Monday, October 29, 2007

Bawston Spawts

Yesterday was a good day for Boston sports fans. The Red Sox won the World Series and the Patriots crushed a pretty good Washington Redskins team. I find myself in the odd position of loving the Red Sox and hating the Patriots. You see, I grew up over the western United States, so location never meant much to me when I picked teams to root for. But more on that in some other post.

The Boston Red Sox

It's not that Mike Lowell didn't deserve to win the MVP. He did. Still, I kind of hoped Jonathan Papelbon had won the award. Forget about the fact that he made three saves; what's more important is the sense of relief he gives to his teammates and fans. If the Red Sox have the lead in the late innings, they're going to win. (Personal digression: I was with a woman once, and, um, let's just continue with the sports lingo and say that I shut her out, 1-0. "No problem," she said. "I'll just bring Eck out of the bullpen." So she reached into the bag of goodies she had stashed under the bed and pulled out her silver friend who looked nothing like Dennis Eckersley. There went my shutout.)

There was once of those online polls asking which team was better, the 2004 Red Sox or the 2007 Red Sox. Despite the ridiculous nature of those polls, it's a good question. The 2004 team had to deal with all the Babe Ruth curses, disbelievers, and back monkeys, so for them to overcome all that and win was remarkable. Still, they were the underdog wildcard team that year, and they seemed overmatched against a better Yankees team. This year's Red Sox had a handful of the same players -- Ortiz, Schilling, Manny, and a few others -- but they had the best record in baseball from April through October. The Yankees made a furious comeback, but the Red Sox held them off and never panicked. If an alien world or Cuba challenged us to pick one of those Red Sox teams to a best-of-seven series against its finest players, I'd take the 2007 Red Sox.

The New England Patriots

Wow, is this team bitter! Leading 38-0 in the fourth quarter, the Patriots had the ball on the Redskins 2-yard-line when a lineman jumped offsides. Tom Brady barked at him as if the outcome of the game were still in question. A couple plays later, Brady hit an open receiver in the end zone, and both players celebrated like they'd just taken the lead. In this situation, most teams resort to their running games to run out the clock, but the Pats insist on playing hard and running up the score. I think part of it is the mentality that when you're on the field, you give it your all. But it seems like there's something else going on, like maybe the Patriots are getting revenge everyone for calling them cheaters. Nevermind the fact that they were caught cheating. Maybe if they win this year without cheating, people will forget that they used to make a habit of cheating, and the fact that their cheating cost the good-hearted Colts a couple of Super Bowl titles. I hate the Patriots.

Next Sunday, the Patriots are going to play the Colts. Neither team has lost. The Patriots look invincible, winning their games by an average of about 25 points. The Colts look shaky by comparison, often struggling in the early stages of the game. The Colts have beaten the Patriots three times in a row, but this Patriots team has three of the best receivers in the league. More on that game later, sports fans.


  1. i hate the red sox and like the patriots. the sox are just some baseball team, nothing really exceptional about them, except they spend more money than any team in baseball except the yankees. so, they have become what they despise to win. nice.

    i like the patriots BECAUSE of their "screw you, we can do whatever we want" attitude.

    caught cheating? cheating is using a corked bat. cheating is putting way too much stickum on your hands. cheating is sleeping with your wife's sister. cheating is NOT stealing signals. jeezus. seriously? stealing signals? how is this not part of the game?

    you know every team in the league does this. you KNOW they do.

    anyway. the patriots make good villains, and since you fire breathers have labeled them thusly anyway, they might as well play the part, and enjoy it.

  2. you know what I said about the pats losing two games? i rescind. this may be premature given that i still believe in the difficulty of a 16 game NFL season, but i've never seen any team destroy team after team before.

    bob, i got rid of the tv; can i come over to your house to watch the pats/colts?

  3. Dug - The Patriots do make good villains, which is why I enjoy villifying them. Question: How can you not like Tom Brady? Answer: By hating him.

    Botched - Come on over. Although I'll probably need to be a sports bar for this one.

  4. randy moss might be the best receiver right now. but after him, harrison, clark, or wayne are better than the pats next best receiver.

    and i'd take JA over LA as a running back any day. brady vs. manning? not even close. brady has the rings. and the "intangibles" but manning will put the ball exactly where you want it, almost every time. he's much better at reading defenses than brady. and plus he'll be playing at home where he can easily audible. brady will be playing in an extremely loud dome.

    don't forget, the colts have the #3 defense right now. if they can do something about moss, i think they'll win.

  5. Andy (I want to call you Andiana), I think you're underestimating the Pats' receivers. Stallworth is excellent, and no one has figured out a way to stop Welker, the best slot receiver in football. The Colts can take Moss out of the game just like they took out Steve Smith, but can they also cover the other receivers and stop the running game? Their only chance is to pressure Brady without blitzing, which is possible. Mathis in particular is playing well.

    I agree with you about Addai/Maroney, but not Manning/Brady. Brady is a great quarterback who's cool under pressure. This is the first year he appears to belong in the same category as Fouts, Manning, and Marino as great passers. Manning has learned to be cool under pressure, and he's also learned how to win. He relies on his underrated offensive line to run the opponent into the ground. Brady has always been clutch, and now he's refining his passing skills. I wonder if the fact that he's in a high-powered offense might hurt him under pressure in a close game.

    I think the statistics are a little skewed for both teams. The Colts have gone up against good defensive teams with mediocre offensive talent, so their defense is ranked a little too high. Similarly, the Pats have gone up against teams that are near the bottom of the league in pass defense, so their offense has put up crazy numbers. Washington was the only team that had been good against the pass, but two of their cornerbacks got injured early in the game, and they got steamrolled. Brady's stats are also padded by the fact that the Pats are running up the score for revenge. Also note that Tom Brady is evil, and Bill Belichek is the devil.

    I can't wait to see how the game plays out.