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Next year is the year

If you're one of those fools running around talking about how you don't mind that they lost because they won it all last year...well, good for you. Those folks are in the minority, however. We all know that losing this year sucked. Here it is, a day later, and it's just starting to sink in. I think it's taken a little while because it wasn't supposed to be like this. I mean, c'mon...it was the White Sox. Every intelligent baseball fan knows that they're the worst good team in baseball. They played over their heads in the first half of the season and played some pretty mediocre baseball over the second half, nearly losing their division title. At the beginning of this week I had my game 4 play off tickets in hand and I wasn't even considering a White Sox sweep. The thought had never ever entered my mind. I was just hoping that the Red Sox made it a bit interesting by allowing the White Sox to win one so that I could see them cruise to victory in game 4. But baseball is weird like that. As they say, "that's why the play the games". Now that it's starting to sink in...it sucks. This isn't 2003, game 7 bad. That was a crushing blow. That was a game that left me stunned and empty. It was about a month before I was even able to come to grips with what happened. Still...it sucks.

Last year does make this year a bit more bearable. It's not because we're all still riding the high of a World Series victory though. Take a good listen. You hear that? That's the sound of no one bringing up some asinine curse. It's the sound of no one chanting 1918. It also makes next year a little brighter. Everybody who isn't a complete jackass knows that there's no such thing as curses and that the Red Sox weren't cursed. But even those of us rational ones always had that lingering doubt. We always wondered if they would ever go all the way. And now we know that they can, they did, and they could easily do it again.

Come next month when a new World Series Champion is crowned and when we all have time to move on, we'll all realize that this is a great time to be a Sox fan. The team has direction. It has an intelligent front office. It has one of the greatest offensive duos in the history of the game. It has players who play hard, who get the job done, and know how to win. The team has a payroll big enough where they can go out and get the pieces they need and they can afford to make a few mistakes. The organization has some young talent coming up through the system. Hanley Ramirez isn't a major league caliber player just yet, but Dustin Pedroia might be helping the team out come next summer. And you know how Johnathan Papelbon came up and impressed us with his poise and his fastball? Well Anibal Sanchez and John Lester are even better. They likely won't help next year...but the future is still bright.

It was a great season. David Ortiz cemented his place in New England history as a legend. Tim Wakefield provided us with another season of leadership and another dozen reasons to love the guy. Manny...well, he was Manny. And Manny is an MVP candidate. Johnny Damon showed remarkable grit and toughness while Kevin Millar hit more foul ball home runs than anyone in the history of the game. Bill Mueller once again showed us how the game is played and Mike Timlin stepped up to carry the entire pitching staff on his 39 year old back. We all kinda knew that this team wasn't as good as the one that was on the field last year, but it was still a great one and it was still filled with some great players.

Only about 130 days left until pitchers and catchers.