Is it the same? No. There’s only one first time, as they say.
Is it any less sweet for that? Next question.
This year’s April to October odyssey, replete with the requisite Greek tragedies, is now come to an end. And the good news – on this day where bad news is nothing but more than a distant rumor – is that the last team standing is none other than mine, and hopefully your, Boston Red Sox.
The winning pitcher was undergoing chemotherapy but 10 months ago, as a 22 year old. The series MVP was considered baggage at the time of his acquisition. One of the could-have-been MVPs was a 24 year old 5 foot 6 second baseman, the other was another 24 year old – the first Navajo to appear in the major leagues. Or maybe you’d vote instead for the 27 year old pitcher who gave up 36 home runs last year to turn around and become the most dominant postseason pitcher we’ve seen since…well, when?
Besides the way they played which speaks for itself even in boxscore form, I’m proud of the way the team has conducted itself, both for the postseason and over the long grind of a 162 games. Apart from the usual bizarre Manny antics and Beckett’s tendency to unleash the f-bomb in postgame interviews, the players have respected themselves, their opponents and the game. Which makes it all the easier to be proud of them today, and proud whether they win or lose.
It is my sincere hope that the Red Sox front office takes that into consideration this offseason, as the man who is unquestionably the best player in the game today appears to not share that same respect. And while it would be both unfair and inaccurate to pin the repeated postseason failures of Rodriguez’ teams on him, it is worth noting that no team paying a player more than 16% of its payroll to a single player has ever won the World Series. I’d prefer that we not try to be the first, and I know exactly how good he is.
So memo to Theo: get on the phone, bring back Lowell, and let’s get after it for 2008. I can’t wait to sit on the boat next summer and listen to Buchholz and Ellsbury light things up.
In the meantime, someone get pictures of Tuesday’s parade for me: I’ll be out here in Denver evangelizing and spreading the good word. As I always have.