The true Red Sox fan is now defined by how he/she answers the following question —
"Is the division race now over?"
Objectively, the race can’t be considered over, because of the simple fact that Boston and New York have 3 games left to play together.
In theory any team can sweep any other team (and the Yankees swept the Sox just recently).
Which means that even those who think Boston has things pretty well sewn up have to admit that the Red Sox’s cushion can’t be considered more than 2.5 games right now (5.5 minus 3 if swept). Which is a closeable gap for the Yankees.
For this Sox fan to feel more comfortable, Boston needs to be up by at least 4.5 after the next six games (3 vs. TB, 3 vs. New York, which has 3 vs. the Jays), which is to say they win one less game than the Yankees win over the next week. Then New York would have a very tough time making up the gap, barring a Sox implosion in the final two weeks.
Which any true Sox fan believes is entirely possible, rationally or not.
In any case, it does look pretty certain that New York will take the wildcard now, unless Boston can sweep them and simultaneously lock up the division and help Detroit or Seattle catch the Bombers.
Too bad the race isn’t closer. It would be more exciting. Torre mentioned today that the Yankees are still focused on winning the Division. To do that would require a sweep next weekend or a Sox implosion. I guess either is possible, but neither seems likely.
uh… so what I’ve learned about “THE RSN” from following this blog… is the answer “no”? Or is it “everybody panic?” :o)
How is this the defining question for true Sox-fanhood? And what’s the correct answer for a Sox fan?
Anyway, the Sox’s magic number is 14. So you guys have at least seven games before you can really answer it definitively.
That said, I think even most Yanks fans would say the Division is almost out of reach by now. Not entirely, but the Sox would have to be truly ashamed of themselves if they lost it in the last 19 games.
welcome back, Brooklyn.
I don’t think us SFs have much to worry about with regards to making the playoffs – missing the dance would take a catastrophe, an embarrassment of a stretch run. That’s the main goal to keep in mind. The division is an accomplishment, and gives bragging rights. But those bragging rights are extremely limited, as far as I am concerned. All of us should know that based on recent history.
I don’t know if winning the division for the first time in twelve season brings “bragging rights” – not in this wild card age.
I’ll reserve that for a world championship. And home field advantage throughout the playoffs helps get us closer to that goal.
pete, sf did qualify his “bragging rights” comment by saying they are “limited”…i can tell you right now that no true red sox fan in his/her right mind [on this site anyway] would dare crow too loudly about simply winning the division…not after clobbering the yankee fans about their meaningless [without a ws championship] run of division titles…i think their battle cry was that it means nothing unless you win the ws…we were told that yankee fans should be despondent and depressed about their failures over the last 7 or 8 years…
I have never placed too much emphasis on the division, hence the “extremely limited” nature of those bragging rights, as I qualified above.
I saw the qualification, but for me the division means nothing especially as a hammer to whack Yankee fans. In fact, it’s seems silly to call the division an accomplishment after their team won it for so many years.
Nah, I’ll happily take the home field advantage and leave it at that Then let the playoffs begin!
I don’t plan on crowing much at all, other than a certain sincere “well done, fellas, nice work, congrats, you’ve exceeded my expectations”. I will be very happy if the Sox win the division, since it will mean they will have made the postseason. But it doesn’t signify much else, either a guarantee of success in the postseason or a balance-of-power shift. So as you say, don’t expect much horn-tooting from this SF, beyond the excitement of additional games following the regular season.
a hammer to whack Yankee fans
If I had a hammer…
I don’t take winning the div. lightly. i think sf’s suggestion that he does is kind of sad, if understandable, and perhaps has been colored by the fact that the sox have come in 2nd for 10 years in a row, often while still making the playoffs. i know sfs often carp about jeter’s “win it all or it’s a failure” attitude, and i don’t see this as much different. winning the division, and potentially coming away with the best record in the league, is one hell of an accomplishment, and means your team was the best team over the long coure of the year. and baseball is really about that long haul, the everyday struggle, the quotidian. winning the series is the goal. that’s the crowning achievement. but the division is damned impressive, no matter who makes the playoffs or what happens in them.
I don’t entirely disagree with you, YF. I don’t think that my thoughts on the division are “sad”, though. This has to do more with the bragadoccio surrounding winning the division than the idea that winning the division is an accomplishment to be dismissed. I just don’t see the point in being too loud in my praise of such an accomplishment. It has to do with the volume of the celebration. With the wild card, that volume doesn’t need to be as loud.
I find your comment a tad condescending, frankly.
i didn’t mean it that way at all. let me rephrase, then. i think it’s sad that so many dismiss the achievement of winning the division.
also, i can see why sox fans might have become inured to the idea that the division isn’t that valuable, seeing as they won the series without capturing it, and that they have repeatedly made the playoffs without taking it. that’s all.
seeing as they won the series without capturing it, and that they have repeatedly made the playoffs without taking it
I think this is the crux, and not just for Sox fans. So many teams have gone deep into the postseason not having won a division.
I also don’t want anyone to think I am diminishing the Yankees’ accomplishment in winning 10 straight divisions (11 with this year?!) – this is an amazing feat and not to be minimized.
Definitely not just Sox fans. And let’s face it, as well, the meaning of the division title has been diminished with the smaller divisions. You can win your division these days and still be mediocre.
Anyway, should’t everyone be talking about our amazing brooklyn adventure this morning? what gives!?
In the pre-wild days, the division meant something to me. It meant an automatic berth in the LCS (and further back the Series). There I can see the division as a celebration (and rightly the volume was amped by players with corks and fans with suds).
Now that the post-season is a month-long epic, I think emphasis has been squarely placed on the last team standing. The increased playoff teams has devalued the regular season.
Look at it this way. Going back to the rules of as recent as the early nineties, the Sox would be in 1st right now by 3.5 games over the Indians and the same 5.5 over the Yankees (assuming all else equal even though the balanced schedule would have played with things a bit). The Sox winning the East over the Indians AND the Yankees – that’s an accomplishment! Especially because it would have meant that neither team made the post-season.
I for one still have an attachment to the division crown. I still remember where I was when the Sox clinched the division in 1995 for really the only time in my life as a baseball fan. Perhaps I value it more highly than those who remember division wins and quick exits — 1988, 1990, 1995 — followed by a wild card and deep play — 1999, 2003, 2004. I have only the one division win in my memory, and as irrational as it may be, it’s a point of pride to be able to win another one.
That said, the answer is “no” until the magic number is zero. I might give a qualified “yes” if the Sox can do what they failed to do last week and win one measley game from the frickin’ Yankees.
I agree Paul, it’s silly by true.
I won’t consider the Division sealed up until, you know, it’s sealed up.
I agree with Paul and Lockland: it might mean nothing but accolades, but I want it. And of course it’s not over.
One bad week for Boston plus the Yankees continuing to play the way they have since the All-Star break brings the difference between them down to 2 games. While I would not bet on it, I don’t think it is so improbable. Given that the Yankees have the best record in baseball since the break and have won each series against every rival AL contender other than the dreaded Angels, I certainly have not given up hope for a division title. Obviously the prospects for this will be much clearer to all in 6 days.
The implications of this are also unclear (other than home field advntage of course). If it hadn’t been for an extra inning 3-2 loss to Anaheim two days ago, Cleveland would have the second best record in the AL. As it is, they are still only one game behind Anaheim for that mark. So however the Yanks/Sox divide up the ALEast and the WC, and I certainly believe they will, it is still not at all clear who would face whom in the 2 ALDS series.
I feel prety good right now about the Yankees’ prospects both in making the playoffs and in terms of how they can do once there. I’m happy with Wang and Pettitte against any other 1-2 combo (particularly with our lineup) and I feel pretty good about our bullpen now.
As for the Sox, I just don’t think they are the best team in baseball *right now*. Yes, they have the best record so they deserve that title for the 2007 season, but I feel great about our chances against them in the regular season or postseason.
NOTHINGS OVER UNTIL WE DECIDE IT IS!
NY since Allstar break, an incredible run:
Of that away record, they are 7-6 against opponants with a winning record.
3 games in Toronto followed by 3 in Boston. Pose that question, “is the division race now over?” again in 7 days.
BTW, a division title is not only an honor but it may well wrap up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. So, Hell Yea! it’s a good thing.
BRW: I’m fine with the NYY record, including the away games vs. winning-record-teams. My own feeling is that Boston’s maintenance of the lead is due more to the Yankees’ playing down to the level of the Tampa Bays and Baltimores of the world the past couple months than it does their inability to play well enough against the winning teams.
Of course, Boston deserves credit – they have played consistently well and are making the Yankees earn every game off the lead that they might pick up.
” the Yankees’ accomplishment in winning 10 straight divisions (11 with this year?!)”
The yanks have won 9 straight-since ’98.
My mistake – still a phenomenal feat.
Right, the Yankees had the very first AL wild card in ’95, and another in ’97, with a division title (and World Series win) in between.
i’m not going to delude myself into thinking that the yankees have anything other than a pure mathematical chance to catch the red sox…as for the celebration, i like the way sf puts it: “…I just don’t see the point in being too loud in my praise of such an accomplishment. It has to do with the volume of the celebration….” so, have the appropriate “pat on the back”, “tip of the cap”, whatever, but don’t get carried away…most of you are keeping your comments measured…smart move…certain sf’s here know exactly who i’m talkin’ too…if you are a hypocrite and celebrate too much after devaluing the yankees’ accomplishments as recently as last year, i’ll let you know about it…
Playing down to competition. Yea, whatever.
Personally, I think that is what proud but old and tired teams do – play 110% against quality competiton but follow that performance with a ‘rest up’ period against lessor foes.
I will also say that it appears Balt is determing their season’s success by how they play against both Boston and NY. Pride, Cowboy Up style. Maybe TB is in that boat too, although you would not it by how they have performed against the SOX.
If you were calling the Yankees “Old and Tired” you are way off base here. This team is filled with youth now and if you watch the games you see a whole new excitement about every game. That may have been last year’s issue, but tired and old don’t describe this team by any means.
The Sox should celebrate and soak it all in. The Yankees have cornered the market on AL East titles for quite some time. It would definitely be something to celebrate. Just as I think everything the Yankees have done since ’95 should be celebrated. Eventually all good things come to an end, so when the day comes that the Yankees or Sox stop being the best teams in the game it will be all of these accomplishments that will make it the bad times worth it.
In other news…
Brady has finally explained his annoying penchant for wearing a Yankees hat. The New England Patriots QB/QT tells VMan maggie that he roots for both the Red Sox and the Evil Empire. “I love baseball. I love sports,” he said. “I guess you can’t root for both teams, but what can I say? I like them both.” Sacrilege!
Trisk, as long as he keeps winning super bowls, he could kick baby kittens on the sidelines and I wouldn’t care.
Yeah doesn’t bother me either, I am a Giants fan.
Sox shmox – have you looked at ERAs for Toronto pitchers we face? At this point I don’t give a sh** about the Sox. I want to make the postseason and be in good shape when we get there.
whodathunk that the AL EAST slugger implicated with PEDs in Gibbons? Those damned redheads cant be trusted…
A YF – the saving grace is that all 3 are righties. Also I think the more important part of that story is who they are facing…Hughes, Moose and Kennedy. Hopefully the offense comes to play.
“The Sox should celebrate and soak it all in. The Yankees have cornered the market on AL East titles for quite some time. It would definitely be something to celebrate”
That’s one of the reasons why I absolutely will not ackowledge NY as a threat. The SOX earned my confidence and loyalty this year, and I’ll be damned if I will not give it to them.
Damn the torpedoes, as they say.
I absolutely will not ackowledge NY as a threat
I don’t mean to be rude, crass, or to alienate a freqent commenter at this site, but I find this statement just plain stupid.
How are they NOT A THREAT?!
BRAW: So you say “Yea, whatever” to my point that the Yankees have played down to certain teams’ levels. Then go on in the same post to make that exact point, except with different words.
You may be right about one thing – that the Yankees have been saving their best for the most competitive teams these past few weeks. If that’s the case, I really look forward to the playoffs.
And please go on thinking the Yankees are not a threat. That’s gone well for your team in the past.
Actually, BRAW is acting like a typical fair-weather fan – they stand tall and thump their chests when their team is doing well but disappear into the night when things don’t go so well.
Just curious BRAW, after the most recent Yankees-Sox series…you know, the one where your team got swept…where were all your posts? Did you make any? I can’t seem to find them.
IH- take it easy bro! i dont think anybody here doesnet see the yanks as a threat… no need to start talking smack about sweeps..
“And please go on thinking the Yankees are not a threat. That’s gone well for your team in the past.”
but what does that mean? did the sox underestimate the yanks before and lose becasue of that?
Ric: I was simply responding to BRAW’s “That’s one of the reasons why I absolutely will not ackowledge NY as a threat”. I guess I was wrong, but that sounded to me like someone saying they are not a threat.
And my crack re: “that’s gone well for your team in the past” was a reference to the fact that this non-threatening franchise has come back against the Sox many times in the past.
“And my crack re: “that’s gone well for your team in the past” was a reference to the fact that this non-threatening franchise has come back against the Sox many times in the past.”
true- but i think that has little to do with how one fan regards the Yanks ability to win ;)
Fair enough. Actually, I really do prefer the BRAW approach. This website probably would not last long if it was home to the usual SF-YF nastiness, but I do think that we should lod over each other a bit more things like division titles, sweeps, etc., etc. That’s the whole fun of it. Admittedly, the line between ribbing and nastiness is very fine, especially on-line with people who don’t know each other and all that, but I think the BRAWs of the world should be stomping around when their team is up. I just hope they stick around for those times when it is their turn to get stomped…
Raw, I think you confuse loyalty with blind loyalty. I am as loyal as any other Sox fan here, and I love this version of the team as much as you do, but I don’t consider it somehow disloyal to recognize that unless the Sox dominate the series this weekend, the Yankees are still absolutely a threat.
As for the matchups this weekend, they are really great:
1. Pettitte-Matsuzaka. I like our chances and am happy this is the first matchup.
2. Wang-Beckett. Excellent. I imagine SFs feel they have the upper-hand here but I’m pretty happy given how good Wang has been lately. If I could go to a game, this would be the one. If Yanks hold their own in Toronto and game #1 above goes to them, this game becomes huge and Beckett has another chance to be the man against New York.
3. Hughes-Schilling. If the Yankees have put themselves in striking distance of really eating into the Sox lead, I fully expect Clemens to suit up for this one. And Schilling-Clemens would be nice. Extra tubs of Ben-Gay to be shipped in ASAP.
YF and I will be in attendance both Friday and Saturday. Paging security!!
you guys see the lineup for tonight? eeesh!
The Sox are giving David Ortiz the night off.
Julio Lugo, DH
Coco Crisp, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Lowell, 3B
Bobby Kielty, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Jason Varitek, C
Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
Alex Cora, SS
Where’s Manny? Has he been hurt? This is not a joke – I really don’t know.
hes been out with an oblique injury…
Kazmir pitching – no Drew, no Papi.
Oh yeah. I did know that. I didn’t realize he was still gone. That happened way back in the NYY series. I thought he was back by now. Those injuries suck.
Come on SF, this is Tampa Bay you’re playing still. You’ve just evened the playing field a bit, that’s all.
I know, I know. Kazmir is tough, though.
What is the talk in Boston about Ortiz? Is it just nagging injuries? Is it one particular injury? I have to admit that I would like to think it is a sign of declining productivity, but it has happened so fast this year that I have to imagine it is injury-related. What’s the story for those who follow him/them cloesly??
Ortiz has had cortisone shots in his knees this year, and if I had to guess they are taking the opporunity with the tough lefty Kazmir and trying to keep him reasonably useful for the rest of the season and beyond.
Julio Lugo as the DH? I never thought I would ever see that, ever.
Here we come 4.5.
Didn’t Ortiz say about a month ago that he was going to need surgery on his knee in the offseason?
“Here we come 4.5.”
5 at worst(or best IMO)- yanks aren’t playing tonight.
Papi has actually been very productive all season — and his power has really come back over the last month. While I’m sure injuries still affect him, reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.
“…he could kick baby kittens on the sidelines…” comments like this from lockland continue to trouble me…
ih, no fear, guys like ric and braw will crawl back under their respective rocks if the sox crap out come playoff time…standup guys like sf will hang in there for the tough part…if it happens…
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