- Terry Francona - I should never doubt Terry Francona's decisions again. He didn't give up on Pedroia early in the year, when the rest of us had written him off. Tito let Manny milk his oblique injury through September, even when Manny looked fine to the rest of us. Tito also took Okajima out of commission for a rest at September's end. Right at a time when we felt we needed him most. Youk, too. Why? The Yankees had pulled to within 2 games, we thought the goal was to win the AL East, get the best record and have home field advantage. You see, the difference between being a fan and being a good manager, is the good manager can look at the big picture, and keep silly emotions out of it. Tito ignored public sentiment, and stepped off the gas a bit. And because of this, the Sox went into the postseason well rested, and ready to play.
- Theo - All GMs are going to make good acquisitions, and bad ones. For instance we all agree Josh Beckett/Mike Lowell, Okajima were great acquistions. We also can acknowledge Gagne, and maybe even Drew, were bad ones. The biggest pat on the back goes to Theo and Player Development. Pedroia, Paps, Youkilis, Delcarmen, Lester, and Ellsbury are all EXCELLENT examples of eyeing good prospects out there, signing them and having faith in them. We are so lucky that we can now benefit from these decisions.
- Starting Pitching - Beckett is the ace he was projected to be, and more. Dice-K, despite his 1 inning implosions, came through in the World Series when it counted. Curt Schilling certainly helped his resume during the postseason. A guy who last week seemed borderline Hall of Fame material, now seems a viable HOF candidate, worthy of consideration. Lester's Cinderella story is an inspiration to anyone who has ever heard of the word, "cancer". And kudos to Wakefield, who could have been selfish and kept his injury quiet, so he could pitch in the World Series. Instead, he graciously stepped aside, for the benefit of his team and his teammate, Jon Lester.
- The Pen - Delcarmen, Boston's Own, who, under the radar, matured to become a solid middle relief pitcher. Timlin, the Leader of the Pack, who often makes us forget his age when he steps onto the mound. Okajima, the surprise of the year, was once descrbed as the guy from Japan signed to keep Dice-K company. What a foolish mistake, to believe that! And of course, Papelbon. I don't just love this guy because he can dance, sing, and pound down beers like water. Papelbon stepped up when we needed a closer, and proved to everyone that the closer role is exacly where he belongs.
- The Infield - Lowell - MVP, Mr. Double. The man behind the team, whose presence and personality brings these guys together. No one wants to see him go, particularly to see him in a pinstripe uniform. Let's hope the sides can come to an agreement, and we resign this bulldog. My only fear is he punched a few TOO MANY clutch hits this year, and will expect a 5 year deal. Lowell is one of my favorites, but I don't see the Red Sox willing to agree to a 5 year deal when he is already 34 years old. Pedroia - Rookie of the Year, offensive and defensive power. So awesome that we have him locked long term. Captain Jason Varitek orchestrated the game with finesse. Maybe he didn't bat .300, but he did get key hits, and he kept the pitching staff to the game plan, successfully. And Youkilis is the guy the Yankees hate. What's not to love about Kevin? OK, maybe he sweats too much, but so what? He's got BAT!
- The Outfield - Manny - Some days I want to punch him, other days I want to hug him. I will take his poor communication skills and awkward baserunning, in exchange for that bat of his in 2008. Drew - The big contract that flopped, $14 million dollar man, will suddenly get a pass, with his playoff production. We will long remember his grand slam in the ALCS Game 6, and hit .300+ average in the postseason. Ellsbury - he looks like Damon, but plays like Ellsbury. He is our new Rockstar. Unfortunately for Coco, having a great glove just isn't enough, when there is a 22 yr. old named Ellsbury in your rear view mirror.
- The bench - Kelty - the guy who was just happy to be picked up by any team this year. Make no mistake; he left his fingerprint on this World Series, hitting the game deciding home run on his first pitch as a pinch hitter in Game 4. He is the Dave Roberts of 2007.
In the coming days, there will be some many stories to tell about this team, and I, as usual, will not be at a loss for words! Our season in '07 has ended, but prep for '08 has just begun. And don't forget, pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training in about 14 weeks!
Please continue to visit me at this website from time to time, to keep up on the latest and greatest in Red Sox Nation. For those of you who have come here via the Norwich Bulletin website, bookmark me, so you can continue to read this blog, once the Bulletin and ended my tenure. I am at
Tomorrow is the parade in Boston. While I won't be able to make it, (AARRGGGHH!) Amanda our roving photographer and HUGE Red Sox Fan (I mean that she is a faithful fan, I am NOT insinuating that she is physically big...). She and a few others will be making the Pilgrimage tomorrow and will have lots of photos to share on this blog in the next few days.
What a great ride this has been. I have had so much fun, and this blog has made it more special. Thanks, guys, for making the Summer of 2007 one to remember for a lifetime.