Giving Thanks

OK, so you’re a Red Sox fan, and it’s the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Let’s go around the diamond and point out nine things you can be thankful for.

No. 1: David Ortiz. There isn’t a more lovable slugger in baseball. The guy swings for the fences and has a smile that lights up New England. I don’t think the Red Sox have ever had a more popular player.

No. 2: Jonathan Papelbon. Starter, reliever, it doesn’t matter. The guy has a terrific young arm and should be an elite pitcher for the next decade-plus.

No. 3: Fenway Park: The place remains a shrine and new ownership has spruced it up beyond belief. Do I believe that fans would enjoy a new, state of the art park more? Sure I do. But until then, you have a beautiful antique with an atmosphere for the ages.

No. 4: The rivalry. Outside of college sports, it’s hard to find any rivalry that even closely resembles Red Sox-Yankees. Just check out this blog on a daily  basis. A good portion of the comments are Red Sox and Yankees fans sniping back and forth, and as long as it’s clean, I love it. Matsuzaka vs. Matsui is going to provide yet another dimension as the best rivalry in pro sports extends to Japan.

No. 5: The fans. That’s right, Sox fans care. The Patriots have put together one of the great runs in the history of the NFL, and even during football season, they remain the second team in town. Instead, everyone obsessesses on who will play shorstop for the Red Sox next year, whether J.D. Drew is worth the money and when Matsuzaka might sign.

No. 6: Ownership and front office. Theo and the Trio didn’t have a good year in ’06, but they remain a driven group willing to do whatever it takes to get the Sox back to prominence. They just showed $51.1 million reasons why.

No. 7: The manager. Managing the Boston Red Sox has been a thankless job over the years. Even the best get second guessed for the entirety of the 162-game schedule. But Terry Francona has handled his position with class the last three years, being loyal to his players and his bosses and putting in as much prep work as any manager in the game. Francona is wrong from time to time. Every manager is. But it’s not from a lack of preparation.

No. 8: 2004. Because of those four numerals, Red Sox fans have no excuse to be bitter anymore. They saw the autumn of a lifetime, and it’s going to live on forever. I’m thinking there won’t be another 86-year drought before the taste of another championship at Fenway.

No. 9: Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers are less than three months away. For a baseball fan, spring doesn’t start a day earlier or later than that.

Ian.

39 Comments

yes we sox fans have alot to be thankful for, fenway is awesome, hope they never build another park. Look what the bruins got for all the lore of the garden. They used to be known for having the smaller ice surface for there bangers…big bad bruins, rats fog etc…charactor. Fenway is under charactor in the dictionary. Now the bruins have, just another arena! If they ever build a new park they better incorporate some of the old park in it, like the monster.

Hey mr yankee, look at the cowboys and the difference romo has made from bledsoe! He took an under 500 team to the top of the division, and everybodies talking superbowl. Jeter could go down next year, and im sure the Yankess will be right in contention still…right behind and forever behind the bosox.And since when did the yankees have a team first attitude in the late nineties??? your kidding me right?

What has surprised me the most is how the media (Glenn “fat b******” Ordway, mainly) has turned on Theo. Yes he has made mistakes but so has every other G.M. in the game. Is turning out to be an interesting off season and looks like it will be an interesting season to come.

because you’re so fawning, Ian, I hardly post on this blog anymore, but I think you really need to stop evoking 2004. Not because I, as a yankee fan, find it sickening (indeed, I’m sure that’s incentive enough for you to keep mentioning it), but because it truly is pathetic. The Sox did a great job in the final week and a half of 2004. You said yourself that the playoffs are a **** shoot, and no year exemplified it better than that one. In 2015 when the Sox haven’t won for 11 years, will you still celebrate every Oct 28 (or whatever it was)? It was a great year, the same way 2002 was a great year for the Angels and 2004 was a great year for the Diamondbacks. It was no more or less special than either of those.

I am thankful for the Red Sox. Granted they had a disappointing year this year, but they are looking towards the future.

I am worried though. I see all these great free agents being signed and the sox have signed none. I worry that they are focusing too much on Matsuzaka and letting other things slide.

Once again, comparing jeter to a team that consists of matsui, damon, giambi, a rod, cano, wang and company now serves you no purpose. It is a comparison that makes little sense when the argument was of the yankees 7,8,9 and 10 years ago.

The argument is also of dynasty, of course a qb could improve a team dramatically in a season, (did you forget who brady replaced in his first year?) Ben Roethlisberger lead his team to a superbowl in his first season, is he a hall of famer and on brady’s status? Dan Marino never had a dynasty, is brady a better physical QB than he was? This does not have to do with how a qb can improve a team, the yankees didn’t win for 17 years without jeter, then they won 4 times in five years with him, it is no coincidance. In the case of the cowboys this year they had all the tools and were missing a qb, everybody knew it from last season, are you telling me if the cowboys win th enext three superbowls it is solely romo to credit? And not picking up TO, having glenn, marion barber, julius jones and their speedy secondary? I mean come on, a qb is not a team no matter how much difference a team plays when he joins. Jeter turned the yankees into champions and lead by example, he had clutch hits (ROY in 96) to get them into the playoffs and he had clutch hits in the playoffs, all four years, including a ws MVP in 2000. To say he is not comparable to Brady, or in this case brady to jeter (jeter came first and his dynasty was more impressive) is a joke.

Again, you all may be sox fans but I know as a fact you are not retarded. How do you not remember the late 90’s yankees? Name me the superstars? Nobody knew oneil as more than a role player in cincy, bernie, jeter, rivera, pettite, and posada became superstars (bernie still isn’t) through those dynasties, not before them. Wetteland was no elite closer, brosius was a role player, as was their second baseman, tino, girardi, gerald williams, chad curtis, graeme lloyd, david weathers and company. Who was the superstar on that team, how were they not a team first clubhouse? Was Mariano duncan the superstar? I don’t think so. The closest argument you can make is Cecil Fielder, the DH from detroit who came over and had some big hits in 96 and 96 only and that was even towards the end of his career. The yankees had no superstars when they won whether you choose to acknowledge it or not and until I start seeing reasons why the media was wrong back then and I am wrong now about that, your argument holds no water.

BTW Ian, good point on the atmosphere of Fenway, it truly is a surreal feeling going to a game, whether you’re a sox fan, non sox fan or Yankee fan (yes they are different categories). I can honestly say there is no feeling like being at fenway park during a game. Not to say it is a better or more powerful feeling than Yankee stadium, but it is a different feeling, Fenway feels more like family, Yankee stadium feels more like a war I think. I don’t even know if that makes sense, but I guess if you have been to both stadiums you might understand what I mean. And I am lucky enough to have gone to yankees sox games at both places, somebody ought to write a book on how different the experiences are, and yet very much the same.

Jss – here are some reasons why it is completely different to the Diamondbacks and the Angels, some of them related but each needs to be looked at separately:

– It involved beating the Yankees, the greatest rivalry in sports;

– They came down from three games down to win four in a row against the Yankees;

– They came from a run down in the bottom of the ninth to score against probably the greatest closer ever. And then the next night from two runs down in the bottom of the eighth. Both of these games are classics, and not just because the Red Sox won (although I am biased). But because it was such a great rivalry, and both went to extra innings;

– It had a pitcher coming off an injury which could/should have required surgery and pitching heroically.

The bottom line is, with the greatest come back maybe in baseball’s history, maybe all of sport’s history, it is certainly a little different than the other teams you mentioned. And certainly the average fan (niether Yankees nor Red Sox) will remember that playoff run more than they will the Diamondbacks or Angels.

Yankeemm – How can you say the Yankee dynasty was greater when the Patriots dynasty, in my view, is not over yet?

and probably because those teams were not starved for 87 years ..

hey guys, i got news. Carlos Lee reportedly agreed to a 6 yr 100m deal with Houston, according to the Globe

too bad. we could’ve used him to hit behind manny. WMP should fare well though.

Jss,

You lost any credibility you have left by comparing the 2004 Red Sox to the 2001 Diamondbacks or 2002 Angels. I’m thinking the Red Sox have just a little thicker history than the Diamondbacks and Angels, and I’m also thinking that the 2004 Red Sox are the only team in the history of the sport to come back from 3-0 in the playoffs. so until that changes and someone else comes back from 3-0, you can expect plenty of references to the ’04 Sox from not just me, but baseball historians. If it pains you so much, why do you keep coming back? Just stay over on the Yankees blog and obsess about how that $200 million payroll can never seem to land the Yankees that coveted World championship. You had a great run, but as Buster Olney’s prophetic book said in the title, it’s over.

Brendan:
-Yes, their run involved beating the Yankees, but remember, they did play in the ALCS, not the World Series. The D-Backs came from two down in the World Series in an *extremely* emotional time (9/11 was the prior month)

-Games 4 and 5 in that series were absolutely crushing for Arizona, with Kim blowing two games in the 9nth innning up by two runs. Both went to extra innings.

-Arz basically won with two pitchers, who dominated and shared MVP

Look, I’m not saying it shouldn’t be a cherished memory for Boston fans, as the Bucky Dent game, Aaron Boone game, and so many others are for Yankee fans. All I’m saying is that it is not unique: crazy things happen in baseball all the time, and every team has its own moments. The point is, this constant celebrating projects an embarassing childishness; celebrating every October 28? Come on. Boston doesn’t have a patent on that date. Red Sox fans need to move on; most of the players from that team are gone, and sports in general is a game of ‘what have you done for me lately?’

and Ian, I agree with ur 2004 comments. as great as the detroit saga was this year, the 2004 Boston Redsox was a culmination of 86 years of agony and pain, resulting in the most devestating blow to their long-time nemesis.

Jess, I agree that we can’t stick to 2004 forever. That’s why we’re gonna win in 2007!

Brendan, that is I guess where we subconsciously differ. I consider the patriots run over. three in four years is impressive and a dynasty (though it was very controversial if u remember, but I consider it a dynasty), three in five years? Stretching it. The main reason I consider this dynasty over is because I don’t see the pats as a legit threat this year.

They no longer have home field aura, and I think they are probably the 4th best in their own conference and 5th in football. Yes, I do stack the broncos ahead of them, mainly because they have the pats number and if they met in the playoffs, the broncos would win home or away, plummer or cutler.

I just saw casino royale. I strongly suggest it, especially for bond lovers. This new bond is easy to get used to despite that I didn’t think he looked like a Bond. If you see the movie, you will accept him.

Ian, contrary to what you may believe, the only people obsessing on 200 million dollar payrolls and the Yankees not winning since 2000, are the people on this blog, not the Yankee one.

Yankeemm – contrary to what you may think, it is you who always brings up the “second highest payroll in baseball”.

Incidentally, do you really think the one extra world series win makes the yankees a synasty and the patriots not one? There is nothing controversial about it for me, they were (and maybe this year can continue to be) the best team the last few years in football.

As for the Patriots, I think they have a god chance this year. The Broncos may have had their number for a while noe, but their D is about as as strong as the Pats home field advantage was. The Chargers ripped through them, the Chiefs were impressive against them, they are definitely beatable.

Jss – Red Sox fans can move on but they still can covet their date. If you think coveting a date is childish, then what can you think of the 1918 chants heard at every Yankee game for so many years? Remeber JSS, the original commetns were about the postseason in general (you were talking about the post season about a **** shoot) and not just the World Series. The 28th was the culmiation of that post season. And that post season involved beating the Yankees the way they did, which is whh I brought it up.

By the way, part of me thinks that as much of a veteran, a workhorse and a professional Corey Dillon is, they should start giving one or two more carries to Moroney. He really is explosive

The fact that there is a salary cap in the NFL makes the Patriots’ 3 Super Bowls in 4 years every bit as impressive as what the Torre yankees did from 1996-2000. Consider that the Patriots are only the second team in the history of their sport to win
three super bowls in four years. But both dynasties were very impressive.

LOL Brendan, I said the only people who obsess on a 200 million dollar payroll and not winning since 2000 are the people on this blog. Where does that talk about the sox having the 2nd highest payroll? Naturally, that is the response to when people here obsess on the Yankees having the top payroll, hence why you see it so often, so you only prove my point.

If you also reread what I said I mentioned I CONSIDER the patriots 3 rings in 4 years a dynasty, but when they did it there were numerous articles in the media debating it. I said I sided with the ones who felt it was a dynasty, thus defending the patriots, yet you defend them by arguing about me defending them. It was the original comment that the yankees run was not comparable to the pats one less win dynasty that you should have an issue with, not me, who said both were dynasties, and both impressive.

I think Maroney is incredible, I don’t know why the pats do not go to him more often and use dillon, a slow, bruising back as a 3rd down, goal line and important situation runner for now.

“I consider the patriots run over. three in four years is impressive and a dynasty (though it was very controversial if u remember, but I consider it a dynasty)”

That was my comment, where does it say there that the yankees had a dynasty and the patriots did not?

“Ian, contrary to what you may believe, the only people obsessing on 200 million dollar payrolls and the Yankees not winning since 2000, are the people on this blog, not the Yankee one.”

Where does that mention the redsox, their payroll or being 2nd in payroll anywhere?

Ah right I misread, I thought you were agreeing with the controversy surrounding it which cast its status in doubt.

My point on the payroll is that you always say that Red Sox fans obsess about the Yankees payroll, but you have also pointed out on numerous occasions that the Sox have the second highest payroll in baseball. Thus obsessing about the Red Sox payroll. In other words, it is a two way street, and not just a one way thing where the Sox are the only ones obsessing

Right, but the only times I ever concentrate on the sox payroll is when the Yankee payroll is brought into question. I would dare somebody to find a time when out of nowhere with no pretense I just brought in that the redsox payroll is too high and they came in third anyway. It is always in response to something. So, if anything it is a vicious cycle

Ian:
Even if you won’t I’ll abstain from petty personal jabs.

I’m not trying to insinuate that the Red Sox come back from 0-3 was not important. It was. I’m not saying it wasn’t historic. It was. But if you look at it rationally, you’ll see that to win four straight games isn’t that big of a deal: it happens all the time. The Yanks took 5 straight from Boston this August, you might remember. Exceptional moments happen in baseball more frequently than in any other sport. The Pirates can thank Bill Mazeroski, the Blue Jays Joe Carter, the A’s Reggie and Catfish for their franchises defining, historic moments. Schilling was just as dominant in the 2001 WS as in the 2004 ALCS, probably more so. This is not to belittle Boston’s accomplishment, which was substantial. But there is no official guide to “The Most Dramatic Things That Can Happen on a Baseball Field,” listing coming back from a 0-3 deficit to win the pennant at the top. Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in WS history, a feat still unmatched. Boston does not have a monopoly on drama.

You can say all you want that the Yankees dynasty is over. Neither you nor I can predict the future. All I know is that since the Yanks won their last title, they have won 6 division titles and two pennants. Boston, since its title, has won the wild card, and missed the playoffs. Both teams have only a few core players remaining from the championship teams. The Yankees dynasty might be over, or it might be about to restart. But the fact is that Boston hasn’t had one in about 90 years, no matter what happened in 2004.

jss – these things do not happen “all the time”. It may happen in the regular season sometimnes, but it had never been done in the playoffs, and to make the feat more impressive it was done against one of the strongest teams in baseball. There is no comparison between the Regular Season, which is a 162 game grind, and the post season, where every game matters. If you add up all the circumstances of everything that happened in the Sox playoff run, most particulalrly in Games 4 and 5 against the Yankees, then that for me is more unique than a good performance by Schilling in 2001.

And it is not like fans are completely dwelling on it. It is just remembering that great post season once in a while.

Ian, I can be thankful that I am part of The RedSoxNation!! Also that I found this and Jeff’s blog. These are places where I can go and either celebrate or commisserate (depending upon the outcome of a game) with fellow nationers and our yankee friends who come over here. I am thankful to have learned so many things since I’ve been here.
So to end this, I am thankful for The RedSox, The Nation and the blogs!!

Oh, I am also thankful for (who else??) TROT.

Yankeewmv, i just wanted to respond to your brady-jeter comments. Sorry, this may be stale, but i’ve been kinda busy.

I don’t want to be misunderstood that I believe that the yankee dynasty is more impressive. I may disagree personally on that point, but your argument is sound and worthy of discussion. My point is simply that the QB is much more important than a position player in any sport. Although like I stated before a guard can really make a difference in basketball. I do not believe that the pats win any title without brady. Your point, if I understand it, is that any decent QB (I know you don’t just mean any old guy, but a decent pro) could have been just as successful as Brady. I believe that Brady (and Jeter to this point) has something really special. Look at the drive against oakland in the snow game (2001), look at the last drive against the rams, I could go on forever. My point, without insulting the other players on the pats squad, is the position is so important. For instance, the did you realize that 5 out of the last 6 heismans have gone to QBs. 12 of the last 20 to QB. I don’t believe it is accurate to go back farther than 20 years because with the prevelance of the west coast offense and death of the wish bone, it is not as comparable. The QB is much more of leader to his team than a position player. I’m not “retarded” (I hope you use the accent when you posted it!) and can recognize Jeter’s value to the team. I may not like it but that’s a different story! Jeter may be one of the top 5 players of the last 10 years even with the steroid skewing (sp, its late) everything. I also will give you this point, those yankee teams did play very much as a “team” and every player had its role, ie. rivera setting up for John W. ect.

Sorry, I hit post instead of preview… So anyways, you gotta at least give me the point that a QB is more important than a shortstop. I may not be able to respond in a while as I’ve got a huge trial starting on Monday, but I’ll read your response with interests as long as you keep it respectful. Which by the way you usually do.

Who is Joe Cowley? I’m missing the reference.

There is no doubt in my mind that QB is more imp to his team than a shortstop is to his team. But saying that the Pats wouldn’t have won even a single superbowl without Brady is insulting everybody else on this team. I like Brady (I dont like the Pats). Infact the only two Boston based players (all sports) I really like are Brady and Seymour. But, the Pats won their championship because of their Defense, Offense and Vinateri. It broke my heart when the Patriots beat my Panthers in the superbowl. I, to this day believe Branch was the single most important reason Panthers lost that game.

lol Connor it seems to me we are in agreement and disagreement about the same thing. I agree QB is more important, but baseball and football are not comparable. In baseball, assuming someone plays both offense and defense, any one person can control a game almost single handedly, just like a quarterback. Football is a team sport with a QB leading the way, baseball is a team sport too, but much more individual than any other main sport. Would you agree someone like Johnny damon in game 7 2004 alcs had more of a role than a QB in that one game? I would. That is why Brady and Jeter in the sense of importance is not really a fair comparison, but I believe both are extremely crucial to their respective dynasties and that was the original point.

Good luck with your huge trial, I hope everything works out.

yeah the QB is very important but as in the ND game yesterday, quinn played his *** off but his receivers dropped a ton of passes and the running game ******

Getting back to BASEBALL, I thought I’d offer one of my own thanks-

I’m thankful for the front office’s focus on the draft and the future of the team. Both the 2005 and 2006 drafts were widely considered among the best (if not THE best) in baseball. The future should be bright in Boston, and I’m thankful for a team that we can watch grow up and succeed for many years to come.

http://outskirtsofredsoxnation.blogspot.com

outskirts…I think you hit it on the head there. I am as thankful for good talent evaluation and drafting (at least we hope it turns out that way in the long term) as anything else.

But I am most thankful that Red Sox fans don’t have to live through the dead periods small and mid market teams must live with. At the very least, a large payroll and big market means each and every year, there is meaningful baseball to be played. And for that I am thankful.

http://www.redsoxtimes.com

Ian,

Are Ellsbury and Murphy long term ansers to the OF question?

Ellsbury is the Sox’s best prospect but Murphy still has long ways to go. I see Ellsbury in the majors by 08 or 09 but maybe just not for the Sox…

I’m not totally sold that Murphy is anything beyond a fourth outfielder. I think Ellsbury is going to be good — think Damon with a little more speed and a little less power.

Greetings from the West Coast chapter of Red Sox Nation! I am also very grateful and thankful to be a part of RSN, such a special group of dedicated, emotional and extrememly loyal fans of our team, the Boston Red Sox. This off-season has certainly gotten me in a crazy frenzy, but hopefully, as Ian said, we will know so much more by the end of the Winter meeetings. I personally, along with my whole family, 5 kids and all, can’t believe this could be the end of Manny’s days as a Red Sox. I hope it isn’t true. I really do. But, sadly, Ian just may be right. The suspense is paralyzing, for sure. Hope you all had a very special Thanksgiving with the ones you love…GO RED SOX…and I’m with Ellen…I still love Trot, too!

Wouldn’t it be great if Manny got traded for somone like Kenny Lofton?

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