Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Right on time, you will arrive

Make it so, JPB.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Make it so, JPB. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

While I wouldn’t congratulate the Yankees if the lot of them cured cancer, AIDS and herpes all on the same day, I will ask this:  Why were people (read: some New York sports writers) complaining that they were celebrating yesterday?  They just clinched the damn division – I think that’s worthy of a slug of champagne or two.

Mind you, I didn’t watch one moment of the celebration (thank you, universe, for making sure they clinched on national television so the world could see it) but they earned it so why give them grief about it?  I have a list of things I’d rather bitch about the Yankees for doing or not doing – celebrating such an accomplishment isn’t on it.

So now that THAT is over with we can focus on what’s really important:  The Red Sox getting into the post-season.  They have yet another shot tonight to do it with a win over the Blue Jays coupled with the Angels beating the Rangers.  Unfortunately, the Rangers play in California so even if the Sox do win tonight, we won’t know if they’ve clinched the wild card spot until past midnight.

I have a question for folks.  Why do some place so much importance on the division when the wild card is also available?  Yeah, you could argue that being the leader of the division means your the best but being second best in the American League East still makes you better than other teams around the league.

Right now the Red Sox are at 91-64.  This ties them with the Angels (first place in the West) and puts them well over the Tigers (first place in Central with an 83-72 record).   The Phillies lead the NL East with a 90-65 record while the Cardinals just clinched their place in the post-season with a Central Division leading 90-66 record.  The Dodgers?  Their in the playoffs too.  Their record?  93-63.  So instead of being bummed that the Red Sox couldn’t take the division this year, remember that it isn’t an indication of their not being a good team.  Hell, they’re better than most of the teams that have already clinched a playoff spot.  There is no shame in getting into the post-season via the Wild Card – regardless of what your Yankees fan friends tell you.  So suck it up, people, and get ready for the magic number to go from two to zero!

(Before folks think I’m being judgmental or holier-than-thou in regard to the Yanks and how people feel about them beating up on the Red Sox, I’ll share that yesterday after the game I wrote this on Twitter:  “It would be awesome if Joba took a champagne cork to the eye” – so I have no high ground here!!!  I just think we should TRY to not obsess on losing to the Yanks if the Sox are still going to be in the playoffs.)

Regardless of the final outcome yesterday, Paul Byrd definitely deserves props for his role in the game.  He pitched well, he kept his team in the game and he made me believe that he can handle pressure circumstances when they arise.  Do I want him throwing 6 or 7 innings in a post-season?  Nope.  But would I hate to see him come out of the bullpen for an inning or two if need be.  Not at all.  If I had a hat I’d be tipping it to Byrd.  Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong.

I’ve been invited to Fenway tonight and I’m looking forward to it.  It’ll be the  last game I get to for the season before the final game on Sunday and I feel  like I need the extra day there to let it all sink in that the regular season is over at the end of the week.  Josh Beckett goes for his 17th win of the season and if he can pull it off and the Angels give us a little help against the Rangers, when we wake up tomorrow our boys could be going to the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.  Looking at it that way, why would we be picky about how they get there?


September 28, 2009 - Posted by | 2009 | , , ,


  1. “let it all sink in that the regular season is over at the end of the week”


    Comment by Beth | September 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. I want the Sox and the Rangers to win tonight. Yes I do. That way the Sox can clinch at home with a win tomorrow night and we’ll get to see some of the celebration. I admit to being spoiled and expect the Sox to play in the post season every year. Do I care HOW they get to the post season? Nope. It’s back to square one for game one of the ALDS.

    Comment by Brenken | September 28, 2009 | Reply

  3. I want the Sox to clinch the spot sooner rather than later. if they win tonight and the Rangers do as well I’m going to have to find someone to punch in the face tomorrow morning. 🙂

    Comment by Cyn | September 28, 2009 | Reply

  4. Nice to read the props for Paul Byrd. He won some points with me last week in KC. When all the pitchers and catchers came out before the game, I called their names and said words of encouragement. Paul was the only one to acknowledge me with a smile and a wave. I know he’s enjoying the hell out of what he’s doing to help the team and we are too.

    Comment by Sharpie T. Silverwater | September 28, 2009 | Reply

  5. I place value on winning the division. It’s a 162 games and it means something to be atop your division at the end of it. Especially our division, with the Yankees and now Rays as perennial rivals. I also game up for the the two bird teams, but they’ve got work to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love the wild card and will always take playing in October, no matter how we get there. But I love to watch our guys come out top after the longest, most grueling season in all of sports.

    Comment by Tom Disy | September 28, 2009 | Reply

    • I place a lot of value on winning the division. But in realizing that value I don’t think it takes away from the value of just being in the post-season.

      So if my team can’t win the division I feel there’s no shame in getting into October ball on the Wild Card. That’s what it’s there for. 🙂

      Comment by Cyn | September 28, 2009 | Reply

  6. Well. . . What the Division championship DOES tend to get you, in terms of practical benefit, is home-field advantage in at least one (and often both) of your playoff series. This is by no means an insignificant advantage–particularly for teams whose rosters are tailored for optimal performance at home (as are the rosters of the MFY and Sox). This year, in particular, not only have the Sox turned in their customary sterling record in home games, but they have a disconcertingly below.500 record on the road. I am not majorly disconcerted by that road record going into the playoffs; a lot went into it that may not be relevant at all in a short series in October with our current roster in its current shape. But it’s not a meaningless statistic either. I draw comfort from the knowledge that the Sox already have proved that you can win a World Series as a wild-card team with less-than spectacular road record–and you can do it, moreover, by beating your opponents on the road, as the Sox so memorably did :-).

    Comment by Elaine Apthorp | September 29, 2009 | Reply

  7. LOVE your opening line. And I agree with you, btw.

    Comment by Chrissy | September 29, 2009 | Reply

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