The Red Sox clearly admire the Patriots, especially their intelligence gathering, surveillance, and scouting defense operations. The Sox could have charged into the playoffs, guns blazing, but have taken a sub rosa approach, stealthily creeping toward Nirvana.
Power hitter Manny Ramirez? Nowhere to be found. Manny could have a full beard or have shaved his head like the Dali Lama for all we know. Manny may have bought the entire '24' series on tape, promising not to return until he's seen every episode. Starting Centerfielder and Gold Glove candidate Coco Crisp, has the Hellenic Flu, after crashing into the turf so much this season.
The Real J.D. Drew? Drew has played possum the whole season, only recently coming out of his self-imposed hitlessness cocoon in preparation for the second season. No more Nancy Drew to kick around.
Julio Lugo? While we speculated that Julio had compromising photos of management to earn a big contract, he's had his moments the second half. We're still waiting to see if he too is holding back, waiting for October magic.
Kevin Youkilis? Just when we need him, he's been playing pinata for the Yankee pitching staff, resting up as part of the Sox' grand plan. What does Youkilis want to hit? They'll never know before the season ends.
Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima? The Japanese imports got off to fast starts, with Matsuzaka looking like Matt Clement the first half of the season and Okajima an All-Star. They've shut it down the second half, lest the New York media be gathering information for the stretch.
Tim Wakefield? Sixteen game winner, and as we approach the second season, all of a sudden, he's got nothing? That's just not possible.
Eric Gagne, former power closer from the Dodgers and the Rangers. Gagne has revealed nothing, refusing to show AL hitters fastball strikes or any secondary stuff. He's pulled a Sergeant Schultz for the Sox, "I know nothing."
The Indians, Angels, and Yankees could erect cameras all around Fenway and stalk the Sox on the road, and they'll get nothing. The Sox have pretty much shut it down, camouflaging critical parts of their operation.
The Sox did make a tactical error, allowing Clay Buchholz to throw a no-hitter, instead of keeping him under wraps. Theo Epstein wanted to put him on a sixty pitch count, echoed by the Player Development Gnomes, but fortunately Terry Francona put the kibosh on that one.
All these other teams, playing well, showing off in September just aren't showing any tactical savvy whatsoever. We've got 'em where we want 'em...in our sights, er lenses.