So, now that the Red Sox have a commanding 2-0 lead in the World Series, and only the Rockies' Josh Fogg--Mr. Never-had-an-above-average ERA+ Josh Fogg--standing between them and a "mortal lock" 3-0 lead, I've found myself trying to adjust my mind to the fact that the Red Sox will now be two-time World Champions in the 21st Century.
Yeah, trust me, that's no fun.
I mean, part of me wants the Rockies to go down 3-0, then stage a miraculous comeback to sweep the last four games. Not only would that maximize my baseball-watching pleasure before the long, long winter...it would restore the universe's karmic balance. But you have to be realistic. I want the Rockies to be as good as they looked against the Padres, the Phillies and the D'backs this month (or, for that matter, as good as they were against the Yankees back in June), but those two games at Fenway gave the definite feeling that the Rockies spent October knocking around AAA teams, and now they're swooning at the prospect of facing down real competition.
This Red Sox lineup, with J.D. Drew finally hitting like someone who should be getting paid $14 million a year and with the addition of Jacoby Ellsbury as a latter-day Brett Butler, is simply murder--there's only one spot in the lineup where the team lets up, at all (that's when Julio Lugo has the bat in his hands). In contrast, the Rockies' best player, Matt Holliday, may have had his moment in this series when he was picked off first base in Game 2 (by the way, how disconcerting was it to see Holliday dive back into first with the same "drive my chin into the ground" dive he knocked himself out with at the end of the one-game playoff with San Diego?). Holliday's back-up guys in the lineup, Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe, have been picked apart by the Red Sox pitchers, much like Travis Hafner was in the ALCS. Maybe they just need a taste of home cookin' to get back on track, but then again, I kept expecting Hafner to break out against the Sox, and it never happened.
So there. I've just declared the Rockies dead again. Things worked out well enough the last time I did that.
World Series notes:
* Has there ever been a lamer World Series subplot than the Red Sox's "pirate ship" bullpen? Trust the Beantowners to turn their "we're so quirky" moment into a corporate tie-in for Disney. It's like they missed the FOX Network memo that they're pushing the Transformers this postseason, not the Pirates of the Caribbean Box Set.
* Free Taco Bell tacos for America...is that a promise, or a threat?
* Win or lose, we may well remember this as the season that the Red Sox Nation saw (and embraced) the Yankees lifestyle. Earlier in the season, Bill Simmons got to marvel at the phenomenon of Red Sox fans taking over the Devil Rays' stadium; this postseason even normally dry and acerbic sources such as Soxaholics reporting a "cool certitude" while watching the playoffs. Welcome to our world--the taking over other people's houses thing is fun up until the point (like the Angels in 2002) when the team beats you behind a crew of newly-minted bandwagon fans. As for the certitude? Back when we had that Red Sox fans (among many, many others) dismissed it as "arrogance" and a sense of entitlement.
This is kind of like having a vegan ecologist acquaintance who dogs you about your SUV for a decade, talking about how you're killing the Earth and mocking you as a spendthrift. Then one day, out of the blue, they come home from a car dealership and they've traded in their Prius for an Escalade or the really big Hummer. "I kind of like the feeling of being up above the traffic," they say, by way of explanation, "and you have no idea how comfortable these leather-upholstered seats are!"
We know they're comfy, pal. Trust us, we know. Enjoy it while it lasts.
* Bud Selig willing, it looks like the Yankees will make Don Mattingly the manager on Monday. The Selig-willing part is assuming that the Rockies don't get swept...otherwise Monday won't be anything on the baseball schedule, and the Yanks will be free to announce away.
* Personally, I would have loved to see Tony Peña get the job. I know it was never in the cards, but I think that his positivity would've been a benefit following one of the most respected managers, ever. And I kind of prefer having someone who's not as associated with the Yankees, like Mattingly and Joe Girardi are. I love Don Mattingly, he's my idol from childhood, but as Torre's story shows us, managerial relationships never end well. I guess some part of me doesn't want to see Mattingly diminished in the management role. What if he sucks at the job? What if the Yankees start the season poorly? Sounds like a repeat of Yogi Berra in the making.