Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Watching the World Series

I'm trying not to root against the Red Sox. They are, objectively speaking, the better team in this World Series. I'm trying to root for the Cardinals, instead.

But it's not easy. As I watch David Ortiz destroy the ball I can't helping thinking... 38 years old, indicted in the same unsealed, supposedly anonymous drug testing that originally entangled Alex Rodriguez, a user who denies using, who is abetted by the media (I think) because he is friendly and engaging where Rodriguez is aloof and self-centered.

As I watch this entire Red Sox team, now only a game from a championship, I can't help thinking...
Their starting shortstop hasn't played over 100 games since 2010, until this year.
Their starting catcher turned in a near All-Star season after years as a backup, posting a batting average and OBP 30 points better than his career averages, this year.
Their 32 year old right fielder had his best season after years of gradual decline, this year.
Every member of their starting rotation produced a better WHIP and ERA than last year, this year. (Except Ryan Dempster, who was just as awful as last year, but at least he wasn't worse).

Maybe steroids have finally ruined baseball for me. Because I know flukes like this happen.

The 1959 Yankees went 79-74. The next year, Clete Boyer pushed Hector Lopez from 3B to LF, and eventual MVP Roger Maris replaced Hank Bauer. A couple of good guys in the bullpen got a few more starts and Bob Turley had a bounce back year. The Yankees cruised to the pennant and won it for the next 4 years straight.

Maybe I'm especially embittered, because every break went the Red Sox's way while nothing went right for the Yankees. Of the team that took the field last October for game one of the ALCS, 3 starters left for other teams and 4 more missed a combined 471 games. Every pitcher except Mariano Rivera and Ivan Nova had worse years.

And maybe it's Red Sox fans, at least the ones I'm friends with, who don't see any luck involved. Who credit their front office with super human skill at identifying role players able to over-perform in Boston. At least I can take solace that they'll be cursing that same front office next June if the wheels start to come off.

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