Thursday, October 31, 2013

Final thoughts on the 2013 World Series

2013 is one of those times when the best team in baseball won the title. That does not always happen. Perhaps some of the players used the chip on their shoulders that few picked them to win the AL East, never mind the whole thing. I thought they would be vastly improved over a 2012, but I have to admit that I did not expect them to be the powerhouse they were in 2013. I did correctly pick a resurgence of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, but I thought David Ortiz would decline. You win some and you lose some.

I am not a big proponent of the character thing. A lot of World Series titles have been won with flawed characters playing on the winning team. What I do think is that the Red Sox are more prepared to play each game than any other team in baseball. One of the things that make Yankee fans gnash their teeth when it comes to the Red Sox is the knowledge that Boston is simply a smarter organization than the Yankees are.

And so are the Cardinals. What they did this season with the youth they had on the team, especially the pitching staff, was astounding. They were darned fun to watch this season.

And so was the entire post season. By now, most of you know that I have been a Yankee fan since the mid-1960s. Those were bad teams back then, so I do not consider it my birthright to have the team in the post season. But it was a great run from 1995 to 2012 seeing them in the post season every year but one.

But what I found fascinating is that I really enjoyed this post season because the Yankees were not playing in it. I did not have all that stress and simply watched each game with wide-eyed wonder and enjoyed baseball immensely. Twitter heightens that experience by watching it together with a thousand other people.

In my fifty years of watching baseball, I cannot remember a player so dominating a World Series like David Ortiz dominated this one. He got inside the heads of Cardinal pitchers unlike anything I have ever seen since the Barry Bonds days.

And Ortiz probably cemented his Hall of Fame case with this one. The DH is a position and David Ortiz is the best DH ever.

But Ortiz also showed why he is hated pretty universally outside of Boston with his post game "press conference." Once he grabbed the mic from Erin Andrews, he must have gone on for seven minutes. Can you imagine Series MVPs of the past doing that? Would Bret Saberhagen, Dave Stewart or Tom Glavine to be so self-serving? I cannot picture any of them puffing themselves up like Ortiz.

Part of David Ortiz's bravado is what makes him such a great player. It is also what makes him such a turn off.

Some other observations:
  • Many considered this the coming out party of Xander Bogaerts. I did not see it that way. His series seemed good considering that until the last game, he was the only other player on his team besides Ortiz with an OPS over.700 in the Series. But he struck out 36.6% of the time and was not quite solid on defense. 
  • It seems that Jonny Gomes should stop reading about himself on the Internet. His little rant against sabermetrics showed that he has read about himself and it has not been complimentary. Look, you cannot take away from the fact that his only two hits of the Series were big ones. But good golly, he pretty well sucked all the rest of the time.
  • I was glad for Stephen Drew to have a good last game. His defense was a big reason the Red Sox had the season and post season they did. Defense in the post season is huge.
  • And speaking of defense, Dustin Pedroia had an amazing season and an even more amazing post season in the field. He was everywhere.
  • Carlos Beltran had another great post season. But I am not all that excited about him being a Yankee. He will be yet another aging player on a roster full of them and he will be yet another player that makes me grit my teeth watching him hit into the shift. Ugh.
  • The post season signature of Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal was truly fun to watch. They were amazing (Wacha's last game notwithstanding). 
It was a truly fun series. The best team won against the best team in the National League. My only hope is that after their victory parade, the Red Sox go en masse to a barber.

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