Overdogs

I liked being the underdog.

Not that the Red Sox have been considered much of one lately, but it’s easier to be fired up when your team is being counted out. Easier to rant and rave and say, "We’ll show them." There’s more satisdfaction when you win, and fewer recriminations when you lose.

Besides that, you don’t have to worry about being jinxed by all the pundits choosing your team.

The Sox sure aren’t underdogs anymore.

  • Eight of 10 "experts" on ESPN.com pick the Red Sox to beat the Rockies. Six of those eight think it will take only five or six games.
  • The entire Baseball Tonight crew picked the Red Sox last night.
  • David Pinto of Baseball Musings predicts the Red Sox to win in his Sporting News column. At least he gave some respect to the Rockies and said seven games.
  • The Hardball Times also picked the Red Sox — in six.
  • Baseball Prospectus, with probably the most unique and interesting article, picks the Sox in seven.
  • Not surprisingly, everyone on the Boston Globe staff picks the Sox — and they all think it will take fewer than seven games.
  • At Sports Illustrated, John Donovan (Sox in five) agrees.
  • CBS Sports gives the Sox a "slight edge," while Scott Miller predicts a Boston sweep.
  • I have to go to Colorado just to find someone to pick the Rockies: Woody Paige, in six.
  • Or New York: Tyler Kepner, in six.

So basically everyone is picking the Red Sox — the statheads and the dinosaur writers, the national columnists and the beat reporters.

Frankly, that scares me to death.

38 comments… add one

  • Eh, I can’t worry about what the experts pick, and based on the season, the lineups, the home field, etc., picking the Sox isn’t exactly a daring (or surprising) way to go. This was the picking pattern in the ALDS and the ALCS, Paul, so maybe conventional wisdom has some wisdom behind it.
    On the other hand, I know exactly where you are coming from, I’d hate to be regarded as one of the great disappointments of the year in sports!
    I don’t make predictions except before the season, and I picked the Sox to lose in the World Series. To an NL West team, to boot. It was the Dodgers, though.
    I have no clue who will win this series.

    SF October 24, 2007, 11:52 am
  • Here are some more unsurprising predictions which appeared in today’s Berkshire Eagle:
    Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto: Red Sox in five games; MVP Dustin Pedroia.
    Steve Hunt, Pittsfield police officer: Sox sweep; MVP Josh Beckett.
    John McNinch, owner of Olde Heritage Tavern in Lenox: Sox in seven; MVP Pedroia.
    North Adams Mayor John Barrett III: Sox in six; MVP Pedroia.
    Curt Rathbun, 11-year-old Lee resident: Sox sweep; MVP Beckett.

    The jinx is on…

    Hudson October 24, 2007, 11:56 am
  • I’m happy to say I picked the Sox to win the Series this year — likewise over an NL West team (also the Dodgers). Also picked the Sox to beat Cleveland in the ALCS and correctly seelcted all four teams in the playoffs for the American League. Definitely the best season I’ve ever had for predictions.
    It’s cool to see the Red Sox getting the respect I certainly feel they deserve, but with the way these predictions have gone, I don’t doubt sportswriters would make a Red Sox loss out to be some sort of thunderous colapse, Goliath falling to David, etc., which not only further disrespects the Rockies, but would make me sick many times over.

    Paul SF October 24, 2007, 11:57 am
  • It’s silly to predict a Red Sox sweep AND a Beckett MVP. If the Sox sweep, he’ll be pitching only once (barring a Game 4 appearance, which could be possible I suppose if a sweep is possible).

    Paul SF October 24, 2007, 11:58 am
  • apparently, Pedroia is popular among the everyday fan!

    Nick-YF October 24, 2007, 11:58 am
  • (Note: While I am obviously rooting fervently for Boston, this SF’s attitude to this World Series will be a lot more easygoing than it was in 2004, and than it was during the push to the pennant. The Sox have already shown themselves to be the best of the American League; if the Rockies pull one off, one can always put it down to some once-in-a-lifetime momentum. Anyway, I expect this to be a fun week, more than an excruciating week… At least that’s what I’m saying until gametime.)

    Hudson October 24, 2007, 12:00 pm
  • Woody Paige..
    If there was ever a more loose-lipped, Bronco-bashing, Elway-hating, snowball-catching, idiot ESPN shock commentator – it’s this waste of a decent job opportunity. Really, I’d rather read a sports article written by four year olds. I’d rather admit Wang is a CY Young candidate. I’d rather buy a ticket to Yankee stadium. I’d rather boycott an entire baseball season. I’d rather take a job as the Yankee beat writer. I’d rather take a job as food-fetcher for Mike Francesa. I’d rather do just about anything than read one of his STUPID columns.
    Rant over.
    PS – my hatred for this man has absolutely nothing to do with his pick for the series, but rather his explicit hatred of all things Denver Broncos and Elway, you know, before 1997. He killed them day in and day out my entire childhood.

    Brad October 24, 2007, 12:04 pm
  • // It’s silly to predict a Red Sox sweep AND a Beckett MVP. //
    Paul, why do you hate police officers and 11-year-old fans? ;^)

    Hudson October 24, 2007, 12:05 pm
  • And…
    Sox in five: Papelbon MVP.

    Brad October 24, 2007, 12:06 pm
  • Rox in 6; Kaz Matsui MVP.

    Nick-YF October 24, 2007, 12:07 pm
  • Just for kicks: Sox in Six Seven. Manny Ellsbury MVP.

    Hudson October 24, 2007, 12:08 pm
  • Kaz Matsui MVP.
    And Mets’ fans heads collectively explode…

    SF October 24, 2007, 12:09 pm
  • The punditry doesn’t worry me; I’m not nervous beyond what anyone would naturally feel having their team playing this late in the year. Writers are picking the Sox? Great. The favorite has to win sometimes, right?
    The Seuss comparison never occurred to me. But one of my favorite children’s books when I was little was a brilliant piece of work called “‘There are Rocks in My Socks!’ said the Ox to the Fox.” Which seems eerily prescient now, given the teams involved and the network they’re on.

    FenSheaParkway October 24, 2007, 12:21 pm
  • Sox in 5. Beckett MVP.
    I’m surprised so many of those random people are picking Pedroia to be MVP. No love for Ortiz? None for Manny?

    Atheose October 24, 2007, 1:05 pm
  • I’m assuming all the Pedroia picks are due to his 5 RBIs in the last game. If he keeps up the hotness he’s exhibited in the last few games I don’t see why he couldn’t be MVP. But I agree that Manny/Papi (co-MVPs?) are more likely.
    I’m going with Sox in 6… the Rockies offense scares me a little bit, but I think we can get to their pitching (because, unlike the D-Backs, we actually had a positive run differential this year!) And I’m picking Papelbon for MVP. But yeah, the degree to which the Sox are favored terrifies me. I can’t remember the last time a playoff series actually unfolded as predicted.
    Finally, I would like to point out that I had “looking forward to Sox v. Rox on FOX. Except for the FOX part” as my Facebook status at the start of the ALCS… and I had gotten it from somewhere else.

    Jackie (SF) October 24, 2007, 1:35 pm
  • Sox in 5. And that’s only because Manny misses Game #3 after “accidentaly” getting lost while touring the Coor’s factory with the team. Otherwise this is ’98 all over again.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 24, 2007, 2:05 pm
  • Otherwise this is ’98 all over again.
    You guys always have to make this about the Yankees, don’t you.
    ;-)

    SF October 24, 2007, 2:07 pm
  • Yeah that’s me!
    To make it even MORE about the Yankees, MVP will be former YANKEE Mike Lowell.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 24, 2007, 2:10 pm
  • I agree, Lowell MVP. Sox in 6.

    Pocono Sox October 24, 2007, 2:38 pm
  • I don’t like giving predictions for how a series goes so I’ll refrain from guessing a number of games, though I’m not picking against the Sox of course. But I have a hunch about Youkilis for MVP. We already know he knows how to handle Fenway, and that beard of his – it’s very Colorado; I think he has a big series.
    I think so many people are going with Pedroia, not just because of how he ended the ALCS but because he (wrongly) reminds everyone of the last WS MVP, David Eckstein.

    FenSheaParkway October 24, 2007, 2:55 pm
  • I think Youkilis has a good chance at MVP. Given the fact that he might have won the ALCS MPV (if not for Beckett) it wouldn’t surprise me to see him beat up on the team he almost got traded to.

    Atheose October 24, 2007, 3:01 pm
  • If the Sox sweep, Youkilis has little chance of winning the MVP – he likely sits during the games in Colorado.

    Andrews October 24, 2007, 3:06 pm
  • Hmm, good point, Andrews. In a four-game series, Youkilis and Ortiz will probably each have missed one game. Of course, if Youk won two of the games with dramatic hits, it could be him anyway.
    In a sweep situation, if you’re betting, a Papelbon or Pedroia pick is actually not a bad way to go — guys who could appear in every game and go into the game as the types of players voters love to praise already.

    Paul SF October 24, 2007, 3:12 pm
  • The pundits don’t matter. God picks the Rox. Just ask them!

    YF October 24, 2007, 3:13 pm
  • Paul, in your estimation, who sits in Colo- Youkilis, Lowell, or Ortiz? In what combination? To me, it’s hard to imagine taking Ortiz’ bat out of the lineup, but you lose a lot of defense.
    I guess that’s a good problem for Francona to have…

    Andrews October 24, 2007, 3:31 pm
  • I think they’ll all sit once, Andrews, if the series goes that far (and I think it will). I guess it depends on the flow of the series. If the Sox go up 2-0, there’s less impetus to play Ortiz in Game 3 than if there’s a split or they’re down 2-0.
    Ideally, from what I’ve read, they probably want to sit Ortiz against the lefty Francis in Game 5, which would put Lowell and Youks sitting once each in Games 3 and 4.

    Paul SF October 24, 2007, 3:43 pm
  • I’d sit Ortiz against the lefty, and maybe one of the other games, for four reasons:
    1. Youk’s defense at 1B has been phenomenal this year,
    2. He had a ridiculous ALCS,
    3. Ortiz’s knees could probably use a bit of a break anyway, and
    4. You can always PH Ortiz in a high leverage spot… and you have a lot more flexibility about where you PH him (could be in the bottom of the lineup and then juggle the OF a bit to replace him defensively, for example).
    Honestly, and this might be stupid of me, but Youk is the person I’d least like to see benched, even more than Papi. If we absolutely must have Papi start against the righties, I’d sit Lowell and move Youk (back) to 3B.

    Jackie (SF) October 24, 2007, 3:49 pm
  • Looks like the rain might be a issue. Hope Beckett’s start doesn’t get wasted or cut short.

    Pocono Sox October 24, 2007, 3:54 pm
  • Something in me would love to see J.D. Drew be the MVP.

    Ron Newman October 24, 2007, 4:18 pm
  • Welcome to my world. The Red Sox are the new Yankees.
    I think the Rox will kill the Sox. And it will be considered an upset.

    Anonymous October 24, 2007, 5:31 pm
  • Given that most people are picking the Red Sox, there is a major jinx factor involved–particularly given the ESPN “experts” curse.
    Colorado sweeps Boston. (kidding–kind of)

    SoxFan October 24, 2007, 7:10 pm
  • Yeah, yeah, that “Red Sox are the new Yankees” line is so stupid. What, we win? Effing great.

    Devine October 24, 2007, 7:22 pm
  • Here is celebrities picking the winners. Some of the reasons are priceless:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/0710/world.series.celeb.picks/content.1.html

    Rob SF October 24, 2007, 7:39 pm
  • Hudson: “Sox as the new Yankees” is about more than winning. As noted in separate thread:
    “…in recent years, the Sox and many of their fans have displayed characteristics that they complained about as characteristic of the Yankees and their fans – big budgets to buy free agents, arrogant behavior from (some) star players, cocky and band-wagon-swelled-fan-base. This makes them what they said they despised.”

    IronHorse (yf) October 24, 2007, 7:45 pm
  • Uh, that said “Hudson” but was meant to say “Devine”. Sorry.

    IronHorse (yf) October 24, 2007, 7:45 pm
  • “Sox as the new Yankees” is about more than winning
    yes, it’s about reminding everyone else that they are inferior, or something like that.

    SF October 24, 2007, 7:49 pm
  • SF: Exactly. :o)

    IronHorse (yf) October 24, 2007, 7:59 pm
  • The bar where I’ll be watching the game is run by a son of Gene Michaels… But the owner is a Sox fan from Maine. Should be fun.
    Commence anti-rain-dances.

    Hudson October 24, 2007, 7:59 pm

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