Somehow this result doesn’t stun and stupefy the way the Cubs’ playoff pratfall did. Down at the Cell, a flawed team of aging, plodding stars lost to a more balanced collection of hungry young naturals who earned their chops outplaying the baddest beasts of the American League East. And they earned this one, too. The Sox can hold their heads high after a nice season.
THE CUBS HATER
Here’s why the Sox lost. You don’t start new traditions in the postseason, like convincing your fans to wear all black and wave white towels. That is phony, and everyone damn well knows it. As a true Sox fan, I don’t need to be told what to do and when. Here’s another reason the Sox lost: They were playing a team that was better than them. A team younger. A team faster and better disciplined. A team, in short, that wanted it more. I said my boys would hit some homers—and Konerko and Dye did—but that’s all the team did, and it obviously wasn’t enough. Now I have no one left to root for in the playoffs—but I may adopt the Rays, who remind me of an unlikely team that hustled its way through the playoffs in 2005.
The Delusionist isn’t one of those guys who hates the Sox just because he loves the Cubs. But I wasn’t pulling for the Pale Hose, because every victory would have forced me to confront the Cubs’ miserable failure, and I’m not ready for that. I’m the Delusionist, for God’s sake. Reality’s not my bag, baby. So when the Sox went down tonight, I wasn’t happy they lost, but I was glad it was over. Now I can warm myself by the glow of my own little hot stove league, dreaming of the magnificent season to come . . .
Ozzie squeezed everything he could out of a mediocre team. It’s a shame, though, that they occupied a spot in the playoffs that could have gone to the Yankees. Hell, even the Blue Jays were better than the Sox this year. Maybe we ought to return to the days before there were divisions in each league and let the four AL teams and the four NL teams with the best records duke it out in the playoffs. As for the Cubs, have I mentioned lately that I’m blaming Piniella? I think the man ought to be forced to testify before some kind of investigative panel. I demand accountability! From here on out, I’m pulling for Joe Torre and the Dodgers. But anybody but the Red Sox will do.
Wow, missed another Sox playoff game. This time I really planned to watch, but I set aside a few minutes before the first pitch to talk to a guy who’s been trying to sell me some new life insurance. Turns out he had a really good presentation (PowerPoint!), full of graphs and charts and variables, and, well, we just got carried away. By the time I turned on the TV, the Rays clubhouse was awash in champagne. Sorry. Guess I’ll have to catch the Sox next year. (Oh, incidentally, I decided not to go with the new insurance after all, but in this economy, it pays to shop around.)
In defense of the Sox, the Rays really were the better team. That said, both Chicago teams really sucked it up this postseason. If, over winter, the Sox can miraculously grow a farm system—and the Cubs can grow a pair—we’ll have something to talk about next year at around this time besides Joe Maddon’s emo glasses that his girlfriend picked out for him.
After much cool, clear-headed, rational thought, and objective, thoughtful analysis, weighing the pros and cons; adjusting for prevailing wind conditions and carrying the two, The Ump’s considered opinion falls thusly: That was one brutal post-season. Un-fun. The opposite of fun. Fun was over here, and that postseason was way over there. And yet, The Delusionist, The Bleacherite, The Cubs Hater, The Elitist, The Fatalist, The Girl, The Time Traveler, and The Ump believed in the green (or what it blue?) light, the orgastic future—where $48 million pinch hitters suddenly started again; and ace pitchers didn’t, out of the blue, become Wild Thang; where aging sluggers brought over to finish their careers played like The Natural not The Shadow. Where the Viagra couple finally got to get their blue pill on. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further… And one fine morning … Nah.
THE TIME TRAVELER
Cast my memory back there, Lord. At least I don’t have to go so far as 1908, nor even 2005 (will this three-year drought go on forever?!?). Set the Wayback Machine to last week, the dark night, 9/30/08: black towels fluttering in the crazed fans’ fists. The 1-0 win over the Twins, the 163rd game of the 2008 baseball season, was as sweet a victory as a South Side fan could want. Let’s cherish that and the Central Division championship that no one thought the White Sox had any claim to. My greatest regret tonight: Steve Stone is leaving Ed Farmer and the radio booth to do TV with the Hawk. And Bleacherite, I share your regret for Junior, but this chance at a Series really belonged to (Cell anouncer’s voice here) Jim Thome.