May the Best Man Win
October 30, 2007
After a sluggish World Series last year based on errors more than on hits preceded by a couple sweeps in 2004 and 2005, the baseball world was ready for some October excitement. Sadly, Boston's dominance made it another tough viewing for fans willing to stay up late only to watch a series lean more and more toward one side with each additional pitch.
The Boston Red Sox, for the second time in four years completed a sweep in the World Series and have regained the championship, defeating the stubborn Colorado Rockies. Aside from Game 1, the games were close on the scoreboard, but it just never felt like Colorado had it in them to get over the hump. Watching Matt Holliday hit a moon shot to pull the Rockies to 6-5 or Garrett Atkins golfing one over the fence to narrow the margin to 4-3 was the equivalent of watching a bad football team recover an onside and score. In the end, there is just too much time for the better team to win. In this case, Papelbon was still lurking in the bullpen and unless the Rockies were able to actually take the lead before he entered the game, it just wasn't going to happen for the Colorado faithful.
Offensively, Colorado seemed overmatched by the constant barrage of 94mph fastballs every Boston pitcher seemed to throw. More often than not, Tulowitzki and Hawpe both looked like a strikeout or popout waiting to happen, and Holliday, Helton, and Atkins were incapable of stringing together a series of hits against the same pitcher. It didn't help that the leadoff position provided nothing throughout the series.
On the flip side, it was Boston's 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup that set the table all series long. It's a lot easier to pitch to Ortiz and Ramirez with no one on base, but the combination of Pedroia, Youkilis, and Ellsbury made that impossible, seemingly ALWAYS on base or scoring runs. That should be the one aspect of the series eating away at the Rockies this offseason; the damage was minimal by the heart of the order while the top of the order simply destroyed Colorado's nerve. It's a lot easier to accept losing when a future Hall of Famer does you in, but when names like Ellsbury stick in your craw, it's a lot harder to live with over the winter. Such is the game of baseball.
With an expansion team playing a squad who had already fulfilled its destiny several years early, the 2007 World Series was hardly a glamorous one and, frankly, lacked the drama hoped for my many. Despite the additional level of playoffs, though, the BEST team did win, and it should be noted that these 2007 Boston Red Sox were most deserving of their achievements and should be celebrated as such regardless of the missing national fanfare. In the end, all that matters is the victory, and a handful of Red Sox players now have two fingers full of memories, hoping for more in the future.