Results tagged ‘ Postseason ’
I have two minutes to write before getting my kids ready for school, and myself ready for work. Here’s what I have to say today:
I will run into and hear from scores of people who will either say out loud, or with their eyes and body language, “I was right to doubt the Red Sox — they couldn’t pull it off after all,” or, “Turns out you were wrong to believe the Sox would come all the way back, eh? ” My response to them is the same today as it would have been if the Sox had won game 7:
“Believing isn’t about being right or wrong, it’s a way of life. And life’s a heck of a lot more fun when you expect the unreal.”
Prior to the ALCS, I polled the 50 governors of Red Sox Nation, plus
our one mayor of D.C., asking them how many games they expected the
ALCS to go, and how they prefer to watch Red Sox playoff games if they
can’t be at Fenway. Now, as we head into GAME SEVEN versus the Rays, it seems fitting to highlight a few of those governors who predicted a 7-game series, and to visualize how fans across the country will be watching the game on Sunday night:
1. How many games do you expect the Red Sox will need to win the series with the Rays?
4 games – 2 votes (5%)
5 games – 10 votes (25%)
6 games – 18 votes (45%)
7 games – 10 votes (25%)
"The Sox will win in 7. We like the dramatic wins. The
downside is we'll wear out our fingernails. The upside is we get to
watch more baseball before the snow falls!" -- Eleanor LeCain, Washington, D.C.
“I’m thinking it’s gonna take 7, and the full 7 at that. Seems like
no game is over against these Rays until the last out is recorded.
Great team, fun to watch but we’ll take ’em!” — Nathan Emerson, Wyoming
“This will take 7. I am really hoping we don’t face 3 or 4 elimination games again.” — Ben Crawford, Virginia
“It’s going to go all 7 and its going to be THE most dramatic, emotional rollercoaster ALCS in a long time.” — Niki Gallagher, Nebraska
“This one’s going to take 7. Gonna be a dogfight.” — Lynn Kimball, Louisiana
“A gut-wrenching seven.” — Evan Welch, Colorado
“This series will go 7…This is turning into a great rivalry. The
Rays are the real deal and have proven that they are not intimidated.”
— Ben Maciariello, Oregon
2. If you can’t be AT the game, how do you prefer to watch Red Sox playoff games?
“Watching at home on my big screen TV, drinking root beer and praying!” — Eleanor LeCain, Washington, D.C.
“Since many of the games are on very late during the work week, I
end up watching most of them in my bed in a Red Sox shirt and shorts.
However, on the weekends, I prefer to watch the Red Sox games at a local bar with my family and boyfriend. I usually wear my “The Best Girls Root For Boston” shirt or one of my many other Red Sox shirts while drinking a Sam Adams Octoberfest. — Heather Mascuch, New Jersey
“If I’m not AT the game, I have the same seat at my house that I’ve
sat in for postseason games since ’99. It’s superstition that my mom
stays upstairs for the ALCS and can only come downstairs to watch the
World Series with my dad and me. Call us cruel but hey, if it works, it
works.” — Jared Carrabis, Massachusetts
“I prefer to be at home wearing my Yaz t-shirt underneath my Papi
jersey with the hat I bought just before the all-star break in ’04. I
have a 12 pk of Dr. Pepper and a couple of New Castles handy with salt
and vinegar chips and hot dogs. I normally don’t sit because I am
constantly pacing the floor with my hands on my head. And I carry
around something I like to call the “Mojo Stick” (read about it on my Sawxheads under blogs or rsnksgov.mlblogs.com) — Jonathan Sherman, Kansas
“Either in my living room on the edge of my sofa, with my good luck charm Masha my wonder dog close by, wearing my lucky Boston Red Sox apparel, drinking various Octoborfest beers, and eating a loaded sausage sandwich OR hosting a Boston Red Sox Party
at either of two incredible Bosox Friendly Establishments: Bridge
Street Cafe (soon to be Zack’s & Rocco’s) or at Revello’s Cafe,
both located in Old Forge.” — Bill Moore, Pennsylvania
have an awesome 92″ screen at home, complete with comfy recliners, a
cooler full of chilled adult beverages, and a souped up remote. I
worked hard for this perk and I enjoy it to the max with friends and
family!! HD makes you almost feel like you are there.” — Lety Haynes, Arizona
wears 33. Shaking hands with the manager on duty on the way to our
section. Making sure the sound is throughout the place and all the TV’s
are set to the Sox game. We make sure everyone has chips and salsa,
spend time meeting all the old and new Sox fans that have come out to
join us from all over the U.S., and make sure everybody is well taken
care of, AND THEN LEAD BY EXAMPLE !!! And don’t forget to take care of
your servers …. that goes a long way…” — John Matthews, Texas
few close friends (people that can handle me yelling at the TV). I
like to turn up the volume VERY loud, and sit about 6 inches from the
screen – that way there is absolutely NO chance I’ll miss something. I
also need to be holding onto something (especially if the game is
close) like a pillow – and of COURSE I have to be wearing my Red Sox
hat.” — Melissa Rehon, Utah
– it brings the Sox luck to have all three dogs on the couch –
unfortunately they don’t always know that! Go Sox!” — Karen Kupiec, Connecticut
and for every postseason game since then. I usually find myself
watching these games alone with a glass of water and a phone nearby for
brief conversations between innings. Honestly, I don’t have a
preference as to where I am, as long as I can watch EVERY PITCH. I
pretty much block out everything/everyone else while the game is on,
taking time between innings for brief conversations with others who
are also watching.” — Benjamin Crawford, Virginia
game where the Sox possibly face elimination, I tend to hide out at
home where I don’t necessarily have to pay for anything I might
‘accidently’ break.” — Glen Jardine, Vermont
the game, the more I prefer to watch at home, alone on my couch so if
something happens and I start to get nervous, I can flip away for a few
moments before tuning back in. If it’s early in the series, I would
prefer to go to a friend’s house or out to a local restaurant/bar and
watch the game with a small group of people.” — Rachel Yacouby, Maine
good group of friends and other fans. I like to pack my three couches
with people, grill some burgers, and make some chili dogs. Throw in a
few plates of BBQ nachos and you can’t find a better place (away from ) to watch the Red Sox.” — Garreth Blackwell, Mississippi
up in my Red Sox rally blanket, decked out in Red Sox gear, drinking
mojitos. That way I can throw my and shed my tears in private when things don’t go our way.” — Niki Gallagher, Nebraska
games at home and half out at a bar so when at home I really like to be
left alone and not talked to, sitting on the floor, drinking a Michelob Ultra Amber or , wearing Red Sox gear and yelling and cheering at the TV. When at a bar I usually go to Middleton Sport Bowl and drink taps of local Capital Brewery or Bud or . When I am out I like to talk and hang out with whoever might be joining me.” — Kellie Hernandez, Wisconsin
take the edge off the nervousness) so I can be really fidgety and yell
at the TV (or the FOX broadcasters, but that never happens….)” — Lynn Kimball, Louisiana
usually too nervous to sit so I meander back-and-forth from the kitchen
to the living room, peeking out from around the kitchen cabinets so my
wife and friends can’t see how anxious I am. “Jonny Bravo”
usually comes over wearing his winter Patriots hat (regardless of the
temperature inside or out), we make some wings, salsa con queso, or
other homemade bar food. This year, the beverage of choice will be Sam Adams Boston Lager as it was my good luck charm against, and source of constant harassment from, Rockies Fans last year.” — Evan Welch, Colorado
City whooping it up and celebrating like only an expat community can.
The scope of knowledge and passion among the fans of New York
that seek out the best place to watch games behind enemy lines is
astounding. I’m constantly amazed at all of the experts, celebrities,
and everymen (and everywomen) here that share the Red Sox as their
common bond.” — Chris Wertz, New York
friends. Everyone comes over and we have a great party with drinks and
food that my wife makes. Might not get the thrill of being there, but
we cheer like we are.” — Justin Robertson, Montana
clutching and swinging my black Commemorative “Crowing of a Champion”
Sox bat from ’05, wearing my authentic home #24 jersey (Dewey and
Manny!) and fitted blue Sox cap purchased from Twins, and sipping Coors Light from a bottle, frequently.” — Jason Downie, Maryland
Works on King Street in Charleston. I feel like I’m back in Boston when
we watch there. (A HUGE thank you to Tim, the owner, for getting in Fenway
Franks last week. I never thought I would see a top split roll in the
South!) If there is a game during the week, I am parked on the
couch trying to take minimal bathroom breaks. I am 6 months pregnant.
If I have to be out of the house or away from the Beerworks, I am tuned
into my XM Radio. No matter where I am, I have my Sox gear on.” — Traci O’Rourke, South Carolina
after a day of wiffle ball at Fenway West. Gotta be wearing my Sox hat
and standing behind the couch pacing and powerstancing. I would also
say the one advantage of being a West Coast Sox fan is that the games start at 5:30pm and even if they go extras I can watch NESN post game and still be in bed by 11 o’clock.” — Ben Maciariello, Oregon
This morning, while walking my children into their school, a friend of my 6 year-old’s told me, “My dad was at the Red Sox game last night, but he left after the top of the seventh inning.”
Then, at the coffee shop, the guy at the cash register (observing the B on my sweatshirt) said to me, “I assume you stayed up to watch that game. I turned it off after they went down, 5 to nothing. But what a comeback. That was unreal.” Then another woman in line said, “What, they WON? I was there but I left after the fifth inning. They WON?”
Yes, I was at the game last night, and I could write pages and pages about what I saw and what I felt. But the morning after the greatest comeback in League Championship Series history, I’ve gotta write about Yogi’s profound quotation, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
The whole reason to attend a baseball game is to see the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. If you are leaving a game before it’s over, or turning off your TV before the game ends, you haven’t yet evolved to the point of understanding what baseball IS ALL ABOUT. (Or, you fell asleep on your couch after a long day at work…. regrettable, but understandable.)
I know that there are many reasons to attend a baseball game besides seeing great comebacks. The festive atmosphere, majestic home runs, phenomenal defensive plays, spending quality time with a child or sibling… but the core point of baseball is to remind us all that, in life, anything CAN happen, and anything WILL happen. And the decision to stop watching a game before it’s completely over nullifies a fan’s potential to personally experience this amazing truth in all its glory.
Now, I must say that only about 10% of Fenway’s seats were empty when J.D. Drew smoked that game-winning line drive over Gabe Gross’s head in the wee hours of the morning. It turns out that most of the fans who ventured out to the game last night were the kind who always stay ’til the end, and based on the LOUD noise they made when Pedroia drove in the first run of the comeback (to make it 7-1 Rays, still a bleak situation), they were a fervent band of believers. They “get it” about baseball.
To suck all the juice out of being a baseball fan, you must become A BELIEVER. You must resist the tug of logic that lectures to you, “This game is over, there’s no way they can come back and win.” You must ignore the mature voices in your head that advise, “If you leave now, you can beat the crowd and be asleep in your bed by midnight. After all, big day at work tomorrow.” To be rewarded with all that baseball has to offer, you must bet the house every game. Truly expect something spectacular to happen, and sacrifice convenient home-bound transportation, sleep, and even your reputation as a grounded human being to the Diamond Gods. Have faith in the unreal.
People who leave games early have their feet planted firmly in “reality,” and in “rationality,” and in “the odds are…”, and in “being smart,” and in avoiding life’s (and baseball’s) sublime exquisiteness! People who leave Red Sox elimination playoff games early …. well, they just haven’t learned yet that you don’t do that, despite the lesson of Dave Henderson in 1986, and the lesson of Dave Roberts in 2004, and the many other startling lessons from recent Sox history (some happy memories, some not).
“The Rays haven’t lost a game all season when leading by 4 or more runs”…. “no team since 1929 has overcome a 7-run deficit in an elimination playoff game”…. “the Red Sox are slumping and the Rays are at the peak of their game”…. all of these “facts” scream at us to “face reality,” give up, and go home. But reality doesn’t exist until it unfolds before us, and over and over again Red Sox fans have learned that in postseason play, the reality that unfolds is usually shocking!
A friend came into my office this morning and said, “Watching those hits by Coco, Papi, and Drew — it was like a DREAM.” Not only was it LIKE a dream, it WAS a dream. Reality and rationality and the odds and being smart go right out the window when the Sox have their backs against the wall. Red Sox playoff games – indeed, ALL baseball games are dreams that we get to participate in with eyes wide open. And you don’t leave dreams early.
To download the songs, “I’m A Member of Red Sox Nation” and “Opening Day” for free, please visit my other blog, Crawdaddy Cove.
It’s fascinating to see how many people have given up hope for the 2008 Red Sox. Hello, don’t you realize that the season doesn’t even BEGIN for the Red Sox until they have their backs against the wall? And have you forgotten that the Red Sox have won 7 straight elimination games in the ALCS? To win those games, they had to defeat guys like Mariano Rivera, Kevin Brown, Mike Mussina, C.C. Sabathia, and Fausto Carmona. Is it really that unthinkable to add Scott Kazmir and James Shields to this list?
And it’s fascinating to me to hear people say, “Yeah, but this time, IT’S DIFFERENT.” Really? So, when the Sox were down 3-0 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS (after getting pounded in game 3), you had more faith in their potential to come back? And when they were down 3-1 to the Indians in the 2007 ALCS (after getting pounded in game 4), you had more faith in their potential to come back?
Look, when the Sox are down in the ALCS, their mojo turns around. Mark Bellhorn was 1 for 12 in the first three games of the 2004 ALCS, then he went 4-14 with 2 huge home runs in games 4,5,6, and 7. Johnny Damon was 1 for 18 in the first four games, then he went 5 for 17 in the next three games, with 2 huge home runs in game 7 in Yankee Stadium. I know, these guys aren’t even HERE this time around… but it’s the same uniform, and mojo carries over from year to year.
More evidence that the Rays are about to implode came over the newswire when we learned that Joe Maddon has decided to over-manage by switching up his rotation to pitch Scott Kazmir in game 5. MISTAKE. He has just messed with his team’s mojo and he’s about to learn a valuable lesson — don’t mess with your team’s mojo. With Kazmir pitching batting practice at Fenway tonight, we’ll win game 5 and head to the Trop with momentum. The fear we saw in the Rays’ eyes in game 1 will be back for games 6 and 7, and Beckett and Lester don’t lose big games. Good luck next year, Tampa Bay.
Am I the only one who is predicting the Red Sox will win their next three games? Are people so worried about their reputations, so obsessed with statistical probabilities (the chances of winning three in a row against an equal opponent is one in eight), so ignorant of what REALLY matters (mojo) that they have truly jumped ship?
Red Sox Nation, history has shown that Boston baseball memories don’t begin to be manufactured until TODAY, when the Red Sox MUST win. Buckle your seatbelt. If you can get a ticket, get your butt to Fenway. The 2008 Red Sox season is about to begin.
Sox in 7, then it’s bring on the Phillies.
Here are my thoughts as we gear up for the ALCS:
1) The day
that the Mets lost and the Brewers won, on the last day of the season
(breaking their first place tie), was one of the most exciting
baseball-viewing experiences I’ve had in the last few years. My son and
I were watching the Mets game on the TV and the Brewers game on MLBtv
(Internet), and even though I’m not a Brewers fan, I could feel their
hunger to make it to the postseason (for the first time in 26 years).
Sabathia pitched like a God. And the pain that Mets fans feel, having
lost the division on the last day of the season TWO YEARS IN A ROW,
might be their payback for games 6 and 7 of the 1986 World Series. What
comes around goes around…
2) The Cubs’ problems were clearly
mental. You don’t finish the season with the best record in MLB and
then drop three in a row in the Division Series unless you’re psyched
out. And you don’t make three errors in one inning with your ace on the
mound unless you’re psyched out. What did the Red Sox do after game 3
of the 2004 ALCS (down, three games to none) to gain the momentum
they’ve had ever since? They didn’t suddenly get BETTER. Something
clicked in their heads. Oh, what would the Cubs give for the formula
for that “click?”
3) I enjoy watching the NLCS games almost as
much as I will enjoy watching the ALCS games. It’s baseball. Playoff
baseball. Every at bat, every pitch is one of the most important in
each player’s career. This is what these players dreamed about, playing
wiffle ball in their driveways growing up. The thousands of hours of
practice, the hundreds and thousands of games they have played in their
lives, have all led to playing in baseball’s “final four.” Every
starter, every bench player, every relief pitcher, even the managers
and third base coaches could be part of a moment that will define their
careers — and it could happen at any time. Plus, these are great
players, many of them future hall of famers — Howard, Utley, Rollins,
Hamels, Lidge, Ramirez, Furcal, Maddux, Lowe, and of course, Joe Torre.
4) I sent out a new poll to the Red Sox Nation governors this evening. Here are my answers to my own questions:
I expect the Red Sox to win the ALCS in four games. That’s right, a
sweep of the mighty, precocious Rays. Yes, it’s hard to really imagine
sweeping, but I have difficulty imagining a Red Sox loss — in fact, I
refuse to imagine that. So, I predict a sweep.
b) The National
League team that I would prefer to face in the World Series is the
Dodgers. Why? Boston-L.A. is a raucous rivalry, and it would be a blast
to “beat L.A.” twice in one year. It would be a classic battle of
coasts, a battle of cultures, a battle of climates, a battle of styles.
It’s two teams with incredibly rich baseball traditions. It would be a
reunion of the 2004 Red Sox, with almost as many members of that Red
Sox team on the current Dodgers squad (Manny, Lowe, and Nomar, though
Nomar was only on the Sox for the first half of 2004). You know they’d
show lots of highlights of the ’04 Series if the Dodgers were our
opponent — and that would be fine with me. Even the Manny highlights.
I still love the guy and what he brought our team.
c) When I
can’t be at Fenway, my preferred mode of watching the Red Sox in a
playoff game is to watch in my living room, sitting half the time and
pacing the other half of the time, drinking a Polar Orange Dry soft
drink, either alone or with my nine year-old son. (I’m not the best
company during a Red Sox playoff game…. “anti-social” would describe
me well during these three hours….)
5) I love that Francona is
showing such faith in his pitching staff by keeping them in order…
Daisuke, then Beckett, then Lester, with Tim Wakefield thrown in for
I wish I had the energy to write everything I’m thinking about the last two games of the Sox-Angels series, but like most of Red Sox Nation, I am operating today on about 5 hours sleep (and that’s the TOTAL amount of sleep I’ve gotten over the last TWO nights), and like most of Red Sox Nation, I have a full-time job that continues to demand my time and brain power regardless of how late I’m staying up, and I have a slew of young children who claim every other waking minute, around the clock. Suffice it to say, WHAT A BALL GAME LAST NIGHT. And what a gutsy call by Angels manager Mike Scoscia is for trying the suicide squeeze with one out in the ninth in a crucial playoff game that’s tied. And will the Red Sox please re-train Jon Lester to think like a nine-inning pitcher? Or at least an eight-inning pitcher? He CAN’T come out of that game. GO SOX!!
More evidence that the Red Sox “own” the Angels mentally: K-Rod
throwing four consecutive change-ups to J.D. Drew when: a) K-Rod’s
fastball is devastating, and b) J.D. Drew has played irregularly over
the last month, has a stiff back, and should, theoretically, not have
his timing at 100%. When K-Rod is AFRAID to throw his fastball to J.D.
Drew with the go-ahead run on second base, a Red Sox win is a foregone
conclusion. It’s like hoisting a white flag.
Now, I wouldn’t be saying this if K-Rod had an off-speed pitch as
baffling as, say, Trevor Hoffman’s change up. But his change up is
simply above-average, and he pinned his team’s hopes on that pitch.
I find this as incomprehensible as Mike Scoscia not pinch hitting
for Howie Kendrick in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. The guy is
clearly psyched-out at the plate and has no chance of getting a big hit
in this series. You can see it in his eyes. He doesn’t think he belongs
here. He has watched several fastballs buzz down the center of the
strike zone without swinging, and has waved his bat at pitches that
aren’t close. Advantage: Boston.
Red Sox fans’ reaction to the fly ball hit by J.D. Drew that turned
out to be a two-run homer on Friday night was the SAME as the crowd’s
reaction to the fly ball hit by J.D. Drew that turned out to be a grand
slam in last year’s postseason. Off the bat, it looked like a routine
fly ball, and even as the outfielder went back, back, back, we still
expected it to be caught. Then, suddenly, it was in the seats, and it
took literally a full second to believe our eyes – on BOTH home runs.
J.D. Drew is truly the king of the “shocker home run” — shocking
because of their timing, and shocking because of the rocket launchers
that seem to kick in when the baseballs reach the apex of their flight.
They just keep going, going, going…. gone!
How valuable is Kevin Youkilis? He moved over to third base to take
the spot vacated by the injured Mike Lowell and proceeded to make TWO
stellar plays at third base — a barehanded, running, Mike Schmidt-type
stab of a grounder followed by a rocket throw to first base, and a
long-armed, reach-over-the-railing catch of a pop-up that was ticketed
for the camera dugout to make the peunultimate out of the game.
It’s difficult to imagine how diehard Cubs fans feel today…..
because it brings back a memory that I really don’t like to relive….