So in the post-game interview, Joe Torre says something about how Red Sox fans shouldn't be disapointed in the team, they didn't beat themselves, we beat them.
Self-delusion of the highest order. This was the year the Sox were supposed to be a team; a group of individuals working together for the common good to reach a common goal. So our ace starting pitcher, who has never, ever, ever, been a "team player," but always a Pedro first player, starts the 8th: His pitch count is over 100, He seldom pitches this many innings at one go anyway, but he starts the 8th. It's clear from the second batter, he's not being unhittable anymore, as he was pretty much through 1-7. Balls are falling into gaps for big hits. Grady Little, the manager, comes out to take him out of the game, because you don't send your manager to talk to your pitcher and ask him if he wants to stay in, you send your pitching coach. Pedro asks to be left in, and doesn't leave until the score is tied.
Where was the teamwork? Where was the working together for the greater good? It was all about Pedro. Pedro doesn't want to leave. How often do pitchers actually want to leave a game? As a manager you recognize when a pitcher is tired, you pull him. It's basic baseball managing. You know how to see it, and you react!
But lets not lay it all on Little. Pedro should have accepted the pull and let them bring in Timlin. As an adult, as a professional, as a baseball player, he should have said to himself, "for the team, I need to step out now and let a fresh pitcher clear the decks for the next inning, because it's not about me knocking back the Yankees, it's about the team knocking back the Yankees. I've done 7 strong innings of good work. I'm set up to win this game. Time to let the last two innings go to the bullpen and let Mike Timlin and Scott Williamson close it out." It's insulting to the nth degree that Tim Wakefield took this loss, when in that one moment of ego, Pedro Martinez handed the Yankees the game. I'm starting to think my mother-in-law was right when she said to trade him at the end of last season.
So, no, Joe, the Yankees did not beat the Red Sox. The Red Sox beat themselves. Or rather, one of them did.
So we go to the World Series which will have an audience of, oh, just about nobody. I know bsheppard will be watching, with no idea who to root for. I'm betting ultimately his Florida half will win out and he'll root for the Marlins. And my dad might stop in just because it's the last baseball he'll get for the year and he'll be needing his fix. Me? I'm going to rewatch Bull Durham and For the Love of the Game and tell myself that Kevin Costner would have let himself be pulled, just like Roger Clements, who in the end turns out to be the better pitcher....damnit.
Edit: One of my coworkers just said that it was inevitable. The Red Sox lose and we get 6 more months of winter. Which was almost funny.