|ALCS Game 7: October 19, 2008|
|Rays||3||W: Matt Garza (2-0)
H: Dan Wheeler (1)
H: J.P. Howell (1)
S: David Price (1)
|Red Sox||1||L: Jon Lester (0-2)||3-4|
|Highlights: Garza had a kerfuffle with his own catcher, Dioner Navarro, back in June. His on-field implosion made SportsCenter and threatened to be the lasting image of his first season with Tampa Bay. But like any good modern father, Joe Maddon got his son a therapist. Ken Ravizza, a friend of Maddon’s and a professor in Cal State Fullerton’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, cured Garza of his temper tantrums and enabled the pitcher to become this year’s ALCS MVP.|
I miss them already. I didn’t want to have to have to miss them.
Tomorrow I’m flying to Maui to celebrate my Dad’s 60th birthday. For weeks I had envisioned being with my family not only for the birthday but also to watch my favorite team repeat as World Champions.
My parents visited me in July 2004 during the series against the Yankees. Since then Dad has adopted the Red Sox as his own team.
The people of Maui have embraced the Phillies as their team even though it is over 4,800 miles away. Shane Victorino was born and raised on the Valley Isle, and any team that has a local boy on its roster is immediately and unconditionally adored by local folks half an ocean and a continent away.
Rooting for the Phillies for this Fall Classic will momentarily and inadequately replace the void left by Boston’s departure from the postseason, but it’s better than nothing.
Nothing: what filled the top half of the line score from the second inning until the last.
Nothing: what the Red Sox came up with in the eighth inning with the bases loaded.
Nothing: what you’ll see under H, R, and ER in David Price’s stat line for the postseason thus far.
Nothing: what you’d find in the majority of the seats in Tropicana Field for most of the season. (The other thing you’d encounter: Red Sox fans.)
Nothing: what I would give up to have Manny Ramirez on the team for the entire season, even if he could have helped Boston get past the ALCS.
Terry Francona said he enjoyed managing this team more than 2004’s idiots. He deserves any accolades that come his way for squeezing 95 wins and a postseason berth with key injuries and a franchise-altering trade along the way. I always thought it was Dustin Pedroia that was a pain in his tuchis but in actuality Francona has needed back surgery since May.
For some players I’ve been missing their former selves for a while now. Now that Mike Timlin has attained the all-time relief appearances record for right-handers there is little else for him to accomplish in the game. Jason Varitek will likely head for greener pastures with Scott Boras napalming bridges behind them. This may have even been Tim Wakefield’s last season with the Red Sox (and in baseball).
But where there was a void new talent may blossom; Nature, and the Red Sox, abhor a vacuum. Julio Lugo was hobbled and Jed Lowrie not only replaced him but exceeded his predecessor. Curt Schilling was out of commission but Justin Masterson sneaked into the rotation and then slipped into the bullpen to become the set-up man almost unnoticed, which is difficult for a 6'6" man.
I’ll miss them, but on Maui it will feel like summer. It will remind me of this remarkable summer, of the summer to come, that spring isn’t all that far away.