Bob Ryan (Globe):
It's over. The Sawx are the champions once removed. And what sane person thought it would turn out any differently? The 2005 Red Sox were a team good enough to win 95 games and get to the playoffs, but they were simply not constructed to win it all once they got there. Stop me when I start telling you something you don't already know.Mike Bauman (MLB.com) wrote the same thing:
[Boston] had no shot to repeat this epic performance with the current crew. Not enough pitching. Not nearly enough pitching. The Red Sox were fortunate even to be the postseason, and they wouldn't have been here without a 1-5 final homestand from the Cleveland Indians ... The Red Sox lived by the bat this season. In the American League, you can do that -- in the regular season. But when you get to October, you are going to run into teams that can pitch with the best of them.Well, Bob and Mike, I think you are wrong. (And thanks for calling tens of thousands of Sox fans insane.) If someone on the team not named Ortiz or Ramirez had hit, they'd likely be up 2-1, looking to Schilling to clinch the series today.
The Red Sox may not have had a big, scary marquee name in the rotation, but that's not what you need. You need solid performances -- and Boston had enough pitching to go the distance. Even in the sweep, they showed that. Wells and Wakefield pitched very well, Papelbon was rock solid in relief.
(I got a kick out of all the mediots pointing to how much we missed Derek Lowe (!), who pitched so badly during the 2004 season that he was relagated to the back of the bullpen.)
Boston lost the ALDS because of hitting, hitting, hitting. The Red Sox hit .240 and scored nine runs. The White Sox hit .289 and scored 24 runs. Tony Graffanino had it right: "If we hit the ball the way we did that stretch at home, it's a different story in these ball games."
Tony Massarotti (Herald) notes that while the Red Sox were outpitched, they "did not score a run after the sixth inning of any game."
Orlando Hernandez's relief performance in the sixth inning was crucial.
I chased a ball up and got a little under it and popped it up.Graffanino:
My approach against him was like I had two strikes from the get-go. He can throw some slow at 63 miles an hour or throw a fastball. He surprised me with a first-pitch 93-mile-an-hour sidearm fastball. I didn't think he could throw that hard anymore. ... You have no idea what that guy's going to throw. The only pitch he didn't throw me that was hard was the last pitch. You never expect that.Damon:
The first pitch in the at-bat was up, so that kind of makes you expand your zone. Then he throws a 3-and-2 slider. You don't expect that in that situation. He had a lot of tilt on that slider. He made the right pitch at the right time.Afterwards, Damon talked a little about his status:
You play the whole season with these guys, you enjoy every single moment. I hope I'm back. Hopefully we'll get a pretty good offer. I fell in love with Boston, so hopefully I'll be here for a long time.But a lot of what he said sounded like a long goodbye:
I hope to play again with some of these guys, and that could be with another team. I feel privileged to be in this clubhouse ... I felt we could leave a special mark on this game again, but we just weren't healthy enough, or good enough. ...David Wells is considering retirement. ...
It's a sinking feeling right now. I'll come back here tomorrow and pack, and what my offseason holds, I'll leave that on the Red Sox. ... It's been amazing. The players, the city, how the city loves us. It was different from the moment I became a Red Sox. The joy of the game and the way it's respected. You're proud to wear a Red Sox uniform, you play hard and the fans like that.
Ortiz and Ramirez were the first Red Sox players to hit back-to-back homers in the postseason since Dwight Evans and Rich Gedman did it in the 1986 World Series against Ron Darling.
I'm pretty sure (and glad) that the Kevin Millar Era is over:
We had three great years together, and we could be back, but you're probably going to see some new faces. We had some good times, and we brought a lot of joy to this city. We can hold our heads high. We didn't lose because of lack of effort.Tony Graffanino on the huge ovation he received before the game:
I was moved beyond belief. I was definitely touched. And if I allowed it to happen, I could have cried because I wasn't really sure what was going to happen. Those kind of things mean so much. I don't think people can really describe it. That was a huge moment for me. That's something I'll never forget. ... I'd love to [return in 2006]. This is by far the most fun I've had in my baseball career. I think part of it is I'm playing in this environment with that kind of crowd. This is just a blast.Damon, Millar, Varitek and Ron Jackson all spoke about how important Manny Ramirez is to the Red Sox. ... Wells: "I've never seen a 1-2 punch like [Ortiz and Ramirez], ever. To see that, God, it was just stupid. Do whatever it takes to make them happy. Wine and dine the [expletive] out of them."
Wakefield: "That's the shocking part. Waking up tomorrow, knowing you don't have to go to work but wanting to."
Finally, why is Chicago Tribune columnist Ed Sherman so happy?
So long to hearing endless stories about the Boston Red Sox. Goodbye to Babe Ruth, breaking the curse and blah, blah, blah.First, it's funny hearing a White Sox guy complain about a biased announcer. Second, while Berman was indeed saying moronic things all series (he knows no other way), to my ears that eulogy singing was anti-Boston. Berman seemed to think -- even after last season -- that the Red Sox could not score one measly run. And while he praised players on both sides, but I didn't hear any excessive Soxcentric gushing.
And most of all, see you later, Chris Berman.
The White Sox spared their fans from hearing Berman call another one of their games on ESPN. Thank you, El Duque.
Berman was tolerable during the first two games, giving each side a fair shake. But Friday, he walked into Fenway Park, sniffed the Boston air and began to overdose on the Red Sox. ...
The final two innings were excruciating as Berman started to eulogize the end of Boston's reign. He rhapsodized about how wonderful it has been in New England. ...
The White Sox, though, put viewers in a Berman-free zone for the rest of the postseason. Winning is sweet, isn't it?