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 ...
The reason the Red Sox are going to get by the Yankees this year is because they took care of business duing the division series against the Angels. The past two times (1999,2003) we have played the Yankees for the ALCS, we have had to overcome an emotionally draining five game series, both of which we were down 0-2. While it is great to have an emotional victory in the division series, it has left us unprepared to face the Yankees. Our pitching is lined up and our players more rested. The other issue to consider is the fact that Clemens is gone. During last year's third game of the ALCS, I thought Pedro and the Red Sox lost focus, and of course the game. Somtimes the crowd is so animated and the Red Sox get so over-hyped that they loose focus. We cannot affort to get our attention drawn away from the game, and this year, I don't think we will. The Red Sox will win 2 of 3 games in Fenway and take the series in six games. Curt Shilling is going to pitch the 5th game, so all we have to do is win one other games (#3 or #4) and Curt will take care of game #5. Winning two out of three in Fenway is a must this year. I think it is going to happen. We are a better team, we have a deeper bench, we have speed in the lineup, we have a better starting staff, we have better relief pitching. Do we have enough to beat the Yanks? Yes. One thing to note for all Red Sox fans that attend the games in Fenway: Please don't make Fenway look an out-of-control frat house. Last year I was very embarrased at all the extra cirricular activity that took place during game 3. The "Roger-Roger" chants, throwing at players, fights in the bullpen is not what Fenway is all about. Have the same kind of respect for the game as we do during the other 80 some odd games. Don't act like it is your first time to the prom and you might get lucky. If you can't have respect, just stay home. I have been rooting for the Sox since 1964 when I was six years old. I live and die with each pitch. If things are meant to be and the Red Sox are truly the best team, we will win it all. If not, I can't wait till next year. Geoff Baldwin
Geoff, Red Sox in 6 games
I am a Red Sox fan living in Toronto and here is my perspective on the series. Looking at both teams, I see they match up well with their offence, defense & the strength of bullpen. However, the differences would be the starting rotation. I see the Sox taking at least 1 out of the first 2 games in the Bronx. Schilling is well rested and so is our bullpen. Therefore I would give Schill the edge over Mussina. If Pedro can overcome the "Yankees are my Daddy" mentality and go pitch like he is capable of then it would be a bonus. Yankees have mastered how to run the pitch count against Pedro so it would be interesting to see how Pedro responds. Nevertheless, I would give the edge to the Yanks on Game 2 with Brown or Lieber starting at home. 1-1 We have back-to-back-to-back 3 games in Fenway. With Schill scheduled to pitch Game 5 we need to win one of two from either Arroyo or Wake. It's a toss up since Wake hasn't pitched awhile and it is hard to say if this is good or bad for the knuckler. However if we lose the first game in Fenway, the Sox would certainly bounce back for Game 4. 3-2 Sox. I for one believe it would be tough to beat the Yankees in Game 7 because the Yankees are Yankees. Therefore the Sox need to go for the kill in Game 6. Also, beating Pedro twice in a series would be tough and Francona would have pretty much everyone but Schill available in the bullpen for game 6. Sox win 4-2 and it would be a Sweet revenge from last year. Go Red Sox! Uma.
Uma, Red Sox in 6 Games
Curse? What curse? Just because some guy tells us we will never win a World Series again, you think we are not? This is where it all begins, the great Bambino curse. Let me now tell all you Yankee fans something. This is the year you fall, and from hear on out you will never win another World Series. Now do you think this will hold true? Well if you think it will, then I guess you truly are believers of a curse, but if not, you better believe this is the the year of the Sox. The Red Sox have put together a great team this year. They have gone out and aquired a number one starter in addition to Pedro and a great closer in Foulke. Other than that, this team, looks a lot like the Sox of 03. Red Sox fell short last year, game 7 in the 11th inning, now let me ask you this..Do you think Pedro is going to be kept out there this year? I don't think so? Do you think the bullpen has the power to shut down the Yankees? You better believe it. Between the Sox offense and defense, and the poor pitching the Yankees have this year, it's hard to believe the Sox can not do it. Home Runs do not win ball games, pitching, singles, walks, flawless defense, great bullpens...Now this is what wins ballgames, and this is the year the Red Sox finally have a team that has it all...
Peter, Red Sox
FEAR STRIKES OUT It was a cool, crisp night at Fenway Park- Saturday, October 16th, 2004- the fourth and possibly last game of the League Championship Series. The cool air was now being pushed back and forth by a mounting wind - first back toward home plate - and in another moment - outward toward the "Green Monster". The Red Sox were leading 1-0 and the top of the ninth inning was at hand. For the first three games of the series, the Olde Towne Team had swept the Bronx Bombers using skillful pitching, sound defense and timely hitting. The games were tight but it seemed that the Sox at the right moment made the right pitch, the clutch hit and flashed the golden leather to beat the Yankees. For eight solid innings, Yankee nemesis Tim Wakefield had totally stymied the Bombers, and the Sox, as a result of a scratch run in the second - was on the verge of besting the fabled pinstripers. It had been 100 years( 1904) since the Red Sox topped the Yankees ( then Highlanders) in a pennant clinching game when a pinstriped second baseman - ironically named Jimmy Williams - made two errors - to give victory and the pennant to the BoSox. But now it was the top of the ninth inning and the Yanks had one more chance to work their magic on the Olde Towne team. Pitching coach Dave Wallace put in a call to the bullpen for Keith Foulke to get up and be ready for the ninth, if needed. As Tim Wakefield strode to the mound for the ninth time, the crowd let out a roar- but it was roar that was muted by a certain nervousness and uncertainty. There was a subtle negative energy that seemed to engulf the stands and the playing field as well. Would the years of BoSox Purgatory be over? Would the Evil Empire be put to rest - no longer able to strike back at the hearts and souls of the Fenway Faithful? As the ninth inning began, the carpetbagger broadcaster spoke volumes of past Bosox failures at the hands of the Yankees. Before Wakefield could make his first pitch, the announcer called attention to a disturbabce in the right field stands. Some Yankee flag wavers held their makeshift banners on high for all to see...1918...1918.1918...This did not set well with some of the neighboring faithful, and a small skirmish began. After the skirmish, Ruben Sierra, the hero of the decisive Yankee divisional series victory over the Twins, finally walked to the plate. The quick working Wakefield delivered his first pitch. Ball One!... Ball Two! A numbing silence was now evident throughout Fenway as Wakefield delivered his third pitch...And the announcer's words said it all! "It's a high drive to straight away center field" "Damon is back to the bullpenl" "That ball is...." "Caught" "I'can't believe it" Damon's got it" "He leaped over the bullpen railing and snatched the ball out of the sky" "I can't believe that catch. "Damon just made a devil of a catch", the announcer bellowed to the listening international "Red Sox" nation. In the stands there was an outburst of joy - second only to the fan fear for what the next Wakefield pitch would bring.. Pitching Coach Dave Wallace walked to the mound to see if Wakefield was losing his location..He would return to the dugout to tell his manager that Wakefield should be kept in. By this time, the Fenway Faithful were losing their faith. They wanted the knuckleballer out of the game . But their wish was not granted. Wakefield then made his next pitch. It was a ball to John Olerud...And then Wakefield delivered a second ball. From the stands, a chant could now be heard: "We want Foulke!"..."We want Foulke!". "They're calling for Keith Foulke." "The fans are caling for Keith Foulke", the broadcaster announced..."And frankly I don't blame them."."I think Wakefield has lost it"..But there was no movement from the dugout...Wakefield then delivered his next pitch. ""It's a ground ball to Pokey Reese.", the broadcaster proclaimed.. "The throw to first"..."It's an out" "The Boston Red Sox are now one out away from going to the World Series." The Fenway Faithful now relaxed a bit as Miguel Cairo strode to the plate...Wakefield quickly floated his next series of pitches into Varitek..."Ball One". "Ball Two". "Ball Three". "Ball Four". As Cairo walked to first base, Manager Francona went to the top step of the dugout trying to get Jason Varitek's attention. "Has he lost location, Tek?". Varitek shook his head sideways. Francona sat right back down. From the outdeck circle, "Mr. Yankee", Derek Jeter, calmly stepped to the plate. He was as focused as a ballplayer could be as Wakefield delivered his first pitch. Jeter swung and hit the ball high and far to left field. There was a collective gasp from the stands as the broadcasters described what was taking place. "Jeter swings..It's a high drive, deep to left field. "That ball is... caught" "Ramiriz has caught the ball..."I thought for sure that was out".."That wind must have changed direction at the last second". For a brief moment, there was silence in the stands - almost like the faithful did not believe waht they had just seen. The Red Sox are going to the World Series"..."They have finally defeated the Bronx Bombers", the broadcaster announced. The fans ran on to the field encircling the triumphant Red Sox. but there was a hesitancy to their actions...almost like there was still disbelief at what had taken place. The Red Sox went on to defeat an ancient and former neighbor in the World Series in four games straight. They defeated the Atlanta Braves. Fifty six years late and two franchise moves later, the Braves finally squared off with the "Old Towne Team" in a "subway series" and the Sox were victorious. But in reality, the Sox had already had their World Series four games earlier. The Red Sox and Red Sox Nation had finally beaten their old nemesis. They had finally beaten FEAR!
Edward, Red Sox in Four
As a life long (58 years is pretty long) Yankee fan, I firmly believe this is the best all around Red sox team I have seen. I also believe they are a little better than the Yankees, and of course there is the law of averages that would favor them. I think Boston has a great team and as a Yankee fan I respect the heck out of them. Having stated all of the above I am sad to report to all the Red Sox Nation that they will lose the ALCS once again to the guys from the Bronx. The Red Sox have the superior starting pitching but the Yankee lineup is too good to contain. Jeter will again lead the way with his glove, legs, bat and heart. A-Rod is not the same player Sox fans saw in April at Fenway. He was great in the series against the Twins and you can see it in his relaxed approch when he bats that he is very confident and dangerous. Shef will get clutch hits and in one of the games will hit a home run that beats Boston. The rest of the Yankee lineup (4-thru 9) I think you Boston fans know their names will get some big hits. Mussina is pitching better than he has all year. The Yankee starting pitching will not stop Boston's murderous lineup (Manny and Ortiz are as good a 3-4 combo as I have ever seen). but will contain them to a degree. I believe the Yankees are most concerned about keeping Damon off base and will be successful in doing that. As good as the Red Sox bullpen is they can't match Gordon and Rivera. They had some success against Mo this year but have they ever touched him in a playoff game? Lieber and Brown will be tougher than you think. Schilling, Pedro and Arroyo are a terrific threesome but each will give up at last one home run to a Yankee hitter at a inopportune time. Mr knuckleball has been horrible all September. If Boston wins I believe they have to win it quickly in 4 or 5 games. If it goes six or seven (my prediction is Yankees in 7. They won't lose a game 7) the "Yankee magic will surface" Boston will win one blowout game and so will New York, The other games will all be nail bitters. If Boston does win I hope they go on to win the world series because I am sick and tired of hearing the words "reverse the curse" That's it Yankees in 7.
Patrick, Yankees in 7
I"ve been a red Sox fan all of my life and I can't explain it, but this year is something special. So many things have happened that I feel were meant to be to get us here. In the beginning of the season, I, as I feel, many fans had quite a few doubts, which included a new manager, new shortstop & too many lineup changes every game; however, as the season progressed, I began to see subtle changes, which jelled this team as none before. 1: The emergence of Terry Francona as a competent & intelligent manager. 2: The rise of a young and talented pitcher in Bronson Arroyo. 3: The determination of Curt Schilling & Pedro Martinez to lead the team. 4: The wonderful friendship of the players with each other. 5: The very incisive & excellent trades made by Theo Epstein for Orlando Cabrera &Doug Mienkeiwicz to give the team wonderful added defense which was greatly needed. I see all of these things leading up to what has eluded us for so long, a fabulous team, well talented and ready to go all the way! The stage is set; raise the curtain & let the show begin!!
rudy, Sox in 5
This is going to be a great series with both teams evenly matched especially comparing position players and the lineups. However, I give the edge to the Yankees in 3 categories, their bench, their manager and the always-immeasurable intangibles. Their bench is deeper and more experienced. The Yankees have come from behind a record setting 61 times. The Yankees know how to win. The Red Sox know how to lose. Everyone is questioning the Yankees' starting pitching and giving the edge to the Red Sox. But that is only because of Schilling. Let him win his 1 or 2 games. But this series is going to come down to the team who has the lead going into the 7th and 8th innings. And in the non-Schilling games, the Yankees have the edge and will have the lead to get the ball to Gordon and Rivera. Game over, Series over, THHHHHHHEEEEEEE YANKEES WIN.
Victor Raimondi, Yanks in 6
The Sox will win in 6 games this year. Why? For the same reasons the Yankees usually make it to the World Series better defense and pitching. Both teams starting lineups are powerful. I can't say that one team is that much better than the other. The SOX are slightly better defensively - with the ability to put guys like Pokey Reese, Doug M., Gabe Kapler, and Dave Roberts into the field if the SOX have a lead late. They are also stronger up the middle. The starting rotation is the bigest Sox advantage. Curt Schilling is clearly stronger than Mussina and Pedro gets the nod over Lieber. Kevin Brown could play a big role as the Yankees #3 starter if he can get it going and the Yanks extend the series to a 7th game. Wakefield is the X factor he could play a big role in the pen and sgtart game #4. The Yanks Bullpen is slightly better than the SOX because of Mariano RIvera. Hopefully, he will be able to take part of the series. I like Timlin and Embree better than Quantrill and Sturtze, but the Sox do do not have an answer for Tom Gordon, last year we had Williamson I think the biggest disadvantage is that Rivera is the best closer in Post Season history. It will be a challenge for Foulke to match him inning for inning. Sox win games 1 & 5 Behind Schilling Yanks win game #2 over Pedro Yanks win a close one in game #3 Game 4 marks the return of Tim Wakefield and the Sox tie the series at 2-2. Game 5 is Schillings Show Pedro raps up game 6 Who is Who's dady>?
Dave , Red Sox in 6
Dear God, can we talk? I have an admission to make--I'm scared of the Yankees. Even more so than George Bush, Tom Delay and Dick Cheney combined. How could this be? Well, if you don't know by now, I must have been speaking to the wrong almighty all these years. Remember my request in 1986 and 2003, weren't you listening then?! Haven't you been the cause for our plight since 1918, or has the arch-angle been up to no good over the past 85 years? I've heard you control the outcome of everything (except Survivor-some say you despise reality shows)? Well God, Iím hear to say that I'm not praying to you for the next nine days because I know it won't work. Period. Why so jaded? I know you value hard work and honesty. But, what happened to fairness and good fortune? Haven't we suffered long enough? I know this is just a game and probably doesn't deserve the same credence as whatís on your "to do" list. But, I'm in a pickle. Oh, I forgot-I'm trying to avoid all contact with you for the next nine days. But wait, before I close, I want to say a few things about the 2004 Red Sox that might pique you interest and create some goodwill for this damned franchise. First of all, I've never had a much fun watching the game of baseball. I mean, have you seen these guys play? Have you read the Dirtdog column? Did you see the 180 Manny pulled this year or the smart moves from the front office (we can actually play defense and run the base paths this year)? Well if you have, you'd know what I'm talking about. Additionally, there's no pretense about their aim-which is to have fun and win ball games. This isn't a business to them. No cookie cutter within miles of Fenway. They actually empathize with their faithful base and appreciate their unwavering support. Not just millionaires that are inconvenienced for an autograph. That my Divine do-gooder is something that deserves your blessings. When was the last time you waited 85 years for something good to happen? Oh, you're still waiting? I'm sorry, you have more control over that than I do. Humans will be humans. But this humble servant wants you to understand that I'm not tuning you out in spite or anger. I just feel that I've used your divine ear for superficial reasons all my life. I know that I'm an adult and that loosing is part of life, and you have no interest in such petty prayers. However, please be fair and balance, like our news. No, scratch that idea. How about this. Tell the Babe that he's used up all his good luck and that regardless of how he feels about Boston, his life wasn't THAT BAD after we sold him to finance a Broadway play. I mean, the arts deserve a fair shake. However, ironically this move helped create another play--Damn Yankees. Hey, can I leave you with that idea? Damn (the) Yankees! Oh I forgot, I'm not asking for any favors this October. To the Globe. Sox in six games Yes, you can print this if need be.
Because we have more than one starting pitcher to rely on and the rotation is pitching on normal rest.
Joseph Stone, Red Sox sweep