October 2013


Xander Bogaerts had a team-defining at-bat in the bottom of the seventh against Detroit’s All-World Max Scherzer.

With Jonny Gomes standing on second base after a Green Monster double and down 1-2 in the count, the camera zoomed in on Bogaerts’ face, and his expression was almost a complete lack of an expression, except for something that almost looked like a smirk. It might just’ve been the way his face naturally rests, but regardless, it displayed an absolute lack of fear or panic at the situation. The Red Sox were losing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning of an American League Championship Series game with one perhaps the best pitcher in the league on the mound, and Boegarts was unmoved. (more…)

I bought one pack of baseball cards all year, and Jonny Gomes was inside. I should've known.

I bought one pack of baseball cards all year, and Jonny Gomes was inside. I should’ve known.

There’s a high of 59 degrees today in Boston, with a low of 51, partly cloudy, the kind of weather where I’ll pull on a flannel shirt with maybe a thermal underneath, depending on how cold it feels. And that will all be in anticipation of tonight, when I head out to watch the Red Sox host the Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.

It’s been a long time since it’s felt cold for a meaningful Red Sox game. They were eliminated in short order in 2009 by John Lackey and the Angels, so the last big games to take place at Fenway in the autumn chill featured Jason Varitek behind the plate and Mike Timlin in the bullpen. And the odds against this being the season where they would be in the final four with a shot at the World Series seemed slim, to be sure.

It’s exciting, and this has been as likable as the Red Sox have been since the idiots ruled the world in 2004. Jonny Gomes led the charge on that front, not just with the beards but with the mindset of playing all-out baseball at all costs, for teammates to get to know each other and to make the most of every inning. And he’s walked the walk this year; Four of his 13 home runs have come in pinch-hit situations. The odds never seemed to matter to him, and he’s spread that fearlessness to the rest of the team. This team, of course, was never supposed to be this good.

There is a 75 percent chance that this season will end in heartbreak and disappointment for the Red Sox and, in a selfish vision, me. But at the start of the season, there was only about a 97 percent chance that Boston could finish the season with the World Series trophy, and that’s operating under the assumption of a completely level playing field where all statistical anomalies are normalized and reduced. It’s almost impossible, save for the fact that one team ends the season with a thrill.

That 75 percent is huge. Only four teams get to play for a pennant, and they’ve found themselves on top. Now it’s up to them to play as they’ve played all year, and, in my tunneled world, I just have to keep my heart out of my throat and enjoy everything that’s come so far.

That, and remember to stay warm. It’s getting chilly out there.

David Price has been an ace from the beginning.

David Price has been an ace from the beginning.

Settling in for last night’s tie-breaker between the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers, I think I was running on inertia. This was an important game, the extra game tagged on to the regular season to see which of these two teams would advance to the other one-game playoff to see who had the right to enter the actual playoffs.

There’s a fatigue with all this, and early in the game, I wasn’t feeling too excited. David Price was on the mound for the Rays, Martin Perez for Texas, and neither seemed to really have it early on. But that changed, and as the game went on, Price got better. He found his command, he kept the Rangers off-balanced and, 118 pitches later, he got Nelson Cruz to ground out for the last out of the game. Texas goes home for the winter, and the Rays play on. (more…)