When October started, the story was parity. Seven of baseball’s eight playoff teams weren’t even in the postseason last year. As Jayson Stark noted, seven different teams had won the past seven World Series, and the Rockies had a chance to make it eight.
But now the Red Sox are one win from their second title since 2004. After going 86 years between World Series titles, they’re making it look easy. As the T-shirts in Red Sox Nation say, “This is our century.”
Ken Rosenthal has been watching from dugout level during the postseason, and he sees this as just the beginning for Boston.
Consider which players were the biggest contributors Saturday night in the Sox’s 10-5 victory over the Rockies in Game 3: Jacoby Ellsbury, rookie. Dustin Pedroia, rookie. Daisuke Matsuzaka, rookie. Hideki Okajima, rookie.
… That’s how it is with the Sox now, one rookie topping another. They’re not going to enjoy many seasons like this one, when they incorporate a Pedroia and Ellsbury here, a Matsuzaka and Okajima there. But right now, they’re the closest thing in baseball to a dynasty, a team that should be good for a long, long time.
To compete with the Yankees, the Red Sox have built themselves into a super power, accomplishing Theo Epstein’s goal of becoming a “scouting and player development machine.”
Meanwhile, the Yankees are in chaos. As the Red Sox fell behind 3-1 to Cleveland in the ALCS, New York was parting ways with Joe Torre, after Steinbrenner and Sons had seemed indecisive for days. Even if Cleveland had advanced to the World Series, the Red Sox could have entered the offseason feeling as if they’d gained the high ground in that never ending battle.
Granted, the Red Sox haven’t accomplished this success cheaply. They’re spending almost as much as the Yankees these days, especially comparing to the Rockies, Indians, Diamondbacks and Twins. But this is still impressive, assuming Boston finishes the job.
Speaking of dynasties, allow me to congratulate the Faribault Girls Swimming & Diving Team, which won its 13th consecutive Big 9 conference title yesterday. My half-sister, Julia Olson, is a senior co-captain, and I couldn’t have been more proud, watching this amazing team extend its run.
None of us know how Coach Ken Hubert does it. Based on the seed times, the Falcons were expected to finish sixth this time, 150 points off the lead. It came down to the final event, but Faribault wound up first again, 24 points ahead of Rochester Century, 36 ahead of Rochester Mayo. By tapering the girls’ workouts, Hubert gets them to cut massive chunks of time in this meet, and it somehow works, every year.
The run started in 1995. The seniors from that team are now in their thirties. It’s become a tradition to dunk the coaches in the pool after winning the conference meet. Hubert is no dummy. Even with his team a 150-point underdog, he arrived with a change of clothes. Congratulations again Falcons, and best of luck at Sections and State.