Monday, October 29, 2007

2007 World Series Champions: Boston Red Sox

2004 was no fluke. Alright, even Tim McCarver could tell you that (and he did, repeatedly), but what does 2007 really mean? It means that the new dynasty has arrived. As if Boston sports wasn't doing well enough, they now can add another World Series to their ongoing list of accomplishments. And there will be more. Bostonians are no longer cursed, they are blessed. This new century is starting off remarkably close to the last one, as now the Red Sox are again the team to beat in the MLB. Sweeping the Colorado Rockies on Sunday night with a 4-3 win, the Sox used outstanding pitching, timely offense and perfect managing to gain their second championship in four years. They were dominate.

The Unknowns

Josh Beckett. David Ortiz. Manny Ramirez. J.D. Drew. Curt Schilling. Dice-K. Jonathan Papelbon.

We know these names. We know what positions they play and what their faces look like. We are familiar with their careers and their accomplishments. Then, you say these names:

Dustin Pedroia. Jacoby Ellsbury. Mike Lowell. John Lester. Kevin Youkilis. Hideki Okajima. Bobby Kielty.

Otherwise known as "Who?", these were the players that brought the Red Sox their trophy. These were the heroes of the 2007 World Series. While the Boston superstars predictably did their part, it was these no-names that pushed the Sox over the edge, and into the history books. Pedroia hit a home run in his first World Series at-bat, Kielty provided the pinch-hit homer that became the winning run in Game 4, Youkilis hit four homers in the postseason, Ellsbury hit .360 in the postseason, Lester became the first pitcher since 1950 to win the deciding game of a World Series in his first postseason start, and Okajima pitched 8.5 innings of relief without allowing a run. Mike Lowell? He's the World Series MVP.
How's that for production?

The Superstars
Beckett is becoming a postseason legend before our eyes. He pitched 30 innings this postseason with a 1.20 ERA, winning all four of his starts. Ortiz and Ramirez hit four homers each, Schilling and Papelbon were dazzling as always, and Dice-K won when it mattered. The surprise? J.D. Drew and his 11 RBIs. He increased his RBI per at-bat ratio from 13% in the regular season to 21% in the postseason. His batting average went from .270 to .314. He hit a grand slam in Game 6 of the ALCS. The city of Boston was ready to let him go after his first year in a Red Sox uniform, but now he is a hero with the rest of them. His flip-flop from a bad regular season to a tremendous postseason makes him the anti-Alex Rodriguez. What more could you ask for?

The Manager
Terry Francona is the best manager in the majors. Period. Every move he made, from starting Ellsbury to bringing in Kielty, worked like a charm. He kept his guys loose, was never caught out-thinking himself, and has as much class as anyone in the league. He was the guy who brought the end of The Curse, and now he is at the forefront of the next dynasty in baseball. On the other hand, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle just about blew it. He shifted his infield the wrong ways. He went to the wrong pitchers at the wrong times. He refused to alter his lineup in a way that it demanded. He stopped having fun. Colorado got to the World Series by having fun, but from Game 1 it was apparent that the players were pressing. Still, they could have never got there without him, so in that sense he should be congratulated.

The X-Factor
The Red Sox took a page from the Rockies' book by being the loosest team I have ever witnessed. This became apparent on Sunday night, were cameras showed David Ortiz sticking bubblegum on Dice-K's hat, ending with laughter and a choreographed handshake once the Japanese pitcher figured it out. The Sox were in the most important game in their lives, and here they were playing jokes on each other. You had Papelbon's Riverdance and the bullpen drumline. And of course, there was Manny Ramirez, possibly the loosest player of all time. Other teams, take note: this is how you win championships.

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, winners of the 2007 World Series.


Anonymous said...

The Sox deserved to win. Congratulations to them!

Marc said...

Great photos. I only wish I had been able to stay awake for the big celebration after the victory!

Congratulations to the Red Sox, and keep Mike Lowell in Boston! (And just say no to A-Rod!)

JFishSports said...

Yeah, they need to start those things earlier.


omg if schilling doesnt come back that will be like the end of the world because if he doesnt come back this year last year would have been his last years

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work. general health

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