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 ...
As a lifelong Red Sox fan, while I pray for a Sox (and Kerry) victory, next year may really be the Red Sox year. Why? The Jewish calendar! Might sound crazy, but please listen. The Jewish year is a lunar year (354 days). To make up for the 11 1/4 day deficit, seven out of every 19 years is a leap year where an extra month is added to the calendar. The 19th year of the cycle is when the Jewish holidays fall the latest they can. (Look at a Jewish calendar for 2005 for confirmation) Since August 16, 1948, the day Babe Ruth died, look at what has happened in that 19th year of the cycle. 1948-We were within one game of an all-Boston World Series 1967-We went seven games against the Cardinals until Jim Lonborg tired. 1986-McNamara does not put in Stapleton for Buckner as he had done all year long, etc. etc. Now we have Theo Epstein as GM and two Jewish players on the Red Sox-Kapler and Youkilis, so even if things do not work out this year, wait till next year may give us more hope for 2005. If not, maybe 2024. Morris Rodenstein Silver Spring, MD (via Quincy)
Morris, Sox in 7
Simply stated, this is the season the Sox will win it all because the statute of limitations on Red Sox Nation Misery (R.S.N.M.) has had to have expired by now. History, that elusive vixen that has been on the side of every other team since 1918 has finally cozied up next the Sox and is ready to impart goodness and cheer for all of us long-suffering fans. And it cant happen too soon! Now is the time. The vanquishing of the many ghosts that have haunted our dreams - Bill Buckner's missed ground ball, Chuck Knoblaugh's missed tag on Offerman, Boone's home run in the 11th - will finally have taken place. All of these will be mere memories when we finally win it all this year. No longer will we cringe at the mere mentioning of these palys. Instead, we will smile and say "oh well - that was then". This is NOW. Now, when the vaunted Red Sox pitching will finally, finally deal the death-blow to Evil Empire. Think Luke Skywalker in red socks. Now, when playing (and winning) the World Series will seem somehow anticlimactic to beating the Yanks in 7. All of the bad karma accumulated over the cousre on nearly a century of "almosts" will finally, finally be srubbed clean. They say that history has a way of repeating itself. Well brother, dont look for that to happen anytime soon - the worm has turned. I'm sure everyone can remember the feeling of abject giddiness when the Patriots finally won the Superbowl. And the feeling the next day that, once and for all, that we have arrived in football nirvana. People, you aint' felt nuttin' yet! Imagine the joy felt by one and all the day after we beat the Yankees, at the stadium, in game 7 victory. Then try to imagine the feeling when we finally win the Series. It's almost too good to believe. But believe we should. Because history is now on our side. Let the Yankee fans be the ones reduced to saying "wait till next year" or drone endlessly on about a specific call, contoversy or otherwise wacky play that turned the series the Sox way. Oh how sweet it will be for once, just once, to be the fans of the team that history finally, finally destined to win it all this year.
Bill, Sox in 7
Sox are very tough this year and it will be a battle, but I think the yanks can keep it close enough by being patiant at the plate and getting the pitch counts up on the sox pitchers. Yanks have 62 come from behind wins this year and I see it happing in this series at least twice. Pedro will lose to his daddy, schilling has a very good chance of winning game one. Thats why he is in a sox uniform. A-Rod is going to make a statement in this series, he is on a mission, thats why he is a yankee, to put on a show when the lights are bright. Then you have something I believe in but most sox fans won't admit too. The CURSE is real and sometime during this series something very weird will happen and it will cost he sox a game. The curse is alive and well until the sox win the world series again. I guess I wont get much sleep this week. Go yanks.
dbx, Yankees in 7
The question isn't: will they win? They question is: what happens if they do? Talk about a disturbance in the force. Who will we be then? What will Red Sox Nation have to hang our hats on, if not our well-earned coat hooks of misery and despair, paranoia and fatalism? What flame could burn so brightly in our ravaged souls if are souls are ravaged no more? When a spring started with something other than "Maybe this is the year..."?, could we handle the truth? That we are now mere fans like everyone else? Where will we be with no where to go? 19 straight wins, 2 super bowls? We're not yawning, but... you get the point, right? It's the first one that's mythic. After that.... Why do we think one hideously ugly trophy will provide the sort of pyschic leverage it requires to walk our tragic hero soxian walk? (The leverage that we currently get from the 86 year old, heirloom-quality chip we stroll around with on our shoulders these days.) "Be careful what you wish for," says the sage. Are these the the last of the good old, bad old days, one wonders.
Whit Porter, Psychic upheaval
I think the Sox are going to finally mow down the Yanks this year because they are a "Complete" team this year. Last year all the pressure was put on Pedro. Now that they've got Schilling to take most of his pressure away and Arroyo putting solid performances together start after start they'll always be in the game. Boston's offense is more complete this year as well. Johnny Damon's really stepped his game up, with his speed and Bellhorn getting on base, expect Manny and Ortiz to have a lot of RBI's. Ortiz is also a better hitter this year as well. Last year he had troubles with lefties, but judging from the only pitch he saw from Washburn those questions have been answered. The Sox 1-9 hitters are more explosive this year. Having Varitek, Cabrera, and Mueller at the bottom of the lineup starts the slugging all over again. I expect the Sox hitters to wear out the Yankees pitching just like they did against the Angels with long at bats and high on base percentages. Their defense is well rounded this year. Cabrera and Mientkiewicz have solidified their infield. Manny and Damon are making game saving plays in the outfield. They also have more speed with Roberts and Damon doing basestealing. Varitek is also a very good basestealing. The Yankees pitching isn't as scary as it was last postseason. They don't have the reliable arms of Pettite and Clemens to shut an offense down. If they score early and frequent I dont expect the Yankees to come back. Depending on how long Rivera stays in Panama might affect the Yanks as well. If Boston goes into New York and wins both games I dont think the Yanks can come back from an 0-2 deficeit at Fenway even though Schilling and Pedro will already of pitched. I think they'll only win one at Fenway most likely Game 4. The Sox will close it out in game 5 and move on to the World Series. I'm not saying this is the year b/c the Cards are strong as well but hopefully the Astros or Braves will knock them out in the NLDS. GO SOX!
Andy, Sox in 5
lifer red sox fan ok - here we go again , the greatest tv ticket of the year - this will draw the non baseball watching fan to the tube- like the stupid bowl - please fox do not wreck this with all your replays, comedy,and talking baseballs. at least Chris boomer and espn will be gone. Have you ever heard a worst baseball guy in your life. I felt sorry for Tony G, what a joke. So, it all comes down to what will the sox do to screw this up?. They are loaded, they are injury free,( watch curts ankle), and most important is , the players know there roles for once. I was all over terry for his line ups, his non run producing stratigys, and the way he would loose key players in the 7th or 8th for pinch runners. I thought for sure he was going to pinch run for David game 3 in the 7th as represented the go ahead run on 2nd . But thank god he didint. How many times during the first half did he have a chance to manufacture a run a nd passed for the base hit? - i thought he came from the national league? You have to giver terry credit, after norma left, he changed his approach towards hit and run, and the straight sac, with no outs, which is key in the playoffs ok so back to red sox vs yankees. first of all i do not hate the yankees like ever other band wagon red sox / baseball fan. The yankees are great for baseball. I love to watch jeter play ball. I think hes the best ballplayer on the planet. If i had to pick one player to start a ball club, i would pick him. I remember when i went yankee stadium and i was on the subway ( reg. season game, i had my sox hat on ), and the car was packed and a yankee fan sitting on the other end of the car yells, " hey how about this , Bucky Dent ", then he just cracked up , the other people on the car had whats he talking about looks on there face. What would baseball be like with out the yankees. The yankees are the greatest professional sports club in all of sports, sit back, watch and enjoy. There coaching staff is nothing but class, and the players cant help it george wants to pay them. So yankee haters back off red sox vs yankees 2004 - YANKEES i have a bad feeling that A rod is going to get off in this series, hes been in a slump in the month of sept. but has been picking it up during the playoffs. Watch out for a rod. But the yankee starting pitching is still the issue, and moe is not the same old moe, he looks as if he has lost the edge slightly. This yankee team is more beatable then the other teams we have faced. Bernie seams to be healthy, and this is huge as he always comes up big in the playoffs. They will need el duke in this series he he cant go - there is so much pressure on Mike M., i need to move on this is getting to long RED SOX This red sox team has all the tools to win it all, not like before - THis is it red sox fan, or who knows what will happen if they loose , as the management will panic, and free agency will get them, or are they willing to go to the 200 million payroll? Curts the man, this is the best thing that could happen to pete. Its not all riding on pete or roger. Pete is in the # 2 hole and if he looses its not the end of world. If he wins - its over - red sox to the world series. The defense is set - terry has showed us that his line up is set, and the players can relax( very important ) - Terry needs to be in charge and make these guys give up an at bat for the good of the team, and i think he will. terry is the ony one that can screw this up. Terry- Roll out the ball , sit back and let the players win this, and they will. Dont let the moment affect your game plan. Dont show a player you have no confidence in him, as this causes team unity problems. These games are going extra innings, dont get caught with paint drying on the fence. Hoosiers line. must stop - email me if you need more cant wait for tues. red sox in 6
george o'donnell, yankees
This latest installment in the Yankee-Red Sox has been great fun but this is the postseason. The Sox team has filled many of the gaps it had last season most importantly Curt Schilling's signing. Pedro has not scared the Yankees for some time. I actually think the opposite is clearly true based on the numbers and Pedro's recent curious disclosure.The Yankees pitching weakness has not materialized yet in the postseason quite the opposite even Estaban Loiuza has contrbuted. A-Rod has also stepped it up and earned his pinstripes in the Twins series. The Sox are a fun team, a great team in many ways. Sox ownership and management is to be commended especially Theo who has been remarkable. I think the Garciaparra trade is a great short term trade but may come back to haunt. Nomar is easily the greatest SS in Sox history and while his performance has been marginal this year he still possesses the talent for remarkable upside. Cabrerra is a great defensive SS but is cut from the classical mode and unlikely to deliver at the plate the way Nomar routinely did. The Sox infield is still way better defensively but postion for position the Yankee infield is superior with the exception of 2d base.The Yankee infield also possess far greater power at the plate. If Jeter plays at historical levels and Arod continues the Yankees should prevail.
John, Yankees in 5
I think my Sox pedigree is equal to just about anyone. My mom sat in upper deck of Yankee Stadium on the final day of the season in 1949. She rooted for Ted Williams. I grew up rooting primarily for Jim Rice, Fisk, Lynn and Burleson, and now my 6 yeard old son roots for Trot, Tek and Pedro. As we were driving to a birthday party the other day he asked my what "The Curse" was. I told him that there was really no such thing, but that "The Curse" is a reference to the Red Sox trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees. I informed him that since that trade the Red Sox have not won a World Series and the Yankees have won 26. He said, "Oh." I then proceeded to tell him that in all that time we (The Red Sox Nation) have never had the best team. "Until now?" he countered. It was no more a question than a declaration, which is pretty significant coming from a 6 year old who saw his first gane at Fenway just this summer. I took a second to think about it then told, "Yeah, until now." That is why the Red Sox will win it this year. We have the best team.
Thomas, Red Sox in five
This is The Year It's not the history of these two teams that will determine the future. It's not the statistics of the 2004 season, or it's player's individual accomplishments. It's not the trades that enhanced the Yankees batting lineup, or the BoSox pitching staff. It's not the new manager, or an experienced one. It's not the long hair, or the pressed uniforms. It's not the team with the most money, or the team who got the most for their money. It's not Cowboying up, or keeping the faith. It's not hurt ankles, or broken hands. It's not Babe Ruth, or Bucky Dent. It's not 1918, or 26. It's not Yankee Stadium, or Fenway Park. It's not how they look on paper, or how they look on the field. It's not icons, or heroes. It's not the temperature, or humidity. It's not fastballs or knuckleballs. It's not even finding a way to win. It's not smart plays or playing smart. It's a game. It's a game that promotes the spirit of competition. It's a game that captures the heart of the dedicated fan, and occasionally breaks it. It's a series of moments in time that seem to be controlled by fist clenching, heart pounding, hope. It's a life consuming force delicately known as an American past time. It's a heated topic at every sports bar, and a traffic nightmare for game day commuters. It's happiness, anger, determination, and sadness. It's an awesome Friday night, or a lousy Saturday morning. It has nothing to do with Johnny Damon, or A-Rod. It has everything to do with what's in my heart. It's how I feel. It's what keeps me watching, waiting, and praying. It's in me. This is my game. This is my team. This is how I play. I'm a Red Sox Fan. This is MY year.
Greg, Sox in 6
The Yanks/ Sox 2004 series will be a heavyweight fight. Both teams have incredible lineups with the starting pitching edge going to the sox. Both benches are equally deep, but you have to go with the yanks bench for their clutch ability i.e. Ruben Sierra. Both bullpens are strong, but the Yanks have two bonafide closers holding down the eight and ninth. The Yankes also lead all of MLB with come from behind victories, witch should give the Sox someything to think about everytime they make a pitching change. Everyone knows that these series are decided in the bullpens except in the cases when you have starter like Schilling who can dominate 9 innings. So if Schilling is able to recant his 2001 playoff form, look for the Yanks to lose games 1 and 5. I'm still not cnvinced Pedro is back to Pedro but he is a competittor nontheless. He will go out there and give the Sox everything he has. Will it be enough? We'll wait and see. Bronsn Arrroyo is a nice story, he has kept the Yankees at bay in the regular season. We'll see if that translates to the post season . Time Wakefield was virtually unhittable until the Boone HR, he will be a force this series, even if it's for only one game. On the other side of the equation, The yankees aren't exactly starting chopped liver. Their rotation is lead by the veteran Mike Mussina, who has pitched his best baseball of his season over the last two months. Although Mike Mussina takes a lot of Game 1 losses he is still tough. Jon Lieber is another Yakee starter who seems to have pitched his best baseball in September. He only had 14 victories over the regualr season, but his mastery over the Red Sox in an eight plus inning performance should tell you he can be lethal. The yanks pitcjhing window gets very cloudy after those two. Kevin Brown pitched effectively in game 3 of the Minnesota series, but he is 39 years old with a bad back. Not to mention his return from the DL in September where Boston creamed him, not allowing him outt of the first inning. Javier Vazquez is very inconsistent, and if he pitches this series, The Red Sox should jump all over him. The one wild card with The yanks pitching is "El Duque". He is an extremely crafty veteran, that thrives on big games. If he were to get a start in tis series, look for him to give you everything he has. So with all the question marks surrounding the Yankees starting pitching, How can i pick the Yankees? Simple. When these two teams meet especialy in October, you can throw the stat sheets out the window. I expect each team to throw everything they have at the other. II think we'll see a couple of games dominated by pitching and with these offenses you'll see some games dominated by hitting. This year the X factor will be Joe Torre. Joe Torre has managed countless playoff series in the past. He is a master of pushing the right buttons at the right time. On the other hand, this is Terry Francona's first post season. Emotions will play a role in his decision making especialy when the series shifts back to Boston. The intense media scrutiny will play a role in how he manages. It often does. When breakdowns occur, The Boston media is relentless on throwing fuel on the fire. All in all, the series will be a battle. New York and Boston will fight to the end. I predict the Yankees will win in seven.
Trick, Yanks in seven