Johnny Damnon summed it up best. "All the magic and all the accolades that we got from last year are, all of a sudden, gone."
And the celebration ends.
In Boston at least. The one year party that was the Red Sox first World Series title ended with a whimper Friday as they were swept in the Divisional series. No repeat. No magical series against the Yankees [who are in their own bit of trouble]. No more "Big Papi" or "Man-Ram" takes [well, not until the MVP awards are given out]. No more Terry Francona news conferences. No more Red Sox.
And the fact that they couldn't get to see the Yankees ouster from the playoffs because Game 4 was postponed by rain hurts just a little too.
As I wrote a few days ago in the Two Minute Warning, the Red Sox are facing a new curse. Now they are just a normal baseball team...albeit with a recent title, a great history and a landmark of a stadium. But, they are no different than the Angels, Braves or Cardinals who are fighting to replace the Sox atop the baseball perch. No different than the other 31 teams that want to get a World Series ring. No different from the 100+ other championship teams that baseball has produced. Basically, it is "move over, it is someone's else's turn."
This year, the Red Sox made big errors, poor pitching performances [namely from their pen]....all the things that they did so well last postseason...against a team that made all the right plays and right moves. That was Boston last year....the darlings of baseball. Last year, it seemed everyone was rooting for the Red Sox to beat the Yankees...then pushing aside the Cardinals. Now it is the White Sox who pushed aside the defending champs and are trying to make history and erase nearly 9 decades of pain.
For Boston, it was a magical two weeks that should and will be remembered in baseball lore. But, that is where it lies. Florida fans have the same memories of Josh Beckett in 2003 and Bobby Bonilla in 1997. Angels fans remember that awesome comeback in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series. Diamondbacks fans have Luis Gonzalez' floater that ended the 2001 World Series. Just as I, a Reds fan, remember Eric Davis' diving catch and the Nasty Boys shutting down the A's in the 1990 World Series.
The point is...Boston should've had a great time celebrating these past 12 months. They deserved it. You deserved it. And in no way am I mocking, belittling or downing any of that. I wish my Reds would experince that. But a new champion will be crowned in a few weeks...so Red Sox propaganda can now leave my sights. What inspired me to write this was seeing a commercial [while watching college football] on Bill Simmons book "Now I Can Die In Peace" about the Sox title. I come upstairs to write this when I see a "Fever Pitch" DVD sitting atop my movie stand. Instead of Red Sox eulogies [which, we all know that Boston will be back here again next year] we should be holding Chicago celebrations!
And that is where the new rooting lies. When the Boston became a World Series championship town again, that put the "sorry city" tag back on Chicago where TWO teams lie in baseball purgatory. Neither has won a Series in nearly a century. Heck, the White Sox sweep over Boston was their first postseason series win since 1917, their last World Series title. That's 88 years between post season series victories...let alone World Series titles. The White Sox don't even have a Steve Bartman moment. They have a thrown World Series in the worst scandal in baseball, maybe pro sports, history [yes, it trumps steroids and Pete Rose].
This postseason...it is the elder El Duque who made a masterful pitching performance. It is Ozzie Guillen who is making all the right moves. It is those rag-tag "idiots" in Pale Hose who are the ones who are hungry. A White Sox fan can celebrate the fact that they won their first postseason series by sweeping the defending champion Red Sox in Fenway Park...which included coming back from down 4-0 in Game 2.
So the White Sox are this year's underdog team....even though they have home field thru the entire playoffs. I mean, there's no way the White Sox could win a World Series? Right?
Anyways, congrats to the Red Sox on their year of overdue bliss. But, hey, you still have the Patriots! And, just like the motto for the 86 years prior...you always have next year.