In 1967 the Boston Red Sox lived the ‘Impossible Dream’, going from last to first in one season. 40 years later, the Sox made a Possible Dream come true; fielding a solid team and winning the World Series. With many New England sports teams looking good this season, can they all make their "Possible Dreams" come true?

 

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Possible Dream: Achieved

The Boston Red Sox are the 2007 Champions of baseball. Three years removed from the '04 miracle Sox, and 40 years removed from the Impossible Dream; a different kind of Red Sox team has clinched the World Series title. Four homegrown players were on the starting lineup card, and four homegrown players were on the field at the end. A team of well-developed prospects, savvy free agent signings, and luck (as is the case of Mike Lowell... originally the $9 million a year "throw-in" to the Josh Beckett deal) worked together as one of the most well rounded groups to take the field in the Series.

The pieces started to come together just as the Sox were raising the Championship banner in 2005. The '05 amateur draft proved to be a great one for the Sox. Theo Epstein stockpiled draft picks, 4 of the first 42 to be exact. Among those were Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz. Both of those players shined in short '07 stints that don't even count as their rookie years. 1996 saw the acquisition of Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett from Florida. Coco Crisp and Julio Lugo were signed as free agent This season, Rookie Dustin Pedroia would be the starting Shortstop. Despite an anemic April performance, Dustin turned it on the rest of the season, and likely winning the Rookie of the Year honors.

Tomorrow we will be taking a look at the Possible Dreams that other New England teams are trying to achieve this year.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Game 7's at Fenway

There's nothing like a Game 7 at home. Let's take a trip through the last four game 7's at Fenway Park.

October 12, 1967

The Impossible Dream became a nightmare when Bob Gibson stepped onto the mound for game 7 of the '67 World Series. Gibson threw a 3-hit complete game, allowing only 2 runs. The Sox would manage to bring the game within 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th, but the Cardinals blew the lead open at the top of the 6th.


October 22, 1975

A day after Carlton Fisk hit what was quite possibly the most memorable home run in postseason history, the Sox dug in against Reds hurler Don Gullett. Gullett would give up the lead in the third, with the Sox jumping ahead 3-0. The Reds would tie the game in the 7th, and eventually take the win on a Joe Morgan single in the 9th.


October 15th, 1986

Down 3 games to one to the California Angels, the '86 Sox went on to win games 5 and 6 to force a decisive game 7 at Fenway. Young gun Roger Clemens would hold the Angels to only 4 hits and one run across 7 stellar innings. Calvin Schiraldi closed out the last 6 batters, sending the Sox to the World Series.



October 21st, 2007

Like the '86 Sox, the '07 club was down 3-1 in the ALCS, and won games 5 and 6 to force a game 7. Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka had been shaky in every playoff start up to that point. Indians pitcher Jake Westbrook looked solid in his game 4 start. The Sox would make the first move, scoring on a Manny Ramirez single in the first, and on a Julio Lugo double play in the second. Mike Lowell would drive in a run on a sac fly in the third. The Indians answered with runs in the 4th and 5th innings, and Matsuzaka's night ended. Hideki Okajima would throw scoreless 6th and 7th innings.

In the bottom of the 7th, Dustin Pedroia hit a David-Ortiz-esque rocket over the left field wall. With a 5-3 lead, Jonathan Papelbon would take the ball for the rest of the game. The Sox followed Papelbon's first inning with an offensive explosion. JD Drew, Pedroia, and Youkilis would drive in a collective 6 runs to put the nail in the coffin. Papelbon gave up a leadoff single too begin the 9th, but induced a lineout and two flyouts to punch Boston's ticket to the World Series.

These are your Possible Dream Red Sox.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Playoff Picture - How Each Team Looked on October 1st

Both the '67 and '07 Red Sox made it into the playoffs, although in very different situations. Without the Wild Card as a safety net, the '67 Sox barely edged out Detroit and Minnesota for the top spot in the American League. This marked the first that that the Sox took the AL since twenty years earlier, 1946 - a World Series marred by Enos Slaughter... and Pesky "holding on to the ball too long". The '07 Sox also finished as the top AL team, thanks in part to having the tiebreaker over the Indians. '07 marks the first AL East title since 1995 (which was won with a paltry 86 wins).

In 1967, Carl Yastrzemski led nearly every offensive category that existed. His individual effort was rewarded with the AL MVP. While the '07 Sox only had leaders in walks, OBP, and extra base hits... they do have Rookie of the Year favorite Dustin Pedroia.

Both teams accomplished this with only one 20-game pitcher, and team era's under 3.9. Jim Lonborg won the Cy Young in '67, and Josh Beckett is at the top of the list of nominees in '07.

The '07 Sox are alot like the '67 Sox... maybe with the talent spread across a few more players... but it is there.

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