It’s been nearly a week now since the Boston Red Sox won the 2018 World Series and I’m finally at a point where I can organize my thoughts. Specifically, I’m finally at a point where I can organize my thoughts into 18 bullet points. I could have done this earlier in the week, but I was tired. That is the only reason. I was tired.
Okay, let’s get started.
1. Playoff Baseball is Intense
Dear Lord, every pitch takes years off of your life. They also take about thirty seconds, which is madness when you think about it. You can certainly make an argument that baseball needs to speed things it up if it wants to stay relevant, but you shouldn’t use the time of games during the playoffs in said argument. Of course if you did, it would definitely help your case. But you shouldn’t. It’s different. But it’s effective in such an argument. Ah, whatever. Playoff baseball is nuts.
2. Where Does the 2018 Title Rank?
So far this century, the Red Sox have won 4 World Series titles. Not bad considering that before 2004 it had been a year or two since they had one their last one. So where does the 2018 title rank among the four most recent championships?
4. 2007: i.e. the one after 2004 that largely gets overlooked
3. 2018: i.e. the one that reminded you how much you love the Red Sox
2. 2013: i.e. the one that drove the point home when it came to Boston Strong and the region’s response to the Marathon Bombings
1. 2004: i.e. the one that literally changed people’s lives
3. Joe Kelly Went and Totally Redeemed Himself
Since coming to the Red Sox in a 2014 mid-season trade, Kelly has had his moments with the Sox, but he won Sox fans’ hearts and minds in April of this year when he beamed Tyler Austin of the Yankees. Joe Kelly Fight Club was born. Joe Kelly was out there dropping the puck at Bruins’ games. Joe Kelly was a force to be reckoned with. Of course then his production dipped and he went from Joe Kelly: Folk Hero to Joe Kelly: Liability. His performance became so problematic that a spot on the postseason roster was in doubt. Nonetheless, Alex Cora stuck with him and it paid off. Kelly was aces in the playoffs. He had thirteen strikeouts, only allowed one run and had an ERA under 3.00.
TL:DR: I ordered a Joe Kelly Fight Club t-shirt and I feel great about it.
4. New England Beers Only Please & Thank You
I have a thing where if I’m watching a playoff game featuring either the Sox, the Pats or the Celtics, I’ll only drink beers from New England. I don’t know when this started, maybe a few years ago, but either way, now it’s a thing. My playoff rotation was Shipyard Summer, Shipyard Pumpkinhead, Sam Adams Octoberfest and Sam Adams Lager. At one point I almost bought a 12 pack of Narragansett Lager, and while I do like that beer, I don’t like it enough to have 12 of them around. We all have our limits.
5. The Yankees Series Seems Like Years Ago
It wasn’t. It was a month ago. But whatever, it’s 2018. Time is a flat circle.
6. How the Eff Should I Wear My Hat?
For every game I wore a Mookie Betts t-shirt, my doin’ work board shorts and my Sox hat. Yet how the Sox hat sat on my head was frequently up for debate…with myself. Yes. I told you, playoff baseball is nuts. Front-facing. Front-facing and low. Front-facing and sitting high atop my head. Backwards. Low backwards. High backwards. Casually in any direction. Clutched in my hands.
At numerous times, any one of these options made sense and felt right. Until they felt wrong and the situation was immediately corrected.
7. I Did Not Make It Through the Entire Extra Inning Game
I’m not ashamed to admit it either. I stayed up through the 10th inning and then went to bed. My daughter had dance lessons the next morning. I am a committed Dance Dad and thus, a choice was made. I went to bed and figured I’d see what happened the next morning. Of course when morning came and I started scrolling the push notifications I very quickly realized shit got weird and it would take a while to fully understand. If you live on the east coast and did stay up for the entire game, I tip my cap to you. You are a patriot. A true hero.
8. I’m Still Afraid of the Astros
I know that the Sox beat them, but they still make me nervous. They’re so good. Their lineup is rock solid and their starting pitching is the stuff nightmares are made of. The Sox beating them might be the true accomplishment of their 2018 playoff run, with no disrespect meant towards the Dodgers. I think even they would understand.
9. Ryan Brasier Won Me Over
Because of where I live (New Jersey,) I didn’t get to see a lot of Red Sox games this season. I mostly followed along via social media, reading recaps and whatnot. So when the playoffs came along, it was my first time seeing some players play. One of those dudes was reliever Ryan Brasier. He wasn’t great in the first game of the ALDS, so I my feelings about him weren’t super positive. But then came game two and when he yelled at Gary Sanchez “to get the fuck in the box,” to say I had a change of heart would be an understatement.
There are reports that with Sox closer Craig Kimbrell being a free agent, Brasier could be a candidate to replace him. I’m game. I am so game.
10. Let’s Make a Decision About This DH Thing, Please
Yes, let’s. The fact that one league plays by one set of rules and the other league plays by a different set of rules and then when it matters most, one league has to alter their style of play to fit the other’s is a joke. Let’s find some common ground and move on. I think pitchers hitting is a joke, but if it’s going to happen, it should happen in both leagues. Same goes for the DH. Whatever. Just make it the same, please.
11. Andrew Benintendi is Good at Baseball
The Sox left fielder will never be the most popular “B” on the Sox, but twice in the playoffs he cemented his legacy with amazing plays in the outfield. First there was the one in game four of the ALCS that won the game.
Then there was the one in Game Two of the World Series that was just plain fantastic to watch.
As long as Mookie Betts is on the team, and probably Xander Bogaerts, Benny will most likely be the third most notable “B” dude on the team. Part of me feels like he’ll be cool with that.
12. The Instagram Bet
My buddy Francisco is a lifelong Dodgers’ fan. I am a Red Sox fan. With our teams facing off in the World Series we pledged to make some kind of dumb bet, one that didn’t involve money. We settled on the following: which ever team lost, that person had to hand over their Instagram account to the winner for a week. When the Sox won, Frank handed over his log in information, I promised to be polite and the clock started running. I’d like to think I kept things civil.
I would also like to think this is good bet that is ideal for two friends, one of whom has promised his wife not to make any stupid monetary bets on sports anymore.
14. Alternate Uniforms are the Worst
It should be simple. If you are the home team, you wear white. If you’re visiting, you were gray. Your home jersey says your team name, your away jersey says the city you represent. This shouldn’t be hard.
Yet the Red Sox biffed this one on a regular basis. They rocked red jerseys at home instead of white and they went with blue ones on the road instead of gray. It looked like spring training. It didn’t look like the World Series, that’s for damn sure, and I was starting to think that it was messing with the team’s chances.
Of course the Sox won the deciding game in the World Series wearing their alternate away jerseys, so my concerns were misplaced. But still, uniforms are one of those things I feel strongly about and as a result, if the two dudes who “found” the AL championship banner on the road want to do something about these alternate jerseys, I’m all for it.
15. Game Four of the World Series Felt Like a Pats’ Game
Specifically, it felt like one of those Patriots’ games where they look flat as hell for most of the game and a win looks to be in doubt. But then in the final ten minutes or so they come alive, start making plays, and end up winning the game. For the better part of Game Four, the Sox were held in check by Rich Hill, the Dodgers’ pitcher, and the situation made worse by a bomb of a home run by Yasiel Puig. Then the dam started to break and before you could finish stress drinking your third or fourth New England beer of the night, the Sox had tied things up and then pulled ahead.
Of course, just as it tends to happen to the Pats, things got a little dicey at the end, dicey enough to speed up the old heart rate, and the final score was closer than it felt.
It should be noted that I pointed out these similarities on the Twitter and Frank was not having it.
But whatever, I stand by it!
16. John Smoltz is a Good Announcer
He is, even though I wish he’d be a little more critical of the umpire’s strike zone, specifically when I get irrationally upset about a call and he doesn’t say anything.
17. Manny Machado: Not Welcome in the O’Connell House
I’m not sure if you’d consider it ironic that the Sox ended up facing Machado in the World Series, but it was fitting given his testy history with the Sox. During his time with the Orioles, Machado had become one of the Sox main non-Yankees nemesis. The dude took out Dustin Pedroia in 2017 and Pedey hasn’t been the same sense. This past summer, there were rumors that the Sox might make a run at trading for Machado and I don’t think anyone felt good about it. But he ended up with the Dodgers, who ended up in the World Series, opposite the Sox. I didn’t care for him, my wife didn’t like the smirk on his face and we both took pleasure in the fact that he made the last out for the Dodgers.
18. The Playoffs Are Exhausting
But they’re a lot of fun.