DENVER — An 11- or 12-year-old must wonder what the fuss, angst and tears are all about with their elders when it comes to their favorite professional baseball team.
Last night, the Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies, 4-3, to sweep the World Series. Again.
What’s the big deal? Weren’t they the best team throughout 2007? Don’t they have the best pitcher and best clutch hitter in the game? Wasn’t this the plan?
Some day our children might understand the significance of what has happened this year and particularly this month with the Boston Red Sox.
After 86 years without champagne showers in late October, with the last 20 or so hanging over New England’s head like a dark cloud, the Red Sox have now been world champions twice in four years.
Of course, the success of the New England Patriots doesn’t help matters. Our children have no fear. Wins, honestly, especially big ones, are not that hard to come by.
This is a very big deal. For decades, statistics and individual awards have always come the way of the Red Sox. World Series championships have not.
Not only that, but the way they are doing it. They are doing it with precision and professionalism. The way the Red Sox manhandled the Angels and Rockies was impressive.
But the way they overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Indians in the ALCS was the telling story about this team this year. Unlike their fan base, they never panicked.
It helps when you have the best, like Josh Beckett and David Ortiz, out front and center.
Beckett not only saved this team in Cleveland by pummeling their ace C.C. Sabathia a second time, but he gave them a newfound confidence. He was 4-0 in October. Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez did some great things, but not even close to that.
And Ortiz is the coolest cucumber in New England, or at the very least, he’s as cool as Tom Brady. The guy personifies certitude. Even when he’s not hitting, it seems like he is.
The Angels, Indians and especially the Rockies had nothing to combat these two.
When the rest of the team soon followed, like Manny Ramirez, who is a new person, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell and even J.D. Drew, nobody had a chance.
When these Red Sox hit collectively, they couldn’t lose. And boy did they hit in October, to the tune of .316. As for the World Series pressure, the Sox hit .352 against the Rockies.
You’re going to hear that the Red Sox bought the championship. To some extent they did because they had to. They had the resources, because of their fan base, to combat the Yankees unlimited revenue stream.
But lest we forget, the Yankees have forked over more than $1 billion to players since the 2000 World Series and they have no championships to show for it. In fact, they have not made it to the World Series since 2003 and haven’t made it past the first round of the playoffs since 2004.
Speaking of the Yankees, haven’t they reversed roles with the Red Sox?
Remember when the Yankees put a bull’s eye on a free agent or possible trade acquisition? And got him.
Go through the list: Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka, all pitchers and all were there to be had by the Yankees. But in each case, Theo Epstein and his minions at 4 Yawkey Way, often surreptitiously, beat them to the punch.
But the Yankees are old hat now.
The Red Sox are the best team in baseball with a World Series ring to prove it.
Better yet, sprinkled among the superstars are a bevy of up-and-comers, led by Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester, all of whom will be in key roles beginning in 2008.
Keep the pedal to the metal. Our children wouldn’t expect anything else.
Bill Burt is executive sports editor. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.