Posted by: Mark Nielsen | October 24, 2007

The Passion and the Terror: Red Sox in the Series

Yes, major league baseball really did save the best for last: the drama of the Rockies once-in-a-lifetime, impossible end-of-the-season and postseason run, meeting the original Cardiac Kids of the World Series. (Wave it fair, Fisk… wave it fair.)

Get ready for all the broad (and usually clumsy) broadcast metaphors about high mountains and deep valleys, about David and Goliath, about the stodgy old East Coast MLB team handing the torch to the “new kids” out West (except, lest we forget, Arizona already won it all a few years back, with Schilling helping). And you can bet they’ll tell us about the threat of snow. And they’ll pull out a few “extreme sports generation” comparisons for some Rockies player, just to try for a snowboarding tie-in, to hold the interest of disinterested 18-35 year-olds who don’t have the patience for a leisurely-paced sport like baseball anymore.

I just watched a little ESPN SportsCenter World Series montage of Top Ten Plays, or most dramatic plays, or something like that. It featured things like the famous Willie Mays over-the-shoulder running grab, the Don Larsen perfect game, the Kirk Gibson walk-off homer for the Dodgers… and the two big heartbreakers for the Red Sox (the Carlton Fisk 1975 homer off Cincy in Game 6–only to lose in Game 7, and the missed 1986 grounder by a first baseman who shall remain nameless, out of respect). All the other teams in the ESPN feature had their great plays featured. Only the Red Sox were featured for their blown opportunities.

But the monkey’s off their back now. They won it all in 2004 against improbable odds. So now I suspect it’s their turn to hand over the heartbreak trophy to the Rockies (to be shared with the Cubs, of course). Why? Because the Sox just flat-out have more talent.

Sure, you’re sweet and cute and fun and all that, Colorado. And maybe you can hit those pansy National League pitchers pretty well. But all the superstitions about Mile High baseball and charmed seasons and amazing momentum won’t stand up to Cy Youngster Beckett, and wily old Schilling, and Big Papi, who’s got that fire in his eyes again and is gonna hit that ball about three miles in the thin air of the Denver night.

There will be drama, no doubt. There will be hope, and dread, and new heroes, and maybe a new goat or two. But the sleeping dog is awake, and the BoSox will win it in six games.

At least I hope it only takes six. Because if there’s a seventh game in the World Series, Madame Destiny automatically takes over, at which point the Red Sox will inevitably reclaim the heartbreak trophy once again.


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