|World Series Game 4: October 28, 2007|
|Red Sox||4||W: Jon Lester (1-0)
H: Manny Delcarmen (1)
H: Mike Timlin (2)
H: Hideki Okajima (4)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (4)
World Series: 4-0
|Rockies||3||L: Aaron Cook (0-1)||NLDS: 3-0
World Series: 0-4
|Highlights: As much as I mocked them, the Rockies and their fans should be given credit. The club made a historic run to get into the postseason. Their fans came along for the ride when it became apparent the squad was something special, but perhaps for some of them watching this series will more than temporarily displace the Broncos in their hearts. This could be their 1967. But this is our 2007.|
I wish I were the dancing Jonathan Papelbon sign. Somehow that masterwork made its way West and jounced joyously in the stands as the Boston Red Sox won their seventh World Series championship. If I were that sign swaying high above the crowd, I could at least see the on-field celebrations unfold. Because of my height the typical view for me is peoples’ shoulders and elbows.
If I were the dancing Papelbon sign I’d stand at attention as Trisha Yearwood sang the anthem. I would waggle with feigned laughter as thousands of purple, white, and black balloons lifted into the air as part of the pre-game ceremony, but would be awestruck by the accompanying fireworks (not to mention a bit frightened in case of a stray spark).
If I were the dancing Papelbon sign I’d sidle behind Fred Willard and Brad Garrett to disrupt the blatant promotion of Fox television shows (even though moving cardboard effigies greatly appreciate the work of Mr. Willard in the motion pictures of Christopher Guest).
But since I’m a struggling writer, not the dancing Papelbon sign, I was in my living room in Massachusetts watching Game 4 unfold.
When you write a story, the teachers tell you to make the characters likeable. With the 2007 Red Sox there is nary an unappealing personage around. Sure, Manny Ramirez was painted the villain and Curt Schilling never found a tape recorder, reporter’s notepad, or television camera he didn’t like, but the Red Sox’s foibles pale in comparison to, say, Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is the definition of unsympathetic. As rich as Croesus but trying to live by Willy Loman’s script, the third baseman wants to supplant his massive contract with one even more lucrative and wants America to adore him as he does so. The timing of his announcement was an obvious effort to derail the Fall Classic, one that Fox was only too happy to indulge.
In the end, however, Rodriguez and Scott Boras’s pronouncement will be to this World Series what Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction was to Super Bowl XXXVIII: a footnote to another magnificent Massachusetts championship that toppled its perpetrators rather than reviving their former glory.
The story, the instructors say, must also be believable. That a 23-year old pitcher could rebound from a cancer diagnosis in a little over a year and pitch five and two-thirds innings in a clinching game with a line of three hits, no earned runs, three walks, and three strikeouts strains credibility.
That his teammate, also a cancer survivor, could salvage his status as a salary dump in a deal and turn in such a performance as to garner the World Series MVP would render the story even more implausible. For kicks, have him leadoff the fifth with a double and make a superb slide at home to avoid the tag for run. Throw in a solo shot in the seventh, too.
You may as well have a September call-up unseat the incumbent center fielder score the first run of Game 4 after leading off with a double. Make sure to throw in a gutsy infielding sidekick that also happens to be a rookie. Together they would make a youthful dynamic duo to show that the team not only has veteran leadership but a foundation to repeat success year after year.
Not to forget the bench player released by his original team only to be signed as a free agent by the club to which he has family connections. The icing on the cake would be to have him launch the first pitch he saw in the eighth inning into the stands as the difference in the game.
Toss in a shutdown closer who was to be converted into a starter and suffered a dire injury just a season before, and there you have a work of fiction that would never sell.
Those sorts of things only happen to the real-life Red Sox.