It’s all over. The San Francisco Giants are World Champions for the second time in three years. If the Red Sox couldn’t compete this year it was personally gratifying to have Justin Verlander, a Virginia boy just down the road from Richmond in Goochland, VA, get another shot. Regrettably, he fizzled once again on the big stage and never got the chance for redemption after the Tigers were swept away. The San Fran circus of Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, Tim Lincecum and Sergio Romo balanced by the cool of Matt Cain, Buster Posey, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner (has there ever been a professional athlete who’s performance and stature so mismatched his name?) made for great theater even if it was a blowout.
It’s just the beginning. Hope literally “springs” eternal. A cycle of healing after a tragic season that Red Sox fans desperately need to put in the rearview mirror has just started. 2012 is so, well, 2012. Boston has unloaded payroll in a big way. They have a new manager and coaches. Ortiz closed his deal. It’s a near certainty that Cody Ross will be signed. Is Ross the savior? Hardly. Is he better for Boston than J.D. Drew? You bet.
OK, so no one could have predicted that Josh Reddick would have gone super nova in Oakland, making Ross in right field look like a downgrade. The fact is Reddick was rather messy in the second half of 2011. After a strong start, he’d not only faded at the plate but bumbled in the field. It wasn’t pretty. Look up the stats, especially the splits if you have your rose colored glasses on right now. One season doesn’t make a career. If Reddick strings together multiple seasons like his 2012 effort I’ll be willing to call uncle. Until then I’m from Missouri.
Yes, there are holes aplenty but it’s October 30. Last year at this time Boston was also a mess but somehow it felt less optimistic than this year. The team has hit rock bottom. There is nowhere to go but up.
If Larry Lucchino and Red Sox management allow Ben Cherington to be a GM in control we’ll at least find out if the young guy can grow into a sage baseball executive who is capable of leading the Red Sox going forward. One thing is certain; Lucchino is not. Based on the most recent moves, it appears that this rendition of the Red Sox has a chance of becoming Ben Cherington’s team.
Are there Vogelsongs, Romos and Bumgarners in the midst of the Red Sox? I don’t know. Neither do you. It’s why we watch. It’s why we jabber endlessly about every nuanced move. It’s why we listen to the radio and read blogs as soon as the World Series is over. It’s why, even as winter sets in, we look forward to spring. Every team is queued up at the starting line again. The opening gun that signals the General Manager meetings, the winter meetings, the draft and pitchers and catchers reporting has just been fired. Baseball is 365 kids. Stay tuned. Film at 11.
Here we are
Back in the sunshine again
No more worries
and no more pain
We’re leaving behind
All our troubles and strife
And that’s the way it’s gonna be
For the rest of my life
- Back In The Sunshine Again, Paul McCartney