Monday, October 14, 2013

More Red Sox Magic

How fantastic is it to have exciting playoff baseball back in Boston? Games 1 and 2 have been "stand-while-you-watch" games in the late innings. The games are so tense that you cannot stay sitting.

Here's a positive thought, Detroit's starting pitching has been stellar. Like freakishly stellar. And the series is tied 1-1. For how well Detroit's starters have done, being tied 1-1 is a fantastic result for the Sox. Detroit's SPs have been nearly perfect and the series is even.

Sunday night I realized something about these Red Sox. I want to go out and drink with them. Or hang out with them even if alcohol weren't involved. But preferably involved. And the key thing is that I want to GO OUT with them. Josh Beckett and the 2011-2012 Sox STAYED IN and got drunk while eating chicken and playing video games. We didn't want to go anywhere with them. We did want to go out with Kevin Millar and the '04 Sox. We did want to go out with the idiots of 2007.

How fun would it be to go to a karaoke bar with Koji Uehara and Jonny Gomes? Then go clubbing with Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz? Then go to Supreme Pizza on Mass Ave at 2:00am with Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli?

I also think that the energy of the fans in Fenway plays a part in how the Red Sox perform. Detroit has pitched so well in this series that each time the Red Sox manage a basehit, the crowd releases several innings worth of pent-up energy. And the crowd sees how hungry this team is, and the team feels how hungry the crowd is, and they feed off each other's energies. It's a vicious cycle.

David Ortiz's grand-slam was one of the biggest hits in his storied October career. And it was, importantly, a line driver homerun. In the cold air, high fly balls that arc upward are more likely to be slowed by the cold air and fall in the outfield. Warning, physics lesson approaching: in cold air, air molecules are packed closer together, so a baseball has to push through more of them as it flies from the bat through the air. Each molecule slows the ball down and causes it to lose speed which then causes it to lose height. A high fly ball has a longer path through the air than a direct line-drive, so it has to push through more air molecules. So Ortiz's line drive went through fewer molecules than a fly ball homerun, and that's why it was able to get out. Physics lesson over.

If the series were 2-0 in Detroit's favor, going back to Detroit, I wouldn't like the Red Sox chances. Now at 1-1 the Sox aren't up against any walls. We'll see if Verlander pitches like he did in the regular season or like he did in the ALDS against Oakland. We'll see if Detroit's starters fall back to earth. The series is still wide open thanks to Sunday night's insane drama.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel