Monday, October 29, 2007

Taking a Deep Breath

Lots to talk about today, first and foremost:

The Red Sox

It's amazing how something can go on for more than 6 months, night in, night out, and then be over in a flash - like the previous 6 months never happened. That's how I feel today after the Sox swept the Rockies. Forgotten are the calls to bench Pedroia for Cora, to trade for Jermaine Dye at the deadline and bench Drew, to go back in time and reverse the Beckett/Lowell for Hanley Ramirez/Anubal Sanchez trade, to inquire whether Ortiz and Manny have been juicing all these years. Forgotten are the picayune and picky - whether Beckett should have pitched Game 4 of the ALCS, whether Tito should have pulled him in Game 1 after 5, whether Julian Tavarez should have been on the postseason roster instead of Gagne. Today, there is just joy and relief and the fulfillment of expectations. That is the biggest change since '04 and the reason why many people now think the Sox are the new Yankees. Becuase we expect success and are gratified when it is achieved, instead of hoping for success and overwhelmed and surprised when it happens. A great change.

some wrap up thoughts:

-- This team was built, as Joe Posnanski so aptly pointed out before the ALCS, on imrpoved starting pitching, an improved bullpen and an improved Mike Lowell. Those three things, plus the emergence and contributions of Ellsbury and Pedroia were on full display the last week.

-- Someone at MLB - PLEASE order FOX to replace McCarver and Buck with an announcing team that actually is involved in the game, doesn't just promote the hot storyline and isn't reduced to spouting totally empty platitudes (actually Buck was not that bad this year, but McCarver has been reduced to a caricature of his already shopworn self).

-- I was not at all interested in the World Series last year - partly because work was absolutely insane, but more because the Sox were not involved and my dad had just died. I didn't think of him a single time last night. I'm not sure if that's progress or just life, but there it is.

The Blogs

Soxaholix are note perfect

Jere has his head in the clouds and has a really cool recording of the call of the end of last night's game. Give it a listen. Man, I miss Castiglione.

Away Team has a cool set of pictures celebrating last night's win.

If this video doesn't bring tears to your eyes, I don't know what to tell you (via Sox & Dawgs)

That's it on the Sox. I'll leave you with one picture (woke up this morning and had this greet me on the cover of the NY Times):

The Bills

Is it o.k., as a fan, to be extremely happy your team won, but still have dissatisfied, wondering how they did it, and worried for the rest of the season?

That's how I felt about the Bills 13-3 win over the Jets yesterday.

It's as though Jauron and the coaching staff (more Fairchild than anyone else) was trying to take away the Bills' chances of succeeding as well as screwing up. It's like when you're raising a kid (I can say this now that I have one) - you can't put them in a bubble - yeah, they'll fall, bump their heads, get hit by a car, whatever, but they'll also have a chance to succeed. Watching the first 3 quarters, it was apparent that while Edwards had been designated the starter, he wasn't "A Starter". Some examples:

-- Calling a shovel pass on 3rd and 8 in the Red Zone on the Bills' first successful drive. Yeah, they were in field goal range, but again, what is the risk of taking a shot at the end zone there? You throw a pick, you throw a pick - they're not making the playoffs so they should take more chances (note, this is exactly the OPPOSITE of the horrible call against the Cowboys when they were AHEAD by two scores to pass on a similar down, distance and situation).

-- Another conservative call in the third quarter when they were driving - 3rd and 4 and they call a flanker screen - it was busted anyway.

-- 3rd and short late in the game, and they run straight up the middle for no gain - the third consecutive handoff up the middle. A run is the right call, but why not a sneak, or an inside handoff (they got a FG to go up 6-3, but could have sustained the drive with a better call).

Luckily, they called a few downfield passes for Losman which put the game away - one which Roscoe Parrish should have hauled in, one that Evans improbably did.

Like I said, I like the result, but I doubt the plan.

The Bills blogs:

Goose's Roost has a great picture of Losman.

The prolific Brian Galiford over at Buffalo Rumblings has the game story and a piece on the "QB controversy".

My take on the "controversy" is that the team was built to run an offense that features a lot of downfield passing and a power running game. It was not built for a game manager, dink and dunk style game such as they have tried with Edwards. That woudl argue for Losman to start; however, either way, they HAVE to pick one guy or the other and run the offense they think gives the team the best chance to win WITH THAT GUY.

I'm happy they're 3-4 with the injuries they've had, but they should be 5-2, and that failure is due to a failure of process.

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