From Rich Tenorio of the Daily Item -
The snow still lies on the ground, and the winter air still envelops pedestrians. But in convenience stores and gas stations and restaurants, the subject has shifted from football to baseball, and the inevitable question dangles like springtime mist: Who has the better team, the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees?
For the third straight year, the answer is the same: The Red Sox have the superior model, because their biggest star, David Ortiz, can perform more dependably in the clutch than the Yankees’ top performer, Alex Rodriguez.
Recall the 2004 playoffs. Manny Ramirez became the first Red Sox player to earn World Series MVP honors, but all three playoff series were a Papi picnic. His blast off Jarrod Washburn won the American League Division Series. He won back-to-back extra-inning games against the Yankees. And he batted .308 in the World Series. A-Rod? He hit .118 as his team dropped the final four games of the American League Championship Series.
What that year’s postseason proved was that not all stars shine in October. There is a long and honorable list of major-league luminaries, from Ted Williams to Alex Rodriguez, who never delivered when the games truly counted. This is less a criticism of their abilities than an acknowledgement that the playoffs are a harsh stage, as difficult to get through as the Pulitzer Prize committee or the Screen Actors Guild judges.
And yet there is a smaller list of players, with somewhat less lustrous statistics, who may not know how to win an MVP award but who do know how to come through with Mariano Rivera on the mound and their team trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth. The Red Sox have one of these players, and the Yankees don’t. That’s cause for optimism as spring weather beckons.
I said it 4 months ago, but it still stands:
…what Rodriguez needs – just one post-season series where he is the man. You can live off that. Make it a World Series, and it’s even better.
Then the “Rich Tenorio” types in the world will have to work harder for decent copy.