The stars and planets have aligned perfectly as Cinderella lifts her skirt and gives Prince Charming the go-ahead wink… and this Red Sox fan is sick to his stomach.
This morning I passed a store on the way to work called “Upton Repairs”. My heart sank a little.
Just seeing the name Upton was enough to bring B.J. Upton’s barrage of dingers in the American League Championship Series flooding back to my bruised sports psyche.
To tell you the truth, I am still more than slightly upset with how the Rays dethroned my boys from bean-town. From the worst team in baseball to first place in the American League East (toughest division in baseball… no big deal) in just one season, this red-headed step child of America’s favorite pastime has yanked the “kick me” sign from between their shoulder blades and done some kicking of their own.
I can’t say I didn’t see this coming, for Boston I mean. No one saw the Rays coming, not even the Rays, but after Manny Ramirez was dealt to the Dodgers, I immediately exclaimed that the Red Sox would not get to the World Series and the Dodgers would take the National League West Division. Sometimes I hate being right.
So, if I expected this, why the foul mood? Because it’s the fucking Tampa Bay Rays! The team that doused each other in champagne after winning a meager 70 games out of 162 a few years ago (best record in franchise history until this season). Another answer is that I wanted the BoSox to beat them to a bloody pulp!!! That’s why!!! Sore loser? Absolutely, but I think it is more the way the Red Sox lost.
Here are a few reasons why I will continue to be slightly upset about the way things played out.
Home runs put Tampa in the World Series: Don’t get me wrong. The Rays worked their asses off to take the AL East and get to the playoffs when every baseball analyst from ESPN and FSN to a sixth grader with a camcorder were saying Tampa would taper off by the end of the year, but bombs all throughout the playoffs doesn’t win you championships against great teams. B.J. Upton is in the running for most home runs in a single postseason with names like Barry Bonds, Carlos Beltran, Troy Glaus, Larry Walker, and Albert Pujols…and only one of them (Glaus) actually won a World Series with his team that year, and barely I might add.
Boston mounted a comeback: It is ten times more heartbreaking to see your team come back from a 3-1 series deficit and overcome seven runs in game five just to lose the final game of the series and end your playoff run. It’s like cramming down your vegetables so you can get dessert, but your mom forgot that you ran out of Flintstone’s push-up pops yesterday…and by yesterday I mean last night. How could she do that to me!?! (BTW…Do they even make those push-up pops anymore? Taco Villa still has them, apparently)
Boston had key losses: Mike Lowell is one of the Red Sox bigger bats…and of course he was injured. The old man tossed a hip or something so the offense was forced to hobble along (much like Lowell) to scrape together runs.
I am going to also say that David “Big Papi” Ortiz lost his bat as well, even though Big Papi was playing, he was still a huge hole in the three spot, batting .154 for the championship series.
Without two of your big guns hitting in the line-up, you pretty much have to beg for runs.
No Manny, no Manny: Manny Ramirez was another huge loss. I am so sick of hearing that Jason Bay was a great replacement for Manny Ramirez…don’t give me that. If I see and smell shit on the end of a spoon, chances are I ain’t swallowin’ it. Jason Bay is a great athlete, but he is like a little boy standing in his traded Daddy’s shoes. There isn’t a Dr. Scholl’s insert in the world big enough to fill the void when Bay was shipped over. I’m sorry, but you just can’t replace a Manny Ramirez. Losing Manny is like losing a kidney…yeah you’ll live, but add a big negative ten to your life expectancy.
Game 7: The Red Sox were not coached well in the final outing. Yeah, manager Terry Francona made a good move giving Jon Lester the rock in game seven since he has never had losses in consecutive starts in his career, but do yourself and your team a favor and get some guys in there that can hit. At the end of the game, down by two runs with a runner on and one out, you let the catcher Jason Varitek hit…a guy who had only one hit in the ALCS and three total hits in the playoffs. He was batting something like .056 in the postseason before his final at bat. Why was he batting with the game on the line with Sean Casey on the bench? Seriously, ANSWER ME!!! Then, when Francona wises up and pinch hits after Tek’s strikeout (something all Sox fans saw coming) he bats rookie SS Jed Lowrie for Alex Cora!?! A rookie to be your savior, are you flippin’ kidding me? Lowrie strode up the plate shaking like a Mexican space shuttle and he quickly grounded out to Tampa’s second baseman Iwamura to end the game…and the playoffs…and the season…WTF?
Anyway, I am hoping that the Phil’s drop a Liberty-Bell-sized can of whoop-ass on the Rays. Knock them off of that pedestal that they bounced my boys off of in game seven and send a shiny perfectly gift wrapped “Fuck You” to that entire organization.
I know everyone is rooting for the Rays because they love hearing those Cinderella sports stories, but Phila-the-town-that-doesn’t-win-anything-delphia is due for something big…and that’s who I am pulling for. Wouldn’t you rather see a car accident than a happy ending anyway?