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 ...
Throughout the North East there are stories of the conflict between the two central poles of the American League East. The general area where I live in South Western Connecticut is generally seen as the Mason Dixon line of this conflict. Red Sox and Yankee fans live in co-existence, sometimes peaceful and sometimes not. Families are torn between Red Sox and Yankee fans. After much soul searching over the last few years I have come to recognize this conflict within myself. My Dad grew up in Brookline MA and raised me as a Red Sox Fan. I live within the media onslaught of the Evil Empire and slowly got dragged into it’s snare. Watching a superb manager like Joe Torre deal with a crazy owner further ensnared me into rooting for the Yankees for much of the 96 run onwards. Slowly I began to find myself rooting for both the Red Sox and the Yankees, something that I could admit to no one for a number of years. Not my daughter who avidly roots for the Sox. Not my fellow employees who are avid Yankee Friends. Not the “other employees” who are the loyal opposition that root for the Sox. Last year during the fateful ALSC during game 7 somewhere around inning 10 or 11 I had to come out of the closet! Truth is I am a fan of the Yankee – Red Sox (or is it Red Sox – Yankee?) rivalry, the best rivalry in all of sports. Yankee and Red Sox fans who root for the other team to do poorly do not realize what they have before them, the best most exciting games ever imagined on a regular basis. If you are a true fan of the rivalry you root for both teams to do well, finish with both in the playoffs (Ya gotta love the wild card!) and meet in the ALCS and go all the way to the end… Exactly what happened last year. Once you get to the 11th or 12th inning of game seven you are in ecstasy and don’t care who wins as long as it is exciting. Now for this year. After much gnashing of teeth and thoughts about predicting either team in seven I choose to go with the Sox in six. Why?… Well the analyst in me can give you the reasons for pitching momentum etc but the fan in me will tell you it is best for the rivalry to have the Sox victorious at this point and make the Yankees scramble to catch up with the Sox from the other side of the record books. In either case we should all be ready for the best 9 days in all of sports.
Blake, Sox in 6
This is the Year of the Sox, which is easy to show statistically, however, it's the intangibles that add up to an end run for whole kitty. With regard to starting pitchers, there's no question. Schilling and Pedro are two of the top horses in the leauge, and after the Yankees fire off the first chamber of their guns with Mussina in game one, they just don't have their historically dominant staff to follow. Wakefield is a Yankee killer (although susceptible to cold weather and lack of movement on his pitches) and Arroyo has just enough flint in his composure coupled with an impressive resume of pitches to hold his own. Up at bat, although the Yankees looked better on paper at the start of the season, the mighty hands of Jeter, A-Rod and Sheffield, although daunting to look at, can be nullified by the pitching staff for the first two to three games. They have become better situational hitters in the ALDS, however, they struggled and had to stay in games through clutch hitting against the Twins, who were impressive nonetheless, but were limited to Johan Santana as their only secure starter. The remainder of the Twins staff, albeit impressive, were not of the caliber that Boston has to offer, and those games were two close, went into extra innings, and generally remained nail-biters for a club that should have walked out of NY with a pair of wins and out of Minnesota after one game. The byline for that series, with that Yankee lineup should have been "Thanks for coming, we were happy to serve it right down your throat. Now, conversely, Bostons offerings of Damon, the leagues best table setter (all due respect to Jeter), and Bellhorn (always a possibility of moving Mr. Damon along a base or two) followed by Manny (no, you can not pitch around me) Ramirez to Ortiz, there represents no better first half of the lineup. But once you get past those four, V-Tek and Nixon are far above throwaway batters, and Cabrera (okay, he whiffs a lot, but you always pine for that odd triple or double he manages come clutch time). There are really no holes in the lineup wither way, but Boston has found that knack for being key not just when it's necessary, but whenever they want. It's great to get a key hit in a tie or one run game, but they get them when their up 5-1. Theres no quit, and as relaxing as they may be, they aren't done until the last game of the World Series is over. The bullpens, between Timlin and Embree, and Gordon the Inning Eating Monster, are even, but the bottom line is that both Gordon and Mo have been chased numerous key times in the last three weeks from impressive and not so impressive teams. Boston has Karma, an Animal House type bench that keeps the juice loose and the smiles a flowin, "sorry, got no time to worry here attitude", and basically a bench full of guys who look at each other and say "I got your back" when the cards don't fall quite right. The big difference this time around, they mean it when they say it, and go out and do it. And how can you NOT love the hair?!?!?
Chris, Red Sox
The Red Sox will win the ACLS (and then the World Series) this year over the Yankees for two primary reasons: better starting pitchiing and better defense. Though the Yankees' starting lineup boasts many All-Stars (A-Rod, Jeter, Sheffield, Posada, and Matsui) as well as pitchers Mussina and Rivera, it's an old axiom proven time and time again that good pitching and defense will beat good hitting. The Yankees have great hitters in their lineup but the Red Sox starters and defense are superior to the Yankee starters and defense. The Red Sox match up fairly well hitting wise but the edge goes to the Yankees. As for the bullpen, the edge again goes to NY with Quantrill, Gordon, and especially Rivera, but the Red Sox are no slouches this year with the addition of a true closer in Keith Foulke. Overall, the Red Sox are a better team and a hungrier team with something to prove after last year. That's why the Red Sox will come out on top this year.
RON , RED SOX IN 6
This is the year the Red Sox Nation can proudly celebrate a World Serries Championship. The Red Sox will beat The Yankees in 6 and the Cardinals at home in 7 on Halloween. Halooween, game 7, Fenway Park, my God I can't even imagine the scene that night, but that will be the night, a magical night that will be talked about for the rest of our lives. You will know exactly where you were when it went down. Before that there is a lot to accomplish starting with the evil empire. An epic battle of good vs eveil will unfold over the next 9 days. Gone is the feeling of pending doom, gone is the sound of the other shoe dropping. They have been replaced by a sense of confidence and pride that our team is flat out better than the Yankees and all we have to do is execute and victory is ours. History will have zero play in this serries. Up and down the lineup the Red Sox are beter than last year, a year we were 5 outs removed from the World Serries. Our starting pitching is better than last year with the addition of a complete horse in Curt Shilling and Bronson Aroyyo pitching great. Pedro will be ready and as long as he can give us 6 plus innings of 2 or 3 runs, which is very likely, we can win both of his starts. Our defense is as good as ever and instead of giving teams 30 plus outs a game we are giving 24. Cabrera showed in game 3 with his play in the 10th inning how defense wins games. That played is why we are better without you know who, because with you know who we are down one in the 10th against a nasty closer. Add Pokey and Doug M to your late game defense and it is the best in the playoffs. Our offense continues to beat up starting pitchers, driving up pitch counts and getting 2 out runs, both of which demoralize the oppenent. We have the big bats and they are all seeing the ball very well right now. We also have the table setters at the top, Damon and bottom, Mueller to score runs and force the pitchers to throw from the stretch. It must be daunting to pitch against the Sox. We have a good bench and with Dave Roberts good speed. Roberts was a huge part of game 2s W. Believe it or not I am also confident in Francona. I thought the moves and the moves he didn't make helped the Sox sweep the Angles. Joe Torre he is not but he is having a good playoff run. The character of the players and the attitude that we can beat anyone will help us do just that. A bunch of gritty gamers with no fear or thoughts of the past will take the field and beat the Yankees. They party hard and do the same thing against the Cardinals. Remember each game and the rollercoaster ride because in the end we will be champions and it will feel amazing. Remember how you felt when the Pats beat the Rams..... Take that times 100 and be ready to shed tears and celebrate like crazy for generations this will be talked about. Think of all the smiling dads and grand dads smiling down from heaven, this is bigger than anything that has ever happened to Boston sports. This is EPIC. Hold on to your hats and enjoy the ride.
Michael, Red Sox in 6
Pitching Wins, and we now have it! Yankees dont!
Justin, Sox Win in 6
Chemistry! This is all about a ball club that likes being a team. Even with last year's close call, the Red Sox had stories about Manny dogging it for his friends in NY or Nomar's contract etc. This is the happiest team in baseball. It matters! Also, the addition of Shilling is critical. He has controlled the Yankees this year when needed. Two solid wins in the playoffs. Unfortunately Derek Lowe is not at last year's playoff form. We’ll have to see which Pedro shows up. Defense.. The Sox infield is as good or better than the platinum Yankee left side. Add a solid outfield that can bat from the left or right. Management.. We can learn from mistakes...it won't happen again. Lastly, Hunger! No one can say the Yankees are as hungry as the Red Sox.
David, Red Sox
This is the Year! Too many years..too many tears. This team deserves it. These fans deserve it. This city and the "Nation" have waited long enough. Sox -Yanks, could it be any other way? Should it? This is the way it's supposed to be. They've always been an obstacle, a bump in our road. Time to fill those potholes, settle scores, move on down the road and focus on the one true prize. Resumption, Renewal, Redemption. When I moved to Miam, I traded my Baked beans for Black beans, but my heart still beats and pumps Red for Sox! To borrow from Stephen King, as Roland the Gunslinger would say " Do not forget the faces of your Fathers". Thanks for another fantastic year..let's keep it going...you've earned it and deserve it. This is the Year.
Tony, Sox in Six
Winston Churchill once said, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it". Nothing sums this "rivalry" up better than that. The Sox had a nice year, but they operate under a burden that no other team has to endure. Nearly a century of heartache; eighty-six years of gut-wrenching losses; generations of depression and a parade of defeats second to none. The Yankees will beat the Sox again not ONLY because they have better players who perform better in the clutch, but because they are supposed to. Because, as history has taught us, the tradition of winning, the committment to excellence, the steel nerves of people like Mussina, Rivera, Posada, Williams, and of course, Derek Jeter, will ensure that the Yankees will emerge victorious, no matter what the odds or situation say. The Sox talk a big game, but when crunch time comes, the years of losing will begin to hang on their uniforms like lead weights. The looks on their faces will tell what is going on in their minds and souls. They will look for disaster, watch out for failure, expect to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory. They will lose because the opposition is the bane of their existence, their own living breathing Mount Everest....The New York Yankees. Beating the Angels is one thing. Beating a team that has tormented them since the beginning of recorded time is something else. The Yankees will once again prove to be the final roadblock to derail the Sox from their ultimate dream. The Yankees have as much firepower as the Sox. They have more than enough starting pitching. They have Jeter and the Great Rivera. But, more than that, they have history. They have the great ghosts of the game to inspire and direct them. They have the tradition of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Ford, Munson, Jackson, Guidry. They have a knack of getting major contributions from stars as well as unlikely sources......remember Bucky Dent? The Red Sox have cornered the market on losing. It is not enough to call yourselves "idiots", you must be able to perform when the chips are on the table, when the entire world is waiting for you to be the one to deliver them to the promised land. Unfortunately, the Sox are lacking in both proven winners and clear minds. Oh, sure, they had a nice year. They even made a late run at the Yankees in the end. But, they celebrated too much just to be the wild card. They were too satisfied being SECOND. They were too giddy just coming CLOSE to the Yankees. The Yanks would never settle for that type of attitude. Finishing SECOND would be no cause for celebration, no reason to pop a bottle of champaign. No, the Yankees know all too well what is expected and they know all too well how to go about achieving it. The Sox? Well, they call themselves a bunch of idiots and they act like it as well. Ask yourselves this, Nation fans: "Would you ever hear a Yankee call the Red Sox his "daddies"? Would you ever see a Yankee team act like winning a wild card was the seventh game of the World Series? Would you ever see a Yankee team be happy just coming CLOSE to the Sox? No, of course you can't. Now, ask yourselves if you can ever imagine the Sox not imploding when the game is on the line? Ask yourselves if you can imagine Torre doing something stupid at the end of a game to blow a lead and tear the hearts out of Yankee fans? Ask yourselves, if deep down, you really believe a bunch of "idiots" could ever bring down an EMPIRE?! I didn't think so.
Bob, Yanks in 6
Kudos to the Red Sox for sweeping the Angels, but when was the last time they beat the Yankees when it counted most? Can't recall? Exactly. So that is why Red Sox Nation should brace for another heartbreaking series and drown in the fact that the Yankees will be playing in the World Series.
John, Yankees in 6
The Red Sox finally have the pitching needed to get to and win the World Series. They have never had a starting rotation as good as the one they have now. If you add in the bullpen, which is better than average, their pitching is better than any they have ever had. Jim Lonborg and Jose Santiago (67) vs. Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez - no contest. Luis Tiant and Bill Lee (75) - no way. Roger Clemens and Oil Can (86) - nope. I don't think there is any pitching combination that was better. We always lost an important player in the earlier years like Tony C. and Jim Rice. Pitching wasn't deep and we had to start our best pitcher on little rest. Depth and injuries aren't a problem this year. The final reason - it has been 86 years. God wanted to give us a teaser in 86. There was meaning to the 86 number. Just not a victory in 1986. The 86 had to do with how long we had to wait. The wait is over.
Dick, Red Sox