Siberian Baseball

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Red Sox break a nasty streak

With all the chaos in my own backyard (and the late starts on the West Coast on school nights) the Red Sox have gotten lost in the shuffle a bit.

I guess that's the price that's paid when you win two championships in four years. Luckily, the Cubs made sure I'd be able to focus on just one team going forward in the playoffs.

Nice of them.

One of the more interesting notes pieces I've read this week was this one from the Boston Globe which pointed out that the defending champs hadn't won a single game since 2001.

(Wednesday night), the Red Sox will attempt to do something that has not been done since the very early morning of Nov. 2, 2001. Shortly after midnight, Byung-Hyun Kim submarined a meatball toward Scott Brosius, who clobbered a walkoff home run to left field. The New York Yankees had defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5 of the 2001 World Series.

And the defending World Series champions had won a playoff game. It hasn't happened since.

Sound strange? It shouldn't.

The '03 Angels and '04 Marlins join the '06 White Sox and '07 Cardinals as four teams that didn't even make the postseason after winning it all the year before.

The '02 Diamondbacks were swept by the Cardinals and the '05 Red Sox were shown the door by the White Sox in three games.

This stat impresses me on two levels.

First, it lends weight to the conventional wisdom that it's harder to repeat because you become the target for the rest of the league. Add to that all sorts of other intangibles - distractions from appearing in commercials, lack of a common goal, etc. - and it's amazing that anyone is able to succeed in the follow up year.

Secondly, I have even more respect for the Yankees teams of the 30's, 40's, 50's and early 60's that kept rolling off championships tear after year. There are stories of players being shorted during contract negotiations because the team counted playoff bonuses as found money.

Fewer teams, no wild cards and the ability to be there year in and year out?

It was a different game back then.

* For the sake of posterity:

Dodgers advance past the Cubs (3-0)
Phillies advance past the Brewers (3-1)

White Sox survive and play the Rays again tomorrow (Rays 2, Sox 1)
Red Sox lead Angels 2-0 with Game 3 tied 4-4 in the top of the seventh inning

(Image from:

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