Monday, October 20, 2008

In Country Sleep

Games 6 & 7 - ALCS

Red Sox 4, Rays 2
Rays 3, Red Sox 1
Rays win American League Pennant

Even to the last pitch to Jed Lowrie, I had hope, and in no small measure that’s a victory in and of itself.

Perspective is a remarkable thing, a healer of ill tempers, a firewall against the tempting rage at potential thwarted. Five postseasons, four American League Championship Series, and two World Series in six seasons is an embarrassment of riches. My oldest daughter, born in 2001, has seen as many Red Sox postseasons in her life as her father did in the 31 years before her birth. So while gnashing of teeth and bitter disappointment may seem to be the order of the day (and would clearly have been even a few short years ago), my overwhelming emotions this morning are gratitude (for the Sox) and respect (for the Rays).

The Red Sox finally lost an ALCS elimination game after winning nine such do-or-die contests in succession dating back to 2004. In so doing, they remind us of the utter improbability in that statistic and the iron will in that stubborn refusal to accept defeat quietly. They remind us, too, of those moments spent hoping, wishing, pleading against logic for one more pitch, one more inning, one more game followed by involuntary yelps of glee, cathartic leaps, uninhibited joy. A loss amidst hope is a small price to pay after so many victories produced when hope was such a fragile thing.

As for the Rays, their youth and inexperience masked a fire and will every bit as strong as that of the Sox. Ask the 2004 Yankees or the 2007 Indians how hard it is to resist the momentum of a team back from the brink of elimination. That’s a really good team, managed and led well, and I’d caution any fans of the Phils who may be breathing a sigh of relief this morning to be careful what they wish for.

Apologies to all who came here this morning expected (hoping?) to read one last profane rant. In the final analysis, it’s hard to be anything but appreciative of a Sox team that came within three thin runs of yet another improbable comeback despite fielding a newly patched lineup and fraying rotation.

I suppose I’ll recap the season at some point, but the stage belongs to Nick now. I can’t decide whether I want to read about joyous release or futility renewed.

4 comments:

TJ said...

Delmon Young for Jason Bartlett and Matt Garza sure looks like a good deal for the Rays, eh?

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hou said...

That’s a really good team, managed and led well, and I’d caution any fans of the Phils who may be breathing a sigh of relief this morning to be careful what they wish for.
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