All right, the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS and will represent the American League in the World Series. I’m sure everyone in Beantown, as well as displaced Red Sawx fans, is happy and that Yankee fans are down on themselves.
But why should they be? Which team won more games the regular season, the Yankees or Red Sox? Last time I checked, it was the Yankees, who also took the AL East division title for the seventh consecutive season. They also got over 100 wins, while the Red Sox did not. Without the inception of the Wild Card, the Red Sox would have been sitting at home right now. If you factor in the postseason, the New York Yankees are still ahead of the Red Sox in terms of victories. The Bronx Bombers will still have a better 2004 record until the Red Sox win 3 games in the World Series, which is not a given. So this season, the New York Yankees are a better team, in terms of victories.
And did the Yankees really play worse in the postseason? They did beat Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, AND Pedro Martinez in a span of three games after all. One of those three pitchers will win the Cy Young (of course it’ll be Johan Santana). Who have the Red Sox beat? Jarrod Washburn, Bartolo Colon, and Kelvim Escobar in the series against the Angels; they beat an injured Orlando Hernandez, inconsistent Mike Mussina, returning to form Jon Lieber, and injured Kevin Brown in Games 4-7 respectively of the ALCS. The level of pitching the Yankees beat is definitely at a higher caliber than those the Red Sox beat when you factor in veteran Brad Radke (Game 2, ALDS), as well as promising youngsters Carlos Silva (Game 3, ALDS) and Bronson Arroyo (Game 3, ALCS). In the series against the Red Sox, the Yankees out-pitched and out-scored the Sox. When this kind of thing happens, the team on the worse end does not usually win, so one could feasibly argue that the Sox got lucky in their trek to the Series.
So, the Red Sox (as well as their fans) are so happy because they finally beat the Yankees. If the Red Sox were beating the Angels or Twins in this series, they wouldn’t care. They only care so much because it was the New York Yankees. So what does this mean? It means that the Red Sox, as well as their fans, believe the Yankees to be the superior team and therefore beating them is the most important thing in their lives. So the bigger the deal the Red Sox (as well as their fans) make of this, the better the Yankees are thought to be.
So, say the Red Sox win the World Series and end the Curse of the Bambino. This is a big IF, but let’s just suppose. This will give the Red Sox their 6th World Championship in their entire history. Perhaps my math is a little fuzzy, but that would still be twenty less than the New York Yankees’ 26 World Championships. If you want to speak about dominating, check out the time span between 1947 and 1964. In this eighteen year span, the Yankees were in the World Series fifteen times and won it ten times. The Red Sox have won two consecutive World Championships and three times in four years. This is the closest the Red Sox can come to putting a dynasty together, while for the Yankees there are four consecutive Championships from 1936 to 1939, five in a row in 1949 to 1953, and three in a row from 1998 to 2000. To put it another way, in the second half of the 1930s, the first half of the 1950s, the second half of the 1990s, and so many other time spans, the Yankees have won more Championships than the Red Sox have in the past eighty six years. In terms of World Series wins, the Yankees have the clear advantage over the Red Sox.
What can we expect for the 2005 season for both of these teams? Now that the Red Sox have angered Boss Steinbrenner, he will seek vengeance. This off-season, this conversation will happen:
Boss Steinbrenner: “Joe, what do you need?”
Joe Torre: “I could use a little help in the bullpen.”
Boss Steinbrenner: “Cashman, bring in Troy Percival, Chad Fox, Jose Mesa, and Steve Kline.”
Brian Cashman: “Done, sir.”
Joe Torre: “I could use a different 2B.”
Boss Steinbrenner: “Get Nomar.”
Brian Cashman: “Done, sir.”
Joe Torre: “A new CF, DH, and a few SPs.”
Boss Steinbrenner: “Beltran, Magglio Ordonez, Pedro Martinez, Paul Byrd, Russ Ortiz, and Matt Clement.”
Brian Cashman: “Completed, sir.”
And then Red Sox fans will have a new reason to hate Steinbrenner and the Yankees. Oh, that and the 2005 World Championship rings they’ll be slipping onto their fingers.