Shame on me for not getting this up sooner. It truly demonstrates that we Boston sports fans are getting too lackadaisical in our passion for our sport's teams when our team makes the playoffs and we can't even take the time to do a quick celebratory blog post about it. I guess that's what two World Series wins, three Super Bowl wins (four appearances) and an NBA Championship in the span of seven years will do to you.
Rewinding to that last statement, I'm thinking that maybe our seeming complacency has less to do with being lackadaisical and more about high expectations for our local teams. Thinking back to the early eighties, I remember many Boston Celtic sports fans waiting until late February/early March to really check into the season. It wasn't because they didn't love the Celtics but rather they expected that they would be in the playoffs. In fact, they assumed that anything short of making it to the finals was a disappointment. That may come off as arrogant or detached but it's a reality. I believe it's one of the main reasons we as Red Sox fans have hated Yankee fans and Cowboy fans so much in the past. By the way, we're obviously starting to inspire some of this same hate in other fans (thanks to friend, Adam Cohen, for passing this along).
With all that said, I am very excited that the Sox are in the playoffs. It's been a little bit of an odd season as some of the posts on this blog have noted. The season opening in Japan and then pausing for a few west coast exhibition games was a weird start. Then we seem to have hit a disproportionate number of west coast games early on (I'm an early-to-bedder most nights so I can't stay up until 1:00 AM watching those games). Plus, the Sox seemed to be in cruise control most of the season in spite of the Rays besting them in August and September. Still, this is the fifth time in six years the boys from Beantown have been to the post season and I'm thrilled.
The big question now is how will we fare? Personally, I'm a little nervous but feeling better every day. Getting JD Drew back into the lineup last night was huge. More important is nursing Lowell back to a quasi-healthy state. I think we'll end up missing Manny's "clutchedness" in some of the big at bats but it seems like Youk and Pedroia are starting to fill some of that need. Also, Ellsbury is coming on at the right time. Pitching is mostly good and with the addition of Masterson to the core bullpen team, it seems like we're finding some stability beyond just Papelbon in the late innings.
There's no doubt that the Angels will be tougher this year than in years past. The Sox dropping eight out of nine to them this year is testiment to that fact. The Rays are also a force to be reckoned with although I'll be interested to see how they do in their first year ever in the playoffs. As we've seen in the past, having "been there" before matters more than ever in October although we've seen another team from Florida win twice over the last 12 years in spite of being a "rookie" team.
So ladies and gentlemen, stock up your refrigerators and your snack cabinets and grab your remotes. Hopefully we're in for a long ride over the next several weeks. Any predictions for a Manny vs. Ortiz world series?
Photo credit: Moon Battery