Who’s Rooting For the Red Sox?

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The Boston Red Sox won 108 games this year, the most in franchise history and just the fourth time a Red Sox team won 100 or more games in their 117-year history.  The New York Yankees won 100 games. They are playing each other in the playoffs, specifically the American League Divisional Series, for what seems like the umpteenth time.  And so for the first time in history, both the Red Sox and Yankees have 100 wins in the same season, but it is Boston who came out on top in the American League East. Seemingly never slowing down, the Red Sox never lost more than three games in a row, and only did that twice in the course of a long season. With two MVP candidates in outfielders Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez and a strong starting rotation, the Red Sox are set up to make a long playoff run.

Boston’s bitter rival didn’t have too shabby a year either and they too expect to go deep into the playoffs.  Looking at history, when the Yankees had the most wins in a season, they won the World Series. The 1998 Yankees won 114 games in the regular season and then steamrolled to an 11-2 playoff record, including a World Series sweep of the San Diego Padres. With a 125-50 overall record, the best ever, it’s hard to ignore this team when you talk about the all-time greats. That 1998 Yankees teem had the all-star bats of Scott Brosius, Paul O’Neill, Bernie Williams and a young Derek Jeter as well as the arms of Andy Pettitte, Orlando Hernandez, David Cone and David Wells, which enabled the Bronx Bombers to finish the year 22 games ahead of the Red Sox to win the AL East. Jeter led the league in runs and hits while Williams won the batting title. Cone compiled his fist 20-win season in a decade, and Wells pitched a perfect game.

Since 1969, only 12 teams have recorded baseball’s best record and gone on to win the World Series that season. So, once again, we learn that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. 

When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, the year of the miracle in October, they finished with a 98–64 record, three games behind the Yankees in the American League East. But they came back from 0 – 3 to defeat their arch rival in a dramatic seven game American League Championship Series, and went on to sweep St. Louis to win their first World Series since trading Babe Ruth.  

Yes it’s time for baseball in October, and so anything is possible. 

To Stay Up, or Not Stay Up and Watch All of a Monday Night Football Game: That’s The Question

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“Oktoberfest” is here. Football, Baseball, Basketball and Hockey. So many games, so little time. 

For true sports fans, this is one of the best times of the year. It’s the time of year when all four major “food” groups — football, baseball, basketball and hockey, are played at the same time.

Football is in full swing, with the NFL leading the way and the NCAA men running right behind. Then we have “Baseball in October.” The ALCS and NLCS are ongoing (and we’re all pulling for the Cubs, right?) And the NHL is underway and the NBA is on the way.

So for sports junkies, this time of year is near next to nirvana. So keep up with the stats and the scores and the highlights and the players under the bright lights.

And stay up. That’s right — stay up. There are so many games on that run way past my bed time, so it’s tough for us old heads to manage. Tonight we have Sunday Night Football AND the Mets and the Cubs play. But the games don’t start until past 8 o’clock. And it’s a school night.

And tomorrow night is a big, big, big Monday Night Football game. My Philadelphia Eagles play a virtual “must win” game tomorrow at home in South Philly at “The Link” (Lincoln Financial Field) and I will have to take a nap at work if I’m going to be able to stay up and watch the whole game. If we win and defeat the New York “Football” Giants, we’ll be tied with them at 3-3 at the top of the Division. Yeah, I know — 3-3 ‘aint great, but it beats being 2-4.

So let’s enjoy the fall, football weather and the cool, crisp days and the bright, sunny rays and the crescent, harvest moons and the cold, frosty nights and the turning, falling leaves and the smorgasbord of football, baseball, basketball and hockey games to choose from. If only the entire year could be as exciting and as inviting as October.

Spiritually speaking, seasons and times and conditions change. Nothing is static, in sports or in life. And that’s one of the lessons sports teaches us. Don’t get complacent with the lead (just ask Michigan) and don’t think that because you’re in first place in April that you’ll end up in first place in September (just ask the Washington Nationals). And don’t get down if you’re struggling now. Things change.

So we all have to change and prepare and plan and make ready for what comes next. Because what comes next is better than what has been.

And the best is yet to come.