The Baltimore Orioles finished with a winning record against Boston this year. Some overly crass fans might call that one of the team’s “lone” bright spots, however the fact is that there were many in 2013. But as much as we talk about the Orioles playing until the last out, Boston’s pretty much the same way. However in some cases perhaps they take it to a different level, and it spreads to all facets of the sports world up there.
Boston fans got to see Tom Brady masterfully win a game with five seconds left against New Orleans last night. For those who didn’t see it, I won’t lie…it was pretty impressive. Then they see David Ortiz hit a grand slam in the last of the eighth to tie game two of the ALCS at Fenway Park last night, a game the BoSox would go onto win in the last of the ninth. The series shifts to Detroit tied up at one game each.
So are Boston athletes just better than the rest of the world? Yes and no. Their athletes are pretty darn good right now, and have been for the past ten plus years. However the fact is that they’re world-beaters. I suppose it’s one thing to play until the final out or the final gun, but another to believe you’re actually going to win. There was no doubt in Tom Brady’s mind that yesterday’s game was going to end with him throwing a touchdown yesterday. Just as there was no doubt in Ortiz’s mind that he’d do something magical.
Speaking for myself, I’m a big thinker. I play basketball every week, and I can’t tell you how often I get the ball stolen while I’m thinking about towards whom to pass the ball. That might not be so positively reflected on me, however it would also help if people would move to get open! That aside, with many of these Boston athletes it seems that there’s very little thinking in crunch times, and much more doing. In the case of the Red Sox game, they were also helped by a throwing error by Jose Iglesias, and then a wild pitch to send the runner to third. However even there we see a team (Detroit) out-thinking themselves. Iglesias knew the game was tied and that it was the last of the ninth. So when a grounder was hit deep to the hole at third, he tried to make a throw that was near impossible. It sailed wide of the bag, allowing the runner into scoring position. Rick Porcello was brought in to pitch the ninth, and with that runner on second he tried to pitch around Saltalamacchia, and ended up throwing a wild pitch.
So as ironic as this sounds coming from a thinker, perhaps part of Boston’s magic is that they allow their opponent to out-think themselves while they just play. When that happens you kind of feel hoodwinked given that you’ve put so much time and effort into figuring out a plan to win, but somehow you still lost. Ironically, Detroit felt that they needed a shortstop prior to the season, and they all but penciled in J.J. Hardy as their starting shortstop because they had already decided that the O’s would make a trade with them involving Hardy. Odds are Hardy eats that ball as opposed to trying to make an impossible throw. The Orioles’ smart move ends up being Boston’s gain.