Sharp grounder to Iwamura. He snags it and the Tampa Bay Rays are the 2008 American League Champions. Most of the Red Sox players, staff, and coaches remained motionless, looking on at their unpredicted rivals celebrating, and wondering what if.
These Red Sox, very oblivious to onlookers, are not very similar to the 2007 Sox who beat Colorado to win the World Series. While the powerful trio of David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and Mike Lowell produced the runs that helped the Red Sox sweep the Rockies, this year was quite different.
Ramirez, who was traded minutes before the trade deadline, was a no show, as was Lowell who was injured with hip injury, and not put on the postseason roster. Ortiz was not himself to say the least, as he went an abysmal .186 with 1 home run and 5 runs batted in, not nearly up to Ortiz like numbers.
Now, the core of the Red Sox is not the power hitting, as it is youth, and surprisingly defense and speed. With new acquisition Jason Bay playing stellar all around baseball and defense, Sox fans are seeing the benefit of have 9 players on the field that add up to put 900% effort of every game.
The core of the Red Sox is now Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkillis, Jed Lowrie, Jacoby Elsbury, and the pitching of Manny Delcarmen, Justin Masterson, Jon Lester, Clay Bucholtz, and of course Jonathan Papelbon. All of them under 26 years of age, and already all above average players. They will only continue to blossom before Red Sox Nation's eyes.
5 years ago, the art of stealing a base for the Sox was nonexistant. Now, key contributors such as Ellsbury, Coco Crisp, and even Pedrioa have the afterburners to put themselves in scoring position, rattling the pitcher and creating more opportunites to put runs on the board.
The truth, while fans will hate to admit it, is that this was a rebuliding year for the Red Sox. A World Series trip would've been a luxury, but with the Sox's youthful roster, the Red Sox will be contenders for a very long time.
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