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Accolades, Prognostications and Hype, Oh My!

By Frank Russo ~ September 29th, 2011. Filed under: Digest Contributors, New York Yankees, Outside the Apple.

It was pre-ordained. It was a team that was predicted by so-called baseball experts to be one of the greatest in baseball history. A team personally handcrafted and built by a genius named Theo Epstein, a man many considered to be one of the greatest GM’s in baseball history. Yes, everyone celebrated from Harvard Yard to Portland Maine and from Bristol, Connecticut to Worcester, Massachusetts. All raised their glasses and proclaimed the 2011 Boston Red Sox to be the champions of baseball, even before a single game was played.

But it was not just the denizens of the Red Sox Nation that believed all of the accolades, prognostications and hype; it was the Red Sox players themselves who bought into it. Who could forget Adrian Gonzalez at his introductory press conference, proclaiming how he was “ready to beat the Yankees.” In spring training, Boston players walked around with a swagger not seen in years. Yes, Theo Epstein, “Boy Genius” had assembled a team that had already punched its ticket to the World Series.

But something happened along the way to that championship. There is a very old baseball saying that “games are played on the field, not on paper. “Sawx” fans and the media neglected to read that quote. Yes, Boston may have won the “off season” championship, but the regular season would prove to be an entirely different animal. Despite Boston’s obvious flaws and terrible start, “experts” such as Mike Francesa and MLB network talkers like Mitch Williams, Billy Ripken and Sean Casey continued to tout the Red Sox. So much for accolades, prognostications and hype.

As for the Yankees, well, they were looked upon as “also-rans” by the majority of the “lame stream” media, anti-Yankee bloggers and web sites. According to one web site, the Yankees had no business even being brought up in the same conversation with “the crème de la crème of baseball.” Brian Cashman’s “value signings” were scoffed at and looked upon by many as nothing more than band-aids put over a gaping wound. Who could forget the ranting of former WFAN announcer Adam the Bull who one day during spring training went off on the Yankees off-season moves, stating that “Bartolo Colon is done and Freddy Garcia “stinks” and that Russell Martin “won’t be much of a factor.” Gerstenhaber also went on to state that both Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones would contribute little to any success the Yankees might have and that you could not expect much from Ivan Nova. The “Bull” remained steadfast in his belief that, although the Yankees should make the post-season, the Red Sox were “clearly, top-to-bottom, the best team in the American League.” Francesa, of course, echoed almost the same thoughts, (when he was actually in studio). Francesa believed that the Yankees literally had no chance of winning the AL East against such a potent “Sawx” team. My how things have changed!

And now to the present. Red Sox Nation has turned into the “Nation of Gloom.” Their manager, Terry Francona, who presided over one of the greatest comebacks in sports history, is now forever linked with one of, if not the greatest regular season collapse ever. Under Franconca’s watch, the “Sawx” became the first team to miss the postseason after leading by as many as nine games for a playoff spot entering September. Now the Boston mafia, excuse me, media, is looking for scapegoats and excuses for why the team collapsed. first baseman Adrian Gonzalez blamed both injuries to the pitching staff and the fact that “it wasn’t in God’s plan.” as the reason for his team not making the playoffs. Maybe Gonzalez, who was part of a Padres team that choked in 2010, should look at his teams September team era of 8.00. Maybe Gonzalez should go and ask his teammate Carl Crawford his opinion as to what went wrong. Maybe he should ask Jonathan Papelbon or Daniel Bard.

In the end, there were several factor that caused the “the great collapse of 2011”, not the least of which were injuries. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of sports. Every team goes through them, some more than others. It should never be used as the sole excuse for any collapse. To quote the great Bill Parcells, “you are what your record is”. The Red Sox, in the end were simply not a good enough team to make the playoffs.

So Yankees fans, take heart. No, the Red Sox collapse of 2011 will not erase the bitter memories of 2004. Nothing ever will. And no, the “Boston collapse” will not change the fact that the Yankees will probably not make the World Series, let alone win it, due to their sub-standard starting pitching. That being said, when Evan Longoria smacked that Scott “The Proctologist” Proctor’s pitch over the left field wall last night to win the wild card, it was about as satisfying and delicious a moment that this Yankees fan has enjoyed since Aaron Boone stuck a nail in the heart of the “Nation of the Damned” with his homer in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

Oh, before I forget Yankees fans, let me leave you with one last thing. If you somehow get woken from your sleep tonight by a strange sound coming from outside your window, be not afraid. It’s nothing more than the sound of choking coming from 200 miles to the north. Like I said, so much for accolades, prognostications and hype.

Frank is a resident of East Brunswick, NJ and former radio announcer. He is a 4th generation Republican and Yankees Fan. He also enjoys listening to talk radio. His favorite announcer is Shawn Hannity of “Hannity” on FOX and enjoys reading about military history. In addition to rooting for the Yankees, he also has a passion for the New York Islanders. You can enjoy Frank’s work at The Dead Ball Era and his book “Bury My Heart at Cooperstown”. Check out his “Rants and Raves” on New York Baseball Digest.
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8 Responses to Accolades, Prognostications and Hype, Oh My!

  1. Ralph C

    The one (and maybe only) media member/tv personality who got this right was Bill Madden of the Daily News. I remember watching Daily News Live before the season and he picked the Yankees to win the east, the Rays for the wild card, and the Red Sox third.

  2. Ralph C

    Here’s a link to Madden’s Daily News preview article for anyone who cares:

  3. Stu B

    Ironic that Yankees fans could derive so much satisfaction from a loss!

  4. Frank Russo


    I don’t expect you to understand, but , I root for two teams, The Yankees and anyone playing the Red sox. Last night was a meaningless game, so I didn’t matter one way or another if the Yanks lost or won. If I had to choose between the two teams making the playoffs, I would always root for Tampa, hands down, especially since the way the main stream media almost unanamously picked the Red Sox to win it all.

  5. Stu B

    Of course I understand, Frank. I’m not stupid.

  6. Frank Russo

    I know your not stupid Stu! I consider you to be one of the best posters on this site!

  7. Stu B

    OK, sorry for the misunderstanding.

  8. Paul

    Frank, as a Yankees fan, you should know that there is no team in Tampa (except in March during Spring Training)

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