Monday, October 22, 2007

A Big Day at Thom's!

Thanks to everyone that got to Thom's early for the Pats and kept me company on the first leg of my Sunday marathon. I got there at 11:45 am and left at 3:45 am. It was worth it.

The box score showed that Tom Brady had a record breaking day, but, as Brady said, the receivers starred. Stallworth put my fantasy team on his back and spin through the Miami secondary turning a small gain into a touchdown. And Moss stole two under thrown balls from Brady from no less than two defenders for touchdowns. I still haven't seen a replay that actually shows how he caught the second one with one arm, but there he was, cradling the ball with the competition at his feet. And, Welker just kept catching the ball and refusing to go down. There seems to be nothing this new corps of receivers can't do.

The crowd for Game 7 began trickling in around 5:30. For Game 6 we had to stop the door around 7:30 and turn away a ton of fans, so it was wise to arrive early on Sunday.

The throng was a cautious one. While Saturday night almost the whole bar sang along to the "National Anthem", on Sunday the faithful were quiet.

That all changed with the Sox' first at-bat. When Pedroia singled to start the bottom half of the first you felt good vibes from Saturday return to the room. Then Youk followed with a base hit, then Manny drove Dusty home for the first run of the game. Suddenly everyone was on board for the chorus of "I'm shipping off to Boston" and the sing-alongs didn't stop. With "Glory Days", and "New England", and "Tessie", and "Take me out to the Ballgame", and "Sweet Caroline", and finally "Dirty Water"every hand clapped and the words echoed far onto 2nd ave. And between songs you could even hear "Rog-ah" chants every time Clemens appeared in a commercial and "Steroids" chants for Betancourt when he entered the game.
The DOT workers outside repaving the street stood at the door and stared. They thought they were in New York, but the crowd told them otherwise. There's a little pocket of Fenway Park in the East Village. The beer is better and it won't cost you $7.75.

Of course they were in New York and of course these were all New Yorkers they were watching, but that doesn't mean they can't root for anyone they want. Sox fans get a lot of grief in New York for just being here. But, to me New York City has always been sold as a place where anyone could go and do whatever they want. That's how I got here. That's how so many generations of New Yorkers got here.
I never liked the "melting pot" metaphor for this city. Why should people just be assimilated into the mass. Why can't it be a stew with some clearly recognizable ingredients and a bunch of vegetables. Or a Vegas buffet with so many choices like prime rib or melon. Or a quilt with patches that are made by kids trying to raise money for- Ok, I'll stop now. (I really haven't slept much these past two weeks.) But, why can't people come here and be themselves without being harassed. They can. At Professor Thom's they did last night.

While the Sox were adding a run an inning through the first three, Dice-K did just what I asked of him. He pitched five innings that kept the Sox in the game. The Japanese news crew that showed up was very happy that this game turned out better than last week's. Dice-K left the game before the sixth with a 3-2 lead and our fate was now in the hands of the bullpen who pitched terrifically.
Then came more runs.

In a long standing Red Sox tradition (Bobby Doerr, Marty Barrett, Todd Walker, Mark Belhorn, et al.) it was the 2nd baseman that came through big in the playoffs. Dustin Pedroia hit a two run bomb to left that put the Sox up by 3 in the seventh then doubled to clear the bases in the eighth.
Papelbon was still on the mound in the bottom of the 9th with his team up 11-2. His job was now to throw strikes. That he did. Of the 16 pitches Papelbon threw in relief 15 of them were strikes. And that included the blast Blake drove to center with two outs and one on. In retrospect, Francona made a great move putting Crisp in the game for the last inning. Not only did Crisp make the game ending catch to save a run and Papelbon any more pitches. But, he likely had a great amount of confidence restored that he'd lost since being benched for Ellsbury.

The hero of two games Josh Beckett was awarded the MVP trophy. He pitched great, but I don't think he pitched as well as Youkilis hit. According to
"Youkilis hit an even (14-for-28) during the series, besting Bob Boone's seven-game ALCS record of .455 in 1986. He scored 10 runs, breaking a three-year-old ALCS record held by the Yankees' Hideki Matsui. With 14 hits, including at least one in each game, Youkilis tied the LCS record jointly held by Matsui and Albert Pujols since '04. And each seemed bigger than the last."
Youkilis now holds a least three hitting records for the ALCS. His OBA was .576! His 26 total bases were 10 more than the next closest Red Sock and 11 more than the closest Indian, Peralta.

Stat maniac David Tice agrees (bold added):

"In terms of runs created (without getting into batting the runner at first over to third to score on a later sac fly etc.), Youk matched or exceeded the Cleveland 0ffense in Games 1, 5, 6 and 7. In other words, the ones that the Red Sox won.

Beckett's pitching performances can't be overlooked, and Beckett and Schilling in games 5 and 6 just did everything you can do to keep your team in the game long enough to win, in games that they absolutely had to win, so I can see the ace getting the MVP. But it is rather suspicious that in a series marked by hugely unbalanced offensive swings, the Boston offense got superhot when Youkilis was hitting and did close to nothing (save Game 2) when he wasn't."

Even Youk himself commented on his blog today about one of the best hitting performances in playoff history and the lack of attention it received, "I had a good series swinging the bat, but I don't mind flying under the radar."

That's all behind us now. It was a great comeback. It was a great night. But it means little if we lose this week. The World Series begins Wednesday and I won't be surprised to see so many of the same faces at Thom's that have been there throughout the playoffs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Professor's Thom's Bar is unbelievable!!! My first time going Professor Thom's bar was when we played the Angels and Manny hit that walk-off home run in the 9th. Since then, I've been there for almost every single game. Game 7 was crazy, I had an amazing time!! My buddy and I were even the commentators for the 3 inning in the documentary, "we still beleive". It almost felt as i was watching the game live, at fenway. I love this bar, not only for the beers, but for the fans at the bar and the positive energy that comes out of this place. The customer service in this place is great, these people really know how to treat boston fans. Way to Go professor Thoms. Special shout out to Patrick and the two bouncers, reallly cool people.

- Joel (dude on the right with the blue redsox shirt next to the guy with the thumps up)

...If You Ain't Got That Ring.