A sense of the inevitable

By Jim "Doc" Sabin

How can you go to Disney World and not see Mickey Mouse?

Why go to Hawaii and never hit the beach?

How could you visit Vegas and not pull even the first slot?

After all these years, and all these failures, the Boston Red Sox' run into October wouldn't be right if they left without winning the World Series. Are the Cardinals the better team? Maybe. They have the better record, for sure. The offense is quite possibly the best in baseball; the best in the National League, at any rate. 

And the Cardinals' pitching is solid, if not spectacular. Four starting pitchers won 15 games, yet none, with the possible exception of Matt Morris when that curve is biting, strikes fear into the hearts of your average hitter. The bullpen is solid throughout, but the man at the back, Jason Isringhausen, is far from invincible.

And the three-headed monster of Pujols, Rolen and Edmonds? Well...yeah. Those guys would send any pitcher heading for cover.

But you know something? They're no more deadly than A-Rod, Sheffield and Matsui. Renteria's dangerous, but no more so than Jeter, especially in October.

And Boston just vanquished those guys, embarrassed them. And then took two days off to get their bodies as energized as much as their spirits.

Boston's offense isn't something to overlook. Manny Ramirez is ready; he has something to prove after failing to drive in a single run against the Yankees. Pedro has something to prove, too. Schilling has nothing to prove, not any more, but he's never needed motivation, anyway. Top to bottom, this offense is every bit as dangerous as St. Louis'. And pitching? When D-Lowe is on, as he was in Game 7, and when Arroyo and Wakefield are on, they match up with anyone the Cardinals can put out there. The Cardinals have no counter for Schilling, unless Chris Carpenter manages to slip into the game, and they can't match an effective Pedro. The pen is better than Boston's, no question, but after expending all that energy to hold down the Yankees, THEN resting for a couple of days, the adrenaline alone will have the Sox pen ready for a few more games.

More importantly, though, this team exudes a bit of destiny. The Houston Astros were the hottest team in the sport in September and in October, but while some thought the club had that aura of destiny about it, most knew it was too good to last. The 'Stro's were good, sure. But they weren't THAT good. 

The Cardinals were the better team. The Cardinals proved it. But the Cardinals have never been an emotional team; they just go about their business and go home. They've captured Scott Rolen's work ethic and emotional reserve almost to a man; this is his team. And he's a superstar, no question. And in most series, that's how you want a guy, a team, to be. 

But not in this series. Boston is bringing in a fire not seen in the postseason in quite a while. The Angels, the Marlins, the Diamondbacks, they were just happy to be there, able to contain their excitement enough to still play well. The Yankees before that? Well, they just crushed everything in their path.

Boston has done neither. Oh, they made short work of the Angels, but they've kicked, squirmed, fought, punched, and clawed their way here. They overcame historic odds to do it. And, oh, by the way, they just happen to be a damn good team, not just a bunch of scrappers playing over their heads. There is a sense that this time, FINALLY this time, this is it.

I think Game 1 goes to the Sox, not because Wakefield is that great, but because it's in Fenway, and the 10th man, the fans, will be a huge obstacle for the Cards. They've waited too long for this. I think Game 2 goes to the Sox, courtesy of Mr. Curt Schilling. Then it goes back to St. Louis, where it's really anyone's game, but with a 2-0 edge, I don't see Boston blowing it - not after watching New York do the same thing.

So get the bubbly on ice in Faneuil Hall, folks - or the Sam Adams, whichever you prefer. The party's coming to the Freedom Trail.