Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Late to the party? Yes. Apologetic? Very. Blogging now? SEE THE REALITY OF IT! As a token of my true apologeticality, that Papelbon image on the left is clickable for a desktop-sized version.
Lest you fear otherwise, I did of course watch the World Series, every glorious moment of it. I just haven't had a ton of time for blogging lately, and what little time I did have was dedicated to Roar of the Tigers, because I'm actually obligated to post over there, while the posting over here is on a 'whenever I feel like it' basis. It's not just the Sox: you'll note that I've missed blogging about the Lions and the Wolverines as well, although I'm definitely watching/attending all those games too.
I realize I've said this before, but I think I'm ready to pick it back up on a more regular basis. The end of the season was a crazy time, and the start of the school year was a crazy time, and.... I hate genetics. Genetics is destroying my life. That's basically the reason for all of this. BLAME UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN GENETICS.
The plus side of posting so long after the World Series has ended is that instead of posting an immediate YAY GO TEAM US THEO IS A GENIUS I LOVE EVERYONE post like the rest of the blogosphere, I can stand back and say what made this World Series most memorable to me.
There were lots of memorable storylines this season, don't get me wrong. Just going over the bare bones of it:
--The fact that we won a World Series in the first year of our Japanamania is certainly worth noting-- even if Matsuzaka wasn't as crazygood as we wanted him to be right out of the gate, the fact that Okajima was good at ALL, when he was basically supposed to be a companion donkey to the stud racehorse of Dice-K, more than makes up the difference.
--Josh Beckett ate babies for breakfast and used the youthful energy he gained from that heartiest of meals to power him to insane levels of domination on the pitching mound. I know Beth is going to disagree with me since I haven't put him as my memorable thing, but I am not QUITE as fascinated with Josh Beckett the Man/Myth/Only-Slightly-Human-Beast-Creature as she is.
--Not only did he play much of the season with a broken hand, the kind of broken hand that puts other players out for MONTHS, not only did he overcome the fact that he's approximately half the size of some of his own teammates, but Dustin Pedroia also won the Rookie of the Year award. Short men all over New England rejoiced and enjoyed much attention from single ladies who wanted a slice of that action.
--Every single thing that Mike Lowell did, up to and including all the ways that he is not Alex Rodriguez.
--The fact that the Red Sox became the only team in MLB to have a fully functional bullpen band, which was not afraid to use water bottles, hands, benches, overhangs, and anything else as instruments. Doug Mirabelli became an instrument when he was musically hammered upon from both sides by overly enthusiastic teammates. I honestly don't think there are enough words to describe how awesome this whole thing was.
--JD Drew redeeming his season with one swing of the bat. The one moment when the entire ballpark was certain the at-bat would only end in tears and possibly with men stranded on base, and JD freakin' Drew comes through with the grand slam. Did this really happen, or did I just hallucinate it?
--Every Red Sox fan everywhere, regardless of gender association or sexual preference, falling deeply, madly, intensely in love with Jacoby Ellsbury. Seriously. He cuts across all attempts to categorize and separate sex and gender roles. He is JACOBY ELLSBURY, and he appeals to all.
--So, this kid named Clay Buchholz threw a no-hitter. Didja hear? It was pretty great. (Even better was the fact that I got to watch no-hitters from both my teams this season, as Justin Verlander also threw one, and it was also pretty great.)
--Many of Coco Crisp's catches in the outfield. Dude can FLY, and it is fun to watch.
--Everything that Manny did, as usual. He doesn't even need to do one big crazy thing... it's just the little things, like snorgling with various teammates on the bench and growing his hair out so much that it won't even fit in his 'do-rag anymore, and wandering around the field like he doesn't know the difference between the infield and the outfield and the lockerroom (or, more likely, knows the difference and just doesn't care) that make Manny so consistently enjoyable to watch. If you're a Sox fan. I guess he's fairly infuriating if you're not getting to watch him crank out the hits from the right rooting side.
--David Ortiz playing through screwed-up knees. David Ortiz trying to steal bases and slide because he cares that much about getting the extra base. David Ortiz winning games for the team and that being a NORMAL thing. David Ortiz EXISTING. I can understand why some people have a problem with Manny, but if you have a problem with Big Papi than you're just looking for excuses to be sour and I'm very sorry for you.
--Insert your favorite happy-making memory from this year here.
All that said, when I think back on this World Series, there is one particular storyline that I'll remember. This wasn't like 2004. That World Series was THE World Series for us. You can't really separate the image of Dave Roberts stealing the base from the image of Keith Foulke and Doug Mientkiewicz leaping skyward from the image of Curt Schilling's bloody sock from the image of Bronson Arroyo getting the ball slapped out of his glove from the image of Mark Bellhorn's homerun smashing off the foul pole from the image of Jason Varitek falling to his knees in the grass and getting hugged by Kevin Millar. That's all one amazing entity. This year was more like a 'normal' World Series, though: without that historical ubersignificance, certain things can stand out more.
I am, of course, referring back to the image that started this post. So far as me and my memories are concerned, this year was above all the Year of the Papelbon.
He has a pre-pitch stare towards the batter that causes TV announcers and AP photographers to fall over themselves! He can throw 100 mph! He was one of the best closers in the game! Feared! Adored! In a way, though, we already knew all that. This season stood out because this was the year we were exposed to the full spectrum of Papelbon-ness.
It's not just the dancing, although I have to admit that the dancing was a big, big part of making him memorable. Jigs! In his underpants! OUT ON THE FIELD! Playing air-broom on the duck boat with the Dropkick Murphys! Do-si-do-ing with Mike Timlin and aggressively hugging a slightly nervous Hideki Okajima! He dances with an empty box of beer on his head!
But the public dancing was just a tiny part of Jonathan Papelbon the Crazy Closer and Equally Crazy Human Being. He plays Scrabble! He and Josh Beckett fight like little boys sniping at each other! He refers to his pitching personality as Cinco Ocho (the reverse Chad Johnson)! He... oh, hell, HE DANCES IN HIS UNDERWEAR WHERE TV CAMERAS CAN SEE HIM.
I feel certain that, years and years from now, when many other details have faded (hopefully in the face of loads of intervening Red Sox and Tigers World Series victories), the image of Jonathan Papelbon's crazy dancing self will still be there whenever I think about 2007.
Labels: baseball, excuses excuses, Jonathan Papelbon, MLB, Red Sox, World Series