(Submitted by guest blogger Brian Beaupre. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org)
October in New England can usually be associated with changing leaves, dropping temperature, and lately for us, one of the best sports months of the calendar year. This weekend proved to be just that, with the Red Sox advancing to the ALCS in a balanced, dominating three-game sweep, and the Patriots proving even when they don’t play their best, they still remain in the elite of the NFL. Boston College even got in on the party, crushing Bowling Green to reach #4 in the latest AP Poll, the highest ranking since 1984.
Dan Shaughnessy highlights how the Red Sox beat the Angels in every possible way this weekend, wishing they never have to leave Southern California, even tossing a few bouquets at his buddy Curt Schilling. Rob Bradford has these Sox getting pretty good at these locker room celebrations in recent weeks. Sean McAdam further details the Red Sox dominance in this series, emphasizing how the Sox approach the last week of the season paid dividends for them in this series. Gordon Edes has the Sox brass and players enjoying the moment, but staying focused on the next series, whoever the opponent may be. Jackie MacMullan has the Sox drenching yet another locker room with yesterday’s win, but claiming their work is not done. Lenn Megliola also has the Sox drenching each other and the team’s brass, and looking forward to the week off after this celebration.
I must still be sleeping, as Dan Shaughnessy refers to Schilling as “Mr. October of Moundsmen.” Sean McAdam has Schilling truly savoring this one, as he stands atop the mound a completely re-invented pitcher than the one we last saw in 2004. Rob Bradford has Curt Schilling praising Jason Varitek for his game plan and scouting approach to the Angels on Sunday. Jeff Goldberg also touches on the role John Farrell and Jason Varitek played in the win. Steve Buckley joins the talk radio the masses in criticizing the Sox brass for not starting Schilling in Game 2 of the division series, claiming yesterday was a day for the Sox to “toss out the reports, the charts, and the certificates. It’s time for the Red Sox to go with their collective guts,” and start Schill in Game 2 of the ALCS. Bill Ballou offers a quick recap of the game and box score from yesterday’s clinching victory.
Tony Massarotti has the 1-2 punch of Ortiz and Ramirez really clicking for the first time this season, at the perfect time, with Manny’s confidence soaring. Reid Laymance has Ortiz and Ramirez putting this game on their shoulders, as it didn’t start well with runners in scoring position. Jeff Goldberg discusses the Angels lineup was the polar opposite of the Sox, both health-wise and production once the series started, but Mike Scioscia refusing to make excuses. Alex Speier has Ortiz and Ramirez clicking at the right time, with Ortiz getting a partner in crime this October. Megliola has even the West Coast fans not paying much attention to this series, with the Sox dominating from the start. Jeff Goldberg highlights the perfect game for the Sox, with both Ortiz and Schilling assuming their familiar roles’ in October.
Edes’ notebook has the Sox looking forward to lining up their pitching for the next series, again highlighting the question of who starts in game 2. Amalie Benjamin has Dustin Pedroia raising his game in the playoffs, despite apparently injuring himself in game 2. Michael Vega has Jered Weaver getting beaten by the exact 1-2 punch teams try to avoid, especially Ortiz, for whom he had strong words after watching his grand slam off Weaver earlier in the season.
The Patriots improved to 5-0 yesterday, although it wasn’t all pretty. (Have we lost our minds, or has Bill Belichick’s constant emphasis on perfection hit the fan base as well?) Christopher Gasper touches on the victory, albeit with the Pats not performing at their best. Karen Guregian gets a locker room perspective on the win, which was predictably, not enthusiastic.
David Heuschkel has the defense bailing out the offense (as strange as that sounds in a 34-17 win). Michael Felger highlights the dominant play of the defense yesterday, coming up with timely turnovers, and bizarre celebrations. Jennifer Toland again has the Pats winning despite not playing their best, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Bob Ryan has the coach giving the riot act after the game, and discusses a day of good, bad, and ugly (Junior Seau). Mark Murphy touches on the bizarre interception celebration from Seau. Heuschkel takes a lighter approach to the Seau play.
Gasper and Mike Reiss discuss Rodney Harrison’s return to the field after his four-game suspension. Guerigan’s notebook also discusses Harrison’s return, and details the Patriots injury situation from yesterday’s game, which had players laying on the turf all day. Rich Garven’s notebook touches on the return of Willie McGinest, with a classic quote of “Coming back was nice, but who wants to come back to a whooping?” Jim McCabe has Donte Stallworth finally getting in on the offensive fun this season. Guerigan has Asante Samuel on pace to “Get Paid” per his tattoo and holdout.