Coming into the 2007 season, I was rooting for the Red Sox in the battle of the two Eastern empires. And now, I’m definitely rooting for the Yankees.
Let’s examine what happened this season. The Yankees started poorly; the Red Sox started outstanding. The Yankees, after being swept in Yankee Stadium by the Sox, looked like they were gone. The Red Sox kept on rolling. The Yankees made a huge charge in the second half, which the Red Sox barely managed to hold off, but nonetheless both made the playoffs. The Indians defeated the Yankees (pretty handily too), but lost in seven games to the Sox.
Last night the Sox won the World Series, and I’ve decided that’s about the worst thing that can possibly happen. Because as obnoxious as Red Sox Nation was before this, imagine how they’ll be in 2008 and beyond. And for good reason: many of their players are talented and locked in the Red Sox organization for years to come.
Here’s the thing about the Yankees. Even before this year, there were players on that team that I definitely pulled for. Derek Jeter seems like he’s one of the classiest people in baseball and he always seems to come up huge. Mariano Rivera is quietly the best closer ever to play the game, but doesn’t show it. Joe Torre is the same way: quietly one of the best managers ever in baseball.
Let’s look at this championship team. Anyone else find David Ortiz insufferable with his celebrations of every minute positive thing? What about Manny Ramirez, the record-holder of the longest single in MLB history? JD Drew, the most overpaid right fielder in baseball? What about Dustin Pedroia, an overhyped rookie who’s 5’9″ but has a mouth of someone twice his size? And let’s not forget about Jonathan Papelbon, who looks like he’s having an anyeurism everytime he records an out.
The only class act I’ve seen on the Red Sox is Mike Lowell, who I would not be surprised to see gone next year if A-Rod goes to Boston.
Another thing I’ve noticed: success in the postseason revolves around your closer. Papelbon, idiot though he is, didn’t allow a run this post season (although he did allow some loud outs, particularly to the Indians). During the Yankee dynasty, Mariano Rivera was the greatest closer in the game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Joe Borowski fan, but it seems that championships follow dominant closers.
So next season, when it comes time for the Yankees to play the Red Sox, I’ll be rooting for the Yankees. Because even with a 200 million dollar payroll, the Yankees have become the lovable underdogs, while the Red Sox have become the machine that the Yankees used to be.
On that note, who didn’t see a sweep coming? It’s clear (at least to me) that the American League is far superior than the National League, and any of the four AL playoff teams would have beaten any of the four NL playoff teams in a short series. The ALCS provided the most drama of all of the playoff series.
Anyway, this entry has gotten far off topic. The point is, I am no longer a closet member of Red Sox Nation. Next season, if it has to be the Yankees or the Red Sox, I choose the Yankees.