This was back in the autumn of 2004, when the only thing that seemed more make believe than ghosts and goblins was the thought of the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series. Back then, it was worthy of the emotions that accompany a spiritual moment, because in many ways, that's precisely what it was.
Not so in the fall of 2007. There is nothing joyful about this Red Sox championship, and the only shrieks and tears it should elicit are from those who are sick and tired of watching a corporate monster prevail again. The only spirit it invokes is that of Darth Vader, because what we've witnessed is the rise of another evil empire.
Give the Red Sox some props, though, because they deserve them. Few teams have dominated one postseason the way they did. Boston never seemed to be in danger at any point, not even when it was faced with three elimination games against the Cleveland Indians in the American League Championship Series. It was as if the Red Sox knew no team was equipped to hang with them, and the no-sweat way in which they won all three of those games against the Indians bore that out.
There are adjectives to describe such a run -- "resounding," "emphatic," and "dynamic" come immediately to mind -- but "lovable" isn't one of them. The Red Sox, with their $143 million payroll, private cable network and cash cow that is Fenway Park, have essentially become a clone of their pinstriped rivals to the west, and we know how much love the New York Yankees have inspired on the streets of Boston and elsewhere over the years.
The only pertinent question now is whether the Red Sox can succeed the Yanks as baseball's next dynasty, and with youngsters such as Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester added to a mix that includes David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, Jonathan Papelbon and Josh Beckett, Boston has set itself up to make a hardy run.
Wouldn't be a bad idea for someone else in the baseball universe to keep it from happening, though. The Red Sox may have stamped themselves as one of the World Series' most dominant champs (along with the 1989 A's, 1976 Cincinnati Reds and 1966 Baltimore Orioles). But nobody enjoys evil rulers, no matter how lovable they once may have been.
Onward around the horn:
Or, put another way, the 17 World Series games played over the past four years are the fewest in any four-year span since the event was born in 1903.
Oh, there it is, in the text messaging outbox of agent Scott Boras.
The timing with which Boras announced Rodriguez's intentions to opt out of his Yankees contract showed A-Rod is every bit as narcissistic as Barry Bonds. Simply put, it was a bid to steal the World Series spotlight from the players who had earned it, and to place Rodriguez above the game. The Giants have spent 15 years coping with the culture that comes with such a presence. They don't need another day of it.
A-Rod for Lowell straight up? Can't imagine that's a trade the Red Sox would be willing to make.
As Yogi Berra might say: It's hard to be any more perfect than that.
Contact Rick Hurd at firstname.lastname@example.org.