankees. Curt and Pedro are a lethal one, two punch that can get the job done, and we have Arroyo who has stepped up and shown that he is not afraid of the big evil empire that is the Yankees. The Red Sox this year have a top quality defense with Mientkiewicz and Mueller at the corners and solid up the middle with Bellhorn or Reese and Cabrera, and the outfield is unbelievable with Ramirez, Damon and Nixon. We have great utility guys that get in there and make things happen. Francona has great players and he can use different guys everyday and he can get the job done. This lineup is very deep and very versatile. Everyone on the team is a team player, like Bellhorn, he may have struckout a lot during the season but he takes pitches to show the other guys what the guy is throwing, and he has power to get a rally going. Damon has been tremendous as the lead off guy this year,and Ramirez and Ortiz have been pretty much unstoppable all year. I think we have a better team, and I don't think the Yanks have the pitching to go deep in this series. The Yanks starters have been ify all year and not really reliable, so I would be surprised if the series came down to a game 7. Every year, if you are a Red Sox you believe that every year is the year for the team, but things have been going good for us, we are able to come through any situation and we never quit. Everyone in Red Sox nation has to Keep the Faith, and when we have our players calling themselves a bunch of idiots, we have to feel confident that our team is ready to play and ready to win. When Theo Epstein traded Nomar, everyone criticized him for it, but know look at everything that Cabrera has done for the team. Garciaparra is a great short stop but Cabrera has shown why he is a gold glove short-stop. The Red Sox have got everything to win it all this year and last year there was only one thing that stopped us, Aaron Boone, but the Yanks don't have him this year. I believe that the Red Sox can win the series in 5 or 6 games.
Katy, Red Sox
I feel the Red Sox will win simply because they have the better team. With the addition of Shilling and Foulke they no longer have Pedro as their only big game starter. Shilling is a bull dog. He will cool the Yankees off. As for Foulke. Last year would have not ended as it did if Grady had confidence in his bullpen. Boston's pen was incredible last year and Grady still did not have the confidence to go to them in game 7. That won't happen again. Foulke is as cool as the other side of the pillow. He will finish what Curt and Pedro start. And don't forget Arroyo and Wakefield. Both can pitch. Look at the Yankees pitching. The have Mussina and who else. Moose can't pitch every day. Boston has come a long way since the trade of Nomar. I watch them every single day. Their defense is awesome compared to what it was. They don't give games away anymore. I only say six because the Yanks are still the Yanks. They won't go easy but they will go.
John, Boston in 6
The 2004 season was one of ups and downs, highs and lows. Curt Schilling, the new ace, was everything we thought we were getting from Arizona. Pedro started off slow, got real hot, then struggled in September, but still gave the Sox 16 wins. (We'll discuss the paternity issues later.) Bronson Arroyo pitched phenomenally, undoubtedly having the most hard-luck games of any Sox starter this year, and ended up with a 10-9 record. It seems like all the games Arroyo pitched in the first half were good efforts marred by errors, unearned runs, and tough luck. Arroyo could easily have had 12-15 wins this season. Derek Lowe didn't have much going for him, but he will be a valuable contributor out of the 'pen. Tim Wakefield had some rough starts but he is a gamer, and will get another crack at the Yankees. This was a season in which we endured Manny trying to be the cutoff man (July 21), Kevin Millar losing popups, DLowe throwing meatballs, and the Nomar saga, resulting in his trade on July 31 to get Cabrera, Mientkiewicz, and Dave Roberts. Yet, the Sox also ended up with 98 wins and the strongest record in baseball from August 1 and on. We beat the Yankees 11 out of 19 games this year. We beat Rivera twice. We also kicked their asses in a fight, and came back from 5 down in that same game to win. We overcame 2 mental blunders in Game 2 against Anaheim to beat them. Then, in Game 3, we blew a 6-1 lead but with some gutsy pitching by Keith Foulke, kept the game tied to set up David Ortiz' game- and series-winning home run. Some of us (OK, all of us) had a deja vu moment when Francona left Pedro in too long against the Yankees late in September, probably costing the Sox their chance at a division title. Doesn't matter. Francona managed perfectly during the ALDS. He'll be fine. The Sox have beaten the Yankees at home. They've beaten the Yankees in the Bronx. Pedro doesn't really believe the Yankees are his daddy. This team is built to overcome New York this year. The players know it, and the players want it. These players also have an unprecedented level of team unity. One for all, and all for one. When this team wants something, it's gonna get it. This is the year.
Max, Red Sox in 6
This is the year the Red Sox Nation expunges "long-suffering" from its moniker. The Yankees have shown their vulnerability in the Twins series. Athough a solid team, the Twins had neither the bats nor the pitching (save Mr. Santana) that the Red Sox have in this year's arsenal. Yet, they outplayed the Yanks and with better relief pitching (once again, advantage Red Sox), they could very easily be hosting the Red Sox in the ALCS. But, more importantly, the Red Sox have the chemistry, nurtured by the new ownership and Theo over the past couple years, and infused with proven winners like Curt Schilling, that makes the Red Sox a very special team. I wish I still lived in New England, because you're going to have one hell of a party when this season is over.
George, Red Sox in 6
I grew up in Concord, Mass, but was banished to southern California four years ago. After sitting in Angels Stadium for games 1 and 2, I am confident that this is their year! Every single hitter came up clutch at one point. Even though Varitek had a poor average in the series, his homerun was a monster. Cabrera also wasn't hot overall, but that bases-clearing double sealed the deal in game 2 and sent the Angels fans to their cars. (Actually, a lot of their fans left before the ninth inning even started! They knew their team wasn't the best team, and they figured they would reduce their time waiting in the parking lot and the highway.) Bellhorn only got one hit, but he walked all the time. The pitching, except for a couple miscues, was stellar. I predict Sox in five because Schilling and Pedro will win games 1, 2, and 5. Even if it goes seven, Arroyo has improved so much and had arguably the best outing of all the starters. And then there are the intangibles: Sox have better handshakes. Yankees probably save their handshakes for their agents. How can you stay tense when you are convulsing and shimmying with your teammates? Sox have better hair. The Yankee pitchers might not even recognize Millar when he's up. Yankees are old and decrepit. Hernandez won't pitch. Brown will punch a teammate or kick somebody's dog, and will be out again. Sheffield will lose a flyball in the lights, get hit in the head, and suffer a concussion. A-Rod will revert to the first season series against the Sox, striking out every at bat. Bottom line: a curse only works if you think about it and care. These guys couldn't care less about Babe Ruth, and laugh at any Yankees mystique. They will pulverize the Bronx Billionaires and move on to the World Series.
Jeff, Sox in five
i think this is the year because they worked hard and at the same time they had a lot of fun and they deserve a ring.