For the first time since 2009, the Boston Red Sox are headed back to the playoffs.
What a year it's been. From the 8-2 beatdown of the Yankees in game one and the 20-8 start, all the way to tonight's complete game two-hit outing from John Lackey. We've had Koji high fives and Nava-Carp bouncing. A miracle against Seattle and twenty runs against Detroit. Five complete games, plenty of flirting with no-nos, Salty stealing home, Xander Bogaerts' first hit, Papi's two thousandth, and just generally an incredible amount of fun.
Oh, and beards! So very many beards!
Even the most positive of prognosticators didn't quite see this happening. Challenging for a playoff spot, maybe even the division? Sure. But at 93-61 the Red Sox are not just headed to October, but on top of the game with less than two weeks left to play. Do we call it the second Impossible Dream? Maybe, but naming it a sequel to even that fantastic part of Red Sox history seems almost unfair.
It hasn't all been fun and games. As with all baseball seasons, there have been highs and lows. Baserunners have made mistakes, players have played poorly, John Farrell has driven some of us crazy at times, and oh if the bullpen hasn't given us some heart attacks. But if those are the things that call for the most analysis--one can only say so much about how oood a team is before it starts to get silly--they certainly don't deserve the most attention.
What does is a team that has taken us from the depths and brought the good times back to Boston. It's hard to believe that just over a year ago we were hearing stories about locker rooms in revolt, stolen cell phones, a manager at war with his coaches, and slotting the likes of Scott Podsednik into the lineup on a nightly basis. There are too many people to thank for this--John Farrell, Ben Cherington, Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, Mike Napoli--so many who have made significant contributions to bringing this team together and bringing them back to such heights. So we'll just leave it at this:
Thank you, Red Sox.