Tagged: Rockies

Belated acknowledgement: Rockies

OK, after all this revelry, all this celebrating, all this afterglow, it’s beyond time we acknowledge the Rockies their due. Again, caveat. The last time I watched a Rockies game before the World Series was the wildcard tiebreaker. And even that was the tail end. So I didn’t see how they won their 22 game streak. I didn’t see how they outplayed the respective division titles. So my knowledge is based on what I saw in the World Series alone.

     I have to admit, I was disappointed. I really thought we’d see more a spark from the Rockies then they actually gave. There were moments, but it didn’t carry long. I don’t know if it’s because they never could get the flame back up or because they simply pale in comparison to the Red Sox.

     The Red Sox has played against some very classy teams on their climb up. The Indians really impressed me. And so did the Rockies. When the age range is literally, 27-29, the team has demonstrated a lot of accomplishment. The night they were playing Game 3, I watched a portion in a bar/nightspot where a lot of kids that same age were there for Halloween revelry. What a difference in behaviour between those on tv and those around me.

A majority of the key Red Sox players are in the same age range (Beckett, Youkilis, Papelbon, Matsusaka) and some even younger (Lester, Pedroia, Ellsbury), these guys have the benefit of mentorship from all the older player, almost all of whom already had a WS ring. In that mix, too, Youk and Beckett both already had World Series experience in their belts.

Compare that to the Rockies. For a very young team, arguably, their only real “veteran” is Helton. Interestingly, the Red Sox tried to pick him up last winter but couldn’t agree on terms with the Rockies. Losing always stings. But I hope that after the initial sting fades away a bit, the team will remember how much they accomplished and how they defied all odds to get there.

Take Cook for example. He impressed the heck out of me. Both he and Lester each had a terrific outing. While Lester was really tentative with the bat, watching strike after strike whizzing past him, Cook was not only pitching well, but also fielding well. His terrific defense and stopping the hits right at the mound has costed the Sox many a hit opportunity. In most of those cases, AL pitchers  have been taught to back away and let the infielders make the play. Cook didn’t. Yes, he took the loss. But he has demonstrated that he is ready for the next season.

In some ways, the inexperience showed. The batters were quite impatient. They reminded me of rookie Pedroia’s mini-slump in the early parts of the ALCS. It looked like he was trying to hit hard and out of the ballpark. Versus just getting on base for a lead off. The Rockies as a whole were the same. The closer to the end of the game it was, the wider those swings got and the quicker they gave them.

They are far too professional to say it. I’ll say it instead. I think the 8 day break hurt them a lot. I can’t imagine the Rockies we saw in the World Series were the same Rockies on a 22-win streak. That the Rockies we saw played the same way to win the division and league series. No, I think the long break may have played a part in dampening their spree.

All that said, anyone with basic knowledge of baseball can tell there is a lot of potential in that team, whether or not that was realised in the series. Each and all of those players have a long and great future in front of them. We’ll have to wait and see to see if the team’s spree was just the beginning of a trend that will carry into next season.

In the meantime, thank you Rockies. For an amazing postseason. For being the Cinderella story. For inspiring so many people, Rockies fans and otherwise. There are many new teams waiting for their turn in the postseason. You, no doubt, have sparked a sense of hope in a lot of them.

World Champions!!!

Red Sox wins Game 4 and the World Series!!!!

C’mon, Jon!!! I’m not going to bed until I see RiverDance III. Don’t make me stay up all night. Unlike you, my workweek is just starting.

Because his intensity so well expresses the team and the fans:

(Boston.com)

Congratulations, Sox.
Congratulations, Lowell on WS 2007 MVP. You were truly underheralded, until now. I can’t believe the broadcasters are talking nonsense about replacing you with A-Rod. The Red Sox needs you. Stay.
Congratulations, Francona. For excellent leadership and extreme patience.
Congratulations, Rockies. For being such a great class act. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished. You’ve got much coming ahead of you.

Scary game. Geez. Was I ever nervous. What a nice ending, tense, suspenseful, and oh-so-close. None of the 5+ point lead with absolutely no question of the win. Which makes this win all the sweeter.

Thank you, Red Sox. For an amazing season. For an amazing run in the postseason. For reminding the fans what it means to be faithful. For showing us what winners are made of. For a sweeping finish. For backing your teammates all the way from the pitching all the way down to the pinch hitting. For giving Lester the win. Now, go home and celebrate with your family and the fans.

Thank goodness. No more late nights. No more fidgeting over the small stuff (baseball). No more sleepless nights. No more of my friends calling me crazy. No more- Oh.

                     

Dammit.

                         

No more baseball.

                              

D.a.m.n.

Thank friends for small favours

Let me caveat this post-game post with this: I did not watch the game closely. My generous hostess left the tv on to let people switch between the various ball games going on, including the Red Sox. So I was able to catch tidbits while still playing role of the attentive guest. So, I will rely on the journalists and you bloggers to fill in the details for me to piece together and reconstruct how the game went.

Yes, I know Boston won. I also turned my head in time to watch Holliday’s 3-run homerun, destroying the seemingly untouchable lead created by the Sox early on. That is one player every pitcher should be afraid of. Just as any pitcher would dread the Ortiz-Manny-Lowell trio.

I believe we gained more tacos, thanks to both teams.

So, I can’t figure out if it was the game of testing the will of the relief pitchers or of good ol’ basehitting. I’m leaning towards the latter. The varied batting order has definitely paid off.

Partly due to not putting 100% attention into the game, I was so confused and lost with the switching players, pinch hitting, and what not. It took me a while to figure out that Ellsbury had been shifted to right- not left- field at the end of the game, allowing for Crisp to come in. I saw quickly that Youk was put into first. All strategic decisions that I can understand although I was surprised that Drew was taken out. The batting order confounded me so much, especially since I got lost on the outfield shuffle. The other guests and I were trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I realised how well I knew the Red Sox when I found myself reciting the announced line-up to figure out who had done what and how the individuals got on base at that moment. For what it’s worth, I impressed a lot of the other guests!

A fellow Sox fan friend and I stopped by a local bar/club/nightstop to catch the last two innings of the game. We both were so impatient during the commercials; we were oblivious to most of the dancing, bumping, grinding going on around us. We just watched to catch the secured win through the bopping and hopping sombreros blocking our view. It was something, watching the Sox win, and realising the crowd around us couldn’t have cared less, bopping, bumping, grinding on without missing the loud music beat.

Dice-K gave us his five innings. Well done. Lester steps up to the mound in his place tomorrow. The fact that he is a survivor already amazes me. The fact that he is getting to start a game with the team in a good position makes me happy for him.

Pictures:

Did Dice-K run to 1st with the bat in his hand?!

Boston.com

Don’t celebrate presumptuously. Of all teams, the Sox knows best that it is possible to climb out of a hole. And that can go both ways. So, revel in another win and being one step closer to the hardware, but don’t dismiss the work still needed.

Homefield advantage

Remember all the talk about how Wakefield will need to pitch before the games move to Colorado because of the thinner air resistance?

I didn’t even pay attention to that. Instead, I was remembering back when I used to go to Denver for a project several times a year. I spent so much time there that I know that area better than some parts of my homestate. My clients there even joked that they will clear out a broom closet for me to store my ski gear so I don’t have to lug it back and forth every single time. When my cousin was stationed in CO Springs, we met up up in Denver and *I* would be the one showing her around.

With all the traveling I did, I made effort to work out lightly but regularly. Business trips can take a toll on the body. Knowing that impresses on me how baseball players have a toughness about them to be able to endure the constant traveling and the long season of almost daily games. Despite many of their seemingly portly appearances, those athletes have to be healthy to maintain that kind of a grind.

I was floored every time I go to Denver how quickly the altitude would affect me, an avid skiier. Skiing isn’t all that bad in terms of cadiovascular effort. Gravity does most of the work. Jogging, on the other hand, can completely undo me even thought I’m a cold-weather jogger.

Now my big question is how ready is the Red Sox for the altitude, physically? Mentally, the altitude didn’t defer me until my body came to a screeching stop and panted “wait. a. minute. o.x.y.g.e.n! N.e.e.d. o.x-” Granted, baseball is not a heavy endurance, high energy activity like basketball and football, or long-distance runs, but with only one day to travel, little time for the body to acclimate, do we know how our athletes will react? Given the different leagues, Coors Field is not a regular visiting place for the Red Sox.. it’s not something I would imagine the trainers focusing on during the regular season (I don’t know if they do in the other NL teams, for that matter, either).

Add Dice-K to the recipe, who can throw an amazing game but has lately been showing that his endurance is not that high. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not expecting altitude sickness to be a factor, but I don’t want people to underestimate the effects of altitude. We just may see more long balls but also a couple slower runs. I’m happy to be proven wrong, but I’m not ready to dismiss climate changes.

That is why I feel better with Red Sox going into Denver with a 2-0 lead. I’m not ready to dismiss the Rockies. Not when they have the homefield advantage. At least we can make it back to Fenway if we need to get to that point.

I still wanna dance a jig

It’s as rainy down here as it is up there. I like the colder air, though. Autumn has been a long time coming. Autumn is the postseason.

For some reason unknown to me, Glory Days has been playing in my head. Other than the first line of the lyrics having the word “baseball” and a surprisingly upbeat melody, I can’t find any correlation. I guess it’ll be a matter of time before thr Dropkicks take over Springstein in the gray matter up there.

What’s up with this? Does he think this will woo the New England states? I won’t vote based on fan base, c’mon. Kerry tried.. and he already represented Massaschusetts. See where that got him. Give me more credit that. But the last sentence makes me feel a bit better about this business.

For me, watching last night’s game was a way of introduction to the Rockies and how they play. Not bad but I wasn’t all that impressed. This *is* the World Series. I guess the whole talk about “rested and rusted” might come into play here. Definitely a young crew. I hope they bring out their better stuff tonight because, while I want the Sox to win, I also want to watch a good game of baseball. I’ll say this though: all teams kinda begin to look alike when facing Beckett.

Red Sox meant business

a whooping 13-1 game.. but, Sox fans, before you start gloating too much, let me remind you the last time we thought the Sox were going to steamroll over the other team was the Indians in the ALCS. 10-3, c’mon, how bad can it get, right? Yeah, don’t you start protesting that you never flinched.

On the other hand, what a long long game. We ended up packing up early so I can drop some of my friends off at their respective homes so they don’t have to walk in the late hour and in the rain. I didn’t miss much. The score was what we left it as. And apparently leaving the just-right conditions for Gagne to pitch another clean closer.

       

Why did Clint Hurdle keep Speier in as long? I had to look up the play-by-play account to double check me facts. I didn’t realise they switched out Morales (I was otherwise distracted by my friends) but that was one long long inning. I’m not complaining at all as a Sox fan. But as a spectator I was baffled by how Speier stayed. It was only for three batters, but it felt like a lot more. I know I have the benefit of hindsight; he should have been yanked after the second walk. Not that one run would have made a difference but it was surreal watching the walking runs.

      

The run by Pedroia was, with lack of better vocabulary, awesome. Talk about fueling momentum of a team, especially after an 1-2-3 first half by Beckett. Keep it up, guys! But stay focused. Do what you’ve been telling the press: that the Rockies have an awesome thing going and you need to take them seriously. Then we’ll have a good series.

An image for the game:

From Boston.com. Look at the caption. I want to bluster “Yes, he DID! Look at the pitcture itself!!!” No, I’m not blaming the umpire. Watching it live, I can imagine it being called a tie.

I have many more thoughts about the Sox, the roster, and the game.. but will have to wait until after I get some sleep. I already begged pardons preemptively for my behaviour at work for this month, but I don’t want to push the envelop on my colleagues’ patience. Not yet.

The Monday after

I spent all Sunday morning and early afternoon basking in the happiness that the Red Sox survived the ALCS to play Game 7. Today, I didn’t have a chance to do the same for the fact that the Sox won the ALCS. Mondays, ugh. I already was late, bleary eyed from staying up to watch the game and had to work late to finish up a couple projects.

                  

A lot of teams feel that the east coast teams always take the limelight, and always have an inherent advantage. I could literally feel the resentment out of some of those fans for other teams. I’m trying to see it from their perspective, but I. Just. Cannot. Not because I don’t want to. I have felt like, for years (most of my life, for that matter), that the Red Sox was the underdog, the team that could just make it but never quite finish the show. There were the 80-some odd years drought before the Red Sox won another world series championships in 2004. Before that, I felt like we just kept mucking it all up each time an opportunity was presented to us. Yet, the non-Red Sox spectators complain that it’s always about us. Is it, really?

                            

Now, home to relax, take care of bills, and contemplate succumbing to the temptation to do this.

                  

More reflections on this past series. I actually felt bad that Cleveland lost. I never thought I would appreciate them as much as I did. They were strong and they really played well, especially in games 2, 3, and 4. They made the Red Sox work. They caught the Sox slacking and they took advantage of it. While it eventually worked out for the Sox as they righted  ship and came back from behind, I have come to appreciate the talent that Cleveland holds. There is so much potential in that team and I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the near future. As long as it is not at the expense of the Sox. Also, they show class, even at the face of a loss.

            

Finally, looking onwards to Wednesday’s game. It’s tough to guess which way the favour will swing. Red Sox, as an organisation, has more experience. But the Sox is literally propped up and half-run by the rookies this year so, collectively, not as much experience. Yet, I was still amused by this comparison.

I’m still rooting for the Red Sox. But part of me wonders if the Rockies will continue their trend and winning spree. Another day, another time I would have rooted for them, but, again, not at the expense of my team. No way.