Oct 1, 2008

What a great day...Postseason without the Yankees

Today is the first day of the Major League Baseball postseason. As it begins, the Red Sox are in and the Yankees are...out. For the first time since 1995 Major League Baseball will play the second season without the Yankees. It feels so strange to watch baseball without having two teams to root for, the Red Sox and whatever team is playing the Yankees. It's the first time that Derek Jeter has not made the playoffs and been playing baseball in October. Now I hate the Yankees and will shed no tears for their demise but I must admit that I like Jeter and somehow it doesn't feel like playoffs without Jeter's postseason play.

I have long felt like the Yankees were the best team that money could buy. They filled their roster every year with the latest high-priced free agents and sacrificed young talent for the desire to win now. It paid off for a while, but since 2000 it has not produced any significant postseason results. One of the best books I have ever read is Buster Olney's "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty". In it he cronicles the greed and poor management that the Yankees displayed during their World Series run from 1996-2000. However, when Luis Gonzales blooped that beautiful hit into left center in 2001, the Yankee slide began. They continued to pound the baseball offensively and make the playoffs, but their lack of pitching depth was masked by high priced free agents like Carl Pavano, Mike Mussina, and Randy Johnson. They continued to be beaten every year by teams taht had enough pitching to win a seven game series.

Now the Red Sox are the banner team for MLB. They have developed a first-class farm system that has produced youngters like Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jed Lowrie. These youngters have carried the team the last couple of years. They have struggled a little more than I want this year. The Angels and the Rays look much better than the Red Sox at this point. The Red Sox have been ravaged with injuries to stallwarts Curt Schilling, Mike Lowell, and J.D. Drew. Big Papi missed a lot of the early season and continues to play with a torn tendon sheath that pops and causes discomfort. The Sox were forced to get rid of a cancerous relationship with Manny Ramirez this year. In doing so, they got rid of one of the best clutch hitters in baseball. The Sox picked up Jason Bay who has been awesome so far, but Varitek has struggled all year and the clutch hitting behind Ortiz has not been there.

So the postseaon begins...time to see if the character and fight of the Red Sox will prevail or if they are just overmatched. Right now it's 0-0 in the third inning in Anaheim. Let's go Red Sox!