Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tampa goes up 3-1

So Boston's down 3-1 in the ALCS. I do not feel this the way I once would have. I'm older, and my perspective has changed. The Red Sox have won the World Series twice recently. And they've got a management team that understands how to use its (formidable) resources in a game where 4 out of 14 teams makes the playoffs every year. So if they lose tomorrow, there's every reason to think that they'll be back in the post-season next year, and the year after that. So my angst is minimal.

Not to say that the last couple of games have been enjoyable. They have not. It's no fun to be out of it before it starts, and that's the way the last couple have felt. But if the ride is over for this year, it's been a good ride, and, while there will be, as there always is, some player turnover, the ride isn't over for this basic team. Next year's Red Sox, with Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Papelbon, Ortiz, Pedroia, Youkilis, Ellsbury, Bay, Drew and others, will almost certainly be playing October baseball again.

And there's no reason to think that they CAN'T win this series. After all, their last seven ALCS games have come in "lose and go home" situations, and they're 7-0. (Time for the old "now they've got the Rays just where they want them!") They're extremely unlikely to win out again, but that's life.

I think that this is an appropriate time to quote something that a wise (ha!) man wrote just about a year (actually, exactly 52 weeks) ago:
Francona managed game 2 just fine, he managed game 3 just fine, he managed game 4 just fine. The players haven't gotten the job done - that's life - it happens. It's baseball. The idea that this 7 game series tells us anything about these teams that the 162 games of the regular season didn't is laughable. It determines a "champion" but it doesn't pick the best team - just the one who plays the best in 4 of 7. It is frustrating, and we would much rather see them win than lose, but the other team gets paid, too, and sometimes that's just what happens. The Red Sox certainly aren't out of this series, but the odds of them winning are not good. Whether they come back and win, or go down in game 5, this is an excellent team, with a good manager, that had a very good year. Winning the World Series is special and important, but the post-season is a crapshoot - the organization has to think in terms of putting together a team that can get there consistently, because that's how you win World Series - you get to the post-season and have a good run at the right time.

Really, I've got nothing to add to that...

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