Heroes of years past: Tris Speaker (Boston Red Sox) and Dante Bichette (Colorado Rockies)
Frankly, my dears, I don't give a damn.
I really, really, really don't. I am tired of caring which team wins the World Series, when my team is 500 light years away from it, except for Kevin Millar, who will probably fly around with the Red Sox, dancing every time Doug Mirabelli orders it, while the Red Sox laugh at this fat, old, Oriole fool, who still thinks he's one of the cool kids.
Kevin Millar is the kid whose neighborhood friends have passed him by, but sometimes they let him hang out. Millar is now into Science Olympiad, while the Red Sox drink beer and try to get to third base with their dates. It's not that anyone has anything against Kevbo, it's just, well, times change, man. This guy wears orange now. But the cool thing is, he'll do whatever you tell him, he's so desperate for acceptance.
But all my ridiculous gibberish aside, there is one thing I genuinely like about the Boston Red Sox as a collection of baseball players: They're a hell of a lot of fun. These guys are not terribly different from the '04 Idiots, and while that team -- as one of you put it -- tricked many of us into opening up a Pandora's Box of Red Sox fans who now have a sense of entitlement, I will always remember them fondly as an outsider. They were fun. This team is fun, too. Papelbon has emerged as a truly unique ballplayer.
Admit it. It'd be nice to root for a really good team that also seems like they're having the time of their lives playing baseball together for a living. One of the things the Red Sox will always have over the Yankees (I hope, anyway) is that they'll never be so stuffy, corporate, and unentertaining. The Yankees always walk around so serious. No facial hair! Argh! As if Jorge Posada looking like a Latino Gary Gaetti makes him a better player.
There's just something about the way the Red Sox seem like such a team, so loose and spirited and energetic. Almost child-like at times, from Papelbon's crazy Riverdance routines to Manny being Manny to Ortiz yukking it up in goggles. Papelbon trying to teach Dice-K to say, "Melvin Mora." Dice-K seeming almost overwhelmed by the goofball nature of his teammates in America, but like he wants to roll with it and have a ball with his new friends.
I have a natural tendency to judge celebrities' cool factor by how much I'd like to drink beer with them. This is why Jamie Walker is, no contest, my favorite baseball player on the planet. This is why I do like Kevin Millar a ton, no matter how I feel about his weird wannabe act he's got going on right now. It's why, Yankee or not, Mickey Mantle just seems like he was one hell of a guy.
There are lots of dudes on the Red Sox I wouldn't mind hanging out with. I'd like to shoot the shit with Theo Epstein and Terry Francona, for the love of pete. And I can't think of a single Yankee I can say that about. Well, Farnsworth. And maybe Mussina, all things considered.
It's not love-hate, because I have no love for the Red Sox, but they are entertaining to watch. The sound of the crowd at Fenway Park will eventually make its way into having the stomach-turn familiarity the yokels at that dump in the Bronx carry to my ears, but they aren't quite there yet. I like the park. I like the Green Monster. And I like that at any time, a game can turn on a dime with that lineup.
But I hate the Red Sox. Just as a fan, I subscribe to the Weaver philosophy that there should be bad blood between all teams. Doesn't mean I can't tip my cap to another club and its fans, but I should, fundamentally, hate the Red Sox and Yankees, if nothing else.
Then there's the Colorado Rockies. Gutty, on an incredible run, young, talented, lots of cool players on that team. I've always liked Todd Helton. I really like Troy Tulowitzki. To listen to the oldsters at the only bar I frequent, you'd think Matt Holliday is the second coming of Babe Ruth.
But I'm no Rockies fan, not really. They're my rooting interest, but the older I get, the less I actually care who wins in the playoffs anymore. Does it really matter to me? I laugh when the Yankees lose, but whatever. They've won a few rings, they'll win a few more before I'm dead and gone. It's something you become accustomed to, more or less.
That whole "doin' it for the Lord!" thing does bother me a bit. I'm not going to get into a big religion thing, and I beg no one else to. I don't care who believes what, honestly, but celebrating God's stadium is a tad off-putting on national television. The Red Sox poured beer all over the place and wore goggles and smoked stogies and danced the night away on the infield grass. The Rockies stood on a podium like a bunch of guys that were sort of excited about it all. Even the Yankees dump booze on each other. Come on.
Meanwhile, of course, one of the members of the Colorado brass seemed to be just hammered drunk.
I've decided I'll pull for the Rockies with half of my heart. I am a baseball fan, and I'll watch the games, and I'll sort of care. But if the Red Sox win, my winter won't seem any longer.
I do want to make one quick comment about this series, though.
"The AL is so much better than the NL!"
Yeah, well, bullshit. If the AL was so much better than the NL, the Tigers would be your defending world champions, not that crap Cardinals team. The Rockies beat the Red Sox in a regular season series. I cannot find a single thing that really makes the Red Sox notably better than Colorado.
The American League does seem better than the National League, but truth be told, the Rockies are a lot better than the National League, too. I think Colorado matches up well with Boston. Actually, I think they match up much better with Boston than Cleveland did, and Cleveland played the Red Sox very tough.
I initially said I'd take the Rockies in six, but I can't really tell you I'm confident in any pick. I could see a sweep by either side, sort of similar to what we got with the White Sox-Astros series in 2005, where every game was close. I could see it go the full seven with a nail-biter of a climax.
So, for me, what it really comes down to is this: Dropkick Murphys' "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" v. John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High."
Give me the crappy folk-rocker, although I generally wouldn't go that route. Thank God, I'm a country boy.
And as a total aside, I'd also like to thank all the Red Sox bloggers out there that have linked to my venom toward Kevin Millar in the last two days. Much appreciated, but I don't think it makes me a "killjoy," because it wasn't my joy to begin with.