Thursday, July 02, 2009

A Character Win

For obvious reasons, 2004 was a good year to start this blog, but it's had one problematic side effect: every year, I look for the game of the year, the game that channels the spirit of The Fight Game and demonstrates that deep down, the Sox have what it takes to gel as a team when they need to most. I know full well it's a fatuous exercise: even in 2004, the trade that put together the final pieces didn't happen for another seven days and team went a mediocre 8 and 6 until their big run starting August 10, but the point is to find the games that look big in retrospect right after they happen. I bring all of this discussion up because, despite the vastly different circumstances, yesterday's win has that feel.

Beckett and Varitek are calling it a character win, which also seems appropriate, in the way that the turnaround win against the Indians in the ALCS in 2007 was a character win: the Sox buckled down, grabbed whatever it was that made them such a good team, and won. The 2009 Orioles might be a far weaker team than the 2007 Indians and the game a fairly meaningless regular season contest, but the desire to revenge the prior day's humiliation and reestablish what seems to be the dominant order in Baltimore proved an effective understudy for the 07's unnerving possibility of losing out of the playoffs. Beckett recovered sufficiently to keep his team in the game and his team did the rest - even if they had to go to the brink a few times to do so. If the character of the 2009 Red Sox is to win when winning really matters, I like our post-season chances better and better.