It’s the annual time of year to give thanks. Let’s do it from a Red Sox standpoint.
Josh Beckett: Thanks to this ace, a 3-1 deficit seemed like nothing in the ALCS. The Red Sox don’t come close to winning the World Series without Josh Beckett — period.
Jonathan Papelbon: He is so automatic, you almost take him for granted. As long as Papelbon is closing games for the Red Sox, everyone is going to assume the game is over when he comes sprinting out of the bullpen.
David Ortiz: He played hard and he played hurt all year, showing again why he might be the most beloved slugger in team history. Also, when the Sox were down 3-1 in Cleveland, it was Ortiz who took charge during a team meeting and demanded the players to realize what it meant to have "Red Sox" on the jersey. And he demanded that players stop looking around and waiting for someone else to step up. After that, the Red Sox didn’t lose another game.
Manny Ramirez: To a pure baseball fan, is there anything more enjoyable then watching this man hit when he’s locked in?
Dustin Pedroia: In my mind, this little sparkplug was the face of the 2007 Red Sox just like Johnny Damon and the free-flowing hair and beard served as the face of the ’04 Sox. When i think back to this playoff run, I’ll think of Pedroia’s spunk and guts on both sides of the ball.
Curt Schilling: The guy has big game guts, period. His postseason track record is the stuff of legend.
Mike Lowell: The World Series MVP was determined to get a four-year deal but when he couldn’t get it from the Red Sox, he decided to stay anyway. You have to love it when a player follows his heart, and not the dollar signs. As Lowell said, "I was financially secure before I signed this contract.". It’s a refreshing take that would be nice to see more often.
Jason Varitek: The definition of captain. The definition of a leader. The definition of a player who will do anything to win a baseball game.
Clay Buchholz: This man — who still looks like a boy — provided the most surprisingly magical night of the entire season.
Terry Francona: The biggest common denominator between the comeback from 0-3 in ’04 and the comeback from 1-3 this year? The manager never soured on his team, not even at the lowest possible point.
Theo Epstein: He laid out a mission statement when he was hired in Nov. 2002, saying that he wanted to build a scouting and player development machine and a team that could compete for a championship every year. That mission has been lived out and the Red Sox are on the verge of perhaps becoming the model franchise in baseball.
Happy Thanksgiving to all readers and all their family members. Also, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who is part of my wonderful family, and to all of my good friends as well.
All the best,