Saturday, September 01, 2007

Championship Driven

As we turn the page on our baseball calendars, we find the Red Sox with a five game lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East. And who among us would not have dreamt about this situation coming down the stretch?

Emerson reminds us that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Baseball's odyssey provides with a framework where we measure consistency over 162 games, not over a month, a road trip, or a series. We're talking about the intersection of run prevention and run scoring over baseball's marathon, not about winning a game in tennis parlance.

What Red Sox fans (and Theo Epstein) must ask is does the team have what it takes to win in October? We lament last week's action as we always do when comparing baseball's Athens and Sparta. After the Red Sox annihilated a flogged and downtrodden Pale Hose, reminiscent of the Boston Massacre of 1978, the Red Sox came up short in the Bronx, leaving with their collective tails between their legs.

The Sox do have questions remaining, mostly surrounding the depth of the starting rotation down the stretch, injuries (Manny Ramirez), and whether J.D. Drew has anything to offer the remainder of the season. It's hard for me to imagine the Red Sox winning a World Series with a corner outfielder producing so little. If it's physical, then so be it, write it off, and get somebody else in there. If it's psychological, let's get Dr. Tom Hanson or some other sports psychologist on the case, today.

Even worse was Joba Chamberlain's classless headhunting earning him an ejection and fine. Sox fans welcome new blood to the rivalry, and anticipate future showdowns among the Ellsbury, Lester, Buchholz, and Pedroia clan with Hughes, Chamberlain, Cabrera, and Cano. But throwing a hard object a hundred miles an hour at anyone's fragile humanity deserves condemnation and more than a two game suspension. Joe Torre's defense of Chamberlain casts aspersion on his record as well.

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