"Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned but heaven hath no sweetness like a sports fan vindicated." - Samcat

Thursday, October 02, 2008

One in the bag

(Photo from Boston.com)

Jon Lester will thank us to stop underestimating him. You'd think we, as a fan base, might stop doing that but the amount of ink spilled over the past few days regarding Josh Beckett's mysterious oblique would lead any outsiders to imply that we didn't have that much faith in Lester. I'd venture a guess that nothing could be further from the truth. And I'd have said that before the game. The bottom line is that Lester's good. Very good. And I don't think it's a coincidence that, when trying to expound upon his personality (as we are wont to do), we often conclude that he's the kind of guy whom you'd try to impress with your wit and humor and he'd just stare at you, seemingly not getting the joke and subsequently making you feel like a babbling idiot. Because, you know, Jon Lester isn't flustered by much. Not cancer, not postseason baseball apparently, and certainly not nervous girls making inappropriate fart jokes (I'm guessing). But that is, evidently, what makes him so good at his job. And we are the better for it.

Also unblinking in the whole bright lights of the postseason thing is everyone's favorite friendly Canadian, Jason Bay. Apparently some of the talking heads were expressing their doubt about Bay's impending performance prior to the game due to the fact that he was a postseason virgin and Dennis Eckersley took some issue with that. Essentially saying, I hear, "It's not his fault he played in Pittsburgh. That should be punishment enough without you railing against the dude." Perhaps the only thing better than Eck's angry defense of Jason Bay and Jon Lester is the way he acts like a spurned lover in regards to Manny Ramirez. "Thanks a lot, Manny, for showing up and playing like this. Thanks a LOT." That might be a direct quote.

And then there’s Jacoby Ellsbury who seemingly has no intention of suffering a sophomore slump in his second postseason appearance. “What people forget” Buck Martinez said in perhaps his sole lucid moment of the night “is that Ellsbury is still just a rookie.” Huh, I guess he is, isn’t he? Seems like that kid’s been here forever.

So despite the fact that I kind of expected the Angels and John Lackey – he of the “We are the Knights who say ‘Ni!’” visage to take Game 1, I am surely pleased at the outcome. Because that is the thing about postseason baseball, it’s pretty unpredictable. For instance, you could have predicted that Amy and I would spend five minutes feeding every coin we had on our persons into the self-checkout at Stop N’ Shop in order to purchase chips and cheese dip for the game. (Seriously, the people working there clearly thought we were potheads). But you could not have predicted that Jason Bay would be your hero or that someone in a Red Sox uniform could actually atone for their errors at shortstop by continuing to hit instead of falling to the ground and thrashing about due to the injustice of it all. (Though concern was expressed that Lowrie was up past his curfew). You probably also would not have predicted Vladimir Guerrero’s positively Jeff Suppan-esque baserunning blunder. But, you know, postseason baseball. Gotta love it.

Friday’s game starts half an hour earlier which is wise considering that it’s Matsuzaka and, as Jerry Remy expressed in his trademark exasperated state, “he, uh, is known to throw a lot of pitches.” That’s putting it mildly. But one game in the bag is one step closer. I’ll take it, sleep deprivation and all.