Rays 2, Red Sox 4.
Watched from the 5th. Highlights:
– Beckett, looking a bit more like his old self.
– The broadcasters scanning the Tampa Bay crowd during a pitcher switch at score of Boston 4, Tampa 2, showing very sober and depressed looking Rays fans, and one yawner.
– Varitek’s homerun. Yes, the come back score was nice, but it was nice to see that Varitek, whose offense has falls the past two years, be able to clutch.
– Bradford’s underhand pitch still throws me off. Especially when he was pitching Ortiz’s intentional walk.
– As much as it stung, I had to admire the calculated risk the Rays made to walk Ortiz and hope for a double play out of Youk in the 8th. Because I still thought that was a risky bet.
– Upton’s ungraceful foul.
– Youk’s catching the final out.
– I watched without sound. The audio was getting chopped up.
– After a game like this, one has to wonder if the World Series would be this exciting. ALCS does it again.
– The core 2007 WS team may still be around, but it’s not the same team.
– Some of those 1-2-3 innings flew by in a flash. This multi-tasker has
been busted for missing out a lot. But, I caught the last two scoring
runs, so I don’t feel so bad 🙂
– I’m still amazed everytime I watch Masterson pitch. Remember, this kid was in the double As just this spring.
– I don’t think I can watch in the Rays’ stadium. Those cow bells will drive me crazy. I get irate enough just dealing with my coworker’s whistling as it is.
– Series count: Boston 3, Tampa 3. This is beginning to look like a regular pattern.
Finally, unrelated, but just as important:
I voted in the 2008 Presidential Election. You should as well.
Time for RedSox.com and Boston.com to update their sites from those features of the Sept 1 no-hitter to include today’s amazing feat. Lester. What a kid.
May 19, 2008. Another date to remember.
After last year’s game, Buchholz turned into Red Sox Nation’s sweetheart, having many fans root hard for his being brought onto the starting line-up.
But, Lester had always held a soft spot in my heart. As a cancer survivor, he demonstrated poise, perseverence, and amazing strength to defeat the disease and come back to professional baseball. His clinching the final World Series game last year was so fitting. What is so goose-bump inducing is that he will only continue maturing and getting better.
The front office is definitely seeing payoff in their investments in the younger players.
Probably the biggest star by the long run would be Varitek. The team owes him much for leading two young pitchers into exciting milestones. This brings his record of caught no-nos to an impressive 4.
What amused me is the rather neutral and bland post-game email Red Sox sent out:
I’m clapping like a gleeful 4-year-old with the news of the clubhouse exercising the option for Wakefield. Yes, he is injured. Yes, he had not had a good postseason. Yes, he had not had a good end of the regular season. But 17 wins in a season? It counts for something. It counts for a lot. Then there is also the intangible.
I alluded often to the “Red Sox identity.” The postseason really emphasizes on how professional baseball is different from school teams. It’s business. I don’t say it in a demeaning way, just factually. But, given all that, once the player is on a team, he plays for the team. I didn’t see a single person on that team being half-hearted about the World Series win, even if he was bound for free agency. All this, after all, is a team sport.
But some players got deeper into the sense of team and seem to adopt the team as his home team. Those players identify themselves as a member of that specific team, regardless of pay, and regardless of team’s hardware or lack thereof. Of course, this sense of is limited to some common sense factors like decent treatment from the clubhouse, some level of loyalty to the coaching staff and nucleus team composition.
Some players I feel had developed a true sense of Red Sox identity:
- Varitek (obviously, the captain)
- and Wakefield (for whose return I truly celebrate)
Some, I hope, will develop as they go deeper into their budding careers, and some of whom are starting to show it, but are really too rookie to tell:
Finally, some who want to, providing the club demonstrates some reciprocal treatment:
- Schilling, to some degree
And I’ll dare to say it: sometimes I feel Manny is Red Sox, other times I wonder if he plays more for himself. He certainly has helped define the Red Sox with his seemingly carefree and loose attitude. But who has his loyalty? We may technically hold the contract but what is his heart saying? I can’t tell.
Also, I have no idea where to place Crisp and Beckett. I hope Beckett joins the club in more ways than a contractual agreement. Being the ace certainly made him more appealing but how red does he bleed? How red is he capable of bleeding?
I am so sleep-deprived it really isn’t all that funny anymore. The excitement of the games really haven’t been helping me sleep well.. or sleep enough, for that matter. My daily cup of strong coffee isn’t cutting it. Last night, I was so out of it I forgot to set my own alarm. I guess a sign of getting old is when your body automatically wakes up at an early hour even though you have never been a morning person.
A loss. This doesn’t bode well for my sleep either. But, before we drag our feet with bowed heads to bed, I have some nicer things to say.
Varitek: Welcome back to the world of connecting with the ball. I was truly glad to hear your homerun crack. There’s no question about your value in the team… you’re not captain for nothing. But you are capable of hitting and hitting well and it was tough for all of us to watch you work through a slugging slump. Three homeruns in less than a week, welcome back.
JD Drew: In a way, I feel sorry for the grief you go through. You, too, have been hitting the ball lately. Your current month batting average is listed as .323, which was probably more along what the team needs and what the front office anticipated when they brought you on. In a way, batting averages are like stocks; past performance is not necessary an indicator of what is to come. But at the same time, the numbers to represent what is possible and what the trends can be. So, congrats on the improved on-bases and I wish you luck. Really. I hope you contribute in a big way and force fans to swallow their words. The team has nothing to gain from the proving otherwise.
… that Beckett may have a shot for #21 as well?
Instead of dwelling on that, I figured it’s time I list out some of my favourite Red Sox players, in no particular order:
- Ellsbury: What a sensation! And a joy to watch! I hope this is the beginning of a long and great career. He certainly has much in store for him. He runs like lightening, hits remarkably well, and dares to take risks defensively and offensively. For some reason he makes me think of a younger (and more clean-shaven) and outfielder version of Garciaparra.
- Pedroia: Size doesn’t matter for this guy. Quick on his feet and in his mind. He has saved many pitchers from possible earned hits with his good reaction times and great defense. The fact that he has one of the highest batting averages known to rookies and veterans doesn’t hurt, either. Although he has been overshadowed by Ellsbury lately, I haven’t forgotten how much he has done and continues to do.
- Beckett: 20 wins. Need I say more?
- Lowell: He considers himself a lowkey player in this team. Yeah, right. That attitude makes me only like him more.
- Hinske: He is entertaining!! Every time I see him, I think he belongs on a football field, not in the baseball diamond.
- Varitek: His batting has been pretty bad lately but I will always respect him for his leadership. He has guided many pitchers, young and old, through many wins. Buchholz’s no-hitter against Baltimore was a sensation; I think Varitek had far more influence in that win than the media credited. Here’s to hoping that he will bring his slugging self back to form for the play-offs.