Monday, October 20, 2008

Wait 'til next year!

And the curtain rings down on the 2008 baseball season for the Boston Red Sox...

  • Another excellent year, and the organization looks strong for years to come. While the outcome is disappointing, Red Sox fans should look at this season as another success. What you want is an organization that's going to get your team into the playoffs consistently, with a chance to win it all. That's what we've got right now, and we should be rejoicing over it.

  • Obviously, Red Sox fans wanted it to go the other way. For non-Red Sox fans of baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays are the best story since the 2004 Red Sox. I said back in May that the team they most reminded me of was the 1967 Red Sox. A group of young, good players - that's the kind of team that makes big leaps record-wise. I didn't expect their pitching to be as good as it was, but that's a strong team, and should be for the next few years.

  • Memo to anyone that wants to make the "Hey, the Rays payroll was only x and the Red Sox payroll was 3x, so the Rays were lots, lots better and smarter" argument, don't bother. The Rays payroll is lower, not because Boston's overpaying lots of players, but because Tampa's underpaying lots of players. And they're underpaying lots of players because the players haven't done anything in the past, or they're just starting their Major League careers. If you finish last every year and get to pick first, you get to accumulate young talent (Longoria, Upton) that the Red Sox won't get a chance to acquire until they're older and much, much more expensive. That's life. Most "the team was really bad for a long time than took a big leap forward" teams are going to be far less expensive than "consistenly excellent for a long time" teams. That's the way the system works. Tampa's had a very well run organization for the past few years - to use the payroll as an argument that they're better run than the Red Sox would be a mistake.

  • I think that Boston was a better team than Tampa this year. Not a lot better, but better. I'm not sure that they were better when the playoffs started. Not having Lowell, and having only a shadow of Beckett - that makes a huge difference.

  • It's not Terry Francona's fault that they lost, but I don't think he had a great series. In particular, there's just no excuse for Varitek making the third out of the seventh inning last night with the tying run at third base. I know that everyone loves him. I know that he had a big hit on Saturday night. But he's had an absolutely awful year, and it was imperative to put someone up at the plate with a better chance of getting a hit, or at least not making an out, than him. They took a third catcher, instead of a useful bat, then had no bat to use for the catcher. But Casey, Lowrie - anyone - would have been a better option there.

  • "Wait 'til next year" has a completely different feel since 2004...

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