Tough to give any credit to the Red Sox in these parts — their unbearable fans make that a near impossibility — but I’ll do it in this space because they deserve it.
They have some real heart.
I think they knew what we all knew during last night’s thrilling Game 4 in St. Petersburg. If the Rays somehow avoided another elimination game — that would have marked the 5th such time they’ve done that in nine days — and sent the series back to Boston for a deciding game, momentum would have been with Tampa Bay in a big way on Thursday night.
So, Boston took care of business last night and now moves on to the American League Championship Series.
I like their team, even if I don’t necessarily care for their “organization”, if that makes sense. The reason I’m an admirer is I love seeing guts and grit on display, and that’s what they show in situations like the one they faced on Tuesday night. Napoli…gritty. Pedroia…ultra gutty. Ellsbury…lots of heart. Victorino…grit to the max. Their pitchers are feisty and mean and they wear their heart on their sleeve. I’ll take Lackey or Lester or Bucholz or Peavy on my team, any friggin’ day.
Tampa Bay, by the way, also some major-league heart. Talk about gutting your way through September and October, that’s exactly what they did by beating Toronto on the road in game #162 just to tie the Rangers for the second wild card spot. The next night, they won in Arlington to dispose of the Rangers and earn the “right” to play a one-game wild card contest in Cleveland two days later. All they did there was win 4-0. And, even though they lost 3-games-to-1 to the Red Sox, their dramatic Game 3 home win in walk-off fashion once again showed how much intestinal fortitude the Rays had in 2013.
Who knows what our beloved Orioles will do in the off-season, but if they decide to sign any high-quality free agents – and based on their history, we sadly assume they won’t – I hope those additions come to town with the same sort of heart and grit that Napoli and Victorino brought to Boston in this, their first campaign at Fenway Park.
I meant to mention this last week, but didn’t. Or maybe I did. Anyway, I got out to Retrievers Soccer Park last Tuesday night to see UMBC and Delaware play men’s soccer. I took my son along. It was a wonderful Fall night and the weather was just perfect for a college soccer game. If you haven’t been to that facility yet, take a night (or day) and treat yourself to an outstanding college experience. There’s plenty of seating, you’re right on top of the action, and it’s easy-in, easy-out in terms of parking and access.
Tickets are exceedingly affordable, the food and beverage costs won’t force you to take out a second mortgage and, if you have children, they’ll love the moon bounce on the top of the hill.
The soccer is great, too, as Pete Caringi has the Retrievers in the Top 20 nationally.
They’re at home this Saturday, October 12 at 2:30 pm and next Saturday, October 19 at 7pm.
Check one of those games out.
You’ll be very impressed.