Friday, October 26, 2007

2007 World Series Game 2: We Rock

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 2, Colorado Rockies 1

You watch their faces/You'll see the traces/Of the things they want to be/But only we can see

Hope you were watching tonight, because you might have just watched Curt Schilling's swan song performance in a Red Sox uniform. Opinionated, loud-mouthed, self-promotional, unlikable; whatever your opinion may be of the man, he's always delivered when it really, really counted, whether it be a particularly pivotal start in the regular season, or when elimination loomed in the post-season, or just to establish a commanding lead in the World Series.

They come for killing/They leave and still it seems/The cloud that's left behind/Oh, can penetrate your mind

Tonight, I sat and stood and stomped and pounded and clapped amongst the crowd at Professor Thom's to an effort was no different: vintage Schilling - he of the power pitch and the massive shift in speeds - may not be anything more than a shadow of a memory, but the wily pitcher Schilling's become ain't no schlub, either. Here in the autumn twilight of the season Curt suffered the Rockies to garner a single run, scored only as a result of a tight inside pitch and a poorly-produced play at second. Throw in four strikeouts, two walks and four hits over five and a third and you have Curt Schilling, playoffs 2007 edition: still deadly effective. Far more sublime than masterful, it was an effort - along with those of Okajima and the indomitable Papelbon - that was still more than enough to keep Colorado from taking the final lead.

We pray to someone/But when it's said and done/It's really all the same/With just a different name

Meanwhile, we all awaited the glacial cracking of the edifice of Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez, whose high-speed heat and tricky off-speed pitches are not yet paired with the pin-point control that can keep an offense like Boston's on its toes. The offensive strategy was simple but deadly: wait for Jimenez to show his wild side, leave a pitch where it shouldn't be or hand out a walk, then strike viper-quick for the run. We all loved to see its fruition, even as we despaired of our team's ability to break the score open for some breathing room, our frustrations epitomized by the mass celebrations that broke out during David Ortiz's Pesky Pole-bound foul ball in the fourth - the one we were all so sure was a home run that we did not watch its flight out of fair territory.

They come for killing/They leave and still it seems/The cloud that's left behind/Can penetrate your mind

Although the great thunder of last night's bats passed with the Game 1 rainstorms, there were enough hits, and enough runs: after two innings and two-thirds innings and a trip round the lineup, the Boston hitters seemed to realize they weren't going to catch up to Jimenez and his 97+ mph heat, but they could wait for him to hang himself. Ground outs and strikeouts quickly turned to walks, which became hits, two runs scored and 12 men left on base. Jimenez retired in haste in the fifth, the victim of his own inability to control his pitch count. Meanwhile, innings mounted, outs decreased, and excitement in Professor Thom's rose to a fever pitch, as 150 or so Sox fans lived and died by Cinco Ocho; his death mask pitching fast, his fastball, his brilliance. The win became collective, as good wins always do: the players put the ball in the right places at the right times, but we - the screaming masses in Fenway, and their counterparts in a crowded Red Sox bar in New York - pushed them to make the moves.

Sail on, sing a song, carry on/Cause we rock...