DENVER, Oct. 28 — They have gone from exorcism to coronation in record time. The Boston Red Sox, who fought ghosts for most of the last century, are the premier team of the new millennium.
The Red Sox won their second World Series in four seasons Sunday, edging the Colorado Rockies, 4-3, in Game 4 at Coors Field. They are the first team to win multiple championships since 2000, and with a deep payroll and a stable of talented young pitchers, they may be poised for more.
“Pitching will lead you all the way,” first baseman Kevin Youkilis said. “That was it: great pitching and timely hitting. What can you say? This team is the best team in baseball.”
Mike Lowell doubled and homered and was named most valuable player in the Series for hitting .400 with six runs scored and four runs batted in. Jon Lester — who, like Lowell, is a cancer survivor — worked five and two-thirds shutout innings for the victory.
Jonathan Papelbon earned his third save of the series, retiring all five hitters he faced after Garrett Atkins smashed a two-run homer off Hideki Okajima with one out in the eighth.
Jacoby Ellsbury, the rookie who hit .438 in the Series, hauled in a drive by Jamey Carroll at the left-field wall for the second out of the ninth. Seth Smith came up next, and Papelbon whipped a 94 mile-an-hour fastball past him for the final out, firing his glove to the sky in triumph.
Catcher Jason Varitek leaped into Papelbon’s arms and raised his index finger high: the Red Sox, again, were No. 1. “I’ll be dancing, but just not tonight,” said Papelbon, whose “Riverdance” routine has punctuated the postseason clinchers. “When we get back to Boston, we’re going to party hard.”
Boston has won all eight of its World Series games under Manager Terry Francona, and this sweep was nearly as emphatic as the one in 2004, when the Red Sox never trailed against the St. Louis Cardinals. This time, they trailed for a total of three and a half innings in Game 2.
Their sweep was the first in 80 years to feature victories by four different starting pitchers. The last team to do it? The 1927 Yankees.
That was the Yankees’ second championship with Babe Ruth, whose sale by the Red Sox was said to curse the team until 2004, when Boston upended the Yankees in the championship series en route to the title.
This time, the Red Sox did not even have to go through the Bronx to win. After taking the wild card three times in this decade, they finished in first place in the American League East and the Yankees were bounced in the first round. “If someone wants to compare us to the Yankees based on winning and results, that’s an incredible standard,” Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein said. “If they want to compare us to the Yankees in how we do things, that’s a little off-base.”
Like the Yankees, though, the Red Sox figure to be built on young pitching for years to come. Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield are at the end of their contracts, but Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Lester are all under 28 years old, and the rookie Clay Buchholz, who threw a no-hitter in September, was not even on the postseason roster.
Boston’s biggest off-season decision in the lineup is whether to re-sign Lowell, who called himself a throw-in in the deal that brought Beckett to Boston two years ago. If Lowell leaves, there is always the chance the Red Sox could pursue Alex Rodriguez, who decided Sunday to opt out of his contract and become a free agent.
But the fans have voiced their preference. Hundreds stayed in the stands behind the dugout after Game 4, cheering the Red Sox as they cavorted on the field. When they spotted Lowell, they chanted, “Re-sign Lowell!” over and over. Later, they gave an addendum: “Don’t Sign A-Rod!”
“I’ve never hid the fact that I enjoy playing here in Boston,” said Lowell, who could be a target of the Yankees, his original team. “I have great teammates, a great manager, great coaches, so we’ll see what happens.”
Tom Werner, the Red Sox chairman, credited Francona for the victory and said this team is even better equipped for a long run of success than the 2004 team.
“We were very frustrated a year ago, because we didn’t make it to the postseason,” Werner said. “We all sat down and said we’re going to do what it takes, and it started with signing Matsuzaka and Okajima, and then bringing up Ellsbury and Pedroia.
“We’re a young team, and our team performed — not just the $10 and $15 million players, but the young players, too. Look at what Jon Lester went through. Jon Lester is going to be with us for a long time.”
Lester fought his way back after off-season treatment for lymphoma, and he was not the only survivor in the Game 4 matchup. Colorado’s Aaron Cook once missed almost a year with blood clots in both lungs.
More recently, Cook had been held back by a strained oblique muscle, and his last start was Aug. 10. No pitcher in 52 years had as long a layoff between starts before starting in a World Series.
Cook is a sinkerballer, and nine of his first 10 outs came on grounders. But he spent almost all of that time trailing, because the Red Sox grabbed a lead five pitches into the game.
Ellsbury lined Cook’s second pitch into the left-field corner for a double, and he scored on a one-out single to right by David Ortiz. Thought to be a liability in the field, Ortiz helped save a run the next inning by scooping a throw from shortstop with a flourish.
Colorado stranded two in the second, and another in the third, when Lester struck out Troy Tulowitzki on a slider and Matt Holliday on a 93 mile-an-hour fastball. He pumped his fist at his side as he strode off the mound.
The Red Sox gave Lester another run in the fifth, when Lowell led off with a double to left center and slid home, headfirst, on a single by Varitek. Cook avoided worse damage, and when he fanned Ellsbury to end the inning, he became the first Rockies starter to last five innings in the World Series.
Cook bunted for a single in the bottom of that inning and followed with a 1-2-3 sixth. But after Lowell’s leadoff homer in the seventh, he gave way to the bullpen after 70 pitches. It was a solid effort, but not as strong as Lester’s.
Lester, who went 4-0 down the stretch, was making his first postseason start; he replaced Wakefield, who missed the Series with a shoulder injury. He had no more strikeouts after Holliday in the third, but the bunt single by Cook was the only other hit he allowed.
“I’m delighted for him,” said Lowell, who had testicular cancer in 1999. “He’s had to overcome some obstacles, including not even pitching in a while, and he did a great job.”
Francona removed Lester after a two-out walk in the sixth, and Manny Delcarmen, another homegrown pitcher, struck out Ryan Spilborghs to end the inning. Brad Hawpe homered off Delcarmen in the seventh to cut Boston’s lead to 3-1, but Bobby Kielty lined Brian Fuentes’s first pitch in the eighth over the left-field fence to restore the three-run lead.
Francona praised Kielty for his professionalism and said Delcarmen was “growing up right in front of our eyes.” The blend of youth and veterans, he said, was part of what made this team special.
“You watch the veterans act like little kids, and then you see the young kids starting to act like veterans,” Francona said. “It’s gratifying.”
Both Boston championships have been clinched away from Fenway Park, where “Sweet Caroline” plays in the eighth inning of every game. Even without that song in the background here, this much was obvious: for the Red Sox, a team once defined by a curse, good times never seemed so good.
CHICAGO -- One of the clubhouse attendants in Wrigley Field approached Tom Glavine on Sunday as a special evening was winding down and extended a hand with two baseballs. Glavine knew the drill. He signed on the sweet spots as he had done countless times. But he also knew he now was free to add a PS.
So under his signature -- which had become significantly more valuable 75 minutes earlier, Glavine added to the inscriptions. For the first times ever, he wrote 300 under his name. And, oh, how he liked the way that looked.
Now that three-digit figure is almost part of his name, like HOF is likely to become in five or six years. With a performance that reinforced his image as a brilliant pitcher, an intense competitor and a pretty competent batsman, Glavine forever changed his baseball identity Sunday night. No longer is he merely the two-time Cy Young Award winner or the five-time 20-game winner or the savvy left-hander who ...
Now, first, foremost and forever, Glavine is a 300-game winner. With a HOF chaser on order.
Of course, I just bought Mets tickets yesterday so I'm not sure I can justify a yarn purchase. *But* my birthday is next weekend, and I could knit this sweater and wear it to aforementioned Mets games. Hmmmmm, tempting!
Sorry I've been absent, I got sick last week and still have a lingering cough (go Mucinex, go!). Dave and I were both sick, first time we've both been really sick at the same time (first time in 11 years - crazy, right?). Cooking has started again, which is always a good thing.
Our new favorite recipe? Crispy chickpeas from Vegan Lunch Box. Basically, you combine drained, rinsed chickpeas, olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, and some nutritional yeast and roast them on a parchment-lined sheet pan at 400 degrees for a half hour. We've made them 2 nights in a row, they are that good. Try the nutritional yeast too (you can find it at health food stores and the like - it's not Brewers or bread yeast though, look for 'nutritional yeast' on the label). Besides being insanely good for you (LOTS of B vitamins), it has this addictive, slightly cheesy taste. I first tried it on popcorn, and I was sold.
Boy oh boy, sometimes there is so much going on that while I really should be blogging, I let it slide. Then where do I start? Well, I figured I'd sum up with a nice little list in no particular order, just to recap.
Going to baseball games this summer has been great... though I wish we started earlier in the season. A few games at Shea, and a game at Fenway have given me a chance to work on my scorecard-keeping skills. And of course I'm thrilled that the Mets clinched the division. Subway series anyone?
Another relaxing trip to Cambridge, staying at the always fabulous Charles Hotel. The weather was a little rainy, but we made the best of it. And hey, the Fenway game wasn't rained out (thank goodness!). We also met up with friends, had a great meal in Little Italy, and saw family. And yes, as usual the trip threw us right back into the 'Why don't we live here' saga. Sigh. We love it there, without a doubt, and I know we would be very happy settling down there for awhile. But we love NYC, and have many dear friends in the area. I'll tell ya, being a grown-up is hard sometimes!
Just this past weekend, a quick trip to Philly to see Dave's family, then spent Sunday afternoon getting my hair cut and having dinner with our friend Susann (hi Susann!) at Ditch Plains.
I've been working on 3 knitting projects. A flared capelet from Wrap Style in chocolate brown Cotton Fleece. A cropped long-sleeved cardigan (based on the Anthropologie-inspired capelet from Crafster) in blue Cotton Fleece. And finally, a vertical striped scarf using 3 shades of green Classic Elite wool bamboo. UPDATE: I started this post a few days ago and now I have 3 more projects! I'm halfway through Sugar on Snow with KnitPicks Merino in similar colors to the original pattern. And I just bought the pattern for Arianna (amazing, right?) and am going to knit that with KnitPicks Shine Worsted in Ebony. Plus, I bought some KnitPicks Swish Superwash in Truffle to make a Ribbi Cardi.
More to come later, I should post this now before I start another 4 million knitting projects!
May 19, 2005 | Oakfield, N.Y. -- Katie Brownell is in a Little League all her own. The 11-year-old -- the only girl playing in the Oakfield-Alabama Little League program -- pitched a perfect game Saturday for her Dodgers. She struck out all 18 batters she faced in the six-inning, 11-0 victory over the Yankees.
Oakfield-Alabama officials said they can't remember anybody ever throwing a perfect game in this western New York league between Buffalo and Rochester.
In two games on the mound, Katie has struck out 32 of 33 batters. And she's hitting .714 through the team's first three games.
"She's been pitching for three years, but she really came on and excelled this year," said team manager Jeff Sage.
Katie was almost pulled out of Saturday's game until the scorekeeper reminded her coach she had a no-hitter going. Katie then kept mowing down the opposition and when the last batter was fanned, the crowd erupted.
This was for the believers. For Ted Williams and for Yaz and all the others who spent a career beneath a boulder that kept rolling down a hill. This was an exorcism of 86 years of anguish.
On Wednesday night, Babe Ruth gave up. From Bangor to Brattleboro, Nashua to Nantucket, Waterbury to Woonsocket, the fans of New England can finally say it: The Boston Red Sox are the World Series champions. Nothing will ever be quite the same.
The Red Sox won the World Series on Wednesday for the first time since 1918, overcoming, at last, the sale of Ruth to the Yankees. The Red Sox, the franchise that perfected heartbreak, won the title with one of the most dominating performances in World Series history, silencing the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-0, in Game 4 to sweep a series in which they never trailed. They won their last eight games of the season.
"This is for anyone who ever played for the Red Sox, anyone who ever rooted for the Red Sox, anyone who ever saw a game at Fenway Park," said Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein, hoisting a bottle of Champagne in the Boston locker room. "This is bigger than the 25 guys in this clubhouse. This is for all of Red Sox Nation, past and present."
Epstein, the general manager, grew up in Boston with the lessons of generations before him. He and his twin brother, Paul, stood together on a couch in 1986, when they were 12 years old, ready to jump for joy when the Red Sox beat the Mets.
That victory never came, and this year when the Yankees led the Red Sox in the championship series, three games to none, Epstein knew the facts. No team that had ever been in such a hole had recovered to win the series.
The Red Sox' players knew it, too, but they did not care. They have not lost since. They are the last team standing. They made history.
"They believed," Epstein said. "That's all that matters."
excerpts from NYTimes article 10/28/04, written by Tyler Kepner