“I don’t believe in damned curses…”

So how do you feel? Is part of your identity now gone forever, or are you totally enjoying the moment and looking forward to more? For generations, the Red Sox have held the fans attention in Boston, always ending the season just short of the glory, yes sometimes agonizingly so. Now, that period in time is over. Another generation will not grow up as the last several have. There will be no more talk of 1918, of Babe Ruth and of any ridiculous curse. This Red Sox team put an end to all such weak minded, negative talk and did so in the most convincing and powerful fashion imaginable. They swept the Angels, a team only a couple years removed from a title, they did to the Yankees what that franchise has done to them so often, only a hundredfold, crushing their spirit in a most demoralizing way. They then swept the St. Louis Cardinals, thus avenging two of their previous seven game World Series loss. What else could they have possibly done? As was the case with so many other people around Red Sox nation last night, I thought of those who never got to see this. My great-grandfather for one, who introduced me to the aging Yaz and the Red Sox, starting me down the path of being a fan myself. Thanks Papa. Wish you were here.

I don’t believe there is any way I’m going to get to all the links today. I’ll try to get you the most important ones, the ones from the people you want to hear from, and the perspectives I think are interesting. My advice to you, just this once….BUY the newspapers. All of them. Read them. Keep them. Even the smaller newspapers, because things are going to change in the future, I don’t mean just with the Red Sox. In so many ways, an era ended last night. Things WILL be different going forward, but only in a good way. You’ll have those papers and years from now will be able to look back and appreciate just how different our perspective and even life was, back in the year 2004. A milestone year in so many ways for the sports fans of New England. Fans here have the Super Bowl Champions and the World Series Champions, both reigning at the same time. These are truly the glory days, my friends.

A column we’ve been waiting years for was finally written this morning. Dan Shaughnessy writes about the World Series champion Boston Red Sox. He can have his own paragraph and space here, as like him or not, he’s been at the forefront of the Red Sox sense of urgency the last 10 years or so, and now it has been accomplished. His book can get that final chapter, and be put to rest. Dan can now move on with the rest of his life, just as all of the rest of us can.

Gerry Callahan tells us that in so many ways, this Red Sox team did things that we will never see again. Bob Ryan tells us just “What this is about”, going through all that makes this so magical. Sean McAdam says yes, this does change everything, and now there will be a clear line of demarcation between this season, and all before it. Tony Massarotti notes the irony that “The team that so often failed to measure up has set new and lofty standards for everyone else to aim at.” Jeff Jacobs says the pain of cynicism that has been passed through generations of Red Sox fans is now gone forever. Lenny Megliola says that all wrongs have been righted. Jackie MacMullan looks at the celebrations among the players, noting the tears of joy in the eyes of Pedro Martinez, and how the team went about “transforming themselves from frustrated losers on the brink of elimination to the finest of champions.”

Bill Reynolds writes about “the great night in the history of New England sports”. Howard Bryant looks at Theo Epstein, ending the torment of Boston fans everywhere. Alex Speier says that at long last, there will be no more “wait till next year”. Steve Britt says that all of this just doesn’t feel real yet. Kevin Gray says “believe it”, the Sox have finally done it. Jon Couture says that many things are finally over, but he doesn’t want this morning to be one of them.

Yeah, I’ll get you the lead game stories. David Heuschkel says the Sox made it look easy. Steven Krasner says this is no cruel joke, this really happened, the Red Sox are champions. Bob Hohler says “hail the lovable idiots”, the Red Sox are champions of the World. David Borges simply ends with “Unbelievable.”

How about that Derek Lowe? Gordon Edes looks at Lowe’s “Road to Glory”. Steve Buckley says Lowe was as brilliant in his post game comments as he was on the mound in the post season, saying all the right things. Jack O’Connell says stock in Derek Lowe is once again on the rise after last night’s performance. Art Davidson says all Boston fans will owe Derek Lowe an everlasting debt of gratitude. Peter Gammons writes about Lowe coming through in the biggest of ways.

Manny as World Series MVP? Perhaps some might be curious over that choice, but he did hit .412 in the Series, and has a record tying 17 game postseason hitting streak going. Some might choose Schilling, though that would be for more intangible and emotional reasons, as Schilling’s outing performance wise at least, was matched by both Pedro and Lowe. Stephen Harris looks at Manny achieving one of his career goals. The other? The Hall of Fame. John Powers says that Manny’s performance in the series symbolized what these Red Sox are about. Jack O’Connell looks at Manny’s journey from waivers to MVP. Alex Speier says Manny’s consistent stroke in the Series got him the MVP honors. David Borges also looks at Manny as World Series MVP.

The post game coverage was extensive, and there was no way to catch all of it, but flipping around a bit, the following moments and scenes will be preserved in my memory:

  • On NESN, Don Orsillo was on the field after the game and one of the people he talked to was Don Lowe, father of Derek. The guy was a live wire. Wearing coke-bottle glasses and bouncing around, talking a mile a minute, you could easily see how the apple didn’t fall far from the tree in this instance. He was wild.
  • NECN’s Chris Collins was also on the field, and actually got lost in the crowd a number of times, he got some good interviews, including Johnny Damon and also talking to Pedro as he headed off the field and into the clubhouse. However as mentioned, Collins was engulfed by the crowd and you couldn’t even see him on his own camera a few times. He escaped the crowd after a bit, and went off babbling excitedly for a few minutes before sending it back to Mark Ockerbloom and Mike Shalin in the studio.
  • During the presentation of the World Series trophy, Jeanne Zelasko had a bit of a rough time, once she got over to Theo Epstein, she got covered with champagne as Epstein and Curt Schilling had a bit of a celebration. You could see Zelasko cringing, trying to avoid the spray, to no avail. In the middle of talking to Theo, she turned off camera and asked for a towel, appearing more than a little annoyed.
  • Bob Lobel, repeating over and over in disbelief: “The Red Sox have won the World Series. The Red Sox have won the World Series.”
  • In closing out the baseball broadcast season, WEEI had a great audio montage of the entire season, incorporating moments from sweeping the Yankees in NY in April, all the way through the summer and through the playoffs. Very well done. I’ve heard TV stations did similar pieces, but I didn’t get to see them.

As I said in the opener, there are so many other great articles out there. Buy the papers, real them all, soak all of this in. You’re going to remember last night and today for the rest of your life. Enjoy it, my friends.

Is Tonight The Night?

Can you feel it? The Red Sox are one win away from winning the World Series. They took a commanding 3-0 series lead last night with a vintage performance from Pedro Martinez, who worked out of trouble the first couple innings to record seven shutout innings, giving up only three hits. Bob Hohler has a look at a season on the brink. Jeff Horrigan looks at Pedro spinning a gem in his first World Series appearance. Steven Krasner says that no one stood taller than Pedro last night. David Heuschkel looks at the Red Sox winning their seventh consecutive postseason game. David Borges says the Sox are on the cusp of history. Only Dennis and Callahan could be unhappy with how things are going at the moment. And they are. More on that later.

Dan Shaughnessy says the lunar eclipse scheduled for tonight couldn’t be more appropriate. He says the planets are truly aligned in the Red Sox favor. Bill Simmons looks at the impact a win tonight would have on the lives of millions. Tony Massarotti notes that in every situation, the roles seem to be reversed for the Red Sox now. Sean McAdam says one more win is merely a formality. Christopher Price looks at the Red Sox, one win away from hardball heaven. Steve Buckley says to put the champagne on ice and start thawing the Yaz Bread, it’s time. Jackie MacMullan wonders…how did this all happen? All right, I’ll say it…I actually enjoyed Jim Donaldson today. For once it seems, he does a decent job of putting things in perspective.

Pedro Martinez was magnificent last night. After wiggling out of early trouble, thanks to throws from Manny Ramirez (to the plate) and David Ortiz (to third), Pedro settled in and looked to be his old self. Howard Bryant says that Pedro’s vindication is now complete. Bill Reynolds writes that last night was the exclamation point on a stellar career with the Red Sox for Pedro. Gordon Edes has Curt Schilling saying that Pedro has a whole lot more career in him. Michael Silverman writes that Pedro proved that he still has dominance left in him. Jeff Jacobs says that you could tell what kind of performance was in store for Pedro last night merely by looking into his eyes. Art Davidson says the future isn’t really important right now, as Pedro has pitched the Sox to the brink of a championship.

Bob Ryan says it’s a little scary how easy this is all looking. At least he isn’t complaining about it. On WEEI Gerry Callahan talked about his “syndrome” that he has today because he wants more drama in the series, going so far as to say he’d like the Red Sox to lose a couple games and bring the series back to Boston. He did also complain about Francona taking Pedro out after seven innings…Jim Donaldson looks at the defense making plays for the Sox last night, leaving them one win away. Michael O’Connor looks at David Ortiz doing just fine at first base, thank you. Jack O’Connell writes about Ortiz and Manny being able to show off their arms last night. Michael Gee looks at Manny not only hitting the first inning home run, but also gunning down Larry Walker at the plate. Kraz’s Corner looks at Manny making the Cardinals pay for mistakes on both sites of the plate. O’Connell has more on Manny’s throw. As noted in the ProJo today, with a hit tonight, Manny could tie a postseason record for consecutive games with a hit. Manny has taken some heat for not hitting for much power in the postseason, but he’s been hitting. His homer last night places him second all time in postseason home runs.

Derek Lowe takes the mound tonight, hoping to be the winning pitcher in the clinching game of the ALDS, ALCS and now World Series. Sean McAdam notes the amazing turnaround Lowe has made in this postseason. David Heuschkel has Lowe declaring that he loves this time of year. Michael O’Connor says that Lowe has certainly rebounded from being banished to the bullpen to start the playoffs. Lenny Megliola looks at Lowe getting a chance to close out the series tonight. Kevin Paul Dupont notes that his contract is the furthest thing from Lowe’s mind at the moment. Steve Buckley writes that Lowe has certainly put himself in line for a big payday with his postseason performance. You have to admit, for a guy who takes a lot of heat around Boston for perhaps not being mentally tough during the season, a “mental reject” in his own words, Lowe has had some huge postseason moments over the past two years. His closeout of the A’s in last years ALDS with the bases loaded remains memorable.

Stephen Harris looks at Trot Nixon coming up with a big hit last night to drive in a run, after an embarrassing slip in the wet outfield earlier. Jim McCabe writes about Nixon’s big hit in the fourth inning. McCabe also writes about Nixon’s batting helmet. St. Louis native Bill Mueller has been a big story in this series, Nick Cafardo and Steve Conroy look at Mueller playing in front of his home town fans. Sean McAdam talks with former Sox player and Cardinals fan Brian Daubach.

Jackie MacMullan looks at Bronson Arroyo being prepared to go last night. Alex Speier says that Terry Francona doesn’t feel any pressure. Steve Britt says he was wrong for writing that the Red Sox 0-3 hole to the Yankees was a result of the organization’s loose rein on it’s players. Jim Donaldson looks at a determined Sox clubhouse. Tony Massarotti says Curt Schilling would be ready to go in a possible game six. Art Davidson has Ellis Burks vowing that there will no loss of focus for the Sox. Jon Couture says that St. Louis is a nice place. Kevin Gray looks at NH native Chris Carpenter frustrated at having to sit out. Cafardo talks with Dan Duquette about the Sox in the series.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but the Dennis and Callahan stuff is truly amazing to me. One woman called up and suggested it would be a good thing for the Red Sox to lose the next three games in tight fashion to set up a dramatic game seven at Fenway Sunday night. D&C agreed with her. After the Yankees series Callahan said that the World Series would be anticlimatic. Compared to the ALCS, that might be true, but if it’s going to be “anticlimatic” wouldn’t a dominating, four game sweep be satisfying? They also noted that Glenn and the Big Show boys left the game early, apparently disgusted over either their seats or something else. That’s crazy.

Hohler’s notebook looks at Ortiz handling himself well at first. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Keith Foulke again playing a role in the end of the game. The ProJo notebook looks at Suppan’s baserunning gaffe. Heuschkel’s notebook says the Red Sox will not be changing their approach tonight. Borges’ notebook looks at Manny’s night with his bat and arm.

Things are not so pleasant on the Cardinals side of things. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the stories from the midwest point of view. Karen Guregian reports on the Cardinal players ducking the media last night. John Powers looks at more squandered opportunities for the Redbirds. Jack O’Connell says that St. Louis has it’s own curse. Yawn. If I never hear the word “curse” again, used in any context, it will be too soon. Mark Blaudschun looks at the discouraged Cardinals locker room. Stephen Harris looks at tonight’s starter for the Cards, Jason Marquis, a rarity in that he is a pitcher who can hit a little. O’Connell has more on Marquis. Guregian’s notebook looks at Jeff Suppan’s slip-up on the bases. Powers’ notebook looks at the long odds facing the Cardinals. Jim Donaldson’s Cardinal’s notebook has more on Suppan.

Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider wonders who exactly, besides the Patriots and Eagles, constitute the “Iron” of the NFL. He also looks at the preparation of Bill Belichick, the progress of Stephen Neal and Ty Warren, and a peek at matchups for the Steelers game. Jonathan Comey says only the Patriots and Eagles are living up to their hype, and also has his NFL Power Rankings. Michael Parente ponders if the Steelers have what it takes to bring an end to the Patriots winning streak. Ron Borges says that anyone who doesn’t think Bill Cowher is a great NFL coach is smoking crack.

Shira Springer has the Celtics acknowledging that they need to get their heads together before the season opener next week. Mark Murphy has Paul Pierce neither confirming nor denying the alleged spitting incident in Ohio the other night. Murphy also looks at Jiri Welsch stepping in at starting point guard with Gary Payton out with a jammed thumb.

Ron Borges has an interesting Boxing Notes column, looking at ESPN trying to pick up more boxing coverage, in part because of the NHL lockout.

Fox has Red Sox/Cardinals Game 4 at 8:00.