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article imageOp-Ed: Dream Matchups In A Red Sox-Dodgers World Series

By Johnny Simpson     Oct 5, 2008 in Sports
As purely a fan of the sport, the drama of a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series becomes more enticing once you know the players and the histories. The LA Dodgers just took a step closer by advancing to the NLDS, and the Sox lead their best-of-five series 2-0.
With all with due respect to Brewers, White Sox and Angels fans:
The facts as we know them, first and foremost.
A lot of baseball left to play. Anything can happen, and usually does.
The Red Sox proved that against the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, and they themselves have overcome 0-2 deficits in best-of-five ALDS series to win three straight and advance.
Record-wise, the Angels were the best team in baseball this year, the only one to break the 100-victory mark. If any team could come back against the Red Sox, it's the Angels.
But still...
A few days ago, I dreamed of the high drama of a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series matchup on just the Manny Factor alone. But once you take a closer look at the matchups and histories between the coaches and players of these two very talented baseball teams, it goes from compelling to Shakespearean.
I'll just give you the list, with highlights. You can guess the rest.
THE COACHES
LOS ANGELES - Joe Torre, former Yankee Clipper helmsman and bane of the Red Sox until the Red Sox stunning comeback in 2004. The Sox advanced to win their first World Series in 86 years, breaking the dreaded Curse of Babe Ruth.
Yes, to Boston fans it was real. Watch 'Fever Pitch.' They got that part right.
Anyway, it should be noted that Joe Torre is playing in his 13th straight postseason and has more postseason victories (76) than any coach in Major League Baseball history. Atlanta's Bobby Cox is a distant second, with 66.
I'll bet Yankees fans wished they had a coach like that right now.
BOSTON - Terry Francona, who has helmed the team to two championships in four years. Very Joe Torre-like.
Just imagine the excruciating coaching decisions in key World Series games between these two hardball chess masters who have six titles between them. Real sports nut water cooler stuff.
THE PLAYERS
LOS ANGELES
Manny Ramirez has already been mentioned, and would figure prominently all by himself.
But he is far from alone:
DEREK LOWE: LA Dodgers right-handed flamethrower, a job he did quite well for the Red Sox in the 2004 postseason, gaining a 3-0 record and a .186 ERA. He finished off all three postseason series for Boston in 2004.
Derek emerged victorious over the Cubs in Game 1 of their series, and had gone 6-1 in his final 10 games of the regular season.
The Dodgers also have many other fine pitchers, but this is about histories.
Like Nomar's, for instance.
NOMAR GARCIAPARRA: Nomar left the Red Sox in midseason in 2004, having been considered to be a disruption by management at that time. Many in Boston rued the decision, but since the Sox won the World Series that year, there has been very little armchair quarterbacking since.
So there you go. Two former Boston Bad Boys discharged for petulance in midseason. Think this possibility hasn't crossed their minds?
BOSTON
DAVID ORTIZ: Once part of the greatly feared Boston Bash Brothers duo along with Manny, Big Papi has literally carried the Boston Red Sox to victory on his very large back, as he did in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees. Can be an opponent's backbreaker, just like Manny.
Speaking of Manny, his replacement has been quite the addition for the Red Sox.
JASON BAY: As mlb.com reports, both Manny and Bay are off to boppin' Octobers. Bay has matched Manny jack for jack in the ALDS series and even outpaced Manny in the RBI department, besting him by a count of 5-3. And Bay still has at least one game left to go.
He is also hitting at a .556 clip, besting Manny's .500 so far.
Pittsburgh Pirates fans told Boston news stations that Boston fans didn't know what they were getting with Bay, who been a perennial fan favorite on a losing team.
We know now, Pittsburgh fans.
KEVIN YOUKILIS: Had a heated scrap with Manny in the dugout prior to Manny's moving on. Don't expect a lot of pregame hugs and laughs between these two.
JOSH BECKETT: One of the best postseason pitchers ever. He won the 2003 World Series MVP award with two victories against Joe Torre's Yankees, who were propelled to the World Series on the strength of Aaron Boone's colossal home run off Boston's Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.
As for the rest, all talented teams and players. They wouldn't have gotten this far if they weren't. The $64,000 question in my mind is, will they go all the way?
The Dodgers are well on their way, having swept the perennially cursed Chicago Cubs to advance to the National League Championship series.
Their opponent would appear at this time to be the Philadelphia Phillies, who lead their best-of-five series with the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0, and lead today's game 5-0 in the seventh inning.
Should the Red Sox finish off the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway tonight (a distinct possibility if Josh Beckett is on his game), the two teams would be one step closer to a dream match that would be one for the ages.
All that said, it could still turn out to be a Brewers-Rays (they just scored one in the bottom of the seventh) World Series. But as purely a baseball fan, all the elements above could play out like the baseball version of Hamlet.
Regardless, I'm savoring it all day by day. You just never know what magic October will bring.
Yet some see what is, and say why.
I see what is possible and say, "Why not?"
In closing, I distinctly remember the feeling back in 1986 that a Red Sox-Mets matchup seemed inevitable, and this feeling was widespread even among commentators of the time. I am beginning to get that same feeling here.
As to whether it is my imagination or the Gods of Baseball whispering in my ear, only time will tell.
See what happens.
Stay Tuned, Sports Fans!
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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