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10/28/2007 01:54:00 PM

WS: It's Over Before It's Over

By Joe Lemire

Your World Series champions might just be the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Maybe Manny Ramirez was onto something when, as reported in a great New Yorker feature this spring, he demanded a trade from Boston to Pawtucket.

A youth movement? In Boston? It’s true: The story of last night’s game was undoubtedly the contributions of Boston’s kids, leading off with the leadoff hitter, Jacoby Ellsbury. Just 24 years old and with only 116 major-league regular season at bats under his belt —he spent most of the year at Triple A Pawtucket —Ellsbury went 4-for-5 with three doubles, two RBIs and two runs in setting the table for fellow 24-year-old Dustin Pedroia, who chipped in a 3-for-5, double and two-RBI night.

It was too fitting that Game 3 was played on the three-year anniversary of Oct. 27, 2004, the night that changed lives of Red Sox fans forever.

The remaining stalwarts from the ‘04 team didn’t do much last night. David Ortiz, Ramirez and Jason Varitek were a combined 2-for-12 with two RBIs, two runs and four strikeouts. Mike Timlin yielded two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning of relief.

Otherwise, the difference-makers were fresh faces like Ellsbury, Pedroia and, of course, Daisuke Matsuzaka. Hideki Okajima, dependable if not spectacular all season and playoffs, did allow a three-run homer but there were few other faults with the newcomers. Dice-K got the quick hook from Terry Francona but exceeded expectations not so much with his pitching (a solid two runs in 5.1 innings) but with his hitting, jumping on a first-pitch fastball for a two-RBI single. High comedy was the surprised look on first-base coach Luis Alicea’s face when he greeted Dice-K on the bag.

Undoubtedly – and deservedly – a major part of tonight’s story will be on Jon Lester’s return to baseball after beating cancer last year, even if the attention is a bit unwanted. When I chatted with Lester in July about his comeback for the magazine’s First Person interview series, all he hoped was this: “I want to go back to being normal.”

Certainly Lester seems to understand that the high-profile nature of his occupation grants him a credibility to help with the cause and give hope and inspiration particularly to children fighting cancer, but he earnestly wanted to be known as just another young pitcher in the Sox organization.

And, if his compatriots are any indication (see above), Lester shouldn’t have any problems.


  • Manny, the great philosopher, as quoted in today’s Boston Globe: “We don't want to eat the cake first before your birthday.”

  • Everyone wants to chime in on Ellsbury, from the Globe’s Jackie MacMullan to the Herald’s Tony Massarotti

  • Several of the Sox played for the same short-season Single A club, the Lowell Spinners.

  • Woody Paige counsels Rockies fans: it’ll be over soon.

  • The Denver Post’s Jim Armstrong writes a collection of thoughts about the Series, including the revelation that G.M. Theo Epstein advised his players not to drink alcohol in the thin air. Some of these players are the same idiots who purportedly took shots of Jack Daniels before games in the 2004 ALCS.

  • The Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy is ready for the victory parade.

  • Gerry Fraley says last night’s turnings point came on two-RBI singles from Mike Lowell and Dice-K after intentional walks loaded the bases.

  • MIT scientists studied the emotions of a Red Sox fan during the World Series.

  • Terry Francona has made all the right moves.

  • The Sox have moved beyond their tortured past.

  • Jonathan Papelbon is a dominant closer – and quite the personality.

  • From the other day: an hysterical video of Royce Clayton and Coco Crisp chatting about America getting free tacos.


    posted by SI.com | View comments |
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