Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."

29.10.07

Sweep, Reprise


A month ago, only one team in Major League Baseball history had ever won seven consecutive post-season games: the 1976 Cincinnati Reds. This month, two teams achieved that feat: the out-of-nowhere Colorado Rockies (who won 21 of 22 games to clinch their first-ever National League pennant and a trip to the World Series), and now the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox played an awesome series! After falling behind the Cleveland Indians three games to one in the American League Championship series, they mounted a comeback reminiscent of their legendary 2004 comeback against the hated New York Yankees to win the pennant. They kept their momentum into the World Series: their pitching was superb, and their batting simply unreal. The team averaged .333 at the plate (even counting those two games in Colorado where there was no Designated Hitter and the pitchers had to bat). Not just one player, but the entire TEAM!

Congratulations to the Red Sox and to Terry Francona, who in just four years as the Red Sox manager has not only broken the "Curse of the Bambino" but delivered an encore as well. Given the organizational collapse now ongoing in the Bronx, it looks like there's a new dynasty in town!

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16.10.07

How 'Sweep' It Is!

This morning, at about 1:30am EDT, the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball's National League continued their improbable season. A month ago the Rockies were on the brink of mathematical elimination, trailing the San Diego Padres by five games for the "Wild Card" berth in the playoffs with just two weeks remaining in the season.

By winning 13 of their final 14 games, and helped by six Padres losses, the Rockies forced a one-game playoff on Oct. 1st. A daring sacrifice off a line drive to shallow right in the bottom of the 13th inning, and Rockies right fielder Brian Giles's chin-cutting headfirst slide into home, sealed the playoff berth for a team that didn't exist before the 1993 expansion of the league.

One would think they'd be satisfied with their improbable run into the National League Division Series, but their determination continued with successive sweeps of the Philadelphia Phillies and, just a few hours ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks for their first-ever pennant -- and a trip to the World Series. They have won their last ten games, and 21 of their last 22.

The Rockies are only the second team in baseball history to win seven consecutive playoff games (the only other team being the 1976 Cincinnati Reds of the "Big Red Machine", when you only needed seven wins to claim the pennant and the World Series title). And they have only lost once in the past month -- on Sept. 28th to the same Arizona Diamondbacks they swept today. That loss gave the D'backs -- the winningest team in the 2007 National League -- their own playoff berth (and a team celebratory scrum on the diamond of the Rockies' Coors Field).

Next week the "Rox" will continue their Cinderella season, facing either the Cleveland Indians or the Boston Red Sox in the lower elevations of the Eastern Time Zone.

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